PF-1e The Keys to All Kingdoms: A Training Seminar for Potential DMs - RPG Crossing
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  #1  
Old Dec 22nd, 2016, 09:50 PM
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The Keys to All Kingdoms: A Training Seminar for Potential DMs

Game NameThe Keys to All Kingdoms: A Training Seminar for Potential DMs
Game SystemMostly Agnostic (will talk about PF1E and DND5E sometimes)
ThemeBreakdown of DMing Concepts, Exploring Themes
FlavourStudent-Driven
Plot SummaryHi there!

So, let's talk seriously for a moment. This site is awesome. There's literally thousands of gamers coming and going, creating and destroying worlds without end and generating enough quality literature to fill a library's fiction section completely. But as is often true in real life, the player demand is overwhelming compared to the limited pool of available DMs. Some players just don't have any interest in DMing, and that's fine. But others simply find the whole process too intimidating to jump into. They see their DM pull out a ton of maps and read notes and arbitrate rules disputes and the whole thing just looks like a crazy amount of work. Where would they even start to get into it?

Well, that's where I'd like to help, if anyone's interested.

This advertisement isn't for a "game" in the traditional sense. What I'd like to do is reach out to those of you who have considered DMing but need an experienced mentor to guide you through the process and what it entails. The site needs you - by my count, we see about 9 new games per month for both Pathfinder and 5th Edition, but we see almost 100 new players a month, and that's on a slow month(these numbers are complete speculation on my part and not guaranteed to be accurate, but the sentiment behind them almost certainly is*). Even if no experienced players competed for those spots (which of course they do, a LOT), and every game took 5 new players, there'd still be 55 or more a month who never get into a game in their first month here. A lot of them won't stay, for that reason.

The workload doesn't necessarily have to be as overwhelming as it looks. Over the years I've learned a lot of little tricks and shortcuts that can help you get your game prep time down. And the great news is that the slower nature of PbP works greatly to your advantage: in real life, I'd say about 2 hours of prep time gets me 1 hour of material at the gaming table. In PbP, that same 2 hours gets me about 3 weeks of PbP material, and that's assuming my players don't go off on tangents and socialize and build up specific moments of it. There really is no better medium for a new DM to learn in.

Oh, and hey, in case no one's ever mentioned it? Being a DM is FUN. Seriously, some of the work can be tedious, but the payoff of having people play around in your sandbox is EXTREMELY rewarding. You'll have great stories to tell!

So if you're interested in becoming a DM, this is for you. We'll talk about world building, making a good story, making good NPCs and villians, building encounters and dungeons, when and how to make your own house rules, and ultimately weaving it all together. We'll talk about a number of different styles and theories, and we'll build a first adventure from the ground up. And when you're ready to run it on the site, I'll stay with you for the beginning of it and help you through the PC interactions until you're on your feet and ready to continue on your own.

Apprentices
I'll take 6 apprentices to start. For the moment, I want only people with less than a 6000 post count who have never attempted to DM on the site before. I eventually want two other experienced DMs to help me teach, because exposure to different styles and thought processes are going to help round you out and help you find your own voices, and once I have those two assistants, we'll increase to taking 12 apprentices at a time. This initial post will always state how many slots we currently have open for training.


Assistant Trainers
As I said, I'd like two. Ideally one who runs homebrew material like I do, and one who mainly runs pre-published material. I'd like you to have at least 4000 posts on the site and have DM'd a campaign here on RPGX that has lasted at least one year. Familiarity with any particular ruleset isn't necessary(See, potential DMs? That's how unimportant the actual rules are, compared to the other parts of the job.*).


Given the nature of what we're doing, there isn't really much to put in your application as an apprentice. If you'd like to share some basic information, here's what I'd love to know:
  • Your biggest fear as potential DM - what's kept you from trying before now?
  • What you've liked or disliked about DMs you've had in the past
  • Your basic experiences with RPGs as a player

12/30/21 Update:
Thread Necromancy!

This worked out really well for the first group, and as I return to the site, I notice that there's still a need, so I'm bringing it back up. Please make sure that you are motivated to run a game on RPGX after you complete the training, I'd love to see everyone who takes this thing become a future DM on the site!

Looking forward to working with you!


Apprentice Slots Remaining: 0

We'll bump this thread when we're ready to take a new class!
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Last edited by arin12; Jan 7th, 2022 at 10:33 AM. Reason: Thread Necromancy
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Old Dec 22nd, 2016, 10:16 PM
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I'm interested and still under 2000 post count. I've Dm'd once before when I was 14 for me and a friend and it went into a horrible mess of railroading and never really was playable. I'd love to give it a try though definitely nervous.

1) biggest fear is failure
2) Matt mercer, A DM that created a homebrew world and allowed for things to happen that weren't necessarily in the books allowing me to eventually begin to communicate with wolves after multiple attempts using a basic command that they might know. I was also working on a wolf cowl from one that attacked the party that looked intimidating to gain a +1 bonus.
2) I've played multiple games on Rpg crossing. video games from boulders gate, titans quest, wow, dragons quest and others. 2 years of 1 player, 1dm/player table top dnd 3.5. I've played 3.5, pathfinder, 4th, 5th, dungeon world, a couple homebrew systems.

Last edited by delpinator; Dec 22nd, 2016 at 10:56 PM.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2016, 10:39 PM
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Hi Arin12 I am interested in this as a new Assistant Storyteller Trainer. I have been around gaming for a long long time cut my teeth on 1st Ed D&D and have played/ran so many different game systems that I actually lost count. I have gone from the detail everything down to the penny to okay the C-Note will cover this for now at least until the players have taken the bait on that hook. So I know the full ramifications of both spectrums.

Further I am an amateur game enhancer I actually created the concept of Meta Magics and added them to my 2nd Ed D&D game long before they were even called Meta Magics (p.s. mine are actually fairly useful but still very balanced and play-tested heavily) as well as a bunch of other things. On the flip-side to that -- I have gone way to deep into details and eventually realized there was no need for that much realism in a fantasy game and dialed back and created simple solutions to some of the issues I would see in game guidelines.

Now while I do not currently, on this site, have the posts you require I have done PbP way back to the BB years, then CompuServe, and then another game board that used a very similar software base. I did each of those for 2 to 3 years apiece if not longer. I have ST'd numerous games and even helped coordinate a massive PbP that had 5 STs, 15 Players, 50 characters and 25 intersecting story arcs to keep track of (btw that was WoD the whole world version).

Lastly I have done both -- run modules straight and tweaked but mostly I do (especially as of late) creative from semi-scratch stories, hopefully based off the things the players want to see in the game.

I would very much, perhaps like you, like to give back to the community that I have enjoyed being part of for so many years. I hope you might consider relaxing your requirements.
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Last edited by DeJoker; Dec 22nd, 2016 at 10:56 PM.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2016, 10:52 PM
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I've always wanted to try my hand at being a DM. I even made a post over in... Games Seeking Players, maybe? Can't recall. But it was a post advertising myself as an Assistant GM. Basically helping make maps and tokens, maybe directing another group of players as they split up, that sort of thing. No one seemed that interested. Probably because of the relative newness of my profile. But yeah, a more workshop-like environment to ask questions, make stuff, and learn from failures sounds like a solid place to cut my teeth and get over my general GM-based fears.

-Your biggest fear as potential DM - what's kept you from trying before now?
I don't know how to read people. I honestly CANNOT tell if they're having fun, being engaged, or enjoying themselves. I've DM'ed all of one time for a Rise of the Runelords game, and it didn't last long. I just couldn't discern if my players were having FUN! If only because I can only gauge enjoyment from my own perspective. Which is wanting to roleplay, or explore, or banter, or feel encourage to try more off-the-wall/creative ideas to solutions. So at the very least, I'd like to know I have the means to make an engaging experience.

-What you've liked or disliked about DMs you've had in the past
Liked: Being able to tell a story and control events to tell a narrative.

Disliked: Crippling fear of producing a disappointing session.

-Your basic experiences with RPGs as a player
Name a tabletop system and there's a chance I've played at least one game in it. I dove head first into tabletop games about 5 years ago with Pathfinder and 3.5 and never looked back. I never had any equally nerdy friends to actually play these with, being a real solitary kid (and now, socially maladjusted person). But I've gone through a bunch of stuff. Rouge Trader, Star Wars Saga, Call of Cthulhu, AD&D 2e, 3.5e, 5e, Deathwatch, Deadlands, Shadowrun 4e and 5e, and so on and so forth.

I tend to run a wide gamut of characters too. Healers, Summoners, Bruisers, Tanks, Thieves, Bards, Scholars, Spellcasters, Monstrous fighters, etc. Personally I enjoy characters that make me feel smart for playing them. Using my skill set to find a solution, thinking creatively with the spells or gear that I have, or just attempting something unusual to reach my goal. Like talking down a 40 man squad of Ratfolk commandos, all armed with crossbows on myself and the party and engaging with only their leader instead of ALL of them, or even some of them. Or plummeting from a 1000 ft. tall tower after being knocked off by a reincarnated demi-lich and saving myself by unfolding a Portable Hole on my character's tower shield to pull a Flying Carpet out and unfurl it to save myself.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2016, 11:29 PM
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This idea couldn't have come along at a better time! I have been thinking very recently how much someone like myself would benefit from this type of DM mentoring program on the site, and I would absolutely love to join. Just a brief bit of background first. I grew up with tabletop RPG's (AD&D predominantly) and have dabbled as a DM before but to little or no success for myself or my players sadly. After quite a few years on hiatus (over 15 years!) I've fallen back in love with the hobby, and have enjoyed doing so in a PbP manner but I've always had that taste for Dungeon Mastering, and have always felt so dissatisfied at my previous failures. I know I could have done better!

  • My biggest fear as a potential DM (at least here at the site) is being my own worst enemy. What I mean is, I feel personally that I bog myself down in being too detail oriented, too over prepared, or too focused on meaningless details that I lose sight easily and wind up frozen behind a couple paragraphs of writing that doesn't get my plans or thoughts out cohesively. My fear is that if I am unable to effectively plan out the most simple of encounters how would I ever be able to manage a full game as a DM. I also find myself hesitating to jump in because I feel that it might be more time consuming than I originally plan, and I would hate to disappoint any players with my own shortcomings. Whew, sorry about the rant there!

  • In games I've played in the past, the one thing that always stood out to me was great storytelling. I had a friend who regularly ran games for me and a couple others, and I can remember huge portions of our games where not a single die was rolled. Not for lack of fun, or interesting encounters but in how he told our stories. I never felt railroaded, and he was always able to make each adventure feel personalized for our characters individually while still telling some overarching story that bound everything together. One thing I disliked was (when I was fairly young starting out with 2nd edition) one DM was good friends with one of our players, and all throughout the entire campaign (which never finished, by the way) he showed such blatant favoritism for this one character even though he basically went off on his own story with the DM and the rest of us simply became empty NPC's that tagged along. I hated the feeling of being excluded, and always remembered that whenever I would run a game it would be run fairly for everyone. It's only a game if everyone is having fun, right?

  • As for RPG experience in general, I have a decent range. Quite a bit in video games, also other tabletop RPG's (World of Darkness, Star Wars, D&D 2nd, 3rd and more recently 5E to name some) and board games or tabletop mini games (while not exactly roleplaying I played my fair share of Warhammer and Warhammer 40K).

QuestionsI know you mentioned that knowledge of the Pathfinder rules would help, but was not necessary however this is one system I've never learned, or even have books for, and was looking more towards DM'ing games for 5E. Is this going to cause a lot of complications for me if I'm accepted?

Also once the game forum is up, what's the posting speeds your looking for from apprentices? I mainly ask this only because I'm heading on holidays after tomorrow and will only be able to post sporadically at best for about a week. Otherwise I can post 5/week or once per day, depending on what's required.


Sorry for the long-winded application! That all just kind of came pouring out. And regardless if I'm accepted as an apprentice I think this is a great idea for the people on the site that have wanted to dive into the Dungeon Mastering side of the game. I completely agree, I actually found that in my (brief) experience playing a DM I probably had more fun than being a player! Who doesn't want to tell amazing stories of adventures, craft worlds, and play as an infinite number of interesting characters?! Thanks very much for your consideration!
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Old Dec 23rd, 2016, 12:13 PM
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good idea. I have been on this site for almost a year, and finally got accepted into a game. really frustrating to get in a game or even get accepted.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2016, 12:58 PM
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-Hello. I'm fairly new to RPG Crossing. I discovered the site a few weeks ago and have recently placed my first two applications for games. I am an experienced DM and tabletop player but am new to play-by-post. I would be interested in DMing but I don't yet have a sense of how a game on this site actually plays out. I would be interested in joining up as an apprentice to learn how DM's organize the players and utilize the tools provided by the forums.

Your biggest fear as potential DM - what's kept you from trying before now?
-My biggest fear as a DM is not keeping ALL the players interested. I find that sometimes one or two players can become prominent in either the narrative or the action; sometimes both. I like to think that I notice this when it happens and take measures to be inclusive to all players but I am sure that sometimes players may escape my notice and feel unappreciated.

-My fear about DMing on RPG Crossing is not knowing about the tools available and not organizing content in the most efficient manner.

What you've liked or disliked about DMs you've had in the past
-What appreciate DMs that can take a long view to a story. My original gaming group played for years and so characters had a long time to develop and the DMs had time to create stories that could help lead characters along fulfilling story arcs. As life goes on and real world happens, campaigns have become more short lived and as a result character story arcs can become unfulfilling. This might be more of a complaint about aging rather than DMing....

I also really appreciate a DM that can make combat quick and exciting. There are so many rules in a game like D&D or Pathfinder that combat can easily drag out, especially if you have a large group of players, as everyone starts using special rules and the DM has to keep HP tallies. I think a good DM is one who can fudge the rules and allow for an encounter to end early to keep it exciting (and brutal) in the interest of player attention and narrative.

Your basic experiences with RPGs as a player
- I use to play a lot of D&D back in middle and high school. My group would play the same characters for years and track their progress from lowly level one peons to powerful level 20 demigods. It was great fun but I think a rarity to have such a long term group. Over the years my RPG books moved to the back shelf and eventually to a cardboard box in storage and board games have become the prominent medium in my house. For the past decade my friends and I tend to do RPG light games such as Decent or Mordhiem. A game like Decent provides the continuity of story and development of character that is so awesome in a game like D&D, but packages it in easily playable doses that can be finished in an evening. I haven't actually played an P&P RPG for the past 25 years. I have DM'd a bit of Pathfinder in short one off games though.

Last edited by The Mute; Dec 23rd, 2016 at 12:59 PM.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2016, 03:29 PM
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While I don't fit the qualifications to GM or assist in this, I am more than willing to assist those GMs who are paralyzed on the rules front (Pathfinder) as opposed to the storytelling aspects. I could easily commit to being a resource for several GMs to provide timely rules explanations and interpretations. Putting the RAW interactions into examples is something that I have found to be a strong suit.

If you find that any GMs could use such a resource, don't hesitate to point them to this post and my PM inbox. I keep it on instant email notification and can generally find time to respond swiftly, as long as I'm awake.

Thank you for running this thread. We need more competent GMs around here because of the sheer numbers aspect you pointed out.

Good luck!
-Ziether
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Old Dec 23rd, 2016, 08:29 PM
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@The Mute, Tyeal, Delpinator and JMarion: It's my pleasure to accept you into the program. Head on over to this thread, make yourselves comfortable, and read up on the first lesson.

If any of you needs the specific lesson on RPGX Thread Basics (IE subscribing to threads and such) to be faster than I intend it to be, let me know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baconology View Post
good idea. I have been on this site for almost a year, and finally got accepted into a game. really frustrating to get in a game or even get accepted.
That. That right there, the exact problem I'm trying to solve. I applaud you sticking through it, Bacon, we're very lucky that you were determined to make a home here. Hopefully we can make it an easier start for those coming after you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeJoker View Post
Hi Arin12 I am interested in this as a new Assistant Storyteller Trainer. I have been around gaming for a long long time...
Ho boy. It's like looking in a digital mirror.

I get it, man. Let's face it, in every RPG player's career, they go through a point where they just don't want to play a level 1 character anymore. It's so limiting compared to all the skills and abilities you're used to having! You feel incomplete, you feel there's a little tedium to it, and more than anything you just wanna get to the good stuff.

Seems like that's where you are in your relationship with this site. You know what you're doing, you've been doing it for ages, and you just want to dive in and strut your stuff. To have people treat you like you're fresh off the assembly line can just start to feel ludicrous. Don't they appreciate that they've got work to be done and you've got the skill to do it?

That's how I felt on this site, the first time I applied to join the NPSG program and was told I didn't have enough time invested here to do it. (An experience I noticed, in reviewing your post record, that you recently went through yourself.) Mind you, I even had a few things on you: I'd been here almost three months, rather than a week, and I was a returning player who'd been active for years in the 2005-2008 range. I had already started an 8 player game as a DM that (in my opinion, both then and now) had some good quality post work in it. But they were firm about it. They'd just been burned too much.

Here I am, two years later, and I hate to say it but now that I'm on the other side of the coin, I really do see their point. You've noticed we don't really vet our player-level DMs here - anyone who joins the site can request to run a game on day 1, and all we really look at is whether their blurb looks like it was written at a third grade level. We let the community police itself on whether a game, or a DM, is up to "standard".

There's a lot of benefit to that, and I wouldn't have it any other way, but it does have a downside: let downs. DMs come in like shooting stars, kicking serious butt, and after a month or two they just disappear with no word. It happened to me here, and here, and here and here. Not gonna lie, that last one still hurts a bit, I was having SO much fun with that guy. But he just went poof. A LOT of new people around here just go poof, I'd say even as high as 50%.

So hey, you may be the very best, like no one ever was. But bluntly, you've got to prove that here. You've got to show you have staying power. All I can say is that it's worth the wait. I am an NPSG DM now, and I like to think I'm fairly well-respected in the community here. And just like hitting that new highest-level-ever record can feel rewarding for all the XP you earned, the time and energy I spent into earning respect here has made everything they give me a lot sweeter.

Now, that said, I do remember how much it sucked not being given a chance early on. So here's what I'm willing to do: come along for this first ride. Watch the apprentices, and communicate to me in secret text only what you'd be adding or supplementing if you were one of my two chosen assistants. Prove to me that A) you've got good advice to offer, B) you know how to follow instructions, and C) you're in this for the long haul. I'll use any suggestions you make that seem legit and I'll credit you properly for them, but for now I want to act as a filter because you're untested here. Make it through this group under those conditions, and I'll take you as an assistant when I start hunting around for the next batch.

That's the fairest deal I can offer you at this point. You up for it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziether View Post
While I don't fit the qualifications to GM or assist in this, I am more than willing to assist those GMs who are paralyzed on the rules front (Pathfinder) as opposed to the storytelling aspects...
I can think of a place down the line where that might be useful to me. I am, admittedly, a bit fuzzy on RAW in a few places because I've used my own house rules for more than 20 years and have simply forgotten that they aren't the rules. I'll chuck you a PM when I get there.
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Last edited by arin12; Dec 23rd, 2016 at 08:31 PM.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2016, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arin12 View Post
I can think of a place down the line where that might be useful to me. I am, admittedly, a bit fuzzy on RAW in a few places because I've used my own house rules for more than 20 years and have simply forgotten that they aren't the rules. I'll chuck you a PM when I get there.
You know where to find me. I'm always happy to be of assistance. Hopefully next December I'll have a year-long game under my belt and be available for the other stuff. I'd like to see things like this expand beyond the scope you can offer and truly improve the quantity and quality of games found in GSP.

Godspeed!
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Old Dec 24th, 2016, 12:05 AM
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Well I have to admit that is far better deal than I got from NPSG and its acceptable -- it might be easiest then if you set up a thread within your "game" that you and I can only see and post to that -- and I will make my comments within there -- as if I am responding to whatever directly and you can choose to copy/paste, edit or ignore. Oh and please when you start that thread -- start it with the conditions that you outline so I can always have them right at the top to remind me what they are. Also and thanks for the chance, I do not think you will be disappointed.

As for the NPSG I think their hesitancy and terms are by far the wrong way to go -- as I suggested they should create a "mentor" like program with newer Storytellers so that they can bring someone into that venue quicker. The overseer, who meets the long term commitment requirement, is involved in the game and can step in and take over should the apprentice Storyteller vanish into thin air then after a year the apprentice becomes an overseer.

Note I look at this from experience as well -- I cannot count the number of games where the Storyteller just evaporated into thin air -- many of those games I ended up putting my PC aside and took the reigns so that the game could continue for the others. Still on the flip-side the number Storytellers that have evaporated pales in comparison to the number players in games that I was in or was running evaporated into thin air. But do I let that color my decision to allow someone the chance to play, nope I understand that is the nature of PbP and I do my best to cover for it the best that I can for the players that stick around. So what I am saying is that you can either create a wall to try and protect yourself or you can create a secondary solution that allows for quicker expansion and growth. If you are having problems with getting quality Storytellers you should probably not treat them like dirt just because you do not know them all that well yet. Figure out a better way to be encouraging and supportive (such as this endeavor) and remove the road blocks and you might find things just might improve wee bit quicker. Of course, I am what some folks call a hopeful optimist -- but I prefer to believe in folks until they prove otherwise rather than condemn them until they prove otherwise
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Last edited by DeJoker; Dec 24th, 2016 at 12:20 AM.
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Old Dec 24th, 2016, 06:56 PM
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Just a reminder that there's still 2 slots open!
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Last edited by arin12; Dec 24th, 2016 at 06:56 PM.
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Old Dec 25th, 2016, 07:59 PM
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I would like to throw my hat in

I've DM'd a little IRL (Shadowdrun, 2ed D&D and I just started a Dresden Files game), but I am miles from confident in my abilities. I've wanted to start a game here for ages (I've been in so many great games that it seems only fair to pay the community back a little by dming myself), but the thought makes me a little anxious, since I would hardly call my forays into the art so far 'successful' - I have high hopes for the one I just started, but on the other hand there was nearly a PvP TPK on the 3rd session... so.... -_-'

- Biggest fear as a DM: I don't mind players going off the rails, but I do worry about being able to rein them in when they go off the reservation. This has been a problem with the games I've run in the past, where one or two players completely dominated the party dynamic, and when I tried to rebalance things so everyone was having fun, it imploded, and no-one had fun.

- The best thing I have found in a DM is to be able to pull players along a storyline instead of having to push them. The story happens, the players see the first thread, and that thread is compelling enough that they go after the entire thing without even realising (or caring) that they're being railroaded in the best way possible. Also I love weird surreal/steampuunky/noir settings, but it seems those games often die here...

-IRL I've been playing nearly fifteen years. I started on a weird 1st/2nd ed. D&D hybrid with a bunch of house rules when I was a kid, playing with my little brother and Dad as the DM. Online, I joined this site nearly two years ago, and played a bunch off games in a bunch of systems, some of which last longer than others. I love learning new systems for Char-gen, but honestly, I kind of hate learning combat systems... :/ My most noteworthy accomplishments on the site are POTM 12/15 and getting to the semifinals of this year's Outplay (I got beaten by Khelbiros, who ended up winning the whole thing).
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  #14  
Old Dec 26th, 2016, 12:19 AM
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Oh man, I was JUST talking about trying my hand at DMing. This would be so helpful: I'm pretty much self-taught at both D&D and Pathfinder and have been way too intimidated to start my own game up until recently. If you still have room, I'd love to give this a shot.

-Your biggest fear as potential DM - what's kept you from trying before now? The issue is largely twofold: Firstly, the concept of crafting a working, enjoyable story using a series of rules and stats that I'm only moderately familiar with is concerning. Secondly, I tried my hand at running a freeform play-by-post RP or two back when I was a teenager, and I kept falling into the problem of having half the group constantly entertained and the other half bored.

-What you've liked or disliked about DMs you've had in the past
I really love it when DMs work their players' characters into the story somehow, whether it's a mention of something from their characters' backgrounds, or having their actions affect something later in the plot.

-Your basic experiences with RPGs as a player. Started playing Pathfinder in 2014, picked up 5e in 2015. Taught myself PF via youtube, the NPSG here, and just by jumping into games here. I played 5e Adventures League in person for a short time in 2015 but really didn't start getting a better grip on the rules until I started getting into PBP games here. Acquisitions Inc and Critical Role got me interested in tabletop rpgs several years ago, but I didn't really start actually playing until I joined RPGX.
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Last edited by Pseudonymous; Dec 26th, 2016 at 12:20 AM.
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  #15  
Old Dec 26th, 2016, 01:13 AM
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Cool! Okay, I got my first class. I'll pop this thread when I'm ready for the next one. Til then, take care all!
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