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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Question about GMs

    So I've noticed a lot of threads in recruitment are struggling to find a DM/GM. I was wondering why? Is it hard to learn to be a good GM? Or is it just that fewer people are interested? For some reason I wonder if most just consider it more fund o be the player. Or I suppose the responsibility of coming up with things.

    I just wanted to discuss the matter and see what you all thought. Of your a GM yourself, what do you think? Was it hard to learn to do? I'd be interested in learning but without money for books and all that stuff... I'd probably be very hard.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    GMing requires a lot more effort than just being a player, no doubts about that.

    Truth to be told, I don't understand people who are going "here's an idea for a game - can someone GM it for me?", yet it happens on a frequent basis. But since GMing takes a lot of effort, many potential GMs vastly prefer to run a game that they have in their mind, that they want to run as opposed to running a game someone else asks them to run. So it's not surprising that many of those threads never receive a response.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    How hard is it to learn to be a good GM? I'm interested, but without guide books and whatnot i wonder if it's doable for me.

    And that makes perfect sense. Of you are going to put in the effort you might as well do it for something your muse is going for, not for what someone else wants.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    It's something you learn by doing. A good GM is like being a good project leader, the most important thing is to listen to players and be open to input they have regarding the game, but not let them walk all over you.

    It's also much easier to get into GMing if you play something as a player first and GM only later, having experience with the system and the game setting.

    What do you mean guide books? There is a lot of advice (of varying quality) online about what it means to be a good GM, but there aren't dedicated books on that topic. Unless you mean game rulebooks. Kinda hard to be a GM without those, but there are some free systems with PDFs openly available out there. Others have SRDs, but those don't always explain everything.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    If you want to learn to be a good GM I'd suggest trying a game that's both easy, and contains good GMing advice in it. Dungeon World, for example, reads like a GMing best practices guidebook.

    And be patient. Like anything else, you don't get good overnight.

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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    All you really need to GM are some players and a game.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Quote Originally Posted by tensai_oni View Post
    What do you mean guide books? There is a lot of advice (of varying quality) online about what it means to be a good GM, but there aren't dedicated books on that topic.
    Actually, there are some -- including at least one "Gamemastering for Dummies." Probably the best known is Robin D. Laws' "Robin's Laws of Good Gamemastering," which in some circles is considered a classic. I've read it myself and think it's excellent. For an utter beginner, I suggest Tracy Hickman's "Extreme Dungeon Mastery." It's half personal reminiscence and weird ideas, half elementary but useful advice. I particularly like XD20, an incredibly rules-lite RPG system included in the last chapters - The rules can be summarized as "describe your character and what he does. The GM will tell you what to roll." It works surprisingly well in my experience.

    I'm itching to try GMing something with it again, maybe I should have a look at those threads...

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    I meant I can't afford any books. Not sure why people linked this uness they missunderstood. Still thanks for the info anyway. Helpfull I am sure. ^~^

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mai View Post
    I meant I can't afford any books. Not sure why people linked this uness they missunderstood. Still thanks for the info anyway. Helpfull I am sure. ^~^
    To be a GM all one needs is some imagination, the ability to referee the players within the bounds of the game, and to adjudicate their actions in fun and sensible manner.

    Honestly you don't even need books or a already established system to run a game; back in the day me an my buddies played a myriad of games we made up on the spot. Dice were used for the element of randomness, but even that isn't a concrete need.

    A fun game we used to play using only dice was where we, as a group- played ourselves. The game started usually in that room, at that moment... with something supernatural happening.

    For example, "Suddenly you see the wall behind me crack and break, in a blink of an eye I (the GM) am skewed right before your eyes. Before you is a furry bipedal creature that looks to be half man and half beast. It looks hungry as it eyes each of you. What do you do?"

    Everyone states actions, the werewolf reacts, and fun ensued. The dice were there only if someone did something that could fail, difficulty was set on the fly based largely on the person playing. The skinny guy who can barely do a pull up had to roll a 8 or higher on a d10 to climb up to the roof, were as the athletic kid needed a 4 or higher.

    Quick, easy; and in the case of those particular games - remarkably deadly. They don't have to be, naturally. You can do the same kind of set up; but, instead of a rampaging werewolf, everyone falls in a portal and is now in some deep unknown jungle... Or, whatever. The only limit is your imagination.

    So, ultimately, if you have the desire to be creative and have some buddies down to play- don't let inexperience slow you down. After all, you can only get better if you actually try.

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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mai View Post
    So I've noticed a lot of threads in recruitment are struggling to find a DM/GM. I was wondering why? Is it hard to learn to be a good GM? Or is it just that fewer people are interested? For some reason I wonder if most just consider it more fund o be the player. Or I suppose the responsibility of coming up with things.

    I just wanted to discuss the matter and see what you all thought. Of your a GM yourself, what do you think? Was it hard to learn to do? I'd be interested in learning but without money for books and all that stuff... I'd probably be very hard.
    GMing is hard, and if you're not very good it's not very rewarding either. Whenever I GM, I generally long to be a player again, because it is so much less work and at least as much fun. The only thing that really redeems GMing for me is when I make an interesting encounter that really connects with the players.
    Quote Originally Posted by No brains View Post
    See, I remember the days of roleplaying before organisms could even see, let alone use see as a metaphor for comprehension. We could barely comprehend that we could comprehend things. Imagining we were something else was a huge leap forward and really passed the time in between absorbing nutrients.

    Biggest play I ever made: "I want to eat something over there." Anticipated the trope of "being able to move" that you see in all stories these days.

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mai View Post
    I meant I can't afford any books. Not sure why people linked this uness they missunderstood. Still thanks for the info anyway. Helpfull I am sure. ^~^
    Fortunately, there are a lot of games that are completely free. The gem-dross ratio is a lot worse in this category than in commercial games due to the lower minimum bar, but the gem section includes more than a few rock solid games. So - what are you into? Do you want a very heavy set of rules that covers a great deal and requires hefty memorization to use (but which generally minimizes needing to make mechanical rulings), or something on the other end of that spectrum? Do you have a particular genre you favor, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, noir, romance, whatever*? Do you prefer working within established settings and having games built to their settings, or do you favor more idiosyncratic settings that basically need a generic RPG? Do you want a focus on tactical combat? On setting simulation? On character narratives? Regardless, there's something, and while I personally can't cover all of these I can get most and there are more than a few other people who can fill in the holes, or for that matter another fairly high coverage list.

    A few highlights, all of which are conducive to new GM**s. There's Nemesis, which is perhaps the best action horror game I've ever seen and which can be pretty easily stripped of either the action or the horror, and thus cover a wider range. There's Fate, which I don't personally like but which is a free generic that has a lot of free setting supplements, and is worth checking out. There's the various retroclones that give access to early edition D&D, included more for thoroughness than anything else. There's Open d6, a collection of systems that are also generic, also free, and a little more conventional.

    *I'm not sure I have anything for romance, it depends on whether or not two particular things were commercial.
    **If you've done a fair amount of roleplaying there are other options, and I've used a non-new-GM system as a new GM just fine before. Still, it changes the suggestion space.
    Last edited by Knaight; 2017-01-24 at 02:27 AM.
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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Best way to learn how to DM is just to try. I didn't have guidebooks or play experience, but I am apparently a decent GM.

    That said, play-by-post is a very different animal. It's much more stressful than normal GM'ing in my experience, and generally if I'm turning to online play it's probably because I want a break from GM'ing in the first place.
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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mai View Post
    I meant I can't afford any books. Not sure why people linked this uness they missunderstood. Still thanks for the info anyway. Helpfull I am sure. ^~^

    You don't need books to become a good GM, what you require is hard work and dedication. There is plenty of tips and articles on the internet and they don't cost a dime. To become a good GM you usually start as a mediocre or a bad GM and usually gradually you get better as you accummulate experience (pun intended).

    A good GM is a part storyteller, entertainer, actor and referee all rolled into one.

    As a storyteller you have to come up with interesting plots and npc's
    As a entertainer you must make sure that your players are having fun
    As an actor you act out your npc's in a memorable way
    As a referee you make rulings and are required to know the rules.

    If you can master those 4 aspects of Games mastering then you have a good start, it also helps being a nice person.

    When you realize that the game is not about you then you have reached the most important milestone of game mastering.

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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mai View Post
    Is it hard to learn to be a good GM?
    GMing theory is not necessarily hard to learn (I'd recommend reading Angry's blog if you're planning to run D&D), but actually running a game is very hard to do well. And it's not just that; it's also a lot of work and no small amount of responsibility.

    It isn't really a surprise that there is a surplus of players and not enough games, because most people just don't have the time/inspiration/will to run things.

    As to not having money for books... yeah. For most game systems you have to buy rulebooks and they're often quite dear. I would not recommend trying to run a game without the books (unless one of your players is willing to lend you a complete set), so maybe look into games where you can download free pdfs? Or even one of our own homebrewed systems ?
    Last edited by Ninja_Prawn; 2017-01-24 at 06:50 AM.
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    How much more work is it compared to in person?

    I've been up all night (it's 5:30 am here.) dealing with insomnia and my wonky sleeps schedule after being sick. (I guess at this point I'll not even try to sleep after so long, and hope that tonight I'll be so tired I will sleep well and sort of 'resert' my sleep schedule.)

    And my muse is sort of coming up with a random campaign. I've really no idea where the desire to do this has come from... Not sure if i plan to or not but my muse sure seems to think I do. -.-

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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Oof, lack of books can be tricky. PDFs can work in theory, but I've always found that actually running a game goes much easier with physical copies. With an actual book, you can foist off rules-lookups to inactive players, and even if you do it yourself, it's psychologically easier on the players to see you rifling through pages than it is to watch you scroll through a pdf.

    I can't speak to in-person versus forum games, but I will say that even if you falter and doubt yourself in the beginning, nine times out of ten, if you push through and keep up with the session, you'll sort of settle into a comfort zone that the players will pick up on.
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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mai View Post
    How much more work is it compared to in person?
    By "in person" do you mean, like, face-to-face... as opposed to play-by-post? I'm not really sure which of those is more work, they're just different styles.
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Yes, in person / over skype / whatever as opposed to play by post. Someone mentioned gming by post was harder.

    I think I can make some educated guessed but... Was hoping some o be would elaborate.

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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mai View Post
    Yes, in person / over skype / whatever as opposed to play by post. Someone mentioned gming by post was harder.

    I think I can make some educated guessed but... Was hoping some o be would elaborate.
    Hmm well I think it depends on the person. For example, there's no way I'd be able to run a live group, because I don't ever have significant blocks of free time to set aside. So for me, you could say that face-to-face GMing is harder (because it's impossible).

    There are some unique challenges to PbP though, such as:
    • The slower pace can make it harder to keep people's attention.
    • You need at least passable writing abilities.
    • Organising and managing information in a purely digital space isn't always easy (though this one cuts both ways).
    • Some people might find it harder to communicate emotions without being able to use body language. This can also exacerbate OOC drama if people misunderstand each other.
    • Things that slow the game down, like initiative order or things that interrupt other people's turns become problematic in ways they wouldn't be at a table - which means the GM has to take them into account when planning.
    • You'll usually be gaming with strangers, and there's generally less investment in the game.
    • You can't play when the site goes down.

    It's nothing that can't be overcome, of course. And there are positives as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mai View Post
    So I've noticed a lot of threads in recruitment are struggling to find a DM/GM. I was wondering why? Is it hard to learn to be a good GM? Or is it just that fewer people are interested? For some reason I wonder if most just consider it more fund o be the player. Or I suppose the responsibility of coming up with things.

    I just wanted to discuss the matter and see what you all thought. Of your a GM yourself, what do you think? Was it hard to learn to do? I'd be interested in learning but without money for books and all that stuff... I'd probably be very hard.
    There's multiple reasons. I usually DM but I do like being a player now and again. Being a DM is hard, because it requires a lot of prep work and it can be hard finding players that jive with the overall vibe/idea you want in your adventure/campaign. So why is it hard for people to find a DM? As I don't mind DMing I find DM's are always in short supply. It isn't hard for me to find a potential group of players but it is much harder for a potential group of players to find a DM.

    I'm sure I'm not alone but I'm always wary what kind of people I might get online, not to mention, in person is always a lot better. So typically I don't find people online to recruit unless we're really short a player. It boils down to, why should I, when I can find people right here? This is the dilemma people have online when trying to find a DM.

    As for is DMing hard for me to do or learn? I wouldn't say that's it. The hardest thing is preparing for future story events, getting the players interested in those events (never railroad or never make the railroad obvious), and creating dungeon/city layouts, npcs, their names, and important one's backstory while going to work. Then keeping track of all the things the players do and say as to not break the flow of the story.

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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mai View Post
    So I've noticed a lot of threads in recruitment are struggling to find a DM/GM. I was wondering why? Is it hard to learn to be a good GM? Or is it just that fewer people are interested? For some reason I wonder if most just consider it more fund o be the player. Or I suppose the responsibility of coming up with things.

    .
    Being a DM is hard and a lot of work, not only must you know the rules, understand the game, be able to run a game and play the game..but you also have to deal with all the social stuff in the group. It's a hard job to learn, but not overly harder then most other jobs. It does take time and real life experience. You do need to learn a lot of skills, and it's half game related things and half more social things.

    A lot of people like to just be a player. It's much easier and they can just sit back and play.


    An RPG really has the DM as the backbone to everything and they need to run and control the game and make it infesting and good and fun and everything else. It can be a huge burden, but it's a fun one if you like that sort of challenge.

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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    The "request for GM" thing isn't unique to Play-by-post. I have seen multiple listings for games on Roll20, and in the various facebook gaming groups I haunt which come down to "Here's a group of players, we need a DM." Some of these are a little more sensible "We have this game/module/scenario that is well known or we have resources in hand, we just need someone to run it" to "We just like playing as a group" to "Here's a campaign that we've been playing for x many years, and we all know it better than anyone else, but we're gonna ask someone new to come in and run it rather than one of us putting on some big boy pants and stepping up to GM it."

    The fact that you have an interest in doing it puts you up on a lot of players. That's the hard part.
    From there it's learning the rules of your game (which is easier if you are a player first), learning to plan, learning to improvise, and figuring our your style.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe the Rat View Post
    "Here's a campaign that we've been playing for x many years, and we all know it better than anyone else, but we're gonna ask someone new to come in and run it rather than one of us putting on some big boy pants and stepping up to GM it."
    To be fair, if it's a real long-runner, it's understandable that someone wouldn't want to retire a character. And some people really aren't cut out to DM.
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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Nice input, thanks! Both of you... Everyone really.

    I agreed. Thought getting player experience is proving hard. XD the few that have gm's are throwing around so many words I don't know, gestalts? And other weird things I hope is just a specific campaign.

    They are so full of replies asking to join seems stupid. By 96 replies or so chances are the players are set. XD
    Last edited by Mai; 2017-01-24 at 09:31 AM.

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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mai View Post
    They are so full of replies asking to join seems stupid. By 96 replies or so chances are the players are set. XD
    Yeah, it's best if you lurk on the recruitment subforum frequently and pick up threads you're interested in as soon as they appear, if you want to play.

    If you were wondering, gestalt is a D&D thing where you advance in multiple classes at once, like how multiclassing worked in AD&D. It's quite popular. If you hang out here long enough, you'll pick up on the lingo.
    Last edited by Ninja_Prawn; 2017-01-24 at 09:49 AM.
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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    It feels like there is irony here.

    A lack of GM's prevents people from getting in games experience, which would help them become good GM's.

    Yay irony. And yeah I've been heavily lurking and snatching up opportunities on suitable new topics.

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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Honestly, Mai, if you want to try GMing, but don't have a campaign in mind, go ahead and look at those recruitment threads asking for a GM. I suggest looking for D&D 3.5 or Pathfinder, because the SRDs are free and fairly easily navigated, and you can get a lot of help and advice in the form of system knowledge from the board.

    Offer to GM it. Have them create characters using SRD-only. (If it's Pathfinder, that won't be very restrictive.) Let them know you're cutting your teeth on this, and ask them to be patient and communicate with you what they're doing, what they want, and what their expectations are. You, too, should communicate with them any problems you run into.

    It might be more a "cooperative story-telling" thing with you offloading some GM planning duties to them, at first, but it will definitely give you an idea of what GMing entails.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Honestly, Mai, if you want to try GMing, but don't have a campaign in mind, go ahead and look at those recruitment threads asking for a GM. I suggest looking for D&D 3.5 or Pathfinder, because the SRDs are free and fairly easily navigated, and you can get a lot of help and advice in the form of system knowledge from the board.

    Offer to GM it. Have them create characters using SRD-only. (If it's Pathfinder, that won't be very restrictive.) Let them know you're cutting your teeth on this, and ask them to be patient and communicate with you what they're doing, what they want, and what their expectations are. You, too, should communicate with them any problems you run into.

    It might be more a "cooperative story-telling" thing with you offloading some GM planning duties to them, at first, but it will definitely give you an idea of what GMing entails.

    I'd also suggest following a couple of games to see how the GMs do it. What I'd do is go through the IC subforum and pick a couple of games that are a) the system you want to run and b) have 1000+ replies (so you know that the game is long-lived). Read through them and pay attention to how the GM does things.
    OSR vs. Stonehell Dungeon Recruitment

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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Quote Originally Posted by thirdkingdom View Post
    b) have 1000+ replies (so you know that the game is long-lived).
    Or even multiple threads (a completed thread is about 1,500 posts). Most GMs use the first post of their OOC thread as an index with links to old IC threads, comme ci. Or these two, from other GMs.
    Last edited by Ninja_Prawn; 2017-01-25 at 08:52 AM.
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    Default Re: Question about GMs

    Sometimes, its about burnout.

    I'm 58. I have been playing/DMing since OD&D. I have run long campaigns (almost 18 years for a BECMI campaign), short campaigns, one shots. ect. et al.

    I have DMed OD&D, 1e, 2e, BECMI, Star Frontiers, Shadowrun, Classic and Mega and Gurps and D20 Traveller.

    Right now (this past weekend and for two more weekends), I am running a mini 3.5 Campaign (my first, but set in the DMs world) of my own creation so that the regular DM can take a break and play.

    I have agreed to do this for three weekends every 3 months.

    I have absolutely no interest what so ever of DMing more than I am now (and if he wasn't also my best friend [since 1962], I probably wouldn't have agreed to this much).

    Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Don't need two t-shirts.
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