Friday, November 10, 2017

Discussion: The GM's Primary Role

The GM wears a lot of hats, and depending on the table you sit at the primary role of a GM can change from game to game. The question for today is what is the GM's primary role in your game?

Storyteller, Rules arbiter, combat officiator, antagonist provider, world builder, game maker. Those are the ones I see the most. What about you?

To me, and the games I play, the GM is primarily a Story Teller. The title doesn't give the full details, because the GM works with the players to tell the story, but the GM has a large burden of it. The GM pokes and prods the PCs, has the world react to the PCs, and at times has the world sucker punch the PCs to get things moving.

After that comes Antagonist Provider and Rules Arbiter in equal measure, with a dash of combat officiator thrown in.

How about at your table?


  1. My role starts with organizer, which is particularly apparent right now since I'm getting a new player squared away, after having found him.

    Combat officiator & antagonist provider - check. World builder yup.

    It feels like Storyteller has figured in more than usual at the moment because the players took off in a unexpected direction, putting us in sandbox mode. Conceptually, you'd think that would slide storytelling duties more towards the players, but it doesn't really feel that way. They don't really have an agenda, other than waiting to see if someone shows up on a planet...and I don't have anything prepared there. Did someone mention "sucker punch(ing) the PCs to get things moving"? Coming up....

    1. Sometimes the big, empty dustball is just a big, empty dustball. You can force something to happen. Or you can just point out "seriously, nothing ever comes here."

      Good luck with it! But yeah, it's both endearing and frustrating when PCs go way off the rails expecting there to be world and story way off yonder. Endearing because they have that faith in you and your world that it's prepared. Frustrating because you have a stack of notes that are now just sitting there useless, and a whole lot of content to create.