Pro Gamemasters: GM Lonely Fun.
The prep and plan for getting paid on Start Playing.
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. - B. Franklin
I've recorded a great long session with Judd Karlman of the Githyanki Diaspora about his experiences running games on Start Playing. He shares his approach, what he would do differently, and his hopes for paid GMs down the road. I had this conversation with Judd to use his experience to help me start off strong as a paid GM. I hope once I’m done with the edits, you use our conversation also to help you start stronger.
In the first part of my Pro Gamemaster series, I talked about running open tables West Marches style as a workhorse game for the Start Playing platform. There's a balance to be stuck between what I want and what's good for my clients. What's good for the DM, and what's good for players. I'm looking at the prep time and effort required, the income made, and whether I am providing value...are players having fun?
Mad Jay’s Metrics for Joy.
Am I still engaged and interested?
Are the players engaged and having fun?
Am I making money?
I think open table games are the workhorse of game sessions for me. Episodic sessions in a lore-rich campaign world. These are the foundations of West Marches games. I have chosen to leap fully onto the 500LB beast that is D&D 5E. I'll run Neverwinter in 5E as my first of two open-table games. D&D is a monster on Start Playing, maybe because it is a strong touchstone for folks. They can talk shop, jargon, and compare adventure stories. Like military veterans trading basic training stories, golfers talking about their scores or bosses beaten in Elden Ring. In our podcast session on GMs for hire, Judd said he believes there is room and growth for non-5E games —and I believe him, but that's Phase 2 of my plan!
Begin with the end in mind. - F.Covey
West Marches campaigns need a community of player characters. I'll set up a public Notion page for world details, schedules, rules, and a Discord might come later. I need to figure out a way for engaged and recurring players to provide world updates and communicate amongst themselves —but that is probably Discord.
I'll use the three 5E core books, the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide and the 4E Neverwinter Campaign book as my source of lore for the City of Neverwinter, our home base. I use Obsidian for a lot of writing and planning stuff, and my GM prep will happen there.
Foundry VTT and Zoom are my online tools. I'll have to find digital maps, tokens, etc, to load into Foundry. I will keep track of the time spent. This is all prep and work and needs to be tracked to know if I'm making money. It sounds like a job for Google Sheets!
The Play Fearless Plan
Let’s get into it. So far, every tool and choice I've made plays to my strengths.
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