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GMs are so common in multi-player role-playing games that a game without a GM role is usually called [[GMless]].
 
GMs are so common in multi-player role-playing games that a game without a GM role is usually called [[GMless]].
   
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==GMing tasks (responsibilities and expectations)==
==Expectations of a GM==
 
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The GM role is associated with certain tasks. Depending on the [[system]], a specific task may be a GM's responsibility, an expectation that falls on them, or (less often) a [[player]]'s responsibility. Even when the task falls on the GM, the system may give them sufficient authority to delegate it to one or more other players.
A GM selects, or creates, a [[role-playing game]]. They then select or design a [[scenario]]. Finally, they create and adjudicate the events that occur in that scenario in response to player actions.
 
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GMing tasks include:
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*Propose or pick the [[system]] that will be used (published game, [[rules]], [[house rules]], etc.)
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*Understand and [[rules as interpreted|interpret]] the rules being used
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*Make [[ruling]]s when the rules are unclear
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*Prepare and present details about the [[setting]] or [[imaginary world]] (from a published campaign setting if necessary)
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*Prepare and present a [[scenario]] for the player characters to respond to (from a published adventure or module if necessary)
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*Portray the [[non-player character]]s
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*Set the [[scene]] for the [[player character]]s
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*[[Narration|Narrate]] what is happening in the world (see also [[authorial privilege]])
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*Allow or encourage players to make [[meaningful choice]]s for their characters
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*Respond to ([[adjudicate]]) player character actions, using [[resolution]] or other [[game mechanics]] when appropriate
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*Set the [[stakes]] for resolution
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*Set the [[difficulty]] in resolution
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*Describe the outcome ([[effect]]) of resolution
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*Manage [[spotlight]] on the players (which may include calling for [[initiative]] when necessary)
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*[[Host]] the game or agree where the game will be hosted
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*[[Schedule]] the game for the appropriate players
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*Provide or otherwise arrange for the relevant game aids (e.g. [[dice]], [[miniatures]], [[index card]]s) to be present at the [[table]]
   
 
==Terminology==
 
==Terminology==

Revision as of 13:46, December 24, 2019

A GM (also known by other terms, see below) is a participant in a multi-player role-playing game whose role is to describe the imaginary world that the player characters inhabit, including by controlling NPCs. A GM is sometimes considered to be a player, but that term is also often used to describe game participants other than the GM.

GMs are so common in multi-player role-playing games that a game without a GM role is usually called GMless.

GMing tasks (responsibilities and expectations)

The GM role is associated with certain tasks. Depending on the system, a specific task may be a GM's responsibility, an expectation that falls on them, or (less often) a player's responsibility. Even when the task falls on the GM, the system may give them sufficient authority to delegate it to one or more other players.

GMing tasks include:

Terminology

The term GM was originally an acronym for game master, but is now a widely understood term in its own right.

The term game master existed in tabletop gaming before the creation of modern role-playing games with Dungeons & Dragons in 1974. For example, it appeared in the 1973 rules of the miniatures wargame Ironclad by Guidon Games. However, the first term used in original Dungeons & Dragons was referee (also used in wargaming)[1], before a new term was created specifically for Dungeons & Dragons in 1975's Blackmoor supplement by Dave Arneson: Dungeon Master (or DM). The term Dungeon Master was trademarked by TSR, and related specifically to the fantasy dungeon crawling style of play in D&D, so other early role-playing games (such as Tunnels & Trolls, Bunnies & Burrows in 1976, and Chivalry & Sorcery in 1977) reverted to the pre-existing term game master (or gamemaster, game-master, or GM).

The early terms game master and Dungeon Master have faced criticism, both because they imply a high level of control over the story by the GM (as opposed to the players) and because the gendered term master implies that GMs are male.

Many other terms for the GM have appeared in discourse or specific role-playing games. These other terms may have been used to address the criticism mentioned above, or to more closely align to the tone or setting of the specific games, or the role of the GM in those games. Some alternative generic terms include:

Game-specific terms for GM include:

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Other terms for Gamemaster (page 3) at the RPG.net Forums
  2. Other terms for Gamemaster (page 5) at the RPG.net Forums
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Other terms for Gamemaster at the RPG.net Forums
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Other terms for Gamemaster (page 2) at the RPG.net Forums
  5. Review of The Legend of Yore at RPG.net
  6. Haven: City of Violence at Geek Native
  7. Review of Seven Leages at RPG.net
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 On The Vocabulary of Role-Playing by Phil Masters
  9. Review of The Riddle of Steel at RPG.net
  10. Review of Weapons of the Gods at RPG.net

External links

  • GM at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
  • Dungeon Master at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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