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Interview with a GM - Graham

When did you first start playing RPGs and what were they?

My first experience with RPGs was stumbling upon a box of RPG stuff in my Grand Parent’s attic when I was about 12. It had the first edition D&D red and blue basic/expert books, Tunnels and Trolls, Grimtooth’s book of traps and some others I forget. 

I was pretty captivated by it all and I was allowed to take it all home. I read the D&D stuff and ended up running my own adventure for my younger sister and our cousins. They loved it! 

I then, shortly after, started a new school and met some other students into similar stuff and we formed a club. We called it Roleplaying Club, which was rather uninspiring, and a kid into drama showed up and offered to make us a poster. He did a good job but finished it with the tag line ‘Guaranteed a Good Time’, which granted us ridicule around the school. He was rather disappointed when he finally sat down with us and realised it wasn’t a drama club..

What was the most memorable part of those sessions?

One of the guys who formed the club with me had a Mum who was massively into RPGs. Every year she helped organise a 24hr Roleplaying marathon at Bradford University and we went along. 

I remember playing Paranoia at 5am desperately trying to stay awake; it really added to the game! 

Around the same time we went to Gen Con in Manchester, 2000 I think, and played in a small game. After the session, someone said to me, you do know that was Gary Gygax don’t you?? and I shrugged and said ‘Who’s that?’

Why did you start GMing?

I’ve GMed sporadically over the years, but that first time is when I was 12. I’m pretty sure I got the rules all wrong! But I hear that is the foundation of good GMing!

How long have you been GMing?

I haven’t really GMed much, this rotation will be my first time doing it over an extended period

What systems have you GMed?

D&D and Dungeon Crawl Classics

What are the pleasures and pitfalls of GMing?

In my brief experience, I love seeing all the possibilities spread before the party and how they interpret situations, often choosing the least logical path and the one thing you didn’t consider. Or completely missing the very obvious thing they need to progress, and screaming in your own head. 

I think improvising is my favourite thing

What was the most memorable part of the sessions you GMed?

GMing a session for some old school friends and they just walked past every major plot point without investigating. 

It was along the lines of "You walk into the room, an ancient corpse slumps in a chair still clutching a BOOK" and they were just "yeah, but what's through that next door". 

I had to make up a lot of stuff that session.

What is your current game about?

There isn't a meta plot, characters will be developed from level 0 villagers and after the first dungeon we will see what first level party we have. From there it will be open exploration and the party can choose what rumours they might like to explore next. 

It will transition between short, on the road, encounters and larger, classic, dungeon delves. The game system itself is quite brutal, but it rewards creativity. 

If a party blunders into a dungeon without thinking then we will likely see a TPK. Observation, exploration and consideration are key to conquering the dungeons, where pretty much everything is a trap or trying to kill you!

What do you get out of GMing?

I've always felt the need to create something and after watching other GMs, I've been amazed at their ability to offer up believable worlds and situations, they have had me on the edge of my seat. 

I really want to be able to do the same for others. 

I am currently loving constructing a world for players to explore, and I hope they enjoy exploring in it.


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