Only One Piece of Advice


You asked…

Over on Google+, Josh Augustine of PC Gamer fame posted about how he’s been working on some details for his very first tabletop role-playing game.

While that’s interesting on a number of levels, I found his final sentence worth discussion:

Any tips for a first time DM?

That single question got me wondering, “If you could offer a new DM a single piece of advice, just one tidbit alone, what would it be?”

Would it cover a rule interpretation? Perhaps a technique? Something about story? Balance?

Now in full disclosure, my response was this bit of sophistry:

My only advice would be to let your players tell their own stories in your world. Never try to tell your story through their characters.

But I’m genuinely curious how you would respond; just what one bit of knowledge would you lay upon the head of a new DM?

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4 Responses to Only One Piece of Advice

  1. My advice to new GMs is always the same and always very simple…

    It tends to go something like this, “Don’t be afraid to ham it up, don’t be worried about getting the rules perfect, and don’t think that everyone at the table is judging you. We’ve all run a 1st session at some point. Just enjoy yourself and remember that gaming is a cooperative hobby and you’ll be fine.”

    It’s really flawed advice since it doesn’t reference anything about the games being played (after all) but it embraces everything that I strive for when I run so it’s the best advice I can give.

  2. Kevin says:

    That’s good advice regardless of the system.
    Well stated.

  3. I’m very sad this didn’t generate more responses… you’d think it would. I would have loved to hear what more people might have chimed in on this… too bad.

  4. Kevin says:

    I too am surprised this topic didn’t garner more discussion.

    I can attest to the fact that it is a well visited post, so that takes visitation off the table as a reason.
    I have a hard time believing those who did visit don’t have either an opinion or a good nugget of advice, so that can’t be it either.

    Color me confused as to the reason this didn’t grow legs and find traction among the RPG crowd.
    I would have thought the opportunity to offer a new DM/GM some advice on how to go about creating an environment that fosters an enjoyable time for players would be well worth the trouble of replying.

    But I guess I’m wrong on that count – won’t be the first and certainly won’t be the last time that happens.

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