GM Interview: Trevor Wiley
This week we interview Trevor, a GM who enjoys AD&D, WEG Star Wars, and has a love for creating his own worlds and adventures.
Please introduce yourself:
Do you have a blog, website or campaign wiki?
http://worldcrafters.blogspot.com , the home for my D&D campaign as well as some of my other hobbies.
How long have you been a GM?
About two and a half years now.
What are your favourite game(s) to run?
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, as well as the old WEG Star Wars game.
How did you first get into GMing? Why?
I started playing D&D at my high school, and really enjoyed getting into the character, but I realized that the most fun part for me was actually leading a game and creating a world. I started a campaign with me as DM, and loved it so much I’ve been doing it ever since.
How has GMing affected your life over the years?
It’s made me a better writer and has given me a deep appreciation for well-written fiction stories. It has also given me quite a few good friends and good stories.
Section One: Your GMing Stat Block
What is your usual gaming schedule? (Session frequency, time and length.)
Myself and my group usually get together about every two weeks, though the schedule varies. We play for two to four hours in the late afternoon, when people are ready for a game after school.
Where do you play? Describe your usual game environment (table, room, etc.).
We play in the dining room, on a nice large rectangular table that fits all the players as well as food, miniatures, and character sheets quite comfortably.
Do you use published material or create your own? Why?
I actually have never used a published product in my game. I prefer my own home-made material because it allows me to create better stories that all link together to form the backbone of my campaign.
What non-digital and electronic GM aides do you use (other than books)?
We don’t use many electronics at the gaming table, but off of the table I use the computer and Microsoft Excel to keep track of NPCs and my campaign world.
Minis or no? What do you use for minis, and how do you use them?
My group started our game without any miniatures, but it was only a month before we started using cardboard tokens, and then moved on to the WotC miniatures and a battlemat. We use minis for combats or for situations where position of the players really matters (intricate traps, for example).
Section Two: Opportunities
What is your biggest GMing stumbling block right now? What could you do to fix that?
I really start to lose my inspiration after about three hours of gaming, leading to my players sounding disappointed as I explain that I’m tired of DMing and we should take a break. I admit I should probably come to the table a bit more inspired for the game.
When was the last time you were a player? What insight about GMing did you pick up?
I actually play in a Star Wars game GM’d by one of my players. From the perspective of the player, I learned that some players really appreciate the detail and story you put into your game, because it helps them make their characters more real.
Describe your perfect gaming session with you as GM:
I think my perfect gaming session would be one where I had enough material and inspiration to keep my players inspired and happily gaming for a good four hours.
Section Three: GMing Style
What are the top qualities you look for or need in a player?
My most fun games have been with players who really love the story behind their characters, who aren’t worried about what game system we use (it’s all the same story), and who want to work together with the rest of the party.
Describe in a few words each of your players and their playing style.
- C- Really loves the storyline of the game, gets heavily into role-playing his character. Loves really powerful equipment.
- J- Interested in the mechanics aspect of the game. Quietly amasses money to achieve his personal goals, which often actually work to help the story along.
- E- Really enjoys killing things and has the unhealthy addiction of taking the skulls of everything she kills.
Describe in a few words your group’s playing style.
My group likes to have fun, and generally makes allowances for everyone to do what they want, even when motivations are much different.
Describe in a few words your GMing style.
I prefer epic games, full of huge battles and sieges and long quests, but I have learned to make such adventures rare, in between more average adventures. With a succession of epic adventures, it is hard to keep topping your last exploit.
What is your best GMing skill or ability? What advice would you give to a GM wanting to improve in that area?
I really pride myself on my world-building ability. To me it is one of the best parts of being a DM. To anyone who wants to improve in their world building, I recommend that you start every world you build with a map. It doesn’t have to be well drawn, but a single map can give you loads of inspiration.
What is your typical session planning process? (i.e. adventures and encounters.)
Usually right after a session I write down a large amount of rough notes on what adventures should come next. Over the course of time between sessions I add to the notes and bring them down into a single storyline. Usually I end up doing a bit of last minute work right before the session starts.
What are your favourite online resources for GMing? (Articles, tools, inspiration. Check your bookmarks.
What tools or aides (digital and non-digital) do you wish would be created or invented to help you GM easier?
I would really enjoy it if someone created a set of forms for cities and NPCs that are in a program such as Excel that allows for easy printing out before a session.
After working through these question and getting a 10,000 foot view of your GMing, what is the number #1 thing you’d like to learn about and work on next to become a better GM?
I want to learn how to more firmly build my stories into a single campaign towards a single goal.
Thanks again for your time. Do you, by chance, have a pic you could send along with this interview? A pic of you or your group would be ideal.
I’m afraid not. My group are not fans of photos.[interview-request]?