Monday, August 23, 2010

Nervous Hand

The reason I asked about role-playing last week is because I'm nervous about running a D&D game for friends that have never played the game before. I love pen-and-paper RPGs and figured running a game was a great way to get more play time in. Since scheduling the lives of adults is painful decided to invite two couples and make it a couples night. Couples are easier to schedule, right?

But all of my experience is with playing the game, not running it. I want to share my love for the game with other people but a good pen-and-paper RPG is often only as good as the person running it. At least some of them are as nervous as I am...


  1. I think you're going to do a great job! The reason we stopped playing back in the day was because none of us knew how to GM or were willing to do it. This time around my sister decided to step up, and she's doing great, even though I know she too was very nervous at first.

    There's a lot of tips for game masters online these days, and I think she made good use of those. Especially if you're running a particular campaign, there are forums where GMs compare notes on how their groups handled it and trade tips.

    Some suggestion from a new player: One thing you might want to figure out rather soon is the game style of your group. Some groups like doing full role play where they talk to each other and the GM in character, and others are completely uncomfortable with that and would rather just describe how their character reacts. This can make a huge difference in group dynamic and comfort with the whole experience, so it should be decided fairly early.

    Also, do you know what type of game your group wants? I don't mind doing more open exploration formats with a session that goes by with only a few encounters, but some would much rather a classic dungeon crawl with more combat. I think those are more straight forward and good to cut your teeth on, but personally I like having more story and the illusion that things don't progress in such a predictably linear way.

    Also, you might want to think of how you will command the NPCs. My sister does an awesome job doing voices and descriptions for the goblins and stuff while in combat, which I personally love, but others might find rather silly. It's all a matter of personal choice and comfort, not just for you but the team. I think you should have fun with it though!

    You might also want to decide beforehand how forgiving you'll be. Because we're a noobish group, my sister has been cutting us some slack, and although not guiding us, has given very subtle hints about things which have helped us out. However now that we're slaughtering everything just fine, she's not going to be so merciful and will let us make stupid mistakes.

    Like anything, it's all trial and error and I think you'll find soon enough what's working and what isn't. Just have fun and everything will fall into place around that. Knowing you, I'm positive you'll create an immersive adventure for your group! Good luck and have fun! Not that you need another blog to update, but it would be cool if you posted your group's progress and story!

  2. That's a lot of great advice! Everyone is completely new to the game, so I'll have to feel out the kind of game they want through play. One of my big worries is setting up the right kind of play environment for them. I'll probably just drop them into goings on just outside of civilization, and use their actions to cue how that should be formed.

    Knowing me, I'll probably do a mix of voices and description of reactions. I get animated and in character over certain moments, but skim over others.

    I'll probably be rather forgiving to start, though I worry about managing a shift in potential lethality as things move on. I guess with everything listed, it's a matter of just playing it by ear and getting a feel for the group. They're all new, so this'll be an adventure.