Back in the Game Master’s Chair

Yeah, we are kinda like that.

This Sunday, the 14th, at approximately 7:30 PM, I will make a triumphant return to the GM’s chair. It’s been a somewhat long time since I actually oversaw a game. The last time I did was my first time as a GM, the first time getting a group together, and I was pressured to accommodate a series of Christian, social, and political themes into the narrative due to me wanting to having it held at a church so that we could have a place to play. Even only a curious onlooker would have realized right from the get go that this was a recipe for disaster. I could very well have been a somewhat competent GM, but I had serious bad luck in finding people to play with besides my good friend Pete. This is what eventually destroyed the first experiment: we got bored of it being just 1 on 1.

That was in, if I could recall correctly, late July or early August. I started to attend a Sc-Fi/Fantasy/General Geek club at University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and I quickly found another group.  I wasn’t the GM this time but the player, a role I took with stride. Of course, there was a certain problem: I was a roleplayer, while everyone else were gamers. The story had little real thought behind it beyond just an excuse for us to do crazy crap. There was little real chance for us to actually act out our characters. It was mostly combat, combat, some quick narrative, and then some more combat.

It was clear that I found the wrong group. I made quick friends with the GM, but once the group fell apart, I had little complaints.

Skip to now. It is the middle of March, and not only do I have a group, but it is nearly full. Five players, including myself as the GM. Some of them I found by mere chance (a meeting at a gas station with him wearing the infamous “Jesus Saves and takes Half Damage” T-shirt), one of them came to me online, and the rest I found in a “looking for group” ad on SomethingAwful. Compared to last time, everything came into sync near perfectly. Even the issue of holding a group somewhere was quickly solved when I was told that a building on the UNCG campus has close to no people on Sundays and is for all intents and purposes perfect for us.

In a way, it almost surreal. It seems like a total paradox to the reality that I had came to a few months ago when I decided to try to find another group. I was willing to accept a modest sized group of just 3 players: now I have to face the realities of having to accomadate 5 players. Almost all of them are of the same mindset that I am: a focus on story. Excuse the language, but holy shit.

Needless to say, but I am very excited for this Sunday. It is just four days away, and even though it is just character creation, and optimistically we’ll only get an hour of actual game-time, I can’t help but think that Sunday can’t get here fast enough. I am back in my realm, surrounded by people who like the same sort of stuff that I do, playing the game I have been wanting to play for the better part of the year now. The only thing that could go wrong would be if the building caught on fire Saturday.

Of course, all of these benefits (the high number of players, and their love for a good story) does have one possible drawback: the stakes are higher. Before it was just my friend, who would love whatever I gave him. But now I have people who knows what a really good story really is. Like me, they don’t read just horrible spin off fiction. Their shelves aren’t full of Star Wars, Dragonlance, or Warhammer books. To be frank, they have read real literature, stuff with emotional and intellectual prowess. They will probably be expecting a story with good pacing and interesting characters, at the very least.

Of course, I am more than up for the challenge. I  intend to deliver on them in spades. More on that in the next post.

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