Planning on becoming a game/dungeon master and organizing a game of your own? For many, becoming a game organizer is not an easy business. It is a big time commitment and will require you to play with people of different lifestyles and with different outlooks. Here are some things that are helpful to know to get yourself started!
1) There is a reason that there are always more players than leaders. Being a game organizer is not easy. You have to take the time to build the story, characters, settings, gameplay, combat, and still award points, treasure and deal with whatever inter-party conflicts that may arise. It’s not easy work to be a DM.
2) Although you are going to be prepared as best you can, expect to make mistakes. For example, you make a mistake about how a combat turn works, or how something is described. This is normal! But what you don’t want is to look like you have no idea what to do. So make sure you always have the rulebooks at the ready and don’t be afraid to man up and apologize for the mistake.
3) When in a disagreement with a player, remember that you are the game organizer, so what you say goes. And if they don’t like it, then that’s for them to decide.
4) Going off rule #3, don’t rule with an iron fist. Be open to suggestions, or comments from the players who are playing. If the DM acts like a big jerk, they end up with an empty table.
5) Have your main storyline, NPC’s and general locations figured out by first session. Also, if you intend on adding more NPC’s later on, be sure to add them as well. Also make sure to have your table rules IN WRITING before your first session. This way your gamers know what to expect at the table.
6) Be ready for the unexpected. You can plan and plan all you want, but at the end of the day, your players will always have some interesting trick up their sleeve. And although many of them won’t be bad, sometimes they will require you to change up your original game plan in order to bring the story into the correct place you want it to continue.
7) Always have spare paper character sheets at the ready. Sometimes you may need one for reference. Other times, players will magically appear who want to play; this way you can easily add them in if you have sheets at the ready. However, this is not an excuse for your players to not have their own sheets prepared!
8) Always encourage roleplaying and always discourage metagaming. For those who don’t know, “metagaming” is where someone uses out of character, or OOC, knowledge that their characters aren’t supposed to know in order to effect the situation in character, or IC. This mainly happens at RPG tables because the table provides for very little privacy.
9) If you need to take a break, don’t be afraid to rotate the job to others. They can either carry on with the story, or they can start a new small adventure. So long as they know where they are going, it could be fun!
10) If you aren’t having fun with the game, then re-evaluate where you are going and speak with the players on how you can improve the game. If it’s getting to be too much, consider passing on the game to someone else, or changing the gaming schedule.