I don’t know. I am not your GM ?


               Dungeons and Dragons.

It’s one of the main reasons that most of use Roleplay.
Then you remember that time that you took the step from Player to Game master. Yes, of course you do.
For most of use that do run games we love it with a passion and drive that is uncompromising. 

You run games for years, players come and go. Yet you remain the GM throughout.  Come rain or shine.
Ok, now you understand what I am waffling on about.

Then that day comes along that you say. “Hey, I want to be a player for a while”.
You ask and if you are lucky a player steps up to the plate and offers to run a game.
Now, you are excited.  You get to make that character that you have always want to play. That hybrid Dwarf/Elf Ranger that has Gender issues.  Yes this is true. Just ask @greywulf over on twitter and find him here.
http://greywulf.net/ .

So you make your character and sit yourself at the table. Your new Games Master starts his game.

Instantly in your mind you start to question what this upstart GM is doing.
You say to yourself.  I wouldn’t do it that way. Why have they done that. Oh for goodness sake.

You know you do it. You can’t help yourself. So now how do you go about tell. No not telling, teaching that new GM what you know.
What you have learned over all those years. You do not want to upset anyone but this game isn’t  the greatest. How do you bridge that gap between imparting your knowledge and being over critical.

Now I am not writing this to tell you how you should go about it. I’m writing this to  find out  what you do. What you say. What system do you use.

How do you teach the ancient art of Games Mastering.


  1. I’ll stick my neck out and say you can’t teach Games Mastering. Sure, you can help along the way, poke and prod and make suggestions that might help the fledgling GM weave their own stories and build great encounters, but becoming a great GM is more about taking that journey of discovery yourself.

    The first step is to say “I’m the GM” and step up to the table. All the players can do (regular GM and non-GM alike) to help is to be players and throw themselves into the game. If the GM bug bites, that first step will be the first, of many.

    It’s a journey I’m still on, and always will be.

  2. I know this feeling. I’ve played so much organised/official play, especially in 3e, where the rules really should be followed, that I get quite antsy when GMs are doing it ‘wrong’!

    A habit I really should try to break 🙂

  3. I think its harder to sit back and be a player under a new DM if the rest of the players are also newer too. The temptation to “lead the way” and steer the adventure as you would if you were DMing can be a strong one. I’d probably say that a good approach would be to arrange with the new DM (with their agreement) to spend some time after the session to give feedback on how they did and offer positive criticism on how they could improve/handle things.

      • Also have to realize that you will have to play in a game that is going to be different. Have to be all right with decisions & calls that may not be how you would handle it.

        I still have a hard time with a friend that GMs from time to time. Easier to play, focus on my story, & ignore some of the stuff that bothers me. Similar to how I get through some bad con games.

  4. There’s a real skill to coaching or tutoring in a skill (and not the same skill as teaching, necessarily) – it’d be great to have or develop resources or a network where people can develop their GMing and their support for others’ GMing.

  5. To expand on that, I think that it’d be a mix of sports coaching – identifying good technique and suggesting points for development and criticism of creative activity, like writing workshops or art crits, where there is constructive but deep analysis of performance or creation.
    Takes a lot from both parties, though – not something I’m naturally any good at!

  6. Oh man this is me all over. I think DMing can be taught (since when is it GM?) as I taught a player of mine and he is better than I am now. the prick. After a session we would talk about mechanics or different approaches to situations. I said what I would do and he took it and made it his own. anything can be taught I think, with the right teacher.

  7. GMing is great. What I can’t stand is having to handle logistics. Run a game and I’ll show up. I don’t want to handle making sure everyone can make it, deciding when it is cancelled. To give that up, I will happily roll my dice and keep my mouth shut.

  8. I’m doing this right now. I have a bunch of six teenaged lads at the table, and one of them stepped up to GM. He’s had a good stab at it too.

    Mostly, you just play. You smile at the good stuff and you make sure that you Roleplay as best as you can. You spend time supporting the other players, encouraging roleplay that supports the story. You make sure the GM gets a nod and smile when something cool happens. And, very occasionally, you become bold enough to ask a question that invites the GM to think about something differently… but never in play, always on the way out.

    It’s not YOUR table anymore. Recognise that you might do it differently. Be honest enough to recognise that your different May not be anyone else’s better.

  9. Will try this again, left a reply and came back to find it is not here.

    Best piece of advice I can give is to be a PC leader from in game to help make the first time GMs game management a bit easier. They can focus on telling a great story & handling questions along a single course of action. Being a leader in the game helps immensely. Have done this several times, those individuals are still GMing. For the one I did not, he had a miserable time & felt like everybody had a miserable time, so he does not want to GM anymore. Do not be a rules lawyer and answer questions about how the game world works. Lead the other players so new GM has less juggling to do but let the new GM arbitrate the rules at the table. Never step on his toes.

    Before or after game you can talk about the game. I have been gaming 25+ years with 18+ in the GM seat. I still poll the players about what is working/not working, where they would like story to go in relation to PC, or just if they are enjoying game. You can offer suggestions but stay away from telling the new GM they are wrong. I also consult with other GMs that I do not play with to get another perspective on story I am telling, ruling I made at table, or how to handle a situation. Being able to hook up the new GM with these outside resources helps as well.

    We all have different styles, strengths, & weaknesses. We want the new storytellers to thrive and improve their craft. I feel badly for the guy that does not want to GM anymore. His story was pretty good but he needed to work on table management and I failed to help him stay on the GM side.

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