The Why of a GM

As I move into a new chapter of gaming, I wanted to reflect on the reasons I'm driven to GM and use them as a launching point for welcoming in this new era in my life.

Running tabletop sessions is both a social and creative reward, a veritable cornucopia of experiences that bring a group of people together. Whether you min-max or "fly casual", as soon as you sit down at that table together, you are all equals. You are there for one reason: to have fun gaming, and it is something that spans age and gender. All you need is a desire to play, and there will always be a game for you.

Participating in a game gives you the opportunity to try new things, and it's a great chance for people to step out of their comfort zones where you see them in a whole new light. It's not unheard of to see that quiet, shy friend become confident and bold when they get behind the table with their character, bolstered by the skills and history they've created for them.

Speaking of stepping out of your shell, hopping into the GM's seat opens up a whole community full of people you can interact and share ideas with. There are countless places - both online and off - where you can connect with others who share your passion and vision. You now have an audience for your grand ideas before they ever reach the table and, ultimately, your players. Many would be more than thrilled to collaborate and help you flesh out an idea, and this gives you the opportunity to share what you've created and give back to the community that does so much for us.

Beyond the social, let us not forget about the creative outlet that running a session provides! Like muscles gone dormant, the mind grows stiff and slow when left unexercised. When I go spans without learning or creating new things, I feel my thoughts slow like a misplaced step left too long in the mud.

Fortunately, GM'ing provides endless opportunities to sharpen you skills and exercise your creativity. From world building and character creation, to story telling and improv, there are so many avenues open to you for exploring and finding what you love – and the good news is a solid game has a mix of everything, so you don't have to shoehorn yourself into any one thing. Try each horizon. Dabble with new ideas. Make mistakes, learn from them, and keep going. Never stop propelling you, your players, and the game, forward.

Happy gaming!

Mike Branski

A first-time GM diving into FFG's Star Wars RPG, Dungeon World, Fiasco, and more, sharing his experiences and helping you get the most out of the systems you love - even if you don't know it yet.