|Seth Gipson Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Carbondale aka Disturbed1|
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There is a lot of good advice out there for how to become a better PFS player and a better PFS GM, so why not try to list as much of it under one place as possible.
Chris Mortika is one of our 5-star GMs and whenever a new 5-star (and some 4-star) GM is announced, Chris will ask the person a question regarding imparting some of this kind of info, so that the rest of us might learn. 'Never stop trying to improve your skills' is probably a good summation of his point. That's what I hope to see out of this thread.
Im going to start this off with a few of each; feel free to add your own. It can be advice to others, personal pet peeves of yours that other people do at the table, or whatever you think will make the game more enjoyable and run more efficiently if everyone would know this stuff.
To be a better player:
1. GM some tables. Running a scenario or two or ten will give you insight into classes and abilites you will have likely overlooked thus far. And needing to pay attention to all 6ish players at the table, and what they are doing, will give you some insight into how to play a class that you may have disregarded.
2. (Pet peeve) When it's your turn to act in combat, dont tell me/the GM "Make a will save" and expect any answer other than "Why?". You havent yet told me what you are (presumably) casting, so there is no save yet.
Now if you are a Slumber-witch (example) and that is all you have been doing all game, then I'll likely skip the 'why' and go straight for the roll...unless I fail one and you tell me "No, that was for 'this spell', not Slumber." Then the answer changes to "Since you didnt tell me beforehand, it was Slumber." :P
This applies similarly with stuff like "Does a 27 hit?" The answer is less likely to be a yes or no and more likely to be a "I dont know, what did you do?" unless I have reason to think its the same thing youve been doing the rest of the scenario.
3. Know what you are going to do on your turn before it gets to your turn. Dont wait til time to act to start thinking and then 20 seconds later decide you are going to need to delay.
4. 'Roll all your dice at once' is a popular time saver. I think it has its merits, but there are limits. Mike Lindner (VO from Nebraska) came out to play with us one Saturday and played his Zen Archer. Since he had so many attacks, I have been told he used color coded dice, and explained to the GM his attack progression was ROYGBIV (the rainbow). Excellent way to do it, IMO.
5. Tell the GM thank you for unning. If they looked nervous about the session or you know they havent had much experience, tell them they did well, and dont be afraid to offer constructive criticism if they want it.
To be a better GM:
1. Play some sessions. Playing a session or two or ten, preferrably under as many different GMs as possible, will allow you to see different GMing styles, and you can learn what you liked about their styles to incorporate it into yours. For example, I used to be a big proponent of the initiative board that Paizo sells. After playing under a couple GMs who were using initiative cards instead, I have since converted to use of those.
2. Dont read in a monotone voice. For the love of Iomedae, put some inflection into your words. Box text can be boring as is, so trying to read it as quickly and with no emotion at all just makes it worse.
3. NPCs are jerks a lot of the time (generally cause they are trying to kill you), such as being rude, crass, or downright maniacal. Roleplay it up. Just make sure the player understands it is you (the bad guy) not you (the GM) laughing like a hyena when you crit and kill someone.
4. Try to be well prepped. Having to spend two of your four to five hours of the scenario looking through the pages because you cant find the necessary bit of information the players asked for slows down the session and makes it boring. If you are fairly certain the information isnt included and you cant come up with something offhand quickly, dont be afraid to tell them "I(the GM) dont think it's in here." That will generally be an acceptable answer.