Best Quality in a GM

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Charisma. Listening to your players is important, but not as important as having the ability to get them to listen to you.

I agree with this concept. I remember where there was one GM who had the personality of wet cardboard and I just couldn't pay attention to him at all during the con game. I know that if I was to show up for a home game, I doubt seriously that I would stick around. I don't remember the game that we played other than it was fantasy (I think Herosystem).


Adapting an adventure on the fly because of what a PC or PCs THINK might happen, and it is a better idea than what you had in mind in the first place.


I've played a lot more than usual in the past year (I usually GM), and the top qualities of the better GMs I've played under are flexibility, improvisational ability, and NPC characterization (this last one is something I personally suck at, and need to work on).

If the GM can roll with the punches and keep the game flowing smoothly while presenting believable and engaging NPCs for me to interact with, that's a good session.



The most important thing for a DM is to make sure his players have a good time. That is more important than how old-school or new school he is, how simulationist or gamist he is, or whether he is a storyteller or wargamer.

A good DM compromises with what his players in his party (at his party?) want to do.


First Post
Knowing that he's running the game FOR you. I don't know how many DM's I've played with that missed that fact. They'd have their 300+ page campaign outline with every NPC, plot, and decision mapped out ahead of time. Then, when the players missed something, or did something out of context, they were stuck in the mud.

I have always adhered to the simple understanding that my job is to ensure the players are having fun. I can't make all the fun, but I do have to add hooks that the players are interested in, pay attention to their backstories and motivations, and ensure that in what I'm doing I bring the enthusiasm and excitment that I felt while designing the adventure.


I've always loved this quote by one of our fellow EN Worlders:

I'd rather compare adventure creation to writing HALF a story, realizing that the players and their PCs will fill in the other half. - Dave Stebbins

I think this applies not only to writing adventures, but the DM's world-building role as well.

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