So I was reading a textbook for fun (shutup, okay, I'm a nerd) when I came across this:
The Art of Computer Programming by Donald KnuthIt is difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to learn a subject purely by reading about it, without applying the information to specific problems and thereby forcing himself to think about what has been read. Furthermore, we all learn best the things that we discovered for ourselves. Therefore the exercises form a major part of this work; a definite attempt has been made to keep them as informative as possible and to select problems that are enjoyable to solve.
That got me thinking about GMing and learning to GM. I feel like the common answers to "how do I learn to GM better?" are:
"Play more, these games in particular"
The "these games in particular" bit is cool because it points out that some games give you tools or constraints that help you discover new things about GMing, but not everyone wants to pick up an entire new game and convince others to play just to learn some skill. Can we make "GMing exercises" that build a certain skill or help you see GMing in a different way? Can those exercises be at least semi-system-independent? (Like "this exercise is for drama-heavy games focused on personal goals and issues" or "this exercise is for action games with tactical positioning.")
So my challenge to you: I want to be a better GM. Give me exercises that will help build my GMing muscles.Edited to add:
To clarify, neither of those answers is wrong
, I just wonder if they could be more pointed or directed. My original though was people would tell me things like "run a session of a drama-y game, one where you've got a web of connected people, but use only one NPC if at all possible (anyone else should play a minor role). Think about how focusing on one part of the web of connections shifts it." People have far surpassed my expectations.