Monday, June 1, 2015

Barking Alien's What are you good at? GM Challenge!

Barking Alien posited a list of questions for GMs, and I shall answer the challenge. The questions (and answers for me) are:

What genres, settings or games in general do you GM best? Which do you think totally rock?

Top Five:

Dungeons & Dragons - It sort of goes without saying...

Basic Roleplaying - I don't run this as often as I'd like, but every game is memorable.

GURPS Horror - I've used GURPS for some really strange horror games.

GURPS Space (not often, but always an experience when I do)

DC Heroes (MEGS edition) RPG - may never happen again, but still the best campaign and system I ever ran in the 90's.

Which games could you use work on? That is, if your group wants to play one of these games, you yourself would probably recommend different GM.

Bottom Three:

World of Darkness - I can't abide the core conceit of this universe, and would do it no justice. My version of this universe ends with a stake in the heart or silver bullet of every vampire and lycanthrope.

FATE (any version) - I spent a long time trying to discern how it worked, and when FATE Core came along I finally figured it out and was severely underwhelmed. An RPG for a different breed of gamer.

Hero System - despite owning all of it and being endlessly intrigued the actual process of pulling the trigger on this monstrosity is beyond me. My one attempt to run a Space Hero campaign was thwarted by my players who much preferred GURPS anyway.

What elements of gamemastering do you do best? What aspects do you nail more often than not?

Top Five:

World Building - d'uh.

Descriptive narration - I have been accused of making every orc's death meaningful and every chamber pot interesting.

Player Accomplishment - it's more art than science but I think I've got a generally harmonious balance between "difficulty of the job" and "wow we pulled this off" in my games, such that the players do feel genuinely rewarded when they figure stuff out. This is why I never really understand the core conceit of a system like's for GMs who don't know how to get what's needed to the players, basically.

Consistency - I show up 99% of the time every wednesday or try to make sure there is a sub GM if I can't make it. (Less consistent on Saturdays, but gotta slack somewhere!) Honestly, if you like this hobby, the best way to engage with it is to find a spot where you guarantee you will be present and running a game for 4-5 hours a week, every time. People will show, and soon you will have a loyal gang of players who appreciate you.

Agency - I work hard to imbue players with sense of agency and reinforce it. This makes everyone much more invested in the experience.

Which elements are still a work in progress? Name some things that you don't do as well as you like.

Bottom Three:

Keeping the Party Together - I am great at providing incentive for them to split up, terrible at getting them back together. Even when I use death as a motivator.

Wandering Eye - I sometimes get horribly distracted by whatever fancy thing is attracting me at the moment, which takes time away from whatever game I should be prepping for. This blog is almost like a clinical diagnosis of what my wife calls my "gamer ADD."

Love D&D Too Much - I really would like to run more space, horror, zombie apocalypse and planetary romance genre games, but D&D is just too seductive for me to escape. Even when I am feeling burnt out and need a break, I can't escape!

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