Thursday, December 26, 2013

GMs are the worst players!

If there is one thing a DM needs to be good at, it's being in charge of the game. It's your table, your rules, and while it's not an absolute dictatorship, at the end of the day you, the DM, are in charge.

So when we end up on the other side of the screen, it's sometimes hard to give that up. It's understandable given the amount of time and effort we've invested to be good DMs, how we've trained ourselves to run games, and provided the framework for a good time. Setting that  aside isn't easy.

I know that I've spent a lot of time on the player's side of the screen thinking about what my DM is doing, and criticizing (sometimes harshly) the decisions they're making. It's hard not to, since I'm always on the lookout for new ideas, new techniques that I can bring to the table, but it can take away from my enjoyment of the game.

We're our own worst enemies! 

I know this isn't unique to me, as I've played and run games that are made up of players who are also experienced and regular DMs. While they all relish their time as players (just as I do) there's also the occasional suggestions that are voiced at the table. It isn't too bad most of the time, but it can cause a bit of a kerfuffle if everyone decides to weigh in.

On the other hand, experienced DMs provide the best post-game critique and followup!  

My suggestion to my fellow DMs is when you find yourself pleasantly on the other side of the screen, put away your natural tendency to try to run the game, and just immerse yourself in playing it. For once, don't take charge of the game, take charge of your character, and try to make it as fun for yourself as you do for your DM.

This is both #26 in the 30 Days of Gamemastering Challenge, and my entry for December's RPG Blog Carnival "Taking Charge" hosted this month at Casting Shadows.


  1. i am a horrible player - most of my 30 years of gaming i was GM. Playing more of late. In DND seems less of a problem even played some dragonlance and was enjoyable but one player confused my playing a spoiled petulent wizard as personal when he bought a slave I had arranged to by and I was bitchy - other players told him i was playing a jerk and was ok. In a espionage-cthulhu game I got the name murder face as I would kill anyone to beat mythos. Started a so called dark age vampire game and my questions about history offended all other players as nitpicking (nitpicking vampires and world of darkness apparently acceptable). Possibly these problems are cultural - i came from a historic wargame/SCA/uni club background where as many in my current club not tertiary educated or well read in history or interested in this aspect of gaming. They like inter character dialogue over goal oriented play which I find egoistic. Ive had these guys almost wipe out the party on first meeting because of this play style and sometimes achieve nothing. Im trying to adjust to style anyway. I freely admit I can be a horrible player. Best GM I had kept me busy with paranoid conjecture so i didn't need to make trouble. I will persist and am learning to be nicer.

  2. Guilty as charged, although over the past two years or so playing Labyrinth Lord has helped me mellow out. When I was a player in 3E/PF games, I could be pretty bad, since I usually remembered rules better than other players or sometimes the DM.


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