Have I bitten off too much?

I have played a bit of blades and am fairly comfortable with the system. But I haven’t run it before and I have only a small amount of experience gming in general. No big deal Blades has a bunch of tools to make a gm’s job easier.
I put up a post stating that I could gm a group of 3-5 players, I got 7 people exited to join, no big deal I’ll run two groups.
We decided for session 0 to do crew creation and character creation for both crews I went through that jumping between two chat groups answering questions about the system guiding through the process and figuring out where they fit into the war for Crow’s Foot. All of that went as well as it possibly could.
I said goodnight to the first group after two hours as they would commence on a second night in the week. And then went through the opening situation with the second group. I had thought a lot about the Lampblacks how they behaved what they were like and had psyched myself up to portray Bazso in all of his gangstery goodness, and it was clear to everyone during crew creation that this second group would get along with the Red Sashes much more.

No big deal i thought, We had just over half an hour left to set them in the starting situation and prepare their first score. But the moment I went to improvise a new thing that really wasn’t that different to the old thing I stumbled. I couldn’t portray Mylera as any kind of character, I basically just put them in the room and told them what she said. I recovered a little and talked them through a gather information roll and ended the session with a engagement roll for the score.

Everyone was pumped for the next proper session but I was utterly drained and disheartened, the moment I was slightly outside prep I feel like I completely caved and like I was an utter imposter.
I guess I’m just looking for some support because I don’t want to let anyone down.


I think it didn’t go as bad as you think. I have only GMed a couple of sessions but it sounds like you did a good job motivating the players. In terms of portraying characters if you are just presenting the character I think you are good to go with the description of Mylera in page 294 of the manual.

Even if you don’t manage to create a specific voice (I’m horrible at that and normally struggle doing that) you can work with the setting and the surroundings when you don’t feel very inspired. For example, Mylera’s traits are leader, shrewd, ruthless, educated, art collector. If the players are meeting Mylera one of the first things that come to my mind is that they would be doing it in her office, where she has some exquisite art, maybe a statue and a picture of some important Iruvian artist. Another thing you could do if you feel you struggle to portrait her is say what the characters perceive, for example:

When she presents herself you notice she is not like any other gang leader, she has manners, and she addresses you formally, making you feel important.

This way you are saying she is cunning, clever and educated.

Another thing I sometimes try to do if I don’t have any ideas is asking the players. Maybe they met Mylera before and can give you some ideas on how to portrait her. I love how the manual prompts the GM to ask the players to help creating the world.

An additional thing that could help you in general if you get stuck and need to create a character on the fly is page 302 of the manual. It has some pretty good tables to play with (looks, goals and preferred methods are good to portrait characters fast). The tables can give you a good starting point to get a draft of the character and then you can enrich it as you go with what happens in the game.

I also find hard to come up with ideas I didn’t think of beforehand but I think it will be getting easier the more experience we get with the system. I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic session 1 with both groups.


You might have bitten off too much when deciding to run two groups engaged in a similar situation more or less at the same time. This could cause some confusion when you don’t remember what happened to which group. Otherwise I don’t think there’s anything bad about your session. You don’t have to do voices. It’s fine to simply tell the players what’s going on. You’ll get into it. Players usually don’t expect GMs to act out every NPC. Just try again next time.
Games are usually much more draining for GMs. Doesn’t mean it didn’t go well.
Improvising takes practice and GMs are always impostors.


Minor NPCs and situations can be acted out by players instead, if you’re coming up empty.


Imposter syndrome is normal. I’ve been gaming for decades, but took a long break. When I restarted earlier this year, I felt like a fraud and failure again.

But it was all head trash.

I was (and am) playing with my friends. They appreciated I was doing all the extra work of being the GM. I end each game with a postmortem, asking them what they likes most and one thing I could do to make it better, I learn each time. They know that. And so we get better each game.

Everytime I forget a rule, or realize a scene didn’y go as smoothly as I wished, I beat myself up. But again… headtrash. My players had a blast. I’m the only one worrying about it :).

So, don’t sweat it man. Ask for help and input from your players and let yourself enjoy the ride :).


I would not worry too much: from your account it seems that you were just tired after the “two-groups-at-once-in-chat” nightmare, which is understandable!

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You said it yourself, “Everyone was pumped for the next proper session…”

You’re a star :slight_smile:

Take others perception as your guiding light, not your own inner demons! Vladmir has great advice. If you’re out of ideas, ask the players. The burden of the game is not soley on your shoulders, and that’s one of the things I love most about this narrative first collaborative game!

Even if you’re not stumped, ASK TONS OF QUESTIONS about anything and everything. “Have any of you met Mylera previously?” “What was it like?” “What do you notice about Mylera’s office?”

Also, highly suggest asking directly for feedback after the session. Find what you’re doing that folks love, take suggestions and try to put them into action next time. Inspect, adapt, repeat!


I have run the first session for crew 1 and it went a lot better. Had a bit of an easy score which is fine for the first session but I got a lot of confidence back. I have decided to start the next session with a flashback to soft redo the meeting with Mylera just to give a few more details of her surroundings and personality before going into the score.


I totally relate to this! I did a ton of prep before my first Blades GM session but it was all on the assumption that the crew would take a job from Baszo which would end up being fairly straightforward. I thought tons about how to portray Baszo and the map layout for the score - but my group decided they also wanted to work for Mylera (coin is coin after all) so I had to make up a voice for her and plan a new job on the fly. Afterwards my group asked if things went as I expected and they were surprised to learn the answer was no! As other posters have said it’s always good to look for ways to improve, but cut yourself some slack. It’s almost certainly going far better than you think!


I recently read and loved the return of the lazy dungeon master. I always over prepare. This gave me discipline to plan right so I and everyone can have more fun.