So some guy I’ve never heard of before has challenged me personally to talk about what kind of a GM I am and how good I am at it. Well! The nerve! You all should go check out this, Barking Alien – and I doubt that’s even his real name! – and read his stuff. That’ll show him! In the mean time, let it not be said that I ever shrunk from a challenge that didn’t involve hard, physical labour or going outdoors!
QUESTION THE FIRST: What genres, settings, or games in general do you GM best? Which ones do you think you totally rock?
I am going to base this on how my group has reacted to my various attempts. The ones they have enjoyed the most have been the ones where I allow them to really craft the story, which seems more of a telling factor than the genre or mechanics.. This includes;
– Dungeons and Dragons-esque Fantasy – My most referenced and requested campaign started in 4e, and has been converted to Heroquest, Pathfinder, and Mutants and Masterminds.
– Superhero – I couldn’t tell you which generation or age our grand M&M campaign most exemplified, but it was what got us started and people still talk about it.
– Cthuhu – I’ve tried other horror-y types of games and they’re had mixed results but for some reason our Cthulhu games are always a big hit. They’re seldom as serious as I would like them to be, but it’s more important to have fun than worry about stuff like that.
QUESTION THE SECOND: Which games could you use to work on? That is, if your group wants to play one of these games, you yourself would probably recommend a different GM.
– For some reason I don’t like running Sci-Fi games. I love the genre but when it comes time to create a story for it I go blank. And if I’m struggling with the story I know my players won’t enjoy it as much.
– I also don’t run White Wolf, although that’s more out of deference of others in the group who feel more comfortable with it than other systems.
– I don’t like games that are difficult to improvise with. If I can’t drop whatever kind of monster I need in, or figure out how to rule a strange and unexpected situation, I’ll usually search for another system.
QUESTION THE THIRD: What elements of Gamemastering do you do best? What aspects do you nail more often than not?
– My greatest strength, I think, is weaving the kind of story my particular group of players wants to play in. Would it work for another group? I have no idea. I know that I usually have a decent grasp of the rules, I can handle disputes between players fairly well, and I try to be inclusive and teach new players without being commanding or domineering. Sometimes I even succeed. But of everything, I know what my friends like best of all.
– I have also been told I am pretty good at NPCs. I try to give them all distinct voices, personalities, and goals. they’re not always brilliant and award winning performances, but they keep themselves distinct in my player’s minds.
QUESTION THE FOURF: Which elements are still a work in progress? Name some things that you don’t do as well as you’d like.
– Despite many of my games involving them I struggle with making combat dynamic and interesting. Many times it devolves into just rounds of calling for hit and damage rolls. I try to use tactics and terrain but once things get into a melee I don’t do much after that. I think a number of my big boss fights could have been more fun if I were better at that sort of thing.
– Mutants and Masterminds Toughness rolls. I can’t do them. I just can’t. Why can’t I roll over a 7?!
QUESTION THE WAIT THAT’S IT?
That was hardly a challenge! It was nothing I didn’t already know. The conclusion is that I won and the Barking Alien guy should invite me over to play a Muppets RPG because I didn’t know that was a thing and now I want it in my life.
If there are any other GMs out there, I challenge you to do this small amount of introspection and see what you come up with.