roleplaying games

GMing withdrawal and sitting on the other side

There was an incident at one of our Beach Weekend games that cemented the fact that sometimes there’s no worse player than a frustrated GM. In our case, one of our Star Wars GMs was having a difficult time playing in the game and letting the other Star Wars GM make his own rules adjudications. Eventually the other players told him to shove it, and eventually he listened.

I know I can be that GM, as much as I’m trying not to be. Being faced with a year or more on the player side of the screen in our online group means I’m going to have to manage my own expectations about the gaming I am doing, and more importantly about not running. There are a few things going for me.

  • I’m not entirely giving up GMing.

There is my Urban Shadows game during the week, though scheduling has been tough. It is another Powered by the Apocalypse game and I am excited about it, even though we’ve gotten started a little slowly. Additionally, I still have the reins of the online group’s low-quorum game, which will eventually give me an opportunity to run The Sprawl like I’ve been hoping.

  • I’ve got some interesting characters to play.

I’m playing in three games right now, one in person and two online. The in-person game is Mage:The Awakening, set in Renaissance Italy. My character is Arturo Segretti, younger son of the powerful merchant whose will is the MacGuffin of the game. Arturo started off as a foppish, Tyrion Lannister-esque dilettante, but something happened in the first session of the game: as part of Arturo’s newly acquired magic powers the ghost of his father, apparently making penance for the relative neglect of Arturo in favor of his older brother, has taken residence inside the character’s head. Arturo has not yet come to peace with this.

In Dark Heresy we have Sadi, a Psyker Seeker who in addition to being a direct and terrifying investigator also has an innate curiosity about psionics and the Warp…which will almost certainly get him and his entire squad killed. I can’t wait.

Finally, in Force and Destiny there’s Nant Vellery, a pilot who acquired his ship by inheriting it off of his former business partner…a Mon Calamari slaver whose vile reputation is going to start following Nant in weird ways. Channeling Dominic Toretto, Nant calls his vessel a “project ship” and says he’ll “turn it into a 10-parsec car…I mean ship.”


Things look good for the gaming calendar this next year, even if my GMing exposure will be minimal. I intend to focus more on the stories and personalities of these characters than I have in the immediate past, which should help them continue to be fun as these games go on. There’s something exciting about all of the characters, but also good chances for development. I need to take those opportunities and run with them when I can, which will hopefully get me more invested in these upcoming games than I have been in the previous games we’ve run. I’m optimistic that 16/17 will be a good year, even without much GMing on my plate.


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