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The Douchey DM » Advice » The Evolution of a GM part 3: Why I Game

The Evolution of a GM part 3: Why I Game

Ok, so up until now we’ve learned a little bit about my gaming background and learned my first two rules of gamemastering. To refresh your memories those rules are: You will make mistakes, you just have to learn from them; and never accept the way things are. Now I guess it’s time to learn what I see gaming as, and show you how that has affected the way I run a game as well.

Way back in October of last year Adam Pinilla of the Podgecast put out the call for audio clips that he wanted to put together for episode 109 of their show. The episode was entitled “Why we game” and featured many people, including myself, discussing why it is that they game in the first place. I’ll save you the time listening to it(though you should do yourself the favor and listen anyway), and tell you what my reasons are. When I was a kid and first started gaming my reason was simple… it was a chance to be someone different. It gave me an opportunity to escape from the teasing, the joking, the bullying, and gave me a chance to slip loose of those trappings. When I sat down at a gaming table, I wasn’t Mike the band geek and high school dork; with those dice in my hand I became Argrym Copperplate a disgusting and dirty dwarf who kicks butt and takes names, not the fat kid that people loved to ridicule.

As an adult though, my reasons have very much changed. True, I still enjoy the chance to get away from the rough parts of my own life with a gaming escape, but that is no longer the big reason that I game. Like most people in the thirty plus crowd, I find it harder and harder to have time for a fulfilling social life. Gaming helps with that. Every other week we have a time and place set to get together and be part of an activity. I know without having to worry about when or where, that my friends and I will get together and hang out. That’s a huge thing to me. In addition to that though, gaming also brings to me the opportunity to be part of a story. I love movies and television, books and magazines, even comics and webseries. I love them all because they offer a good intriguing story that pulls me in and keeps my interest. The only thing that could be better than that is being part of the story. Roleplaying games are an excellent way to do exactly that. No matter which side of the table you’re on, you are part of the story.

As a gamemaster, it is very important to understand why it is that your players are sitting at your table. Start with understanding why you are at the table. Tailor your stories and your scenarios to fit what you are looking for in the game. Then trim, paste, or overlap new things onto those stories to fit the needs of your players. Once you do that, everyone at the table will have a good time no matter what it is you are playing. Every single person who plays a roleplaying game started doing so for a reason, and continues doing so for a reason. It’s your job to figure out what that reason is and use it for your own ends. Think of it as the hook in your favorite song, why is that hook so powerful to you? Why do you catch yourself singing or humming it all the time? Because it means something to you in some subconscious way that could be just the rhythm of the words, or it could be the words themselves, hell it could just be the tune. Afterall, we all hum or sing “I Wear No Pants” by the Poxy Boggards for our own reasons right?

So your assignment this week is to find a gamer you know, and ask them why they got into gaming and what it is that keeps them doing it still. Make a list. Study that list. Then start figuring out ways to put those things into your own game, or how to ask your GM to put them into her game. Do whatever it takes to make your game fun everyone wins in the end if you do. Which leaves me with my third rule of gamemastering, as long as everyone is having a good time… you’re doing it right.

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SirGuido has been a Happy Jack's RPG fan since the first moment he heard Stu on Kicked in the Dicebags. He hopes one day that he will get to meet all of these great people and play lots of games with them.

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One Response to "The Evolution of a GM part 3: Why I Game"

  1. jazzisbluesNo Gravatar says:

    Excellent essay Guido. Very thoughtful and thought provoking. I certainly think we can all identify with the sentiment here.


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