Pathfinder Play Weekend

Thursday, March 16th, 2023

StartPlaying is excited to announce our newest partnership with Paizo: Pathfinder Play Weekends!

Paizo, publisher of award-winning games Pathfinder and Starfinder, is partnering with StartPlaying to make it easy for new and longtime players to find Pathfinder groups with seasoned Game Masters hosting everything from campaigns to one-shots. Whether you want to learn to play or delve into the Abomination Vaults, you’re sure to find something exciting during Pathfinder Play Weekend.


Start Playing Games Logo with blue wizard hat


“Paizo is excited about this new partnership. We’ve designed Pathfinder to be easy to learn, streamlined to play, and offer deep character customization starting at level one, with meaningful choices at every level. The StartPlaying professional Game Masters are ready to get you started and keep you playing every month at Pathfinder Play Weekends,” says Aaron Shanks, director of marketing at Paizo.

Pathfinder Play Weekend will be a recurring event taking place on the last weekend of every month, Thursday to Sunday. The first event will run March 23rd through the 26th. You can find open games here.

Pathfinder Second Edition has been leading a TTRPG boom since January of this year. Paizo sold through what was planned to be an eight-month supply of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook in two weeks. Meanwhile, interest in StartPlaying listings for Pathfinder has increased exponentially. Pathfinder Play Weekends will help meet this demand by matching eager new players and veteran fans with games for all skill levels. Pathfinder 2E offers a variety of gameplay styles and tones, from silly flower garden one-shots to deadly dungeon crawls to free-form kingdom building sims.

"We're always excited to make it easy for people to find and play games," said Devon, StartPlaying co-founder. "We know the best way to make the hobby grow is to remove barriers to entry, and professional Game Masters are incredibly invested in providing an amazing experience to players and making them feel welcomed."

StartPlaying games is the premier online platform for finding open TTRPG games with professional Game Masters. GM profiles show their skillsets and ratings from players, allowing users to easily find someone whose style matches their preferred experience. Users can also refer friends to the service to claim a $10 credit toward a future game–perfect for inviting buddies to a new Pathfinder campaign!

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Community Pathfinder Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Huzzah!

Radiant Oath

I'm happy about this, but it would be nice to have more than a week's notice. I guess there's next month.

Also, will there be society scenarios?


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AceofMoxen wrote:

I'm happy about this, but it would be nice to have more than a week's notice. I guess there's next month.

Also, will there be society scenarios?

It looks like StartPlaying has been offering PF2 games for a while - it's just that they're doing this thing to ramp them up a fair bit. So even if you miss this weekend, you could try poking around their site. You might not have to wait a whole month.

Probably will not personally. (I have a *strong* preference for in-person.) Still - thumbs up, good luck?

Wayfinders Contributor

So how does this interact with the Organized Play program?


AceofMoxen wrote:

I'm happy about this, but it would be nice to have more than a week's notice. I guess there's next month.

Also, will there be society scenarios?

It looks like PF2 games are running all the time, regardless of this “event”.

Director of Marketing

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AceofMoxen wrote:

I'm happy about this, but it would be nice to have more than a week's notice. I guess there's next month.

Also, will there be society scenarios?

Most players sign up 10 days or less before an even so we timed our announcement as such. It will a reoccurring monthly event.

Director of Marketing

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Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
So how does this interact with the Organized Play program?

Game Master's choice. They may choose to run a scenario, home-brew or an Adventure Path. There is a Starfinder Scenario listed there now.

Grand Lodge

Should there be a link to StartPlaying in this announcement?

Director of Marketing

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Scribbling Rambler wrote:
Should there be a link to StartPlaying in this announcement?

The "seasoned Game Masters" link goes to their site. Their home page can be found at https://startplaying.games.


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Aaron Shanks wrote:
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
So how does this interact with the Organized Play program?
Game Master's choice. They may choose to run a scenario, home-brew or an Adventure Path. There is a Starfinder Scenario listed there now.

Aaron, I see almost every available game on StartPlaying incurs a cost, presumably paid to the GM running the game, with a slice probably being taken by StartPlaying for the…privilege. Is there an ethical concern for Paizo regarding PFS/SFS GMs charging money to run PFS/SFS games?


What concern are you imagining?

The official Online Org Play lodge is still cost free. Some people prefer an assurance of quality of their experience (especially for non-repeatable scenarios) and are willing to pay for that assurance.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Coordinator

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OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
So how does this interact with the Organized Play program?
Game Master's choice. They may choose to run a scenario, home-brew or an Adventure Path. There is a Starfinder Scenario listed there now.
Aaron, I see almost every available game on StartPlaying incurs a cost, presumably paid to the GM running the game, with a slice probably being taken by StartPlaying for the…privilege. Is there an ethical concern for Paizo regarding PFS/SFS GMs charging money to run PFS/SFS games?

GMs are free to run games as they see fit. This includes using Organized Play material they've purchased to run paid games. Most conventions have a monetary cost to enter, including PaizoCon and Gen Con, and we've supported such events from the beginning.

Organized Play volunteers and venture officers may not charge for games they run in the course of their duties, and I would personally encourage all GMs to ensure their games are open and available to as many people as possible. But people are able to do as they like with their free time.

Paizo Employee

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I've considered paid GMing myself before, as I think I'm a decent GM and my name would have some weight to it. I came down against it because I've spent my whole life in customer-facing jobs, and I feel the relationship between a GM and players changes when there's money changing hands. But it is a skill, preparing games does take time, and I don't think it's morally or ethically wrong to charge for that labor as long as everybody involved is clear on the nature of the relationship.


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I've also considered it. Like you, Alex, I have some name recognition as a GM. But I've been leery of turning my hobby into a job, and changing the relationship that I have with my players.

Weird aside: I do this for free, but when I looked at the cost the GMs were charging here, my thought process was: that cannot be a living wage. I hope all those GMs have another source of income.


GM Hmm wrote:

I've also considered it. Like you, Alex, I have some name recognition as a GM. But I've been leery of turning my hobby into a job, and changing the relationship that I have with my players.

Weird aside: I do this for free, but when I looked at the cost the GMs were charging here, my thought process was: that cannot be a living wage. I hope all those GMs have another source of income.

I spoke with a few other GMs and the gist of it is that you need somewhere between 7 and 15 weekly games to make a living out of it. Which I honestly don't know if I could do.

Also I tried to start small with only one campaign (Age of Ashes) to earn a bit of extra spending money, but so far no one has signed up since I posted the campaign 2 weeks ago. Well, I guess session 0 is Monday, so there's still a bit of time, but well ...


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Montis wrote:
I spoke with a few other GMs and the gist of it is that you need somewhere between 7 and 15 weekly games to make a living out of it. Which I honestly don't know if I could do.

My goodness. That sounds utterly exhausting on every conceivable level. I know for a fact that I couldn't even get close to doing that. At the 15-per-week level I find it difficult to even imagine being able to do that.

More power to them, I guess?

/************/

I can sort of see the argument about conflict of interest. Technically, PFS offers incentives for play that persist between sessions and, to some degree, can transfer from one character to another. So... there's some weirdness in the idea that the GM is supposed to gatekeep those incentives to a degree, but that being funded directly by the players, they'd have incentive to be overly generous/lenient with them.

Practically speaking? Such things are really pretty nothingburger. Even in the most corrupt possible dystopia-future version of this particular conflict of interest, nothing particularly meaningful is harmed. Even straight-up fraud on PFS points is only a half-step worse than applying cheat codes to games you play on your home computer and then bragging about the resulting high scores... and this isn't a speedrunning community.

Technically, it's a thing that could happen. Practically, any effort spent worrying about it is effort wasted pointlessly.

Wayfinders Contributor

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Montis, you might have better luck if you hosted a few short games on there first. You've got some good reviews, but I'm not sure that I would sign up for an Adventure Path with a GM with 0 table credits on the site. Once you had 5 or 6 shorter games, then I'd list the Adventure Path.

Good luck, by the way! I hope your game fills!


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I can't say I'm a fan of Paizo being so open toward paid GMing. :(


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Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

Montis, you might have better luck if you hosted a few short games on there first. You've got some good reviews, but I'm not sure that I would sign up for an Adventure Path with a GM with 0 table credits on the site. Once you had 5 or 6 shorter games, then I'd list the Adventure Path.

Good luck, by the way! I hope your game fills!

Thank you! I tried hosting a one-shot twice without any luck either, and the discord tells me that campaigns usually draw more players than one-shots on the site, so unsure. I did put in quite a bit of effort to my profile and everything to appear as professional as I can, but ultimately someone needs to make that first leap of faith I think. We'll see :)

Grand Archive

emky wrote:
I can't say I'm a fan of Paizo being so open toward paid GMing. :(

Why?


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Alex's Personal Opinion wrote:
I've considered paid GMing myself before, as I think I'm a decent GM and my name would have some weight to it. I came down against it because I've spent my whole life in customer-facing jobs, and I feel the relationship between a GM and players changes when there's money changing hands. But it is a skill, preparing games does take time, and I don't think it's morally or ethically wrong to charge for that labor as long as everybody involved is clear on the nature of the relationship.

This is pretty succinct. And hits at the reasons many people dislike the concept. But clearly, if the ubiquity of StartPlaying paid-for games is any indication, not as many as are completely comfortable with it!


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Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
emky wrote:
I can't say I'm a fan of Paizo being so open toward paid GMing. :(
Why?

Personally I find the concept abhorrent. Charging money to play a game with people is crappy. I don’t get very nuanced here, it doesn’t need giant leaps or twists of logic or the lack thereof or investigations of corner cases or similar exchanges. There are enough *other* endeavours and pastimes where there are registration fees, space-hires etc. But for one of the people in the game to charge the others, *personally* to “run” the game is not a…game. But obviously, as I have said above, plenty of people are fine with it.


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RexAliquid wrote:

What concern are you imagining?

The official Online Org Play lodge is still cost free. Some people prefer an assurance of quality of their experience (especially for non-repeatable scenarios) and are willing to pay for that assurance.

I’m not really sure to be honest. Some posters have detailed possible conflicts of interest, but those don’t seem to be very large conflicts, or of much…interest.

As someone who doesn’t engage with PFS/SFS I’m more of an outside observer, but given the Paizo is pretty consistent with trying to do the right thing I thought I’d check.

From my limited understanding, organised play is (apart from necessarily growing the fan base and being a funnel to increase sales) a venue for players to find games in a fairly open manner. Paying for that seems counterintuitive. To me.


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In my experience, it's easier to find players than to find GMs. I've seen players group together and offer to pay a GM because they can't find anyone willing to run their game.

I don't see any reason that limiting the player base by enforcing some kind of ethics/moral/free labor rule would make the game better.

As was said above, the current pay scale for paid GMs isn't a living wage. This is an expensive hobby for GMs. I don't think that it's immoral for a GM to get paid for their time and materials so that a group can play their game.

Dark Archive

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RexAliquid wrote:

What concern are you imagining?

The official Online Org Play lodge is still cost free. Some people prefer an assurance of quality of their experience (especially for non-repeatable scenarios) and are willing to pay for that assurance.

I don't think there's any actual assurance of that at all in reality, you might see some positive reviews which could be helpful in choosing, but we all know how trustworthy reviews are until there's a significantly large number. There's no recourse if your GM turns out to be bad, or you feel they screwed up/didn't meet your expectations, you can't ask for a refund like many other purchases only 'player credit', etc.

I'd posit that in fact, a GM running 10-15 games a week as a job could very well provide a notably worse than someone doing it once or twice a week as a hobby which they throw themselves into.

YMMV, but paid absolutely does not equal quality.


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Dancing Wind wrote:
In my experience, it's easier to find players than to find GMs. I've seen players group together and offer to pay a GM because they can't find anyone willing to run their game.

I get that, but setting up a paradigm where people can’t find a game without paying someone for the “trouble” is more a mindset problem than a willingness problem. One of my problems with thenpaid model is that it creates a greater divide between the players and the GM, so that one is no longer playing for the love of it, but being paid to play. Whether or not they also love it, they have been removed from the rest of the players and been given a monetary value that none of the players have.

Dancing Wind wrote:
I don't see any reason that limiting the player base by enforcing some kind of ethics/moral/free labor rule would make the game better.

I don’t see any reason why paying for the game should make the game better either. And I’m not suggesting enforcing anything, more making an observation about the interaction of organised play and paid games, and signalling my personal discontent. I’ve said a bunch of times, I’m obviously not in the majority, and not an organised play member.

Dancing Wind wrote:
As was said above, the current pay scale for paid GMs isn't a living wage. This is an expensive hobby for GMs. I don't think that it's immoral for a GM to get paid for their time and materials so that a group can play their game.

Where the books are expensive, it is expensive for everyone insofar as they don’t use free resources readily made available on the internet, like SRDs.

Grand Archive

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As a person who looks sideways at paid GMing, I feel compelled to say 'not my horse, not my race'. I may find it odd and maybe even concerning, but I don't think it is my place to say that other people (who choose this) should not be doing it.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm close to a forever GM; and I would be very unlikely to dabble in paid-GMing. I am, however, open to the idea of paying to play a game. I am more likely to pay for a regular/standing game, than a one-shot. But I do want to know who the GM is and who the other players are and if I'd enjoy the style first. I haven't wanted to scattershot sign up for lots of paid one-shots to find a GM to try to join a longer campaign for. So its a bit of a chicken-egg problem for me.

Wayfinders Contributor

Montis wrote:
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

Montis, you might have better luck if you hosted a few short games on there first. You've got some good reviews, but I'm not sure that I would sign up for an Adventure Path with a GM with 0 table credits on the site. Once you had 5 or 6 shorter games, then I'd list the Adventure Path.

Good luck, by the way! I hope your game fills!

Thank you! I tried hosting a one-shot twice without any luck either, and the discord tells me that campaigns usually draw more players than one-shots on the site, so unsure. I did put in quite a bit of effort to my profile and everything to appear as professional as I can, but ultimately someone needs to make that first leap of faith I think. We'll see :)

Huh. Fascinating.

I'd pay attention to the Discord then, because I have no actual experience with paid games! This was me, basing my thoughts on how I've seen signups work for free ones. And good luck. Let us know how it goes for you. Just because I'm not interested in doing this as a paid gig, doesn't mean that I'm not curious about how all of this works.

Hmm


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OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
Where the books are expensive, it is expensive for everyone insofar as they don’t use free resources readily made available on the internet, like SRDs.

Here's what I 'd like you to consider:

Would I be an adequate GM for you if I grabbed a set of dice, a single mini and a monster stat block, and showed up to run a game?
Is three hours of theater-of-the-mind with a single opponent what you consider a fun game?

If I spent no prep time
I wouldn't prepare more than one opponent and their stats and backstory. (To match the effort that a player puts in to their own character).

I wouldn't have a story ready: I'd do 3 hours of improv with your party and my single opponent to the party.

I wouldn't have a setting for the story. I wouldn't have spent any time creating my own world, or reading resources from companies like Paizo so I could immerse the party in their world.

If I only used free resources
I wouldn't buy any pre-written adventures or other stories.
I wouldn't buy any pawns or minis to represent your opponents
I wouldn't buy any maps to use to play the game.

I wouldn't provide any tools like condition trackers or initiative trackers.

In face-to-face games, people expect a lot more from the GM than what I've described. Online games require even more investment in resources by the GM.

While it's perfectly possible to play Pathfinder with just dice, character sheets, and an internet connection to look up the rules, in my experience, groups expect a whole lot more than that from their GMS. Players show up with their dice, their mini, and their character sheet, and expect the GM to provide everything else for the game.

If you and your group already provide all the adventures, maps, pawns/minis and world-building materials, then I'd agree that the GM's expenses are equivalent to everyone elses. They're donating prep time and you all are donating the material resources.

But if you don't provide everything for the GM to run the game, then perhaps you are underestimating the investment and commitment you are asking from that person.


Montis wrote:
GM Hmm wrote:

I've also considered it. Like you, Alex, I have some name recognition as a GM. But I've been leery of turning my hobby into a job, and changing the relationship that I have with my players.

Weird aside: I do this for free, but when I looked at the cost the GMs were charging here, my thought process was: that cannot be a living wage. I hope all those GMs have another source of income.

I spoke with a few other GMs and the gist of it is that you need somewhere between 7 and 15 weekly games to make a living out of it. Which I honestly don't know if I could do.

Also I tried to start small with only one campaign (Age of Ashes) to earn a bit of extra spending money, but so far no one has signed up since I posted the campaign 2 weeks ago. Well, I guess session 0 is Monday, so there's still a bit of time, but well ...

Is that the one done at 3pm (I am guessing then that’s EU time zone) if so I was interested but 3pm sucks as time point I still need to work till 5 and we eat here around 6.


Pinktiger wrote:


Is that the one done at 3pm (I am guessing then that’s EU time zone) if so I was interested but 3pm sucks as time point I still need to work till 5 and we eat here around 6.

Mine is at 8pm UK time, it should theoretically display the correct time for you. My name on there is Montis, too, so should be easy to find.

Dark Archive

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Dancing Wind wrote:
While it's perfectly possible to play Pathfinder with just dice, character sheets, and an internet connection to look up the rules, in my experience, groups expect a whole lot more than that from their GMS. Players show up with their dice, their mini, and their character sheet, and expect the GM to provide everything else for the game.

I'd strongly argue that's untrue for much of the gaming population, for decades people have been playing and having amazing, awesome games with nothing more than some paper, pencils, dice and their imaginations. Hell, there's even a strong argument to be made that many times the game might be more fun when not constrained by the limits and preconceptions that maps, models, and premade content puts on you.

I've seen GMs who have a huge collection of minis, all the books, fantastic 3D maps and terrain, excellent sound effects and music, etc, the whole nine yards! And yet the game has fallen flat because ultimately the most important thing tends to be the GM themselves, their ability, and the way they interact with the players. More resources doesn't mean a better game.


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Richard Lowe wrote:
Dancing Wind wrote:
While it's perfectly possible to play Pathfinder with just dice, character sheets, and an internet connection to look up the rules, in my experience, groups expect a whole lot more than that from their GMS. Players show up with their dice, their mini, and their character sheet, and expect the GM to provide everything else for the game.

I'd strongly argue that's untrue for much of the gaming population, for decades people have been playing and having amazing, awesome games with nothing more than some paper, pencils, dice and their imaginations. Hell, there's even a strong argument to be made that many times the game might be more fun when not constrained by the limits and preconceptions that maps, models, and premade content puts on you.

I've seen GMs who have a huge collection of minis, all the books, fantastic 3D maps and terrain, excellent sound effects and music, etc, the whole nine yards! And yet the game has fallen flat because ultimately the most important thing tends to be the GM themselves, their ability, and the way they interact with the players. More resources doesn't mean a better game.

Yeah, I have to agree: most of my games are pretty much "character sheets, and an internet connection". You can get free maps and tokens online and where I play has a dice roller for the site so you're good to go with just that so a DM only has to invest what they wish to run a game.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

My 2 cents is that while I personally would not take part in any paid GM service I am glad the service exists for those who want it.


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There are lots of ways creative gamers turn their creativity into income. Some paint minis, some will draw your character, some write adventures or publish third party supplements, and some perform as gamemasters for hire. All of these are also activities that people do for fun, for free, with friends. And yet when creatives advertise their services, no one jumps on figure painters or illustrators challenging their right to charge for their services when providing them to strangers who want to buy them. That sort of harassment is reserved for the storytellers, actors, professional gamemasters. It's time it stopped. Give performing artists the same grace you give visual artists and content writers.


Keith Langley wrote:
There are lots of ways creative gamers turn their creativity into income.That sort of harassment is reserved for the storytellers, actors, professional gamemasters. It's time it stopped.

There's a big difference. It's just like the same exact scorn I give to those who join fraternities in college: it's buying friends. Playing an RPG is something one does with a group of friends, or at least acquaintances, for fun.

I will continue to deride paid GMing at every opportunity, because it should not be a thing, and should not be accepted. It's inappropriate for anyone to participate.

And that's without the other approach of the perils of ruining hobbies with a "side hustle".

Silver Crusade

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Wow, what a hateful and elitist mindset.

I have no interest in paid GMing on either side, but there’s no evil in it.

The same as a GM having a Patreon for their games and/or setting, or Streaming through Twitch, or being a Gamer streaming. The same as chipping in for things used in the game like books or minis or snacks even, you’ve never bought food for your GM?

It’s not buying “friendship”, it’s paying for time. A job. You’re paying someone for work.

This weird “sanctity of gaming” cause is something you pulled out of nowhere.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Paid GMs wouldn't even be an issue to debate or likely even exist if everyone took turns GMing.


Ashbourne wrote:

Paid GMs wouldn't even be an issue to debate or likely even exist if everyone took turns GMing.

This is a good point, and speaks to the interactivity of the game when played by everyone. However it is pretty clear that plenty of folx aren’t up for it, whether through lack of interest, or perceived lack of ability. And I would have to say that is fair enough.


Keith Langley wrote:
There are lots of ways creative gamers turn their creativity into income. Some paint minis, some will draw your character, some write adventures or publish third party supplements, and some perform as gamemasters for hire. All of these are also activities that people do for fun, for free, with friends. And yet when creatives advertise their services, no one jumps on figure painters or illustrators challenging their right to charge for their services when providing them to strangers who want to buy them. That sort of harassment is reserved for the storytellers, actors, professional gamemasters. It's time it stopped. Give performing artists the same grace you give visual artists and content writers.

And I thought about this too, as a peripatetic publisher of third party material. But I would hinge me counterpoint on your final use of “storyteller”. There isn’t one person telling the story, and that is the beauty of RPGs that has truly made them a genre of their own, akin and alongside… theatresports or shared creative writing or performance art or freeform LARPing. Sure, one person is the referee, to guide the plot and adjudicate mechanics and to weave a story that is interesting or compelling or versimilitudinous or funny or dire or sad.

But they don’t, and in fact can’t (unless as I have done once or twice, running a game…for themselves…what? Why else were there random dungeon generators in the back of the 1e ADnD Dungeon Master’s Guide?!?) run it without the input of the players, and “their” (the) game is only improved via “better” (greater/sadder/funnier/moodier/deeper/turtlyer etc etc) input from the other players. Because you are all playing together. At least that’s how I see it.

One can argue that better, higher, greater level/tier/paid GMs have greater skills at eliciting better inputs and their creativity is at a higher level etc etc…but that isn’t them telling a story. That’s them taking part in collective storytelling. No matter who guides/referees/adjudicates it. And as soon as you make that capital-induced divide between some of the storytellers being unpaid you have a division of labor. That I don’t think improves the social milieu of gaming.

Clearly plenty of people disagree. Like a lot of people. Paying for and being paid to game.


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In my experience the GM in the majority of tables does more work than all the players combined who in a lot of cases only shows up to the table to play and then never thinks about it again until the next session shows up. In a lot of cases the GM also has a financial burden that is not on the players.

While this work is fun it is ultimately work and demanding someone to do this for strangers feels somewhat entitled to me.

I've never done any paid GMing and I'll stick to my friend groups, I can't grudge anyone wanting to be compensated for their time they dedicate to strangers.

Just GM for your friends if you don't like it ^^

Radiant Oath

OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
Ashbourne wrote:

Paid GMs wouldn't even be an issue to debate or likely even exist if everyone took turns GMing.

This is a good point, and speaks to the interactivity of the game when played by everyone. However it is pretty clear that plenty of folx aren’t up for it, whether through lack of interest, or perceived lack of ability. And I would have to say that is fair enough.

I object to the word "perceived." I have a severe speech disorder. After several years or trying, I've had to accept that I can't do the job of GM.

Wayfinders Contributor

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Yes, speech disorders can be a tremendous barrier to GMing for in person or VTT. However, you can GM in Play-by-Post! It's an incredibly accessible medium if you want to try your hand GMing again.

Silver Crusade

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Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
Yes, speech disorders can be a tremendous barrier to GMing for in person or VTT. However, you can GM in Play-by-Post! It's an incredibly accessible medium if you want to try your hand GMing again.

Yep yep, I hate the sound of my voice and can’t really think on the fly for voicing/making decisions for different characters.

PBP avoids the first issue and gives me time to think and formulate on the second :3


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I've played in games. I've run games.

Running games is enormously more effort. Right now, I don't do it because I don't have the mental or emotional resources, and likely won't at any time in the near to moderate future. If I were willing to do it, I'm pretty sure that finding players would be easy... and if I did it, then providing that experience to the players would be a large part of my motivation. I wouldn't be doing it for me. I'd be dong it for them.

I would love to play in an ongoing game, but you know? It's real hard to find people who want to run them... and I am not surprised.

My local in-person PFS opportunities are massively oversubscribed on players, to the point that party bloat is a real issue. They also have a "one episode at a time" format that interferes with building any sort of ongoing narrative that actually connects to anything outside of your own character... and still I am seriously tempted.

So yeah - it makes perfect sense to me that people want to be paid for GMing. Being the GM kind of sucks, for those who aren't called to it, and there simply aren't enough of those to go around. If someone can make a living running games? More power to them. If there were someone offering the service for an in-person game in my area, I'd be seriously tempted... and I'd probably tip well.

Wayfinders Contributor

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One thing that both Bret and I invest in for our local PFS venue is active recruitment of casual GMs. Dreamers has three tables of Organized Play, and there are only two of us, so if we want the third table to happen, we actively need casual GMs. So we do a lot talking to players that we think would be good GMs, and asking them way in advance if they would ever be interested in GMing. We plant the idea early, and then a little while later we ask them if there is something they would like to GM, offer to have one of us playing at the table the first time they GM, and lend out flip mats to make the transition easier.

We also declare that once a month Bret and I will play TOGETHER at the same table, and so all three of the other tables need to be covered. We've found that people will willingly step up once a month so that we get our opportunity to play.

Recruiting GMs takes time and effort but it has paid off in making it easier and easier for us to recruit new GMs at Dreamers because almost everyone gets a turn in the GM seat, even if they only GM once every two months or so.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What Hilary describes is an ideal situation and a great example and inspiration for running a good local group. Having a good group of friends to play with is a good situation too. But for people with neither, if paid GMs are offering people opportunities to play, they wouldn't have otherwise, then I think that's a good thing too.

I would never expect everyone to GM but the game does benefit the more people are willing to try GMing. Hilary makes a great point it's easier to recruit new GMs the more they see other new MGs. Live plays of TTRPGSs on Youtube has created such a high perception of what a good GM should be that it might scare off more people from trying to GM. Seeing other people try to GM for the first time is a great way to make it look like it's something you can do too. Even better, with experienced people at the table there to help you out if needed too.

Having been that new person I can't recommend learning to GM with Hilary enough. Also, GMing Play by Post is a great way to learn to GM without a lot of the live pressure.

Liberty's Edge

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Sanityfaerie wrote:

I've played in games. I've run games.

Running games is enormously more effort.

It is undoubtedly true that running games takes more effort than playing games, but I do just want to chime in here to say that not all systems have the same split in effort between playing and running games! I'm still running a fortnightly PF1 game, while also running a fortnightly PF2 game, and several smaller narrtive-focused indie RPGs irregularly. PF1 was my first ttRPG system, and so I do know it very well - but even then, trying to run high-level PF1 in a way that is engaging is extremely draining for me. Balancing combats is a nightmare, and nothing runs with consistent maths, so you need to be careful about what DCs you may be setting for any given roll. It has led me to running the game less well than I'd like to, and still being tired from it - I definitely improvise more than I should, and definitely allow for non-combat solutions more than I would otherwise. PF2 is substantially easier, and running both of these as I was writing my thesis would've been impossible if they were both PF1. PF2 I feel much more safe in improvising appropriately, and the mental load of GMing is overall substantially reduced. Narrative games are even easier for me - running Forged in the Dark or Powered by the Apocalypse systems is something I can do without a meaningfully different mental load between GMing and playing.


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I'm a paid GM. I show up prepared for each session and make every effort to be entertaining and adjudicate fairly. My players consistently show back up (they are after all paying to be there). It's a job where I get to pay for groceries while having fun... I suppose the alternative is picking up a shift at Walmart or McDonalds but this is where I get to meet people who share my interests and enjoy them while also paying off a medical bill or pay the rent.

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