Taking Inventory of My Abilities as a GM, part 1

(Note: No, this is not an MtG-article, even though I mention the game in passing in the beginning.)

Some time ago (actually over six years ago), Sam Stoddard wrote an article on StarCityGames, where he took an inventory of his MtG-playing skills. He had been away from the game for a while and felt his skills had diminished. So, he tried to make an overview of all the things he felt he was lacking in. He came up with a list of 31 things, which seems very in-depth and shows a lot of self-awareness.

The major problem with doing anything well is that we don’t know good we actually are. At the beginning stages we will often overvalue are knowledge on a subject, since we don’t really realize what we don’t know. Beginners will often rate themselves well above average just because they think they know what there is to know. This is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, although similar sentiments have been around at least since the days of Socrates.

I’ve been GMing on and off for about a quarter of a century. That’s long enough to realize there are things I’m doing wrong. Gladly, I do understand this and I do want to be better. Even if I’m good, there’s still room for growth.

Obviously, there are limits to how much I can improve based on the fact that actually scheduling RPG sessions seems to be harder now than ever and I also have a limited time as I do have job and a life (of sorts). Still, if I want to be better, its best to identify problematic areas. Therefore, I decided to start following Stoddards example.

The thing is, I’m not sure how to do this. I’ll probably interview my players. I’ll probably reflect on the games I run (which I often do anyway) and I’ll probably benchmark myself with other GMs. Are there things I’ve never even thought about? We’ll see. This is just the beginning and I’ll return to the subject.

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