For today's discussion, I wanted to talk about problem areas. Every GM has an area of gaming that they are just not comfortable with. Every GM has a weak area and a strong area. As people, we like to focus on our strengths to give the best we can, but addressing our weaknesses is a key step to improvement. After all, it is only after you recognize your flaws that you can fix them.
For me, it is fairly simple. I absolutely suck at beginnings. Not even just beginning campaigns, but starting sessions. Once I get going, I tend to do ok, but those first opening minutes are excruciating. This can be a major problem, as a strong beginning is needed to pull people into the game and get everything set to go. Without a strong beginning, you can have a bad pace for the whole session.
How am I addressing it? Well, I try to end games on hooks where the beginning for the next session is clearly laid out. This makes it easier, as I can just jump into the middle of something. The tension has already started, people slip back in and it goes. For other things? I try to prepare more, but still end up floundering at least somewhat.
Another problem I have is being pumped for information through NPCs. This has been more of a problem of late, because with time constraints I've gotten a little lazy in my preparation. I prep the big events, but don't take the time to give some consideration to what certain NPCs may know, and how much they're willing to share.
This is easy enough to fix. I just need to put more time into my NPCs. Amusingly, my players say I do NPCs better than I think, so I tend to trust them, but I know I could be giving them better. That, is on me.
What about you? Where are you weak? What are you doing to shore it up?