Taking Inventory of My Abilities as a GM, part 2

This is a follow up to an earlier article. You should probably read that first to see what all this is about.

Now, first, some problem areas I identified on my own.

Identifying My Players’ Preferences

I don’t do much to accommodate different types of players. I’m most interested in the narrative and I probably give enough leeway for those into their characters, but powergamers and tacticians won’t get much out of my games, as I just don’t cater to them. I would prefer playing RPGs with people I enjoy playing RPGs with, if this really needs spelling out, but I am able to run games for those people, and I have in the past. Still, I don’t really try to identify these needs, so there might be a clash between styles. Doesn’t happen too often, but it happens.


This is probably my biggest failing. I have a tendency to let my players run amok with whatever they are doing and often end up rushing the end of the session. This is a common problem in our group, but that’s no excuse for me to do it too.

System Knowledge

I don’t learn the systems in depth. I used to do this, but it never lead to the games being better. It just lead to extended discussions during the games themselves. Now, I have a pretty good grasp of the systems, but I tend to forget things. Often this is just part of the process of learning as I do always read the parts of the rules where I had problems after the game, but again, no excuse.

Not Following the Industry

Having just espoused the necessity of doing this yesterday, it is kind of awkward to confess to this (well, would be if I had a conscience), but I always seem to be a few years behind. Sometimes more than a few. Of course, not everyone needs to be an early adopter and there are definite benefits to being somewhat late to the party as instead of going through everything, I can focus on those that manage to establish themselves. Still, it would be better to know what’s coming.

Missing Cues

I often have great ideas… a few minutes too late or while I’m reflecting on the game while I’m walking home. Often this is something I should have responded to coming from my players, which makes it doubly bothersome, since I wasn’t able to fully utilize their ideas. I think I’m getting better, but this still happens at least once during every session I run.

2 thoughts on “Taking Inventory of My Abilities as a GM, part 2

  1. Hm. You seem to be unnecessary harsh on yourself. How many GMs or other RPG hobbyists follow the brand-new industry? In my eyes “not following the industry” means one happily plays something made in 1980s or 1990s and doesn’t really know what these “indie-games” are. These people do exists in throngs.

    Similarly everyone gets better ideas when they have time to think about it. That’s the price you pay for fast-paced improvisational playing. I think it’s a good sign you get new ideas, because it means you analyse the session and try to become a better roleplayer.

  2. Yes, I’m being unnecessarily harsh on myself for the sake of argument. I guess I’m in the early majority category and since, despite my blogging frequency, I do have a life outside of this blog I’m not able to move into the early adopter category. I’m actually quite happy to be where I am, because I don’t need to witness every failure.

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