Favorite One-Line GM Advice

What are your favorite one-line recommendations you’ve made to new GMs?

I like this well-worn favorite: “GM is in the problem department, players are in the solution department”

As GM you create the problem but don’t need to come up with every possible solution. The players will surprise you with their creativity and probably come up with better solutions than you can anyway.

8 Likes

One of my kids GM-friends asked the group: “On a scale of 1 to Satan, how mean do you want me to be?” I thought that was GREAT. Not advice, per say, but a great question to ask your group.

5 Likes

"Don’t get caught up with rules or specifics. It’s just a game. "

Might get me assaulted in some crowds, but there it is.

8 Likes

from the Cyberpunk 2020 guide Listen up you primitive screwheads…

'Killing them is easy. Don’t do that. Blow up their car, kidnap their friends, burn down their house, nail their cat to the door. Do anything to challenge them but keep them in the story."

4 Likes

The first commandment: “Don’t be a dick!”

5 Likes

Also known as “Wheaton’s Law”.

3 Likes

“The Rule of Cool: If it’s cool, it has a chance.”

4 Likes

“If you don’t use your Inspiration, I can’t give you more.”
~ Me

1 Like

Biggest advice I can give: have fun, because fun is contagious, and you set the mood for your table

6 Likes

Welcome to the forums, @greyauthor!

1 Like

Rule of cool is fine

Saying yes is great

But also know how to say no

When you adjudicate

4 Likes

Rulings over rules. Don’t let the small stuff keep you from moving the game on!

6 Likes

“It doesn’t take 30 seconds to add two to your roll. Stop cheating.”
~Me

1 Like

Run your game like Willy Wonka runs a factory tour: show them a world of pure imagination, and let them own the consequences of their actions there.

Make their decisions have great effect.

Agreed about the problem and solutions departments, ASWGM. It’s tempting to either hold on to THE ONE solution or to try to anticipate every possible solution. Better to be open to player ingenuity and reward them for their solution, without worrying so much about coming up with a solution ahead of time.

I love Matt Colville’s one liner, “Orcs attack!” It’s a great concise reminder to throw a simple encounter at your players should there be a lull in the action, they are taking too long to decide what to do, etc. It also reinforces that the world continues to evolve, even when the players are not interacting with it.

1 Like

"DMs don’t kill player characters, Players kill player characters. "

3 Likes

Welll…unless they REALLY deserve it.

1 Like

Duh…

Remember, it’s about people and not the game.

1 Like

That is an amazing book and should be required reading for anyone who runs a game.

1 Like