Reference The Game Master Group

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource' started by DarkLordoftheFins, Sep 11, 2009.

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  1. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    So, being the GM you talk about is actually a strange thing. But I want to answer thism anyway. Because the above is totally what I think is right. It is a careful balance between GM and Co-GM. I now deal with two Co-GMs in SinsoftheSaints and I do it for the first time. Having two Co-GMs. And one thing I am adamant clear about . . .

    Well, I think being a good Co-GM is ALL about being a good GM allowing your Co-GM his thing to do. Peng is right, it is about delegating work. Usually. I want my Co-GMs to bring in their vibe, their style. With Anvil and her creepy Asylum and you, who did scary time and again and very successful I know that I got two Co-GMs who can do this thing. And therefore I must allow them to spread their own ideas. To make their own plots fly. To make their ideas work.

    So, the question is what must a GM do, to have a good Co-GM?

    1. Pick one he believes in.

    2. Make room to develop his own ideas.

    3. Not hand over the parts he does not like, but only use him for input.


    What does a good Co-GM have to have?

    1. Be a good GM.

    2. GM the game as if it was his.


    And that´s it. Maybe I´ll review my points once I am in action with Sin of the Saints but from my two games I had so far, this is my experience.

  2. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6
    You misunderstand - a Co-GM is only a co-GM if it's a true equal partnership.

    For the most part many GMs that search for a co-GM seem to want a subordinate and not a full partner - there's nothing wrong with that, I just think the two should be made distinct.
  3. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    I usually know Co-GMs per se as people not creating the game. Cooperating GMs to the head-GM. Most of the time they also do not approve CS and answer to the Mods.

    Truly equal GMs . . . I did it with LordT in 128 ABY and turned out fine. But you need the right game for it. Anyway, I think the guy putting out the question wanted to know how to be a good Secondary GM. I prefer the Second in Command or No2 term, anyway. ;)
  4. Sinrebirth SWC and EUC Forum Moderator

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 15, 2004
    star 7
    In my games, I have absolutely no control or direction over the Co-GM plotlines. We might have a general idea of each others direction, but we usually keep it to a minimum so that there are surprises for each of us. GMing can become sadly boring if you have no surprises forthcoming from your players, and so having a Co-GM enables you to have something new for you to follow as well... that being said I wish I could kill Draco's interpretation of Kol Skywalker. [face_laugh] Love the surprises he and Fin's Zorben have thrown at me. :cool:
  5. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    My time co-GMing Oz with Impy was pretty close to a 'true' partnership, I think - insofar as one can be a full partner when the first GM is more experienced and wrote the first cut of the world and story, anyway.

    We discussed storyline concerns and player management regularly and switched off on updates (that is, each of us would write every other update). Originally I think the plan was for one of us to take one storyline - one would take the Emerald Empire and the other Glinda's rebels, or something like that, but we ended up with a whole load of 'undecided non-Ozian' players, so we scrapped that before the game began.

    Anyway. I think the crucial point is that we discussed the game regularly. Also that I was not afraid to ask questions, suggest ideas of my own, or disagree with him. :p The world of Oz in the game is an amalgation of Baum's Oz and Maguire's Wicked (with each region drawing more from one source or the other), so our ingame canon was a little tricky to pin down... keeping it consistent from update to update required behind-the-scenes tinkering. That might not be a problem for all games, but it's important that all the GMs involved know where the story's going and the purpose of some event or to plan for the arrival of an important NPC in two updates - and so on.

    Beyond that, it's important that the GM and co-GM share the overall vision for the game - I would not have been nearly that good a co-GM if I wanted Oz to be a murder-mystery game with killer Munchkins, or something.
  6. Sir_Draco Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2007
    star 4
    I guess when I had a Co-GM, and I was a beginner GM, it worked out well. I don´t know about the term "Co-GM" or if he implies equality or not (the term Co-Director does not, obviously. So I guess we use an analogy to moives here, again) but I think most of the times one carries the vision and the other brings his special style to the game. Some games used the Co-GM system to quite good effect. I remember the Fin/LordT cooperation on 128 ABy - CG. Or Imp/HS29 right now in Disney. Now I had the honor to have Fin as my rather powerful second GM in Bad Day. He posted the intro and developed the plot with me, but left all GM decisions to me. So, here I am and talk about my experiences with Co-GMs.

    Actually they make it more fun, I think. I miss Fin, now that he is out to do his own game. Developing this game with two is just a great thing. And actually I think there is little that could be named that works against a coop-GMing. If one does not want to have all honor for himself to win Awards, that is.
  7. spycoder9 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2008
    star 4
    I need some advice. How do you make a game more fun for the players?


    Spycoder
  8. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    That's always tricky.

    Speaking as a player, the games I find most fun, interesting and engaging always have most or all of these (in no particular order):

    - Good writing. This is kinda hand-wavey - what makes a good writer? - but it's important too. If the GM can paint a great, immersive picture of the world in a few words, that goes a long way towards making it fun. (I don't mean 'updates must be super long' - that's not necessarily a good thing - but they should be well-written.)

    - Personalisation - the GM makes sure all characters have a chance to shine, and/or brings out facets from a character's bio, and so on. If my character's from Kuat in a Rebel Alliance game, say, maybe a NPC will comment that her homeworld is Imperial and isn't it strange that she's a Rebel. You could also bring back NPCs from characters' pasts - bring back the estranged brother mentioned in their bio, stuff like that. Little details count - players (usually) put effort into their bios so to have a GM pay attention to them is appreciated.

    - Surprises! I love surprises. Twists and turns in a story are always awesome - and by this I don't mean "you have just triggered a dastardly trap in the Tomb of Horrors" because, you know, you always expect to find dastardly traps in a dungeon crawl.

    - Don't make life too difficult for your players all the time. Challenges are good, constantly fighting a losing battle you can't seem to win is not.

    - Regular updates - all of the above are useless if updates come once every two weeks or longer.

    (And of course other players can make or break a game, but that's not really something a GM can control.)

    There's probably more ... and certainly some players will disagree with this list, so you should also try asking your players directly about how to make life more interesting for them.
  9. SirakRomar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2007
    star 4
    As a GM I had only a very, very short experience this year (also I seem to have mildly entertained my players to the best of my amateurish abilities) but as player I´vee seen a few GMs and styles. Let me first say . . . not everything is fun for everybody.

    Things that totally get some players excited will be totally boring for others. The type of player your game attracts should therefore tell you something about what they consider fun.

    Otherwise as general rules I agree with many of Xans points, and would add something a greater and wiser GM than me has said something.

    The Story is not important. How you tell it is.

    Or to quote that overlooked Narration of Post-by-Post Article of RachelTyrell.

    Narration is the key.

    You need to make a game a living place that is mysterious, funny, entertaining and thrilling at thec same time and none too much and nor too little (well, some masters of the art break the "not to much" rule, but that´s not for me to analyse).

    You need to sell your game. Reveal secrets, keep players interested, put their characters into context and always, ALWAYS give them something interesting to do. You should also avoid the clichées of SW and these boards, if possible and give things a fresh look.

    If you manage to do that, the game will surely be entertaining and fun. It will be exciting and new. How to venture from there, I shall leave to more experienced GMs . . .
  10. blubeast1237 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2007
    star 5
    I was wondering if I could get some volunteers for an experiment I wanted to try concerning players and GM control over the story. I only need about 3 people, preferably and it would be a real game. Please pm me if you are interested.

    -B
  11. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    Do you need three players or three GMs?
  12. Sith-I-5 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 6
    I found the last two comments by DarthXan and Sirak very helpful.

    In terms of co-GMing, I only have my experience on Galaxy at War III to go by. The game had so many players that at some point, experienced role-players that had commanding roles over 'factions', eg. The Emperor, a Rebel general, Master Yoda, etc, were suddenly promoted to co-GM status, with responsibility for their aligned players.

    I was doing Yoda, so new players with Jedi character sheets were sent my way for vetting; I ran storylines for my players, and generally tried to get things rolling for the jedi faction.

    I had not, until this thread, ever encountered the term, 'Sub-GM'.

    * * * *

    Several times in my early years, I was in a game that I really liked, and that the GM got bored with, abandoned, or got temporarily banned, and I tried not to let the game die.

    Since most of those rescue attempts failed, I am interested now in learning what I was doing wrong then, and how to run a game.
  13. blubeast1237 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2007
    star 5
    To tell the truth, they will kind of be both. All this Co-GM talk got me thinking. I already got one volunteer, only need two more.:D

    -B
  14. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    Well, how do xou entertsin player. I think many of the "rules" can be broken. but if you do original things, that are exciting and well written . . . you are on a good way. Anyway. No matter what you do.
  15. Sir_Draco Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2007
    star 4
    Consider this a true request for help. Or better . . . guidance. Insight by senior GMs is what I seek. I have posed myself several questions. These questions are theoretical in nature, but with concrete decisions lurking in their shadows. Two problems have come to my mind. I am in different stages of making my own mind up, but want to take the service offered to us GMs in the intropost of this club and ask for opinions by Senior GMs.

    1. How far should a GM move away from his idea of what a game is to please the player? Shoudl he move at all? What about those players enjoying his vision of things?

    2. What shall he do if he feels he lacks authority within´ his own game?

  16. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    1. Honestly there needs to be back and forth. SoNL had a couple of "Okay guys, let's chat" types of talks, and I think they were helpful to an extent. But if what a player expects is radically different than the way you envisioned the game, it's probably best if that player just bows out gracefully. If the GM runs the game in a direction he doesn't want to go, the quality will suffer. Similarly, a player opposed to the direction of the game will eventually drop out anyway, so they can just suck it up and get it over with.

    2. Lay the smack down. PMs, in-game consequences, mods if you have to. It's your game, kick some tail.:p
  17. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    1. No, you should not. Not if you feel there are people with you. Not if you believe in your own idea. If you are after Awards, if you wanna be considered a great GM, fo hunt for popularity. But even then you´ll watch those who do their things constantly stealing the Awards from you. If your idea does not work at all, your game will die. If your game works, those who feel they know better should stick with it or take their hat. But a GM makes a game. And the game is there to entertain players. It is many things, probably. But it is NOT a place where peoople can force their will on their surrounding.
    From my experience all people who are doing this usually have one thing in common. They are lousy GMs. Because they believe in the idea of "one right vision" and that is usually theirs. Actually. It is the GMs.

    2. Knowing that some concrete decisions stand behind these questions, I did hesitate to answer this question. But the answer is so obvious to me, I wanna answer it. Kick ´em out. Do not write for people who do not respect you. Or your game. This is not a job. It is not even an obligation. We´re storytellers. And the one privilege all storytellers have is, they decide who they tell their story to . . .
  18. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    1. I agree with Ramza. Speaking as a player, there is nothing more frustrating than contacting the GM with a polite, "Hey, I think [insert thing here] doesn't make sense/isn't fair/wouldn't work/is confusing/isn't detailed enough/is GMPCing/etc..." and get what is essentially a nicely-worded "Shut up and deal, it's my game and I know what I'm doing," as a reply. If that happens more than once, what eventually happens is I get frustrated and stop having fun, and bow out of the game as nicely as I can.

    Sometimes, as Ramza has noted, bowing out is the only polite and logical way to resolve player/GM differences. If I expect a fun, lols-y, little-concentration-or-characterisation-required game, and what I get is a serious campaign with an epic background and quest to be accomplished ... it's not going to work, and leaving gracefully is the best option. But if I'm leaving because the GM refused to accept any criticism or suggestions whatsoever, no matter how minor, I think that is a pity.


    2. I would go with a less drastic option than 'kick them out'. :p If I may speculate here, you're finding yourself in a position of being a fairly new GM with experienced players pushing you to do things their way - yes? I have been there before; in my case these experienced players were also close friends, and I felt that I couldn't really say no to their (reasonable but rules-bending) requests. So draw a line and stick to it - tell them that [insert thing here] is the way things are going to be, and you understand their feelings but if they don't trust you to run a fair game, you will not hold it against them if they want to leave. And stick to it.

    However ... this is with the caveat of listening to minor complaints, as I mentioned above. If a player comes to you with a complaint you think is ridiculous, try to see things from their perspective instead of yours ... you might find things look different from that end. Yes, the GM is what drives the game and the story, but players are what make a game what it is, just like actors in a movie. Otherwise you might as well be writing fanfic.
  19. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    Okay, I´ll spend my short break with this little problem.

    1. What are we taking about? Criticism, as Xany pointed out? Or questioning the very nature of the game (as I read LordT)? I think both answers I agree with, depending on what case we got.

    2. First: I don´t believe in babysitting. Look who complains, look at what it is they complain about. Don´t play around. Don´t let them test your limits. Because players who do this are in it for something else than playing a RP. And this disturbs gaming. Disturbs other players. Disturbs your game. And in the end . . . why should you put effort into someone challenging you? Why? Courtesy? Well, be polite while showing them the door . . .

    BUT (and this is a GIANT but) . . . be aware you might be wrong about their intentions in the first place. Subjective views. You know? Ask yourself, how sure are you they really do not accept your authority? Or is it something else they do not admit? Have they become carried away? Is there really a malevolent intent? Ego? Or is it misunderstanding? Insecurity? Bad RL times? A hang over? If they do not wish to harm you, work with them. If so, try to solve the problem.

    So my true advice for 2. is:

    Find out what it is about. The question must become more specific, before you can give any general answer.

  20. Sith-I-5 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 6
    The GM?s long-term happiness, and therefore their ability to support a game, depends on staying true to their own vision.

    If you are absolutely certain that a player is attempting to usurp your vision, fine, show them the door. But be absolutely certain of that motive.

    You can also let the player know what affect they are having on you, as they might not know.
  21. Akechi Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    [image=http://politicalnightmare.com/images/hannity/banhammer2.bmp]

    While I am aware this all happened in one incident, the edits in this thread serve as your final warning. Advertise in these threads again at your peril.

    -I_H
  22. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    To quote Han Solo, mods, "Shut him up or shut him down!"
  23. Akechi Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    [image=http://www.brianluk.com/gallery/pictures/ban_hammer_logo.gif]

    Sheets don't go in the GMG. Why don't you try the Character Designer's Group (sans advertisements for your site, of course).

    If you have any further questions about appropriate posts, let me know.

    -I_H
  24. Sith-I-5 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 6
    PM despatched, to the guy with the name like a violent sneeze.

    Good effort with the picture though.
  25. Akechi Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    That's fine, I apologize. I saw there was an RP section and thought I'd take the opportunity to tell people about my site, which is coincidentally an RPG. Yesterday was my first day and I made a mistake, so I apologize again. Those are your rules and I'll abide by them from now on. But it's not what you say, it's how you say it. I try to be respectful and I expect the same in return. Though Saintheart was telling me the rules, he was doing so in an arrogant manner, and I don't appreciate it. Advertising wasn't the only reason I came here by the way. I'm a huge Star Wars fan and I came here for the company of other fans. I only hope that in the process, I can draw fellow fans in to share in the fun of my site. I'm sorry for this mishap. But don't you think you're being a bit harsh? I mean it was only my first day, its not like I'm an expert on rules and regulations. I'm not trying to be all high and mighty, but I think that this incident should only serve as a warning, not an offense. It's not like I came here and started posting pictures of a sexual nature or started swearing up a storm or even advertised something completely unrelated to Star Wars. It was an easy mistake, that any noob could have made. I ask of you to please, show me some mercy in this matter. That's all I ask in return for following the rules.
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