December 20, 2010

Don't Fear the DM's Seat

GMs, have you ever experienced burnout? You run your games for months or years at a time, doing everything you can to make the campaign as fun as you can. You’re good at it: extremely skilled with plenty of experience. But some days, you just want to play a game without worrying about the minutiae of running. What’s the usual barrier to you getting a game in? If it’s like my past experience: no one else knows how to GM!

If this is accurate, this post is for your players, and you probably want to share it with them post haste.

So, Players, as I’m sure you’ve now gathered, this post is for you. I’m going to spill the beans on some secrets of being the GM. Some secrets that I’ve seen guarded by some, but that only creates the burnout I’ve mentioned.

The first secret: GMing isn’t hard! It’s work, usually, but it isn’t difficult work. There are plenty of tools across the web and tucked in the quality GM guides that anyone willing to give it the time can actually GM. You know the rules, your GM has been adjudicating them and you’ve read the books. Don’t let what you don’t know be a barrier to entry.

The second secret: You’re allowed to get it wrong. Whether you know it or not, very little of the experiences you have at the table unfold exactly as your GM expected them to. Even after my series on designing games, I can’t stress enough how likely the plan is going to change. It’s also why I suggest talking to your players, before they make the decision to pack up and head to the Frozen North when the mission you had planned is in the great jungles of the west. If they let you know they think the Frozen North is a cool place they’d like to explore a week or more before you need to have the adventure ready, you can spend that time planning some cool conflicts and seeding some new adventures.

The third secret: GMing can be fun and rewarding in the right systems. Some games make GMing more of a chore than others, but like most creative endeavors, the payoff can be great. When a game you ran becomes the source of a slew of inside jokes, half of which were unintentionally funny moments you designed, you can’t help but feel a little pride. You did something people remember, that’s a tough thing in this age, as the Internet consistently makes the fifteen minutes of fame easier to obtain, and easier to lose.

That’s it, Players. You can GM. You probably have some crazy idea for a maniacal super boss trying to take over the world right now. And you probably know a bunch of heroes who would love to bring him down. Get to it! If you need help, ask your current GM, and make sure to invite him to the table!

1 comment:

  1. You probably know a bunch of heroes who would
    labatterie love to bring him down.