Sunday, 11 January 2015

In Response - Venger's GMing Questions

Today +Venger Satanis asked some General GMing Questions on his Old School Gaming Blog

Everyone has to get eaten by a
Gelatinous Cube ONCE in their life
Here's my response:
  • On average, how satisfied do you feel about your GMing?  Does that feeling or your perception change when you're at the table running (in the moment), hours after, days after, months or years after? - I feel pretty satisfied with my GMing.  I tend to be flexible with the rules in favour of a cinematic feel and I only become dissatisfied if the players aren't having fun.  It's especially nice when a player reminises about something that happened in one of your games several months or even years later. 
  • Have you ever had a (you assumed) moderately satisfied player from the past come up to you months or years later and tell you how much he appreciated your GMing or that you were a great GM compared to what he encountered later?  Ever had a player tell you how much you sucked? - Yes I've been complimented many times, only occasionally told that I suck and it's been a few years since the last time that happened.  I usually give my players what they want, action and memorable encounters.
  • Does grumbling, complaining, whining, etc. bother you when it comes to either house rules or a particular ruling vs. book rules (RAW)? - I don't normally suffer rules lawyers but my opening statement to anyone playing my games is that the rules are only a guide and I will interpret them as I see fit.  After that I try to keep the action going as fast as possible so they don't get the time to consider the rules too much.  That said, I'm open to suggestion so if the player gives me a plausible reason why they might do x then I say let them do it.
  • Do you ever feel that you don't receive enough credit, recognition, accolades, understanding, or appreciation for your GMing? - As long as everyone's having fun that's accolade enough.
  • As a GM, do you feel the need to "entertain" players beyond your usual GM duties? - I feel my GMing is entertaining, but I do go to the extra effort sometimes of making props, floorplans and physical puzzles if I have the time and the game deserves it.
  • Do you think it's best to keep yourself separate or apart from the group to some degree, similar to an employer around his employees?  Or are you just "one of the guys" and completely informal and chummy with the players when you're not actually GMing?  What about when you are GMing? - At the end of the day (sic session) these are still my friends and I treat them as such.  I do not like an adversarial GM, It is not the GMs job to beat the players but they should challenge them.  A game which ends in a TPK is a failure on the part of the GM (unless you're playing FIASCO, Paranoia or Call of Cthulhu of course). 

  • How often do you get one or more players in your group asking if he (or she) can GM soon?  How do you feel about that?  Do you generally take it as a compliment because obviously you make it look easy and fun?  Or do you take it as an insult for encroaching upon your turf? - At my club we have a games rota where GMs can put themselves up to run a game in any free slot at anytime.  I usually GM for a year and then have a year off.  Seems to work at the moment.  I'm not precious about GMing, I love it, but GMing all the time can be bad for you, you have to be on the other side of the table as a player as well.
  • How often (if ever) do you wonder how much players are enjoying the game, each session, the campaign, and your GMing?  Do you regularly ask for feedback?  If you do, are changes ever implemented? - They're my friends I would hope that they'd tell me that I suck.  Generally I don't ask for feedback because I can tell if they're not engaged or having fun.  IMHO when a player is not having fun, it's because their character isn't panning out with what they originally envisioned or they aren't gelling with the rest of the party.  This is fixable in most cases with a little bit of between encounter roleplay or by the player doing something that endears their character to the rest of the PCs. 
  • What are the three most important qualities for a GM to have? - 1. An open mind, you do not have all the answers most of the time players will come up with a solution that you never thought of.  2. Patience, some players are more forthcoming than others and you might need to coax something out of a player who wants to take a back seat.  3. Energy and Enthusiasm, if you can't spread your enthusiasm for the game to your players then you need to stop GMing.
  • Do you have a particular word, phrase, question, or statement that you frequently employ during the adventures you run?  What is it? - Only that I remind myself to say "Yes" to players.  The GM is a conduit, not a player.  The players will often do things that seem pretty stupid, in the name of heroism, as long as you point out all the things that might go horribly wrong and they still want to do it fine, it's their character let them do it, just make sure that they realise that it's their choice.
  • How long, generally, before you start to feel GM burnout?  - See above, I usually GM for 1 game and then recharge.  If I'm running my campaign a game may last for a year (upto 52 weeks) and players may come and go and switch games during that period.


  1. Wow, I'm flattered that you blogged my Q&A. Thanks for posting your responses, Antony!

  2. It was a great set of questions and worthy of a long form response.