Monday, September 15, 2014

Attitudes in Gaming: DM/GM Responsibility

I have noticed an interesting attitude from some gamers, that the GM of the game is there to entertain the players and make sure they have a good time...even if it means the GM does not.

Role-Playing Games are just that, GAMES.

Games are a form of play, and therefore meant to be fun, for everybody involved, the GM included.

If a GM wants to run a horror game, and the players want to play a comedy game, then it should not be up to the GM to change their style of play to fit their players if they will not have fun running a comedy.

This does lead to only a few choices

  • The GM can run the comedy game and not have fun
  • The GM can run the horror game and not have fun because the players are not having fun
  • The GM can find other players
  • The players can find another GM

The GM decides the story elements, works constantly on encounters, treasure/loot, NPCs, voices and making sure there is enough paper, books, dice and pencils for the players in case someone forgets something.

From my players I expect them to show up on time, voice any major concerns they may have, and participate in the game.

As a player, I expect the GM to fairly interpret the rules of the game, and not obviously railroad the players into something.

I do not feel it is any single persons job to make sure that everyone at the table is entertained, or that the story is good, I feel it is the responsibility of every person at that table to encourage the fun, in the spirit it is presented in.

As a GM, I spend most of my free time working on encounters that will be challenging, fun and vaguely survivable, researching rules and making sure everything is ready for the next session.

Mapping, writing descriptions, creating NPCs, writing plot points, reviewing previous notes to tie things together, going over character sheets to make sure the PCs have the appropriate skills, changing encounters because PCs do not have the appropriate skills, etc.

On top of that, we are the primary focus of the players.  We are expected to entertain, use funny voices, provide pacing and fair rule judgments as well as not (obviously) railroad our players.

Over the past few years I have seen more and more people state that it is the GMs "job" to provide entertainment.

No.

This is not my "job."  This is my hobby.  This is (supposed to be) my fun time.

GMs are not slaves to the players to accommodate their every whim and fancy.  GMs are players who do not get to kill the big bad.  GMs are players who do not get to grow a personality from a bunch of mere stats on paper.  GMs do not get to tell the glorious tales of how their character, alone and afraid, overcame the odds and became a hero.

No.  GMs get to be beaten down and looted, tricked and insulted, left to die or banished back to the bowels of hell from which they came to destroy the world they created.

I am a GM, a referee, not a player.  Not your personal RPG slave or lackey.

I posit that the players are there to entertain each other, but within the confines of the rules set forth by the GM.

The GM gets to use the information they have been working on, the players get to have fun overcoming challenges, and the game goes on.

If you want someone to entertain you, without doing anything yourself, go to a comedy club, or watch TV...but that is not what RPGs are about.