I’ve a fondness of a quote by Carlos Fuentes, “Writing is a struggle against silence.” There is always a story to be told and as an author it is difficult to not be thinking about that next tale that is struggling to escape. Writers are always writing, if not literally then conceptually, fighting against that silence.
As a GM I wonder if some of those same concepts apply to our craft as well. While I am not running a game at the moment, I’m always thinking about that next game, that next adventure, or a character whose tale needs to be told. I can’t imagine that I am unique in this regard and suspect that a great many of you identify with this dilemma.
It isn’t a commentary on the game that I am playing in–I’m enjoying it a great deal–but instead is a matter of the psychology of being a GM. Even going so far as to analyze “how would I have approached this game were I running it?” An interesting exercise that keeps my GM muscles from atrophying.
So, are you a constant GM? How do you engage yourself between games to combat the silence?
Very much so. Our gaming society runs for the university term, and unless something goes wrong, you’ll be in the same game that entire time. Next year I’ll be playing a game – running CP2020 this year – and I already know what I’ll be running the year after. It’s quite nice being a ‘constant GM’ and having a blog as I get to share some ideas long before I usually would, with people who will almost certainly not have to worry about spoilers as they won’t get the chance to play in the game. I find the blog has become a great outlet for all the ideas and concepts that I have.
I have been for the past few years. I was running a role playing games club while still at college and one of my duties was to run a game, every semester. I even squeezed in some one shots too. I was always planning.
Now I have recently found a group that rotates GMs about every 6-8 months. I need a campaign under my belt before I can pitch, but I have been thinking about GMing all the time.
Even during the game I think about how I would have handled situations (in game conflicts, rule interpretations, plot and adventure scenarios, what I would have told the PCs vs what we learned (and what we later learned)). In short, I think about being a GM a lot.
Definitely a constant GM in terms of storytelling. Mechanics are my weak point, and reading over the rules again and again doesn’t help – I have to be using it to learn it. My husband is one of those enthusiasts who read constantly about various game systems, and that’s how he keeps up his gaming muscles. He rarely GMs – it’s not his favorite way to game – but when he does, he usually talks to me a great deal about the mechanics he plans to use, getting me to be a soundboard for his ideas or problems that he’s working out.
For myself, writing is my way of getting all types of creativity out there – writing music, poetry, game ideas, stories, even writing down recipes and costume design ideas and map details. All of it circles back into my game, from the taste of coriander to the detailing on a lace shawl.
I was a constant GM for twenty years. Now I really don’t get to GM anymore, or at least stuff I want to run. I’m dealing with it here: http://cimbrog.blogspot.com/p/about-blog.html
I’m thinking I fall into this category as I often find myself thinking about the next campaign I want to run.
The types of NPCs the party might meet, locations they might frequent, treasure that will be found, stories to be told – be right back, got another idea I need to jot down.
Last year in Italy we have a big earthquake so we are still waiting for a place to play (our RPG club crashed down). When we’ll start again to play I will have to run the WOTBS campaing (second adventure) it will take about 5/6 years to end…
That said, I’m always thinking about new adventure (I would like to create and run a Sandbox)…
Yep, there’s definitely a part of me — sometimes smaller if real life is busy, sometimes larger if things are less hectic, but never absent — that’s always thinking about running a game.
I don’t think GMing is any different to any other hobby in this respect. If you enjoy what you are doing you will tend to “go there” with little provocation.
I do often grab ideas from life and mung them into game stuff inside Mr Brain for fun; some of them even make it to the table.
But then, I often sketch out ideas for Model Railroads, or new Steampunk accessories (you should see the spacesuit I’ve been working on for about ten years in boring meetings, and maybe you will if I ever get the time to start cutting pipe for it).
Seems to me that writers are just normal people who only have one hobby. 8o)
Trust me: This feeling will never go away (for good or bad). I haven’t played (seriously at least) for almost 10 years now (!!) and still I’m plotting campaigns, right now actually!
For example, I always wanted to create the biggest dungeon there ever was… it’s now 108 levels deep, some bigger, some smaller, and I’m constantly changing stuff about it, it’s still far from finished. Maybe it will never be played, or I find a group and then they get frustrated with it, who knows? But it’s still fun to draw those maps, plot the encounters and create a storyline from scrap.
Just like Aerosmith once said it: Dream on! So keep on pushing that story as far as you can!
Once gaming gets in your blood, that urge to create we all feel gets directed down this broad yet specific path; there’s no going back. (not that you’d want to)
There are times when every new piece of knowledge I acquire becomes instant fodder for new settings, adventures, creatures, and culutures.
There are times when I wish I could just shut off “the mechanism.”
I find myself thinking about stuff almost on a continuous basis. I don’t even know why. It just happens.
My theory is that running games is what keeps the storage space in my brain at a reasonable level by venting out the material. It keeps my head from exploding in once giant Highlanderish explosion fest. 😀
I think I am a constant GM. There was a long stretch when I was not just a stay-home dad, but a semipro babysitter, when I could not commit to GMing. Instead, I kept open files on my PC, in which I would update campaign outlines, feeding in bits of modules or stories that I had read.
Now, I am trying to clear out that backlog, as well as running the ideas I’m having/reading now. I’m running two games, and I feel like I am falling short a lot. Feast or famine, it seems.