No, I’m not GMing every day for 30 days. That would be amazing, but no. Instead, I’m taking part in the 30 Days of Gamemastering Challenge over at Triple Crit. Every day I’ll answer the GMing question of the day, and I’ll try to keep my answers concise. Since I’m a day late to the party, let’s jump right in and answer the first two questions!
Have fun and don’t put a ton of pressure on yourself. If you’ve been playing the game you’re GMing you likely have a good grasp of the rules, so trust that. If it’s a new game, don’t worry about knowing every rule right now. Instead, focus on setting things up so you can find rules quickly, thus keeping the action going.
Remember “Yes, and…”, and don’t block your players. If the players are excited about an idea or a plan or anything, and you can figure out a way to use it in the game, do it. It makes them feel more connected to what is happening, and actually makes you look brilliant for “anticipating” their desires. Always remember, of course, you don’t have to use their idea in quite the way they wanted/anticipated; leave yourself the option to surprise them, thus making yourself look more brilliant.
And write stuff down, even just point form notes. Trust me, it will save heart-ache down the line.
I posted a while ago about my GM kit, so the easy answer would be “everything I carry in that”. But using my GM kit as the start, I’d say my favourites depend on what game I’m running. If it’s Old School, I just go with my dice bag and a pencil, like I did in the old days. But if I’m running something more recent, based on the d20 model, I’d say my favourite becomes the re-usable flip mats. Those were a stroke of genius for any GM needing to map on the fly.
Now if we’re talking computer tools, my laptop actually comes in as my favourite GMing tool. Not only is it an easy way for me to carry all my information in one place. It also runs my second favourite tool, Hero Lab. Not only can I use it to track combat and player progression, but it’s a handy tool for tweaking NPCs and keeping basic notes on the campaign.
Okay, first two questions down. You can expect me to pop an answer up every day until November 2. And I’ll even try to get regular posts in during that time; I have a few things I want to talk about, like Prairie Dragon Press™ and such.
How would you answer these questions? Drop your answers in the comments.