GM Struggles

Struggles, wins and losses of a gamer

My Struggles, mine, my own, my precioussss

Time to get started!

A little bit of why: I have been reading a lot, finally going back into the GMing mood after reading Dungeon World (that is a topic for a specific review), I feel the need, the urge to take the seat and share with my players what is in my head, to get their ideas fuse them to mine and get an epic game, but I also know it won’t be easy.

My Gaming group is composed of friends, one is living on another town now, and even though he hasn’t managed to play with us yet, we plan to have him through skype. This is one struggle right here, but one I got experience with (will share that in a later post as well.

The second struggle that presents itself is that my group of friends have very different tastes when it comes down to following a plot and exploring the world. 1 is a total sandbox adept, he has a hard time following plots simply because he likes to make his own, I have a player that loves a good plot but never lets his own goals out of his vision, the other one is a harder time, he has a lot in his mind lately and is around to hang with us, he usually focus on roleplaying more than exploring or following a plot, the last player loves a good plot, to him they are naturally put in the spot and he rarely creates anything that changes the direction of the game.

Now about me… I am a bit of a control freak regarding the GM seat, I tend to overprepare, overthink, I like mechanics, they make me feel in control, and I have a hard time accepting people’s inputs and developing NPC. As a result I have a lot of bad GMing habits to get rid of, most of which I have been able to shed successfully for one campaign a while ago.

The problem is, it is not natural to me, I have to put time and effort to make a few simple good GM habits come out on the table and when getting ready. These are the things I struggle with and know it (and remember right now):

  • Say yes: easy enough huh? Still, I need to focus more on what is going on than what i thought about ahead of time, otherwise it is hard for me, I often say no because it derails (chu chu!) my plans (bad habit), but I know how I should act.
  • Don’t Plan, Prepare: this one came to me for the first time on the High Level Campaign book for AD&D 2nd edition, it is easy to forget it, but since reading it I have tried to focus on it when I am between games and have had great success.
  • Fiction First: this one sank in recently, while reading Dungeon World, to be exact. I tend to like mechanics, so it is always a struggle to try and focus on the fiction instead, to let it define the game. I think I have a solution though, maybe, maybe not.
  • Listen to your players: yeah pretty basic huh? Still, I am not the kind, I have always done well on my own out there in the open world, I hardly ever ask people for input, and even more rarely am open for it. I do listen to everything players and people on my life say, I just ignore it regardless, because I am stubborn as hell, the good part is, because I listen even though I usually ignore it, things tend to click after a while, and I know who told me that and when. Since I am not a teenager any more, I already know better than to ignore it at first, I consciously try and listen, I force myself to think on it, and I only follow through after that. Maybe I can listen to them on the spot and get better in that.
  • It is a Living Breathing World: I understand people, I just like being on my own, I have a hard time being nice to everyone and everything, my social life would be extremely restricted if not for my wife. As a result I have a hard time developing interesting NPCs, after all how can I, since I am not exposing myself to them. I have a small plan on that, to use people around me, from movies, TV series, cartoons and anything else as inspiration for NPCs.

With all that, I can honestly say I consider myself a very very lousy GM, I lack aptitude for the task, I lack skill to shine at it, yet I like the position, not because of the power, but because I like to react to the players, I like when I think something cool and it is there in the game, I like to share my ideas and see them turned upside down.

Maybe I am not a lost case though, because this blog, all my reading, the sheer volume of books I have on my shelf and my drivethru account mean I am interested, I invest myself into it. I want to get better, I want to be better, I want to be the king of GM that people ask me to take the seat because they have a craving.

Bear with me then, as I confront all this, as I struggle, and maybe I can help you get there just as I know I need you to get there myself.

Things left undone: Dungeon World review, Gaming at a Distance Experience.


One response to “My Struggles, mine, my own, my precioussss

  1. Pingback: Dungeon World: seed for the game « GM Struggles

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