The Pitch

cdn2-b.examiner.com_sites_default_files_styles_image_content_width_hash_64_8b_23_420.jpg We want to build the next generation of GMs. To do that, we're going to sequester 20 special GMs for an intense 3-day retreat, and teach them to be great GMs.

The Role-Player's Retreat is a 3-day workshop for role-players, providing recommendations and feedback on GMing. Only 20 gamers may attend.

If you are able to attend, you will…

  • …play 3 games that will stretch your GMing experience (Fiasco? Burning Wheel? Freemarket?)
  • …attend focused lectures and Q&As by experienced GMs. Some lecturers would attend physically, while others would be on Hangout. Advice will include:
    • How to prep
  • …run at least 1 game with a group that will provide specific feedback on your major strengths and weaknesses

We will launch a Kickstarter to pay for the hotel and other event expenses. Up to 5 backers at a high backer level will automatically get in.

Stretch goals will fund:

  • Video cameras and personnel to record the lectures. We will release those lectures online for anyone to watch.
  • On Air broadcasting of all lectures and Q&A's.
  • Same as above to record the games.

Feedback will not focus on your weaknesses. Instead, we will do two things: 1) identify your strengths and push them even higher, and 2) find any show-stopping weaknesses and find ways to mitigate them. Using a Fate Dice metaphor, we want to focus on making your +2's and +3's into +4's, and work around your -3's and -4's.

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Scratch Pad for Ideas

Scratch pad: Here's a rough list of GM attributes to rate:

  • speaking voice
  • acting
  • clarity of interaction
  • grasp of adventure/materials
  • grasp of rules
  • use of tokens/markers
  • energy
  • sharing the spotlight

The process for reviewers: just before you start playing, set a timer to go off every 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, look at the above list and choose one attribute. Watch the GM's ability with this attribute until the timer goes off again. Note anything relevant.

Tresi's criticisms

1. Many GMing skills are sensitive to the game and don't necessarily port well to other games, and in some cases are even directly contradictory. I don't think a retreat is going to be useful unless you narrow it down to a few games with a similar play style. For example, from the “scratch pad for ideas”, I only consider Grasp of the Rules and Sharing the Spotlight to be important for all games.

2. I think GM training is best served by immediately reinforcing it with actual GMing. Gamemastering improves by doing. You would need a bunch of players to make this feasible. Just round-robining through GMing where you spent most of your time playing won't be nearly as effective.

3. Three days seems far too long for this.

4. If this were an event within a larger con, then this might work.

5. The closest event that I know of for this was the Burning Wheel-only Beginner Track at Burning Con 2012. Day 1: Instruction, GM short scenario with other GMs, play. Day 2: GM for players, play.


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