Game mastering a pen and paper RPG is tough. For new GMs it’s also daunting. Following are three tips that have served me well for three decades, first as a beginner and today as an experienced GM.
Game Masters: Just Say Yes
A pillar of improvisation, we can borrow this technique for running RPG as well. Avoid contradicting players, cancelling their ideas, and saying no to attempted actions.
Instead, just say yes. This has an additive and cumulative effect on gameplay. When you say no, you force the game to stop and take a new direction, or even cause a step backward.
Saying yes accepts an idea or สล็อต action and allows you or another player to build on it.
For example, if players try three things and you say no three times you are still at square zero. However, if player one tries something and you say yes, then player 2 carries on and tries something and you give it approval, and player three builds on top of that and you say yes, the game has progressed three steps.
Over a session, this constant building helps a great story unfold and makes everyone feel comfortable contributing.
A simple tip, yet even experienced game masters forget to pour excitement and energy into the game. Create a reminder for yourself to pick up the enthusiasm, especially as games wear on and everybody gets a bit tired. A great way to do this is put a Post-It Note on the inside of your GM screen.
Enthusiasm is contagious. If you are excited, other players with catch the positive energy and be more enthusiastic themselves.
I’ve played in games where everything was serious and often quiet. This was mostly because the GM wasn’t energetic, so the group different feel comfortable being energetic either.
If you have enthusiasm you’re sending a signal to everyone that it’s OK to have fun!
Be determined to play
Most game sessions get cancelled because players can’t make it. Manage your games and plots so 100% attendance is never required.
Also, be organized with player contact information and fastest methods of contact (twitter, texting, voice, email, etc.). If you can get a new day scheduled the same week you can save a lot of games.
A missed session increases the chances of more missed sessions. Momentum falters, life’s priorities push gaming out of the way, players forget to set their schedules.
However, if you game regularly, then it becomes habit to block out Thursday nights every other week, or whatever you schedule is, for gaming. Spouses and significant others learn this schedule too, which increases the chances of high attendance by a lot as well.