Satine Phoenix is a wealth of GM knowledge and gives fantastic GM Tips in her aptly named show, GM Tips With Satine Phoenix. We’ve picked out 5 easy tips for new GMs she’s shared to help you become a better GM.
Embrace Your Storytelling Style
Find your GM style by playing games. Observe your favorite GMs and incorporate what you like the most about their style in your own games and then make it your own. Embrace what you love. Are you a terrain-building machine and can create vivid tablescapes for your players, but don’t want to speak with an accent when playing NPCs? That’s fine! Would you rather run a minimalist game, but create a gaming atmosphere with soundscape and scented candles? Totally cool.
Make sure you’re having fun because if you’re enjoying yourself, your players will pick up on that and get into the groove too.
Want more info? Check out the Different Styles of Storytelling episode of GM Tips.
Think of Your Campaigns As Hero Stories
Each player around your table is the lead character of the adventure. Understanding story structure can help you find ways to connect with your characters. Consider their character arcs and the emotional journey your players will go through on their adventure.
Don’t simply think about your campaign as a series of talk-fight-talk scenes, but instead a series of scenes that build and release tension and emotion. Don’t simply view combat instances as the only means of creating emotional challenges, and roleplaying scenes as easy rest time. A roleplaying scene can be emotionally straining, and a combat instance can be a catharsis for a character or party.
Satine goes into fantastic resources for creating stories and delves into story structure in the Story Structure episode of GM Tips.
Help Characters Define Their Relationships With Each Other
Players spend a lot of time building backstory, but finding ways to get them to interact with each other meaningfully, and thus invest emotionally in each other (and the story) can be more challenging. Whether it’s making a specific character the leader or by starting the story where the characters already have established relationships already, it really helps players defer to each other ad think of each other when they’re playing games (and it helps cut down on the amount of arguing about what to do next to move the story forward.)
Need more tips to get players to invest in the game? The Player Buy-In episode is the one you want to watch.
Understand Your Players’ Expectations
Understanding the expectations and boundaries of your players will help you craft adventures that your players are eager to play. Talk to your players about what they want, and after you give them a taste of it, see how they feel about it afterward. Sometimes the things players think they want aren’t exactly the things they enjoy the most about a session. Checking in with your players about what they like and what they’re enjoying will help you craft future sessions to satisfy them.
Satine goes over even more tips to better connect with your players in the Know Your Audience episode.
This is just a small sampling of the GM wisdom Satine has doled out on the show, and you can catch her on Alpha.
What tips would you give a beginner GM? Share in the comments!
Featured Image Credit: Geek & Sundry