I remember my first time ever being a GM.
It was for my husband, Ian’s, birthday probably 4 years ago. We’d invited some friends over for pizza and cake and whatnot, and I’d written up a mission for one of the original versions of Dead House. Ian created a permanently war-formed lycanthrope, Henri Wulfe (who has since been promoted to an NPC!), who dual wields chained falcatas (among other weapons as well). Everyone else made their characters up, and away we went!
I’d sent them to go check out an old plantation-style house in the south, rumoured to be held by some members of the local skin-walking vampire community who had turned rogue and were killing civilians. I’d mapped out the location on paper and had written down my enemy minions, their patrol locations, weapons, etc. I remember everything going pretty well up until the team of about 4 player characters got to my mission end boss. It was Ian’s turn, and he pretty much manhandled my boss in his single turn. While all of the players thought it was epic, and while it was, I was like… oh. Well. That just happened. Um, the end!
I’m not sure if anyone else out there who has ever been a GM has similar first-time-GMing stories (I’m sure they do to some degree!) but I do have to say that no matter how prepared I thought I was for whatever my players were going to throw my way, nothing can really prepare you for your players creativity! Which is what makes it really fun in a way; it really keeps on your toes and makes you think and adapt on the fly. I think that right there is the best reason to give your mission planning some wiggle room and not make parameters set in stone. Then again if they get too feisty, you can always drop a cow on them! Or a rock. Although I do think random falling cows and/ or rocks might be looked down upon for entire party death….
Anyways, there is a point to my story! Last week our friend, Beth, tried her hand at GMing Dead House: Watchers of the Night for the first time! Not only was this her first time GMing Dead House: Watchers of the Night, it was her first time GMing a tabletop game ever! Wohoo!
There were 4 players in her mission, which is to be a multi-mission installment. Beth did a very good job grabbing our interest at the beginning of the mission by giving us enough information to go on, but leaving us with some unanswered questions as well. Two members of the Vatican’s elite Ordos Divinus unit came to the House asking for aid in an ongoing situation in France, where an overly righteous stem sect group of the Ordos Divinus was causing problems and their double agent had gone missing after a magic-based explosion rocked their warehouse.
We as the player party went into France along, with the Ordos Divinus’ duo, and went on a search for their missing associate, searching the warehouse, the associate’s home address, and a couple of other locations of interest, prior to ending up at the headquarters of the stem sect group, where we ultimately killed one of their directors. Yay! Go, us!
After the mission was over, we asked Beth how it had gone from her standpoint. Now, we never would have known this without her telling us, but evidently we’d sent her on a wild goose chase and made her come up with some of the locations completely on the fly, not to mention we’d completely bypassed a couple of other locations where she had had some possible battle points set up for us! We had ultimately ended up at the headquarters, where we were supposed to go in the end, despite all of this, but Beth had made no shift in her storytelling to suggest that she was adapting to our movements on the fly whatsoever. We were not only impressed with her mission and her use of the game book and the universe as a whole, but also with her seamless ability to just roll with the punches so to speak and we are looking forward to what her next mission holds!
If anyone has any fun first-time GMing stories, feel free to share them! 🙂