Author Topic: GM/Player Dynamic  (Read 6126 times)

Flawless P

  • I walk between the rain drops, tommy gun and katana in hand
  • *****
  • Posts: 1024
    • View Profile
GM/Player Dynamic
« on: January 24, 2013, 11:43:25 AM »
I've been having some discussions with a friend of mine over the past few weeks.

I decided that this might be a fun discussion here as well.

Do you feel that it is necessary to be a "good" player in order to be an amazing GM? We both fell on the same side in this discussion but I am happy to hear from all sides.

I feel like it is important that a GM get to be a player on occasion so that they can better understand player motivations and can gain an appreciation for the role of the player character in a role-playing game.

Not to say all GM's are disconnected horrible monsters that are using the players to /flex and act superior.

I just feel like everyone at the table should take a turn seeing how the other lives as it were. Granted not everyone can be a GM but I think it could be a valuable experience.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 12:11:24 PM by Flawless P »
42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
If you can't fix it with duck tape you haven't used enough.
I intend to live forever -- so far, so good.

crash2455

  • I walk between the rain drops, tommy gun and katana in hand
  • *****
  • Posts: 766
  • #1 Brovine
    • View Profile
    • The Drunk and the Ugly
Re: GM/Player Dynamic
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2013, 02:10:33 PM »
I think it's probably beneficial to a GM to be on the other side of the screen, but then again most times they will be more focused on the game at hand than on what it's like to be playing. I guess this also differs on what your definition of a good player is as well. Many players can be very helpful in he course of a game and be very familiar with the rules but write absolute garbage or run very mechanically adept, but dull games.

That said, a bad player is more likely to be a bad GM. A player who takes up time in the spotlight will likely try to make any game they run about the NPCs rather than the players, or interrupt roleplaying to turn he focus back on them and their scenario. A munchkinly player is more likely to make tougher enemies that have been more combat optimized. A vindictive player will turn the universe against a player who does something they don't like.

This may not always be the case, but they're typically good warning signs in my experience.

QuickreleasePersonalitY

  • I am worth 100 points in GURPS...ladies
  • ***
  • Posts: 232
  • if you see your self on the road, kill it
    • View Profile
Re: GM/Player Dynamic
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2013, 12:46:48 AM »
players should be seen and not heard; they should know their place

and the best way to deal with an unruly player is a double-tap to the centre of mass ;3

as you were, citizens
pretentious i am
lest pretentious i become

SageNytell

  • I dream in graph paper lines
  • ****
  • Posts: 435
  • We're the Tusken Sound Raiders... start the rave.
    • View Profile
Re: GM/Player Dynamic
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2013, 04:02:43 PM »
players should be seen and not heard; they should know their place

and the best way to deal with an unruly player is a double-tap to the centre of mass ;3

as you were, citizens

I finally figured it out, you're Order 66. That'll make ignoring you so much easier from now on.

I think at best I'm probably a mediocre player and GM. I know my strengths as a player go towards working as a team and trying to make myself as useful as possible, so in games where folks aren't working together I tend to be fairly ineffective. I'm working on both, but the lack of opportunity for gaming for me right now is a bit of a hindrance in that regard.

Ezechiel357

  • Zombie Apocalypse Survivor
  • **
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Re: GM/Player Dynamic
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2013, 03:56:31 AM »
What is a good player and what is a good GM ?
 :)

Yeah, I know, I hate when somebody answer my question by a question.

A good player could be seen as somebody who "solve" the scenario or as somebody who "stays" in character. I believe the 2nd one is the most entertaining, but if the story cannot progress because of the antics of one character...
Then there are all shades of gray that longtime players would learn when to stay in character and when to "bend" a bit there character for the greater good of the storytelling.

A good GM is somebody who is able to come with an interesting story (creating a plot which is not obvious, contains a few surprises and good NPC), can ensure a smooth game without downtime, can balance a fight (giving the feeling that the PCs risks there live without outright killing them), knows well the rules to not loose too much time looking in a book, immerse (how many times Tom shouted "Immerse me Ross!") the players... In this case, getting in character is only a fraction of the skills required to be a good GM.

In my case, my players regard me as a very good GM, but I am considering myself only as an average player because I do not stay always in character and tend sometime to let my knowledge override the character knowledge.

Is it possible to be good GM if you are a lousy player ? I guess it depends what makes the player a lousy player and how quickly he can learn. I believe that a GM with a good story, well organised, but not able to be good comedian will still be a good GM. Sure, his NPC will all have the same voice and tone, but a good story can make up for it. However, a lousy story told by a good comedian might be fun once, but afterwards, it will become pretty boring.

It is much easier to be a good player than good GM.

QuickreleasePersonalitY

  • I am worth 100 points in GURPS...ladies
  • ***
  • Posts: 232
  • if you see your self on the road, kill it
    • View Profile
Re: GM/Player Dynamic
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2013, 02:24:48 PM »
Do you feel that it is necessary to be a "good" player in order to be an amazing GM? We both fell on the same side in this discussion but I am happy to hear from all sides.


just some rambling thoughts:


a "GM" and a "player" are roles that we create*, consensually, and that do not exist independently in and of themselves and, as such, can have different connotations as individual as the people themselves


i think that there is at least one group out there that is 'good' for every gamer, as opposed to a kind of 'hey, you play RPGs?  then we're automatically copacetic!'; different people have different skillsets


(as with any group, there is a process of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_86.htm -- with conventions, when new people meet temporarily for a game, this is very obvious)


there seem to be basic skills that are 'necessary' for Tabletop RPGS; things like verbal communication and abstract thought...


and so it goes...


* a term that i've adopted for these roles are 'Social Games'
pretentious i am
lest pretentious i become

Daerke

  • Slayer of the Dread Gazebo
  • *
  • Posts: 21
  • DURP
    • View Profile
Re: GM/Player Dynamic
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 10:28:01 PM »
As someone who has GMd almost every single game I have ever been in, I would say that my ability to run games has certainly been hampered by this fact. While I can make a story which players enjoy because I have been with the same group for a couple of years now I am only just realising many of my shortcomings as a GM.

One thing I have begun to notice is that I tend to fall into the habit of running games I would like to play in because these are the ones I am most interested in. Many times I have had to change my games drastically because the players are losing interest and this cascades as I lose interest in running games which the players want and then the cycle repeats itself.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that players moving to a GM role have a better inherent knowledge of what mechanically needs to be included in a game to make it enjoyable while those who jump straight into the role of a GM can be at a disadvantage due to this.

On the other hand, those who are new to RPGs who aren't hampered by these accepted conceptions of what a game should be tend to be able to create games which are enjoyable because they are so different to what is normally run.

This is what I've found in my limited experience so I'm sure my view will be different to other more experienced players but I hope it at least makes sense

IDaMan008

  • I am worth 100 points in GURPS...ladies
  • ***
  • Posts: 200
  • Lucky 13!
    • View Profile
    • Rag-NERD-rok Actual Plays
Re: GM/Player Dynamic
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 12:48:01 AM »
Is it useful for GMs to take a turn on the other side of the screen once in a while? Certainly. It can help you get a better sense of how players process the information you give them and what the dynamics of working as part of the group are like. It'll also give you a sense of other people's styles and ideas, which can be instructive one way or the other. Is it strictly necessary if you want to be a good GM? I don't think so, but I say that mostly because I've encountered people who were pretty excellent GMs despite the fact that they'd never actually played as a player character.

Personally, I cam to role playing on the group's side of the screen, so my whole concept of what it is to be a GM was informed by my experience as a player. I tried to emulate things I liked about the style of my group's first GM when I "took over" after he went away to college, and I've tried to steer clear of a few of the bad behaviors that have left me feeling ignored and frustrated when I play. I usually start my planning by asking myself what kind of experience I want to create for my group, and I go from there. I feel like this helps me hold their interest longer and keep them more engaged than they would be otherwise.

To each his/her own, though. I think it depends on the GM.