[RPG] How to teach 5 people to be DMs


My school started this RPing club, but in my school right now only 2 people know how to DM and do it effectively, including me. As the teacher running the club knows nothing about Pathfinder, it seems that I will have to get some of my friends who play Pathfinder during lunch to DM for other groups. How can I teach 3 people how to be a DM in 15 15-minute sessions?

Best Answer

Assign homework and use a "flipped classroom" approach.

No, really. Have them use the various recorded play examples (some referenced here), and use the sessions to answer questions. (Technically speaking, this is called a "flipped classroom" and is an actual pedigogical approach.)

Once they have consumed the actual play examples, then spend time inculcating system mastery by assigning problems in system mastery. (Here's this situation, how would you adjudicate it? Why?) and spending the 15 minute sessions in discussion of the answers of the last homework.

It's also critical that they learn a rounded game. For a "midterm", have each of them run a game for the others. Each GM must make characters for the group and explain those characters and their mechanics to the group.

Once they've demonstrated system mastery and a familiarity with the literature. for Pathfinder, they can start learning how to DM. In many ways, I would teach them how to DM Pathfinder using different systems, both to break them of the "one system rules all" mentality that... is just a horrible habit, and to teach them the fundamental insights of these games. For this, the latter half of the course, I would explore Apocalypse World, Mouseguard, and Paranoia. (With them finding resources and listening to those resources on their own time. If anyone fails three weeks in a row to have done the prep, ask them to leave.) For Apocalypse World, the fundamental rules of storytelling are just super-super important, in terms of framing, pacing, and visualising scenes. For Mouseguard, the mechanic of yes/yes-complication is crucial: it will help your Pathfinder DMs not require umpteen hundred stealth checks for no-reason and will (hopefully) teach them that every roll must be important. And finally, Paranoia, because there is no better book to teach a DM how to handle Players. For their final exam, have them run the game of those three (or similar) that they like the most.

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