I've only got one leg, and I'm running.

Why aren’t you running a game?

Do you have a good reason for not running a game, or is it just an excuse? Take your time, look at this picture, and think about it for a few minutes.

If you really want to run a game, very few things should truly prevent you from doing so.

Some of them include:

  • A job which demands erratic 80+ hour work weeks.
  • Being locked in solitary confinement.
  • Parenting a newborn.

(Yes, parenting a newborn often feels like the first two, but let’s give proper respect to those raising the next generation of gamers, as opposed to those who chose to take the salary option or the violent sociopath option.)

Only three things are necessary to run a role-playing game. Everything else is optional:

  • Rules — Can’t afford rulebooks? That’s garbage; there are free games out there. I can think of at least one game that is both inexpensive and popular (and easy to play). I’m sure our minions readers will volunteer more.
  • A Place to Play — First off, you don’t even need a table. But that’s fine, some hide-bound traditionalists (like myself) insist on the old ways. If you don’t have a big table, does one of your players? Have you checked your local libraries, colleges, and gaming shops? How about a coffee shop or restaurant? Another possibility is to game online, either play-by-post or in real-time, using one of the many tools out there.
  • Players — Or “Player”, if you want to include 1-on-1 games. If you can’t find players, you’re probably not trying hard enough. Some guy with a funny name wrote this article about finding gamers, which still holds true. In the real world, try your FLGS, or leave a note on bulletin boards at colleges and coffee houses.

Common excuses for not running a game:

  • Don’t know the rules.
  • Nowhere to game.
  • Lack of players.
  • Lack of confidence.
  • Unfinished homebrew game/setting.

Is one of the above your ‘reason’ for not running a game? Because nearly all of us behind the screen have overcome each of those barriers, sometimes more than once.

I was stuck in the game-less rut last year; my excuse was my daughter’s birth (reasonable when she was younger, but she’s a year and a half now). It was shortly before the holiday season, and I was using rules I only knew casually, with a wide mix of players, and an unfinished and untested setting.

But I bit the bullet and dove right in. (Mixed metaphors — yet another free service from Gnome Stew!)

Yes, I made a few mistakes, and my players even managed to find one or two of them. But the game continued, and (as far as my players know) all of the issues are worked out. Most importantly, I no longer have the secret shame of writing for a GMing blog while not actually running a game.

There’s no time like the present.

This is the perfect time to start a new campaign. The holidays are over. School will be back in session soon. The midseason replacements are on. And it’s time for New Year’s Resolutions. How about making a resolution to start a campaign?

Got a good reason not to be running a game? Care to attempt to justify commenting on GMing blogs while not running a game? (Yeah, I’m trolling for comments…) Sound off and let us know!