Speak With Your Geek Out: It’s Hard Out There for A GM..


Getting our game on, the old fashioned way.

My name is Venus De Coy.

Although I have a lot of geeky affiliations, the one I wish to talk to you about is one near and dear to my heart.

I am a tabletop roleplaying gamer. And I like to organize and run those games. I am called in the geek world a Game Master.

In the age of gaming going digital, there has been endless games that have brought forth teamwork, and lots of adventures. But one of the biggest downsides to a digital gaming age, is that many have lost the interactions of old school gaming.

But there is still a group of us out there. A group that still believes on playing the old-fashioned way with dice and mats. But there is still an even smaller group of us, those who are known as the story tellers and the creators of the battles and adventures of those who desire to play the old-fashioned way. We are called the Game Masters. And as one of them, it’s not easy.

Now a little history on me, I started gaming 5 years ago the old-fashioned way. I played D&D 3.5 and 4.0 edition. I was famous for many campaign victories and conquering adventures. Although I got a lot of slack for playing a cleric, she was never an ordinary cleric. She was one of those types that liked to get in there and kick some butt without the usage of her spells. She is one type of character that I now call a “Melee Caster”, whom she goes out and has a good time with.

But after going through game after game, with very little energy and fun, I started doing some research myself and finally decided, well hell, why don’t I do the DMing myself? And so after lots of research and finding a place to play myself, I started with a Homebrewed campaign with finding a lot of characters through the internet.

Well to admit it, I failed terribly as a GM for that adventure. With everything from an OP (overpowered) character and a few small plot errors and mistakes from everything in storyline and combat rules. In essence, the game eventually fell apart. Although I stay in touch with a lot of the players still, I was still terribly discouraged in playing games.

Well, a few months passed, and then I jumped into a random game called Pathfinder, the specific adventure is known today as “We Be Goblins!”. After playing with such an energetic group of people, I was revitalized to return to running games, but under the Pathfinder system which was a lot like D&D but a lot easier to understand, build and have more creativity without having to worry about players doing too much and having to worry about issues.

So, I created a local Pathfinder’s Society. In this society, we play the adventures with a lot of ease, and if I think I need to modify a character or even plot, I can without any massive issues. Now, taking my experiences as a GM from the past into this new adventure, has made a great success in building the group.

But even when you step out into the big leagues, you have to deal with the gamers who show no appreciation for the Game master’s work. On my most recent trip I dealt with many mean players who could care less about the adventure and the story, so long as they got credit for showing up. And then while I’m doing their sheets, they go ahead to talk mess about me and my skills with no respect or decency. While I am very thick-skinned, it’s one of those things where I wished they had the decency to say that to my face instead of while I am working on your credit sheets.

So the short version of being a GM: It’s not easy. You will always be scrutinized for everything from plot twists and issues, to how you run it. It’s a commitment that always requires research and study to prepare a story that will make a difference and will be entertaining to the players. It’s not easy, and requires a lot of work and a lot of time. But watching your story come alive and watching your friends and players go through it and have a good time, makes the campaign worth all the work and the trouble.

As always, I like to leave something a little more humorous.

To my Fellow GM’s: Keep up the good fight, and always remember, think and play like a player, and you will always be great.

To those who wish to join our illustrious ranks: this isn’t for everyone, be sure to be ready to do the work. And reach out to others!

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