Me – the GM

5 09 2009

If I were totally honest, I prefer playing than GMing.  My regular forays into the world of GMing are based not on a desire to do better than the incumbent, but rather a love affair with a system I want to try.  And if I can’t play it, I’ll GM it.

OK, that’s a simplification, but it’s a reasonable one.  There are only so many reasons that people GM. 

Some are megalomaniacs.  I’ve noticed that these days they are fewer and fewer.  In the ‘good old days’ GMs were able to hoard the rules and players were left with the knowledge of how to create characters and little else.  The GM screen may well have been twelve feet high, such was its aura of impenetrability.  As rulebooks are written so differently now, player power has stopped the control-mad GMs in their tracks.  Plus, over time, the bad GMs tend to lose players anyway.

Some people GM because they are story-tellers.  They have great ideas for adventures and campaigns and want to let others enjoy the game.  I suspect (hope) there will be some of me in this category.

Others GM because they love all of the dice rolling and the control.  These are not power crazy people; they simply like to be in control.

Still others GM because they have to.  Either nobody else will – or they take it in turn to run a game.

The majority (I hope) GM because they simply love to.  They may love a combination of story-telling; they love the rules; they love the mechanics; or some other aspect that makes GMing special for them.

And there will be a plethora of other reasons GMs can give.

My early life as a GM is similar to my recent efforts – but when I sat down and analysed it, I did notice some differences.

My earliest efforts were with the same group that I started out with.  My influences to GM were primarily:

  • The GM wanted a break and would encourage me to take over so that he could role-play
  • I had some stories I wanted to tell
  • I fell in love with some specific games and couldn’t wait to play – and so I GMed
  • Having played so many unstructured games, I wanted to see how the games would feel if they followed a formal structure.

The second time around I was aware that I wanted to tinker with the systems.  I wanted to GM in order to adapt and ‘improve’ games with bits of other games.  I found there was no ‘new’ game that I loved in its entirety.  I’m not sure if that’s due to me becoming fussier with age or a better judge of game play or some other intangible.  All I know is that I want to fiddle with the ‘out of the box’ game and this was a real driving force in wishing to GM.

What I have realised (that I didn’t first time around) is that I’m a hoarder of systems.  I find out about new games and rush out and buy the rule-book.  I have no real intention of playing; I just want to learn what make the game tick.  Oh, and I love to role characters too (but I may already have mentioned that).




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