The Seer Vitz

GM Purpose Series: Another Player

Last time, I had discussed the idea of a GM acting as total opposition to the players. But what about when the GM decides to act as one of the guys (genderless usage, btw)? What if he/she wants to be just another player, but a player with power? Absolute power?

I’ll admit, I have done this as a GM. It ranged from the simple "never miss attacks" to the more complex "no trap can foil me!" Well, I could simply dismiss these actions as helping the game along. I mean, it was true, I did help the adventure along.

But that is not why I did it. I wanted a super-character that could not be defeated. It was a pure power rush. None of the players had any objections; I let them have all the treasure (well, except for that magical sword of Tarasque slaying.)

And it was fun. Now isn’t that the most important aspect? Well, yeah I guess I may have greatly reduced the challenge, but the players didn’t seem to mind… well, too much anyway. Besides, so what if they never got to deliver the killing blow, who really enjoys that anyway!

Maybe you have realized by now my actual feelings on this type of GM style. I think that although the GM might get tons of enjoyment out of this, the players will most likely suffer somewhat. I believe (though I may be wrong) that most players find a challenge (one that can be overcome) to be very fun and exciting. If they know that there is an immortal with them, they come to the realization that they have little chance of losing!

Am I saying that this is an "invalid" GM purpose? No, not really. My point is, as with all purposes that I will/have describe/described, that a GM should be wary of getting into only one style that could cause the players to be discouraged. This style is acceptable to use once in a while, for it is great enjoyment for the GM, and if used sparingly is not really to upsetting to the players.

The main point to remember is to make sure everyone has fun. Ulterior motives are normal however, so I would not describe "pleaser" as a GM style… Not by itself anyway!

James A. Vitz
RPG Columnist