View Full Version : Ask a GM [07/07/08]: Motivation to be a GM

07-07-2008, 02:13 AM
Our first question for the Ask a GM section comes from Dimthar (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/member.php?u=94). I thought this would make a great start to getting to know our new GM Panel.

Dimthar asks,

1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?

07-07-2008, 02:13 AM
Why did I decide to take up the role of Game Master? Well, at first it was a matter of necessity. It was hard enough to find other gamers anywhere near my age range when I was a fledgling roleplayer of twelve. So, you will understand when I say it was nearly impossible to find willing and able bodies to take the GM chair. It was a lot easier to induct my friends if I was willing to run the game anyway.

After many years, I found that being the storyteller was were I was most comfortable. I've actually gamed as a player with only a handful of GMs. Of the admittedly few campaigns I have played in, there is only one that I miss today. And that is a credit to how incredibly well done and enjoyable the story was. Therein lies the crux of it, I imagine. As a GM, I run a very story driven game. I just don't like episodic or poorly strung together campaigns, and I loathe modules. If I run the game, I know exactly the kind of game I am going to get...

So, do I miss being a player? I guess I don't look at it that way. I feel like I am as much a player in my games as, well, my players. I may put together a scenario for the characters to overcome, but the turns the story takes based on the direction the players choose is often as much of a surprise to me as it is to them. Not to mention the satisfaction-factor of putting together a story or memorable characters that my group talks about for months or even years to come is a real high.

07-07-2008, 02:13 AM
I enjoy both being a game master and a player. Right now I am lucky enough to be doing both. Running and playing a game are not diametrically opposed ends of a spectrum. We are partners, all in this together. We are building an adventure.

But the GM does have one important duty and contribution that no player gets to make Ė you set the ground rules. You decide where we will begin play and how the world works. Itís like building a wind-up toy. After you set it free, you can never be exactly sure where it is going to go or how long it will take to wind down. Perhaps you try to steer it, but these contraptions are notoriously prone to jumping even the best laid tracks.

Here then is my motivation Ė I love seeing what players do with my wind-up toy. Iíve got a world and some conflict, sure. But how will the players respond when things spin out of control? Will they run for their very lives, taking cover from this teapot tempest? Or will they be heroes and save the town?

Weíll see.


07-07-2008, 02:13 AM
Hi :)

1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?

When I was first introduced to gaming it was D&D and it wasn't with people I could game with again. So when I got home, knowing that I wanted more, I bought the "red box" and just went from there. I had to teach my friends to play, so I ended up being the GM by merit of making others play.

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?

Nope. I've been quite lucky over the years, especially after high school, and there has always been someone to run a game I could play in -- while I ran a game they could play in. Tandem GM's, shifting campaigns every so often, etc. that sort of stuff can provide Heavenly breaks.

07-07-2008, 02:13 AM
I had a similar issue as cplmac did-I could find players now and again, but no one wanted to DM. I ended up caving, and buying a DMG; and borrowing Monster Manuals the game store where we played. I do like creating some of my larger NPCs-and agree with cplmac:

Actually, since the DM runs the NPC's, we are actually getting to play also. It's just that at the same time, we are also the referee. I agree with mcbride, the players and the DM are partners in building the adventure together. We each build off of what the other does and says.

One thing that helps me is something I borrowed from the "I, Robot" movie-what the players do with "breadcrumbs" of information or coincedences I leave. Will they take things on face value or try to figure it out? Are there enough breadcrumbs to make a clearer picture? Do they suddenly remember that weird guy from the last town has information they need?

07-07-2008, 02:13 AM
I basically became the DM by default, since when I got back home to PA, noone there knew how to run a game, but they wanted to play. Voila, instant DM.

Actually, since the DM runs the NPC's, we are actually getting to play also. It's just that at the same time, we are also the referee. I agree with mcbride, the players and the DM are partners in building the adventure together. We each build off of what the other does and says.

07-07-2008, 02:13 AM
1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?

For me, I think GMing was a much more deliberate choice. As soon as I had gotten a taste for RPGs via a friend putting me through a couple of rules-less D&D adventures, I realized how cool it must be to be the one to create those adventures. Ultimately, I was also the oldest of the kids in our earliest of groups and thus was deemed "most qualified" to be GM, and I ended up being the one to pick up the books, read them, and teach everybody else how to play.

I have no regrets being a GM as much as I have. To tell the truth, I love GMing and if I go too long without it, I start to get anxious, like a junkie needing a fix. I'm a story-teller at heart. I love stories and I love to create them and watch the reactions of the people who experience them. As GM, you're responsible for a much more sizable portion of the story of a game than a player portraying a single PC. It can mean a lot of extra work, but it can also bring great rewards.

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?

Occasionally. I've been fortunate that there was almost always some alternate or secondary game that was being run by someone else that I got to participate in as a player. I like playing and GMing both, so it is nice to have a balance of the two when possible.

One of the biggest advantages of GMing is that you get to be the one to choose how your game comes together. What genre or system to use, what kind of stories you're going to tell, what kinds of ideas your players will consider when making their PCs. In this way, a GM may get to "play" games that he wouldn't otherwise get to if no one else in the group is willing to run them. It's the old addage that's been mentioned on the boards a few times: "You tend to run the kinds of games you wish you could play in".

07-07-2008, 02:21 PM
I like stories... That's really all it is for me, I am story focused in a role-playing game to the point where most PCs can get annoyed at how little hack there is. And I personally don't like the ways the rules sometimes get in the way of the story I am trying to cooperatively write with the players.

Also, I am less competitive and want a more cooperative storytelling experience, mainly where the players have some say over how the story is written and they don't assume the DM's job is to stop them or beat them.

So, because of that most games where I am a player suck for me because it's an endless chain of fights strung together with a story designed to lead to repeat combats crescendoing in a final fight and it's just a matter of figuring out which link you are on.

I've been playing with Farcaster as a player for a while now and he is great though.

07-07-2008, 03:00 PM
motivation... the elephants which lure men into diplomacy. ^^ (bonus points for anyone who recognizes the obsure bujold reference...) ;D

i'll toss in my two coppers.... i have various reasons, obvious and not so. my hobby is world-building, so gm-ing is a natural extension of that. combined with my perchant for storytelling, well... let's say that it feels pretty comfortable. i'll also toss in one of the more unusual observations on motivations that are likely common to any of the judeo-christian belief tree, or any other faith that holds certain similar beliefs. since God has declared that we are the children of same, what is more natural than children mimicing activities of the adult that they are offspring of?

i frequently play an npc party member. i enjoy playing from the different points of view simultaneously. so i don't usually feel the bite of wanting to only play. sort of like playing both sides of the chess board vs onesself.

07-07-2008, 03:32 PM
1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?

No one else was willing to run the game so being a 'take charge' kind of person, I started whipping up simple stories to run. I

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?

I tried to play recently and it's just not the same. When you're running the game you are 100% occupied by what's going on, as a player I'm finding my mind wanders a lot.

Getting the NPCs to play is fine with me. I make sure they aren't a pushover for the characters, I've been told that makes things much more engaging.

07-07-2008, 04:14 PM
Heh, I am not one of the panel, but being a little ornery Iíll chime in anyway...

I chose to be a GM because I was the first to have books and was excited to put them to use. I suppose some of that remains as my reason to GM today. I like to play enough not to mind working for it and someone always has to go first. I admit the control can be nice too. I get to run a game to my standards (even if I do not always meet them).

It is hard on some GMs to run a fun game with which I am very familiar. I am hard to surprise or fool since I know most monsters weaknesses and strengths whether I act on that information or not and must restrain myself from educating when I know something they might need to look up or deliberate. That said, I love playing in games I know very little about with a good GM who can make the world come to life.

07-07-2008, 04:25 PM
1) Nobody else seemed to want to. Plus, that way I could have the house rules and campaign plots that *I* wanted to do. I've yet to be give the opportunity to decide the house rules or plots for any campaign I've participated in as a player. It's always the DM. So, if I like a specific kind of game with specific kind of house rules, being the DM is the best way to ensure that.

2) Yes, I'd love to be a player again, but there aren't many groups in my area, plus it would mean having to give up on being able to determine what kind of game to run. Still, I'd do it (and have done it) if I got the opportunity.

07-07-2008, 08:01 PM
1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM? At first because it looked so cool. After that, I was simply hooked. And I love the "windup toy" analogy; I feel much the same way.

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"? Nope. There are times I've had fun playing, mostly moments here and there, but in the case of GMing it's more like almost always having a grand time, with only some moments that were really unpleasant. With that in mind, it's pretty obvious on which side of the screen I truly belong.

07-07-2008, 09:59 PM
Where the heck is Turku? Or is that Turkey? Either way if you found a group you are a star in my book! I remember long standing house rules we hashed out as a group back in 2e. Quick rulings were not up for discussion during game.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
07-08-2008, 12:35 AM
I use to love playing the PC, but now i am more into world building, and that means being the DM. I believe in time, if one plays long enough, they usually will side with the GM's.


07-08-2008, 09:41 AM
I pretty much started GMing when I was a kid and have been doing it ever since. I have always been the writer in the group so everyone kind of makes me GM by default no matter the group or game.
I have been able to play a PC a few times in my gaming life and I do like sitting on the other side of the screen, but rarely get to do so. Somehow I get asked to run a game, everyone seems to have fun and then no one ever wants to be the GM anymore, so I get stuck with it.

07-08-2008, 10:52 AM
Turku is in Finland (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=turku+finland&ie=UTF8&ll=51.508742,-45.703125&spn=74.614794,153.984375&z=3) :)

jade von delioch
07-08-2008, 01:46 PM
i started to GM out of need, I had just moved to portland, oregon and couldn't find any current games of what i wanted to play. Plus i have been working on my own system that i will likely get published in the next year or two that i needed play tested.

I do miss playing, i wish sometimes that some else could run my game so i could just play. I do, however, play in a game during the week that a friend is running so i do get to play a little. but that may end here soon since i can't take my daughter everywhere it seems.

07-08-2008, 09:43 PM
Turku is in Finland (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=turku+finland&ie=UTF8&ll=51.508742,-45.703125&spn=74.614794,153.984375&z=3) :)

Norman is in Ireland...

07-11-2008, 09:25 AM
Eh, I started GMing because there was no games running in my area at a time slot I could play. I figured at worst, my players will fire me and one of THEM will run. At best, it'll end up being a fun campaign. After I got started gearing up for the campaign, I found I'm really enjoying it!

Do I miss playing as a PC? Naturally. Fortunately, I'm hooked up with a good crew of online PbP gamers, and so get to still get somewhat of that fix - thought it's not fully the same.

07-11-2008, 07:47 PM
1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?
I received my first gaming books from my father when I was 8. He was a GM for my friends and I for a while, but then he had to do another tour outside the U.S. So, I took over. I didn't know much at the time, but I tried to mimic my father. I was more of a Monty Haul version of him. This continued on and off until I met a group in High School. I was a player for a little bit, and then one day I took the spot behind the screen. I've been there ever since, with different people, and different groups.

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?
Occasionally, I'll be a PC in a game, but it is never satisfying to me. I love being the guy who makes the world, who runs the stories and adventures. I love it when players come up to me and get all nostalgic about a game I ran, or something amazing they did in my game. Yeah, I was there, but those "Oh no, not another PC story" moments go away when it's someone talking about one of my games, moments later, or years later.

I'm hoping to join a group again, as I took a sad hiatus from TT gaming, though I still played online. I'll be the player again, but as soon as someone lets me run one again, I'm off like a damned lightning bolt.

07-14-2008, 01:02 PM
When i started there was many more obsticales to cross then just what character i wanted to play... there was racial tention and the usual Geeks vs Jocks... lol. I just happen to be both which made me cool among my geek friends and as much as the Jocks tried to turn me... well a geek... and i was proud to be one... my friends (not the Jocks) started calling me a unique geek you see... I was bused in to an all white school from the mean streets of L.A., intergration they called it... lol Well where i lived D&D was unheard... when i saw these white kids playing this game... i asked... what it was... at first a few guys were very nervous about even talking to me... i was black and they were white... and there had be people with misunderstood hate in their hearts protesting with signs telling us (black people) to go home... I don't think they like the idea of black kids going to an all white school... lol the idea that we are different automatical some how is crazy... i believe as humans we create our own respect value by our actions... never the less.
A few said that i wouldn't be interested in it... but i replied... "Well i'm am that's why i asked..." One guy took pitty on me i guess... he said... hey let him try... so i sat down and he gave me the rough draft... here play this fighter... they are the easiest to use... As a new player they figured i didn't know what to do... but the truth is I've always had an over active imagination... i was the kid who played by himself with his action figures and had ongoing story lines and every time i would play i would pick up where i left off... like "last time when we were here" lol... also... I had been watching them the whole time while i was hiding in the library... and i over heard what they were doing so... when we were playing... (i remember it like it was yesterday...) we came upon some bad men sacking and burning a town... there was a paladin with us who at that point was unsure what to do... so i spoke up... "You there! you shall pay for the evil you've done here!" I looked at the DM... I draw my sword and with a swing over my head i slam it into the guy who looks the toughest... lol All the guys looked at me in shock... and a few of the guys who weren't sure it was a good idea to let me play burst out in Rp... "Yes... brother let us give them what for" "Alright get'em"... from that day forward my life was changed, i knew this was my life... and whenever i was not playing D&D i was ****ing up... in life... and when i was, i was focus... so know i play it... I DM it, I write it... and it keeps me focused on what matters... friends and family... and living your life to enjoy it... All those guys (save one)... we are all still best friends to this day... 27 some odd years... none of them play in my game but we talk about what was everytime we get together... as you know life sometime changes people and what they once love is not so important anymore... for me... it is my life... it is what i love to do... it is my hobbie and my mental stimulance... RPG is what makes me happy. Stories the characters go through and the choices they make... wither it be for love or for war is what grips me and embraces me...

As for which one i like the most DMing or PCing? In my game... I am doing both... the only differance is as a player i only have one character... as a DM i am the world... and each voice, each emotion i get to enjoy it (selfish huh?)... but in return the players also get to enjoy it and effect those emotions and live as they see fit... but be carefull... for there is a rule that never fades "For every action there is a reaction" cause and effect...

Sorry for the long rant/testamonial... the question struck me...


Obah Bason
07-14-2008, 06:18 PM
1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?
I like to tell stories. It is a great creative outlet especially when I don't even know what the outcome will be since the players are in control of their own destinies. What if they don't save the princess? Well, lets find out!

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?
I still play, but I play Star Wars and then DM 4.0. It's kinda nice to separate 2 interests on 2 levels. I run a fantasy game, and play in a sci fi game. I rarely confuse the 2 since they are so different in both aspects.

07-15-2008, 05:42 AM
I suppose I became a GM by default. My players didn't really want to dedicate the time needed to learn the rules and I was fascinated with the books and the game mechanics (didn't matter how they played in practice). It could truly be called "Win-Win".

I don't really miss being a player. Actually, I never really got to play in a D&D campaign, just DM a few different campaigns. I did get to participate in a WoD campaign (VtM) as a player, but that was really all the experience on the far side of the screen that I have.

07-15-2008, 09:01 AM
I decided to become a GM because I frankly got sick of playing in games that were inconsistent with rules and fluidity of game play.

Sure everyone wants to have fun, but when it's time for game; let's focus on the game. I've been apart of so many games where the GM/DM's talk about current events, what they had to drink last night, female troubles and such the like. No offence, I don't want to hear all of that. We can talk about that the other 6 days of the week.

As it relates to the rules, I have a problem with favortism. What goes for one should go for all. I believe I'm a fair GM and will remember how it feels to be shorted or jipped in a game.

07-31-2008, 03:56 AM
DMing became a matter of neccessity for me. As a player, I had an insatiable need to try EVERYTHING. Every character type and variation. I was killing off my characters just so i could try something new almost every week! :lol:
As DM, I got to pick and choose as I pleased, as well as setting up the campaign, designing the world, etc. It was a match made in heaven :D

I still play once in a while and quite enjoy it because it's with the same group. I think they still tend to think of me as DM, so I sort of become the party Leader by default. :o

08-03-2008, 02:06 PM
I choose to DM to get a story told.
I love to play and at times I hand over the DM reins to another player so I can get that out and about but I like the scheming and plot creation aspect and I like creating more detail to my custom world that comes with interaction with the players. The more they do, the more detail that part of Taern gets.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
08-03-2008, 06:25 PM
My preference sides with GM'ing. Though i will admit that i have become tolerant of many different gaming styles due to all the playing i have done over the years.


08-06-2008, 01:08 AM
1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?
Originally, it was 'cause it was my box, and I was the only one who had read the rules.

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?
As GM, I get to look at the world through a dozen viewpoints over the course of a session, which keeps things fresh. I don't really have enough focus to maintain one character for a full session.

08-12-2008, 10:39 PM
By the look of things a lot of people here had the same fall in as i did. For me i had a friend who had no job but had gotten me interested in playing DnD. i went out and bought the core rule book set and handed them over, rolled a character after reading through the PHB and was ready to go... but my 'DM' was infact a player through and through. so i had spent near one hundred dollars for my friend to say he couldn't do it. so i took the books and said "alright! then roll a character i'm running it."

as for missing being a player, i never got an indepth chance to play DnD as a player, i have gotten to be a player in vampire and mage the ascention recently.. but i have never yet been a player for DnD to date.

08-16-2008, 06:41 AM
My two cents:

It's the power thing, first and foremost.

I could say how nobody else wanted to do it, or that I had the most source material, or how I write in general and enjoy world building, and these are all true, but it really all comes down to control.

Since I DMed by first campaign, I've never been able to really sit still as a player.

09-02-2008, 05:41 PM
I didm't decide tostart being a GM I did it out of need of a GM and yes I miss playing I would much rather play then run any day.

12-02-2008, 02:32 PM
1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?
When I was 11, in 1977, I had just seen Star Wars. I discovered Roleplaying via Traveller not AD&D like most of those people back in the day.

I liked the idea that I could with a few dice rolls, create an entire planet. With a few more a subsector. With a calculator, and some charts I could detail that planet down to individual neighborhoods of a local starport, or detail the ecology, enough that a casual visit by PCs gave them the feel of a unique place.

So I guess, I do it because I like maps, and I like being a worldbuilder. I like working on my games, even when nobody is playing.

I like writing plots, creating NPCs, and describing space battles.

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?
No, I play a PC still. I like taking a rest from all the fine detail work that I do on my own games, so that I can generate a PC, think about motivations, and goals and character, and bring a sheet, some dice, and a few books to a game, and be entertained with a lot less work.

I like seeing how each player will do things waaay different than I would, in the same situation. I like being part of a problem solving team. I like the imagined battles, whatever. I get to be an actor, in a group of performers (I've done voice acting for little internet films / sketches on youtube and such.)

12-03-2008, 07:31 PM
Why did I start as a GM? Pure curiosity, I suppose: I wanted to try it. For a long time, I wasnít particularly good at it. I wrote my first good campaign (the first one that I would run again now), after six years of mediocrity. Since then, GMing has been more-or-less expected of me.

Do I miss playing a character? Yes. I havenít run a PC in a tabletop game in over 10 years now. I have my NPCs, of course, and I try to RP in computer games, but itís not the same.

04-21-2009, 11:01 AM
I became a DM in order to see how the stories that had been rattling around inside my imagination could be brought to life and how my player's shape the ultimate conclusion of those stories. Well, I also became a DM because the guy who had been doing flat out said that the next session was going to be his last time ever running a game (November of 1993) and no one else wanted to do it. So, I grabbed a piece of typewriter paper, drew a quick map, and started my own homebrew campaign world. Interestingly enough, that homebrew world has been group's default campaign setting ever since - even when I wasn't the GM.

Do I miss being a player? Not so much anymore. I used my PCs as a way to try and understand who I was and overcome some pretty serious social ineptitude. I still play every once in a while, but only so I don't forget what things look like from that side of the screen.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
04-21-2009, 11:07 AM
I love playing the role of GM much more than being a player. I have so many ideas going through my head that, not unlike Dytrrnikl, that i'd like to see these imaginings brought to fruition.

04-21-2009, 12:18 PM
I consider myself a player, but I DM out of necessity. It is either DM the game, or no game at all.

05-08-2009, 09:44 AM
1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?
Well, in my first group i was a player, but when everyone moved away or went to different schools, i had the most experience and ended up teaching DnD and Runequest to my players. Over time, they either learned to GM or i found people who enjoyed it. After several years though, I really began to get into world building and now I GM because i love telling a story and creating the environments it all happens in.

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?
All the time, i always want to be in my own games... and the rest of the players think (mistakenly) that they cannot be as good a GM as me, so i end up doing it most of the time. I think i am the one who is willing to put in all the time to make a good adventure... and thats daunting to a lot of poeple. but half to 3/4 of a good adventure is made up on the fly because no one ever really sticks to a linear plot so a GM has to be able to think fast and be flexible. Thats the part that i think the rest of theplayers do not like - spending the time to really immerse yourself in a scenario to its all seemless, no matter what players do... i digree though. Yes, i miss it. :(

05-15-2009, 09:37 AM
-Why did you decide to "play" the GM?

I started off my gaming career as a DM with a basic boxed set in D&D, and I made the mistake of trying to get my family to play it. I had no idea what I was doing, and it made me doubt my ability to do it. I switched to being a player only when I finally found someone else in my area who ran games.

Years later, I wanted to play other games. I was the only one willing to switch, so I had to take on the GM mantle. I was horrible, but I stuck with it because nobody else wanted to run the new stuff.

Eventually, I met the GM that would teach me how to run a campaign that really got the players invested and involved, and he ran Rifts. Ever since then, I've truly enjoyed being the GM because of the stories I introduce to the players. For me, it's all about sharing the story and the world in my mind, not power.

-Do you miss playing a "PC"?

I can't say I miss playing a PC. As many others have stated, I am a player in the same game. I am just the player who gets to see all the scenes. That's important to know that as a GM you know the structure, but you don't know the contents. Your players fill your story and make it complete.

I can say, however, that I occasionally get tired of coming up with the story. It can be demanding, especially if your players get used to a certain level of play. Sometimes I just want to sit back and let someone else make the world. On those occasions, I usually have a backup GM who either takes over the story or runs a separate one.

05-21-2009, 08:44 PM
For me, GMing allows me to be creative and entertaining. I love constructing a fully-fleshed campaign and knowing the players are having a blast experiencing it.

07-04-2009, 06:33 PM
Dimthar asks,

1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?

1) At first, it was simply because no one else wanted to be the DM - they would rather play. Over the years, I have grown to love being able to create the Challenges, and then secretly aid the Players in overcoming them.

2) No. I still manage to find other G/DMs willing to run a Game, and love creating a new Character (the more unusual the Race, or Class combination - the better) and exploring the possibilities.

07-12-2009, 04:34 PM
1. I decided to be a GM because I liked the idea of running the game. Then I did it and I got hooked. I started when I was about 12 or 13 and I have been GMing since.

2. I still get to play from time to time, I have a lack of GM's in my group so I am stuck with what I have. Most of the time I enjoy GMing more, unless someone really blows me away with their game.

07-15-2009, 02:42 AM
Why? Because I wanted to tell stories and I wanted to express some cool ideas that I didn't feel I could on the other side of the screen

Do I miss PCing? Sometimes but I have developed my game to the point where I would love to play in my world, too bad nobody really knows it. But I do have other GMs in the group so If I want to play I can and have been lately

07-24-2009, 12:30 AM
1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?

DMing was something I really wanted t learn to do after playing in a number of games that were fun but also a bit high powered. I thought being in games with characters who had lists of magic items was getting droll and wanted to run an improved version of the game.

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?

Not really. When I do play I find I evaluate the game as much as play. I have to watch not to become too much of an observer.

09-15-2009, 01:46 AM
1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?

It was never really a decision on my part. I was simply the one who knew the rules best, I was the only one with any sort of theatrical background (which helps), and I was the one who introduced it to my friends. It was kind of natural that I was our primary DM. However, we had some secondary DMs running various campaigns in other worlds, but at one point we simply decided that everything was more stable with me as the DM, and so it was settled.

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?

Mostly no, but to some extent, yes. I don't actually miss the playing, as I think I find DMing more fun. What I miss is having that link to one character that all my PCs got. I mean, sure, I had some NPCs that were fantastic and I loved, but wanna guess what my absolute favorite NPC was? That's right, my sorceress Lady Python, turned NPC when I became DM. She stuck through it all and will likely persist even in new campaigns I run with people who have no idea who she is. That's the kind of thing I miss - that emotional tie - not actually playing.

09-17-2009, 09:40 AM
1.) Being the one who normally organizes the game nights, I often have to GM by default. Also, being a freelance writer, I often get appointed to GM. I do enjoy world-building and learning new systems, so it often works out.

2.) YES! I totally miss playing! I haven't been a player in a long, long time. I love creating a character and running with it.

09-17-2009, 04:41 PM
I only DM when everyone has run out of gas and I have something that I really want to run such as particular genre or setting, otherwise I'm usually a player.

09-17-2009, 05:48 PM
I'm going to hopefully DM my Dad, his friend and her two kids. One of them's addicted to WoW so he should catch on quick, and diversify his interest. Hopefully they'll ike it enough I can keep it up, even if it only every other week.

Being a DM sounds fun, I'll find out in a week. Being a player is great but your at the whim of the DM's schedule.

09-17-2009, 09:10 PM
I love to DM not at all. I much prefer to play. I can't find anyone who is DMing the Sci Fi campaign I want to play. So I GM it.

09-25-2009, 10:27 AM
I've definitely enjoyed being a DM more then a few times. Half the fun is really just taking up the role of an NPC and dealing with the other characters, and letting things go where they will.

09-28-2009, 01:13 PM
1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?

I have an overactive imagination and am a control freak. I love the rush of introducing players to a situation and having them react to it. I REALLY enjoy the rush of saying goodbye to everyone after a session, and getting a slap on the back and a hearty, "I had a GREAT time tonight!"

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?

Only rarely. I generally dislike playing, unless I have a VERY good DM/GM. Unfortunately, there are very few of those lying about. I usually look at the role of DM as getting to play ALL the PC's, while all the other people at the table get to play NPC's... but that's just me! :biggrin:

10-15-2009, 02:11 PM
Our first question for the Ask a GM section comes from Dimthar (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/member.php?u=94). I thought this would make a great start to getting to know our new GM Panel.

Dimthar asks,

1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?

A little about Charles...

In truth, I decided to become a DM because I got tired of people screwing it up. I know that's rather blunt. But you asked an honest question so you deserve an honest answer. You see, my first DM (and I've come to learn this person is the measuring stick for most players) created his world for players. You name it, it had it; politics, hack 'n slash, etc... And if it didn't have it he'd put some in.
But the thing I respected most was he had a plan. He wasn't a disorganized DM, or one who made it up as he went along. He payed attention to every character, and catered to their imagination and dreams... It was amazing.
This is what I feel every player should have a chance to feel. And after seeing everyone else always fall short I knew, if people I was playing with were going to experience what I talked about so passionately, then I'd have to be the one to show them.
So I did, and I have. The people I've DMd for have needed moments to gather themselves after their character have retired, or died, because of how much they'd grown attached to their characters.
Recently I had a "meet and greet" for new players, and you should have seen the glow in the faces of my current players as excitement and fond memories filled their eyes when they talked about past characters and the great feats they accompished.
This is why I started DMing.

Also, having accomplished my goal, I have now started college to get my english degree, and I hope to one day work for Wizards.

Now, do i miss being a player?
Every day. Nothing is as enjoyable as creating a character, helping 'em grow, and being part of the story. Feeling like your making a difference/impact to the story.
I went and played for a bit but unforunetly the DM was horrible. I won't go into details...
But until I find a DM who can take over, with the same heart and enthusiasm, I will continue to man my post.

Thanks for reading.

Charles :biggrin:

10-16-2009, 08:57 AM
I think the sentiment of "doing it right" is something we've all experienced. I hate to say it, but 90% of the time when i get to play, i feel the GM is experience is wanting. I find myself trying, from a player role, to push further and create a more immersive experience by forcing the GM to detail out elements t and then draw conclusions from them - kind of like showing them how "it should be done". Its probably annoying, and i try and watch what i do, but i often find myself in the role of party leader or right hand man when i do play - the other players (and sometimes the GM too) often look to me for direction and guidance because i'm the one that the immersive experience comes so easy to.

10-20-2009, 01:00 PM
Originally Posted by Farcaster
Our first question for the Ask a GM section comes from Dimthar. I thought this would make a great start to getting to know our new GM Panel.

Dimthar asks,

1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?

1) Responded to a forum post somewhere and ended up DM'ing as they decided I had the most experience
2) Haven't actually played that much but being the DM is good and I get to craft the world too which is great.

David E. McGuire
10-21-2009, 12:03 AM
Our first question for the Ask a GM section comes from Dimthar (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/member.php?u=94). I thought this would make a great start to getting to know our new GM Panel.

Dimthar asks,

1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?

Wow. Ah... I don't know it was ever a decision so much as "I have to do this." Between being a writer and something of a cat herder, the idea of being able to put my story into the minds of a captive audience through an interactive medium really appealed to me -- then and now. So for me, it was more of something that I fit into naturally, rather than the active decision it became later in life to be a writer.

To the second, I do get to play, but it's a massive adjustment. It's hard not to adjudicate, its hard not to have a specific (and often strong) opinion about what's going on, and when my sense of Fair Play gets violated, well, there are fireworks to spare. Given the coin toss, if I win it, I'll GM almost every time though. That's where my fun comes from.

10-29-2009, 02:52 PM
1) For 19 years that's all I have been, I love telling stories along with the players, I am also a writer and have created my own world which all my players love. I make them believe the world they play in is as real as our own, I get involve in their character's story and I implement it as part of the game, everyone in my group becomes the primary character in our games. I make the games memorable, enjoyable and believable.

2) Sometimes, but then we don't have another GM and I love being the GM so I am not concerned about it.

Volas Rath
06-09-2010, 10:34 AM
I have been a GM of dozens of games for the last 15 years. I first tried my hand at it when I was 16 years old. Apparently I was so good at it the party kept me running for 11 hours. I was always able to run "off the cuff" campaigns, weaving a story out of nothing but the players own actions, and a few minor details. I enjoyed toying the with players, and at the same time, bringing new players into the fold by letting them access the deeper parts of their own imaginations.

As for being a player.. well.. occasionally, I *do* miss it. I think I'd honestly like to BE a player again for a campaign.. lol. Especially if the GM was great.

06-10-2010, 10:28 AM
I would like to just state for the record, that GM's are players. We do get (i think) great playing experiences with NPC's and almost a better play experience because we've got the entire depth of the plots, themes and world to give every action and word more depth to us. I think its a richer story experience than what the PC gets... Its that experience of not knowing so much and developing a character in detail from scratch and surviving in the face of uncertainty that is the specific parts i miss.

I became a GM because i immersed myself in stories - comic, books, movies, and i could just throw down a map and run a bunch of impromptu stuff easily. Even now i know most of my players can GM with a plan, i just seem to be the most flexible still and best at logistics of organizing the group (or maybe the most forgiving?). Some things never change i guess.

06-11-2010, 01:22 PM
I Agree... but as a DM... you know the plots it's your weave of the world... While we do play too... at least I know I love DMing because of all the different characters I can make... nothing replaces the not knowing... and watching the story unfold infront of you... to me that is the best experience to see the players face as things become clearer as they progress... there is nothing better...
We hope that all are games are that rich...


06-18-2010, 12:28 AM
1) Why Did You Decide to "Play" the GM?

2) Do You Miss Playing a "PC"?

1) I became a GM for several reasons. I ran a few D&D games and battletech games back when I first started back in '80, but it wasn't until I got into LARP'ng that I really got into the GM mentality. Before hand all I wanted to do was play. I suppose I have to give the Camarilla fan club, credit where credit is due as being elected as a local storyteller for the LARP troupe, and then moving onto the regional and national level, really taught me what a GM is, and what they need to do to keep players interested. When I left LARPing, and went back to table top, I had picked up a copy of L5R, and since I couldn't find a GM to run it, I ended up running it to introduce my friends to it. In a way, I think I cursed myself when I did so. Regardless, I had a blast doing so, and my players enjoyed it immensely and kept asking for more. I'm still running games and introducing my friends to games I want to play in the hopes someday one of them will pick up the game and run it so I can play :) Truth be told, I do love the challenge of running games, and I love coming up with intricate plots and interesting game worlds for my players to enjoy.

2) I do miss the simplicity of "just" playing some times. I think I surprise the GM's I do play with when I ask them what they want me to play, or what will add to the group most. I rarely do get to play these days so I tend to jump on any oppurtunity I do get and enjoy it throughly. When I'm GM'ng, I do find that by taking the time to make the major NPC's memorable and interesting, I do get to RP a bit. I certainly do have fun with it.

07-05-2010, 10:31 AM
I wanted to keep my friends together so I decided to run a campaign. We picked up another player a few sessions later then our last player about 6 months ago or so.

I actually like making characters with full background stories and such but the group I am running is more interested in combat. Plus my time is sort of limited so I can't delve into the character as much. I would like to return to being a player and we have worked out a rotating GM with other players.

Lord Captain Tobacco
08-11-2010, 04:54 PM
1. I'm a storyteller. Sometimes I write. Sometimes I write what the players do...

2. NPC's are extentions of the self as any PC is. And I get to run them all! (Muahahaha!)

08-26-2010, 05:29 PM
1) Since the first RPG I ever played, was when I GMed Call of Cthulhu, I must say I fell into the role naturally. I like setting the scene and building the world, then seeing what players do with that.

2) Rarely. I've got multiple groups, in one of which I am simply a player.

09-12-2010, 05:57 PM
1) Initially my role as GM was decided for me because none of the other players wanted the job. I quickly came to realize that being a GM gave me a greater outlet for my imagination/creativity than being a player ever could.

2) Occasionally I enjoy being a player in the right game and with the right GM, but I wouldn't say that I miss playing a PC. As a GM I get to detail and roleplay entire worlds full of characters, while players are usually limited to just one each.

09-21-2010, 03:58 PM
Motivation to be a GM has come from within. It is a greater outlet for ones imagination and creativity as Redcrow said. But no one can ever say being a GM is an "easy" job. You need to balance your ideas with what your players want to see in the game, be up on the rules of the system better than any of your players, and be ready to defend why you did something. Being a good GM is very satisfying. When everyone is enjoying the game, that is your greatest motivation.

10-01-2010, 07:08 PM
My first playing experience was in 1979. I loved the game. I loved the friends I made through gaming.

Being a DM was thrust upon me in the late 80's. Never a GM! Take that PC touchy feely stuff elesewhere! No matter the game or the system, I am DM.

I grew to love the creation. When others liked what I created, I was hooked.

I still try to play when I can. It helps recharge the batteries, but I will never stop DMing...

Motivation... what do I look like? Some actor?!? I play roles because I need to, just as I wear many different hats in real life. Now lets get to the good stuff! Roll for initiative!

12-14-2010, 08:18 PM
1: I got into DMing shortly after I started playing. I had come up with what I thought would be a fun setting to play in and found some interesting monsters in the MM to use. So i pieced together a few ideas, watched some movies and decided that I had a compelling setting. I will say that the first time I ran a game I felt a little worried that I didn't have enough prepared. The most exciting thing is being able to come up with something on the fly.

2: I do miss playing. Even though I now play in a regular group, I miss being a PC with the people that I usually GM. Although I will say that being a GM has more rewards. You usually don't get too upset at bad dice rolls because we get so many more, and you get the chance to make your story a reality. I will say that every GM is a storyteller by nature. If you don't like making stories and telling them to people, then you wouldn't enjoy this role. We all have that creative urge and being a PC doesn't just doesn't satisfy it completely.

12-16-2010, 06:58 AM
1) Initially I started GMing because no one else wanted to do it. We had a group ready to play regularly, but everyone was timid about being the GM. All the writing and design a campaign needed looked like a lot of work. Since the fun of the game would be based on how well the GM did his job, no one wanted to be responsible for ruining the game. I've since learned that a lot of that perception is wrong.

Writing a campaign can be a lot of work, but it doesn't have to be. There are so many module available for use that stringing a series of them together takes care of the bulk of your work. There is so much material out there that you can use or borrow from that you probably only need to spend an hour a week doing your preparation, and most of that time will be digging through your boxes and bins full of miniatures finding the ones you'll need to use. Even when you are doing all of the work yourself there are so many shortcuts you can take to cut down the amount of work you need to do.

Making the game fun is not the GM's job, in fact the GM only has marginal control over that. The players have far more control over the fun than the GM. If the GM you write a truly atrocious story or make encounters that don't make sense or are way off the mark in difficulty, then yes you might strip the fun away. However, those ought to be fairly easy to avoid. Once you've set the scene its up to the players to make things happen. Think of it like a novel or a movie: you can have all the scenery and effects imaginable, but if the main characters don't do anything its going to be pretty boring. The players are those main characters, so they have to do the interesting stuff that the world presented by the GM allows.

2) There are times I'd like to get out from behind the screen and play a PC. Oddly enough once I do that it doesn't last long and I mess being a GM again. I think its some sort of attention deficit thing. I'll get a cool character concept and really want to play it, then after a few sessions I'll get some new character idea and want to change. Except in a campaign it doesn't typically make sense to change characters that often. I don't get bored with the first character, I just keep thinking abut the new idea and how cool he'd be in this situation.

As a GM I don't have that problem. When the new idea shows up, the players get a new villain to work against. He might not necessarily become the Big Bad Guy they need to destroy, but whoever that Big Bad Guy is has a whole lot of close advisors and high ranking leaders that can step in to harass the players.

12-25-2010, 08:05 AM
1. Why GM?
In a way, like others, I became a GM because there was no one else, but it was just me and one friend, so we both have that same answer - we both took turns being DM for redbox D&D, so we both got to play, so it was more a mutual investment/responsibility agreement than the typical "FINE, I guess *I* will do it!" thing, though I have to say the description of being a DM or GM never seemed daunting; it sounded quite fun, and has proven to be so, though I lack confidence (less so now than I used to). I GM partly for myself to develop that confidence, deal with others, increase my own performance ability, dealing with people, storytelling and interaction, conflict resolution, management, etc., as I'm not a social person, so I feel it is a good outlet.

2. Do you miss being a PC?
Like others, I get the idea I'd like to play now and then, but also like others, once I've gotten a few sessions or weeks or so to "get it out of my system", I'm good for quite a while, or I can just run such a character as a GMPC to some extent, and not feel much less satisfied. One thing I haven't seen anyone else say really is that I feel like, though I haven't done it much, I'm a better, or at least I feel it is easier, at least the way I do it, to GM, than to play a character - a USEFUL, significant character. I'm not all that good at figuring out sophisticated schemes or plans or riddles or solving problems or deducing things from clues, nor roleplaying interactions with NPCs or other players, to accomplish a goal; I love the old 80s show like Simon & Simon where the guys would dress up like exterminators and fast talk people into letting them into an office so they could rifle through paperwork to find clues, but when it comes to a plan like that, I at one both think, "That's silly and would never work" and "I can't possibly be the person to try to be the one to talk to the NPC to get us in". Without that, I'm not much else, and I don't always make super fighter types or useful other types, so I've found being behind the adventure book, believe it or not, is, in some ways, less responsibility, overall.