Sure! We’ve played two sessions now, so I can tell you the general trends of how it’s going. Maybe I’ll come back in another 6 weeks and let you know more.
Background: 5 players (old friends), playing online using Roll20/Discord, game is Blades in the Dark. We’re a very collaborative group - players have consistently pitched each other on ideas for things their character might do, and while I was GMing, more Devil’s Bargains were given out by PCs than by me.
The big thing I noticed in the first session was that I was that I was hogging the spotlight. I wasn’t stepping on the GM’s toes much, but I was very much putting myself front and center in every scene. I made a character who’s a forceful, strong personality leader, and we picked a score that was reliant on my social skills more than some of the other players’ skills, but all the same. Not a great habit.
I was also very much getting distracted by drawing when I wasn’t in the spotlight (very excited about doing character portraits). I made a conscious choice to close all the programs I wasn’t using for RPG playing for the second time around, and to make sure I was actively listening to other players’ scenes.
Between sessions, the GM asked me for feedback and advice, and we had a great conversation about GMing practices. He’s clearly got a different set of GMing skills than I do, but it was still great to talk about what we agree on and what we don’t when it comes to GMing. Good stuff. He’s definitely interested in getting my feedback on his GMing, but I think he’s doing great already. GMing is hard and intimidating, and I think just hearing “yeah, you’re doing it right, keep it up” is what anyone needs to hear when they get started. Anyway, we’re keeping this to post-session conversations, and this is going well.
I also spent some time specifically thinking about “how can I make the lives of the other PCs more interesting?” I wanted to make sure in the second session that I (1) gave other people spotlight time and (2) used my time to develop relationships with others (serving the double purpose of highlighting relationships more and sharing my spotlight with others). This was very much coming out of the advice about continuing to be a fan of the other characters even as a player,
In the second session, I mostly succeeded at doing this. Everyone had good scenes, though I again felt like I was taking up too much time with my own scenes. But at least this time, other people were included in those scenes! I developed compelling relationships with all three of the other PCs, we had a great almost-date, a lot of foreshadowing of inter-party conflict, good stuff.
Another thing I noticed was that I would often fall into my pattern of essentially grilling another player about a thing their character was doing: “what is it you want? Why do you want that now? Are you people watching people from in the middle of the crowd, or up on the roof across the street?” On the one hand, this feels similar to the backseat driving thing: I’m literally doing the thing I do for 80% of the time I’m GMing. On the other, I’m not convinced it’s a bad thing to do. I love it as a GM when my players get excited about anything, and if I’m asking questions like this, I’m engaging another player, and I’m excited about a thing. This kind of digging into the details of a scene or an action or a moment is my favorite part of RPGs, so I’m disinclined to stop doing this, but I’m also wary about it meaning I step on the GM’s toes / take up even more talking time, so I’m keeping an eye on this habit.
Going forward, I’m gonna try and double down on my session 2 plan: try harder to take a step back and give others space, and actively think about ways (both ahead of time and in the moment) to bring others forward when I have the chance to. I’m really excited about a player philosophy built on “what can I do that’s going to make [character]'s life complicated?”
But overall, game seems to be going great so far!