Everyone please take your seats and quiet down. That includes you two in the back. My name is Andrew Y., but while you are here you may call me That One GM.
I would like to welcome you all to Gamemastering 211: Advanced GMing for Majors. This will primarily be a lecture course, though I will happily hold question & answer sessions or discussion groups if there seems to be a need for it. As you can see in your syllabus, each lecture falls under one of several main headings (Deal with It, Fresh Ideas, The Great Divide, and Gaming the System), but rest assured that the specifics of each week will be unique.
While this course is aimed at Gamemastering majors, I have received special permission from the department head to allow auditing for anyone with an interest in the subject. However, please note that this is an advanced course, and so many beginners may find the lectures overwhelming. So, if you expect to grasp the material in this course, you should already be a gamemaster and should have a thorough understanding of and experience in the following: refereeing players, creating and portraying characters, designing and describing locations, managing the opposing side in encounters, creating adventure hooks, plotting out stories, and distributing rewards. We’ll be delving into the finer details of those concepts as well as tackling more advanced ideas and theories.
I think that’s enough introduction for now. I am sure you’re all prepared to get started on today’s lecture which is a brief review of the basics.
Gamemastering is an incredibly fulfilling avocation, but one that is not without its own difficulties. Being a gamemaster (or GM, as you should all know by now) is not something that everyone wants to do, nor is it something that everyone is capable of doing well.
To put it bluntly, the GM’s job is to be defeated by the players in the most entertaining way for everyone involved. With this core concept in mind, it’s easy to see how the role of GM can be both fulfilling and frustrating. There are, of course, many other responsibilities that fall to the GM, plenty of which are enjoyable.
The GM creates (or at least describes) the world in which the player characters (PCs) live, and fills the world with non-player characters (NPCs) with which the characters can interact (or which they can ignore entirely; it’s rather hit and miss). The GM imagines, borrows, or steals the seeds of plot and adventure, which evolve as the game progresses. Finally, the GM portrays all of the villains, monsters, robots, and other antagonists or obstacles that impede the PCs’ actions. It is this last point that is often the core of both fun and difficulty for most GMs.
I hope I haven’t scared anyone away from this course today; it is certainly not my intent to do so. Though I will speak a lot about the difficulties and obstacles faced by a GM, keep in mind that I, and hundreds and thousands of others, have such a passion for GMing that we want nothing more than to share our love of these games with others by being the storyteller, or the narrator, or the director, or the dungeon master.
The next class will be about some of the differences between being a player in a role-playing game (RPG) and being a GM. I hope to see you all there.