Edited by Sirion, Nicole Willson, KnowItSome, Flickety and 11 others
Table-top role playing games can be some of the most fun you've ever had, whether or not you're a 'hardcore geek'. Or, on the other hand, they can be incredible wastes of hours of your life. It all depends on a few things... Mainly, the people you're playing with. And none of those can have more of an impact on the game than the one that's running things. So this is a general guide to running RPGs, for the first-timer or experienced GM (Game Master) alike.
- Those little packs of multi-colored sticky-tape 'flags' are your best friend. Find them at office supply stores, and use them to mark up your copy of the game book. Bestiaries, character creation, magic rules, combat rules, anything you end up referencing frequently should be marked. Ending rules debates or questions fast is paramount to a smooth game.
- Watch your players. If they start making dice-stacks and staring at the ceiling, throw a plot twist or some action at them. If they become emotionally invested in something, avoid the temptation to mess with it too soon or too frequently. If you yank players around by such things too often, they'll stop forming new attachments, since it just stops being worth it.
- Keep a bunch of index cards on hand. Put things on them. Lists of personality types and distinctive traits/appearances for giving random NPCs some individuality. Types of treasure, items or collections for dungeons, basements, or just museums. Lists of injury types, for a more realistic post-battle description. No more the 'injured arm' ad infinitum. Punctured lung, cracked rib and a spiral fracture in the right forearm, anyone? Even things like era-appropriate foods, lists of colors and clothing or armor types, and other ordinary things can add a lot of immersiveness, and keep you from coming up blank or repeating yourself when inventing scenes or people on the fly.
- Keep leveling up. Go through areas with lots of enemies that are not too hard and not too easy in order to get stronger.
- One of the most important things for a DM is the ability to think on your feet. Things will happen that you'd never expect. The players may kill the person they were supposed to get the vital information from, or they may end up going to the only section of town that you haven't detailed yet. Make it up as you go along, just be sure to jot down notes so you can incorporate them into the story later.
- Try to avoid making your players paranoid. It sounds good in theory, but it gets irksome to everyone really quickly. Don't trap everything, don't make every offer have a hidden catch. Mixing honest luck and inoffensive areas with horrible danger and treachery can make for a more immersive, more interesting experience.
- Don't spend too much time playing. RPGs can be very addictive. Go for a jog. Read a book. Heck, learn to fence, then you can be like an RPG character in real life!
Categories: Role Playing Games
Recent edits by: Busterd, BR, Sonimohit