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The Douchey DM » Misc » Why I like being a GM

Why I like being a GM

I’ve been playing RPGs for many years now, being a player or a Game Master. I enjoy both and overall, have split the time between them. Though the last 8 years it’s mostly been as a GM.

Making a world come alive is fun. I wirte down all kinds of notes concerning the world; the races living there, the countries and their currencies, cultural rituals, sporting events/teams, etc. Do all of these things come into play all the time? Nope. But it’s ok.

Another thing to make are Non-Player Characters and Player Characters. Making the PC’s for games run at conventions or other one-shots because normally I have the player make their own characters. I like cruising the internet looking for pictures of what the PC’s or NPC’s will look like. A lot of time I take inspiration of what a character will be like based off a picture I find. This person looks like a sneaky bastard, this one looks like a charming do-gooder, or this guy looks creepy. Then I give them some kind of personal traits and/or quirks. I make them match what I had in mind based on the picture and then add something else to make them unique. I also like to give them some kind of relationship with another PC or NPC. Sometimes the relationship is a good thing and other times it is there to cause some kind of conflict.

These are the kind of things I add to help create player interaction. PC-1 has a crush on PC-2. PC-3 is jealous of PC-4. PC-3 likes PC-2’s brother/sister. PC-1 is trying to get PC-4 fired from his job.

One of the rewards for me when being a GM is when a player brings any of these traits/quirks on the character sheet into the game. It shows me that the player took the time to read the character sheet and appreciate it enough to bring it into the game.

In my last game, a Wild Talents super agent scenario, I had 4 players; Eric, Bill, Jason, and Tyler. Each player brought at least one of their character traits/quirks into play. They didn’t say anything like, “it says my character likes puppies and I go and buy a puppy.” They actually brought them into play without calling them out. Bill was an alien (not that his fellow charaters knew that) and was uncomfortable with human women and he did not like being in charge or giving orders. Eric’s character would pause or appear to ‘space out’ while surfing the internet in her head. Jason character really really likes using his powers of killing stuff with speed and accuracy while having a joy for being a killer. Tyler’s character was all about himself and talked in the third person.

Each of these players brought out these aspects to life with roleplaying. It was so cool to see a player do something and think that is who the character is, showing an example of this, or that, particular trait. It was gratifying to see it happen and even more so when it happened several more times.

To each of them, “Thank you guys.” #filledwithwsmilingpride

This is one of the things I like about being a GM.

What is something that you like about being a GM? Sound off in the comments.

Written by

You might know Matt from such usernames as fray, caroda, ilso, or @fray. He's a husband, daddy, graphic designer, and gamer. Man can he talk your ear off.

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5 Responses to "Why I like being a GM"

  1. shortymonsterNo Gravatar says:

    I think I’ve mentioned this before, but not sure where… The best thing for me about being a GM is watching my players interact with each other in character. I have in the past spent hours in a game just watching them talk and plan, only coming in with game related info or the opinion of an NPC when asked.

    Not only is this great fun for me as I get to watch the well developed characters that my game has had in creating, but my players just love being the chance to do it and not have me breathing down their necks with plot stuff unless it makes sense for something to be urgent.

  2. JimToNo Gravatar says:

    “These are the kind of things I add to help create player interaction. PC-1 has a crush on PC-2. PC-3 is jealous of PC-4. PC-3 likes PC-2’s brother/sister. PC-1 is trying to get PC-4 fired from his job.”

    That type of thing is why Fiasco succeeds as wildly as it does.

    The thing I like most about being a GM is running a mystery game where I give out bits of information and watching my PCs turns the wheels in their head, trying to piece it together and then suddenly BOOM! They get it.

  3. Morgan WeeksNo Gravatar says:

    One of my favorite things is to watch a game grow with age, have everyone get comfortable with each other. Watching the mythology that the players and characters build around the events and how they react to that. I can introduce elements, but it’s hard to make them matter. Things I considered unimportant, just details, would end up being what counted because that was the story they had a stake in. As you mentioned above, knowing without stating details about each other. Getting other players out of game to throw a surprise party for a character in-game. Amazing.

    Also, running a game where every session is a different Styx song. If anyone ever knew…

  4. Shawn RoskeNo Gravatar says:

    I am so borrowing the idea of creating game sessions based on songs by Styx… I’ve probably been doing this all along and never noticed.

  5. JazzIsBluesNo Gravatar says:

    It was a ton of fun to play Fray, the pic of my character holding the severed head of (I assumed an unfaithful boyfriend) totally made the character and put her totally in focus for me. Loved the game, loved the characters, loved the system.

    I have over the years mostly gm’ed. Originally that was because I owned the books and nobody else did. More recently it’s because I consider myself to be a better gm than I am a player. Mainly though, I think, it’s because I really love making games.



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