From my experience in talking with folks about gaming in general, it seems like one of the biggest hurdles to getting more people to run events (setting aside folks who just flat-out aren't interested at all) is simply confidence.
It can seem like a big thing to take responsibility for the fun of a group of strangers at a con.
The truth is, everyone is at the con to have fun and it'll all work out just fine, usually, but there are definitely a lot of skills new GMs can learn to not only make them better equipped but also more confident in their ability to handle whatever comes up.
Aside from just jumping in and going for it, what are the best ways for new GMs to learn? We could build another list of tips, certainly, but I'm not sure how effective that will ultimately be. I feel like we need something both more structured and hands-on.
Has anyone attended an event that they felt really helped them run events at cons? What was it?
How useful are seminars for this kind of topic?
How appealing would a workshop be? Maybe something where participants can actually run a game for a bit and get immediate feedback from "experts."
Off the top of my head, there are three broad categories of skills GMs could practice:
- System Mastery: This is just straight-up familiarity with the game itself (and thus doesn't apply to a seminar or some other events). There are ways to mitigate this skill with event labeling and a general culture of "don't argue the rules at the table."
- Social Management: How to handle a crowd, large or small. Keeping the group on-task and entertained, and knowing how to deal with problematic players that may pop up.
- Event Structure: The obvious would be how to manage tournaments (What are the different formats, and their strengths & weaknesses?), but also applies to general pacing for RPGs and even board games, if in properly estimating length, if nothing else.
I've been stewing on how to try to organize some official/semi-official "GM Bootcamp" for quite a while now and figured I'd just try to start a conversation about it to see what ideas other folks have.
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