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When should one start DMing?


Advice

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Scarab Sages

I've been playing Pathfinder for over 9 months now and I was curious when someone had enough experience or became "qualified" enough to DM competently. I have a good (yet not encyclopedic) grasp of the rules and have at least tinkered with most if not all the classes.
The group I would be leading have all been playing for years longer than I have and I really don't want to suggest I do it and then muck it all up.

So when did you, oh pathfinder message board denziens, first start DMing?
What qualities or experience levels should I look for in myself before seriously considering taking up the title?
If you would deem someone like me able, what are some common pitfalls to avoid in introducing and running a homebrew world (as that is my ambition) that I should be on the guard against.

Thanks in advance.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Some people never DM. Some have never NOT been the DM. It will be different for each individual.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I have been roleplaying for over 32 years and I started GMing almost immediately.

I say if you want good experience there is no better way than to jump in a make mistakes, its a good way to learn.

I make tons of mistakes and like I said I have been playing for over 32 years.

As long as everyone is having fun who cares if you make mistakes.


You need to have played at least once. That's my take on it. To DM and have never ever played is too strange, for one thing you may not know how to make characters.


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Run as early as possible, it will make you a better player.


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Do not fear making mistakes, if it is great fun the mistakes will be forgotten and everyone will have a ball. If you are a terrible dm, you will lose players and have trouble running a game. Go with it, don't stress. Lot of anxiety and self-doubt around these days, don't fall into the culture trap.

Hmm. Run the game you want to play, make it as exciting as you can, keep boring parts out of the game, learn the rules but don't be so contrained by them, drink tea, have a shower before a game (a ritual of mine) and play.


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I started GMing when I had a story that I wanted to tell with my friends. (Also, here's a secret: you will screw up when you GM at some point. It's going to happen. Accept it, learn from it, and move on to the next game session.)

Shadow Lodge

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My wife began gaming when her friends said 'we bought a new game, we want you to run it for us'.


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Yeah just roll with the mistakes.

When stuck:

Fun > Everything else.

The idea is to make sure your players are having fun, and if something doesn't contribute to taking the story forward then feel free to disregard it.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Some people never DM. Some have never NOT been the DM. It will be different for each individual.

Some people are scared of dming, making it into some sort of awful and difficult responsibility that they couldn't possibly do. This is false. Whole games can be just interacting with npcs, so it is in a sense making DC 10 acting checks on your part. Other games are non stop combat, fun and visceral. Be inspired by action flicks.


Choon wrote:
If you would deem someone like me able, what are some common pitfalls to avoid in introducing and running a homebrew world (as that is my ambition) that I should be on the guard against.

Sounds like you're more than ready if you ask me. Whether you run in Golarion or not the Adventure Paths are an awesome tool for an up and coming GM (like me!) and I heartily recommend them. However seeing everyone else is giving you advice here... For your homebrew world, while it's not exactly my department, I can give you a few pieces of advice.

First off: I've always liked Golarion for finding a way to stick so many different nations, character origins and adventuring settings in such a close location. You want your setting to be as versatile as possible so your players can play as many different characters as possible.

Second: In my opinion, avoid putting a huge "spin" on the other core races and other such fantasy tropes. Sometimes this can be good (take Dragon Age's political Dwarves or the cannibal elves in Dwarf Fortress), but nobody wants to play an elf stonemason that's an elf only in name. My GM did this (and eventually homebrewed new races to replace them) and I spent the first four years of my roleplay career just wanting to play a simple Elf or Dwarf and resenting his revisions. Until I discovered PbP on these boards. :)

Finally: Start small, but know what kind of game you want to run for your players. If you want to run a high adventure, pirate game, indiana jones style game, a "world at war" kind of setting or whatever... decide this and TELL YOUR PLAYERS so you get characters that fit in well with that. It's a small thing, but it'll be a big help when you're trying to shanghai your PCs into the main plot.

Good luck! It's a brave thing you're doing. It took me years to step into the GM chair proper. Hopefully you and your players have a blast!


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Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
HarbinNick wrote:

You need to have played at least once. That's my take on it. To DM and have never ever played is too strange, for one thing you may not know how to make characters.

Well, where did the first DM come from?

It is true, though, player experience helps when you first begin DMing. On the other hand, I had plenty of player experience when I started, and I still felt like I didn't know what I was doing.

In the end, you just have to dive in. And when you start thinking "but none of this is working the way I thought it would!" remember that most of us who have DMed for years (or even decades) still have that thought on occasion. If the rules don't do it to you, the players will. Here is a very brief guide to DMing skills:

Traits you need (In order of importance):
1. Amateurism: You love stories, and love to tell them. Number one. Despite its negative connotations, amateur comes from the French "amour", meaning "love". An amateur does something because he or she loves it. Be an amateur.
2. Humility: While your vision for the game takes primacy, because it holds together the story, the aesthetic, and the action, remember to not be so rigid that you can't make room for the player's vision as well. That doesn't mean you have to let them have a Raptor animal companion when you don't want dinosaurs in your game, but you do need to find things you are willing to compromise on.
3. Patience: With all the work that comes from DMing, you will improve your skills in the game faster than your players (rules lawyers and other DMs excluded). You need more game knowledge than they do, so don't get upset when they regularly try to do things they can't do, or ask you a whole lot of questions about very basic things.
4. Preparation: You need to make sure you set aside time to prepare your game. I have enough experience to wing a session and still have a good game, but I always regret it if I do.
5. A love of surprise: Players will ruin all your plans. Embrace it. Don't respond by railroading them, unless you are absolutely sure that the game will be better that way. This rarely is the case.
6. Rules improvisation: If flipping pages is taking too long to find a specific rule in the middle of action, be good at making something up and telling your players that when you find the right rule, you will use it next time.
7. Rules knowledge: You don't need to be an encyclopedia, but at least try to know all the rules that are used regularly. I still don't know the rules for very hot environments, and that's because I personally have only sent players into one once.
8. Rules innovation: No rules to explain what you want? Make them up ahead of time! You're not just the storyteller and arbiter, you are the group's system developer if you must be.

Notice that all the rules stuff is last and rules improvisation is above rules knowledge. Technically, you can run a game without using a single rule. Make your story good, and make the action fast. It won't always be fast, and sometimes the players will take much longer than you, but try. Don't treat the core rules as unimportant, because they've been tested more than whatever you make up, but don't get hung up on them, either. If a player of mine has misbuilt a character, or made a flaming longsword without first giving it a +1, or misuses an ability, I still correct them, but I'll drop a rule that doesn't work in a heartbeat. Do what works for your group. I know more experienced gamers can be intimidating, but they've all been there, too. Tell them to go easy on you, and if they are real friends, it won't be a problem. There's also an upside: you won't have to worry about #3, hopefully. Just remember, running a game takes four easy steps:

1. Trial
2. Error
3. Correction
4. Move on

Now find a story you love (or make one), outline it in detail, make your NPCs, detail your maps and traps, get your players, buy potato chips and soda/beer, and go get 'em!

I thought that would be much shorter.


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It helps to have played before you GM, but it's not required. I was the GM of a game less than a week after my first experience playing the game. I've been GMing ever since.


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The thing about DMing for the first time is that there is pretty much no way to be completely ready, its a learn as you go kind of thing. One tip is to keep the games low level because I've been DMing for a few years and I still have trouble controlling high leveled players.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Choon wrote:
What qualities or experience levels should I look for in myself before seriously considering taking up the title?

The experience level you should look for in yourself is "1". All DMs start as Level 1 DMs.

Don't worry too much about mucking it up, that's natural: it's not until you become about a 3rd level DM that you get "resist fear".

"Pitfall evasion" comes at about 5th level, and "Improved pitfall evasion" at 10th level. Really, you have to fall into all of them once or twice to figure out how not to do it.

Bluff is the DM's primary class skill, and you should put as many ranks in it as possible. Sense Motive is good for figuring out what your players are trying to do, so you can roll with the punches. You'll need some Diplomacy to get the players to buy you pizza. Knowledge(rules) can be useful, but remember that you're allowed to use Intimidate to oppose your players' knowledge(rules) checks.

I know this is high on pep talk and low on concrete advice, but there's really no advice that can substitute for going out and doing it. I've been running games for 20-some years and 4 editions, and still don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules -- just an encyclopedic knowledge of rolling with the punches.


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I love this thread.

I absolutely agree with Lilith (as everyone should, always) that the right time to start DMing is when you have a story that keeps burning the backs of your eyeballs, scratching and clawing at the inside of your forehead.

When it comes to a question of "My players know more about the rules system than I do," that's a simple one: Be prepared to learn, but in all things, remember Rule 0: The DM is the final arbiter of all things. If you don't like the way a thing works, tell your players. "Guys, this doesn't fit the story we're telling here. From now on, it's going to work this way."

It is a game. If everyone's having fun, you're doing it right, and that's just all there is to it.

Dark Archive

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You can always say "oh i didn't know it worked that way" or "my bad thats not how it works"


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

if you are asking, then you are likely ready.

The biggest thing I would say you need to remember, is that players are going to throw monkey wrenches in what you planned all the time. This means that you need to be ready to allow your big bad guy to be killed before he is able because of that random crit or two that took his head.


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I played 3.5 in high school, but never had the opportunity or desire to GM. Then when I went to college, my role playing days stopped utterly. Then when I went to dental school, a buddy of mine who had only played 3.5 briefly, asked that we start a group, I was all for it. Next thing I know, I have 4 guys wanting to play, with only my friend having any experience at all.

So logically, since I had the "most" experience, I became GM.

Being a GM has been definitely a different experience, but far more rewarding I think. I enjoy thinking about Pathfinder and the world I have created. I enjoy learning new things on these forums, making corrections to my campaign, and just tinkering in general. When the guys come over, I inevitably find myself befuddled at least once a session as one of them does something that I did NOT anticipate or asking about a rule that suddenly could take on new meaning in a given situation. But that's part of the game. My group knows that I'm new to the world of GMing, and we have a great time.

If I had a suggestion to make, I would say that it is easier to "improv" if you have spent more time focusing on the world/environment/people of the game, and less on the story itself. Yes, a story is necessary. But if your characters decide to do something you didn't foresee (which always seems to happen to me), the implications/consequences of that choice are much easier to improv if you've laid down a solid environment to work in, be it a city, a castle, a dessert, or whatever.


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Murph. wrote:
I know this is high on pep talk and low on concrete advice, but there's really no advice that can substitute for going out and doing it. I've been running games for 20-some years and 4 editions, and still don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules -- just an encyclopedic knowledge of rolling with the punches.

This. You learn best by doing, and even the old grognards still make mistakes. The players usually just don't know it. Or if they do, they're enjoying the game, so it's not a big deal.

There are some free modules available here to download. Try getting your feet wet with one of those, and see how it goes. Don't commit too much to it. Tell your friends you're just doing it to get a little experience. If it goes well, try another one, or even come up with your own little adventure, if you've been thinking about it.

I GM because a lot of the time no one else will step up. I much prefer to play, honestly, and I'm always glad to let someone else take the reins. Having been on both sides of the screen, I know how much work it is to run a game, so I'm slow to criticize someone else's attempts to entertain me.

For all we know, it could go swimmingly, and they'll want you to GM some more.


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When no one else will. I am the newest ttrpg player in my group and im the gm. I have wanted to play for years but i kept gettin "i used to play but i dont anymore" from everyone i asked.

So i said screw it i'll run the game, i bought the crb and bestiary and started grabbing family members that used to play. They seem to be enjoying it as they get disappointed when i have to end the session. Now i have around 4-5 players.

So thats my story, ive been running our game for around 6 months and we are about to wrap up the main plotline.

One thing i learned, dont spend alot of time writing page after page of plotlines. I did that for about 3 sessions and guess what happened, they went a totally different direction storywise. Get a over arching plot, stat up some encounters and npcs, make a few locations and then see what your players do. Also take notes of places and people you make up out of thin air, you never know which npcs they will get attached to and which they wont care the slightest about.

Still cant wait to play one the many characters ive made up for fun. Maybe some day i'll get to pc but until then its a gm's life for me


The Best Goblin! wrote:

...

Well, where did the first DM come from?...

An egg?


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I know a lot of people have answered the op question but IMO the second you say to your self "i would like to dm" is when your ready."


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I started GMing before I ever played the game.

It helps to have some playing experience, but it's not necessary.


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A great tip for newer GMs is to make the players create characters that are suited for the type of campaign you are running - i.e. adventure paths are based around 15 point buy. PFS is based on 20 point buy. If you let players run free and optimize and min-max without limits, you won't be able to challenge the party with material that is already out there.

It's light years easier to pick up a module or adventure path and run it without thinking - what do I need to do to make this challenging for the players.


Twigs wrote:
Choon wrote:
If you would deem someone like me able, what are some common pitfalls to avoid in introducing and running a homebrew world (as that is my ambition) that I should be on the guard against.

Sounds like you're more than ready if you ask me. Whether you run in Golarion or not the Adventure Paths are an awesome tool for an up and coming GM (like me!) and I heartily recommend them. However seeing everyone else is giving you advice here... For your homebrew world, while it's not exactly my department, I can give you a few pieces of advice.

First off: I've always liked Golarion for finding a way to stick so many different nations, character origins and adventuring settings in such a close location. You want your setting to be as versatile as possible so your players can play as many different characters as possible.

Second: In my opinion, avoid putting a huge "spin" on the other core races and other such fantasy tropes. Sometimes this can be good (take Dragon Age's political Dwarves or the cannibal elves in Dwarf Fortress), but nobody wants to play an elf stonemason that's an elf only in name. My GM did this (and eventually homebrewed new races to replace them) and I spent the first four years of my roleplay career just wanting to play a simple Elf or Dwarf and resenting his revisions. Until I discovered PbP on these boards. :)

Finally: Start small, but know what kind of game you want to run for your players. If you want to run a high adventure, pirate game, indiana jones style game, a "world at war" kind of setting or whatever... decide this and TELL YOUR PLAYERS so you get characters that fit in well with that. It's a small thing, but it'll be a big help when you're trying to shanghai your PCs into the main plot.

Good luck! It's a brave thing you're doing. It took me years to step into the GM chair proper. Hopefully you and your players have a blast!

I'd go for some opposite advice actually, give your game/setting a sense of real character, don't be too versatile, it isn't exactly the strength it sounds to be. If something doesn't fit, rule it ain't there. Better to have the players work with the world and setting than for them to seem like time-travelling out of place fools. So less versatility can help you to stay grounded in your world, up to date on the relevant rules and then you can go from there. For instance, might want to say no archetypes, just base classes in the core to get started. Then everything about them is at your fingertips. If someone wants to play something really odd and not in that, this can nip power gaming before it starts.


Murph. wrote:
Choon wrote:
What qualities or experience levels should I look for in myself before seriously considering taking up the title?

The experience level you should look for in yourself is "1". All DMs start as Level 1 DMs.

Don't worry too much about mucking it up, that's natural: it's not until you become about a 3rd level DM that you get "resist fear".

"Pitfall evasion" comes at about 5th level, and "Improved pitfall evasion" at 10th level. Really, you have to fall into all of them once or twice to figure out how not to do it.

Bluff is the DM's primary class skill, and you should put as many ranks in it as possible. Sense Motive is good for figuring out what your players are trying to do, so you can roll with the punches. You'll need some Diplomacy to get the players to buy you pizza. Knowledge(rules) can be useful, but remember that you're allowed to use Intimidate to oppose your players' knowledge(rules) checks.

I know this is high on pep talk and low on concrete advice, but there's really no advice that can substitute for going out and doing it. I've been running games for 20-some years and 4 editions, and still don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules -- just an encyclopedic knowledge of rolling with the punches.

Exactly. Beef that bluff and don't give away too many tells. Sometimes I'll throw in a suspicious npc and act weird just to throw them off. What? The character was quirky, they are harmless. You guys are paranoid PIT-TRAP! Lol. You can have so much fun as a dm, I'm dming tonight. Just remember though, push them hard, be mindful of who they are, but don't be needlessly cruel.


therealthom wrote:
The Best Goblin! wrote:

...

Well, where did the first DM come from?...
An egg?

Aliens.


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I think everyone here has already made the point that you're ready to DM. I'd like to offer a few small bits of advice, especially as it pertains to first pitfalls and to building a world:

GENERAL ADVICE:

1 - Don't stress the rules, just play the way you and your group have been playing (at least for a while). You probably already know most of the rules your table follows -- including house rules -- and can ad-lib the rest when you need.

2 - Accept that you will need time to get comfortable in the DM seat and that you will make mistakes.

3 - Don't let players talk you into stuff you don't want to allow just because you're unsure of a rule. Conversely, don't be so strict on them that the game isn't any fun. This rule of 'moderation' is probably one of the most challenging for a new DM.

4 - Don't "railroad" your players. Railroading is when a DM forces a group to say on a set path, not allowing any deviation from the prepared scenario/campaign. A player will be happier if you allow a little deviation (even if you screw up horribly with the free form) than if you railroad them down a set path.

5 - Do engage your players. Ask them about their favorite RP experiences, about classes they like, and about experiences they find tedious or boring. You may know a lot of this info already, but I always find more insight on my players just by talking about old gaming sessions even after 20 years. You'll get insights into what motivates your players and how to make things fun for them.

HOMEBREW WORLD ADVICE:

1 - DO NOT BUILD EVERYTHING AT ONCE ... build a general idea and flesh out a very basic history ... and then accept that your world will build organically over time. The entire general idea, basic history, and list of races/classes available should not take more than 3 typed pages. It should be that simple.

2 - Talk to your players about the type of campaign they would like and then start detailing out the starting location for the campaign that results.

3 - When you have a starting area (including at least a little map of the area), talk about the setting with your players and engage THEM to flesh out more details during their character creation process. Players can give you ideas for character homelands, minor world history events, town/village/city/kingdom names, topography, etc. You'll take it all in and make sure it fits your world before accepting it of course (maybe with an adjustment or two) ... but this step allows you to both avoid doing all the work yourself AND engage players further into the campaign and get them invested in the game world.

4 - PUT YOUR GAME WORLD ON A WIKI. Seriously. You will lose pieces of paper. You won't be able to navigate a .doc very well. Put stuff on a wiki (mediawiki is the framework used for Wikipedia and is free ... if you're not at all tech savvy, there are many services that offer a sort of wiki for you at very low cost). The beautiful thing about a wiki doesn't lie just in being able to navigate your info easily or in keeping everything from being lost ... but also in being able to assign everyone in the group a tag and allowing players to make proposals to the game world when they wish (again, subject to your review).

5 - Notice that I haven't mentioned a world map at all? I'm not saying one isn't important ... but it's less important than fleshing out and individual campaign and building a custom world is A LOT of work. If you really want, just sketch out a very basic game world map ... but fill in the details only as you need them. Your players will understand and really ... will characters know EVERYTHING about their world? It's still a mystery to the characters ... why can't it be to the players as well?


First time DMing is nerve racking and everyone is right , you will make mistakes and thats where you learn from. When I took up the mantle I faced 3 really experinced players 2 of them were long time DMs as well. What helped me was talking to these DMs about how they ran games. You can get great tips on running a game once you find the story you want and the style you feel comfortable with and go with it. And all the DMs or GMs here will help you with any questions you have. Relax and enjoy this mantle. Be warned some players will or try bum you dont fret you can and will over come it once you learn to do so. Happy hunting.


Lots of good/encouraging advice and comments. Just wanted to throw my 2 cents in here.

I've only been playing for a bit over a year, and I started GMing 6 months+ ago. I agree that there's no teacher like experience. As long as you have a good group of people who are willing to learn with you, and potentially help you along the way, then you're good to go. You'll make mistakes, of course, but as long as everyone is on the same page, they won't be a problem. GMing is very fun/addictive, and you'll learn a *lot* about the game, which makes you a better player as much as a better GM.

One thing I've found is that each encounter can be a learning experience. The first time I attacked my players with an invisible summoner, for instance, I realized I bit off a lot more than I could chew rules-wise: I wasn't prepared to handle the complex interactions between stealth, perception, invisibility, and positioning. So be ready for ending up in the deep end of the pool inadvertently at times. But again, that's how you learn.

Good luck! As long as you play with the right people, you should enjoy it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Right now is the best time to start GMing. Grab an adventure (or the beginner box) and gogogogo!


Choon wrote:

I've been playing Pathfinder for over 9 months now and I was curious when someone had enough experience or became "qualified" enough to DM competently. I have a good (yet not encyclopedic) grasp of the rules and have at least tinkered with most if not all the classes.

The group I would be leading have all been playing for years longer than I have and I really don't want to suggest I do it and then muck it all up.

So when did you, oh pathfinder message board denziens, first start DMing?
What qualities or experience levels should I look for in myself before seriously considering taking up the title?
If you would deem someone like me able, what are some common pitfalls to avoid in introducing and running a homebrew world (as that is my ambition) that I should be on the guard against.

Thanks in advance.

IN response: That really depends on you, Choon. Your going to have to find your comfort zone for when YOU think you are ready. No one else is really going to know, except for you. A good idea to know if you are ready is to trial run something you made up with someone wiling to try it out with you. I am doing just that. I have some 28 years of gaming experience. I have most of that 23 years as DM in second edition and first D&D as well as other rpg's. My first D&D DMship started in jr high when I sat down and read the rules and noticed a certain player who made up a changeling character that turning himself into everything under the sun to defeat everything thrown at him. He was even turning himself into items of technology which no one in a medieval setting would realistically know about!!! I got fed up and took over the game. That was all in a span of about three weeks.

Now, I have been only playing pathfinder for just over a year and I still feel a bit shaky on the rules. But, I told my co players that I was confident enough to still run a game if they would help with the patience department. You get that from them and your chances of success increase a manifold!

Good luck!


I am a new GM to Pathfinder. Only 1 session under my belt, but it was quite fun and definitely challenging. Every game I was in prior to this one, I was a player in. They would always stall for school or some other reason. I played 3.5 for a couple of years on PbP and even DMed a few on there, so I found the transition to PF rather easy. Same basic rules, just a few tweaks.

Like the others have said, though, Expect the unexpected. Players never do things according to plan. Know the rules but don't be afraid to mess up. I accidentally let one character channel energy kill all but 2 of the skeletons in the room because I forgot to give them a will save. I beat myself up over it, but I justified it later when I gave less XP for that encounter. The main thing I would have to say is be patient and have fun.


I learned about RPGs from a magazine - so I started GMing to couple of friends before I had the chance of playing. Also, I had to write homebrew system before playing or GMing because we hadn't have access to that fancy dice that were used by the system we read about.

Scarab Sages

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Choon wrote:

I've been playing Pathfinder for over 9 months now and I was curious when someone had enough experience or became "qualified" enough to DM competently. I have a good (yet not encyclopedic) grasp of the rules and have at least tinkered with most if not all the classes.

The group I would be leading have all been playing for years longer than I have and I really don't want to suggest I do it and then muck it all up.

So when did you, oh pathfinder message board denziens, first start DMing?
What qualities or experience levels should I look for in myself before seriously considering taking up the title?
If you would deem someone like me able, what are some common pitfalls to avoid in introducing and running a homebrew world (as that is my ambition) that I should be on the guard against.

Thanks in advance.

I started when I was 12 years old. Right about the time Keep on the Borderlands was published.

Nothing teaches you the rules faster than GMing.


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Start early. I've only been playing for a few months, and I just did my second session the other day. It's a bit bumpy, but I've got a good group, two of whom have DM'd more than I, who're okay with a new GM making a few mistakes here and there.

Just be up front with them, ask "Hey, would you be interested in helping me learn the ropes of GMing and maybe letting me do a test run campaign?" Don't present it as "I will be much better than you," but as "This way we can all take a turn playing."

Shadow Lodge

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Despite DMing for well over seven years now, I can't offer any advice that hasn't already been posted. So I will add to the heap of suggestions of "If you're asking, you're probably ready; take the plunge and have fun, don't take it too seriously, and don't worry about making mistakes because everyone does and if your players are good people they'll roll with it and it'll all be cool."

Good luck!!! =D


I saw a group of guys play D&D at school on the last day of 6th grade. I watched them and fell in love with the whole concept. Soon after, and with no idea of what I was doing, I bought my very first adventure module (B1: In Search of the Unknown) along with a d10 and a d4. I bought that one because it said specifically "FOR BEGINNING DMs AND PLAYERS"... I read the whole thing in one afternoon. Although it had no RULES explenation, it did let me stock the monsters and treasures where I wanted. I called up a small group of local kids around my house and there, I DMed my very first game. It had almost no coherent rules, nobody quite knew what they were doing, but man did we have fun... And it all went uphill from there. I'm 40 now and I still DM. I love it.

I say if you're itching to try it, then your ready.

On top of already having a good idea about the rules, you also have this site to ask away every question you can come up with. A tool I could only dream about having way back then. And don't be shy about asking... Cause even I ask stuff from time to time here (A DM can't keep track of ALL the rules, lol).

Ultradan


I DM'd the first game of D&D I ever played, back in '88, as I didn't know anyone who had played before. I was primarily in that role for the next seven years, until I was done with high school. Since then I have been a player 80% or so of the time and I am just fine with that.

If you have been studying the rules and want to continue, start DMing soon, even if only for a session or three. Don't worry about a module just yet. Concoct something short with a simple plot. You must allow your improv skill to grow with your rule skill.

Ultradan:
I ran In Search Of The Unknown at the same age as you. Kudos for reading it first. I was an hour in before realizing there were no monsters in it. :)


Right after the players sit at the table. Unless they distracted... Then just ask for a Fort save from one of them.


DM for what?

DM for a group of friends in a homebrew campaign?

Or DM a Pathfinder Society module for a group of total strangers at your local gaming store.

Two totally different "audiences".

With your friends, who I'd hope would be more forgiving of a first time DM, just jump right in and make your mistakes and have fun.

For a group of strangers there is probably a greater expectation of game knowledge and there is usually a time limit so a DM would need to be able to keep things moving along. Also I've found there's usually one player at the table in PFS games that has almost encyclopedic knowledge of the game and the players can often help clarify things for DMs.

Scarab Sages

Wow, I honestly didn't expect so many responces, though I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope for it.
Thanks so much for all the thoughtful and comprehensive replies. It sounds like the concensus is the band-aid method. Just jump in head first.
Also thanks for the advice offerred by several people that I not create too much detail at once. I'm definately that kind of "create everything now" person who will stat out everything well in advance, so that morsel of advice came as a relief.
I guess most of my nerves come from being responsible for the fun factor at the table. Our group has a tendency to "specialize" (read:min-max) so I will probably incorporate a couple other suggestions that I limit the options somewhat so that I can handle the rules volume.

Upon a moment of consideration, I think most of my apprehension stems from the thought that I'll sit down and put everyone to sleep. Irrational as that probably is, there ya go.

Scarab Sages

Lochmonster wrote:

DM for what?

DM for a group of friends in a homebrew campaign?

Or DM a Pathfinder Society module for a group of total strangers at your local gaming store.

Two totally different "audiences".

It'll be with some friends I've made in the gaming group. Homebrew or module, I haven't decided. I've kicked the idea of running skull and shakles (that's the chelaxian one that starts with the Bastards of Eberus, right?) but I'm very far from a decision on that. As this thread illustrates.


At beginning better you might want to try modules first, instead of jumping right into full scale campaign, just to get some experience and judge how well you feel in the role of GM.


I'd suggest starting small. APs or full size campaigns are a big commitment.

Starting with something module sized (whether an actual module or a homebrew adventure) lets you get your feet wet without jumping in too deep.

You've got a regular group so run some one-shot adventures to give your regular GM some play time.

That's how I'd start


A tool like Hero Lab or PC Gen can save you a ton of time in Character Generation. When I watch TV in the evening or whatever, I usually can generate a couple of stock NPCs to fill my bag.


Choon wrote:


Upon a moment of consideration, I think most of my apprehension stems from the thought that I'll sit down and put everyone to sleep. Irrational as that probably is, there ya go.

Being a GM is a lot like being a stage performer, reading your audience is a crucial skill. Learn to recognize the sign that a players gears are turning in their brain, then help them make their idea a reality. It might not succeed, that's what the dice decide, but you get to let it happen.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Best Goblin! wrote:
Well, where did the first DM come from?

Do you really need to ask?


Thorkull wrote:
The Best Goblin! wrote:
Well, where did the first DM come from?
Do you really need to ask?

Are you sure it was Gygax and not Arneson? Just sayin' ...

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