Questions about becoming or tutoring a game master (GM). Not for just "I am a new GM": see the full tag wiki for important usage notes.

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45
votes
7answers
2k views

What is role-playing, and where do I start?

I have been told that roleplaying is great fun. I've looked and looked and it all seems so complicated. Could anyone tell me a good place to start, and what sort of things you end up doing in ...
42
votes
4answers
2k views

How to get my Paranoia players to stop cooperating and start killing each other?

I've read some of the questions and answers on paranoia here, but I seem to be missing some kind of key element to play. I ran Robot IMANA-665-C and I didn't seem to be able to get the players to ...
39
votes
6answers
2k views

Should I do something about slow pace in my inexperienced group?

Last night we played our first RPG (ever!) and I'm not sure if it went well. The game was Deathwatch and the basic story was to find someone. There were three possible places where he could be; then ...
37
votes
17answers
1k views

Your friend wants to learn the ways of the Dungeon Master, what do you do?

I believe that all tabletop role playing gamers should at one point or another try their hand at Dungeon Mastering. However, it's a goal that at times can feel overwhelming. What advice would you ...
33
votes
5answers
2k views

Is the same page tool overkill for brand new players?

I'm about to run the D&D 5e starter set for a group, most of which are entirely new to RPGs. The Same Page Tool looks like a great resource for a new group playing together, but not necessarily ...
31
votes
7answers
6k views

How do I learn to become a good GM?

I have played and tried to GM games since I was in elementary school, beginning with games like Shadowrun, Earthdawn, and Champions. Recently, I've gotten dack into gaming with a variety of other ...
25
votes
12answers
870 views

How to remember all the rules?

Do you have tricks or techniques to remember all the rules to the games you're playing? I would like to run my first game as a gamemaster, but I'm struggling with remembering all the feats and ...
25
votes
8answers
3k views

As a newbie DM, is it OK to borrow plots from MMOs for my game?

I am an inexperienced GM. I have minimal to none experience game-mastering, although I DO have some experience as a player, and I wanted to prepare a game for a great friend of mine who is a very ...
22
votes
5answers
1k views

Learning to use spells comfortably

I'm hoping to get a little but of advice. You see, I've been running Rise of the Runelords, although the fact that I'm using Pathfinder probably isn't too relevant. Point is, I'm relatively new to ...
21
votes
10answers
4k views

How to introduce a pen-and-paper RPG to family?

My brother and I have dabbled in D&D when we were younger. Also, at the last place where I worked, we had a weekly Pathfinder game session, which was fun. Usually at our family get-togethers my ...
21
votes
4answers
743 views

Transitioning from GM to Player; or how to recover from GM burnout

A few months ago, I reached the point of "GM burnout." Having been (almost) the exclusive GM for our group for several years, and seeing the number of players and their commitment dwindle combined ...
20
votes
5answers
570 views

How do I analyze and improve myself as a GM?

I'm pretty new to tabletop RPG and recently started to GM a campaign with a group of friends. None of us has much experience, so it's a learning curve for all of us. I've found myself completely ...
19
votes
7answers
1k views

How to guide a new DM through his first game (as an experienced DM turned player)?

How can I guide and help a new DM through his first campaign (being an experienced DM myself) without having it look like a grab for power or that I think the new DM is incompetent?
19
votes
6answers
3k views

I'm fairly new to D&D but want to GM; where do I go from here?

I'm a 16-year-old male, and I have been interested in tabletop RPGs for a long time, especially D&D. I sorta dove into D&D really fast and hard by buying the Red box, Dungeon Master Kit, ...
19
votes
5answers
610 views

How do I tell how long my adventure is going to be?

I'm a new DM starting a campaign I've written myself. I have a party of 4 players right now- three have been playing for years, one has never played before. My problem is I'm not sure how to tell how ...
18
votes
10answers
1k views

My friends and I are new to RPGs and need a system I can DM and they can pick up. Suggestions? [closed]

My friends and I are trying to get into tabletop RPGs but have ran into some difficultly finding a system/setting that fits. We gave Eclipse Phase a shot but found it to have a pretty high barrier to ...
17
votes
9answers
348 views

How to encourage the GM-curious?

I have a couple of players who might be interested to try GMing, but have so far been reluctant to "take the plunge" and start up their own games. I think this is mostly because they're not sure that ...
16
votes
9answers
2k views

How do I deal with an experienced player who doesn't interact well with my group?

My group and I just migrated from a DM whose very incongruent storytelling and deliberate punishment of non-hack & slay-solutions scared us off. We (mostly) kept our characters (since they are our ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I convince my group to try a new system without always having to DM it first?

I always play roleplaying games with the same friends. We have a lot of fun, but I'm always a bit frustrated by the fact that they always resist when I propose to try new roleplaying games. Even ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

How do we tell our new GM that we don't like some elements of his campaign?

Our current GM is quite new to GMing, and has stumbled into a few pitfalls. To give a few examples, he killed my character (by accident) and brought him back via deus ex. He locked the party in a ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

What is all the backstory in an Adventure Path for if the players never see it?

I'm new to tabletop RPGs (although I have been interested for a long time, just had difficulty finding like-minded companions, and the funds required to get some of the stuff). When I was finally ...
15
votes
9answers
742 views

Does GMing diminish or detract from being a player in games? [closed]

I started playing RPGs last year with the Pathfinder Beginner Box. I have been GMing and writing a campaign, but have also encouraged members of the party that are interested to run a one-off Beginner ...
15
votes
5answers
281 views

Advice for a new GM taking over for an old one? [closed]

I play a Pokemon tabletop game with a few friends. We're all in college, and our GM recently stepped down due to falling grades. I offered to take over if there were no objections, and as you can ...
15
votes
7answers
4k views

Starting the first game tips? [closed]

I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to start our very first session. Everyone, counting the DM, has yet to play the game and we are not exactly sure were to start. Our PCs are: Drow ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

How can I get new players to explore more?

I'm DMing using the 5E Starter Kit and, after DMing the first few encounters, the players aren't exploring the environment sufficiently to learn all the actions they can take. Before our next session ...
15
votes
4answers
638 views

I have read the D&D PHB but am still having trouble grasping some of the basics, how can I learn more?

With credit to one of the more experienced members on the site, mxyzplk, I thought I'd ask where noobs like me should ask or find answers to basic questions about Dungeons & Dragons mechanics if ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Fate/Freeport as a first RPG?

I've kicked around the idea of starting some roleplaying games with my son (11) and his friends. I played AD&D when I was a kid (stopping around 1987, not sure what version that was). While I ...
13
votes
5answers
815 views

Advice on setting up a campaign for a new GM? [closed]

A month or two back, I bought the GURPS Basic Set with the hopes of GMing a campaign at my school. I'm fairly familiar with the rules and general concepts by now (GURPS is very well documented), but ...
13
votes
4answers
970 views

How do I start DMing a new game after the Red Box?

I finished playing the D&D beginners Red Box with my friends. Now how do I start DMing another game? Where do I go from here?
13
votes
5answers
1k views

How to deal with intimidating amount of rules in Shadowrun

I started to read about Shadowrun as a setting and I'm currently reading the rules and they are really intimidating. There's a lot to know as a player since every aspect of the game as it's own set of ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

How to end a game session smoothly

After my first (failed) attempt at playing tabletop RPG two years ago, I'm going to give it another try. Still as a GM. One thing I didn't do quite well last time was ending the game. I didn't know ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Differences Between Freeform and Rules-heavy Roleplay

I am a relatively new DM...okay I actually haven't ever RUN a campaign. The closest I have come to was running a short, 2-encounter dungeon against Manticores and a Raksasha that summoned a Grey ...
12
votes
5answers
7k views

Choosing DnD 4th edition or Essentials for a new group and DM?

Recently I've got interested in roleplaying. My background is more or less hardcore boardgamer, I have played quite a large number of board games, even some of the most complicated ones and found it ...
12
votes
1answer
859 views

What kind of steps can I take to avoid overwhelming a new, support-heavy party?

I'm a new DM looking to introduce my group to D&D 4E via a brief, low-level (3-4) custom adventure. My hope is that I can later expand into a full campaign after my players have become comfortable ...
12
votes
2answers
473 views

How can I work on my improvisation skills in regards to running a campaign?

I'm writing a campaign for 3.5 at the moment and, as a new DM, it's been hard for me to decide what I need to write now, and what I'll need to write later. Because it's going to be my first campaign ...
12
votes
2answers
6k views

Dungeons and Dragons Treasure Parcels

I'm new to D&D and would like to distribute treasure evenly in my dungeon for my level 1 PCs. I've read up briefly on the treasure packages but am still a little fuzzy on how they exactly work and ...
12
votes
0answers
297 views

As a GM, how can I create and role-play diverse NPCs better? [duplicate]

I am new to GMing (and role-playing in general, for that matter) and I am having a somewhat difficult time making plausible and interesting NPCs. This is especially true with NPCs who are not "typical ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Trying to fix my DM mistakes by starting a new campaign

I recently put together a gaming group composed of friends new to roleplaying who were excited to try some D&D. We've only had four sessions so far, and the players are really enjoying themselves, ...
11
votes
3answers
842 views

How do you determine what good roleplaying is? [closed]

How can I determine if players are roleplaying well? World of Darkness (not the only system that does this) offers the option of giving experience for good roleplaying, but how do I as a GM determine ...
10
votes
4answers
258 views

Do I need to stat out & measure everything?

I am preparing a session that contains a fair amount of absurdity. Many of the creatures and situations that my players will encounter will probably not be encountered again. On the one hand, I know ...
9
votes
3answers
439 views

As a complete newcomer - what do I have to look out for? [closed]

I just orderer the D&D Red Box 4th edition. I plan to play it with my GF and maybe I can convince my flat mate as well. None of us has any experience playing Pen and Paper games (I have Baldur's ...
9
votes
3answers
421 views

New GM to a Laundry RPG game [closed]

What should a new (and not so experienced) GM watch out for when starting to run a game set in Charles Stross's Laundry universe? Note that all this could be applied to a Call Of Cthulhu game as well ...
8
votes
2answers
496 views

How much, and what kind of, advance planning is appropriate for a sandbox campaign?

New GM attemping to get ideas for a campaign down something similar to a tabletop fallout game. How much info is too much info for general prep? Can there ever be too much? Or is there a general ...
7
votes
5answers
14k views

Newbie starting first D&D campaign

My friends want to play D&D and they expect me to be the GM; since none of us has ever played before, their wanting to keep playing or not pretty much depends on me. I have bought the Player's ...
7
votes
6answers
411 views

Do I have to map out villages or outside areas?

Do I have to make a map of areas outside of my dungeons? For instance, a village or forest? Does the context of the Dungeon have to be mapped?
7
votes
4answers
686 views

How to teach 5 people how to be a DM

My school started this RPing club, but in my school right now only 2 people know how to DM and do it effectively, including me. As the teacher running the club knows nothing about Pathfinder, it seems ...
7
votes
4answers
726 views

How much custom content is too much

So, I'm a relatively new GM (having only run a quick foray into the Tomb of Horrors for fun) and I've got an idea for a city-based custom campaign. I feel pretty good about my story telling abilities ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Good games for inexperienced players and GMs?

I have been the GM for my little circle of friends for a few months. We are having trouble finding an RPG system to be comfortable with. On my part, I seem to be unable to settle on any particular ...
7
votes
2answers
548 views

How can I Help a New GM Get Started?

My daughter wants to run a Changeling game. However, she's never tried to run a pen and paper RP, and is very nervous about it. What are some things I can do to help her get a good start? For more ...
7
votes
4answers
987 views

Is there a better way to run a “rules light” or “beginner” D&D 4th edition game?

I've been attempting to play 4E with my two kids for a while now. I've had some false starts trying to run very simple adventures partly due to lack of DM experience/prep time (demanding job for Dad) ...