Tuesday, December 13, 2016
A Possible Pivot
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, and what this blog post contains is just that - thoughts. I'm thinking out loud, except that it's actually silent and in writing. Nothing set in stone.
The Idea: Instead of placing the vast majority of my attention on designing, writing, and publishing, I'd rather Game Master.
There are several good reasons for a change of focus. Originally, I made Liberation of the Demon Slayer just to say that I had done it. A small self-challenge before I turned 40.
The adventure was a way for me to prove to myself that D&D, and roleplaying games in general, were still worth pursuing. After 3rd edition, 4th edition, and Pathfinder, I was pretty much ready to quit the hobby.
That's when I found the OSR and everything seemed to fall into place. But I also made that adventure and the ones to follow because I thought it would be neat to see my creations in a professional-looking book, hold them in my hands and run them properly - instead of two dozen scraps of lore spread out over several notebooks, the back of envelopes, and post-its.
Even in those early days, the act of publishing and getting a manuscript ready for publication, was in aid of running a great game. I haven't forgotten that. Game Mastering is the key. If there's no GM, it doesn't matter how many thousands of RPG books one has on the shelves - or how many one has produced - they are practically worthless until actually used; played.
I'd like to GM more because it's fun and I'm good at it. But there's more to it than that. The Game Master has a calling. He answers the call. He's needed to run the game. I wrote How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss because there was a sense of urgency. The art of GMing is essential to creation born out of shared imagination.
Assuming one is on the right track, the more you GM, the better GM you'll be. I want to improve and keep improving - to the point where I can make some small living running games. Yes, I'm talking about the ever-elusive dream of becoming a GM for hire. You get paid (in one form or another) for running games. But it's not just about the money... I'm in it for the glory, too, of course!
As I type this, I'm wondering something about myself. Would I rather be known as a fantastic author or GM. Both, obviously. But if I had to choose one over the other... I don't know. GMing is where the action is. When you're at the table and behind the screen (so to speak, I usually don't use a GM screen), you're on the front lines. That's where the war is being fought. Our collective imagination versus reality.
As a side benefit, I'll be able to run all kinds of adventures and campaigns that I've been neglecting the last few years. When you're writing and self-publishing your own RPG stuff, most of the time you're either play-testing stuff before it comes out or running the stuff you already published. After all, those scenarios and game aids are like your children and if you have the chance to take your kid to Disney World or some other kid named Dwimmermount, Stonehell, Dark Albion, Maze of the Blue Medusa, and Anomalous Subsurface Environment, who are you going to choose?
Pivoting to professional Game Mastering (or even regular old GMing for fun, should the pro thng not turn out) will allow me to focus on presenting an awesome experience. Making that a priority over showcasing stuff I came up with all on my own.