|May 5, 2010||Posted by Don Mappin|
If you’ve kept abreast of the latest round of fudge-related articles penned by Kurt (here, here, oh, and here) then you’re no doubt aware that this topic tends to fuel some, ahem, passionate replies at the Stew. In this particular case there was one specific bit that stood out to myself as rather unfortunate and it really has nothing to do with the fudge in question.
It’s all about the attitude, silly.
As mentioned on GnomeStew’s Facebook page, I committed an act of fudge last game. I’m not terribly proud of it, but it’s done, and has given my group a lot to talk about (and given me a lot to write about).
This strikes me as unfortunate. That a GM feels in some way shameful for making a decision that, at the time, seemed best for the players and the game. Now to be clear Kurt followed up in a later article noting some mistakes, not the least of which that the fudging act was done for the wrong reasons. “I fudged to save the story at the expense of the fun of the game.”
Fair enough, but that aside, it’s a telling commentary that when a GM tries to do the right thing in a game and feels like crap for doing so.
It’s Lonely at the Top
Being a GM isn’t a hallowed calling, the pay stinks, and so do the long hours, but many of us do it out of the sheer enjoyment of helping craft a good game. A good story. A memorable experience. All in the name of having fun.
Being human — or at least until the RPG Robot Overlords are ready to take over running our games for us — results in our having games with missed rules, honest mistakes, and the occasional lapse of judgement. One would argue (and I shall) that it is this fallibility that makes RPGs the unique experience that they are. No two games shall ever be alike, even with the same ruleset, adventure, and characters. We infuse them with bits of ourselves, our personalities, and our flaws both as players and as GMs.
In this case we have a decision to try to turn the tide of a campaign for the betterment of the story. Do the ends justify the means? In my mind, yes. I wouldn’t begrudge any GM who, in a moment of alarm or clarity, deems it necessary to make a change for the betterment of the game. They run the game and have been given de facto control of it. The tacit contract between the players and the GM says, “hey, you’re in charge of making sure we all have fun. We trust you.”
Part of that trust is understanding that the GM is fallible and, at the end of the session, is doing the right things for all the right reasons.
And that, my friends, is something you should never be ashamed of.
Agree or disagree? Have some great GMing faux pas that you would like to confess? Do so below!
About Don Mappin
For nearly 30 years RPGs have been a staple of Don’s life — so that means he’s pretty old. Author of a dozen RPG books, Don has worked with companies such as ICE, Last Unicorn Games, Decipher, and AEG. He now spends his time working in IT management, enjoying his family and two children, or gaming.