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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 game 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 examples are included in the lists below.

Alternative generic terms for GM

Game-specific terms for GM

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Other terms for Gamemaster (page 3) at the RPG.net Forums
  2. 2.000 2.001 2.002 2.003 2.004 2.005 2.006 2.007 2.008 2.009 2.010 2.011 2.012 2.013 2.014 2.015 2.016 2.017 2.018 2.019 2.020 2.021 2.022 2.023 2.024 2.025 2.026 2.027 2.028 2.029 2.030 2.031 2.032 2.033 2.034 2.035 2.036 2.037 2.038 2.039 2.040 2.041 2.042 2.043 2.044 2.045 2.046 2.047 2.048 2.049 2.050 2.051 2.052 2.053 2.054 2.055 2.056 2.057 2.058 2.059 2.060 2.061 2.062 2.063 2.064 2.065 2.066 2.067 2.068 2.069 2.070 2.071 2.072 2.073 2.074 2.075 2.076 2.077 2.078 2.079 2.080 2.081 2.082 2.083 2.084 2.085 2.086 2.087 2.088 2.089 2.090 2.091 2.092 2.093 2.094 2.095 2.096 2.097 2.098 2.099 2.100 2.101 2.102 2.103 2.104 2.105 2.106 2.107 2.108 2.109 2.110 2.111 2.112 2.113 2.114 2.115 2.116 2.117 2.118 2.119 2.120 2.121 2.122 2.123 2.124 2.125 2.126 2.127 2.128 2.129 2.130 2.131 2.132 2.133 2.134 2.135 2.136 2.137 2.138 2.139 2.140 2.141 2.142 2.143 2.144 2.145 2.146 2.147 2.148 Lowell Francis (2019-07-24). "Age of Ravens: The Many Names of Gamemasters (2019 Update)". The Gauntlet. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  3. Other terms for Gamemaster (page 5) at the RPG.net Forums
  4. Conan McKegg (2006-02-24). "Review of Armageddon: The End Times". RPG.net. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Other terms for Gamemaster at the RPG.net Forums
  6. Clemens Meier (2003-12-15). "Review of Pandemonium! Adventures in Tabloid World". RPG.net. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  7. Chris Timmins (2018-09-10). "I'd score it four fingers... maybe a thumb...". RPGGeek. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Other terms for Gamemaster (page 2) at the RPG.net Forums
  9. Joe Walsh (2017-08-28). "Review of The Legend of Yore". RPG.net. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  10. Andrew Girdwood (2009-08-21). "Haven: City of Violence". Geek Native. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  11. Brandes Stoddard (2017-03-16). "The Watch" (review). Tribality. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  12. Iain Fyffe (2006-08-25). "Review of Seven Leagues". RPG.net. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Phil Masters. "On The Vocabulary of Role-Playing".
  14. Christopher W. Richeson (2007-07-23). "Review of AGON". RPG.net. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  15. Conan McKegg (2002-02-15). "Review of Agone". RPG.net. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  16. Darren MacLennan (2001-08-03). "Review of The World of Synnibarr". RPG.net. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  17. SirPhoebos. "WWE Roleplaying Game". FATAL & Friends. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  18. Meguey and Vincent Baker. "A Playbill" for Under Hollow Hills. lumpley games. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  19. Perdustin (2016-01-10). "The High School Role-Playing Game". Thoul's Paradise. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  20. Chris Safruik (2003-04-28). "Review of The Riddle of Steel". RPG.net. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  21. Jared Rascher (2019-10-08). "Turn Review". Gnome Stew. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  22. Jye Nicolson (2005-08-22). "Review of Weapons of the Gods". RPG.net. Retrieved 2020-01-05.

External links

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