My name is Anthony, and I LOVE being a GM. The first actual game that I was a part of was me trying to use the strategy guide for Final Fantasy Origins, the first game as Origins had 1 and 2, and convert it somewhat into a tabletop campiagn with my own spin on it. It actually went surprisingly well. I then did the same thing with Final Fantasy Tactics, which was more focused on placement and tactical combat. That turned out pretty good as well. Then some friends of mine, the ones who played my FF1 campaign, had me be a player for a 4e one shot. It was interesting, but it was odd to be on that side of the game. Then I tried to run a short adventure for 5e, as it was newer, and I haven't looked back since. The sheer enjoyment of being able to come up with things on the fly and react to whatever shenanganery that the players get into is exhilarating. The way I run my campaigns is mostly sandbox. I use a mix of 3rd party content, which I usually change up quite a bit to fit with the world better, and homebrew. There's some official content beyond SRD, but it is a small amount. Each campaign has a starting point at a different area in the world, and you get multiple hooks at the end for you to decide what you want to do and where you want to go. There are multiple adventure paths and sides to take and enemies to take down, but which you find and how you approach them are up to you and your decisions that can have small impacts or campaign spanning and changing consequences, be they good or bad.
I give a balance of potential RP and combat pretty evenly as far as encounters. Whether the players keep to that balance or not is up to them. Almost no possible combat encounters are forced combat, and not all social interactions are required to stay friendly if the players want to go a different route. I do try to do voice acting with the different NPCs, but I'm aware that I'm not a profesionally trained voice actor. I still try, and I believe that even what I'm able to provide in that is better than NPCs all sounding the same. As far as combat, some creatures are going to be smarter than others. Some will use hit and run tactics, while others will simply rush headlong towards the nearest player and go bashy bashy. Some combats might need the players to use terrain or objects or other things to swing a combat in their favor. Rule of cool has its place, but only to the extent of "common snese". There's no harm in asking to do random things. Some of the best memories of sessions are when players do off the wall things.
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