It's Your Turn to GM

Isn’t it about time you stepped up and took on the load sometime to give your usual GM a break? Short answer, yes it is.

Isn’t it about time you stepped up and took on the load sometime to give your usual GM a break? Short answer, yes it is.


Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

In most surveys I’ve seen, the one thing pretty much every GM agrees on is that they’d like to play now and again. It’s good for any GM to experience what it’s like as a player, just as every player should know what it’s like to be behind the screen. Both will be better gamers for it. Now, some groups are lucky that there are enough GMs to swap around constantly. But I’ve known of plenty of groups where one person is always assumed to be the GM and never gets a chance to play, a responsibility that often leads to burn out. So let’s go through some of the usual excuses that get offered when the GM says they need a break.

“I Don’t Know What to Do.”

So, you’re new to GMing, that’s okay, everyone has to start somewhere! But you are not alone. Your usual GM will be in the group and they can help you with the rules. They can probably even help you figure out an adventure. But there are plenty of published adventures out there and most walk you through it.

Being a GM can be intimidating, but it’s usually not as hard as it might look and with a little hand holding you’ll be fine. You group will support you (or at least they should!) and you never know, you might actually enjoy it. One new GM I know was excited to realise that when you GM, it’s ‘always your turn’ and she loved that.

“I’m a Useless GM.”

There is only one answer to this - you need practice. But more often than not what this really means is "GMing is too hard." So maybe it’s time you did. Someone else has been making that effort for you week after week so why not step up?

If you’ve GM’ed before and not enjoyed it very much, that’s understandable. But even so, why not try game mastering a one off? You may have just had a bad experience and with the right game and group it might be completely different.

“I’m Too Busy.”

Your GM might be busy too! Now there are times when we have busy weeks. Work or kids can get crazy and you might genuinely not have any time. But for most weeks it’s not a question of time but priority. Your usual GM is expected to make time for prepping and running the game, so there is no reason you can’t put some time into gaming.

Running a game need not take that much time either. There are plenty of published adventures you can run as written for most games. Can you really not read ten pages of adventure in a whole week? Even if you can’t, read it as soon as you can and then run it that week.

“But You’re So Good!”

This sound complementary but it’s actually a lot more insidious. You are basically saying "you’re really good at this, so you have to do it forever," to say nothing of "you have to keep providing the usual high standard or everyone will be disappointed." If you don’t feel you are up to the standard of your usual GM there is only one answer: practice and get good. How do you think they did? They put the hours in and so can you. You don’t need to be Matt Mercer to run a good game anyway.

I should say in closing that if you really hate running a game or dread the idea no one can (or should!) force you. Not everyone takes to it and these games are meant to be fun for everyone. But it might just as easily be your turn to step up.

At the very least, you can be a better player and make effort that way. Support your GM with your attention and focus, and show the same dedication to the game they do, because that will make the game easier for them to run. Very few things are as disheartening for a GM as looking at a table full of players looking at their phones. The more effort everyone puts in, the better the game will be for everyone.

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Andrew Peregrine

Andrew Peregrine


wannabe RPG writer
No one is passionate enough in my group to take the role of the DM except me. We were all noobs when we started our first session 7-8 months ago and sometimes I think that is my fault that they might not have high expectations and fun from D&D. No one really knew what to do and everyone was expecting the DM to bring all the fun to the table and that tired me to the point that I don't want to run games for them so much anymore. I hope that one day I will find a group to blend in and share the same passion for RP and D&D in general and maybe be a player for at least one campaign like Curse of Strand. Ooh I pray for this 🙏

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This article really reads like it's trying to guilt the players into GMing. Nothing like pestering them with "oh but Iiiii can do it so yoooou can tooo!!" to make people want to step up.


I have the opposite problem. I love to GM so much it's tough for me to step down and let other people run the game!

Yeah this is me. I think a do a good job and my players keep coming back for more. I find other DMs/GMs don't live up to my standards and I typically lose interest.

We rotate GM duty, it creates artificial gravity. ;)

Truth is that we try a lot of different games, board and rpg; sometimes I drop by a local game store and buy a game to take to game night. We'll read it, maybe try playing it, and if it doesn't click, maybe it goes to the shelf or gets loaned to another group in the club of 30 or so members and they might play or at least read it and give their feedback. Some we use over and over, others fall by the wayside.

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