Good news everyone! I finished my first session as a GM, and I didn’t die! I’ve found a few strengths and many weaknesses, but I at least have some idea what’s going on.
I have a couple of close friends who have been GMs before. Neither of them has tons and tons of experience, but they have a good idea of what they’re doing. They recommended that I watch all of Matt Colville’s Running the Game series. I got a few episodes in, and he gives tons and tons of good advice. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to someone who wants to learn how to run a role-playing game.
That said, I got the most experience when I actually took the plunge.
I’m a decent storyteller! I can use voices! Those two should make me a great GM on their own, right?
Well, not really, but they do help.
I wasn’t completely lost when I was running different encounters. Other than the fact that I didn’t know what a reasonable cost was, nor what reasonable abilities for my NPCs were, I could keep track of the interactions fairly well. It also helped that I had made a roadmap of the session ahead of time. If my players had strayed too far from that, well… I might not be quite so chipper in this post.
My main weakness is that I don’t know the rules of D&D very well. I really should, since it’s my job to know the rules of the game that I’m in charge of, but, well… rules are hard. I didn’t decide to GM because I wanted to follow rules. I became a GM because I wanted to tell stories.
Story might have to take a backseat for a while until I really figure out how to follow the rules though.
Combat was downright awful. That’s all there is to it. I don’t know how to run a combative encounter well.
Part of it was that I used stock monsters, and those don’t tend to deal well with 5th level player characters. They didn’t have good weapons nor good strategies. I wasn’t able to play them creatively, so the battle encounters (one of which went on for an hour) just felt like a long grind.
This comes from not knowing the monsters, not knowing the rules, and not knowing enough about the tropes that are familiar with regular D&D players.
I’m not a good DM. I’m okay, but not great. But that’s fine. Practice makes perfect.
Or so I’ve been told.