In this week’s video, we are talking about the things that make us afraid to be the Game Master in our roleplaying games. I recently asked the community to tell me what they feared the most about being the GM & the response was overwhelming! Many of us fear the same things and so I’ve grouped them into the different camps of fear that we will dive into. Today, we talk about the fear of your friends. Whether you’re afraid that you might disappoint your friends, embarrass yourself or railroad them into something that they don’t want to do – you’re not alone. It is a complex topic and a very common one that comes up, and the aim is to help you see that you can embrace and perhaps even overcome your fear and go on to become a Great Game Master!
THE FEAR OF BEING THE GM – HOW TO OVERCOME IT
What makes you afraid to GM? What do you perhaps still struggle with being afraid of when
it comes to being the GM at your table?
We recently ran a poll and asked the community what they fear the most about being a GM,
and the response was incredible! What is most interesting is that most of us struggle with
the same or very similar kinds of fears when we talk about GMing our games. I grouped
those fears into groups where I will go into each of them and how to address them.
Something important to note is that I feel we should embrace our fear. Look at what it
inspires you to do better at and then work on that. It can often times be our biggest teacher.
The first from the list of the most common fears that came up was: Your Friends.
• Your friends
o This is the first cluster of fears that came through quite strongly for most
o Your friends – ridiculing you, being bored and disengaged or becoming
o The main issues that came up regarding the fear of your friends were:
• Performing in front of your friends
o Being judged or laughed at for being a bad actor or doing wrong accents
o If this is what your group of friends do to you at the RPG table – find a new
group of friends.
o Your friends should support you in every endeavour to make the game fun
• Disappointing your friends
o The fear of running a bad game and having your friends disappointed in you
& your skills as a GM.
o There is no such thing as a ‘bad’ GM – unless you are intentionally bad and
try to kill the PC’s at every chance you get.
o There are only GM’s that may not understand the fundamentals of being a
GM – but this does not make for a ‘bad’ GM.
o Be up front with your players and let them know that you are starting out as
a GM and ask them for feedback on your game – this will help to dispel your fear on disappointing your friends as you have set expectations from the get
• Railroading your friends
o Forcing your friends to do things in-game because they are your friends.
o Railroading = limiting the players choice (agency) by limiting their PC’s
options or choices to a single choice.
o NPC AI & constraints – these are ‘rules’ you’ve set up before the game for
the NPC’s and the world that tell you during the game, what they want to do
or should do.
• Keeping the players engaged
o Why should they pay attention to your game?
o This is a social skill that you have to learn and practice. It takes time,
patience and understanding.
o Ask your players mid-game- you can sometimes only know if the players are
engaged by asking them.
o Then, adjust on the fly. It is better to have a plot hole than to have bored
• Player versus GM
o Who should win? Both!
o The GM can always beat the PC’s – there is no real power struggle. You as
the GM let the PC’s win.
o Support your players, not your NPC’s.
Look for the advantage in the fear. Learn from your fear and use it in your next session.