NaNewGaMo: It’s Game Time! (And a Bit About Characters)

NaNewGaMo-Title

This is it: The final session of the National New Gamemaster Month program! We’ve come a long way over the past few weeks, and we’re closing in on your first game session.

In NaNewGaMo we’ve been helping players who feel the urge to run an RPG—to become a GM for the first time—take the plunge. Whether you’re new to gaming or a long-time player who’s never happened to take the GM’s seat, we’re making the process of running your first adventure an easy one. Our posts have run every Monday and Thursday throughout January; you can find the first installment here.

In this, our last blog post, let’s talk not about GMing, but about characters. Why? Because your first act as GM will be to shepherd your players through the process of creating their characters—a process that’s likely to take up a portion of your first session.

If your players are seasoned Numenera players, they’ll be familiar with both the process of making characters and the types of PCs that adventure in the Ninth World. If some or all of your players are new to Numenera, though, they’ll have questions. And they’ll look to you for guidance. You don’t have to be an expert on Numenera characters, but you need to be sufficiently conversant to be helpful to your players and keep the process moving along.

Step Eight

There’s a lot of material in the character creation section of the Numenera corebook. Don’t panic: You don’t have to read too much of it. For the most part, it’s detailed information on the various abilities players might choose as they create or advance their characters, the bulk of which isn’t relevant now. What you do want do to, though, is familiarize yourself with the three character types, the function of descriptors and foci, and the general character generation process.

Read these sections:

  • Chapter 3: Pages 20-25 (That’s the whole chapter.)
  • Chapter 4: Pages 26-27 (Stop when you get to the Glaive Background header.)
  • Chapter 4: Pages 32-34 (Start at the Nano header and stop when you get to the Nano Background header.)
  • Chapter 4: Pages 40-41 (Start at the Jack header and stop when you get to the Jack Background header.)
  • Chapter 5: Page 47 (Just read down to the Charming header, but then scan a few descriptors throughout the chapter to get a sense of what they’re like.)
  • Chapter 6: Page 52 (Just read down to the Bears a Halo of Fire header, but then scan a few foci throughout the chapter to get a sense of what they’re like.)
  • Character Creation Walkthrough: Page 400-401 (This summarizes the process you’re going to lead the players through as they create their characters.)

In addition to this reading, you’ll also want to lay in some drinks and snacks if you didn’t do so as part of Monday’s activity.

Relax. It’s going to be a lot of fun. You’ve done a lot to get yourself up to speed, and you’re ready. Check it out:

  • You have the rules and an adventure.
  • You’ve read through the adventure, some parts of it more than once. You’ve given some thought to the encounters—enough to bring them to life, but not too much, because that tends to presuppose too much.
  • You set up the time and place, and your players are ready to go. You have a sense of what they expect or will enjoy.
  • You’re familiar with the general rules. It sometimes feels like you’re not familiar enough, but trust me, that’s natural. You and your players will do fine, and you’ll gain confidence as you go.
  • You watched the How to Play Numenera video, so you’ve seen the game in action.
  • You’ve read up on character generation.
  • You’ve gathered up all the stuff you need.
  • And most of all, you’re confident. (Right?) You know that you don’t have to be the ultimate expert on the game’s rules or setting. You’re ready to be creative, to work your way through any pitfalls that arise in play, and to be spontaneous. You have what you need, and you have what it takes.

That’s it: That’s all the secret ingredients. You are ready. Go run your game!

Aaaand Step Nine. And Ten.

What? More steps? Didn’t we just get to “Go run your game?”

Yep, but your first session isn’t the entirety of your GMing career. You’re going to have a great time, and chances are you’re going to run a lot more than The Beale of Boregal over the weeks, months, and years to come. And even if you don’t, that adventure alone is probably going to carry your through more than one session.

So, here are some things to do after your first session:

  • Talk to your players about the time and place for your second session. (You might want to do that before you part ways after the first session.)
  • Spend a few minutes thinking about how things played out, and how this session’s events affect the rest of the adventure.
  • Review upcoming encounters, just like you reviewed the adventure’s early encounters in Step Six.
  • Think about what might happen after this adventure concludes. Will you keep playing? If so, what will the next adventure be? There are several more in the Numenera corebook, along with The Devil’s Spine, Vortex, and Into the Violet Vale. And, of course, you can always make your own!

And, finally:

Thanks for Being a Part of It!

It’s been a real pleasure putting this program together and presenting it to you each week this month. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, learned a little something, and gained the confidence to start running your own games. And more than anything, I hope you enjoy GMing as much as I have. Hopefully it will bring you many years of pleasure. Congratulations!

Charles Ryan
Charles Ryan

Charles M. Ryan has written or contributed to titles in nearly every class of tabletop game—board games, card games, trading card games, miniature games, and roleplaying games—over a 25-year career in the game industry. He has also served as the global brand manager for Dungeons & Dragons and headed up the marketing department at the UK’s Esdevium Games, one of the world’s largest game distributors. He is the Chief Operating Officer at Monte Cook Games.