So You Want to Be a Game Master
Perhaps you’ve been playing RPG’s for a while and you think you have a story to tell. Maybe you dream of creating the epic tale and running a group of characters through it. You have watched your GM and you think, “I can do that”. So how do you get started?
If you listened to episode 1 of the Rollin Nerdy Podcast when we all introduced ourselves, you heard that most of us have served as GM at some point. You may have heard Libby talk about being a Game Master in training. She has the benefit of having a father with years of experience as a GM in multiple games who can assist her as she begins the process of becoming a GM. Most of us, unfortunately, do not have the benefit of having a mentor as we begin the process of becoming a GM. Maybe you are like me, you are enjoying your game and suddenly you fine yourself without a GM. Maybe he or she has moved away or had a baby or something that prevents him or her from being in the game any longer. So the rest of the group finds themself looking at each other to see who wants to be the GM. So this is your big shot. You get to be the storyteller now. All eyes are on you.
How do you get started?
1. Keep it Small
There is a temptation as a beginning GM to create your entire world before running any games in it. The thought of being Tolkien of George RR Martin and creating the epic fantasy world is very exciting. What generally happens in this case is you spend a lot of time working on things that your players will not see for a long time. If you want to create a world, start small. Create the really big stuff like continents, empires. etc and create the area around where you will be running your campaign. Leave the other stuff to fill out as necessary.
Your characters are not going to be aware of every detail of your world, so it is not necessary to create these details. If something comes up during your game that you have not yet created, improvise. Make something up that answers the question and fill in the details later. Keep a notebook or file on your computer or device to keep track of things you make up during the game. If you are like me, you forget things quickly, so write them down.
2. Use Other People’s Ideas
Maybe you don’t know where to begin. There are tons of resources to get you started. Things that will give you just the germ of an idea all the way up to complete material to just open and go. Check out Drive Thru RPG for supplements to get you started.
I enjoy starting with something random and build from there. There are lots of random generators available on line for free. Check those out and see if you get some inspiration from there. Think about books, movies, tv shows you have seen and use those for inspiration. Make sure you make it your own story. Don’t retell Lord of the Rings. If you want to play the Lord of the Rings story, use material created by other people.
I like creating a story and using modules written by other people to fit into my story. Using this method you get the fun of telling your story and let someone else do the heavy lifting. Again check out Drive Thru RPG for modules of the correct setting and level to fit with your story. You will have to make some adjustments as you play but it is still much easier than doing all the work yourself.
Also, you can work with your players to create your world. An excellent (free) resource to start creating your fantasy world is Dawn of World. Check it out here: http://www.clanwebsite.org/games/rpg/Dawn_of_Worlds_game_1_0Final.pdf
To create the history of your world try the game Microscope. This is a link to Microscope on Drive Thru RPG: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/91183//rss.php?affiliate_id=1002876
We will be playing Microscope in episodes 3 and 4 of the podcast. So check that out.
3. Do it Poorly
Don’t let a fear of failure keep you from keeping started. There will definitely be room for improvement from your first session. But it is something to build on and grow. Doing something poorly is preferable to not doing anything.
So, just get started. Fantastic failures often make the best stories.
Let us know how it goes for you. Leave us a comment on the Facebook page or send me an email. We might tell your story in a future episode.