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The Entropic Wizard
I thought it would be interesting to hear other GM's opinions about their GMing, in general. I'm talking about your rules-knowledge, your plotlines, your NPC portrayals, all that jazz.

Well, I think I'm a damn fine GM. I'd better be as I've been GMing this game almost nonstop since I was 13 years old. (that's a long time, btw). I write good stories, I have great NPCs, I'm fair to my players, and I'm a fairly good hand at playing along when they do something utterly unexpected.
But... I suck with the rules. I have 2nd and 3rd edition rules branded in my brain from the years of repetition, but 4th is screwing with me. So I have to stop and look (this is actually one of the main reasons my players got their own books... second, after having the book to make characters faster biggrin.gif )

That's pretty much me as a GM. I kinda overuse magic in my games though, and that's a bit of a weak point.

And here's a weird one: only three of my many, many campaigns have been run in Seattle...
I'm still learning how to incorporate certain elements into my games better, for instance decking and rigging, and I'm still learning the rigging rules in general. I also tend to think my players are smarter than they really are, plus I'm a bit of a loony sometimes.
You haven't included a "Drunken" option!
I'm pretty humble, but I put down a damn fine GM. I've been running games since I was 14 or 15 (just before high school). Mostly D&D, where I feel I honed my skills. I then got into other things, like Twilight 2000, SR1 and some small RPGs. I've ran campaigns where we'd play weekly and several that we played 3-4 times a week, so I have a lot of hours under my belt. I only started back up a year ago with SR4, prior to that, I didn't really run much for 4 or 5 years, but was still playing in groups.

Anyways, I feel like I can plan a mean run or just let things go on the fly...and hopefully my players can't really tell much. I think about our sessions, how NPCs would react and play out scenes in my head quite a bit, although I can't say I am writing much stuff down. But, when it comes to game time, I have played through so much already, everything just seems to flow nicely.

I feel that I have depth in NPCs, have solid and exciting storylines, am fair and above all, leave the players enjoying the game and wanting to play more. I am pretty solid on the rules, enough to plug holes with my own house rules and I am finally familiar enough with the book that there is really not much time spent looking things up.

I think I challenge the players in puzzles and situations enough to make them think but still have a blast shooting things up. I've never really been much into magic, focusing more on combat and hacking...but I think that is mainly due to what my players enjoy...had we had a more magic-centric set of characters, I am sure I would focus more on that.

And finally, I think I enjoy GMing so much because I focus solely on setting up the scenes and knowing the NPCs...I don't plan anything beyond that and let the players act as they wish, which then allows me to react to the players and roleplay...just like if I was a player, so that dynamic keeps everything fresh and exciting for me as well!
I don't like it as much as playing

I thought this was true for about everyone, and it says nothing about how well one thinks one GMs.

Personally, I must suck.
I disagree. I've been GMing so long it's hard for me to remember how to be a player. I've become too much of a nit picker and my rocker always gets killed in the first fight.
Eryk the Red
Actually, though I think I'd like to play, I can't really imagine handing over the reins to someone else. The world of our Shadowrun campaign is very much mine. To hand that over to someone else, or, worse, try to forget all the setting stuff that I just made up would be very difficult.

I guess I kind of prefer being the GM.

I'm ok at it. I actually have no trouble coming up with stories, which is often the hard part for some people. I'm not so good at actual planning, because I really can't predict what angle the characters will take to approach a problem. I often make up most stuff as we go along. I actually never thought I could be the sort of GM who plays everything so fast and loose, planning very little other than basic plot and a few NPCs.

Where I shine is creating a distinct setting. This is something the players have helped with a lot. There's a large and varied cast of recurring NPCs and a number of signature locations that make my campaign's Tacoma a really unique place.

I shudder at the idea of opening up my world to another GM. I'm a control freak.
In short: I suck.
But I still just have to get these horrible thoughts out of my mind, in the expense of my players. devil.gif
I prefer GM'ing as well. That way I get to play the most extreme characters, things another GM would never allow as a PC.
Heh...yeah, I enjoy the control over the setting as well...I prefer GMing, partiallly because I have done it for so long, but also because it allows me to keep thinking about stuff outside of the game. And so true 3G, as a GM, you can play the most extreme characters and don't have to check it with anyone else:)

To the planning comments...I used to plan out so much more, have everything prepared and so much detail in everything...but when players went a different way than the 5 angles I may have prepared for, then I would get frustrated and make everything harder for them and then be upset aftewards that all the planning I did went to waste.

I got past that several years ago and focused on the details of scenes and NPCs...trying to give them life and know them inside and out...then, it really didn't matter what the players did, I just roleplayed right back:) And for me, having a more modern society in the genre than say, medieval times, well, it makes it easy for me to make a layout for a building or a street or an office, without having to draw it out before hand...
Kyoto Kid
...kinda OK, could use improvement.

With the new ruleset there is still some adjustment being made. My particular weak spot is magic due the the fact (as I mentioned in other posts) that I never really cared much for the concept no matter what the game system. I tend more to enjoy the complexities of the technological side, which is why I actually got into the Decking, Cyberdeck Design, Firearm Design, and Vehicle Design/Customisation rules in previous editions. I also prefer exploiting the political angle be it government or corporate.

I like creating complex plots loaded with intrigue. Without the magic part, I feel Shadowrun really lends itself well to this type of setting. NPCs have secrets, Corporations have secrets, governments have secrets, the runners have secrets. Based on the Player/GM Archetypes thread I do tend to fall into the Engineer category, and to a limited extent the Rube Goldberg. However during breaks in the action and between sessions of a campaign I make adjustments to accommodate the PCs actions. Yes there is still a primary objective but I try my best not stonewall the players if they come up with an idea or solution I hadn't anticipated and make sure they are always in the thick of what is going on or have the opportunity to become involved in the bigger picture.

Of course, when it comes to dealing with a lot of magic (particularly when there are a couple-three PCs who are spellcasters with their army of spirits/elementals), then I most definitely fall into the "I Suck" category. I can throw a squad of crack commandos, challenging muliti-layered security, or a Go-Gang out for a night of busting heads at the team, but when it comes to astral stuff, I'm all thumbs.
Chose the third option, because frankly, in my opinion if you think you can't improve...then you won't.
I'm with eidolon on that one, I choose the third option. I think it takes a lot of skill to see your own shortcomings. Seems, like the more I learn about GMing the more I see that I could improve on.
You never stop learning...for sure!
I voted as good as anyone else. I am a rollplaying GM, you can roleplay and I'd reward you for it but it will be by the book, but no matter how hard you roleplay, if you don't have the stats to back it up, you won't succeed. I suppose I see it as a matter of style than anything else and I am upfront with how I GM.

My runs, on hindsight, tend to be boring if you do it right. They are lethal if you do it wrong, but you won't know if you are doing it right until after the run and sometime not even then. My NPCs do not deviate much from the book, unless it is a Prime Runner. There is a certain predictability to my GMing style.
Eryk the Red
I guess I'm not too different from KK. Magic can be difficult to handle at times as a GM. Recon can be so easy when you've got a guy who can invisibly fly through walls. Not everything is warded, especially in a campaign that's mostly street-level, rather than corporate. I've had a lot of plans fall apart because the mage pick the right spell to total collapse the defenses, when without that it would have been pretty daunting.

Amusingly, when I've tried to compensate for that with serious magic defense, the group just sidestepped it (without knowing), taking a less magic-dependent route.

If we start a new campaign at some point, I'll probably enforce some kind of straight limit on the amount of magic in the group, unless for some reason we want to do a magic-themed campaign, with metaplanar quests and all that. And, well, if they want that, someone else can be GM. I can't grok that stuff.

I think I'm pretty good. My best qualities are descriptive flair and a strong grasp of internal consistency and believable characters. My weak area has to be creating plots. I'm not very good at it.

First, can someone point me to the direction of the GM/Player Archetype thread? My search-fu is weak. nyahnyah.gif

I also chose the third option. While i consider myself good at designing areas, worlds(depending on system), NPCs, etc, i know the rules well, i sometimes get into trouble with railroading. I REALLY try not to, but sometimes it's just so hard. Sometimes, when you fully write out, say, 4-5 different scenarios, and the PCs pick NONE of them, it's so frustrating and leads to a GM pushing the PCs down ONE of the im too drained on creativity from writing scenarios 1-5 to make up scenario 6 on the fly.

Sometimes, one must remember, no matter how well you plan, the PCs can always come up with something you didn't think of.

I also sometimes overchallenge/overestimate PCs. Not to be malicious at all, but occationaly what's on the paper that looks like it can handle things, ends up being not enough. I feel bad whenever that happens; of course there are some instances where the PCs have to know when to back down, but it's happened to me more than once and i didn't MEAN it to happen. In SR, it's damn hard sometimes to know when something is too much, and even then it can end up overturned.
Kyoto Kid
QUOTE (Elfemrir)
First, can someone point me to the direction of the GM/Player Archetype thread? My search-fu is weak. :nyahnyah:

...Actually it's the Archetypical Gamers thread on the General Gaming forum. bad for the misnomer.
It started here and spun off:
I said that I am alright but could use some improvement. I think that I do a decent job, but the problem is that I enjoy playing so much more that I don't really put my full effort in when GMing and as a result there are people in our regular gaming group that do a significantly better job. Still, if other people are happy to GM, I'm happy to just play.

I do usually know the rules the best in our groups, though, so when I'm a player I end up being kind of a rules consultant guy.
I put down "Needs improvement." I have a firm grasp of most of the rules, although not a whole lot of rigging experience and decking/hacking just confuses me, mainly because I don't think I've ever done it as a PC. Mostly, where I think I need to improve is engaging my players. I find it hard to put enough of each type of interaction(social, stealth, magic, combat, research) in to successfully engage everyone in the party. I tend to overdo it one way or another, but I've been tweaking each of the last few sessions(since I started GMing again) to try to refine the blend.

I'm not a bad GM, but I'm not great either.
I find myself solid on the storyline/planning/run creation end, I just really need to improve my knowledge of the rules. A lot of it stems from inexperience.
Waterlog Thistlebottom
I'm alright, but I could use some improvement. I have a good head for rules, and normally base my runs of movies (at least they start out that way...), but I'm not to savvy on the Magic and (particularly) the Matrix rules.

The gaming group I play with has an awesome way of sharing the GM load, we take it in turns. We find that the team nature of shadowrun really works well with this way. smile.gif
The Entropic Wizard
I think that the best GMs are the ones who learn as much as they can about their own particular game. As I mentioned before, I rock the mojo quite a bit. But, that means I end up sacrificing knowledge about the tech aspect, which can be argued is the greater portion of SR.
It does help that one of my players/friends is a complete tech head; then we just get together and plan out run after run after run. And we keep our ideas fairly vauge; mostly we just design new corps, different people, key NPCs, political bits, and so on. We never collaborate on storylines, because he's a player.
So having your players specialize in different aspects of the game can really help a GM who tends to focus on one thing or another. That way you can just ask that particular player (who is also TRUSTWORTHY... "um, yeah... I get like a +14 dice pool bonus when I'm doing anything tech-related.. hehehe...") when you have a rules question pertaining to their own thing. As a side effect, it makes your players a bit more invovled in the whole gaming experience.
I always find theres room for improvement. That said, I think I do very well. This has to do with input from my players, really. If the players are bored, youre not doing so great. But if they're excited about the next session and how it'll turn out, you're doing exactly what you need to.

Personally, I find that my on the fly skills are as fine as they could be for now, its the descriptions of areas and personalities of the "cookie cutter goons" I need to work on. So, I am.

In fact, I prepare a session with little paperwork, most of it is in my head. Preparing an adventure with the amount of paper in a published adventure is still beyond me.

My hand would start hurting besides. XD
To all The GMs out there Great website, great newsletter. Heck its even got stuff for Players.
I asked my players and they agree, I rock their world. It's funny, I screw them over all the time and they beg for more!
Yeah I get that too. Bunch of whacked out masochists...
Since only one had room for improvement, I too took that one.

My players tell me that I do a good job, keep them challenged, often barely surviving and that only by using everything at their disposal from skills to gear.

I believe that I will always have room for improvement, some trick that I haven't seen before, etc...
That "I don't like it as much as playing" was my choice. I can barely keep my own character in check when playing, not to mention a whole world, heh unless it's just me out there, in which case I call it story-writing. I think I'm kind of okay at that.

IRL, I probably suck at GMing, but at least the players haven't left yet! Online, I'd like to think I'm considerably better, but I haven't actually got feedback.
Prime Mover
If I only had more free time for prep, I'd rock...but as it stands I'm still rolling nyahnyah.gif
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