Changing the GM

Recently, Lauri ran the second Bell End story. What’s notable in this case, is that I ran the first one.

Now, we all use ideas by others all the time. That’s nothing new. But the difference is that he was using something very familiar to me, especially since I was the originator of the idea. Not that I specified that many things. Still, he had to skirt around certain things, because I had expectations on the subject. And he did. There wasn’t much about the first scenario, at least not in an easily recognizable form.

I injected some stuff from the earlier scenario, just for the heck of it. This could go horribly wrong, because obviously in a situation like this, I need to let go of the thing and just let the new GM do his thing. I just couldn’t resist. I didn’t do too much of it, but some.

And that’s the key. The old GM might feel he’s creation might be stepped on (although I didn’t), but he or she just has to let it be. If things change, they change. In this case, Lauri moved the whole thing to a new environment, but there was a definite link (not that the new players knew what it was). This is basically a horror series. With each new chapter, one has to find a good balance of familiar and new. In this case, only one of the players (me) was familiar with the original story, so the problem didn’t really exist.

All in all, this was an easy transition. Not much to change.

But what about a campaign. Lets say you do this over a longer period. Hey, who knows, maybe this Bell End thing can continue. I already have an idea for the third installment. You never know. Again, this time its easy, because the characters keep dying and environs will probably change too.

On the other hand, what about a more conventional campaign? After all, some games may not recommend it exactly, but will at least talk about multiple GMs. Its something that is not outside the realm of possibility, despite being quite rare.

Again, some ground rules are needed. Maybe some NPCs and places are out of bounds for other GMs, but since that might cause problems in the verisimilitude of the environment, this should be kept to a minimum, so constant awkward excuses are not required.

Who does the design? In our case, I did the original design of the oneshot, but Lauri didn’t let that constrain him. In a more conventional campaign, players are going to expect a more complete world, which works in consistent way. Two (or more) GMs are going to have slight differences in their interpretation of the setting, no matter how well you define it. People just have different expectations based on their reading of the genre and earlier experiences with similar settings.

I actually had somewhere I was going with this when I began, but writing this, I’ve lost my way, so to speak. I’m probably making all this more complex than it really needs to be and its not really a problem most players even face, but some will.

However, since most people run what they would most like to play, this might actually be a very beneficial arrangement all-around. You shouldn’t go into it blindly, though.

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