Shortly after I started writing TT, I asked this open question: how did you learn to GM? Your answers were elightening and entertaining, and they revealed a number of commonalities in the way GMs learn their craft.
I wanted to wait until the TT community had grown to ask the obvious follow-up question, and it’s grown a lot since July. So how about it — how should GMs learn to GM?
Most GMs seem to have followed one of these two paths: play for a little while, then start GMing; or jump right into GMing, without playing first.
Several folks mentioned this ingredient: having GMed for a while, really learning the craft by playing certain indie RPGs.
Only one GM mentioned this, which I found very interesting: learning by getting pointers from another GM.
Let’s use those 4 elements as the basis for a list of ways GMs can learn to GM, and expand the list with several other options — some of which don’t exist (yet?), others that aren’t in widespread use. First, the four gleaned from your responses to the original question:
- Play for a little while, then start GMing.
- Jump right into GMing, without playing first.
- GM for a little while, but really learn the craft by playing indie RPGs.
- Get pointers from another GM.
Here come the new approaches:
- In a class.
- Through a mentorship, apprenticeship or tutor.
- Through GM workshops.
- By reading a solid treatise on the basics.
- By working through self-directed lessons (workbook, online, etc.).
…and one suggested by Scott, in the comments:
- Self-directed learning using online resources (forums, websites, blogs).
Would taking one of those approaches have helped you figure out what a GM does? Or let you improve the “work to fun” ratio in your sessions more quickly? Does the idea of GM workouts have any merit as a learning tool?
And perhaps most importantly, would you want to learn (or have learned) to GM in a more formalized way? And if so, what might that formal approach look like?
(And just to finish things off, what isn’t on my list, but should be?)