Jan. 7th, 2010

GMing Tips

Jan. 7th, 2010 10:27 am
jaegamer: (GOD)
I'm participating in a panel on better GMing at Confusion (Troy MI, Jan 22-24, 2010), and I'm compiling a set of useful tips.  It's a one hour panel, and I'm sure I'm not the only one on it.  I'll be storing my own ideas in this post (and will be updating it as things occur to me), and I'd appreciate any tips any of you have.

In no particular order...
  • It's not just YOUR story, it's THEIR story too (collaborate).
  • Don't be wedded to your scenario.  If you plan for 4 possible choices, the players will take the 6th.
  • GM ain't havin' fun, ain't nobody havin' fun.  (The inverse is also true.)
  • Know your players and their characters.  Make sure there's an opportunity for everyone to shine.
  • If you don't want them to screw it up, don't let them roll the dice (contsts/tests should be meaningful - if they need info/success/whatever to continue, *give* it to them
  • Nobody likes a no-win scenario.  Make sure you've thought of at least one way to succeed.  Mind you, the players will probably come up with another.
  • Failure can be even more interesting than success.  (differs from no-win, in that failure at a particular test means an unexpected outcome, as opposed to "too bad, you're dead".
  • Players don't mind losing a character if the death is meaningful.
  • Complicate their lives, complicate their lives, complicate their lives.
  • Dependents, cohorts and NPC friends - snack food for monsters and ways to complicate their lives.
Stuff I've appropriated from other people:
  • Failure is boring.  The credible but unrealized threat of failure is very exciting (Robin Laws)
  • Say "yes" or roll the dice. (Vincent Baker)
  • Try to give your players at least one meaningful choice in an adventure with no pre-determined conclusion. (@slyflourish)
  • "The game must be fun shall be the whole of the Law." Making Light

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