Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Three Bad Game Master Traits I Hate

What did you expect from GM Grumpy Cat?
Be glad he didn't eat your beloved dice as well.
Almost everyone at one point or another has played with a GM who, for the lack of a more eloquent word, sucked Tarrasque dick. While I've been pretty lucky in my gaming career where most of the GM's I've played with have been pretty good, there are a handful who've left a few mental scars.

Thankfully, those experiences have thought me what not to do as a GM and made my realize a few problematic GM traits to look out for in the future. While there are definitely more than three bad traits a GM can possess, these are the ones that personally annoy me as a player. Your mileage may vary.

1. The Adversarial Game Master
Now, let me make one thing clear: there is a different between tough GMs and adversarial GMs. I consider myself a tough GM because I like to make sure my players are actually challenged and character death is always a possibility at my table. However, I also care about the shared story being told and the enjoyment of my players. 

On the other hand, the adversarial GM only cares about "winning" and will do whatever it takes to "beat" the party. They will throw challenges at them that are so astronomically overpowered the players have no possible way to overcome it (besides not playing the game, of course). They could care less if the players are having a good time. All that matters is they are winning the game and showing those players whose boss. 

2. The Nepotist Game Master
Occasionally, you might run into a GM who likes to play favorites. Maybe their best friend, sibling, or significant other is also in the group and they do everything to make sure this one person is happy to the determent of the rest of the group. Whenever their character tries anything, they always succeed. When the group finds some treasure, their character always gets the best items and the most gold. During combat or RP situations, the GM only pays attention to their character and cares about what they're doing. 

Look, I get that you want to make your friend, family member, or significant other happy, I really do. However, they usually aren't the only person playing the game and you shouldn't ignore them or make them suffer so you can appease this one person. 

3. The Unprepared Game Master
First, let me explain what I mean when I say the "Unprepared Game Master". I am not talking about GMs who utilize a more improv style to running a game or GMs who only rarely come to the game unprepared because they had to deal with some life problems or the like. I'm talking about the GM who constantly shows up to the game with very little to absolutely nothing prepared, don't even truly understand the game system they are using, and could care less about it. 

They could care less that the game is suffering because they are constantly coming to the game without even an idea about what they want to do and lack even the most basic understand of the rules they are using. They just make stuff up on the fly without any thought about how that stuff might affect the game and how its played. They are just too lazy to put any real effort into the game. 

Question Time: What GM traits do you particularly hate? Why do you dislike them? Leave your answers in the comments below.