Monthly Archives: June 2010

11 GMing Tips I Learned from Being a Parent

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Sometimes running a game feels like herding a group of toddlers through the glassware department of  a department store while carrying an armload of wet cats. While most of the time players act like the responsible adults they usually are, there are times that I feel I’ve got a table full of cranky toddlers. On those times, I’ve found the following parenting skills really useful:

  1. Never give your players an option you hate.
  2. Look for ways to say “yes.”
  3. Don’t tell your players what their character thinks, just tell them what they can do.
  4. Don’t give in to whining.
  5. Never be afraid to say “no.”
  6. Limit their choices, if need be, but let the players make their own choices
  7. When everyone’s tired and hungry, take a break
  8. Admit when you’re wrong.
  9. Apologize when you need to.
  10. Let players make their own mistakes
  11. Insist on good manners.

How about you? What parenting (teaching, whatever) tips have you found helpful as a GM?

[Photo courtesy of fiskfisk under the Creative Commons 2 license]

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What Do You Need Help With?

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In addition to the world setting I’m creating, I’m looking at producing a line of products to help GMs run better and more immersive games. To that end, I’ve created a short survey asking for your input. Please help me out by taking a moment to give me your ideas. I’ll post the results here next week.

Click here to take survey

Notable Absence

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As you’ve all noticed by now, my writing has been rather sporadic recently. It’s not because I’ve run out of ideas or developed a sudden allergy to blogging. No, the reason I’ve been rather absent is because my fiance Jay and I just bought a house and (being a foreclosure), it’s taking a lot of work to make it livable. Since I work from home, this will also be the new office of

We’re currently in the middle of ripping out all of the carpet and priming the entire house for repainting. Luckily, most of the work that needs to be done is cosmetic and we saved enough on the purchase price of the house itself that we’ll be able to hire someone to install the bamboo floors we’ve picked out. But meanwhile, there’s a lot of “sweat equity” to be put into it.

I’ve got a couple of “before” pictures — photos of the place before we began work. You can see one of them above; I’ll be posting more on my martial arts blog On My Own Two Feet.