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  Click here to go to the first special guest post in this thread.   Thread: Ask a GM [04/20/2009]: Being a Player

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    Ask a GM [04/20/2009]: Being a Player

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    GoddessGood asks,

    Do you ever find it difficult to just play instead of GM? Does being in charge most or all of the time make it uncomfortable to be at the whim of another GM?

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    Actually, I would have to say that I don't find it that difficult. Of course, it helps that the game that I am playing a character in is actually 3.0 D&D, which is quite different from the 2E that I use in the games that I DM. Actually, I am rather enjoying not having to deal with all the stuff that the DM does when running a game, for the first time since I started DMing. With playing a different version of the game than I am used to, I actually find myself having to ask questions about things that I am not quite sure of.

    If asked, I will give them my take on that particular situation. Like Grim and Inquisitor have said as well, I would not want to turn into a rules lawyer. I figure that each DM is going to do their own thing to make the game their own. Besides, you can always manage to steal.... er borrow an idea from another DM/GM, whose game you're playing in.

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    I have to honestly say that it is a a bit difficult for me to "let go" and not be so controlling. However, I do tend to approach games that I am a player in similar to Grimwell. I have to make a concerted effort to bite my tongue and not rattle off rules when the situation isn't warranted. And like Grim, I will try to give my fair and unbiased ruling on a situation if I am asked.

    The flip side would be playing in a game system that I am unfamiliar with. In those circumstances I am completely at the whims of the GM and that is much more freeing for me because my brain isn't working over time trying to exploit rules that I am aware of, etc...
    "I'm afraid it is you who are mistaken. About a great, many things."

    "It is not the rules that make or break a game, it's the GM and the players."


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    I don't find it difficult at all. When I'm sitting at someone else's table I give them the space to run their game and enjoy it for what it is.

    At the very base level, it's an opportunity to explore different ways of looking at the same rules systems (and sometimes worlds); but I actually hope for more. It's a world I get to play in. As a player I only have to mind over a single personality -- that of my character. Playing gives me the chance to hyper focus all the development skills I use as a GM into one single roleplay entity and I really enjoy that option.

    All the GM stuff, I let it slide. Everyone runs the game differently, so I try to sort out the differences of the GM whose table I'm at; and then roll with it. If they call on me for help with a ruling, I'll give my fair GM's opinion on what I'd do; but if they do something that I wouldn't I let it happen. It's their world, and their Rule 0 when I'm visiting it.

    Keeping that in mind helps me not be a rules lawyer about how they run their game. I'll admit to stopping a GM to ask if they really are sure about doing something that contradicts a standard they have set in the past; but if they are sure, I am sure too.

    On the rare occasions that I game under someone who's style just isn't my cup of tea I just exit the game as gracefully as I can. It's an interpretative hobby; and we all come to it for different needs.
    --
    Grimwell

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    To be honest, I have had very little opportunity to play the game as a player in the last decade or so. The couple of times that I did play went just shy of terribly. The problem is not that I am particular about the rules, but that I am intolerant of nonsensical plots or the linear nature of modules which some GMs favor. I am probably not the player that you want at your table if your running such a game.

    But, if it is a great story with a fun group, I can totally let go of the GM reigns and I am more than content to immerse myself in the role of just one character.
    Robert A. Howard
    Pen & Paper Games
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    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Not really. It all depends on the GM. In my case, having played for over 30 years, i already know before hand if there will be a problem, but if ever there is a problem, its not due to control issues, but personality conflicts. When playing a character, its best to just let go and enjoy the ride, for in the end, it's about the camaraderie.

    Wannabe Mod, Thoth-Amon
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

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    I find it harder to take the game seriously when I'm a player than when I'm a DM. When I don't DM I'm far easier to be distracted and not as attentive to keeping the game going. Maybe it's just my way of staying the center of attention?
    Looking for players in the North Fort Worth area!

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    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Having gone to the last Con, i had no problems letting others GM. In truth, many i would not join a campaign with, but for a 1-shot, things were stellar.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

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    I maybe take a little different view (what else is new?).

    I think playing under even the "worst" GM can help further my own skills. Seeing what someone else does that I like, or don't like helps me try to grow and adjust my own style.

    As for throwing in my own two cents, I NEVER do that. It might be hard to remember house rules (we all have them), like one friend who doesn't use AoO, but the chance to see how the game plays with different rules is always helpful (even if the experiment fails).

    Besides, I am more than flexible with the rules myself. The story is what the focus should be. I think most of the DMs here have, like myself, been playing so long that we certainly know scores of players, many of whom have tried DMing. I "enjoy" all the games I have played in, because even if the story was below average, or the rules were shredded, or the players all fought with each other within the first ten minutes, it helped me figure out what not to do.

    Not to mention, sometimes situations are the cause, not the DM. I once tried to run a "pick-up" game for thirteen of my friends. I don't think I have to spell out how that went, but I will say that I like 5-6 players.

    The biggest porblem I usually have isn't the DM, or the story, rules or other players, it is simply scheduling. What I like about playing is that it takes one-tenth the effort that DMing does (for some sessions the disparity is even greater). Still, I sometimes don't find time to play as well as DM, and father, work, clean, etc.

    I enjoy DMing more than playing to be sure, but when I burn out (just too much real world to keep the game going) it is nice to have other friends in my group who can step up and DM until they get bored, by then I am usually "recharged".

    Okay, I have made it up to like three posts now!

    Good luck out there!

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    Honestly it totally depends on the DM....

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    My worst problem has always been finding a DM that would allow me to play something I can care about, or using a setting I like. Plus when I do they burn out too quickly, leaving me stuck to run games as always.

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    Thumbs up DM vs Player

    Can't speak for no one but meself, I always enjoyed doing both. I learn from the other DM's while I am playing, not so much game mechanic but DM mechanics. But on a sour note if the DM is not very good I do get a little impatienct. Ok, alot, and then I try to help. Sometimes good happens, sometimes not so good happens.

    Windstar

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    it is actually pretty easy for me to let go. i just enjoy playing either role, but as a pc i can really get into character and try to destroy if necessary, but as dm i dont want to kill off the pc;s too early or often as it ruins the game for them and then makes it difficult to find polayers once it gets around.

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    I havenít had the opportunity to run a PC in a significant period of time, but I have had my difficulties with the transition. I have found that I must either play a character with remarkable mental prowess to compensate for my knowledge of how things work, or (more fun) completely immerse myself in RP to the point where I can be annoying to other players. This frequently causes friction in games where players are expected to meta-game because my character will not perform as well as he could if I were to use my game-knowledge. On the other hand, if I allow myself to get out of character, I find myself infringing on the DMís rights to run his or her own game, which is not at all cool.

    My most successful attempts to avoid these problems were a paternalistic cleric (full of sage advice) and a mental-midget fighter who could be (sometime had to be) convinced to do almost anything by the smarter members of the group.

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    This is another really good question. The group I would ultimately like to find and be in forever is a group where like 3 different players can DM on any given night. Meaning maybe one person has a great storyline idea and it will take like 4-5 sessions. Great! Run with it. Then another player has a great idea for a 1 night session so he assumes DM for a night. And all of these players just focus on playing their character when they arent the DM and they not only refrain from criticism, but appreciate everything that this can afford them both as a player, and as a DM.

    As a player, it gives them the freedom to just go with the flow, get into one characters mind, and not know what is coming next. Going along for the ride for a while can be freeing, and can definitely spark your creativity.

    As a DM it allows you to see how other people DM, it gives you ideas and helps build perspective. It also helps you from becoming stagnant when other players can DM some nights. Then you dont have to run the show every single time you all get together, which could become very taxing.

    I think overall it is a good idea and good policy to have more then 1 DM as long as the people are open-minded and willing to work together for the sake of a fun, and enjoyable campaign. It keeps everyone in check and makes it so the DM doesnt become out of touch with what it is to be a character

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