The GM's World, the Players' Campaign

"Every GM basically behaves the same" for a given game doesn't seem like a bad thing to me. It'd mean that GMs would have to pick the games that best suited how they wanted to GM of course but that doesn't seem like a bad thing to me either.

Perhaps. But if I was a publisher and wanted to sell my game to a large audience with varying tastes it would seem pretty bad to me.
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
"Every GM basically behaves the same" for a given game doesn't seem like a bad thing to me. It'd mean that GMs would have to pick the games that best suited how they wanted to GM of course but that doesn't seem like a bad thing to me either.

The metrics I listed are the ones I'd look at more than anything else because I think they'd reflect quality more closely than anything else. As to what "constitutes" a good GM? I don't think there's a recipe or even a parts list but I think the things I'd look for are wanting to be good and wanting to get better and wanting the game to be what everyone at the table wants.
But the answers to those questions will constantly vary with the game and the mix of players. What if people want different things that can't be reconciled? Does the GM immediately become a bad GM, or just for that table? Could anyone be a good GM by your definition at that table? It's all individual and unique, and thus impossible to systemize or even really discuss coherently beyond that specific group.

And I personally would never run any game that demanded the GM adhere to a specific set of behaviors at all times that varied by system. General social rules like, "be mindful of others?" Sure. But I always want to make the game my own.
 


But the answers to those questions will constantly vary with the game and the mix of players. What if people want different things that can't be reconciled? Does the GM immediately become a bad GM, or just for that table? Could anyone be a good GM by your definition at that table? It's all individual and unique, and thus impossible to systemize or even really discuss coherently beyond that specific group.

And I personally would never run any game that demanded the GM adhere to a specific set of behaviors at all times that varied by system. General social rules like, "be mindful of others?" Sure. But I always want to make the game my own.
If the people at the table have differences in preferences that cannot be reconciled then that is probably not a table that should be trying to TRPG together.

And I'm deeply unsurprised that you wouldn't run a game that you felt limited you as a GM. Rather than making the game at the table mine I prefer to make it ours.
 


Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
If the people at the table have differences in preferences that cannot be reconciled then that is probably not a table that should be trying to TRPG together.

And I'm deeply unsurprised that you wouldn't run a game that you felt limited you as a GM. Rather than making the game at the table mine I prefer to make it ours.
A little holier-than-thou, that.

When you DM, do you have any interests of your own, or is your joy solely derived from doing what the players want?
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
But thinking about things beforehand doesn't remove interacting with your friends part. That still happens. And we always prepare to game to some extent. We create the characters beforehand. We establish the themes of the campaign. We establish some backstory. The GM might think some NPCs and locations. Technically we don't need to do any of this, we could just improv everything. But most people, even you, tend to agree that doing this preparation is worth it. And I don't think more hurts. Sure, you hit diminishing returns at some point when it is just no longer worth the effort, but ultimately we're just quibbling about where that point lies.

A lot of this comes down to the sort of preparation more than the amount of preparation. When running less traditional games I absolutely spend a lot of time thinking about possible conflicts, what sort of direction the conflict space might be shaping into, etc. It's just not locked in like most trad game prep is. I devote a similar level of mental energy. I'm just preparing loosely instead of concretely (even if I'm not writing a lot of things down).

Preparing to improvise is a thing.
 

A little holier-than-thou, that.

When you DM, do you have any interests of your own, or is your joy solely derived from doing what the players want?
I bring my own interests to the games I run. I find GMing much more satisfactory when the players enjoy and are interested in the game than when they're not. I have not ever run a game where I felt it my responsibility to ever and always do what the players wanted.
 

Reynard

Legend
My problem with "just in time" setting development (good term for it, by the way) is that inevitably I'll contradict myself, often within the same session, as I won't remember what I said earlier.

Players: "While in town we'll stay at the Silver Salmon, where we stayed last time."
Me: "OK, the Silver Salmon Inn is in the middle of town, giving a good view of the main market square."
Players: "Last time we were here it was down by the docks. We had to walk to the market, and Jocasta's pocket got picked on the way, remember?"
Me: "Uuh...OK, I guess? I remember the pocket-picking, was that en route from the Salmon?" ... and bang goes the flow.

Making notes on the fly is a poor option as I can't write and talk at the same time (or if I did, both would be incoherent :) ) and stopping every 30 seconds to make notes isn't conducive to any sort of flow or rhythm. But if I've got this noted somewhere I can refer to it on the fly and keep things consistent.
Bribe a player. That's what I do.
 

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