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Thread: Co-GM/DM-ing

  1. #1
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    Co-GM/DM-ing

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    I don't know that I've ever done this, but has anyone ever Co-GM/DM'd. For example; A game world exists. There are a set of players in that world, but every so often, the GM/DM position is traded between two or more persons. Thus allowing everyone to be a player.

    I'm just wondering how this worked out. I've never done it, though I have taken over worlds that haven't been used in a while just to mix the gaming up a bit, but they were never reused and continuity wasn't jacked up due to another GM stepping in.

    Please, share your experiences with this idea, if you have any.

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    I was in a group where the DM occasionally tag-teamed with one of the players and let him run an adventure. It was infrequent and the adventures were always on the side, with no major story elements revealed or effected. The two collaborated closely for these one-offs and the adventures were always planned ahead of time and DM-approved in advance.

    However, personally, as a DM, I have never relinquished the DM-chair for one of my campaigns to anyone else. My feeling is that if someone in my group wants to run a game, I'm more than willing to play, but they need to have their own story to tell.
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    Like Farcaster, I have never let anyone into my DM chair. I am the author of my world, and no two bit hack is going to mess it up for everyone.

    I have seen it done in a game I joined many years ago. It didn't work well. The two DM's completely pandered to the others character. It soon became such a farce, I walked with the other players to start a new group.

    In a play by post game I played in a few years ago, The DM chair was like a revolving door. Four players became the DM one after another. When the original DM decided he had time again, no players wanted to continue with the mess.
    Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.


  4. #4
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    I've often wanted to run a collaborative game. As a co-author of a couple stories, I have had a lot of fun contributing to the making of worlds. I think that many games worlds would be big enough for more than one GM.

    Then there is Universalis, where every player's a GM. Fun stuff.

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    I can understand creating a large game world and sharing different parts of it but I would not multiple DM's running quests and interacting with the same NPC's. Different people have different ideas and it would mess up storylines other DM's had planned.

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    Been in a few where two DM's ran the same scenario simultaniously with the same group.... works well with situations where the group has split.

    The 2nd Dm acts out the NPC's and acts as an assistant.

    Our group often rotates DM's within the same game but generally only with the published scenarios. We also use the same setting and let the DM write the sceanrio for the other players, their character "Drops out" for that scenario.

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    A few friends of mine and I set up a multi-DM game. We decided the best way to set up the game was that each of us would build our own world, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, etc, the details were left to us. The different worlds were connected via a city that touched each of the three dimensions.

    We would each create a character, just like the other players who would become an NPC whenever we were running the game and would guide the characters in our 'world'. Great concept and it worked very well while we ran the campaign.

    Biggest problems were, finding a system that worked for multiple genres, most of the universal game systems weren't out then, and making sure we balanced the encounters for the rest of the group, so that when the fantasy based characters were in the sci-fi realm, they could cope, and the same the other way around.

    I think the best way to do co-dming is to make sure first, you can work with each other, not letting egos get in the way, and second, make sure you do a good job of defining whatever campaign setting you're going to use!
    Skunk
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    Now that I sit here and think about it, I do remember back in high school something going on.

    In one instance, I was running a D&D game for a few players. While there was another DM running another set of adventures in his own world. However, we shared the players. One player, Bob, had the same character in both games, but Bob didn't really play much in mine. One day Bob and I were pseudo gaming and I gave his character some stuff that the other DM allowed to carry over into his game.

    This is something I would have never do now for it really could screw up my game world design. (IE: teleportation isn't allowed in my D&D world - some other DM could allow it - heck no).

    Now, years later, we had started playing Marvel Super Heroes RPG and I had this elaborate world (that still runs today) and Bob happened to be playing a character in another GM's game where he had gained mega power. And for some reason, I allowed Bob to bring that character into my world (I must have been on crack).

    When Bob's character showed up, he created an LMD (life model decoy) - a human female and gave her mega power.

    The female became an instant NPC; She kicked Bob's character out of the reality and became a villain that all my players hated. They still, to this day, blame Bob for her existence (rightly so) and hold a grudge.

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    That is always a good way to ruin a game! Let Bob (Clay) into a game with a super character some other DM gave him. That's why the RPGA went to extreme measures to ensure that doesn't happen.
    Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.


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    There's nothing wrong with letting characters move from one campaign to another, you just gotta be sure to look the character over prior to them being used in the game. If there's something I won't allow in my game, I tell the player straight up, nope, ain't gonna happen.

    The player pitches a fit? Well, they can do 1 of 3 things, play the character as it fits in my world, play a new character or not play at all. All of the current players in our group, including myself, know that we're all here to have fun and if one of them is spoiling the fun of the others, the rest of us are not going to put up with it.

    That's not to say that our group is perfect, but all of us, the current members, take an effort to make it a good gaming experience for the others.

    A case in point, one of our recent players had something they wanted to do for a few hours during the time we normally play, and while we didn't want to interfere with this particular pursuit, we had to have them make the choice of either play when we do, or leave the group. There were no hard feelings for this player or the rest of the group, but the player ended up leaving the group as they wanted to be involved with this other past time more then they wanted to play in the group.
    Skunk
    a.k.a. Johnprime



  11. #11
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    As a GM I always have too many secrets, sub-plots, special events, plotting villains, and all-around surprises for my players to ever be able to let even ONE of the players in on them.

    It is difficult to separate player knowledge from character knowledge after all.

    It would just be too problematic in my games I think.
    "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've never co-DM-ed but I did referee a game of D&D3.0. Basically a fairly inexperienced player had a really great story plot but lacked the knowledge to run the game himself. At first I handled the technical stuff while he told his story. We collaborated to plan encounters for consistency but for the most he just outlined our characters story(with us filling in the details). A first I played the wise sage who spent most of his time "off stage" so as not to let player knowledge get in the way too much but still make me a viable character. Slowly I phased out of the role as his adviser as he picked up the rules, and became a more active character. I really think it helped him become a great GM because he has always been more story focused than rules focussed. Even if he has a few too many Mary Sue NPC's.
    Last edited by shilar; 10-27-2007 at 11:27 PM.
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    I have done the CO-DMing thing and it worked well, and the other DM's were just as challenging to the players as the other. I made it a rule in my games that there was NO favortism to other players, and has worked well allowing me to enjoy the gaming.
    How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?
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    I have played in a game that has a DM and an ADM (Assistant DM) it works very well. The Players are responsible for their things, the DM runs the Game and the ADM plays as a character, but checks rules, keeps notes, Continues the story with the DM out of town or sick. They can also collaborate ideas and such. It is difficult to keep Player knowledge from character knowledge but if you can do it, it works great.

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    I'm with the Inquisitor. I have too many secrets and twists in my personal creations to let another take over. I would be happy to co-pilot in another's campaign though. I'm a little obsessive-compulsive and having someone in my shoes would drive me nuts.

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