Tips for new GMs

Making the move from playing to GMing can be daunting. You know how you want things to go but how do you make your dreams a reality? We recently asked our friends, followers and forum members what advice they would offer new GMs. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Don’t Panic
2. Remember that your primary goal is to make sure your players are having fun so find out what your players enjoy (Combat? Role-play? Accumulation of wealth or fame (or both)? Do they think adventurers are above average examples the population or just like everyone else?
3. Rules aren’t written in stone. If something isn’t fun, change it.
4. Listen to your players. They may not know what they want, but you can read it between the lines.
5. Start each session with a recap of last session’s details.
6. Players brainstorming as they try to figure out what is going on is a great source of ideas as to where to take the campaign next.
7. Remember that neither the rules nor your plot are the star of the show; the players are. That doesn’t mean you have to give in to their every whim or demand. But it does mean you have to be flexible.
8. Keep the game flowing, move it along if the players seem to drag. If you have to get some strange help for them to get over a hump do it.
9. Understand that your players will often derail your best laid plans. Learn to anticipate this possibility and know there will be times you have to wing it. However, remember you can sometimes ‘move’ your planned event into the players path.
10. Don’t leave players with nothing to do for long periods of time. If someone is captured or incapacitated figure out a way to not leave them twiddling their thumbs.
11. Have your players write up a bit of a background that you can then incorporate into the campaign. It engages the players even more when something they wrote gets into the campaign.
12. If you need a number between 1-100: 42. It’s the answer to everything.
Thanks to everyone who contributed their tips for new GMs. If you have any tips that aren’t on our list of if you have specific questions about GMing for the first time, visit the Iron Crown Enterprises forum and let us know.