Short and sweet and what it says on the tin.
1. What skills do you want to work on for this instance of Running The Game?
For example, if you want to work on improvisation, you want an adventure with sparse keys. If you want to work on combat variety, you want diverse combat encounters. If you want to work on teaching D&D, maybe you want a teaching adventure or beginner adventure. If you want to teach D&D history maybe you want a classic adventure, or even a remake of a classic adventure with comments that help contextualize the adventure.
2. What skills do you not want to work on, that you want to be done for you in this instance?
For example, if you are tired of making up NPCs, you want an adventure that provides the NPCs for you in great detail. If you want to focus on dungeon-crawling and minimize the emphasis on combat, maybe you want more empty rooms, or more repetitive enemies to help hone that focus. Some GMs are tired of content generation, and want a very complete product with no blank spaces. Some GMs don’t want to generate interesting treasure, and so want an adventure that comes with interesting treasure.
3. What was the last time you were really engaged with GMing in a way that stood out? What made this happen?
This is hopefully a specific type of encounter or player activity, and can tell others what sorts of things energize you, which might lead to recommendations more tailored to you.
4. What was the last time you were really disengaged with GMing in a way that stood out? What made this happen?
This is like the previous question, except instead of serving as an inspiration, it serves as a filter – it tells others about situations you want their tailored recommendation to avoid.
5. What sort of GMing prep work are you most productive at?
Whether it’s reading an adventure front-to-back, practicing read-aloud text until you can deliver it with aplomb, generating custom NPCs once you have the gist of an adventure, making up random encounter tables, creating treasure, or coming up with funny voices…the sort of prep that energizes you also informs the sort of adventure that best fits you.
6. How long was the last adventure you ran? Do you want this instance of Running the Game to be longer or shorter? Why?
Comparisons to past instances of Running the Game are more concrete and thus provide more insights than just a comment about how long we want our next game to run.
7. How comfortable are you with telling players, “Hey, please stay within the bounds of this adventure”? How comfortable are you with telling players, “Hey, it looks like you’ve left the bounds of this adventure. I’m excited to see where this campaign will take us!”
This question is useful because some adventures are clearly written with “staying within some bounds” in mind, while other adventures are nearly written with the intent of shaking players loose and getting them to do their own thing.
8. How much conversion are you willing to do on the fly?
Because what if there’s an adventure that’s a perfect fit for you, but it’s for a different system that you’ve never tried before? Is that an instant veto, or are you willing to convert to your home system if it’s a good adventure? Remember, we’re not thinking about some superlative, pie-in-the-sky amazing adventure. We’re just talking about your average good adventure. Are you willing to do conversion work for an average good adventure? Should we even bother recommending those to you?
9. Why are you running an adventure instead of a homebrew game?
10. Why do you want a recommendation over something you find for yourself?
What can we offer most here, that you appreciate and value?
11. What is this instance of Running the Game going to be in your grand narrative of growth as a GM?
Is it a turning point for some chapter in your life as a GM? Is it you trying to run the best game you’ve ever run? Is this you wanting to decide, formally, if you are going to keep doing sandboxes or abandon them forever? Is it literally just a throwaway beer & pretzels game you’re never going to think about again? Is this you trying to impress a girlfriend? What is the narrative in your life of this next instance of Running the Game?
12. Who will be hurt the most if this next instance of Running the Game doesn’t go well?
You? Your players? Your previous GM, watching you GM for the first time? Why would they be the most hurt? What concerns, if any, do you have about this instance not going well that we should know before recommending this adventure to you?