You’ve probably seen the Dungeons & Dragons 30 Day Challenge meme rolling around the internet, which looks cool, but my interests and experiences with roleplaying aren’t restricted to just D&D. And though I could easily make a system/setting generic version, I’m not sure what use it’d be to the greater RPG community to have a list of my favorite things or most nostalgic memories.
It could be much more useful to use the daily prompts to trade Gamemastering advice with each other by commenting on the day’s post. Your response can be as short or long as you desire, but I’ve designed them so that I can fit in my own responses during the hour of writing time I have before work.
So, without further ado, here’s my list for 30 Days of Gamemastering.
Part I: Preparation
- What advice would you give a first-time GM? (Roundup)
- What are your favorite GMing tools or accessories? (Roundup)
- How do you find players?
- Do you use pre-published adventures or write your own?
- Stealing like an artist: what inspiration have you drawn from other games, books, movies, etc?
- Worldbuilding–what’s your process?
- How do you prep for the start of a campaign?
- How do you prep for each session?
- Player “homework”: what do you ask of your players before and between sessions?
- What are your tips for running a low/no prep game?
Part II: At the Table
- House rules: what are your favorite hacks, mods, and shortcuts?
- Table rules: how do you keep players focused on the game?
- Rise to the challenge: how do you balance encounters in your system?
- How do you facilitate combat? Any tips, tools, or cheats?
- Memorable villains: how do you introduce and weave the antagonist/s into the ongoing narrative?
- Investigation and mysteries: how do you use foreshadowing, red herrings, and keep the tension rising?
- Structure and time: how do you use flashbacks, cut scenes, and parallel narratives in your games?
- How do you handle rewards, be they XP, magic items, or gold?
- What was your worst session and why?
- What was your best session and why?
Part III: Meta
- What are your favorite books about gamemastering?
- A novel solution: what’s the best advice you’ve borrowed from a totally different field?
- What effects do the system mechanics have on the setting or story?
- Canon vs. alternate universe vs. homebrew settings? What are the strengths and drawbacks of each?
- Problem players and drama llamas: how do you resolve conflict at the table?
- Are GMs bad players? How do you step back when someone else is running the show?
- Have you ever co-GMed? Would you consider it? What are the pros and cons?
- Transcending the material plane: how do you GM online?
- Teaching the rules: how do you sell players on the system while running a demo or con game?
- How do we grow the hobby?