Episode 335 – GM survey, part 1
by Dan Repperger

* (0:28) Welcoming Stu and Kimi from Happy Jacks.  You can find the episode Wayne and Dan just did on their show right here.

* (2:00) Cape Rust wrote a very kind review of Sojourn which you can find on Pop Cults.

* (3:13) We hope you’ll consider supporting Jason Brick’s fundraiser for  HERO Housing.

* (4:31) Looking over the responses to a GM survey posted by yourfriendlane on Reddit.

* (6:12) Anyone willing to GM seems to GM most of the time.

* (11:15) The ubiquity of GM burnout.

* (22:29) The most common reasons people enjoy GMing.

* (28:09) The least favorite aspects of being a GM.

* (32:16) How GMs view and use pre-written modules.

* (36:25) The kinds of game aids GMs most want.  Dan’s preferred name generator.

Hosts: Dan, Kimi, Pat, Stu

Comments (7)

StringmasterApril 3rd, 2014 at 4:27 pm

With the Modules:

I think that overall, the fact that this survey was being asked to reddit GM’s is telling of the answers that were given. I’m not saying that redditors are all high flatulent role players, but I do think that it’s easy for people to find an identity that is very similar to themselves on the internet. I spend a lot of time on the subreddit that this survey was posted on and I feel like the people who spend a lot of time there all tend to be a particular breed of gamer. They are the ones “devoted” enough to spend a lot of time on the internet talking about RPG. I personally know that my group loves modules (even though I hate them), and I also know that not a one of them even knows what reddit is.

I imagine that if this survey was handed out at a Con or similar event where it’s clear that the sample size is more diverse. Then I would bet that the representation for modules would be more significant.

So, I think the survey is really cool, but I definitely think that the answers were a bit biased just because of the community that it was being asked too.

DanApril 4th, 2014 at 10:03 am

That sounds about right. The answer on that one made a certain amount of sense, but I just couldn’t reconcile it with my (admittedly limited) knowledge of product sales. Modules are too in demand for me to believe they’re considered effectively superfluous by such a large percentage of people.

IanApril 6th, 2014 at 5:37 am

Not to mention the people that simply lied to make themselves sound better to their internet peers.

Lasse Rosenkilde OlsenApril 7th, 2014 at 7:14 pm

on Modules:

Modules have certainly changed position in my little world of GMing; Originally the mere idea of a module would make me ill to the point of wanting to vomit (preferably all over said module) however that has completely changed, at the moment I like/love running them for several reasons but the two major ones are:

1) It saves me a ton of time in preparation. If I am certain of my group in that I know they will show up for a game every time and play it to the end, I don’t mind crafting a tale for them, however I am not in such a situation and far to many games fall down on session 1 or 2, because my current “pool” of players don’t prioritize gaming at all., including coming to a game session they agreed to come that very day.

2) I usually only get to play Pathfinder and I find that game extremely heavy on the mechanical preparation needed due to the way the system is constructed and I find this point of adventure making boring. If I am making hobgoblin guard number 3 for this hobgoblin tribe that only use stone age weapons I feel a need to redo the default npc competently to be sufficiently optimized for this to feel believable which default guard npc is not.

To sum it all up I find modules are a good way to get an adventure going where I don’t have to invest insane amount of hours just to throw it out after 2 hours or so of gaming every single time.


On GMing:

I am in the group of GMs called “bob” I want to play 95% of the time and GM close to 100% of the time, that being said I been in groups in the past where we shared GMing duty, changing GM on a whim or a rotation and I found that groups with multiple GMs tend to be a lot more dynamic in terms of games being played and suffers a lot less from the “Gm versus Players” mentality.
It has also been my experience that groups that game regularly and can hold onto a campaign tend to be much more fulfilling to use a book comparison: more of a full trilogy rather than a reader’s digest.


On the best thing about GMing:

I must say I completely fall outside the answers of the survey to me the best that can be said about world building is that “At least I don’t have to finish it” and reacting to unexpected player reactions is a case of I find that players almost never do anything I don’t expect or am ready for, regardless of group I have found predicting (all/most) possible actions are usually easy.

No to me the best thing about GMing is after the game is over and done, when you listen to the players talk abotu all games and the cool stuff that they did that they will mention the game I ran and recount it as one of the great stories or events or scenes of their gaming career when that happen I know on some level I have touched them and in a minor way immortalized that game.


On aids for GMing:

Once more I don’t particular agree, I love random tables for prep work, I don’t actually use them for things that go in the game but rolling up say a random city with with city districts and important shops like presented in d20 modern: urban arcana are excellent for making my creative juices start running and fleshing out my own ideas and twist and turns. While a random name generator for random NPC names really isn’t an issue, I can usually come up with any amount of names I have needed within moments, I am not saying they will be good or there might not be one other character somewhere having the same first name, but isn’t that sorta the point? Names don’t have to be good, because good names are unbelievable?


Anyway great show as always, I really enjoyed it.

MartyApril 9th, 2014 at 1:27 pm

I am Bob… mostly. I actually do have 1 player that will GM to give a break from time to time, but he isn’t that interested in running a long game. I don’t get to be a player that often anymore and it’s bumming me out. I love to GM… but I need a respite once in a while.

Also, I too suffer from the problem of wanted to play in different systems (other than D&D/D20/Pathfinder), but can’t find anyone willing to learn/run said systems… so I have all these great RPGs that line my shelves but see no play. I’d love to play Mouse Guard, FATE, Paranoia, etc…

Kimi is right on the mark when she notes that GMing would be much more enjoyable when there is a pool of players willing to play a number of different systems… rather than the same 5 – 6 players who have a strong preference for D&D and that’s what you are basically stuck with.

MartyApril 9th, 2014 at 1:36 pm

On modules:

I rely on them heavily as I have a job, wife, child, mortgage, etc… A younger man with more time has the luxury of developing their own encounters. I rarely run the modules as written, but I need them for prep as I just don’t have the time to write a whole adventure arc.

Sven NorénApril 17th, 2014 at 3:09 am

The name of guard #3 is of course Tertius. The romans must have had trouble coming up with names, too, judging by the number of people called Quintus, Septimus, Octavius and so forth.

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