I tend to be more of a seat-of-the-pants GM than a plan-everything-out GM, which I think factors into my lack of game design for FRUA. I prefer to create a framework, with possible story ideas/branches, and wing it as we play. The more details and planning I do, the more tied to a storyline I become and am less willing to deviate.
In my opinion that's the best way to DM/GM. Have a bare framework, and allow the players to co-create with you, as you all build the story together. Then the players know that they have the power to substantially affect the storyline, instead of being nothing more then mice running through a maze. Which I've done more then once with modules, where we ended up somewhere close to where the module was supposed to ended, but the players actions changed the final outcome to a substantial degree.
I think for all of us, our worst experiences PnP Roleplaying are where we sit around for hours on end, doing very little, and consequently have little or no effect on the story. Thinking about it my single worst PnP experience was with Rolemaster. I spent 4-5 hours creating a character, and once we got into the game I died in less then 30 minutes. I never touched that system again after that. In hindsight, it wasn't so much the system's fault. Though Rolemaster was probably the most minutia/stat/accounting based PnP I ever picked up. I've heard Rolemaster is the PnP of choice for CPA's and Tax Accountants.
Anyways I later realized it was more the the DM/GM's fault then the systems, kinda. Always use screens, and fub rolls when the situation requires. I never kill a PC, unless they're asking for it, in no uncertain terms. Though some players out there are really asking for it.
Which brings up the time I was running Baltron's Beacon
, and I had a player who was being obnoxious. He was playing a Mage. Just being obnoxious, rules lawyering, trying to dominate the party over others objections, pretty much being "that guy". I had a copy of Grimtooth's Book of Trap's
. The best trap in there I found for a Mage is a spell scroll coated in contact poison. So I wrote up a letter from Baltron on #20 bonded paper as the trap, and as the PC Mage was rifling through the small horde of scrolls in the library, sneaky DM that I was, I sprung it on him. The look on his face, as he read the letter, and me asking him to make a save vs. poison at -4, which he consequently failed, was classic.
The line you have to walk when creating a computer game, or mod based on PnP. Is to get the players to have the feeling that they are influencing events, but in reality the story line is pretty much linear.
"The Sect" mod for FRUA was awesome in that regard, allowing good player interaction, that made you feel like you were doing things in your own way, even though the final outcome was set in stone so to speak.
I guess in the end all I can say is that good DM/GM'ing isn't paint by numbers. That's most likely why so few are willing to do it on a regular basis, and are more then willing to defer to others.