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The curse of GM-ing


Gamer Talk

Sovereign Court

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Whenever i GM for a while, i start wanting to just play as a player. But then, when somebody else takes the reins, i want to GM. Anyone else feel like this?


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, but I tend to miss GMing more than playing.

Makes me a terrible backseat GM, actually.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Me too. I have to force myself not to "give out GM-ing advice" on the spot all the time.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nope, never feel like that... never get a chance to since I am a GM an average of 4 times a week and a player an average of 1 time per 3 years.

In those very, very rare instances that someone else gets a game together and wants to run it I tend to either not have enough time to start missing the other side of the screen because the game falls apart... or the game is so terrible that the other players ask me to take back the screen.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

No one asks me to play or GM anymore, so, um, no.

Star Voter 2013

Hama wrote:
Whenever i GM for a while, i start wanting to just play as a player. But then, when somebody else takes the reins, i want to GM. Anyone else feel like this?

Sometimes yes, but the GM has to be bad in some way. If the GM is good, then definitely not, I'd rather be a player. Even when the GM is only ok, I'm ok with it until I start GMing/playing 50% of the time. When I start playing more than 50% (and the GMing isn't super good), that's when I want to GM again.

Players have next to no responsibility, you just show up and have fun. GMs have lots of work, expenses, and while it is fun (most of the time), it still sucks away your time and creates some stress. Being a player is definitely the preferred and easy route.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I feel it all the time. I have a ton of great encounter/plot ideas I'd run, but I've had so many bad experiences as a DM lately that I've pretty much retired ever being a DM again.

When someone else is DM'ing, I find myself thinking of 100 different ways I could've run their encounter better, etc., but then I remember all the crap that tends to happen when I run games, so I just keep my mouth shut and be thankful the DM at the time has the courage and will to run a game at all.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yup. As a player, I'm always wishing my DM would do this or that differently; which makes me want to DM. As a DM, I'm always wishing I could just show up with a single character sheet and play. :/

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2013

I've only once had a chance at this, and it wasn't even in pathfinder/that-other-d20-game, but I found having 2 GMs that work together make GMing much better. You have someone else to produce ideas, you bounce ideas off of each other, you fill each other's holes in the campaign, and best of all, you have 2 people to pay attention to what's going on during the game. Essentially you trade a sliver of your creative reign for a reduction of half the work.

Regardless, there are always characters I either am playing and would like to keep playing, or new ideas I want to try. I've found the balance I like best is running one game a week, and playing in one or two a week.


Not really. I am forever-GM (insert emote face here) so I rarely get the chance to play. When I do get the chance to play I'm trying to get as much fun out of it as possible as I never know when my next chance will be

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Not really. I feel...confined, as a player.

It's hard to go from phenomenal cosmic power to insignificant peon. :(


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I think the thing is, in a homebrew setting, players are almost co-DMs. In a homebrew, you can see all the stuff that your GM has lovingly crafted, and you can imbue it with life and depth by investing in it as a character. You get to add to their creation and give it more detail, more meaning... more life, really.

That's why I tend to prefer homebrew stuff to APs. Don't get me wrong, APs are cool and epic and all, but my favorite moments in DnD are seeing PCs really invest in the setting that I created.


I feel this way too, but it's easy to forget sometimes how much pressure and work it can be to run a campaign. When I start to pine for GM'ing it's helpful to remember the negatives, kind of like thinking of a past girlfriend. It's a lot more relaxing to work on future campaign ideas while you're a player, and your time will come soon enough.

Thankfully, I'm in a group with 3 total potential gamemasters who rotate campaigns.


There is an unspoken relationship between the players and the GM. That being the GM must actually care about the player’s entertainment. Along that line the players need to gratify the relationship. When players and GM respect both sides of the table you have a good game. When a player is busy thinking how he could do it better he is not showing the GM respect and violating the relationship. However if the GM isn’t actively seeking entertaining things for each player to do then once again the relationship is broken.

Silver Crusade

GMing is an art, like babysitting or teaching. It's an art that I see as being different than the art of being a player, which is more of a character acting/improv thing in my mind.

Sure, a GM has to care if the players are having fun. But there's a player responsibility, too, to ensure the GM doesn't want to strangle you every five minutes.

Players and GMs gotta entertain each other. And players gotta lighten up on GMs sometimes, too. :)

Sovereign Court

I've discovered that I love GMing more than playing. So I try to arrange that I'm the GM more often that not.

Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I had taken a nearly 15-year hiatus from GMing, but being on that side of the GM screen was like riding a bicycle. I hadn't realized how much I'd missed it!

I pretty much only miss being a simple player when I'm still up at 1:00 AM the night before a game session scrambling to put the encounters together.

That said, when my Runelords campaign is finished (which I expect will be in about 18 months), I'll be happy to hand the reins over to someone else.

Sovereign Court

18 months? for runelords? Kinda long don't you think?

Silver Crusade

Hama, it depends on many factors:
1. How often does the group meet?
2. Are they the type to try to "punch through" the story, or more likely to RP it out slow and graceful?
3. How often do the PCs take their own side treks?

There are so many reasons to take "forever" to get through an adventure path or campaign.

I guess I could practice more at GMing and take advice from more experienced GMs...I hate sucking at anything, but sucking at GMing after 20 years as a player is kind of a downer.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ross Hearne aka poisonbladed wrote:
There is an unspoken relationship between the players and the GM. That being the GM must actually care about the player’s entertainment. Along that line the players need to gratify the relationship. When players and GM respect both sides of the table you have a good game. When a player is busy thinking how he could do it better he is not showing the GM respect and violating the relationship. However if the GM isn’t actively seeking entertaining things for each player to do then once again the relationship is broken.

Agree with everything you say, except the bolded part, which I think is uncomfortably absolute. That kind of statement reminds me of an insecure woman saying "If he so much as thinks about another woman, he's violating our relationship because he might as well be cheating!"

There's a difference between thinking "I wish my DM would do this or that differently" while nevertheless enjoying the game, and giving unsolicited DMing advice or making blunt demands, no?


Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Ross Hearne aka poisonbladed wrote:
There is an unspoken relationship between the players and the GM. That being the GM must actually care about the player’s entertainment. Along that line the players need to gratify the relationship. When players and GM respect both sides of the table you have a good game. When a player is busy thinking how he could do it better he is not showing the GM respect and violating the relationship. However if the GM isn’t actively seeking entertaining things for each player to do then once again the relationship is broken.

Agree with everything you say, except the bolded part, which I think is uncomfortably absolute. That kind of statement reminds me of an insecure woman saying "If he so much as thinks about another woman, he's violating our relationship because he might as well be cheating!"

There's a difference between thinking "I wish my DM would do this or that differently" while nevertheless enjoying the game, and giving unsolicited DMing advice or making blunt demands, no?

Agreed with TS. As a player, I'm constantly taking mental notes when other people DM; What did they do that I liked? What was successful that everyone at the table enjoyed? How can I incorporate that into my games? What did they do that was not successful, and how can I avoid similar pitfalls in my games? etc.

IMO, a good DM is constantly revising, updating, and keeping player input in front of them to help keep the game fun for everyone involved. DM's I've played under who ignored player input or did not learn from others, quickly find themselves sitting at an empty table.

Dedicated Voter 2013

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Hama wrote:
18 months? for runelords? Kinda long don't you think?

The duration of the RotRL campaign my group is doing can be measured in pregnancies. Of the players. And we've only just started book 5.


Hama wrote:
18 months? for runelords? Kinda long don't you think?

We took 4 years.


Evil Lincoln wrote:
Hama wrote:
18 months? for runelords? Kinda long don't you think?
We took 4 years.

My group started playing Carrion Crown as soon as it came out... we are between book 2 and 3 right now.

Of course, we are also waiting for one of the players to move back to this state and another of the players to find some time between all his other responsibilities to join us - so we haven't played since book 3 came out and probably won't have another session until next year.

Lots and lots of things out there that turn what would have been a few months and a complete campaign into a years long "I hope we get to finish."

Sovereign Court

Evil Lincoln wrote:
Hama wrote:
18 months? for runelords? Kinda long don't you think?
We took 4 years.

Holy cow. Nice.

My Age of Worms took a full year and then some. I guess ROTRL is longer, or you play in a more relaxed, slower way.

Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Hama wrote:
18 months? for runelords? Kinda long don't you think?

We started the campaign in May 2011. We're just finishing Hook Mountain Massacre. Since it took us a year and a half to get halfway through Runelords, I'm assuming that it will be another year and a half to finish it.

Granted, each of us are married to a non-gamer spouse, most of us have kids, we're all homeowners, and we all have full-time jobs that require more than 40 hours a week. Consequently, our weekly game sessions are only 3.5-4 hours long, and we usually end up cancelling at least one session a month due to other life commitments.


When I tend to do similar to Josh above. I take mental notes of whats going on and even take it as far as to bring home encounters that I feel were run incorrectly and playtest them and see if I can make them better.

Meaning that if we walk through an encounter I attempt to see if I could run it better.

And I am always biting my tounge to keep from critiqueing the GM out loud. Or to keep from "rules lawyering".

But all in all I am enjoying playing for the first time since 3.0.


Evil Lincoln wrote:

Yeah, but I tend to miss GMing more than playing.

Makes me a terrible backseat GM, actually.


I used to be a player in so many games. Now I dm more than play, and look forward to playing just a single character and get my joy out of that, but I must be patient.

Guess I took more levels in dm.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I do, though I think I like GMing more.

Our group's situation is pretty good, though: my co-GM and I switch off running regularly. Usually one of us will run a campaign type game and the other will give us breaks from time to time with three- or four-session one-off games. We switch off between campaign games once or twice a year, depending on how burned out the current campaign GM has become.

Works pretty well for us as we both get to play a fair bit and we get to explore a lot of different games so we don't get too bored.
M


Hama wrote:
Whenever i GM for a while, i start wanting to just play as a player. But then, when somebody else takes the reins, i want to GM. Anyone else feel like this?

Yes, I do.

I used to play with a round-robin gaming group. We all took a turn at DMing, except for the "main character" of the saga. Despite what other might have experienced out round-robin games, this one was truly wonderful and was for me equally satisfying as player and DM. I miss it very much...

'findel

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