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The Stainless Steel Rat
[Inspired by the group-size discussion Here]

I know from previous posts around here that many of you have played in campaigns with 2 or more GMs. Some seem to cycle one player out every week who pulls GM duty, while others seem to have steady characters that bounce from one GM's table to another. I have also heard that some groups have a 2nd GM active at the table to handle things like matrix runs or other simultaneous actions when the group splits.

Being totally unfamiliar with these types of play (but very interested), I was wondering if people could share their experiences. Do you prefer it to a single GM game? What problems do you encounter, and how do you handle them? Any advice?
I have played in a 1 gm, style and in a multi gm style campaign.

First off, I must clarify that we never use shadowrun modules and always do custom runs. If you are running a module the following may not apply.

(I am also assuming allowing more than one gm in a group but only 1 gm running a game at a time, not two collaborating)

In a multi the biggest problem is encountered when a character is played under another GM, and the other GM(s) is/are not there. It is hard to deal with some little unexpected gear, skill and advancement surprises at times. Also if the character is not at a "completed stage" of a campaign it is considered locked.

Most of the time it is also not an issue, unless a character all of a sudden appears with more than 20 more Karma than you encountered last time. Many GM's I know will NOT allow that character to play under another GM. If you do play with another GM, you have to simply use another character. Over all, it comes down to trusting your players, and the other GM to hold the same sense of game balance that you do, and to not let players cheat on their sheets.

If you are running 2 GM's at the same time, you have to have a really strong understanding between the two gm's of what is happening. If the group all of a sudden pulls the plug on the decker, the other GM, has to figure out when it happened.
I was running a 2 GM game (now on hiatus, because we got caught by RL). I must say this: Unless the 2(or more) GMs meet regularly to update each other, things in the campaign can get haywire. That is not including the rules calls, etc.

I also found it useful to run a canon game when GMing a multiple GM campaign.
I am the usual GM for my group, but at the moment a buddy has taken the reigns for a campaign. So usually there is one GM per campaign. However, if the GM can't make it, and everyone still wants to play, someone else will step up and run a "side bar" type of run that won't interfere with the regular GM's story and usually doesn't have really high stakes for the characters.

The upside is that we can keep playing and still use familiar characters. The downside is if last week's game ended in the middle of a scene and we have to do some fudging with the timeline.

SL James
That's the cool thing about gaming on a site like Shadowland; You can be running for a half-dozen GMs simultaneously, and it's worked well for the last 12 years.
My only gripe with multiple GM's is when one is more devious and cruel than the other.

Tomahawk and Shattur, two GM's in my group, tag team the party once in a while. What one doesn't think of the other does, usually to the detriment of the pc's.

Right Tomas?
It worked out well for us at the time because our group had gotten large enough that it felt a bit overwhelming to run. We had 8 players so having two GM's kinda let one continue to advance the story while the other was able to focus on the mechanics.

I will say though that the two of us had always been on the same page regarding the campaigns we did this with. You can't have really different ideas on where things are going and pull this off smile.gif

And yeah...we did tend to be more devious with the characters than normal when we did this. I seem to remember paranoia leading the group (D&D in this instance) to fireball an entire room of slaves and kill them smile.gif.
i seem to remember a russian minotaur hockey player from SR that got his butt handed to him in some god awful african jungle

Also as a side note we did an interesting experiment once. In my days before I met Grimtooth. We took a game where we all had well established characters and we took turns a gm. I think the limit was one hour. The trick here was you had to pick the next GM and then you had to play their character. And you had to get the character at least mostly *right*.

Was interesting to see other people's interpretations on how you play your characters. But you really have to have played together a bit to pull this off.
QUOTE (Grimtooth)
i seem to remember a russian minotaur hockey player from SR that got his butt handed to him in some god awful african jungle

Heh I forgot about that. That particular one was bad LOL. Interesting concept but came off poorly. I think you were all college or professional athletes that had been kidnapped for some sort of bloodsport wasn't it?
yeppers and you and Shattur were DEFINITELY on the same page.

Spank'em and HARD
I have done the multi-GM gaming thing before. The first GM is the primary and runs the game. The second (and so forth) will do things like matrix runs, run NPCs, etc. The one that lasted teh longest, the second GM would run the "more important" NPCs, which could be the target, the johnson, etc. The standard contacts, general NPCs, etc was still done by the primary GM.

Basically the second (+) GM(s) were secondary processors that certain work could be offloaded too. The primary GM made all the rules/decison/enviroment.

The GMs would take a 5 min "smoke break" prior to any big fights/etc so they could get insync. Once they (or we) came back in, those two did not do any GM communication until the the event was over. The secondary GM(s) were just like players for fire fights. So the NPCs might make a really stupid decison if they knew what was about to happen but was a good decison with the limited info they had.

It worked out as long as we had many people in the group. Like 7+. When I have 5- players, I can run it by myself and the sync-times between GMs could actually slow us down.

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