Sunday, June 26, 2016

Earning Trust in Tutorials

In the last week, I completed my How to DM course with my first students.  It has gone exceedingly well.  Tim, who is a contributer and a regular commenter on the blog, finished his class on Friday.  He had this to say, graciously letting me post his email to me on the course:

"I just wanted to let you know how great my first game back with my players since the classes was. I had not expected to be able to hold onto the class material so well, nor to see such a quick improvement, but I had a huge success with my players.
I had a really great time playing with their emotions: at one point they found a mysterious magical object which then led to a back-and-forth discussion as to whether or not it should be kept, which gave me a great chance to play their fear against their desire for acquisition. I also found myself able to withhold information from the players better without betraying any hints, and the simple descriptions also helped keep their attention. I even was able to start the game off with the poker-face list of what is going on: "you see birds flying, people moving around your campsite, blue light glowing out of the nearby monastery, the river rushing past..."

I must admit, I found the experience very natural for me.  Setting the subject material, I was able to quickly determine which parts of the material held interest and value for the student, so that I wasn't "repeating the same class," the commonly expressed bane of teachers.  I wasn't at a loss for material at all: I could have easily discussed any of the three subjects - presentation, adventure building, decision making - for much longer than the 75 minutes we had.  As a result, I thoroughly enjoyed tailoring the course for each separate student, discovering what what parts they wanted to work on and then providing answers and strategies for those specific needs.

I hope I'm able to do a lot more of this in the future.  It is more than clear to me that DMs want counselling, direction, clarification and problem-solving skills.  After the first month, there's no question whatsoever that I have the means to provide these things - but it is very natural that the real hurdle here is to overcome distrust.  People don't want to pay a lot of money if they don't believe it's going to pan out.

I'm thinking of offering some very quick teasers, quite possibly free, in order to earn that trust.  15 or 20 minutes, straight-forward question and answer, set for a specific pre-planned two-day period, just a get to know me opportunity.  I'm not ready to do this right now; there's so much going on and I'm changing residences this week.  But very possibly this is something that could be arranged to happen in mid-July.

UPDATE:

Didn't know this was out there.  And this too.  Thanks Daniel.

1 comment:

Daniel Osterman said...

As another beneficiary of these classes, I wanted to say that all three were fantastic. I feel much more aware of not only the in-game interactions, but also how my presentation of game-world objects influences my players' choices. The improvisational exercises we did in the last class were fantastic, and I've already seen its effects in game. I'm also keenly aware that these classes will continue to bear fruit years down the line - I'm glad I took notes so that future me can get a little more wisdom, a little more clarity of thought, from them.