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Viewpoint What's the appeal about being a Game Master to you?

jaydude

Four Thousand Club
Just a little curious. For me, the first time I GM'ed a Dice RP was because I was looking to get into a new dice system (Exalted 3E), which at the time had no games using it being hosted here. Back then, I just figured "If you want something done, do it yourself", and thus Chronicles of the Scavenger Lands came into being.

To an extent, this reasoning still applies to me today - I'm running my current game largely to try out the Exalted Essence system - but I think that another reason is that I tend to enjoy having creative freedom when it comes to my games, and running a game generally gives you a lot of that.
 

Master of Lava

Gods and mortals, fear my fury and my flames!
For me, it's mostly about telling my story, and allowing other people to help me with it. I'm generally not the most creative or the best writer of plot or other mechanics like that, so having that help of the other players can really help me get those juices flowing. And yeah, I want something done... that something being my story ideas. And why not do it myself, in my own way?
 

Cosmo

Does Not Know Kung-fu
I GM, and GMed, because I was pretty much the only one willing to do it. I don't really care too much about it being 'my' story, my favorite thing is to build up the world, the scenario, whatever, and then toss it to the players and see what they do with it. Sure, I've tried to craft sweeping narratives, but often, the players derail it so badly that I find it's better to have more an 'outline' or bullet points of story beats and fill it in based on what happens.

You can lead players to a quest chain, but you can't make them take it. I've scraped entire story arcs I had planned just because the players weren't into it or just weren't taking the bait and instead wanted to spend half the session talking to Billy Bob the Bartender, heckling him for his life story and that's part of the fun. I'm also pretty solid at making up characters and plots on the fly, so I'm very good at improvising new stories which really helps.

I don't prefer to be a GM or anything, but it's a role I've kinda had thrust upon me.
 

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
One of the biggest reasons why I began and do RP is because my brain just comes up with all sorts of ideas and I love to share those. I love seeing the reactions and how people interact with what I come up with, not to mention being an outlet for creativity. In particular I am very passionate about world building, especially when it comes to magic systems.

This for me is the foundation for my GMing. I want to be able to share something on a greater scale than I would as be able to as a player, and I want people to have a bigger reason to give it focus. I want people to roleplay in the world I made, or perhaps I want to bring some premise to life (always a premise, never a full plot or story. If I want either of those, I'll likely write something for myself or try to make something like a quest RP).

The second reason is that sometimes I want things run in a certain way. Every time I take interest in a group roleplay, the first I ask is about the logistical aspects, because having learned what kind of writing style I prefer I know that rules that are too unfavorable to it are a red flag (not in the sense the roleplay will go poorly, but rather that I won't fit well with it). There are times when I realize, therefore, that in some instances there are things that either due to preferences or due to complexity there's no way I'm going to find someone running in the way I would like to see it being run. It's not just a matter of it being created in a certain way, but that method being upheld. So I may have to run it myself if I want to see it being made. As someone who's a bit paranoid though, it does give me some peace of mind to be in charge at times, even if in other ways it has its own stresses.


I would also run RPs for the reason Cosmo Cosmo mentioned, but I wouldn't say it's part of the appeal. It's just an unfortunate necessity, and unlike the other two reasons it's a purely negative effect (in the sense that either I have to take up the GMing role without necessarily wanting to, or because the RP isn't made in the first place).
 

GojiBean

That One Fear In My Enemy's Eyes
For me, it's less an "appeal" and more of a "thrill."

Creating worlds, for me, is thrilling. It's exciting. It's terrifying. And it's absolutely euphoric.

When you create an entire world for characters to occupy, complete with lore and world details that can capture the imaginations of your fellow role-players and keep them asking questions about the world because they're just that curious and eager to explore... There's no other feeling like it.

I have no other reference for that feeling or the thrill that comes with it. But yeah. I'd say it's more thrilling than appealing.

There's a lot to dislike and/or find stressful and thankless about being a GM. The three biggest ones for me are the stress of balancing work/life/role-playing as "the one in charge," managing the expectations of all your participating role-players, and constantly keeping oneself in check so as not to let one's own "control" over the direction of the role-play come at the expense of the experience that the others are here to enjoy.

But if you can get past all of that and find a way to relax in your role as GM, then it's a really, really satisfying feeling to create a world and watch it grow as the journey of all the participants unfolds.

Cheers!

~ GojiBean
 

Jannah

I suppose I'm back. Hello again.
I don't GM often, but for me the appeal does lie in being able to tell the stories I want to tell. Of course due to the collaborative nature of RP it doesn't always work out that way, but y'know...
 

Wayward Son

𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘯
GMing can be stressful. It can be downright hell. You have to balance so many things: include everyone in the plots, create little scenarios for people to build their characters organically, make sure nobody steps out of line oocly (like be an a-hole for no reason), make sure ic drama doesn't bleed into ooc, create plot twists (assuming you're one of those "control all" gms), and on top of everything else, just keep the momentum going.

But if you're lucky, you'll find yourself a group who doesn't make it feel like a job. Sure, some people thrive off of the pressure and that's perfect, but if you're like me, you want it to be less like it's a job and like you're one of the regular players who occasionally moves along the plot with a post or two.

The appeal for me Is to just have fun. I hate having to kick people or threaten to kick them because they were acting out like a child. That and I'm just no good with confrontation. 😂 I let my co's deal with that crap if at all possible. Just lemme have fun with my buds and write some good stories.
 

Beckoncall

World-Weaver and servant to the most-holy PC
Supporter
A well run game is a gift you give to everyone AND yourself. I adore GMing... even when it's work. <3
 

Murdergurl

will turn your insides into your outsides
Simply put, the one biggest perk of GMing is making a setting/plot you actually like and are willing to contribute to.
Tired of scrolling through pages of group reqs that don't pique your interest?
Create and GM one yourself!

(I just wish I still had the time and patience to do so)
 

Henery

Sir Henery of Brisbane
I'm interested in GMing, because of the fun of creating a world with interesting ideas, then seeing people come populate that world, and finding out what they do in all the crazy scenarios that come about. The groups that form, the stories that emerge, it's all a lot of fun. Though being honest, half the reason I GM is because that way I'm guaranteed to be accepted into the roleplay XD.
 

nerdy tangents

Elder Member
Lol totally opposite everyone else I’m a natural manager. I thrive on keeping things organized and being tough but fair.

I don’t do GM work anymore because I work full time and on my days off I sleep like half the day. So I don’t have the time to dedicate to managing a full group of people.

But every time I GM’d or co-GM’d a roleplay it was entirely because I was like “this needs someone who knows how to organize an activity and keep everyone on track.

Which I suppose sounds kinda arrogant but so many people make groups and it’s clear they genuinely didn’t realize “group = other people”. Cuz it’s all about them and their particular interests and no effort had been put into keeping things organized, accessible, or interesting for anyone else.

Not saying it’s wrong to have your own story idea. Just if you spend the entire life of the roleplay just coming up with storylines for your own character or (worse scenario) just coming up with pretty graphics for the roleplay. You should maybe stick to 1x1s not groups.
 

bastion

Naruto is my special interest o.o
So I always end up deciding to GM something because I get an idea for a setting or story and then I want to explore it with others. Problem is I'm not really up for GMing, at least not long term, so I'm trying to switch to co-GMing / working with a team so I have the support to keep things going even when I'm not up for leading.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
jaydude jaydude Hey you! =)
Just a little curious. For me, the first time I GM'ed a Dice RP was because I was looking to get into a new dice system (Exalted 3E), which at the time had no games using it being hosted here. Back then, I just figured "If you want something done, do it yourself", and thus Chronicles of the Scavenger Lands came into being.

To an extent, this reasoning still applies to me today - I'm running my current game largely to try out the Exalted Essence system - but I think that another reason is that I tend to enjoy having creative freedom when it comes to my games, and running a game generally gives you a lot of that.
(I'm posting this reply so I can look up at it and keep my thoughts on track.) The appeal of being a Game Master? Well! Get ready to jump down the rabbit hole because I'm betting this'll get deep! =)

1. To share! I really like sharing and bringing people together! I really like watching folks have a good time together and if it's something I've made, then hey! I'm glad to have done something to better their world (and mine too). =)

2. To use my energy and imagination wisely! It gives my overactive imagination something to do and keep coming back to day after day. Something positive. Bruce Lee once mentioned that the mind is like a garden. You can grow weeds or flowers - you decide. I want to create not destroy. I want to create "flowers" that other people can enjoy too. Most of my players really enjoy what I create so I guess I've gotten good at it over the decades. =)

3. I love interactive storytelling! Roleplaying is my favorite hobby because it keeps me engaged. GMing is my favorite role because I'm far less likely to get distracted or bored like I sometimes do when I'm only a Player. Harrison Ford once said in an interview when asked why he became an actor, "Because I wanted to live many lives." When I'm Game Mastering/Storytelling/Refereeing, etc., I'm living many lives. Interesting lives! With neat and interesting characters, some of whom have quite literally taught me life lessons I'm not sure I'd come by without roleplaying. I'm serious about that.

4. I love Game Mastering! "Actors inhabit," says Sir Ian McKellan (Gandalf the Grey and Gandalf the White in The Lord of the Rings movies and countless others). So do I. When at the tabletop or Play-by-Post, I sit back and let my characters tell me what's going on in their heads. I'm always in the driver's seat in the car, but I let them tell me what turns to make, when to brake, and when to speed up, etc.. I have a lot of fun just listening to them react to what my wonderful players are saying and doing. Often, it's an automatic response. It's also a skill that goes cold if you don't use it (I really don't like it when I can't roleplay for months at a time). I know I'm having a good day when I can call up a favorite character and they're there. In my head. Just like a skill one practices, it's there when you want it.

5. I love the healthy distraction and relief it gives me from work life! I take my work seriously and I game just as seriously. I enjoy both but there are times when I've had enough of work and I want to put my mind somewhere fun, engaging, and altogether elsewhere. Roleplaying does that and Game Mastering does it more than being a player. Not only am I wondering about my PCs, my NPCs, my world at large, the story, the scenes, and the overall "feel" of the game, it's a nice place to retreat to instead of burying my head in nothing but work. I'm a human being and I need to live - Game Mastering is a welcome part of my life! I get to learn new skills and re-use old ones often enough too. =)

6. I really enjoy the challenges of Game Mastering! Quality Game Mastering, at least to me, requires attention to details. Knowing your gaming system(s). Knowing your players. Knowing yourself. It also means knowing your story and world even if its only the size of a small house or a brilliant world with multiple continents, factions, and adventure-filled places. That means a good Game Master has to do their homework, study and master the basics of Game Mastering, be open to outside opinions (especially your players), and overall be a combination of someone who can prepare the necessities while also being able to ad-lib at any given moment. All without favoritism, narcissism, or (worst of all) not giving a damn what your players think or how they feel.

7. I really enjoy learning how my players react to posts I've made, especially with scenes that have been inside my head for weeks or even months! I'll use my Private Workshop to lay my inspirations down (don't lose those! Record them any way you can!) and then when I have more time, I'll sometimes write out a pre-post of things I'm sure will be in the scene, write it out with my heart, edit it all with my head, and then bang! Hit Reply! Then I wait and usually by the next day or three, I've got some kind of something back from my players! Play-by-Post is a much-different beast than tabletop in that I can't read my players' body language, tone, etc. here in RP Nation. So I've got to rely on myself and what I know about them and their characters. This means increasing their fun as much as I can while being mindful of the things that annoy or irk them. My games are our "safe havens" - I want them to feel great when they log on to play! But that takes a responsible mind and an open heart.

8. I really get to practice the art of writing when I'm Game Mastering! From time to time, I've switched tenses, I've tried different ways of expressing myself, or I've just simply explored something new. I'm lucky in that I have players that don't mind this sort of thing. I try to let them know when I catch myself doing it. Either way, I've gone from someone who had a hell of a time communicating when I was a kid to being asked if I write professionally on more than one occasion (I don't; I just write here for the love of it!). But writing is its own challenge. Words matter. Grammar and punctuation matters. Stephen King was right when he said that good writing is "goddamn telepathy" in that I can put images and emotions that began in my brain straight into yours and chances are, especially here on RP Nation, we'll never meet in person. That sounds like telepathy to me! But to do it right? To create that kind of scene, that bond between writer and reader, to the point where they sit back in their chairs and think, "Wow!" I haven't always been able to do that. But I sure as hell can do it now. =)

9. Game Mastering when Playing-by-Post is done using "words that stay!" That's how Jen the Gelfling from The Dark Crystal (movie) describes writing to Kira and he's right. I've two games I've been on since Sherwood introduced Kaerri and I to RP Nation (then RPdom and RP Zone afterward). Both of them have been "safe havens" for over half a decade or so and I'm damned proud of that! Talk about time well spent! Each of us players (or people who haven't played) can just click a few buttons and go back word-for-word to each and every adventure we've had here! That's just magic to me! I love it! It's one of the best things about Game Mastering too! I can see where Dannigan in 2020 was thinking or in 2017 or even further back! And Kaerri and everyone else too! Where else am I going to get something like that? Every other form of gaming I'm aware of fades. Discord? Fun, but gone. Tabletop? Lost to time. GMing with Play-by-Post? Right here, baby! Come and see!

10. And finally (before I can think of something else), Game Mastering teaches me about myself. It tells me where my mind is. How organized or disorganized I'm feeling. I've a neurodevelopmental disorder that's been with me since birth and there's no cure for it so it's not going away. Put simply, I think differently than most people. Game Mastering gives me something to look forward to everyday. It gives me challenges to roll up my sleeves to. It gives me opportunities to put smiles or gasps or laughs into people I really enjoy the company of (and anyone else that reads it). It's personal. Plus, there's no one else that can GM like me! That goes for every GM out there. No one can do it quite like you - sure some might come close, but the vast majority? No way. Only you can bring your life into your characters and that goes quadruple for a seasoned Game Master whose been at this since the age of 10.

Bonus! So yeah! I enjoy Game Mastering because I think I'll be doing it until I move on from this life! I'm dead serious. Roleplaying has never before in human history been more popular than it has been in these generations! Roleplaying therefore is not going anywhere! "You are limited only by your imagination." - Kevin Siembieda (of Palladium Games). The Okinawans (you know, those folks who have more 100-year-old people in the world than anywhere else?) have a special word they use when they describe what keeps them going decade after decade. It's called ikigai. It basically means, "life purpose."

And Game Mastering is mine. =)

Honor and fun,
Dann =)
 
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