Any advice for a first-time RPG host? (assuming it wins, of course)
A few things that I suggest, though keep in mind these are opinions, and some would disagree with me -
~ Remember that there are only two things that are important - the characters and the story. The setting is just a vessel for it, whatever the genre. The story is not static, either - it is moving, flowing. And the players should be able to influence it and its course. Some things should be predetermined - but players should be able to at least delay most of things these things, or possibly speed them up.
~ Player characters are the most important thing in the RPG. Never forget this. In my opinion, PCs should always be superior to the average NPC; some species will naturally have the advantage, such as a Skakdi NPC against a Matoran player, but a Matoran PC should triumph over an NPC as long as the player is acting smart. Only a few NPCs should be on the same level or greater than the players. Those who are should not commonly interact with the players. The greatest amount of power should be assigned to beings that are supposed to be beyond the PCs ability to defeat alone - principal antagonists or ancient monsters and the like.
~ There are good NPCs and bad NPCs. Good NPCs are those like the average members of society. Bad NPCs are those who are useless meatshields, or who are psychopaths for no reason. The idea of a PC controlled by the GM who is below -
~ You should only rarely ever tell players they can't go somewhere. Trying to keep a secret or saying that it's for a later point in the story is not an excuse. If players want to get somewhere, and have a way to do it, let them go in. You can make something almost impossible to reach from the start, but let them find that out themselves.
~ Don't put everything on a map or describe it. Leave some things open for exploration.
~ In my opinion, the GM should never make an PC who starts off with the powers or station reserved for an NPC. I do not believe that all NPCs in such positions should be fleshed out into PCs. If the GM wishes to have a PC, they can make a normal character with the exact same starting position as anyone else. Generally, I see having a PC in an RPG you GM as a bad idea, simply because it means not only does your absence kill the story, it also kills the non-story related activities of characters that PC adventures with - you're twice the risk.
~ Don't make a long list of things that are allowed/not allowed. Character approval should be hands-on by the GM on a case-by-case basis after the players follow the guidelines.
There's other things, but I'm too tired right now. There's just some stuff.
-Toa Levacius Zehvor