Female GMs?


Advice

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Sczarni

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I grew up playing D&D and other RPGs (RIFTS, White Wolf), with my bother as GM and after a hiatus from the hobby took up Pathfinder, about a year ago. I've played at least a game a week in that time, sometimes two, and I've really grown in my knowledge of the game.
We started playing PFS a few months back and over time I realized, I was a good player. Not just a good player for a girl. I'm knowledgeable and just good at the game. I'm always among the best players at the table. We also have a ten year old girl in the weekly group, and it got me thinking, why am I not looking to GM? Admittedly, having grown up with a male GM, and having only male GMs since then, it took me a while to see myself in the GM seat.
I recently Gmed my first PFS game and it was awesome (with total backing from my awesome husband)! I had a great time, and I can say confidently that the players did as well.
My questions are;

As a player, what are your thoughts on female GMs? Have you had one? Ho was it? Why do you think there are so few?

If you are a female GM, do you feel like you have been met with any additional challenges? Was it a leap for you to get your start?

If you are a female player, have you considered GMing, and if not, why not?

Thanks, All!
Just curious! :)


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Lamontia wrote:
As a player, what are your thoughts on female GMs? Have you had one? Ho was it? Why do you think there are so few?

I've had couple. It was fine. They're no better or worse than the male GMs I've had.

I think there are so few because there are likely fewer female gamers than male gamers and only a small portion of the gamer population GMs, so the intersection of those two groups is pretty small in the end.

If it means anything, 1/3 of the females I've gamed with have tried GMing.


I have played with quite a few female players, since the 1st ed AD&D days, but come to think about it, no female GM's. Perhaps a couple at conventions, but that is not really the same thing. I see no reason why a female would not be just as good (or just as bad) as a male player with similar skills.

I would imagine it mostly has to do with desire. I doubt anyone starts GMing without making some mistakes. But if you enjoy it, you make corrections and move forward. And while there are always exceptions, I find it hard to believe in this day and age, that you would receive any grief for wanting to run a game, because of your gender.


I've only had one. I will forever remember her for trying to convince my Goblin group at a convention not to kill an npc becuase it had an adorable name(that we'd otherwise never know), and telling me Tangle Foot Bag doesn't work on a spiderclimbing foe, becuase flying foes are immune... She was new, but I've seen her since and we don't get along.

Male or Female, I can't see gender affecting your performance. I don't think I'd think one way or the other about it. I'd say go ahead and try GMing yourself if your thinking about it, there are always seems to be a shortage of good GMs where I'm from.


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Gender doesn't make a difference in ability to GM. I am more concerned with a GM's attitude and ability to make a game fun.

As a hobby that has a history of being heavily male, I am pleased to see more and more female GMs and players, and I am glad that the young female students in my gaming club see adult female role models like my wife and her friends roleplaying.

Keep on GMing!


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I know a few female GMs, but have not had a chance to play with them. I don't expect it would be all that different from playing with a male GM. All of them are knowledgable and also play other tabletop wargames.

I've almost always played with girls at the table. Matter-of-fact, for the past two decades I haven't had a game without a woman there, and more-often-than-not they have made up half the group, sometimes a majority.

Frankly, I find the fact these discussions still come up to be very odd. Girl gamers are everywhere and have been for decades. I think that the gaming community as a whole is suffering from some kind of confirmation bias, where they think girls in gaming are so extremely rare, so when they don't see one at a table, they say, "see! No girls!" and then when they do see one they say, "see! the exception proves the rule!"

In any case, congratulations on a successful beginning to your days as a GM!


My girlfriend plays with me on a regular basis but only very rarely DMs. Although she has been playing the game for quite some time, she feels she doesn't know the rules that well (even though to be honest she knows them better than a couple folks at the group). That, coupled with her general shyness, makes her insecure to GM.

We do have a campaign we run on my player's Kingmaker kingdom with low-level adventurers. The GM always rotates, so if I GM a story, she GMs the next, then the other player and so on. So she HAS to GM a bit. But it's not something I see her taking a liking to.

Lantern Lodge

I honestly dont mind what so ever if the GM is female or male as long as they make the game fun.

I have had only 1 female DM in my 35+ years of gaming and she did a good job in my opinion. She had a great grasp of the rules and made NPC RP interaction really fun. Some of the things she did was have us RP our time in cities and growing attached with the NPCs that we were supposed to interact with be it positive or negative. I think she did this better than any DM ive ever had and kinda of miss that aspect of her games.

I think there are so few female DMs is because most females that ive notice play only play because there friends/boyfriend/husband play and want to spend more time with them and/or understand why they like the game so much. There of course are exceptions but that is what i have personally viewed so far. I would like to see more females take up the role as DM though because they bring a different perspective and feel to the game that guys just cant.

Sczarni

MrSin wrote:

I've only had one. I will forever remember her for trying to convince my Goblin group at a convention not to kill an npc becuase it had an adorable name(that we'd otherwise never know), and telling me Tangle Foot Bag doesn't work on a spiderclimbing foe, becuase flying foes are immune... She was new, but I've seen her since and we don't get along.

Male or Female, I can't see gender affecting your performance. I don't think I'd think one way or the other about it. I'd say go ahead and try GMing yourself if your thinking about it, there are always seems to be a shortage of good GMs where I'm from.

I love me a Tanglefoot bag! That and Smelling Salts (I could go on and on about Smelling Salts)are things I think that all Pathfinders should carry! While the rule for flying creatures are different, they're certainly not unaffected! :)

But I appreciate the feedback and lack of gender bias. I'm sorry however that you had a negative experience...then again, I've had a lot of sub par male GMs.


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I played for the first time with female GM in 1998. She was much better than any GM I knew previously. Since that day I played with various female GMs and enjoyed that. They tended to focus less on mechanical aspects of the game and more on the story.

EDIT: I looked on my facebook friends and noted that 8 are female GMs. There is possibility that other are/were GMing and I just don't know/remember that. Add a few more for those who aren't on facebook or I haven't them among friends.

Sczarni

Lava Child wrote:

Gender doesn't make a difference in ability to GM. I am more concerned with a GM's attitude and ability to make a game fun.

As a hobby that has a history of being heavily male, I am pleased to see more and more female GMs and players, and I am glad that the young female students in my gaming club see adult female role models like my wife and her friends roleplaying.

Keep on GMing!

I totally agree! My husband and I ran a session for my sister, brother-in-law and niece and nephew. I think it is especially important for young female gamers to have role models these days! :)


Lamontia wrote:
MrSin wrote:

I've only had one. I will forever remember her for trying to convince my Goblin group at a convention not to kill an npc becuase it had an adorable name(that we'd otherwise never know), and telling me Tangle Foot Bag doesn't work on a spiderclimbing foe, becuase flying foes are immune... She was new, but I've seen her since and we don't get along.

Male or Female, I can't see gender affecting your performance. I don't think I'd think one way or the other about it. I'd say go ahead and try GMing yourself if your thinking about it, there are always seems to be a shortage of good GMs where I'm from.

I love me a Tanglefoot bag! That and Smelling Salts (I could go on and on about Smelling Salts)are things I think that all Pathfinders should carry! While the rule for flying creatures are different, they're certainly not unaffected! :)

But I appreciate the feedback and lack of gender bias. I'm sorry however that you had a negative experience...then again, I've had a lot of sub par male GMs.

Oh I'm sure. I've had a lot of bad GMs in society and out. What bothered me was Spiderclimbing = flying by the logic the group was using. I sorta slunk back instead of trying to overrule the group. Trust me, if you know that much you've already beat at least 3 of them in game knowledge. I'm sure you'll do great. If not well, at least you aren't the worst and you can only get better right?

I've seen heckling at female players myself btw. I've seen people play sexist and racist characters at table. Sometimes just asking them to tone it down usually helps. Hopefully you won't have to deal with it at all, but sometimes it happens.


As a player, what are your thoughts on female GMs? Have you had one? How was it? Why do you think there are so few?

I am in full support of female GMs and female gamers, to be honest. I don't think there are enough of either one. I've never had a female GM, but, until recently, never had a GM at all. I think there are so few because there aren't as many female gamers. It seems to be a male-dominated hobby. I know there are others out there, but I've never met very many.

If you are a female player, have you considered GMing, and if not, why not?

I did when I was trying to introduce my group of friends to the wonders of the RPG. ;) I knew all of my friends' tastes the best and I was the only one acquainted with RPGs.

I'm certain that I'll get the itch to try my hand at it later on.

Anyways, good on you GMing! I'm glad that it went so well!

Sczarni

Drejk wrote:
I played for the first time with female GM in 1998. She was much better than any GM I knew previously. Since that day I played with various female GMs and enjoyed that. They tended to focus less on mechanical aspects of the game and more on the story.

Interestingly, I began playing Pathfinder in a serious "meat grinder" campaign. While that's not my preference, I learned a lot from it. Before this I had only played 2nd edition. I really like the addition of the table top strategy, as I feel that it moves you away from just rolling damage and lets you really shine as a player.

I love the story, and role playing, I am really into the table top aspects as well.


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I'm an old gamer. I've played allot of systems, genres and groups. Admittedly I've been away from the hobby for awhile now, but in my day I've had several women play with my groups at various times. A few were there just to be with their S.O. and were just seat fillers. Some were down-right disruptive and ruined the game for us, as they felt they had to prove something. One was a fantastic gamer who was probably one of the best role-players I have ever sat at a table with.

None of my tables ever had a woman GM

None.

And I consider that tragic.
As I sit here and look across the room at my bookshelves, I see fully 75% of my favorite fantasy and sci-fi authors are women. They are some of the best story and character creators I have ever encountered. Now imagine if you could have that imagination, and the kind of organization and discipline it takes to write like that sitting behind the screen at your table.
What an awesome thing that would be.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Most of the gaming groups I've been in have rotated GMs, so we always had female GMs in the mix. I can't say I could make any gendered generalizations about how they ran games.

Hmmm. Except that women who were both young and inexperienced were more tentative then young and inexperienced male GMs. But that's true in just about every endeavor, isn't it? After about three or four sessions at the helm, everyone was pretty much the same.

I'd hate to have to pick a 'best' GM that I've played with, but one of the top two or three was female. She made genres I hated enjoyable. She also had her own zine and so most of the games she was running were either playtests or new systems for review.

Edit: Should say, that goes back to the 80's. Our groups tended to be about 1/3 female, and we mixed up systems a lot.

Sczarni

MrSin wrote:
Lamontia wrote:
MrSin wrote:

I've only had one. I will forever remember her for trying to convince my Goblin group at a convention not to kill an npc becuase it had an adorable name(that we'd otherwise never know), and telling me Tangle Foot Bag doesn't work on a spiderclimbing foe, becuase flying foes are immune... She was new, but I've seen her since and we don't get along.

Male or Female, I can't see gender affecting your performance. I don't think I'd think one way or the other about it. I'd say go ahead and try GMing yourself if your thinking about it, there are always seems to be a shortage of good GMs where I'm from.

I love me a Tanglefoot bag! That and Smelling Salts (I could go on and on about Smelling Salts)are things I think that all Pathfinders should carry! While the rule for flying creatures are different, they're certainly not unaffected! :)

But I appreciate the feedback and lack of gender bias. I'm sorry however that you had a negative experience...then again, I've had a lot of sub par male GMs.

Oh I'm sure. I've had a lot of bad GMs in society and out. What bothered me was Spiderclimbing = flying by the logic the group was using. I sorta slunk back instead of trying to overrule the group. Trust me, if you know that much you've already beat at least 3 of them in game knowledge. I'm sure you'll do great. If not well, at least you aren't the worst and you can only get better right?

I've seen heckling at female players myself btw. I've seen people play sexist and racist characters at table. Sometimes just asking them to tone it down usually helps. Hopefully you won't have to deal with it at all, but sometimes it happens.

Ha! Not going to lie, I lookd up Spider Climb. But honestly, that's what a good GM does. No one expects you to know everything, and (as much as some would like you to believe), they aren't god. ;)

I started playing in a game at a local game store (LGS?), that was frankly pretty sexist. While no one has ever been outright rude, I have repeatedly been underestimated.
Which frankly, never underestimate the power of being underestimated.

Sovereign Court

For a year or two my GF got into PFS and a home game I had. She eventually wanted to step up to the plate. My group tends to rotate GMing duty. She found the idea of a campaign a bit too much for her. She decided she would try and GM a round of PFS. What a great idea.

Somehow she got talked into GMing a back to back 8 hour marathon at the FLGS. I was not going to be able to attend. I ended up helping her prepare during the week. I was able to arrive during the end of the back to back. She looked absolutely worn out.

The PFS guys had a good time and made things easy for her. She still GMs PFS from time to time. Not much interest in a campaign though sounds like too much work for her.

Sczarni

Calex wrote:


And I consider that tragic.
As I sit here and look across the room at my bookshelves, I see fully 75% of my favorite fantasy and sci-fi authors are women. They are some of the best story and character creators I have ever encountered. Now imagine if you could have that imagination, and the kind of organization and discipline it takes to write like that sitting behind the screen at your table.
What an awesome thing that would be.

It is tragic! Honestly for me, I felt for a long time that I only could be a player... Looking back on it, I am not entirely sure why. I think that it has to do with me putting GMs up on some sort of pedestal.

Playing in more and more games, and frankly, having a variety of GMs at different skill levels, I felt that I could GM as well, or better than they could. So I decided to give it a try.

BTW, anyone going to WonderCon next weekend? I am trying to get some PFS going! :D

Sczarni

There seriously aren't enough female gamers. While it is historically a male dominated hobby, I see no reason for that not to change.
You should GM!


I played a whole campaign GMed by a female friend. It was one of two campaigns that were actually completed instead of falling apart, being dragged into infinity or slowly dissolving. It took some six or seven years and left back door for eventual follow-up campaign but was finished.

Sczarni

Pan wrote:

For a year or two my GF got into PFS and a home game I had. She eventually wanted to step up to the plate. My group tends to rotate GMing duty. She found the idea of a campaign a bit too much for her. She decided she would try and GM a round of PFS. What a great idea.

Somehow she got talked into GMing a back to back 8 hour marathon at the FLGS. I was not going to be able to attend. I ended up helping her prepare during the week. I was able to arrive during the end of the back to back. She looked absolutely worn out.

The PFS guys had a good time and made things easy for her. She still GMs PFS from time to time. Not much interest in a campaign though sounds like too much work for her.

That sounds like it would be a tiring experience for anyone. I hope that it didn't put her off entirely.


I've seen female GM's that are downright horrible to solid. I have yet to see any that are overly great, but I've only met 2 female GM's, both of which have only very tenuous grasps of the rules.

Regardless they're still excellent players and show great promise as GM's with more experience.


I have played with several female GMs of varying skill levels. I've also GMed while having several female players, of varying levels of skill. It really depends on the person.

As for why most don't GM, think about how hard it is to get a guy to GM. Now, a guy is willing to produce something for the team at the expense of himself and receive validation in that. Women are either less likely to exhibit this behavior in context of gaming, or male gamers or less likely to browbeat her into it. Because of this you tend to get fewer female GMs but the ones who are GMing GM because they want to.

Remove the number of dissatisfied GMs or GMs who don't actually want to be in that position of both genders and I suspect the number will be much closer. For instance, part of the reason my experiences are so diverse is because the people GMing are in that position because they want to.

Combine the above with the whole fewer female gamers thing.

Sovereign Court

Lamontia wrote:
Pan wrote:

For a year or two my GF got into PFS and a home game I had. She eventually wanted to step up to the plate. My group tends to rotate GMing duty. She found the idea of a campaign a bit too much for her. She decided she would try and GM a round of PFS. What a great idea.

Somehow she got talked into GMing a back to back 8 hour marathon at the FLGS. I was not going to be able to attend. I ended up helping her prepare during the week. I was able to arrive during the end of the back to back. She looked absolutely worn out.

The PFS guys had a good time and made things easy for her. She still GMs PFS from time to time. Not much interest in a campaign though sounds like too much work for her.

That sounds like it would be a tiring experience for anyone. I hope that it didn't put her off entirely.

Not at all! Well, maybe for a few weeks after that first experience :) She enjoys PFS and its a great environment to learn to GM. Our local chapter is great for newbs players and GMs alike.

The one area she has a hard time with is improv. She tends to struggle a bit if players go off the rails. She keeps at it though. Only PFS so far. My gaming group has decades of experience between us. I am sure that intimidates her. We openly encourage all members to GM though.

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

You know, there's also the obvious answer.

I know childless people of both genders who GM. I know fathers who GM. I don't know any mothers who GM. (Except for me, but since the kids were born I've only GMed for my kids, so I don't think that counts.)

Which is the same problem female writers and artists of all types have -- art and childrearing both take up a lot of time, and the art usually takes a temporary back seat until the children are raised.

Sczarni

pH unbalanced wrote:

You know, there's also the obvious answer.

I know childless people of both genders who GM. I know fathers who GM. I don't know any mothers who GM. (Except for me, but since the kids were born I've only GMed for my kids, so I don't think that counts.)

Which is the same problem female writers and artists of all types have -- art and childrearing both take up a lot of time, and the art usually takes a temporary back seat until the children are raised.

That is an incredibly good point! Good for you GMing for your kids! My husband and I ran the beginner box for my 8 year old nephew, 5 year old niece and my sister and brother-in-law, good times! :)

Lantern Lodge

I think that any one that wants to DM should as long as they have a decent grasp of the combat system. Ive played with 1st time DMs and people that 1st game was as a DM not a player. If there willing to take the time to host im more than willing to take the time to play. After all i find DMing harder than actually playing and any that DMs be it male or female get instant respect from me just for that.


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You GM'd for the kids?!
What a fantastic mom!
Adopt me!


I've had a few femals GM's over the years, all went really well, not that I'd have expected otherwise as I normally assume people pulling on the mantle know what they are doing :)

Lantern Lodge

pH unbalanced wrote:

You know, there's also the obvious answer.

I know childless people of both genders who GM. I know fathers who GM. I don't know any mothers who GM. (Except for me, but since the kids were born I've only GMed for my kids, so I don't think that counts.)

Which is the same problem female writers and artists of all types have -- art and childrearing both take up a lot of time, and the art usually takes a temporary back seat until the children are raised.

Its definitely a good feeling knowing that there is those out there like u that introduce the game to the younger generation as a family get-to-gather. I wish i could have that experience with my children once they grow old enough to read.


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I've only ever had three in my time roleplaying. The first was a woman in her mid forties who came to my local comic shop and hung out with the older gamers (aka the people who weren't high school/college kids) and played Second Edition D&D. I was in high school at the time, but she started a game for some of the younger players, and it was fun. She did pull a Robert Jordan and make every female character in the entire world obnoxiously bossy and hardcore, but it ended up being a fun game.

The second was also a woman in her late thirties from the same comic shop and ran with the same crowd of experienced gamers. She invited me to a game and then immediately played favorites with all her friends, and it was horrible.

The third was a good friend who also happens to be my best friend and normal GM's girlfriend. After playing with us for about two years or so, she decided that she wanted to try her hand at GMing. She wasn't overly comfortable with the rules, mostly because she'd played the same character for most of the time she was playing with us under her boyfriend (it was a long and epic game, BTW), but she proved very capable after her initial misgivings. We all had to remind her of rules from time to time, but she learned fast and kept us on our toes as much as we kept her on hers. She also ran some of the most challenging encounters I've ever had to deal with in my gaming career, because she didn't understand challenge ratings and just picked monsters before we realized what she was doing and filled her in. However, she was graceful about it and scaled down the encounters, made them fit the world, and made us work for it instead of backing off completely or getting discouraged. It's sad that she's in grad school now and only has time to play, because I'd happily play one of her games again. At least she still plays, because she's a pretty hardcore player that adds a lot to our group.

Basically, female GMs are really no different than male GMs. There are sucky ones and there are amazing ones. The only issue that I find is that most of the female gamers I know are not as proficient in rules knowledge as the male gamers in my circle, and the girl who I enjoy having as a GM is pretty much in Patfinder research mode as often as I am.

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Lamontia wrote:
That is an incredibly good point! Good for you GMing for your kids! My husband and I ran the beginner box for my 8 year old nephew, 5 year old niece and my sister and brother-in-law, good times! :)

Oh, I bet that was a lot of fun.

I started running my kids through the original Dragonlance modules when they were 12 and 8. I highly recommend Kender as a starter character -- my youngest had a blast playing Tas.

(Of course, now they think that Pathfinder is weird. "Why doesn't it have THACO?" they asked me the other day.)


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lamontia wrote:
As a player, what are your thoughts on female GMs? Have you had one? Ho was it? Why do you think there are so few?

I think it would be great personaly. The hobby needs more GMs period.

I played one session with a female GM...we had very different play styles so I did not enjoy the game. It was because she was a girl though.

Because the majority of gamers currently are male. Which means by extension the majority of GMs will be male. Though I have seen more and more girl involved so eventualy I think we will a more equal ratio.

Dark Archive

I have never had a female GM in Pathfinder, I have had one in Legend of the Five Rings and she was phenomenal. In my experience though the biggest issue for a female GM would be a female player. After my time in the military I have come to the conclusion that females find it hard to get along with each other. Its an unfortunate truth that I know can be hard to swallow.


Lamontia wrote:


As a player, what are your thoughts on female GMs? Have you had one? Ho was it? Why do you think there are so few?

I've had some female GMs and there have never been any issues about it.

If you expect that a GM will be different because of gender or age or whatever it will be different. But because of you, not because of the GM.
I think the difference between a male and a female player is bigger than the difference between a female GM and a male GM. And that's only because some (mostly male) GMs treat girls different than boys.


My GM's Wife helped him GM for a while ( GMs need a break.. its like a 2nd job sometimes) and while she doesn't know all the rules (who does?) she roleplayed a White Dragon encounter very well a couple of months ago.

Even though White Dragons are the most dim-witted of all dragons, they still have an 10 intelligence for a young-adult which is average human intelligence, and she (GM) ended up killing her Husband's character before we could kill the dragon. (First encounter was a draw and the Dragon flew away).

She used very sound tactics and the environment plus spell abilities. (We are playing an AP and were crossing the frozen tundra and had to destroy the dragon in its home field advantage).

I"m sort of Jealous because even though I might know the rules more and/or Dmed more often, sometimes people (male or female) are just NATURAL at Gming, as she was.

Shadow Lodge

I've had female players but not until recently had I seen any GM in games before. I recently started playing PFS games and have had a female GM a few times there. She was one of the better PFS GMs I've had. Not only that, but for the first time ever the last game she GMed for me there were more females than males at the table. It wasn't a great mod, but she made it awesome and it is in my top 3 PFS experiences at my local game store.


Our group just started a 4th campaign, our 4th GM being our first female GM. She's doing great! I think we enjoy it more than any other campaign. Another one of our female players is thinking of GMing a one or two shot evil campaign and it sounds like it'll be a blast. (Lawful evil, since that's the easiest way to get a vaguely coherent plot)


Of course that there is difference between male and female GM;P I've had two female GM and they were excellent in describing reality and roleplaying NPC, far more than any male GM I encountered. And they had no problems in trumping rules when it was necessary and cut ruleslawyering offtop :)


I've played with a few female players, no female GMs. I've played at least a half dozen rule systems and games in various editions...

I think there ought to be more women gamers, both players and GMs.


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Herbatnik wrote:
Of course that there is difference between male and female GM ;P I've had two female GMs and they were excellent in describing reality and roleplaying NPCs, far more than any male GM I have encountered. And they had no problems in trumping rules when it was necessary and cut rules lawyering off-top :)

...huh, now I feel confused about my gender.

I've always focused on those things more than my fellow players have.


Have not played under one, but I have spoken with a few and exchanged quite a number of good, creative ideas.

As for why there aren't more women GMing, or gaming in general: I have watched upstanding, otherwise normal guys suddenly turn into irrational, antagonizing misogynists when playing in mixed-gender groups.

Not just once, but three times I've had perfectly rational, levelheaded guys turn into short-tempered jerks when interacting with female players. Not because of any in-character behavior, not because of romantic tensions... and they were perfectly civil in non-gaming contexts (even ones that involved drinking). Their excuses for behaving that way were always flimsy, situational crap. Something about gaming just seemed to flip off the "women are people and deserve respect" part of their brain.

These were mercifully rare events, but after some of the blow-ups, I don't blame the victims at all for having the hobby soured for them (a few gave it a second try, which is more than I gave the aggressors).

Liberty's Edge

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Lamontia wrote:
If you are a female player, have you considered GMing, and if not, why not?

Spoiler:
I first ran a game back in 2002, the year I moved out of my parents' house and got married. My husband and I had an apartment that always had people hanging out, crashing on the couch, etc, and one of our primary activities with the assembled masses was gaming. Inspired largely by some of the cool ideas in Dragon magazine, I decided to take a crack at it. There were several ongoing campaigns, so I became the master of the one-shot, when everyone couldn't make it, or an out of town friend was visiting, or whatever. I feel like in the first couple of years I ran D&D, my judgments and rules calls were questioned CONSTANTLY. Almost literally everything I said, ("Oh, that spell has a duration in rounds, not minutes" or "No, those bonuses don't stack" or whatever) was second-guessed, and the game had to come grinding to a halt as someone looked it up and determined that, yes, the rule actually worked how I thought it did. I'm not going to say I was right every time. I made a lot of mistakes. But I was right more often than not, and that fact didn't seem to sink in for a long time. It was especially frustrating because other DMs in our group didn't seem to have that kind of trouble. Players in their games might be grumpy if a rule didn't work the way they thought it did, but they didn't argue so extensively about it.

I bought practically every 3.x book WotC released, and over time I came to be regarded as one of the most knowledgeable in our group regarding useful multiclassing and feat choices. I had important page numbers memorized, and could open right through them without flipping through. I guess I was a little obsessed about proving myself. (But I did, and it felt awesome.)

Then we all started playing Pathfinder, and I just haven't had that same drive to memorize All The Things. And this is unfortunate, because recently I feel like, with all the splatbooks and supplements out now, there is just no way for me to keep up with my players' knowledge. They're like "I use x spell" and I'm like, "You have that spell on your list? That spell exists on a list? Save for what now?" and it makes me feel old and befuddled, but I don't know that this has anything to do with gender.

Lamontia wrote:
If you are a female GM, do you feel like you have been met with any additional challenges?

Spoiler:
One thing I do feel a need to mention is the struggle to verbally assert myself at the game table. This is only my experience of it, of course, so YMMV. I have some players (male) in my current Kingmaker campaign, who like to TALK. Man, can they ever talk. We all can. We all had funny or frustrating things happen at work or running errands or whatever, and we want to talk about them. The trouble is, I realize that I and the female player in my game are more likely to get talked over or interrupted, whereas we are less likely to interrupt. I think this is because (at least in our particular cases) we are women who have been socialized and brought up to be polite and put others' feelings before our own. This can make getting game started difficult for me, when someone has "just one more" story. Sometimes one of the guys just starts up as though he is running it! I mean, sure, the game is started, but I can't help but feel a little miffed. There have been some extreme cases, where they seemed to flat-out not notice that I was speaking, or continue to argue even though I had already made a ruling and said we could revise it after game if we found more information to clarify that particular rule. There have even been instances of that old "comedy" cliche of one of the ladies making a suggestion that goes ignored, and, lo and behold, two minutes later, one of the guys has this amazing "new" idea, and we're like, gee, why didn't I think of that.

Now, I've read posts on these forums long enough to know that these are not problems that are uniquely faced by me, and one of the players at the table that gets talked over is also a man, so I suspect this phenomenon would rear its head from time to time regardless. The other female player (who runs a Shattered Star game that I also play in) and I have talked about it before, and we think these issues might still exist anyway, but gender dynamics certainly don't seem to be helping us out any. I've noticed that much of the time, one of the guys will get angry about something, and she'll step in as a peacemaker seeking a compromise, or placating the upset party, or even asking a question to make them feel knowledgeable. I am not saying this is a demand anyone has made of her, it is something she is doing on her own. I will say, though, the guys seem to care more about being declared "right" in an argument, whereas we care more about getting back to game and trying to get everyone to have fun. Something I do want to stress is that we're all really good friends, and I don't think any of these actions are intentionally malicious in any way. I'm just trying to address your question of "challenges" as accurately as possible.

Lamontia wrote:
As a player, what are your thoughts on female GMs? Have you had one? How was it?

Spoiler:
My friend who runs the Shattered Star game was extremely hesitant to GM a game, because she has been gaming a drastically shorter time than the rest of us, and she didn't think she would have the skills or knowledge necessary. After playing in my game for a while, though, and noticing that even though other players were doing the same tired dance of second-guessing her knowledge of her own character's abilities, she was usually right, and had gotten pretty good at putting together a character. (I was so excited when she texted to tell me she had an intimidation barbarian build she just had to try out in a game sometime, because she had previously thought she would never build a character just for the fun of it.) I will say she is flat-out one of the most prepared and accommodating GMs I have ever encountered. She's great at getting into character and jumping from persona to persona, which I already knew from my game, but she's also got maps, handouts, sketches she made of NPCs without a picture in the module... The only "complaint" I could even possibly voice is that she's almost too invested in us succeeding, to the extent that I have felt on multiple occasions that she will be more upset if my character dies than I would be. I'm like, "It's cool, I've got this idea for an inquisitor I could slap together pretty quickly," and she's like, ":sad eyes: I didn't mean for this fight to be so hard. Uh, maybe the bad guys take you captive...?" I'm not going to say too much, because I can't say I haven't felt guilty the few times in my GMing career that I have killed a PC.

Other than a kender-obsessed DM at a local gaming convention some years ago, I believe my friend is the only female GM I have ever encountered. I have been to LARPS where men and women worked together to tell the story and manage a large group of players, though, and those seemed to run smoothly enough, save for the loads of drama that for some reason seem inevitable regarding LARPS. (At least in my personal experience.) I don't think female GMs are some mythical beast, but most of the people I game with are male, and most of my female friends are less interested in gaming, so that hasn't resulted in me encountering many.

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us! I usually pass by the threads about "female gamers" without comment, but I remembered that feeling of growing confidence in my knowledge that you mentioned, and wanted to share a few observations of my own. There are real challenges from time to time, but I admire your attitude and proficiency, and I bet you'll get even more awesome as time goes on. Here's to hoping the worst problem you ever have is weeding out which players you don't want at your table, because there are just too many people who want in on your games. :)


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As a player, what are your thoughts on female GMs? Have you had one? Ho was it? Why do you think there are so few?

I don't think gender really affects things one way or the other. Female or male can be sucky gm's. To be honest, I've introduced numerous females to this hobby, including my little sister and her fiance, 3 girlfriends over the years, and when my son is older, he will be shown as well. Whether gm or player, I've had bad experiences with females in the game, and honestly, if you think gender affects a persons ability to weave and tell a great story then you are poorly mistaken. Unless you think males are more terrible at it, which in my case is true, since most of my male gm's have been pretty much a suck-fest. And that's coming from a dude.

Dark Archive

I have both played and GM'ed for 15 years now. Many different system and nearly uncountable numbers of different players.

Alot of GMs has a difficulty roleplaying another gender. Many male GMs avoid female roles because they are far harder to play. Nothing worse than roleplaying a cryface woman who just lost her kids and needs the players to help her. It is not hard to do - but it is hard for many male GMs if they want it on a high level of believeable roleplay.

For the female GMs I have played with they have the same problem with male roles. For some of them it is hard to play very masculine and brutal things.
And now all the female readers thinks.. "Of cause I can play a role masculine and brutal! What is he talking about?"

My point is.. It's hard for them to play it on a roleplaying level that is very very good.. Sometimes the "play" just gets funny instead of convincing..

This is the only obstacle I have met with female GMs. And the same goes for male GMs. There is no difference on how well the plot is, how the mood is, how hard and original the combats are and how great an experience the whole session is.

And yes.. I am no woman.. I'm a male and I enjoy to GM and I have alot of experience on it.. My main motivation is roleplaying.. Not hack n' slashing.. Which sadly has made me into one of the more rare GMs..

Sorry for bad spelling.. I'm in a huge hangover and danish.


Weird that I never realized, but in all the years gaming I've had dozens of female gamers at the table but only one tried her hand at GMing. She ran a 3x D&D game, but she should've run it in White Wolf. The game was esoteric, dreamlike; more about plot than crunch. She was trying to tell a story, not run a game.

That being said I liked it a lot. She had a very good grasp on storytelling skills, narrative and such. She was also highly invested in the gameworld and NPCs; so much so that she did voices and physical actions at the table to simulate them. She really brought the game to life.

Like I said though; system mastery wasn't her strong suit. We got bogged down in rules early on so as she went she hand waved a lot, including even minor combats. (random roll) "you see a couple goblins...you guys would probably destroy those...they grovel in fear before you" just to keep the story going.

I don't think ANY of this has to do with gender. I think this is a story-driven person who took a crack at running a game with a specific plot in mind. I think most GMs have done this at some point or another, myself included. You have a story to tell and you want to entertain your friends with it, so you get behind the screens with an agenda. Sure the game was a little railroady and obvious, but we all had fun so no harm/no foul.

My experience with female gamers in general though is different than with male gamers. With guys the standard thought is "my character does X" and group cohesion is the exception. Ironically I've found the opposite to be true of ladies at the table. More often than not the ladies try to create a sense of team, trying to incorporate everyone into their thinking from strategy and tactics to plot and story development.

I don't know if this is universal to everyone's experience. I just thought I'd mention it. I'm very happy Lamontia that you are a role model for the ladies in your life of gaming. I'm raising 2 daughters and have tried to get both of them into gaming. They both enjoy parts of the game but no games have stuck yet.

Still I really like the fact that they've been exposed to it, had some fun, and know it's an ok past-time. I say that because there's a couple boys on their bus that people shun - they're gamers. My girls are like "what's the problem with these guys? So they like showing off their Magic cards and talking about games - our dad does that all the time."

I NEVER realized how socially motivated ladies are until I had daughters. Most guys I knew in HS and college cared a little about what others thought of them and social forces, but not enough to change themselves for it. My girls constantly obsess over it and my wife assures me this is normal.

My point is: with Lamontia or other female GMs running the games, promoting them, ladies everywhere can become more tolerant of it and the social awkwardness of it can abate some. Also having a peer in a position of controlling the experience gets the word out that its totally fine to have a lady in charge instead of a dude, and that's incredibly valuable.

Thanks to all the ladies on the numbers' side of the screens.

Grand Lodge

We have a fairly small group in my area that play on a regular basis and my roommate decided she wanted to take a shot at it for a group of her college friends and myself. She had a really fun campaign, the only issue I had was she had a co-adventuring party of DMPC's that were about 3 shades better at everything than the actual party. It was really imaginative and she put a lot of effort into several of the encounters sadly we never got to finish because the school year ended and all but 2 of us went home for the summer.

Also, I'm not sure how it started but we had the obligitory "Monthly TPK" gag going in full force.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My girlfriend is currently running Jade Regeant and I think she is a great GM. I dont see any reason why a female gamer cant gm. The traits of a good gm, adaptable, organized, knowledgable of the rules, creative, acting and improve skills, likes to tell a good story these are all rather gender neutral traits.

I think we see fewer female GMs mostly because untill recently the game was mostly male dominated. We always had female players, and there has always been female GMs but if only 5% of the gamer population is female then the number of experienced gamers who are female and decide to take up the gm mantle will be few. Maybe 1 in 100 gamers or less. The numbers are evening out, but its still a majority male hobby. As we get more female players, we will eventually have more female gms.

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