What’s Better Than A Proactive GM? A Proactive GM With Proactive Players

Posted: November 24, 2011 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Roleplaying Games

As far as GMs go, I consider myself blessed.  Blessed because I have a team of players who are willing to go the extra mile to make the game entertaining and interesting for everyone when they play.  When I run a game, I don’t feel like I’m the only guy lending any sense of motion to the campaign, while the rest of the players look at me expectantly when they’re not having fun.

Instead it feels like we’re a rowing team.  Everyone puts in effort and everyone moves forward.

I know I’ve gone over this before, but sometimes it feels repeating. If your games and your group seem to be stale, or boring, or just generally uninteresting, try to take a moment to consider who is actually pushing the game.

This is where feedback is crucial.  Every single activity known to man can be improved the moment people stop for a moment and say, “Huh, you know what?  I think we can actually improve this.”  Ask any Scientist out there, and they’ll tell you that innovation comes from questioning the status quo and looking for means to improve what we already have.

Sure I could walk ten miles to work, but that’s why we invented bikes, or cars or domesticated horses.  These are all valid solutions to making our lives easier and more fulfilling.  Laundry is a chore, but it’s a hell of a lot easier now that we have machines… machines which could never have existed if people didn’t ask “Isn’t there a better way to do this?”

And so it is with everything, including gaming.  If you’re unhappy with your gaming, then there’s definitely room for improvement.  Find it, work on it and see if it makes a difference.  I’ve occasionally been told that my “obsession” with learning to GM better is stupid and a waste of time.  I don’t feel that way, much in the same way that a person who enjoys a hobby tries to improve themselves to further their enjoyment, I think that my efforts to try and be a better GM for my group is only helping me enjoy the hobby at a different sort of level.

  1. Hikkikomori says:

    And this is why this blog is called — LATOAPG.

    And for me, laziness drives progress.

  2. mythicast says:

    The rowing team analogy is right on. “I’m the only guy lending any sense of motion to the campaign, while the rest of the players look at me expectantly when they’re not having fun.” – A lot of my GMing games turns out like this. That’s why its a common notion that GM tend to be the “designated drivers” (the only one whose assigned not to enjoy the night LOL). That way of gaming usually quadruples the GM workload and makes prep time longer.

  3. sonsoftaurus says:

    It’s not always the case, but I’ve found that formerly passive players who have since had some GMing experience themselves tend to be more active and helpful for the campaign. Some time on the other side of the screen can make a difference.

  4. Proto says:

    Do you have a ‘How to be a better PC’ post? I’m somewhat new to Pen and Papers, so I’m not sure what more I could ‘bring to the table’

    • Hi Proto,

      Thanks for visiting the blog! I’ve compiled my Player Advice posts into a single one for you to check out over at this link: http://wp.me/p5H0U-Ty

      I hope that these help, and if you have any other questions, feel free to add them to the comments section and I’ll make sure to reply to them.

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