What are your strengths and weaknesses as a GM?


Well, that was fun
Staff member
Try to list at least one of each!

- I'm very good at improvising and running with it. Some of my best sessions are completely winged.

- I am *terrible* at voice acting. Like astonishingly bad!

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-Pretty good improv.
-Nice concepts for adventures and campaigns

-Bad at building fleshed out worlds/characters/places from my ideas (or at least really slow at it)
-Tend to rely on improv a bit too much
-Make encounters that are meaningful to the story in my head, but give no clues to the PCs that make them think they are



- World-building. Detailed, long-view, contextual, comprehensive world-building. See "Weaknesses" below. :p
- Variety. I like to mix up straight combat/dungeon crawl with puzzles, role-playing, exploration, politics, etc. I like it when every skill and race/class/character/whatever gets a chance to shine.


- Improv against surprising character behavior/choices.
- Railroading.

Both the weaknesses go toward the world-building "strength". By the time I'm ready to DM, I've basically written a novella (or much more) against a world "with series potential", and breaking that to accommodate character choices and player desires is really hard for me. For similar reasons it's hard for me to find published adventures that fit into my scheme without a ton of retooling. I try to make things work, but in the end no one is completely satisfied. Which is why I write now, and don't DM. :)


First Post
Strengths- improvising and setting creation

Weaknesses- underestimating the creativity of my players and the combat strength of their characters

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Morkus from Orkus
Strength: Planning encounters that will challenge the party without resulting in a TPK
I'm really good at improvising.

Weaknesses: I don't have time to write all that I need to during the improv and my memory is spotty, so I forget names and sometimes some relevant events.
Accents and voices. I'm just not good at them, so I don't do them for the most part.


Stuck in the 90s
Seeing this article, I thought it'd be amusing to have my players fill it out on my behalf. I was genuinely curious what they'd say. I promised them no repercussions for being honest, invited them over this morning early (we usually start playing around noon) and we sat down and laughed our asses off at this. This is the honest-to-goodness compiled list these hooligans came up with:

"Reading your players - being able to predict what they'll do and when, or at least having enough improvisational skills to make it seem so."
"Encounter Balance - some fights make us feel like heroes, and other fights make us remember there's always someone out there better."
"Getting us engaged in a story just to twist us in knots or break our hearts by the end. Just really awesome stories."
"Lenient on character creation - if something is broken, you'll fix it yourself so we can use something, and just balance the rest of the party, and the monsters, accordingly."
"Voices - you do a crazy amount of accents."

"Reading your players - we try day after day to throw you off your kilter, it's frustrating you know."
"Getting us engaged in a story just to twist us in knots or break our hearts by the end. Just really awesome stories." - At this point, they realized they should just add all the strengths to my weaknesses.
"Encounter Balance - ... some fights make us feel like Chumps, rightfully so in gritty games, but chumps nonetheless. Maybe we should learn to run away... Nah."
"Getting us engaged in a story just to twist us in knots or break our hearts by the end. Just really crushing stories."
"Lenient on character creation - if something is broken, you'll fix it yourself so we can use something, and just balance the rest of the party, and the monsters, accordingly... which makes it impossible to play anywhere else, so we're stuck at your table for the next 20 years."
"Really Hard to DM for - you've done so much that we feel like there's no way to surprise you. You're always bloody prepared!" I will note this is why they only DM for me once a year (my Birthday).
"Voices - you do a crazy amount of accents, including the bad ones."

All their joke answers aside, I'll list my actual weaknesses - things I feel I definitely need to improve upon.

Real Weaknesses
Maintaining information delivery speed. Sometimes I get so excited for a plot that I give the players too much information too early and it doesn't have the proper pace feel to it. It'll sometimes drive a discovery session into an action session far ahead of schedule. Been working on this one a long, long while.

Remembering small bits of foreshadowing or plot I've delivered to the characters in their spontaneous actions. If the Barbarian went into the woods one night to rest instead of staying in the Inn, and I found it interesting and rewarded him with a small bit of plot for the future to come, I'll not always remember those tidbits I dropped. I'm very thankful my players take notes, seriously.

The last weakness could also be said of other spontaneous things I make up, like names and places. Just really glad there are many note-takers at the table.

Follow-through. Sometimes, creating so many campaigns from scratch, I quickly lose interest in one particular plot we're playing. When I do, I'm honest with my players and tell them that for some reason, the current characters and their current schemes just aren't keeping my interest. Sometimes this results in new characters in a new setting, or the same characters just switching gears and putting the focus somewhere else. I'm very thankful for my understanding players, and hope you enjoyed their 'views' (biased views) of me.


Understanding balance and what is going to work and not
Solid stories with memorable characters.
Taking what my players want into account.

Improv - I worry that it is going to be correct in some Platonic ideal
System choice - just this morning I was spending more time thinking about system choice before I had a story worked out
Expectations of my players - I expect more of an investment than they want to give me many times, and I struggle coming to terms with it


Magic Wordsmith

- Creating and presenting true challenges to player skill. Players walk away feeling they earned their successes and failures.
- Session pacing - we get a lot done compared to a lot of groups I've seen.
- Improvisation and on-the-fly adjudication.
- Sense of humor. Our sessions are hilarious.
- Good visual sense in both description and on the VTT.
- Forming groups of talented people who play well together.


- I'm too humble.


- Flexibility- I’ve become pretty good at adapting on the fly to allow for unanticipated player choices.
- World building- I draw on lots of different sources to build the world(s) in which our game takes place.

- Staying on point during play. Our group consists of long time friends and our sessions probably contain as much BSing about movies, books, life, etc. as they do actual gaming. I’d like to get more done in a session, and although I wouldn’t want to eliminate the chatting, I’d prefer it take place before or after the game rather than during.
- Inconsistency in presentation. I can paint a pretty evocative picture for my players. I can also give them barely any details at all. I need to improve my descriptive ability to really place them in a location, and then become more consistent with that. My Inns all start to seem the same, towns and cities blend...I need to get better at makjng locations seem distinct.


Blistering Barnacles!
Strength - pacing! Pack a lot into each session, really good at keeping things moving

Weaknesses - making NPCs interesting with voices, mannerisms etc. Plus dreadful over analyzing of session afterward!

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