You know you are doing your job as GM if your players turn into paranoid messes during gaming sessions. Of course, it’s not paranoia if the GM is really out to get you.
Sorry for being late on this one. Discreet math is sucking my will to live.
As a GM, you have to give your players choices. If you don’t, you are basically playing a very weird game of make-believe where you control your friends like some kind of real life action figure, only imaginary. If you can make sense of that last sentence, you are light years ahead of where I’m at right now.
Basically role-playing is about choices, and your character’s reactions to the choices they make, along with the reactions to the choices the other characters make. If the GM strips away the choices, there’s not much point in playing the game. Now the choices may not be optimal, make any sense, or doom your character either way, but there have to be choices.
LARP stands for Live Action Role-Playing. It’s a curious phenomenon where roleplayers just aren’t satisfied in pretending to be a fantasy character for a few hours a week. No, they take it a bit further and dress up as their fantasy character and play the game as if it were real. Costumes, battle enactments and Jebus knows what else. It’s like nightmare dinner theater ala Tim Burton.
Most of the time the line between player and character is blurred. So blurred, in fact, that many times the GM has to specifically tell the player their character wouldn’t have knowledge of a certain situation.
The road goes two ways, though. There are many times as a GM that you know information about the players’ plans that the NPCs wouldn’t know, and can use that to tweak the NPC actions to better balance the game, give the players a break if they are way over their heads (or punish naughty players who get themselves into bad predicaments), or get the story back on the rails. The major difference is that as the GM, you are running the game, so the majority of the time the players are never the wiser to your subtle manipulations.
Whoops. I apologize for the comic being late today. I was up until the wee hours of the morning and forgot all about posting it. And my dog ate my homework.
As a GM, you really have to be flexible. In order to be a decent or good GM, you have to be the definition of flexible. The ability to think on your feet at a moment’s notice is paramount. More often than not, you will be totally ignoring the carefully thought out notes and plot that you spent hours on and instead winging it because one of your players got distracted by a shiny object.
Fighting in most pen and paper RPGs is the most time consuming element of the game. Only character creation comes close to matching it. Depending on the battle, it might take literally hours to conclude a five to ten minute brawl. Of course, everything else in the RPG (setting, story/back-story, NPC interaction) for most players is just dungeon dressing to get to the next battle, as that’s where most of the experience points lie.