Author Topic: Dungeon Masters (and Game Masters) - Speak Up!  (Read 1554 times)

Offline ProphetSword

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Dungeon Masters (and Game Masters) - Speak Up!
« on: February 24, 2015, 04:09:16 PM »
Just curious to know how many people here are (or have been) Dungeon Masters for D&D or Game Masters for other games.

I have been running games for about 32 years at this point.  What about the rest of you?

Some part of me would like to think that DMing and building modules for FRUA/DC might go hand-in-hand.
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Offline Milos Gulan

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Re: Dungeon Masters (and Game Masters) - Speak Up!
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2015, 04:29:21 AM »
This is very interesting subject. My group is playing 20 years, most of the time I have been DM-ing, though last 3-4 year (or 10) we haven't been playing so much. But last 10 years I am trying to play online. FRUA/DC is surely things that helps playing offline, it is really great. I am sure that online playing and DC/FRUA can go together though I have to say that it takes time to play both.

I like 2e most and anything before or later I try to fit into 2e :), I just am glad that i can play FRUA when don't have good game around. 

Offline Ray

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Re: Dungeon Masters (and Game Masters) - Speak Up!
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2015, 09:12:17 AM »
Interesting question, Ben.

I've been designing adventures since I learned to read and write.  It was actually the reason why I learned to read and write.  I saw all those awesome books, and I wanted to know what was in them.  Granted, the adventures of someone who's, like, four years old, were no great shakes, but it shaped what was to come.

I started introducing all my friends to D&D.  There were a few close shaves, like when I wrote the opening scene of The Sword and the Sorcerer (bleeding sarcophagus and all) as a creative writing story in second grade, and my sixth-grade teacher had a recess sit-down with me to make sure I wasn't being lured into the occult.  But around third grade I started forming the core of the group that I still game with today.  That was over thirty years ago, and I've been DMing ever since.

Found new players in college, married one and brought the rest to meet my group from high school, and now we have one big group that games every month for about a 12-hour session.

In terms of other games, I've run brief stints of DC Heroes in the mid-80s, Vampire: The Masquerade in the early 90s, and some one-shots of Gamma World (1e) and Chill (Mayfair and Pacesetter).


After years of listening to me whine, my friends started running 12-month campaigns on the Friday nights preceding the monthly D&D session.  That's allowed me to experience a bunch of other games and systems.  In those we played D&D (1e-3e homebrew), 7th Sea, Wheel of Time (d20), Firefly (homebrew), Robotech, Masque of the Red Death (3e), Trail of Cthulhu (Savage Worlds), and now Dreseden Files (Fate).  So, in the past few years, I've been able to play as well as DM, which has been awesome!!!


Offline ProphetSword

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Re: Dungeon Masters (and Game Masters) - Speak Up!
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2015, 10:48:38 AM »
I'm glad you have the opportunity to play.  I used to play a lot in my youth, but as time went on, I was always pegged as the guy everyone wanted to run the campaigns.  I guess good DMs are hard to find.

On rare occasions I can get someone to run something (like that mini-campaign of "All Flesh Must Be Eaten"), but nothing on a regular basis.  And the last group I was involved with as a player was...terrible...and I left that group after about five games.

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Offline Orgetorix

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Re: Dungeon Masters (and Game Masters) - Speak Up!
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2015, 12:05:19 PM »
I was always pegged as the guy everyone wanted to run the campaigns.  I guess good DMs are hard to find.

Ain't that the truth. I was also one who was constantly pegged as the DM. I started out with Basic D&D around '87. My best friends older brothers we're into it, and they got us, and a couple of our other friends going. We migrated to 2nd ED, then branched out into Marvel, DC, GURPS, Palladium, ect... As of the mid '90's I'd read just about every source book that came out for just about every game out there, from Basic D&D, 2nd ED, GURPS, all the Palladium's (Ninja and Superspy's, RIFTS, ect...), Marvel, DC, Mechwarrior, Traveler/Mega Traveler, Rolemaster, Vampire the Masquerade, and everything in between.

During Middle, and High School, my sport of choice was competitive fencing, which I could only do at the local University. There I was exposed to SCA, which I did a little bit of. There also was a gaming club at that University that I attended for a little while, and had much the same experience as you did. Hours and hours of play, just to fire one shot, with little to no roleplaying involved.  Though I have to say the DM tried, he was hamstrung though by have 12+ players to deal with. 

Mostly I would DM for different groups of gamers, mostly D&D modules, or RIFTS.

My fondest memories are of a guy who would run a Warlord miniature game at the local hobby store. Fun times, I so love miniature combat.     

Offline Vix

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Re: Dungeon Masters (and Game Masters) - Speak Up!
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2015, 03:06:21 PM »
I am a Game Master most of the time. Up until recently, I would hazard to say that I have been the GM of about 90% of any RPGs I have ever played. Not entirely because I love it, which I do, but because so few people out there want the onus. I have been playing RPGs since 1979, at 8 years old.

I have been lucky to be a player in a Star Wars campaign run by a player in my D&D campaign(s) for the last year. We play his game, on average, once a month, sometimes twice a month. I also am starting a FATE game based on c-list player-created superheroes on Tuesday. Not sure how long that will last, but I am a player in that, too.

As for GMing translating to FRUA mod-designing ... I just do not have the patience for it, I have found. Tons of starts, then frustration sets in. 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.

Offline Orgetorix

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Re: Dungeon Masters (and Game Masters) - Speak Up!
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2015, 01:14:00 AM »
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.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 01:57:42 AM by Orgetorix »

Offline Milos Gulan

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Re: Dungeon Masters (and Game Masters) - Speak Up!
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2015, 04:30:23 AM »
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.

I was recently thinking about this having online GM who rolls behind screen and most likely arranges results as needed.

I don't think it is a good thing to do. I much more like open rolls and if it is really needed GM can overule some bad rolls. I did this few times seeing that my group is going weaker, most of the time I wouldn't do that and would use rolls as their happened, and only later (or during fight sometims) I would try to help adventurers by divine intervention or some other beneficial events.

To summ it up i think those things are up to the system. If players can make characters fast (idealy half hour up to 1 hour max) and they are ready to fight dangers, for me playing or GM-ing much more interesting is if things are real (meaning if you play good, chances are better to do things with success).

Then again Ad&d is mostly fighting monsters and traps, also was thinking about this lately (got to a conlusion that most adventures ends with lich, demon or dragon). It is true that it is not interesting when You loose a longer running character to a trap or a monster (for example paladin buried under ton of ice in dragons lair), which breaks up the party and ends everything most of the time.   

But I think that is also flaw of the system, too much monsters and traps.