When is it time to step up, to grab the throne of power, to seize the day, and to start GMing? Our fellow columnist here at High Level Games, Ryan, is ready to hang up his hat as a GM for the time being. He knew it was time for a hiatus and had searched the signs and had seen his future unfold. If he continued, he would be forced to cry out “DAMMIT” with every passing role-playing session.
But what are the signs for the opposite? When do you know that it may be time to make the leap from player to GM? Maybe you just came off a hiatus and want to know when to get your feet wet again. I hope to give you those hints as an expert on-again-off-again GM.
Sign 1: You’ve Got an Itch
Every role-playing session has you falling into your own day-dreams about how you would have things play out. You now spend even more time developing your character’s backstory, without any prompting from anyone else. Maybe, you even go beyond planning about your character, and also want to confer with others about theirs. Then you dream about how they all fit together. Wanting to better the world you are playing in is a good sign that the leap is imminent.
Sign 2: New Game Envy
You hear about other groups playing a game you have never played before. You maybe even listen to a podcast about it. However you find out about it, you are in love. There is one major problem though; no one you know plays this game. Not only that, your friends have interest but don’t have the time to wade through a new system. It is time to bite the bullet, buy the system, scour the internet for resources, and head up your own game.
Sign 3: It’s Arguing Time!
Wanting to assert some of you and your ideas into a game is natural. Sidelining the game to promote your better idea on how the encounter should have went is a problem. Not only does it make for a bad player, but it disintegrates the group dynamic. Maybe you are right, but maybe it is time you try the driver’s seat yourself.
Sign 4: Newbies Galore
Sometimes you have friends outside the hobby (gasp!) These friends may want to enter the hobby themselves, but are intimidated by the close knit group that already exists. Many times you can assure your friends and have them sit in on a few sessions with your current group. They may easily fall into the group dynamic. But if they don’t (which happens), there is an opportunity to introduce them to the hobby and create their own new group dynamic, with their own war stories and inside jokes. You, of course, will be the GM of this new group.
Sign 5: It’s a Whole New World
Okay, so it is more than an itch. You have plans and plans of new ideas and new worlds. Your cup runneth over. Unless, you are an aspiring author (but aren’t we all), there may be no other way to really build on those scenarios. Even as an aspiring author, you won’t get more realistic dialogue and interesting character builds than when you leave it to other people to flesh out. Make you dreams a reality. It’s time to GM. You are ready.
So you may have read these signs and found them missing a piece. These are the signs that I have seen through my own experience. What other signs have you seen?
Vanessa is a sarcastic, 30-something wife and mother. She likes things and stuff, but not simultaneously. She hopes to see these signs again in the future, but for now her time is spent keeping students on their toes. If you do see those signs you can check out her notes on GMing for the first time. She is also trying out this new twitter handle at @sarasma_nessa (though she is terrible at it)
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