Who Dm's and who just plays.


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Also why and what do you prefer?

I DM a lot more then I get to play. I'm the most experienced in my group and usually have a few stories rattling around in my head so im usually ready to run something. I wish i got to play more but I do enjoy DMing.

The Exchange

Almost exclusively DM. Experience really, and I enjoy it immensely. I've shifted to 5th edition though, since I got burnt out on Pathfinder running high level games (15th level and up).

I still run the Paizo adventures though. They're very easy to translate across and are by far he most interesting plots and combats I've ever found.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
I wish i got to play more but I do enjoy DMing.

Sounds oddly familiar...

Most random groups I join turn out to be a desaster, and my friends shy at the effort of GMing. So I use most of my PC ideas for NPCs, and hope I will be finally able to play the others.


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SheepishEidolon wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I wish i got to play more but I do enjoy DMing.

Sounds oddly familiar...

Most random groups I join turn out to be a desaster, and my friends shy at the effort of GMing. So I use most of my PC ideas for NPCs, and hope I will be finally able to play the others.

The plus side to this is at least if you ever get to play the npc as a PC everyone will be like Oh! I remember this one!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm probably at about 25/75 (Play/Gm), my group cycles through DMs based on what AP/Adventure/System we're playing, we used to have three guys who would take turns, myself and two others. We used to divide it up mostly based on style, I took more linear story heavy ones (RotRL, RoW, JR) one of the others was better at running open world type stories (KM, HR) and the third guy took a liking to running the darker stuff (Way of the Wicked, Skulls and Shackles)

But we're down to two now so I expect to DM more than I used to, especially since my group has decided to cycle though systems as well as stories, so I am now the go to GM Shadowrun 5e, Call of Cthulhu, Traveler 4e, and nWoD as well as Pathfinder.

And I will say that I get a great amount of enjoyment out of being GM, but GM burnout is a real issue sometimes.


I DM about as often as I play, although the exact ratio varies. I have a list of character and campaign ideas on standby, and I try to keep everything varied and not play the same campaign or play the same class twice.


I never DM, because I don't feel up to it. And I also try to vary campaigns, races and classes (I have an aversion to prepared casters, though).


50/50. I GM at the FLGS on Sundays and then play online with d20pro.


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GM easily 95% of the time, and at times 100%. In the last few years two or three times a year someone else will run something so I get very few chances to play. There's an old friend who's moved back down here whose games quite frankly aren't that good but I'll take any excuse to be a player.

Silver Crusade

I'm involved in 6 APs at the moment, and I'm GMing half and playing in half. That's a pretty high play to GM ratio for me, though. I'm going back to PFS after a break, and I plan to make playing/GMing about 50/50 there, too.

I actually prefer GMing in general, because I know what's going on. Also, if I'm running the game, I can start prodding people to schedule earlier. I've got a lot of games, which means that since it's the first of October tomorrow, I have to start planning what my November weekends will look like.


Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I've GMed far more games than I've played in at this point, and would dearly love to simply be a player again at least once, it's been well over a year since I've been a PC in a campaign that's lasted longer than 3 sessions.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I play in a larger number of games than I'm GMing, but on the other hand, my own games tend to generally move at a more consistent pace (by a substantial margin, usually), so in reality it's probably something like a 50/50 split, I guess.


Skizzerz i'm right there with you. My last game i ran lasted a year and a half the last one i played in made it 2 sessions


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I seem to mostly just DM (still can't bring myself to say GM, just doesn't sound as natural to me). Feels like if I don't DM, then I don't get to do any gaming. I am part of a pbp game here on these boards. I'd love to play in a more "live and active" game, though. I would really love to play in a RotRL game, as I have never done it. But most games I seem to join don't last but a couple sessions.


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Adjule wrote:
I seem to mostly just DM (still can't bring myself to say GM, just doesn't sound as natural to me). Feels like if I don't DM, then I don't get to do any gaming. I am part of a pbp game here on these boards. I'd love to play in a more "live and active" game, though. I would really love to play in a RotRL game, as I have never done it. But most games I seem to join don't last but a couple sessions.

well if you really want a title Like DM that commands respect go with Games Operation Director.


I think in total, I've probably been a DM about as much as I've been a player, but only because no one else would do it. I'm not very good at running games, and I find it to be pretty stressful at times. If I had my choice, I'd be a player 100% of the time. (Not that I'm great as a player, either. I've never been great at role-playing outside of PbPs, and find the "structured social interaction" aspect of RPGs to be rewarding in and of itself.)


I't can be stressful for sure. Even after you learn to accept your job is to loss but by a slim margin it can still be frustrating when encounters and monsters don't work like you had planned. I just try to instead look at it like " Good job I didn't think of that proud of you guys"


Vidmaster7 wrote:
It can be stressful for sure. Even after you learn to accept your job is to loss but by a slim margin it can still be frustrating when encounters and monsters don't work like you had planned. I just try to instead look at it like " Good job I didn't think of that proud of you guys"

For me, the stressful part has more to do with having to juggle so many things at once (maps, multiple rulebooks, keeping track of what each of the players wants to do, etc.), which has led to numerous screw-ups on my part in the past. It's always kind of a bummer when the DM is constantly backtracking, digging through rulebooks, and second-guessing everything.


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Oh experience usually makes that go away. Also make sure the players are being responsible for their stuff it should save you some headaches.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I really enjoy both sides of the GM screen.

At the moment, I'm playing more than GMing.

I'm playing in...

...a (mostly) weekly in-person homebrew fantasy campaign using Dungeon World rules.

...an occasional in-person "hard sci-fi" game using FATE Accelerated rules.

...a monthly homebrew D&D 5e game over Roll20.

...an occasional "Skull and Shackes" game in PFRPG. (This group has been on hiatus since January, unfortunately)

...a PBP "Shattered Star" game on the Paizo boards. (PFRPG)

...a PBP "Carrion Crown" game on the Paizo boards. (PFRPG)

...a PBP "Legendary Planet" game on the Paizo boards. (PFRPG)

I am GMing two PFRPG games on the Paizo boards: "Rise of the Runelords" and a Pathfinder conversion of the original 1983 AD&D module I6: Ravenloft.


I kind of jealous of your full rpg schedule. I wish my groups could pull that off.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I had previously GMed the "Skull and Shackles" group through "Rise of the Runelords" as a weekly in-person game, but half the group left town. I tried continuing it over MapTool & Skype (this was before Roll20), but we ended the campaign early when most of the players lost interest in the campaign.

The Dungeon World and FATE games are with the same group on the same night. We play FATE when not everyone can make it that week. The members of that group are not the same as the Skull & Shackles game.

The D&D 5e game over Roll20 is run by an old friend from college. We only started that one recently.


Maybe I should start other games with strangers make my current group jealous so they will quit missing sessions. *evil laugh*

Silver Crusade

I DM probably 2/3 of my gaming time. Had a *great* group that met weekly for about 2 years, we just wrapped up that campaign in mid-August before I moved. I was a player in two other campaigns during the same time period, but getting everyone together for those games was like pulling teeth. I really enjoy DMing, I like building encounters and crafting storylines and evolving the game world, but sometimes its nice not to know what twists are coming.

Having just moved--physical location and from FR 3.5 to Pathfinder--I'm trying to get into the local PFS scene which meets twice a month, and see if I can't find a physical gaming group for Friday nights or something. I've applied for a couple of PBPs on here but didn't get selected. Never done pbp but it seems like a fun way to kill time on the commutes.

Grand Lodge

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I DM pretty much 100% of the time; this has been the case for the 30+ years that I've been gaming.

I've never "burned out" either, I really enjoy being the DM, and never seem to run out of inspiration for encounters or adventures.


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As a general rule, if I don't GM, there is no game.

I do -love- to play tho, and eagerly grab any chance I get!

-The Gneech


IMO everyone should do their GM duties. What is annoyng is the Mr Never GM who is also Mr First to Moan/Winge/Rule Nazi


So far I just play, but I'm hoping to try out the other side of the screen at some point. Any suggestions on a good place to start with that? I play a fair amount of PFS in some local game stores, and I'm getting to be pretty active in PBPs here on the boards, so a module or part of an AP might be a possibility as well. Where should I start?


Mjolbeard89 wrote:
So far I just play, but I'm hoping to try out the other side of the screen at some point. Any suggestions on a good place to start with that? I play a fair amount of PFS in some local game stores, and I'm getting to be pretty active in PBPs here on the boards, so a module or part of an AP might be a possibility as well. Where should I start?

Offer to ref a PFS scenario. It's a one-off, so if you don't enjoy it, no one is committed to more sessions. You don't have to write the adventure, and if it's one you have already played you have an idea of how things should work.

Running an AP is a long term job - depending on how long your sessions are and how far off-piste your party veer, it could be a couple of years before you finish it.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I used to GM twice as often as I played. Moving to Phoenix where there were a plethora of GMs reduced that. Now that all the other GMs burned out, my ratio is creeping back up. Having played nearly every PFS scenario available also forces me back into the GM seat. But that's where I prefer to be. Phenomenal Cosmic Power vs itty bitty player space.


Neriathale wrote:
Mjolbeard89 wrote:
So far I just play, but I'm hoping to try out the other side of the screen at some point. Any suggestions on a good place to start with that? I play a fair amount of PFS in some local game stores, and I'm getting to be pretty active in PBPs here on the boards, so a module or part of an AP might be a possibility as well. Where should I start?

Offer to ref a PFS scenario. It's a one-off, so if you don't enjoy it, no one is committed to more sessions. You don't have to write the adventure, and if it's one you have already played you have an idea of how things should work.

Running an AP is a long term job - depending on how long your sessions are and how far off-piste your party veer, it could be a couple of years before you finish it.

That makes a ton of sense. I don't have a ton of resources for GMing right now (battle mats, minis for opponents, etc.). Would that be a huge detriment or do you think there's a way I could work around that?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Mjolbeard89 wrote:
That makes a ton of sense. I don't have a ton of resources for GMing right now (battle mats, minis for opponents, etc.). Would that be a huge detriment or do you think there's a way I could work around that?

PFS uses a good amount of Paizo flipmats and map packs, but as long as you are willing to do the drawing, you can get by with a few blank gaming maps. Players are pretty forgiving of new GMs not having all the expensive gaming aids. I often use colored glass counters for enemy mooks and last night had forgotten my flipmat, so I threw some markers down to outline the curve of the terrain. As long as you are making the effort, we're pretty forgiving.

Scarab Sages

I'm just a player. I tried DMing once, but it didn't feel like a good fit for me.

We have three people who DM in one of the groups I play with, and 3 DMs in the other group, too, so I don't think there's any real need for me to step into that role. Sometimes I daydream about DMing so I can get my friends to play in the worlds I imagine, but I'm afraid I'd spend too much time telling them about how great my homebrew world is and not enough making sure they're having fun.


SheepishEidolon wrote:
So I use most of my PC ideas for NPCs, and hope I will be finally able to play the others.

I so wish DMs wouldn't do this.

I started DMing 42 years ago. Now, I play more than I DM, but I have a odd CoC game i am running.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
DrDeth wrote:
SheepishEidolon wrote:
So I use most of my PC ideas for NPCs, and hope I will be finally able to play the others.
I so wish DMs wouldn't do this.

Why? I cameo my PCs all the time.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

doc roc wrote:
IMO everyone should do their GM duties. What is annoyng is the Mr Never GM who is also Mr First to Moan/Winge/Rule Nazi

Of course, the flip side to this is that GMs who go too long without being a player are at risk of a catastrophic loss of perspective. To speak of my own experience, I've encountered more "problem GMs" than "problem players", and the worst offenders have invariably been GMs who hardly ever play, even if they've got years or decades of experience.

This is why I personally try to consistently fill both roles; I think I do better as a GM if I play regularly, and vice-versa.


90-95% GM here and it's creeping higher each year. I run a game every other week and might get to play 1-2 times a year, and of those about once every 3 years is actually something I want to play like Pathfinder. The desperation has begun to set in considering asking to join a friends Fallout: Equestria 5E game.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
SheepishEidolon wrote:
So I use most of my PC ideas for NPCs, and hope I will be finally able to play the others.
I so wish DMs wouldn't do this.
Why? I cameo my PCs all the time.

If your players have any brains they will recognize this.

Then, either you're running the dreaded DMPC or you're running a PC that the PCs wont ever try to cheat, rob, kill or even disagree with.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
DrDeth wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
SheepishEidolon wrote:
So I use most of my PC ideas for NPCs, and hope I will be finally able to play the others.
I so wish DMs wouldn't do this.
Why? I cameo my PCs all the time.
If your players have any brains they will recognize this.

Uh, yeah. I outright tell them its my PC after the encounter.


They cant figure it out?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
DrDeth wrote:
They cant figure it out?

They don't have to.


I think cameo is different then say DMPC. I had a dm that would play a pc as well as run and his PC always knew all the answers and would often be the hero saving the party. this is bad and frustrating, but have a PC cameo is something different.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I've been playing for 39 years. 99% of that time was as a GM. Until I began playing online here at Paizo.com I only ever played as a player while at GenCon.

I enjoy world creation, puzzle creation, crafting plot lines and characters and cool encounters. I enjoy watching my friends whomp bad guys and triumph over evil.

I'm currently GMing a face-to-face game of Iron Gods, online game sof Traveller:The New Era, Kingmaker and The Strange as well as three online PFS scenarios. I'm also starting up a game of Emerald Spire. I'm also playing in one online Carrion Crown AP and 12 PFS games.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
SheepishEidolon wrote:
So I use most of my PC ideas for NPCs, and hope I will be finally able to play the others.
I so wish DMs wouldn't do this.
Why? I cameo my PCs all the time.
If your players have any brains they will recognize this.
Uh, yeah. I outright tell them its my PC after the encounter.

Of course what players seem to honetly really get excited about is when you cameo one of their former PCs that's still running around the same game-world...

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Haladir wrote:
Of course what players seem to honetly really get excited about is when you cameo one of their former PCs that's still running around the same game-world...

I try to do that when appropriate, but I honestly can't do my brothers Scottish brogue-accented gnome bardbarian justice.


Haladir wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
SheepishEidolon wrote:
So I use most of my PC ideas for NPCs, and hope I will be finally able to play the others.
I so wish DMs wouldn't do this.
Why? I cameo my PCs all the time.
If your players have any brains they will recognize this.
Uh, yeah. I outright tell them its my PC after the encounter.
Of course what players seem to honetly really get excited about is when you cameo one of their former PCs that's still running around the same game-world...

I need to do that more they do really enjoy it.


My group tried Word Mill's Mythic Roleplaying and hasn't wanted to go back since.
Don't get stuck in a rut of thinking that everything must conform to a mystical "GM and Players" dichotomy:)


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Although given that the thread title asks who "just plays," I'd be remiss not to remind people of this exchange:

Greenish wrote:
LooseCannoneer wrote:


Greenish wrote:


Curmudgeon wrote:
Where are the rules for "Just Playing"?

Rule 1: The DM is as inerrant as Orcus is omnipresent.

Rule 2: Play exactly like the DM wants you to, or rocks fall.
Rule 3: They might fall anyway.
Rule 4: Only these 5 rules matter.

Okay, I know you want someone to ask, so I'll do it.

What's the fifth rule?

You're too obsessed with numbers, Real Roleplayers[SUP][SIZE=1]TM[/SIZE][/SUP] don't go around counting things. Rocks fall, you die.

(Source)

The Exchange

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I play more then I GM. I like it that way. GMing is a lot of work!


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Just a Mort wrote:
I play more then I GM. I like it that way. GMing is a lot of work!

It really is, but after 30+ years I've learned how to get by on a handful of notes and player reactions. Of course I have encounters for combat and NPC interactions planned out, and treasure as well, but for the most party I let them run things and they think I planned it all.

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