Sunday, June 2, 2013

Growing as a GM/DM

I have been a DM/GM in AD&D 1E for a very long time.  At the same time,  I really haven't built up that much experience.   Go back over 20 years ago when  I was in my late teens and early twenties and I made the switch from Player to DM I spent about two thirds of my total time in AD&D 1E as a DM.  About 3 years or so.

Then life happened.  The group split up, books got put away.  marriage, kids, time goes by.

A bit over a year ago,  I came back to the game by way of my kids being interested in it.  I starting dusting off rusty old DM skills and refreshing my memory on how things work in the game, joined an online forum (DragonsFoot, best damn AD&D forum on the internet) and got my head back into the game.

It all came back pretty quickly and I have grown into an even better GM since then.  Learning about OSRIC has been a big part of that growth as well.
I have never and I don't intend to begin claiming that I am a "great" or "super" or the "est" GM/DM. 

There are two sides of the AD&D gaming world.   I have been a Player and  I have been a DM/GM,  both sides have a lot to offer.  Having said that, while I still wouldn't mind being "just" a Player in the future I have to say that I am a DM/GM to the bone.  That is where I find the most fun and overall satisfaction in the game.

I love reading AD&D threads in forums, in the Google Plus communities, on blogs and watching YouTube videos by folks like IvanMike.  All of those resources work to motivate, inspire and make me think and re-think my position on various aspects of the game.

A lot of my growth as a DM/GM has been from my kids.  As Players they have been exceedingly patient and cooperative with me while they learn as well.  They have been open-minded and adventurous, not complaining or being negative when I try new things out then change them, tweak them or get rid of them the very next session.  That's huge for me to have that opportunity to try new things and make changes mid stream in the effort to make the game better, more fun, more rewarding of an experience for them.

I tend to make things up on the spot.  Roll with the flow, stream of consciousness kind of stuff.  This allows me to be more spontaneous and adaptable to the Players actions and reactions.

I have learned to create stage settings.  Provide a general environment, a basic structure then let the game fill the space.  I let randomness via dice rolling be the deciding factor for how monsters and npc's interact with the pc's.  In essence,  I let the monsters and npc's speak for themselves.

I don't, as a DM/GM, see my role as to oppose the Players and PC's.  It's not them vs me.   I like to set characters in motion and let things happen on their own.  If anything, I see my role as a stage director, set the stage and keep things moving.

Now my primary goal at this point is to see how much more smoothly I can make the game proceed.  By learning the rules by heart, knowing the details and information about places, characters, monsters and more,  I can "let" the game happen more than "make" the game happen.

The less I have to look things up constantly the more I can speed up the action and make rulings more quickly and confidently.

I have spent this past year or so learning to make the game what I want it to be, making it "my" game.  Now I just need to work on carrying it out more "naturally".

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