Dec 132011

Being a game master, or a GM, is in many ways like being a director of a motion picture.  Both the GM and the director are responsible for the well being of their show.  Not only must both maintain the integrity of what is unfolding before the cast, but both also moderate the flow of information.


For the GM this might mean assuming the roles of organizer,  moderator, and the story teller.  Each of these is an important part of running or ruining a role play session.  Does that mean you have to be good in all those areas?  No.  All it means is that you should have some kind of balance among them.  That balance is dependent upon the the party.   With that being said lets take a look at those roles and what they can mean to you as a GM.

As an organizer the GM is responsible for:

  • Planning the adventure
  • Setting the date and the time
  • Knowing the Characters
  • and knowing your Npc’s

Planning the adventure is a simple enough, no need to delve into it.   Setting the date and time however is another story.  It applies to the whole group not just the GM.  I can’t tell you how quick not having a GM or players  at a game will ruin it for everyone.   Knowing the PC’s is not the most important thing  a GM can do.  But, knowing the characters is a great way to create tension for each individual in the game.   Besides if you know the characters it does make it easier for you to make the session both more balanced and challenging at the same time.  Now, knowing your NPC’s is beneficial because, I believe, players find it frustrating when the GM is constantly referring to sheets of paper.  When he should be directing the story.

The role of moderating can sometimes be a juggling act.   As a GM you must keep the game moving.  This might mean that you have to quell player squabbles.  You are also responsible for for mediating the rules.  Sometimes that might mean you make it up on the fly just to keep the story moving.

Telling a story is a fundamental every GM should be able to do.  We can take this in all kinds of different directions.  But we will keep it simple.  There is one simple concept ever GM can follow in story telling; hook, line, sinker.   If you can manage to create a story that grabs (hook) the players attention and gives them a basic idea (line) of what is expected of the party and a twist (sinker) that causes an oh my effect you are off to a good start.   With a little bit of nudging you can make the role playing fall into place.


I wanted to write a code of ethics for GM’s but I this what I turned out.  I hope you like it.


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