Jan 14, 2014

The GM as a Ringleader

Babbling at the Counter #24 – Pen and Paper

The GM as a Ringleader

You see, for me, GMing is really about confidence. And like a good con artist, it’s about working on other’s confidence.

I’m not the smartest one at my table. I mean, one of my players is not only ahead of every move I make, but also knows the rules better (both game rules and world rules, like physics). That means, that the game can (and has) easily fallen into his hands.

It didn’t take me long to realize that shouldn’t happen. How did he manage to do it? Simple, I was playing his game, not mine. As GM, you are the referee. Not a “rules” referee, rather a “fun” referee. My main job at the table is not the story, not really. As I said, my players and their theories usually shape the plot as much if not more than I do. No, no, my real job is that of a ringmaster: I make the players shine and balance the spotlight between them.

Being a GM means that, at least to me. I’m not a Mastermind behind nefarious schemes. I’m not the devious Architect of mortal traps. I’m not a Writer weaving a fantastic story. I just make sure the real performers (the players) can do their stuff. And that’s really goddamn satisfying by itself.

- The Storeman

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