Tuesday, May 26, 2015

All Things Seem Possible In May

I partook in a lot of gaming this past weekend.

I played some, I GMed some, and I talked a lot about the craft.

I also listened to a lot. Somethings I agreed with, somethings I didn't, but as with any good conversation, it all made me think.

I unequivocally believe that many of the things I disagree with, I am wrong about, and I just haven't had the experiences that will cause me to come to similar conclusions.

As to the things I did agree with, well, I could still be wrong about those things too. There is a point however, where you have to accept that you've learned a thing to two over the years.

As with any subject, there will always be varying opinions which are neither right, nor wrong.

This got me pondering my opinion of my own skill as a Gamemaster.

You see, I suffer from low self-esteem, a lack of confidence. It's something I struggle with constantly. There are about three things in this world I feel I do especially well:

Handling Dogs

Sure, I do a few other things well, like teaching, imitating voices and sound effects, kissing (or so I've been told), but honestly past that I often feel a bit like a spent too many skill points on too few skills.

Where's this post going you might ask? Well you might. How should I know what you're saying. It's not like I can hear you. What? Oh yes, sorry, back on track...

So I consider myself a good GM. Maybe, dare I think it, even a really good one. Great? I didn't say great. If someone said great I'm not going to argue, but you didn't hear great from me.

But, am I very good at everything? Not...really...



Giant Robot Avengers.*
I could run the crap outta this.

What genres, settings, or games in general do you GM best? Which ones do you think you  totally rock?

My Top Five:

Star Trek
Star Wars
Superheroes (Specifically Silver-Bronze Age, Four Color Comics Superheroes)
Giant Robots (Of the Japanese Anime variety - not Battletech/MechWarrior)

Which games could you use to work on? That is, if your group wants to play one of these games, you yourself would probably recommend a different GM.

My Bottom Three:

Dungeons & Dragons (Traditional, Old School style)
Call of Cthulhu (And similar style horror)
Post Apocalypse (I can do it...but I really don't get it)

What elements of Gamemastering do you do best? What aspects do you nail more often than not?

My Top Five

Interesting NPCs
Funny Voices, and Sound Effects
Splitting the Party
World Building

Which elements are still a work in progress? Name some things that you don't do as well as you'd like.

My Bottom Three

Knowledge of Rules/Mechanics
Adequate Challenges (Used to be great at this - now, I'm too easy on players)
Heavy Buy-In (If you get it, you'll love it. If you don't, it's hard for me to explain it to you)


I challenge my fellow blogging Gamemaster to fess up, and tell us the five games you are great at running, three that you're not so hot with, five reasons why you consider yourself a good GM (or feel you are viewed as such by others), and three things you feel you need work on.

Why? For No Real Reason! Woot!

Wait...no...it's because then we can go into discussing why this is. How come we ace some games, but have trouble with others? Can we help each other? Can the master of Post Apocalypse gaming out there help me get a handle on that genre? Can I assist someone in improving their Mecha campaign, or brushing up on their mystery adventures?

Let's find out.

Also, just curious.

Barking Alien

PS: Happy Birthday Sally Ride, the first woman in space!

PSS: *Marvel Gundam Characters by Aburaya Tonbi.


  1. No interest? Bummer. I thought this would be fun.

    1. Just getting around to catching up on my blog reading. Post coming soon.

    2. http://graphpapergames.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-what-are-you-good-at-gm-challenge.html

  2. I will answer your questions in time. Promise :)

  3. Replies
    1. Hmmm. Your answers are not exactly what I was expecting Tim. Which is intriguing!

      I shall direct some questions at you in that regard in a comment to your blog post.

  4. Here's mine! http://angela-craft.tumblr.com/post/120185005092/what-are-you-good-at-gm-challenge

    1. Welcome Angela, and thank you for participating.

      I found your post very interesting, but since it's on a tumblr page and not a blogger or wordpress blog, I didn't know how to place a comment. My apologies.

      I found it interesting the you, and I have similar best, and worst elements.

      In regards to no one being seriously injured, or killed in your games, and both Adequate Challenges and Combat being things listed among your bottom three, I would like to know if you feel there is a reason for this? Is combat something that disinterests you, or would you like there to be more combat in your games, but you don't feel you have a good way to wrap your head around it?

      Very curious to know more.

  5. Well, you did rather bury the lead on the challenge. I would not have known about it without Timothy Brannan's post. Good idea though.

    My thoughts here: http://wp.me/pylJj-1Xv

    1. The lead was not buried. You simply needed to look further. How else am I supposed to tell if you guys are actually reading the entire posts, or just looking at the pictures. ;)

    2. Additionally, you list Action/Adventure as both a type of game, and a gaming element you're good at. That makes me wonder...What do you mean by Action/Adventure?

      Aren't nearly all of the genres we're listing Action/Adventures to some degree? How are you defining it so as to use it in both categories?

    3. Well, as opposed to investigation (which I am getting much better at handling), exploration, politics . . . The listing in the game types was to cover catch all like the FAE Pulp game one shot I ran, TORG back in the day and such likes. Lots of one shot or limited run games that were exciting but did not lead into continuing campaigns.

      In the what I am good at part, it reflect keeping things moving and players engaged when we get to combat or other exciting parts of the game.

  6. I don't have a blog, so I'll post it here:

    What genres, settings, or games in general do you GM best? Which ones do you think you totally rock?

    My Top Five:

    Survival horror in space (tremendously specific, but it is my top one without doubt)
    Military games (often combined with the above)
    Star Trek (recently discovered, I have only run a few games with great critics)
    Gothic horror
    Movie action (including that aspect of superheroes)

    Which games could you use to work on? That is, if your group wants to play one of these games, you yourself would probably recommend a different GM.

    My Bottom Three:

    Japanese…err, everything

    What elements of Gamemastering do you do best? What aspects do you nail more often than not?

    My Top Five

    Describing moody places
    Saying yes (a great way to help improvisation)
    Action scenes (action is NOT the same as combat, although they can combine)
    Setting an appropriate genre feel

    Which elements are still a work in progress? Name some things that you don't do as well as you'd like.

    My Bottom Three

    Preparation (I mostly don’t prepare anything but a general outline in my head, which can hurt my games)
    Voices/accents (I suck at those)
    Staying engaged with a single game/system

    1. First, get a blog.

      You of all people should have a blog by now. We are all waiting to log in to your wisdom. Seriously. I would follow the crap out of your blog.

      Some interesting stuff here for example...

      You excel at two that interest me, and while they are not on my Bottom Three list of game types, nor are they anywhere near my Top Five. Those are Survival Horror in Space, and Gothic Horror.

      Among your Bottom Three is, 'Everything Japanese'. LOL I swear I chuckled for like a good three minutes at that. So, you mean medieval Asian fantasy, Anime Comedy, Giant Robots - Everything?! Wow. Can I help?

      As for the Bottom Three element, 'Staying engaged with a single game/system', good lord I am sooo with you on that one my man.

    2. My blog would be in Spanish, remember? :P

      My experience with Japanese-inspired RPGs is in fact limited to playing Legend of the 5 Rings and Anima, and in both cases it is one genre where I find myself out of my element. Computer RPGs? I didn’t finish Final Fantasy VIII and barely played Zelda – Ocarina of Time despite owning it. Anime? I saw most of Inuyasha and liked it, but the sudden shifts to melodrama sometimes put me off. I could say the Japanese stuff I like, I like DESPITE its characteristic idiosyncrasy, not thanks to it. How can I replicate in a game something I don’t get (or, probably, like)?

      As for staying with the same game, it has been a complaint among my players, despite me not being the main DM in the group. I mostly run “limited series” (I find comic language very useful to define campaigns, if you consider each session akin to a comic issue).

      The fundamentals of survival horror in space… I think THAT is a subject for a blog post :D .

      Thanks for your compliments!

  7. I'll take on this challenge....with my Monday post =)

    1. Well then Nicholas, I guess we'll see you Monday. ;)

    2. I hope you don't mind Nicholas, but I wanted to make sure people checked out your blog, and your response to the challenge: