Finding new GMs


GM Discussion

1 to 50 of 51 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Sczarni 4/5

Hi everyone,

I am not sure where to start from honestly and I am sure that our local community isn't the only community out there struggling to find new GMs, but our situation has been unsteady for a while now. I am constantly under minor stress of being the only regular GM in our area, and nobody else doesn't seem interested to grab the reins and take the job. Alright, I admit our VC has a lot of real-life commitments and she did heck of a job in GMing so far and one more friend is helping us out currently. But that's just not enough or least, not enough to move us through without causing stress. Almost all the former players and GMs stopped coming due to real-life commitments, college, jobs, etc. There was but a few of us left at that point. Perhaps it will get better eventually, but this is just swimming through the waters of life, I don't know. But it's been almost over half year now and we barely got one new GM.

At the moment, we have around 12 or so new players, but it varies. Most of them are shy individuals and forcing them to GM is almost impossible. Forcing them to take the reins might create an opposite effect likewise and discourage them from further play. I am likewise unsure that boons and GM chronicles will motive them much so I am at a loss what to do.

Does anyone have any fresh new ideas how to get over this obstacle?

Thanks for responses,
Adam

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

No new ideas, but some that do sometimes work:

1) charge a fee and give the money earned to the GM. Even quite modest amounts can have an effect
2) explicitly tell the players that you are starting to burn out and the choice is that somebody steps up or the game stops
3) point out to players how selfish they are being. You want to play too.

Dark Archive 5/5 *

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Hold a gm class. Show them how its not so complicated. Perhaps they are intimidated and think they have to know all the rules or have all the books.
Run them thruu a season 0 module with all of you being the gm.

Shadow Lodge 2/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A GM only game night for people who have stepped up.

Dark Archive 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Minnesota—St. Paul

pauljathome wrote:
1) charge a fee and give the money earned to the GM. Even quite modest amounts can have an effect

I would feel very uncomfortable with this. Do people do this? Is this common?

Grand Lodge 4/5 *** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento

It is not uncommon.

More common is that game is held at a game store that charges for table space / room rental, but which gives a portion (or all) of the proceeds to the GM as store credit.

4/5

Paul may have mis-phrased that a bit. The system that one location in Toronto has used and been quite successful with is one of completely voluntary donations which are then given to GMs in the form of store credit. It's a system that I like because it helps create revenue for the store that is kind enough to host our games, it helps lessen the financial burden on GMs for game supplies and players offer as much or as little as they wish which keeps games accessible to everyone regardless of their financial situation.

Grand Lodge 4/5 *** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento

When I was actively organizing, and I had discretionary income left at the end of the month, I would often pick up some $5 store gift cards to use as thank yous for people who stepped up to GM. (I haven't been lately, I am spending the money on other things, such as renting a locker to store spare minis, pregen sheets, flip mats, etc. for new GMs so that they are available even if I can't make it to game that night.)

It was occasionally interesting when people just assumed that I was getting those cards free from the store, rather than paying for them out of my pocket.

Keith Apperson wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
1) charge a fee and give the money earned to the GM. Even quite modest amounts can have an effect
I would feel very uncomfortable with this. Do people do this? Is this common?

Also, remember that the GM is out of pocket $4 for the scenario they are running that night. Plus printing costs.

If everyone chips in a dollar, the GM will just barely break even.

For some of our GMs, that $4 a game is a substantial barrier to running a game.

Shadow Lodge 2/5

I'm not sure, but most of the stores where we play PFS on the front range of Colorado have pay to play of $2 per person which is either straight cash where I play or GM gift cards at other stores like Enchanted Grounds. Enchanted Grounds also allows that month's GMs first choice in signing up for games. I'm pretty sure Jeff's run slot zero specials as rewards for Con GM's in the past. You'd have to have the stars but you could do something similar. Our store in the past allowed free drinks and snacks and 10% discount for GMs on the night they GM but I think it was abused. It's all going to depend on how many tables you've got though.

Scarab Sages 5/5 5/5 * Venture-Captain, Netherlands

3 people marked this as a favorite.
joe kirner wrote:

Hold a gm class. Show them how its not so complicated. Perhaps they are intimidated and think they have to know all the rules or have all the books.

Run them thruu a season 0 module with all of you being the gm.

I had this idea with silverhex. Everyone prepare a single quest, and run them for eachother. Its a lot less scary to GM for equally inexperienced people.

They (and you) can give feedback, and see if they are feeling up for a normal scenario.

GMing can seem daunting, but with a little help people can step over that hurdle. It wont be a good fit for everyone, but you might find a few that do like GMing

Sovereign Court 1/5

Woran wrote:


I had this idea with silverhex. Everyone prepare a single quest, and run them for eachother. Its a lot less scary to GM for equally inexperienced people.
They (and you) can give feedback, and see if they are feeling up for a normal scenario.

I really like this idea of making several new GM's first experience a communal one.

5/5

Are you using warhorn or any other public method to organize your games currently?

Having such a standard method that everyone knows about makes it easy for the people who normally play to see that there is no GM for a given day and also makes it easy for them to volunteer.

One way that may get people to realize that they need to step up in order to help create a healthy gaming community is to simply not GM all the time. Let people know ahead of time that you won't be able to GM for the next several gaming sessions and that someone will need to step up. It may take letting several sessions fail to shock people into realizing that they can't rely on you to make their fun happen.

5/5

Woran wrote:
joe kirner wrote:

Hold a gm class. Show them how its not so complicated. Perhaps they are intimidated and think they have to know all the rules or have all the books.

Run them thruu a season 0 module with all of you being the gm.

I had this idea with silverhex. Everyone prepare a single quest, and run them for eachother. Its a lot less scary to GM for equally inexperienced people.

They (and you) can give feedback, and see if they are feeling up for a normal scenario.

GMing can seem daunting, but with a little help people can step over that hurdle. It wont be a good fit for everyone, but you might find a few that do like GMing

I think this is a really great idea.

Sczarni 4/5

Thanks on responses everyone. There is plenty of them so far, so I'll try to answer as best as I can.

@pauljathome
We are using moderate charging fees (around less then a dollar) for small GM rewards such as mat, mini's, dices, etc. and printing expenses. I usually don't ask it from players too many times, but mostly because I forget about it.

@joe kirner
We have had several GM 101 classes before, but to put it mildly, people weren't interested to much into coming. Those that did come mostly never touched any scenario and I firmly believe that it's pointless to hold them unless people have real plans to GM. I don't mind personally showing new GM a quick run-through, but I need a willing individual.

@conman
Funny enough, we don't have enough GMs for a GM night.

@p-sto
I generally like this idea about using the money as additional cupons for the store gifts, but most of the stuff is expensive there, besides dices.

@woran
The idea of running a Silverhex with several people as a quick run-through has more merit to me then GM 101. People always learn more quicker through the practice. This seems like one of better suggestions so far.

Sczarni 4/5

@Mike Lindner

We are using warhorn indeed. It's great for signing up and seeing who and how many are coming, but the GM spots always stand empty. I guess people are always expecting that someone will fill it.

I'v been thinking about this "shock therapy" a bit before, but for now I am just gonna have some patience for several more weeks. We have already reduced our games to twice per month instead of the usual once per week.

Grand Lodge 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Woran wrote:
joe kirner wrote:

Hold a gm class. Show them how its not so complicated. Perhaps they are intimidated and think they have to know all the rules or have all the books.

Run them thruu a season 0 module with all of you being the gm.

I had this idea with silverhex. Everyone prepare a single quest, and run them for eachother. Its a lot less scary to GM for equally inexperienced people.

They (and you) can give feedback, and see if they are feeling up for a normal scenario.

GMing can seem daunting, but with a little help people can step over that hurdle. It wont be a good fit for everyone, but you might find a few that do like GMing

We did exactly this as a follow up to GM 101. So far of the 6 people who did GM 101 and the Silverhex experience (what I've been calling GM 102), 2 people have stepped up and GMed full scenarios. Of the other 4, 1 was an extremely new player who is also using the information for a computer game design project, 1 is a high school student who really can't make it to many game days and the remaining two have been extremely busy and haven't been to a single game. I thought it was successful as a pairing - but could definitely be used without GM 101.

Edit: The two who have stepped up have both by all reports done a good job. One has lead 5 sections of Silverhex and 7-07 Trouble in Tamran and the other has done We Be Goblins and will be doing Frostfur Captives this weekend.

5/5 Venture-Captain, Iowa—Tri-Cities

What's worked for me in the past:

1.) Give it time. The group size seems to grow and shrink throughout the year. As more people attend, the likelyhood of at least one other person stepping up to GM increases. Over time, if you stick with it, things will improve.

2.) Be personable with your players. Have 1 on 1 sessions with your players. I try to have as many sessions as I can with as many of my players as I can. During this time, I will often slip in mention that I feel that player would be an awesome GM. I give them positive encouragement, and walk players through anything they would need leading up to their first time GM'ing.

3.) Offer rewards, boons I have earned at conventions, pay for the beer, spend outside PFS time with your GMs. This does two things, it creates friendships and brings you people who want to be good GMs.

4/5

I started GMing after playing about 15-20 games to get a feel for the system. I thought rotating is periodically as a GM was just something you did.

Scarab Sages 5/5 5/5 * Venture-Captain, Netherlands

Malag wrote:


@woran
The idea of running a Silverhex with several people as a quick run-through has more merit to me then GM 101. People always learn more quicker through the practice. This seems like one of better suggestions so far.

The fact that they might walk away from this with a full chronicle sheet is just another carrot.

Sczarni 4/5

@Jason Rosauer

I am mostly trying to give it time, but I will also try to actively encourage people to GM. The only point is that I am not very good at presenting it in a good light. Being personable with players also seems like a good advice, but some people are harder to talk with. My N.01 reason to do this is through humor. Everyone relaxes then a bit.

@Woran

I'll bite that.

Scarab Sages 5/5 5/5 * Venture-Captain, Netherlands

I do have some good ideas sometimes :P

If they bite the carrot of GMing silverhex and playing the rest and ending with five/six boxes ticked, you can remind them that they get a chronicle for every first time they GM too. A lot of people know this of course, but you can tell this means they never have to start at lvl 1 again with a character.

A LOT of people hate lvl 1 play and getting to skip that might be a nice other motivation.

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Agent, Washington—Ballard

Malag,
Have you spoken with your FLGS management? You may be able to get them to give a discount to GM's on your game day. Several of the stores in the Seattle area do this, but others do not. The discount varies from store to store. For instance, the one I coordinate gives our GMs a 25% discount on anything purchased from their shop on game day, including food at their attached cafe. Other stores give a discount to all players on their game day. Getting some support from the store may be a great incentive for someone to step up into the role of GM.

Sczarni 4/5

@WiseWolfOfYoitsu

I would actually prefer not to burden out store with discounts or such. I feel that we aren't providing enough income for them to request something like that (but I am also not sure if I understood you correctly). They are a small store trying to survive with everything they have and I respect them a lot. I have asked yesterday about buying cupons for 8, 17 and 25 dollars and that seemed to have some merit. I suggested the same thing yesterday to our VC and she loved the idea.

Thanks for the thought though! Every idea counts, I am writing them down for future reference.

4/5 *

One thing I found was you need to approach some of your regular players individually and ask them to step up. Just a blank space in Warhorn isn't the same as having your V-C come and talk to you and say, "Hey, I love the way you roleplay, and you seem to have decent grasp of the rules. We really need a GM for X scenario on Y date three weeks from now. Here's a printed copy of the scenario for you to use, do you think you can help us out?"

Or, you can buy scenarios for people using the gift option online - especially useful or those replayable ones like Wounded Wisp and Confirmation. I found spending $4 of my own money to get a new GM was a small price to pay.

Pick the people who you think would be good GMs, and who you know have no good reason to say "no". (I had a few folks who were in PFS solely sot hey could play,s icne they GM'ed a bunch of home games. I didn't ask them right away.)

It's best to ask several people at once, so no one feels they are "the" person it is all going to fall onto. Get three new people to GM a game next month, so everyone can see several folks have stepped up.

We have some venues that offer store credit, and others that don't - frankly, it can make things awkward. My advice is to avoid it and any money issues if you can. If people are GMing for store credit, it may not help you in the long run. Ideally, you want people to GM so they can give back to the community and/or because they love GMing.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I agree with what Lamplighter said. I've been asking people as individuals if they're willing to step up for a specific game on a specific day, and often volunteer to pick up the cost of the scenario for them.

More people answer yes than no, and those that answer no will often say, "I can't do it that week, but maybe the week after?"

Sczarni 4/5

@GM Lamplighter

There is a problem with shy people mostly. They are a bit harder to approach, so for now, I am GMing several times so they can get to know me better before I try to talk to them individually. I haven't exactly bothered with this before as I do not see myself as a major leader or organizer.

We also have a single veteran player who has been coming here for a long while, but he is stubbornly avoiding responsibility of GMing. He more then qualifies for it so both me and VC aren't sure what to do with him.

I was thinking about GM store credit popping up every few months, so it wouldn't exactly be direct motivation in the process, just part of it.

4/5 *

Yes, shy people can be more delicate to handle. Sounds like you've got a good handle on it though.

As for vets who won't GM... we did run into this later in our Lodge's history. The current V-Cs let it be known that if you are a regular player, it is expected that you will GM as well. Setting the expectation may get them to step forward; otherwise, you've laid the groundwork for when you ask them directly.

Sczarni 4/5

GM Lamplighter wrote:

Yes, shy people can be more delicate to handle. Sounds like you've got a good handle on it though.

As for vets who won't GM... we did run into this later in our Lodge's history. The current V-Cs let it be known that if you are a regular player, it is expected that you will GM as well. Setting the expectation may get them to step forward; otherwise, you've laid the groundwork for when you ask them directly.

Well, I am not sure, but maybe both me and VC pushed a bit too hard on him before. If several other people step in, perhaps he will also. He sees PFS mostly as relaxation point after a long working day and I can understand that completely.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden

I don't think it's realistic to expect every player to "graduate" to GM at some point. I think some good players never will/want to. And as long as you can have fun with them, that's fine.

Of course, getting some GMs remains important. I'm reading this thread with interest to see if there's anything in it I can use.

Sczarni 4/5

@ascalaphus

I suspect so, but our problem was stagnant for a long time. If people were teached from the start that some are expected to GM, this wouldn't happen completely. But this is a bit special case. Most of the people are new players now so I will give them some time to adjust.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

1 person marked this as a favorite.

As has been said (and is obvious) recruiting a constant stream of GMs is every bit as important as recruiting a constant stream of new players, if not more important (there being no game possible whatsoever without a GM).

I find there are lots of players who want to try it. Many are nervous of getting in front of crowds. Many are nervous of whether they know the rules well enough. Many are concerned about the expense (both monetarily and time). But most of these people will come around to the idea of GMing with a bit of coaching from someone who can address these concerns properly.

In Colorado we offer quite a few incentives. We charge players $2 to play, and use all the money to give the GMs gift certificates for each game session they run. As a store coordinator I buy all the PFS scenarios, and offer a printed copy to any GM who does not want to buy the scenario they are running. Additionally, I run a sign-up-to-play style of campaign (I announce the games for each month around the first, and take "reservations" for player seats ahead of game days), and give anyone who volunteers to GM that month first crack at the reservation list. Finally, I offer an "ongoing" reward, something they can gain after running 10 scenarios during a calendar year. In the past this has been t-shirts. Currently, I am offering a 7-day period of 50% off purchases - anything they buy in the store for a week will be 50% off for them. The week is the 7 days following their tenth GM credit.

Currently, my GM recruiting email looks like this:

Hello, all,
It is that time, again. I’m looking for GMs for next month’s games at Enchanted Grounds in Highlands Ranch. This is not the open call for those games; that will happen next week after I have all the GM spots full. Watch for it then, if you are not going to GM. If you are interested in GMing for me, read on.

First, I would like to outline the benefits of GMing for Enchanted Grounds:

1. I can get you the module for free. If requested, I will provide a physical copy of it the week before your game. In certain cases, I can get you an electronic copy, but those cases are necessarily rare and must be discussed well in advance of your game so that I can have time to get my request acted on.
2. You will earn a $10 gift certificate to the store for each game you GM. This helps offset any cost you incur purchasing the scenario or the supplies to run that scenario.
3. You will be given access to the schedule ahead of the general announcement. For each table you GM I will allow you to take a player seat at another table. This seat is guaranteed, as you will be signing up ahead of the open call.
4. NEW THIS YEAR: If you GM ten games at the store you will earn a week of 50% off purchases at Enchanted Grounds. This discount is good for the entire seven days following your tenth GM credit, and is usable on all goods at either store (excepting collectibles).
5. As Phil McMahon once said so well, you "get to play an ass-hat that everyone can't stand for the entire night; one that everyone gets the satisfaction of killing at the end of the game." Don't sell that short. It's an invaluable benefit, and one everyone appreciates.
6. All of the inherent benefits of GMing PFS scenarios (character credit, advancement on the GM "star" tier, access to chronicle boons when made available, etc.).

So, with all that in mind, I would like to ask for GM volunteers for the following dates and scenarios:

We rarely have issues getting GMs. We never have issues with a $2 charge driving away players (most point out the value of 4 hours of entertainment costing so little). And we regularly get new people trying their hand behind the screen.

Hope all this helps.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

By the way: I realize that, as the store owner for the location these PFS games are happening, making decisions like offering the adventure for free, or charging $2 to play, or giving a week of discounts away is pretty easily administered - it's my decision as owner and coordinator.

However, as the owner of a game store, I can assure you that if you approach me with a proposal that outlines the above, I'm going to be pretty open to it. I suspect that any of you, as PFS coordinators, can go to your LGS owner and let him know you plan to purchase gift certificates with any fees you charge to play PFS, and the vast majority will realize that is a benefit to them. Additionally, any orgplay system is going to draw more customers and generate more sales for the locations that the games get played. It will be pretty unusual to find a game store owner or manager who does not want to foster that in any way they can that makes fiscal sense.

If a larger sample size than myself is necessary, know that I was the first store in Colorado to run PFS back in Season 1. There are now close to a dozen locations that run regular PFS. All of them largely make use of my model. Some will simply hand cash to the GMs. Some don't offer a t-shirt or other "ongoing" incentive. But all charge to play, all recruit players and GMs ahead of the games they run, and all have large and thriving communities of players and GMs alike.

Sczarni 4/5

@Drogon

That's a lot of useful advice, thank you.

I am not sure how do you manage to sponsor these discounts, scenario's and GM gifts. It seems a bit too big for me and our small community, but you are the store owner, so it's probably easier to manage this.

In general, we don't charge anything for games (the store owner is providing free space) so we accept donations of around ~1$. People are usually happy to chip in these and I always make sure they understand that they are donations exclusively. If people are low on cash, they can skip it entirely. The small problem that I see with these GM gifts is that they might provide too material incentive to GM. GM Lamplighter mentioned the same problem above, so I believe we should use these discounts and gifts sparingly. I am not an expert however with these things, so maybe I missed something in a larger global picture. It also seems that you have high player base, which makes GM handling a lot easier.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Malag wrote:

@Drogon

That's a lot of useful advice, thank you.

I am not sure how do you manage to sponsor these discounts, scenario's and GM gifts. It seems a bit too big for me and our small community, but you are the store owner, so it's probably easier to manage this.

In general, we don't charge anything for games (the store owner is providing free space) so we accept donations of around ~1$. People are usually happy to chip in these and I always make sure they understand that they are donations exclusively. If people are low on cash, they can skip it entirely. The small problem that I see with these GM gifts is that they might provide too material incentive to GM. GM Lamplighter mentioned the same problem above, so I believe we should use these discounts and gifts sparingly. I am not an expert however with these things, so maybe I missed something in a larger global picture. It also seems that you have high player base, which makes GM handling a lot easier.

A few things, in no particular order:

I do have a large player base. But like everyone else, I started with exactly zero. The program I instituted is directly responsible for the growth that Colorado achieved. Our active player base currently numbers around 450 people. But, again, it started with one table one night many years ago. Policies we practice in Colorado helped draw all these players and GMs into the fold.

Yes, I can set whatever I want, and absorb whatever costs I want, in terms of using these policies, as I have control of my stores and am the coordinator for PFS at my stores. But I wouldn't have put these policies in place if they weren't beneficial, both to me and to the player base. There is a reason they work. Consider that.

$2 is less than the cost of a great many things, when it comes to how your entertainment dollars are spent. Someone who can't afford $2 for 4 hours of entertainment is truly in dire straits. But I'll bet that the other 6 guys around the table would be willing to chip in .50cents so he could play. Don't you? For what it's worth, in nine years of running these games, I have not once had to spot someone $2. Not ever. Nor have I ever seen someone have to pay for someone else because that person could not afford $2. Nor have I EVER received a complaint about it being prohibitively expensive. Comparable entertainment time (a movie, a sporting event, a trip to a comedy club, a night of bowling, etc.) costs significantly more than this. Even cable TV costs more than $2 per night, when you look at the cost of the bill versus the number of days in a month. Perhaps I have a huge disconnect here, but I really don't see this is a problem in a market where people pay upwards of $50 for a book to play a game, then buy dice, pencils, minis, Herolab, what-have-you, to supplement that game.

And, no, creating material incentive to get GMs does not create "bad" GMs. Not even a little bit. All it does is give people a bit more incentive than "You *should* GM because it's your DUTY to GM." In my mind, twisting someone's arm with threats and implied obligation is more likely to create bad GM experiences (whether from a player perspective or a GM perspective). "Well, I have to GM my once a month game 'for the good of the community.' Guess I'll power through it so I can get on with playing."

Last, your community is what you make of it. You need to involve your stores and players and (potential) GMs. Do that and it will grow.

By the way: I'm not trying to shut down conversation. I have a very direct communication style, which sometimes looks like "my way's best, your way sucks." That's not what I'm trying to do. I'm merely pointing out what results my way has engendered. You may have unique challenges that my way won't work with. I'll happily discuss these with you.

Sczarni 4/5

@Drogon

I can't find any faulty logic in what you say and I do believe you completely, but our geographical mentality might be a bit different. Two dollars in your country is somewhat same as one dollar in mine so there is already a small gap in money, but I don't wish to focus on that in this topic too much. Money is always an issue wherever you go.

I will heavily weight your advice though. If it worked for you, there shouldn't (hopefully) be a reason why it wouldn't for us and I am sure that store owner won't mind it. The only thing I am unsure is how to motivate store owner to get more paizo or PF products. They have some mini's, general mats, dices, etc. which can be expensive (well, besides dices) so it would be lovely if GM gifts or discounts could be used on something cheaper.

Oh and don't worry about communication styles. It all works with me.

Edit: There is one more question that I am curious about. How did you award GM credits, discounts, cupons, etc.? Did you reward people per attendance, randomly or somehow else?

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Here's how I successfully recruited a new GM recently.

Minneapolis St Paul has a Meetup group. On Meetup events, you're allowed to ask questions to your members as they RSVP. As one of the two event hosts at Dreamers, we set up the following questions for each of our events:

RSVP Questions wrote:

1) Which Scenario do you prefer to play?

2) What character class and levels are you bringing?

3)Are you interested in GMing, now or in the future?

4) What scenarios would you like us to host at Dreamers?

Everytime they RSVP, there's question number 3, lurking. Reminding them of the possibility that they too can one day become a GM.

_______________________________________________

IF THEY SAY YES or MAYBE

I talk to them about the subject when I see them in person.

"I agree that you'd be a fine GM! We were thinking of running [name of scenario] in four weeks. Would you be interested in being our GM for it? I'd be more than happy to buy you the scenario if you're willing to host it for us."

This turns their "maybe someday" into a concrete commitment, and gets them started.

_______________________________________________

IF THEY SAY NO

This is more complicated. Maybe they have no social skills or poor system mastery. Maybe they GM a regular home game each week and this is their only chance to play.

Still, I don't think of "no" as a forever answer. We have a guy who's a regular and who's always looking for high-level play. He's got good social skills and great system mastery. So, I approached him about his "No."

"I've been watching you for some time, and I think that you'd make an awesome GM. You're friendly, you're great with newcomers, and you really know the rules. Can I talk you into GMing for us once so you can try it out?"

He and I talked a while. We discussed how he was running out of scenarios, and how GMing might help him level more of his characters. He decided that he might be willing to GM, he just wasn't sure when.

Seed planted, I followed up with an email a few weeks later. "Bret and I were hoping to go through [Scenario Name] with our paired characters, and we're looking for another GM so that we can play it together. Would you be available on [date]?"

He said yes, and signed up to be our GM. Another No converted to a Yes.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden

@Hmm: This is a very interesting idea.


Here is a list of things that happen in my local area. I'll name the stores so people can chime in and correct me if I get something wrong.

At Legends Comics & Games in Vallco mall, there is a $4 fee to play. This is charged by the store, but not enforced by the store. In other words, no store employee comes to our table and says, "Pay the fee!" Instead, the regular players cajole the newer players into paying up. So everyone heads to the store cash register and pays. Then, the store issues a $25 credit to each GM. If you get two of those credits, that's a free hardcover Pathfinder book. That's serious enough to get people to drive from far away to GM. Any time they are short on GMs they can send an email and remind people of the store credit, and someone will sign up to run things.

At the now-defunct Pandora they charged a $1 per person fee. That's not a lot for a GM, but that does cover the cost of the module. That's really important. Some people view GMing as a chore, and you're essentially entertaining other people as a volunteer. The idea that you might also have to pay to entertain others (by having to buy the module) is offensive to some. It'll keep them away. But 4 players who each pay $1 is enough to cover the cost of the module, and then suddenly GMing is free and you get to keep the module PDF afterwards. That works.

At Endgame in Oakland, you can play 3 times for every 1 time you GM. I do not know how they enforce this yet -- I've heard that Warhorn will simply block you from signing up as a player if you "owe" GMing. I didn't know that Warhorn could do that, and I'm not sure it's true. I haven't tested it. However, even if this is just an in-person thing that the store coordinator enforces, that's still effective. I know some people who play there and know they shouldn't sign up to play more than 3x, so they just don't. They sign up to GM, because they have to.

Engame seems to be perfectly happy to simply lose shy players who refuse to GM. And it turns out when it isn't optional, almost everybody gets over their shyness and GMs. The only other option is to leave and not participate again, so everyone is GMing. They run 5+ tables on most Monday nights. You can see their schedule here, and it should be clear they are not hurting for players or GMs.

And at the local conventions such as Kublacon and [Pacificon[/b] they offer to waive the convention fees entirely if you GM 3 games. So, getting into a convention for free is pretty good motivation. Also, they offer the GM boons -- you might look at these as an option if there are any that can be had outside of conventions. They're cheap, essentially free. These boons are simply chronicle sheets with extra cool options for GMs. The one I really like right now is the one that has spaces to record all the times you GM, and then you can use it to double the number of games you can replay using your GM stars. As your VC if there are any of these available.

Oh, and of course let players know that they cannot replay modules without using a GM star, and they can't get GM stars without running modules.

Good luck! Have fun!

Sovereign Court 1/5

aboyd wrote:

At Endgame in Oakland, you can play 3 times for every 1 time you GM. I do not know how they enforce this yet -- I've heard that Warhorn will simply block you from signing up as a player if you "owe" GMing.

Very interested to hear that there a place taking a hardline stance like this and apparently being successful with it.

The time to prep, the money on materials, and the effort to entertain can get wearisome for a group that isn't willing to reciprocate. Especially for players who sit down, play, and leave without so much as a "thank you". This type of player is making me consider waiting until there's a list of players signed up before deciding whether or not I want to run a game or let someone else take a turn in the barrel.

Liberty's Edge 1/5

From my point of view we got the opposite problem, we got one VL, who is paying for the adventures if somebody gms, and we got 3 persons so far, including me, who stepped up to gm, and that more then once.
But we don't have enough players, last time I was gming I had to walk through the store and ask persons if they wanted to try it because 2 players weren't showing up, I had played the adventure at the other table already and two players of the other table had played my adventure already, both tables had to play with a pregen , and then the guy that I recruited had to leave early, so I had 2 players at my table and 2 pregens, the fact that 7.01 "Between the Lines" is nor very friendly for level one characters if they have 1 knowledge skill, one, combined, was leading right to a point where one dice decided if it was a tpk or not.
And later on I realized I forgott the monster had a full attack that round, so it WAS technically a TPK...
People were leaving with 80 gold and 1 PP, not a good start for people who want to try pathfinder..

Player base of 450 people? I compared chiccago to stuttgart, it says stuttgart has only 600k inhabitants, but the region has a couple of millions actually (5.2 millions, you can't build high houses in stuttgart because of the underground and the air, if we would block the wind streams stuttgart would look like shanghai, people are spread out a little bit more, likewise stuttgart has mineral water and very soft ground everywhere, no high houses there too please)
I would be surprised if we would actually have a player base of 15 tbh, we got one active VL, the next active VO is 2-3 hours away, and if you go south, there is actually none.
The VL is doing a great job, we have a game day next month, half a year ago he was able to offer two tables I think, now we are offering five.

For the money:
Well meet me, I am that broke I even had to buy my core rulebook second hand, I recently aced my real life libertys edge speech against 2 different demonstrations, one that opposed refugees, and one that opposed homosexual people, I was talking to a custiomer at work about it. everything cool. But appararently some people that I can't describe without using swearwords heard me, they reported me to the management, complaint about me and threatened them to damage the business by spreading bad rumors.
Management had to react, I lost my job in the trial time, I don't even know how to pay my food next month...
OK, that is me then, and I discovered that I was perfectly ok with gming all the time, I am a lore junkie anyway, and I can only read all the lore if I can read all adventures, to read them I must either play them first or gm them, gming is faster, done.
I tried to gm the ONLY adventure that I own, between the lines 5 times now,in two weeks, got only a group together two times...even with offering it online^^
Also I am not bad as a GM, i realized in the past, that I was trying to win against the PCs with my monsters, stopped asap, stepped up to gm after I made it clear to myslef that I am just a referee on the table.
My VL even wrote me an e mail after the first session, he said I was better prepared them him and my roleplay was better, not a big surprise, as I said, lore junkie, and I got tons of time right now -.-
But I can't find enough players, I was asking a couple of months ago about that chipping in for the pdf, but the players I knew privatly (that aren't showing up at the local PFS event in the store either) didn't want to.

So my question is:
How do you get more players?
Seriously, according to one VC at the german pfs con, Germany has the second biggest PFS community right now (to be fair, that was his hard work, I think he recruited about 5-10 VOs so far) He is also the only 5 star gm that we have here. And he is 3 hours away -.-


Florian Haas wrote:
Seriously, according to one VC at the german pfs con, Germany has the second biggest PFS community right now

Wow!

Florian Haas wrote:
How do you get more players?

You ask for help from that guy in Germany!

But seriously, finding players is easy. Even not being in Stuttgart, I already have 100+ players for you. Try these:

For me, I just made flyers and put them up on the local game store doors. I had my email address on the flyer, and I had a list of upcoming games and times. There are lots of players in Stuttgart, but they have to be told about the games and they need enough warning to be able to set aside time and make plans to attend.

Sczarni 4/5

@Florian Hass

I am currently talking about the issue of getting new GMs and I got a lot of good advice in the thread so feel free to steal it for similarly related questions. Regarding your question of finding players, flyers might work as aboyd suggested above.

P.S. I hope your situation gets better.

Liberty's Edge 1/5

Thanks for the help, I jsut htought my situation would be more rare, than yours and there wouldn't be much posts about it, apparently I managed to overlook them all.
I will retreat from this thread now and not rderail it any further.

As for new gms:
Try the lore, it is a powerfull tool, mention to curious players, that it is shame you can't tell them everyhign that is in the pdfs, mention a couple of cool backstorys once in a time, mention the alternatives that you will never see if you play it once, that is how my VL got me xD
Apparently that was even an accident xD He wasn't really looking for a new dedicated gm xD

Thanks for the links, didn't know about those.
Thanks for answering my question, I see it was completely unrelated^^

5/5 *** Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Quadstriker wrote:
aboyd wrote:

At Endgame in Oakland, you can play 3 times for every 1 time you GM. I do not know how they enforce this yet -- I've heard that Warhorn will simply block you from signing up as a player if you "owe" GMing.

Very interested to hear that there a place taking a hardline stance like this and apparently being successful with it.

Endgame is arguably our most consistently successful location with 5+ tables most weeks.

Some notes on philosophy:
Once you've played enough to get a character to 5th level you have enough experience to GM.

Once you get to that point you're expected to contribute by GMing or you'll get set to permanent waitlist-mode.

Mitch (coordinator and VL) will provide an incredible amount of support to help get you there. He'll buy you the scenario, lend out minis, maps etc.

This leads to a healthy and thriving community where everybody gets a chance to both play and run.

There have been a few fantastic players that were amazing but were lost do to being unwilling to GM. It's sad to lose them, but I think the price is worth it.

If you're not pulling you weight, you'll get a friendly email from Mitch reminding you of the group's expectations. As a last resort Mitch will permanently wait-list players. (A very rare activity)

Everybody contributes to the GM pool, the expectation is to contribute to the GM pool. New players contribute to the GM pool.

It's been like this since the beginning of PFS at Endgame. Painlord set it up that way, and Euan followed suit. Mitch, the most recent coordinator follows in these footsteps and keeps things awesome.

I think it'd be hard to implement in a group that wasn't used to this expectation but when it's the norm, and has been the norm for over half a decade.

5/5 5/55/55/5

On a full gamenight, i have more than 1% of the population of the town in the store.

Sovereign Court 1/5

Confirmed jealous of that Endgame location. Especially because there's a litany of poor player behavior that can be curtailed by understanding what it's like on the other side of the screen.

4/5 *

BigNorseWolf wrote:
On a full gamenight, i have more than 1% of the population of the town in the store.

OK, this provides a lot of insight into your situation and comments, BNW. I knew you were in a smaller venue, but this means what, 800 people or less in town? I have about a thousand times the population in my area, but not a thousand times the PFS membership...

5/5 5/55/55/5

I missed the . its a town of about 6-7k so 7 people at a table ... but that should start to give you an idea of how impractical it is to tell people to just run a convention.

The Exchange 3/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It's a culture shift, but, in my opinion, if you're not giving back to the PFS community, you're not a part of the PFS community.

These posts might help:

Guide to PFS Coordination

PFS GM Recruitment tips

5/5 5/55/55/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Unfortunately for prodding others to dm, I dumped charisma.

1 to 50 of 51 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Organized Play / GM Discussion / Finding new GMs All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.