Never really had this problem, but then, I've got to admit I'm a marginal bit of a rules lawyer and have been deemed 'assistant dm' multiple times in the past while a player.
One thing that helps in my case (not sure how many others out there GM like me, from what I've heard their few and far between though) is that in my games, I am along for the ride. I pre-plan NOTHING and let the game build itself through the interactions, random encounters off the top of my head turn into long rivalries and recurring villains, innocent little girls end up being spies, the list goes on lol.
Wish I could offer help to those of you who take charge of your games and plan it out, me I'm little more than a fellow player who controls the rest of the world, a few tiny pieces at a time.
Masaru Academy, a roleplaying experience you'll never forget.
I've found that having been the GM for most of the games I've been in over the 20+ years I've been roleplaying has made it a treat to be a player whenever I get the chance. Putting together a dynamic world to suspend the disbelief of my players so they can immerse themselves in thier characters and the game universe is a lot of work, a labor of love, but work all the same. Enjoy when you can!
I have some trouble turning off the back seat GM, but I can keep it from passing the lips.
My bigger issue is that I prefer to change characters every half hour or so. Staying in one character for an entire session is challenging.
I would think this would be the hardest transition for most DMs to make. After running the entire world full of NPCs, now you have to concentrate on one character.
Maybe try playing a split personality. Obviously, a character like this requires coordination with the DM, but imagine playing a character who was a rogue most of the time, but had two or three other personalities that would "poke through". They could all be very different characters, with separate alignments and abilities. So when the party asks you to open the locked chest you indignantly declare that common thievery is beneath a paladin of your standing. Or, when they want you to check for traps, you summon a rust monster to be on point.
I always think there is a way to turn a potential pitfall into a fun and fascinating advantage.
Fours posts now; when do I get a magical cookie?
I just try to play the character as best as I can, and get out of the DM's way, as much as I can.
I'd say it's not tougher being a player after DMing for decades, just.. different.
Refereeing RPGs since 1977
Old School Gamers (Online) Meetup Group Organizer
Yes and No,
I don't need the GM to be as good as me, but they do have to have an interesting story with decent execution where I can enjoy getting into character. I don't want my GM fumbling through rule books or more concerned with combat and neglecting the story.
Running: infrequent VtM game
"I'm beautifully hideous!" - Sven the Nosferatu
To the contrary, it's often a welcome break from the enormous (yet enjoyable) pain in the ass that is GMing. While I enjoy designing the nearly infinite killer dungeons my campain calls for, it's also nice to live inside the rules and visit the same hell on my former-player-turned-GM as has been visted upon me. Oftentimes, it gives them a newfound appreciation for all I do to make thier game fun, and me a chance to take out my own frustrations on the very monsters I once controlled.
That said, if they suck, and things are boring, I'd rather do it myself.
"Let's see... I think I'll toss a gold coin into that pile of filth those sewer-dwellers are digging through... "
"Okay... they begin fighting furiously, killing each other for the gold."
"But you're a priest!!!"
Usually, I find it nice to be able to just play instead of having to constantly prepare for everything. Now that being said, I have experienced others basically "back-seat DMing", which any experienced D/GM should be able to handle. Fun, after all, is the main reason why we play.
Okay, so the other night a player was not there at our Wednesday night game. So, being the experienced player I took over his PC. The character drops his first target - takes his 5' step - and goes to attack the next baddie when the DM says,"You cannot do that!"
I look at him and say,"Yes, it's a rule in the book that a 5' step may be taken before, during, or after the character's action.
DM responds that for now he will deny the rule but look it up later. Fair enough I say.
He never looked it up but it might have been his wife bugging him about it...I am not his wife....
In fact, my stint as a GM pushes me to play to the hilt when i get a chance. I crave not being in control, to not know how the next page will turn, and to grub for every silver because you never know when you will miss that opportunity... For some reason its so much more fun to be a player... and i never get enough of it.
I would say the hardest part of playing both roles is always wanting to be a player in my own games... because the suspense, mystery, and allure is all there as a player, where for a GM its already played out and laid out.
Incarna; Role-Playing Game System
Running: 3+ campaigns set in single custom milieu world.
The only reason I am remotely willing to DM is to see what actions the PCs make. If I preclude any of those actions from having an effect on the story, then I might as well not give them the freedom to make those choices in the first place.
The reason I think DMing can be so difficult is that to create and run an entire world of persistent events, and allow the PCs to float about in that world, while trying to balance out their adventure and remember everything I have happening a continent away, is a rather large task. I take on that challenge so that I can HELP to create a story centered around the PCs.
There is no doubt that the Player Characters are the stars of the story, and that story is not MY story, it is a group effort. I want character development, intrigue, suspense and anything and everything else that anyone sitting around the table can come up with. I love it when a player has his character do something completely unexpected, and all of the sudden an entire new plotline is opened.
Don't set the direction for the PCs beforehand, so you can allow yourself to be taken along for the ride too.