Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GM Etiquette

Along the lines of Player Etiquette, a post about GMing has prompted me to write something along the lines good rules for GMs.

GMing can seem like a thankless job, but people do it because it's fun. Fortunately really bad GMs will winnow themselves out, driving away players. But good GMs can still engage in bad behaviors, I know that I've done it.

1)You are not the players' adversary. It is not your job to screw over or wipe out the players.

2) Don't play favorites. This goes double if you play with an SO or spouse and triple if you have a romantic interest in a player but no relationship.

3) Don't pick on players/characters. Yes, someone at your table may be irritating or you're annoyed at that rules lawyer. That doesn't mean he's suddenly wearing Axe for Monsters.

4) PCs should be the stars. The players aren't there to entertain or provide an audience for your NPCs.

5) Don't hinge the entire night on the players figuring out something that you think is obvious.

6) Don't run if you aren't up to it. GMs usually feel a certain sense of duty that makes them feel obliged to run a game even though they physically or mentally aren't up to it. Players would rather take a break, have a movie night, or play something else than sit through a sucky game.

7) Don't railroad. Even if you spent hours crafting the Dungeon of Woe, if your players decide they'd rather visit the village of Hamhock, let them. The dungeon will still be there.

8) Don't keep your players in a hopeless situation. Drama is good, boring despair is not. Role-playing through the characters' prolonged imprisonment with nightly torture is no fun. Time for a cut scene.

9) Be consistent and fair.

I know I haven't hit them all, but these were at the top of mind.



Anonymous Dave T said...

2) Do not assume just because you love something, that your players will love it as much, i.e. even If you still like your terminator at encounter four, your players may be ready to throw things at you.

3) Do EVERYTHING you can to ensure that all of the characters have something to do in an encounter that takes up most of the session, even if it means stretching reality a bit.

8:33 AM  

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