GM Starter Packages


So, what I would like is suggestions for game systems that are easy to run and which have extremely good introductory adventures.

My daughter is away in college and is very much missing her gaming group from high school, but sort of realizing that its likely that if she's going to game with her friends, that she'll have to be the GM.

Unfortunately, her standards and knowledge of what it means to GM are forged by me running games for her with my 40 years of experience and accompanying ambitions. She's having something like the "Mercer Effect" where she's intimidated by the whole idea and how much work she thinks it is going to be and how little she trusts herself in the role based on comparing herself to older and more experienced GMs.

What I would like are suggestions for game systems that are easy to pick up and which have excellent introductory published adventures. I honestly think she should just run 5e D&D and that she'd be good at it, but I think she's going to need to ease herself into that realization.

So tout your favorite game system and your favorite adventure for beginners. Please don't tout a game system where the players are expected to create the story or game in play, because while those sorts of systems are great and all, I think they are intimidating to any beginners that aren't natural thespians. Personal preference and your mileage may vary, but I think in this case I'm right in that assessment.

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Small God of the Dozens
WEG Star Wars springs to mind on the system side, but that isn't the easiest thing to get ahold of.


I missed this way back, so I hope it's not too late, but honestly the original Lost Mines of Phandelver for 5e is really solid, and I suspect she's already familiar with the system. PF2e is a little bit of a step up in complexity, but should still be manageable due to its consistency. BECMI/Rules Cyclopedia/OSE isn't a bad choice either, and does a very good job of being a simple D&D.

My favorite beginner's system is unfortunately long out-of-print. That's MEGS DC Heroes, but Mutants&Masterminds 3rd (or later) is pretty solid. The Dresden Files game isn't bad, though since it's FATE-based might be a little to narrative in style for your purposes. Honestly, the WoD/nWoD/* might not be a bad choice either, depending on your opinion about their setting/subject matter.

The Soloist

Dragonbane is very well explained and easy to learn. The starter box is shock full of stuff for beginners. It also contains a book of adventures that can be played in any order which forms a sandbox campaign with a climatic end. It's currently available.

[ edit: I just noticed the date on this thread...]

Which system did she go for? 5e?

The Call of Cthulhu Starter Set is really good IMO. It has a solo play introductory scenario, as well as 3 scenarios that can be played with different amounts of players so you have some options for group size. I haven't played it yet, but the Pendragon Starter Set looks to be about the same from looking through it.

The PF2e Beginner Box is pretty straight forward and really the only thing I wish they had included was some form of GM screen, but otherwise it takes a game that a lot of people seem intimidated by and makes it incredibly approachable.

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