GM’s create. It could be a great scene, an adventure, a campaign, a setting, or a game system. By the nature of our role we create, and we share our creations be it with just our gaming group, the local gaming community, or perhaps with the world. In this way we create a legacy as our creations live on through those that read and play the things we create. This is an unexpected result of being a GM, but perhaps we can use it to guide the development of our GMing skills. Have you ever given a thought to what your GMing legacy might be, or what you would want it to be?
I was listening to the Fear The Boot podcast Episode 228 on Homebrewing. [For the record, Fear the Boot is one of the best gaming podcasts out there and you should be listening to it, just like you should always be reading the Stew.] In that episode, the guys talk about how there is a natural evolution for a GM to eventually want to create their own setting, rules, or both. In a way, what separates game designer from GM is that the game designer has gone on to create something of their own and to share it with others.
That got me thinking about my own creations over the years, and which ones would I want as my legacy. While I have run nearly one hundred game systems, and thousands of sessions, there are some things that stand out:
- A collaborative homebrewed campaign world, Elhal that is exactly what I have always wanted in a fantasy setting.
- A kick ass set of weapon and armor creation rules for Underground, which are better than their system IMHO.
- A Vampire game with such emotional depth that a player nearly cried at the end of a session.
- A number of (what I hope have been useful) articles about GMing for this blog.
- 50 plots for Eureka
It did get me thinking that up to this point, I have not really thought about my GMing legacy, or if I even wanted to have one. So I took some time to think about a legacy, and what I might want to leave behind/share from my GMing and its creative efforts. So here is what I want my GMing legacy to be:
- Run enjoyable games for my group– to me, my first duty is to my gaming group. Anything else I do pales in comparison to the experience of sharing a great game with my friends. As GM that means to write and run material that entertains.
- Share my experience with other GM’s– over the years I have learned a lot about GMing through the games I have run and played. I have always had a desire to share that experience. I have found outlets for that through blogging as well as my contributions for Eureka and Masks, as well as in person through talks, and podcasts.
- Create my own setting and share it with others– I have always wanted to create my own setting, something that really reflected what I loved about a genre, and then to share that with others. I experienced part of that when my players and I created Elhal for the Iron Heroes campaign I ran a few years ago. I know the realities of publishing settings, but I may one day go back and write it up formally even it is just for me. For now, I am adapting it to Shadow, Sword, & Spell so that I can share it in more one-shot convention settings.
- Create my own game– I have an aversion to tinkering with rules after a few failed past attempts, but there is always this itch to go back and try to make a game that would have all the mechanics that I enjoy playing. With some experience as a Project Manager, Business Analyst, and Programmer, I have considered how I might approach creating my game with a bit more structure, and more realistic expectations. I have also considered starting with a core mechanic like FATE or FUDGE as a framework, or offering myself up as an apprentice designer..
So what about you?
Have you ever considered your goals in this hobby, or what you want you want your GMing legacy to be? Do you want to take the world by storm with some great game or setting, or are you content with creating great games for your friends and family? Do you want to evangelize the positives of Role Playing, or raise a new generation of gamers?
How are you approaching those goals? Have you succeeded in any of these yet, and if so did they unlock a new set of goals?
To sum it up, when you finally go to the great gaming table in the sky, what would you like to be known for?