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Beginner’s Guide to running Roleplaying Games

5th Nov 2018

Beginners' Guide to running Roleplaying Games

This is written from MY perspective and is just MY opinions and thoughts about running games. What makes my perspective more of an authority than yours? Nothing except maybe I have taken the time to sit down and write about it! :-)

I get asked a lot at the moment for help from people new to running roleplay games, especially D&D. Hopefully this will help some….

I do not play D&D. It does not suit my play style. What does suit my playstyle? I’m not sure. I’m still looking for that perfect game.
The important thing for me is not so much the rules system, more the setting and the art.

Keep it simple

At their heart RPGs are just communal story telling games. Like when you were a kid and played Cowboys and Indians in the street with all the other kids.
The rule books are there so that everyone has more interesting characters to play and to help decide who gets shot and who doesn’t!
Essentially the players all get to roleplay being a hero and the GM plays all the baddies.

The GM (Games Master) is on the same side as the player characters and everyone is working together to create an epic story. You should be able to trust your players to help you play the game and to help tell a good story. Especially when you are new to running games. No one should be trying to undermine any one else or their character.

RPGs are not like most board games... You are not competing with each other to complete a task. In fact you are not competing with each other at all...

Getting your first RPG can be daunting! Some look like encyclopaedias and have rules for every eventuality. 

You don’t need most of it though. Not to start with anyway.

There are usually 3 things that are important to look at when looking at a new RPG:

Character creation, Combat and the Setting.
Have a flick through… read what interests you, skip what doesn’t. Look at the pictures and get a vibe for the game.
If you don’t like something such as magic in a sci’fi setting then just drop that element. You can always change your mind and bring it in later :o)
It’s your game and you can adapt it however you like.

Running a game should feel like fun! It should not be hard work and you should not feel pressured – though you should do some prep work before each session.

What equipment..?
In it's purest form RPGs just need some paper, pens and dice (even then not always). You can add books, miniatures and other stuff to suit your taste but none of it is essential.

Where to Start?
The best place for a new GM to start is by creating a character. Or two. Or three.
By being familiar with character creation the GM can help other players create characters suitable for his game.
Don’t try to read all the information about character creation for your chosen system – stick to the basics…

Create a few fighters. If a player wants to create a mage or whatever, lend them the rule book and let them do the studying