What I learned GMing at GenCon

Gen Con 2016 was my first time GMing at a convention and I have a few thoughts on it.

First, if anyone likes GMing, likes doing it at conventions, and likes the Eclipse Phase system, I seriously recommend GMing for Posthuman Studios. The number of hours you'd need to GM for your badge to be paid for is reasonable and, if you'd rather GM less, their pay per hour is pretty good. Also, I got to go to a coffee hour with three of the Studio's folks so they could pick their GMs’ brains on what worked and what didn't. Really nice guys. AND you get to see/read some scenarios before they're offered for sale to the public.

Second, apparently stage fright isn't just for public speeches. I had two sessions and was nervous as heck before both. The first makes sense to me. I have yet to find a session prep methodology that gets me to feeling like I know what I'm doing (fellow GMs, please, leave your methods in the comments, I need ideas). I guess I'm developing some improv skills off of it. But I'd have thought after playing in the same scenario last year and running a session once, I wouldn't have those nervous butterflies before the second session this con. Nope. Still just as nervous. Well. After accounting for how tired I was. Last day of the con and all.

I think this partially has to do with not having a great memory for details and Eclipse Phase being a fairly rules crunchy system. Partially to due with being an introvert about to be in charge of herding 5-7 people I’ve never met before. And it being on me to make the game fun for them.

I had two bunches of good folks playing though. Having watched a bit of partner and a friend play in a Pathfinder game, I could have ended up with dudebros or folks who'd want to make me being female a thing. I think Eclipse Phase’s politics, which it proudly wears on its sleeve, are going to filter some of those folks out. But still, having a good group, including folks just cross-playing gender with no comment, was nice.  Although I would have liked to have seen more than one other lady at the table (out of twelve people).

My take away is that while I can GM at conventions, I'd rather play. Especially to check out new systems, see if they're for me. I'm just more comfortable GMing for folks I know or in more narrative systems I know better (*cough*Red Markets*cough*). Spontaneously deciding to run a game of Red Markets worked out better than I had any right to hope – good confluence of having a large block of time available, a channel to announce on to find players, folks who know the system already (despite the purpose of the scenario I ran to playtest introducing new players to the system), having written the scenario in the first place, and only going over the player rules for Red Markers once in beta and three times as an editor.

So yeah. I can GM. I will GM for Technical Difficulties, because equal share of the load and all. But, I would rather play.

Still going to be GMing a session of Eclipse Phase AND Red Markets at WashingCon on September 10th and 11th. As will the partner.