GMing Your First Game Session – d12 Tips

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0703

What advice would you give to a GM prepping their first session?

A reader emailed me and shared their nervousness at sitting behind the screen for the first time.

So I asked this question over at the Game Master Tips community (almost 9,000 members woot!) and received some great advice.

Here’s d12 excellent pieces of advice offered:

  1. Breathe deep. Your players have no idea what’s supposed to happen, so if you need to change something on the fly, do it. — Milton Murphy
  2. Use the characters’ backgrounds and actions to help determine what to do and where to prep . — Jesse Cohoon
  3. Your players hope the best for you. Be open, be flexible, and remember that a scallywag makes for a wonderful introduction to your world. Let the players help, but don’t let them take over. — Alan Kellogg
  4. Don’t over-plan the adventure. Follow your instinct, and remember to have fun. Also, the players should accomplish at least one goal so they feel they’re making progress. Things tend to not go as planned. — Jesus M. Candelario
  5. Make plenty of contingency tables for off-base player maneuvers. Have treasure and search/find tables ready too. — Alan Walkowiak
  6. Do not be afraid to call for a break/time out. If you need time to think on something, honestly tell them. — Tobie Abad
  7. Your players want to play.  If you haven’t fleshed out some minor part, don’t get hung up.  Either wing it and move on or ask the players to add their own details. Chances are they want to move on as much as you do. — Stephen Martinez
  8. You are going to be tempted to carry the game on your back. Resist this urge. Everyone sitting down at that table is responsible for the quality of the game. — Jonathan Nicol
  9. Try to learn as much as possible about the characters and players. — Paride Papadia
  10. When in doubt, send in the ninjas! — Clint Freeman
  11. Plan the funnest game you can, think of that and of entertaining your players. — Scott Charlton
  12. Have fun. Seriously, everything else leads to overthinking. Just try it out with a few friends and have some fun. — Paul Kießhauer

Thanks for the tips, guys!