My goal as a game master is for everyone, including myself, to have fun.
For me as a player, fun can be my character defeating a challenge in an unexpected way, being recognized by the locals for our heroic deeds, finally defeating that boss character that harried the group for so long.
For me as a game master, fun is seeing my players get excited when they defeat the big bad or cleverly solve some challenge I’ve put in their path. It’s having a story idea and seeing it fleshed out as the players explore and react to the story framework.
I like to reward my players for being clever. What I find gets boring is brute force approach to problem solving. Sometimes hack and slash is the answer. But not always. Sometimes it’s okay to run away. Sometimes you can befriend or talk your way out of a problem.
Those alternate “sometimes” that I as a game master hadn’t even considered are so cool. I’m not the best GM, I’ll admit. It throws me for a loop and I don’t always improv and adjust as well as I would like. I make mistakes … all the time. I need to get better at preparing less and improving more.
Since January, I have been taking some time off from running D&D games. Was getting burnt out running 2 games with other crazy goings-on in my personal life.
And now there is even more crazy in the world with the COVID pandemic, the Trump government that keeps ratcheting up the cruelty and inhumanity, and too many cops are killing with impunity. (To be fair, the police force has been doing a lot of bad shit to people, especially people of color, for longer the my privileged, middle-class suburban white ass really understood.)
Anyway … I kind of bullied players from either game into picking up the GM reigns. I hope they are finding it exciting, challenging, and rewarding like I did.
It has been strange being back on the player side of the table.