It’s the final week of New Gamemaster Month. Just a few more things to cover before you’re ready to run your game!
In New Gamemaster Month we’re helping players who feel the urge to run an RPG—to become a GM for the first time—take the plunge. If you’re just joining us, start with the first installment. Then join us every Tuesday and Thursday throughout January, and by the end of the month you’ll be a GM too!
You’re almost a full-fledged GM. Basic training is about over, so this time we’re going to focus on honing the skills we’ve already discussed. Before we do, though:
What Do You Need?
Let’s talk about what you’ll need on the fateful evening (or afternoon, or even, perhaps, morning) of your game. So far we’ve been talking mostly about skills and confidence, but this is about the actual physical stuff.
The short answer is: You don’t need much. You’ll want the corebook for your chosen game, of course, and you need a copy of your adventure if it’s not in the book. If you’ve jotted down any notes over the course of this program and you’d like to have them along, well, bring those. Here are a few other things you’ll need around the table:
- Dice appropriate to your game system.
- Some paper and a pencil, so you can jot down notes or maybe whip up a quick map to lay the scene out for the players.
- Blank character sheets for the players (generally only necessary for your first session, when the players are making their characters).
- Drinks and snacks. Not strictly necessary for play, but almost always welcome.
Additional copies of the corebook (or player’s guide, if your game uses one) are handy, so you don’t have to keep passing your only copy back and forth. Hopefully one or more of your players will bring these.
Here are some other things that some folk like to have, but are not by any means necessary. In fact, you may want to wait until you’ve run a couple of sessions to decide which, if any of these things, fit your GMing style:
- Handouts, show ‘em illos, or other tangible details you’ve prepared, if you’re the sort of GM who likes to prepare such things.
- A GM screen, which compiles a lot of the game rules’ most useful data into one handy place while simultaneously keeping your notes away from prying eyes.
- A vinyl mat and some wet-erase markers. Many GMs like to use these to draw maps out for their players, particularly if they use miniatures. Which brings us to:
- Miniatures. Some games embrace them more than others, but even when they aren’t closely tied to game mechanics many GMs like to use them to visually illustrate where characters and creatures are in relation to one another.
- Tokens, if your game benefits from tokens to track certain resources (such as XP for Numenera).
- Other game accessories and texts. Creature books, setting expansions, and play aids.
That may seem like a lot, but it’s a fairly exhaustive list, and nothing on that second part is at all necessary. (Really, nothing—do not sweat it if you don’t have that sort of stuff. It’s probably best not to even decide whether you want it until you’ve run a few sessions and have a good idea which of these will work for you.)
Two activities this time. First, collect the items discussed just above. For character sheets, you can download a PDF for free, or buy really nice full-color Numenera sheets.
Second, here’s a bit more reading for you. This stuff is general GMing advice from Monte, who, in addition to having written Numenera, is an incredibly good GM with many, many years of experience.
Read these sections of Numenera Discovery:
- Chapter 20: Pages 310-333 (That’s the whole chapter.)
- Chapter 21: Pages 334-339 (Stop when you get to the Preparing for the Game Session header, since what follows focuses on homemade adventures.)
That’s it! Thursday is our last post, and then you’ll be ready to go!
Throughout this program, we have expert GMs on hand to answer questions and provide general support at the New Gamemaster Month Facebook group. Please drop in, join the group, introduce yourself, and ask any questions you might have. Other new GMs will also be there—it’s a great place to share your experiences and support one another. Hope to see you there!