View Full Version : How to GM for a GM?

10 May 2002, 07:39 PM
Ok, for all you GMs out there who rarely get to play in a game session yourselves, I wonder what you would like to do?

My GM will prolly read this, but oh well ;)

NovaSpice, is the admirable GM of our small gaming group. He writes and GMs 99.99999999999999999999% of the missions our group does.

Occassionally, in a million years, One of the group members will make a mission, (I have done a whopping 2).

I know that GMing has its upsides, and downsides, but I want my GM to have fun in my mission, is this wrong? heh..... I dont want to make the other players feel tossed into the background, but i also want my GM to have a well deserved blast.

I've already created a character to use in the mission, instead of him having to play one of our PCs. And i was wondering as GMs, what you all like to do in a mission?

Thanks for your time, any and all feedback is welcome :)

11 May 2002, 07:20 AM
Well, although being a GM in Star Wars, I have such good players I really dont see a down side. All it takes is a little self awareness and be indiscrimanate.
With having such a small group of three and onlu up until recently only had one player, I have had Npc's. Now I tend to use Npc's as story lines, and atmosphere to really get people to roleplay ups and downs, and to some extent shape the players character to a more enjoyable level, for both me and him.
Now these Npc's tend to almost be very much apart of the group and any ideas these Npc's have are more of a reflection of their character as opposed to any truth to up and coming events. With thqat in mind, these Npc's become very much my own character (and tend to not simply put items in the game for that character, you know what those really bad horror stories you hear of bad Gm's do). Infact theyre more often than not looked after and provided for by the player himself who come to count on them as true friends. often Npc characters I use to join a players group are often very young, tragic, vulnerable in one sense or the other. And the players often take to them like a protective guardian. It not only provides the player with a good roleplaying experience, it also grants the player that feeling of 'superiority' to still be 'in charge'.
This provides me an ability to roleplay these just the same when another player Gm's, except its better because I dont know whats coming next.
Also this actually gets enhanced, because more often than not 'I dont know whats going to happen next'. the reason being is I GM completely by winging it and making it up as I go along. All i know is what the player is intending to do. His mission etc. Generally I add an oponent in by judging the player mood and looking for the dramatic moment.
If the player likes combat and appears to be taking a background position while other players take charge, its time to add an encounter to bring that player back to the forefront.
This is a really difficult way to GM, and perhaps its taken me 12 years of winging it to get as good as i am now (I've had some tragic and unbeleivable adventures in the past, though still fun in themselves. They have got way out of control in the past; One point My players gave Crix Madine a nervous twitch at the sound of the players characters name purely because the player fell for an imperial ruse that Crix had been implanted with a brain controller, up to the point where the player would convince Mon Mothma that a brain inspection in surgery was required....this happened numerous times!) But hey, it was fun. And its something that really gets GM's more involved with their favourite Npc's.

When a player wants to take over as a GM, generally I dont have a problem with it, I do trust some of my players to do it well (some are very experienced D&D gms). We always put it to the vote and I act as Devils Advocate, the player wanting to become a GM never holds a grudge against me for it, becuase they know my excuse is purely because Id enjoy being a GM. But this always gives the other players a chance to vote against it without being seen as a good guy, because it has to be unanimous, so if they abstain, then its a no go.

DOH completely missed the whole point of your question up to now! My bad, sorry ;)
As a GM playing as a player, I think the most important points are as follows:
1) Getting to know the Heroes of the group on a level where He/she is not just a 'hanger on'.
2) Be suprised. Gm's do tend to know whats coming next. Try to do the unexpected while maintaining the flavour of the campaign.
3) Steer clear of major story plots already covered by that very GM. If the Gm's campaign is in Tapani Sector, bring a story plot that takes the players away from that area of space. Try not to step on his toes ;). Often its a good idea to discuss it with the GM first if youre unsure. Just ask, did you have any plans about Hapans? If you intend to take them into a plot with them, dont give him any more information. Just knowing a Hapan is involved wont make the Gm second guess the whole thing. There is a million ways they can be involved.
4) Avoid using his Npc's in a way that is uncharcateristic or nevr done before. Its often a good idea for those Npc's to leave the campaign, a long holiday on some planet, the Npc might have some personal problems he needs to deal with himself...alone.

With these points in mind I doubt youll have any problem keeping the GM entertained, and hopefully blow his mind with your own perspectives or angles in the galaxy.

Hope this has been some use to you Glit-Biter .

All the best

Talonne Hauk
11 May 2002, 09:32 AM
Well, I GM for my group, but some of the guys are getting proficient with the rules, and there has been talk of turining the campaign over to someone else for a little while. When I get to that point, where I'm playing and not GMing, here's what I want to do;

I just want to play.

That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. I want to experience the other side of the screen for a change and feel the cameraderie of the group dynamic.
So just GM a good game and let NovaSpice play. That should in and of itself be a blast.

Matt Richard
13 May 2002, 07:09 PM
Being the GM of our group, I have never yet played the game, except int the roleplaying forum, but since our game is going a little slow, im not counting that.

I sometimes do regret not being able to play, but none of my players think they have what it takes to be a gm (as if there is something special about a gm), so they let me do it. Although i wish i could have played, i still enjoy the hours of sitting down, straining myself for an adventure.

So no, i dont think it is wrong for you to want to give your gm a break. I would certainly do that if one of my players asked to gm. I actually think thats quite considerate of you.

17 May 2002, 11:25 AM
I think one of the main reasons why people become GM's (at least in SW) is because they like to craft stories; at least this is my case. Whenever I play, I deeply appreciate well thought out adventures, ones where characters and backgrounds make sense. In short, story-intensive adventures, not hack n slash (although luckly this is not as common in SW as in other games).
BTW, someone mentioned something about surprising the GM; he is absolutelly right. When you are a GM for some time, you develop this sort of RPG-PLOT spider sense; In can actually read page one of many commercial adventures and predict how the rest will go. So try to keep the GM on his feet.

21 May 2002, 06:31 AM
I have only ever played once, when we first got the game and somebody else was the GM. There doesn't seem to be anyone in our group that is keen to GM, they all just want to play. This at least prevents them getting the "i could do better" player syndrome.

I enjoy GMing, creating the story and fleshing out my particular niche of the universe using already published material, adaptations of said material, and a little of my own ingredients as well.

Its alot of fun.

But back to the thread at hand... I'd just like to be a part of the group and play alongside the players in their adventures. I think more than anything, the players get more excitement and anticipation providing the story is good, and thats something I'd like to experience more of. Events unfolding, relationships developing, villians rising and being defeated.


21 May 2002, 06:49 AM
I've been GMing for years now. I haven't actually played (as a player) in a long while, though I'd really like to. All whining aside, what could I (as a GM) ask for if I were to be able to play a game as a normal player?

Truth be told, GMs aren't any different from other players. Sure, I've met some folks who preferred GMing to playing, but the vast majority of GMs are just like other players. Many of them enjoy playing just as much as anyone, but rarely get the opportunity to do so.

When I GM, I tend to run games that I would like to play in myself. If you want to run a game that your GM will enjoy, think about the games he's run for you in the past. What did you enjoy about them? Stress those points and use them for your own inspiration. If your GM tends to run exciting chase sequences, odds are that he enjoys chases. If he stresses character interaction and role-play, he'll probably love a game that focuses on that sort of activity.

The one thing that I, personally, enjoy most about being a player is that I only have to worry about one character at a time. Juggling NPCs isn't exactly difficult for me, but it's nice to relax for a change and worry about a single character's thoughts, emotions, and role-play.

Last thing, it's important for you, as the GM, to enjoy the games you run. Don't be so caught up in trying to please everyone that you forget to please yourself. Go in prepared and with a positive attitude, and you'll be fine.


evan hansen
21 May 2002, 07:00 AM
Well said! *whimper, sniffle* GMs are people too! ;-)

I'm actually irritated I missed this thread until now. It's a good one!

I think that GMing for a GM is really no different -- except you *cannot* slack off. Things to keep in mind:

1 - Any GM who *wants* to play will relish his time playing, even if it isn't the greatest adventure of all-time.

2 - As mentioned earlier, GMs do kind of have a way of figuring how what happens next. So it might be a good time to implement my favorite GMing policy: non-planning. That's right! Don't plan a bantha-lovin' thing. Let the actions of the players determine what will happen. You have to be quick witted, but there's no way for them to predict what's next if you don't know. And when you have a choice to do two things, never do the obvious one. :-)

3 - Pay special attention to the GMs character sheet. If he or she has a good write-up, use it! Tailor parts of the mission to the GM. If he or she never gets to play, try to make their one time special.

4 - Rotate GMs more often. If everyone takes a turn GMing once every 3 or 4 adventures, your GM will get to play more often and you can get a sense for what he or she likes, then it becomes easier to GM for them.

Reverend Strone
21 May 2002, 03:47 PM
Wow, alot of very astute suggestions here. Much has already been said, so I'll only add the formula my play-group and I have developed which has worked exceptionally well for us.

We have two large arcing campaigns on the go at present, one a D&D campaign, one SW. I GM the SW campaign and a friend GMs the D&D. We play about once a month (the best we can do unfortunately due to work and family committments), so we spend a six month block on each game, squeezing in around 6 or 7 game sessions per campaign before switching back to the other for six months.

This has the benefit of giving each of us as GMs a six month break to relax and be a player again, while gradually working on the next part of our game to begin in half a year's time. I relish the opportunity to play again, and it reminds me as a GM what I enjoy as a player- making me a better GM when I get back to running my own adventure. Conversely, I'm a better player after I've been GMing, because I've become familiarwith the rules, so can be less burdensome on the GM, asking about relevant bonuses and penalties etc.

We used to run our games on alternate sessions, but that ment we might only play a particular game once every two months, which sucked- Players became confused, forgetting key campaign elements and character abilities etc, and as GMs it was unsatisfying.

If you can find another member of your play group willing to take on the GM mantle, or as a Player, you feel like taking the big chair for a few sessions, I would highly recommend it, for the benefit of all concerned.

21 May 2002, 08:14 PM
Though i myself have only been in the role playing family for 2 years now, i have been found to be the GM a great deal of the time. Although I feel that one of my players is much more organized and would make a better GM, I still find my self largly playing the role of the GM. Accually its funny because my well organized player (who GMed all the time) got me into RPG via D&D and it was because he never got a chance to play that I became GM. So I was faced with your same problem, how do I, a very inexperianced (not saying your inexperianced) player, GM a game for my GM?
Wel I bounced around alot and went through about 4 campaigns as well as sets of PC's (fortunatly my PCs love creating new characters) until I finally found my niche (or so i thought).
We played i very fired up campaign which had many pit falls due to my poor ablity to "wing" it. My players liked the campaign due to is large amounts of action followed by well needed spurts of character developement. Yet I was unsatisfyed (by the way this is all D&D stuff) because i felt that i was not doing my best to deliver a well thought out campaign. We had a falling out and didn't play for several months and during the down time i found that i loved story building as well as world building . Now accustomed to the new rules i set out to create the Ultimate campaign which all GMs do at one point or another (suggestion: don't, you are never satisfyied espcally if you dont plan on GMing long). It was in this quest that i found SWRPG and that was just a few weeks ago. I need to get the RCRB so i can familarize my self with the rules. But i am looking forward to GMing and devloping my nooke of the universe.

Well that was off topic.... Sorry

To your accual question i'd say this, as well as others that have been mentioned.
" Make sure you're organized and have planed the mission for some time before bringing it out in front of an Experianced GM. Don't wing it unless you have lots of experance at the art of winging it.
Also Use NPC for you to have fun with while GMing. I find that this is the best way to keep from feeling bogged down by the task of GMing. Make fun well developed NPC's.

Hope i answerd a few questions.

Jak Knife
23 May 2002, 11:23 AM
Not sure this will add anything to the responses above but I will put my experience out there. I tend to GM more then play mainly cause other players have little interest in GMing and would rather GM then not RPG at all. But recently one player has been getting the GM bug so I just turned "my" game over to him and told him to have fun. I started playing a NPC which took on a life of his own (a first level thug who was befreinded by one of the player's character. He is now a 1st lvl thug, 2nd lvl solider and 1st lvl DSM who loves to fight and drink. He scares most of the other characters in the group.). Later on I created my own character, cause though the NPC was my creation he just wasn't my style of character. The other GM/player and myself now change off and have started to twist off a very strange story line which everybody is enjoying. If he has a direct he want to go he lets me know and vis-versa. This has been going on for 4 sessions and has taken the story to a place I never would have gotten it to. The best thing of all is I get to play which is must first passion in RPGing. I guess what I'm saying, if you have two people who can work together and trade off, having two GM's is not a bad thing. My advise is just to GM your style, listen to what he and the other players say, and have fun.
Good luck