June 29, 2013
Making The Gamemaster’s Job A Little Easier
I love being a Gamemaster. I love crafting epic tales for my players to be involved in. I love creating memorable non-player characters for them to interact with. I love to see my players basking in the wonderful feeling of victory and, I’ll admit, watch as they suffer humbling defeats. I gladly devote hours on end to creating these games for them, thinking of interesting adventure hooks and memorable encounters. I enjoy challenging myself, and them, with clever puzzles and perplexing mysteries. I love everything about being a Gamemaster. There is one other thing I would mention though; being a Gamemaster can be really hard.
Running a game takes a lot of work. Gamemasters are expected to know the crunch of a game inside and out, as they are meant to be the mediator of rules disputes or contradictions. Gamemaster’s are usually the ones who end up organizing game times, making sure everyone will arrive on schedule and making changes to said schedule, as needed. Gamemaster’s have to deal with unusual directions their games can take based on the decisions of the players. Gamemaster’s are expected to be ready, and to have everything prepared for their players come game time. Gamemaster’s are often called on to answer questions or discuss the game throughout the period between games at player’s whims, answering questions or discussing future ideas. The list goes on. In short, again, being the Gamemaster is a lot of work.
Fortunately for me, though, I have groups of amazing players who are well aware of just how difficult running a game can be. In this regard, they have come to show me just how appreciative they are to me for going through all this effort, and that means a great deal. These displays can be anything from offering to get me a fresh drink when I run out or helping look up information on an SRD when I am otherwise occupied, but need something checked. Other times it has been made obvious when breaks have been called by players for no other reason than to give me a pause in the game to collect my thoughts. It has even become the norm in my games that the Gamemaster is not the one in charge of initiative tracking during combat. That task, one that can often be somewhat challenging in its own right depending on the game (see Vampire: the Masquerade), is taken up by a player. This in and of itself takes a great deal of the burden of running a game off of the Gamemaster, letting them put more effort into the rest of the game, and it is something I want to say “thank you” to for those who take this burden upon themselves.
You know who you are.
To all players, I recommend being nice to your Gamemaster. Be considerate. Understand that we go through a lot of work to run these games for you, and sometimes we can feel more than a little overburdened by them. Every once in a while it is nice to be reminded that you, the players, appreciate the effort. And to my players, who have been nothing but amazing, I am eternally thankful that you continue to grant me the opportunity to run these games for you. Your appreciation and support mean a great deal to me, and I hope to be running games for all of you for many adventures to come.
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