Consider this my manifesto to GMs everywhere.
I am tired of hearing about your games. Do not approach me with your stories about how awesome your past campaigns were. Do not bother to share with me how great your gaming group has been for the last X amount of years. I have no interest in your past accomplishments. They are a part of your past, and I’m focused on my present.
Instead of talking about your games run a game for me. Run it in public. Run it for strangers. Run it without any of your favorite safety nets whatever they may be.
Go for broke. Do not tell me “I need to prep something first.” That is an excuse, and you know it. If you feel your game is good enough to talk about, well then run that particular game again for me instead of talking about it.That game is already prepped, so let’s see how it runs for other people.
Or run it off the top of your head. Improvise like MacGuyver would with nothing but a ham sandwich and a ticking time bomb in a locked room. I guarantee that you will survive the ordeal.
Save the talk for your date nights and family reunions. I want to game with you, not hear you talk about gaming.
Other people want to game with you too. They are not looking to join your group. They are not interested in what you ran for someone else last week. They are at your local game shop, community center, and student lounge waiting for you to show up and GM. They are not waiting for you to show up and share a story about GMing.
Want to try a new RPG out but your current group is not interested in it? Do not talk to me about your situation. Break out the dice and hand me a character sheet. Start the game.
Just had a bad night in the GM’s seat? Do not tell me went wrong. Take your material and run that game for me. Now. No hesitation. At the end of the session you will either have a better understanding of what failed, or you will have solved the problem.
Having trouble finding new players? Show up at a place where people meet with pre-generated characters and a sign that says “Roleplaying Game Open To All!” and get the first person who asks “What is that?” to sit down and play.
You can talk, or you can take action. Talking is easy. Leave easy for the other guy. Take action. Expose yourself to the risk of failure, and then push yourself hard to succeed. In other words – run a game. That is the best advice you will ever get as a GM.
Stop talking. Start gaming.