I remember my first time GMing. It was after the third game I’d ever played in any system, ever. I caught the bug. I wanted to GM and do a better job than our current GM. Boy were there LOADS of things that I didn’t know. I hadn’t read enough of the powers and skills to know how to use them, I was too eager to make cool things happen, I railroaded.

Be it GMing, taking a new job, or trying to stat out the beast with two backs our first time at anything is always fumbling towards ecstasy . So in the case of GMing, how do you avoid the first time GMing mistakes?

You Don’t Avoid Mistakes, But Neither Did Anyone Else
We learn from the mistakes that we make, and sometimes we learn from the mistakes that others make. When I first wanted to GM, it was because I wasn’t a fan of a lot of the stuff that our current GM was doing with the game. The bad things he was doing were not the bad things I did. I avoided his mistakes, only to make my own.

Listen, Listen!
Listen to the players, watch the players, and try to pick up on their reactions. If you have a feeling that the game is going down a bad road then take a break and ask for opinions. The players know if they are having fun or not. Listening to what is good and bad from the people involved in the game can help you turn it around. Usually you find it is not actually so bad.

Be Forgiven My Child

If it is early into your GMing career then it is understood that you are trying something new. Players who have taken their turn in the GMing seat will understand the pressures of first time GMing. They went through them. Players who haven’t GMed haven’t tried what you are doing. They’ll catch the bug someday though, and then you can be the experienced GM looking back and going: Wow, I remember my first time.

Lower Your Expectations Of Yourself
One thing that looking back on my first experiences GMing has made me realize is that the person that disliked my first time GMing most was myself. I didn’t meet up to my own expectations, but mine were nigh on impossible to reach. I wanted to impress everybody. I wanted the standing ovation. I wanted to be a phenom. Nobody ever really does that. The best people in any field started out small and learned their way up. So aim at having fun with the game and don’t be afraid to take small steps.

So the ever popular first time question. What was your first time like? What was the one biggest thing you wish you had or hadn’t done with it? And please, please, please, try to keep the comments clean-ish!