Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Being the DM is Hard Work...a Rebuttal.
It's funny how one blog post seems to so easily lead me to the next via comments. Patterns of commonality or dissonance quickly emerge and provide some nice meat to chew on for the next bit of writing.
As always, the opinions expressed below are mine. You aren't required to share them, but I'm always interested to listen to other people's thoughts and feelings about the subject matter I tackle.
In my last blog post I talked about my mixed thoughts and feelings about Pay to Play DM's. You can read it here if you missed it. Also, it's important to understand that I often throw these thoughts up for discussion on some facebook groups and twitter and such, so the comments on the blog page likely do not encompass the entire discussion. If you want to delve further down the rabbit-hole, maybe check out these groups on FB, or some of the G+ communities that focus on the OSR or Roleplaying, where I've likely posted links as well.
OK, so more than a couple of people held the opinion that DM's certainly have the right to be paid, and their reasoning often fell upon a common theme. In a nut shell, 'it's hard work.' I will concede that it requires work, though I'm not so sure it's all that hard.
Look, don't misunderstand me. As a DM of well over 30 years, I realize that a certain amount of time and preparation is required to ensure that a game runs moderately smoothly, is interesting and entertaining, and doesn't run off the rails. If this is indeed labor, then it is a labor of love. If you are putting time and energy into the DMing aspect of the hobby, and you aren't having fun...stop doing it. There's also a rather large investment of your time, though this is the same for most hobbies. Also, as with most pastimes, your time investment is usually larger on the front end as you learn. Once you've gained a certain level of proficiency, the amount of time required to pull off a successful game session lessens, sometimes to almost nil.
Let's not forget the endless supplements and modules available to the DM. If you can afford to spring for this stuff, your 'job' as the DM just took several steps in the direction of 'much easier'. Now you just need to read and familiarize yourself with the material, and then be prepared to manage the table.
Manage the table? But isn't that work?
I don't think so. If your group is unruly and they don't already respect the position you've chosen or been given as the DM, then maybe you need to rethink the folks at the table, or your place among them. Let them know your expectations up front, but after that my own personal rule is 'no quarter'. If you are an adult hosting a game for adults, this should not be an issue. If you're an adult hosting a game for children...you've got bigger fish to fry. That's it's own special situation and isn't really what I'm talking about here.
As a kid playing with my friends (now I'm an adult playing with my friends) I often take on the role of DM. Would I rather play? Sometimes, but not always. Being the DM puts me in a position to be creative in ways that playing does not allow. Inhabiting the persona of myriad NPC's, deciding what the rules and structure of my game-world are like, becoming the arbiter of all that occurs within the confines of my game-verse are some but not all of the reasons I love being a DM.
Also the snacks.
Many folks think I'm just looking to stir the pot, cause a scene, make some trouble. Nah. I'm not looking for controversy, just dialogue. Some of the time it really seems as though folks are from another planet entirely. Anyone who is running the game/being the DM and doesn't WANT to do that because it's too much work, or the work is too difficult, simply shouldn't do it. That seems like a normal reaction to me. If you build model airplanes, that takes time and skill, and yeah, I guess it's work but it's work the model builder enjoys.If you think you, or anyone, should be paid because of the work involved with being a DM, well my own personal jury is still out on that one. What's obvious to me now is that there is a divide among enthusiasts about that particular topic, and while many are fine with it, a host of others feel that it somehow is a slap in the face of the spirit of the game.
For many people, the hobby is not too far removed from their religion, or it's become somehow enmeshed into their moral fiber. I think this is the case with me, and though I try to remain open to changes to the hobby and it's social dynamic and players, I still find that a deeper part of me is still very passionate about the spirit of the game and what it has meant to so many of my generation, the old-heads.
This morning on my twitter feed @goblin_stomper I posted "We may all be roleplayers, but like Wizards, there are many factions...", and much like wizards, the magic comes first.