One key tool for any GM is organizing your sessions. This can be difficult for people who are new to GMing, but it is critical for a smooth gaming experience. To that effect I thought I would write a little about how I manage my space.
The first piece of equipment that every GM needs is going to be their rule book. That will be either the core rule book or rule books needed to play any RPG. The second thing you will need is either a tablet or composition book and maybe even more than one comp book. Of course pencils and pens will be a must and a way to keep your players stuff organized.
There we go, end of article…
No I think there is a little more to it than that so let’s go a little bit into player gear. In my store run campaigns I always leave it up to players to keep their stuff together, but when I’m running my home campaigns I don’t trust my players to always remember their gear. Probably because most of us are barely functioning adults! Seriously though, replicating player sheets from memory is practically impossible and telling some they cannot play is a huge bummer. It’s easier to make it an all or nothing situation so that you play as a team. That means that every player has a folder, every folder has binder rungs, and there was a binder it all went in. That way by the end of the game I had a quick place that had little unpacking and had all my player characters. That is all the players need. That and a pencil pouch, and a pound of dice in a drawstring bag. You never know who will forget dice too.
Now it’s time for the GM. If you are going old school then you will need tab markers, and two composition books. One should be your world and the other should be your missions. The reason that I suggest this is because you do not want your lore and your missions to be interrupting each other in your notes. It’s important for your notes to flow freely. That being said be sure to use page markers, book markers, or whatever to mark pages so that you can go quickly to without stopping the action. Mark your most forgotten rules and any baddies you may need to use. These things together will help you organize what you need before hitting the table.
Now its just a matter of space on a table and how to lay it all out. Your average textbook is eleven inches by 7 inches around. That means that an open book should take about one foot by two feet to comfortably and players will need that space too. So a table for four players and a GM easily be 3 feet by five to six feet, and do not get me started on circle tables. Just don’t. The thing is that a lot of GMs do not rely just on pen and paper alone! Be sure to account for battle mats or other combat props you are planing on bringing into the game. Players also need a space to roll dice around too.
I being a believer in GM screens, think that you can put everything you need behind them. I usually use a simple foldout dinner stand, the ones that you can set in front of a couch, to stack all my extra books I might need, but a well organized back pack will work. All my pertinent books are in my space, and my sessions work out smoothly.
Good luck organizing your table top for your next or first session. Any tips that you all have then let us know in the comments below. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Patreon, also we have a Itunes podcast now. Thanks so much for reading and as always,