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Enter Official BBC Contest #74: The Dark Side of the Brick!
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What sort of RPG? Tabletop? Text-Based? Etc.
Each game has different needs.
Tabletop. Pathfinder, specifically.
I'm not sure what to say. I was going to talk about my first campaign and how I learned not to railroad the players and how I now try to go the path of running it by the seat of my pants. However, in my experience, you need to have built some sort of intuition about the system to do that easily.
My best advice (and there's dozens of blogs with tons of advice; this is the piece that I wish I had been given from the start): Don't plan your adventures completely out. Identify the simple things you need prepared, but don't railroad your players. The more you are able to conjure at the table spontaneously, the more fun it will be for you and your players. I would recommend Mike Shea's The Lazy Dungeon Master for more stuff regarding that.
I guess the only other thing I'll say is this: My first session I ever ran for a game was for my brother's birthday. We were ALL new to the game (D&D 4e) and none of us had ever played any tabletop RPG before. It was a blast. Looking back now having MUCH more experience: That was a TERRIBLE adventure and I would be ashamed to run that now. But everyone had fun then. Your session may go completely terrible. If it does, it gets better with experience.
Oh, and my final recommendation: Don't let your group grow above 20 people. It's a nightmare.
EDIT: ESPECIALLY if it's your first time playing the system: read the Pathfinder equivalent of the Dungeon Master's Guide. It will give you a very good picture of everything.
Lol, yeah, figured that would help, so I've been reading the online Pathfinder guide on and off all day.
Railroading is actually something I learned to avoid just by playing a bit as one of the gamers, as we had much more fun fooling around at our own pace than when everythign was crazy linear. I'll be sure to check out Lazy DM though, so thanks for that info.
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