GM for Hire
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So seems it’s been one of those wired Moon kind of months where I’ve seen and joined in May conversation-flame Wars on a touchy subject in the RPG world and that’s Game Mastering for pay, of Professional GMing!
Ok let’s call them a Game Coach, or Game Tour Guide would you pay a sports coach or tour guide?
Now I know at this very point theirs nerd rage bubbling up and possibly tempers flaring, but wait I want to know real world reasons why paying some one to put 10-12 per-game hours, who know how much in photo copies, paper and paper and game books (more to that below to come), then the actual 4+ hours around the game table leading the story that you all will weave. Why is asking for less then the ticket price of a two hour movie a crime? I don’t think so and yes I even have a level of support on our Patreon page for a GM for a day.
Ok so now let’s talk game books:
D&D 3 core book $50 a pop, $150 for the GM maybe 2-5 player buy their own copy and if you’d like one of the published adventures that’s $50 more, ok so that’s a $200 investment (Don’t ask how much all the Edge of Empire or Force and Destiny costs!!!) so is you had 5 players chipping in $5 a game in eight sessions you would have paid your GM back for investing in your good time, but wait theirs more…8 sessions times 4 hours at minimum wage of we’ll say your home state is $6 that’s $192 more you owe your GM not counting mileage and food/drinks or time put in planning the game (remember that 10-12 hours GM’s put into writing). So please think of that before you flame a GM for looking for $5, a meal, ride home or book from from the group from time to time. GMing is a skill like writing, film directing, flipping burgers and programming a PC game. It’s amazing how it’s not ok to pay a story teller who pours themselves into a game, just like I know Photographers and artist who have their works stolen with not even a thank you.
Now I’ve heard a ton of complaints of what if the game sucks or it devalues the story or the GM will have to pander to the players well tough! So your telling me a GM has never pandered to his players that’s the whole point of the game to focus and be a fan of the players, and just like the social contract of gaming applies to the story, dice and natural game progression you discuss in advance of any play to pay game of what kind of game do the players/customers want to play (genre, pg rating, etc) as well as rules that can get a player kicked out (being too aggressive, abusive behavior etc) and deal breakers for the GM.
Now of course like I tell all my friends all the time in gaming and buying vote with reviews and your dollars you like a store, support it whenever you can with reviews and buy and preorder from them! The same comes from GMs! I’ve played with great GMs, some Bad GMs, some Inexperienced GMs, some Killer GMs, and heck I’ve played with Great GMs on an off day of running a game. Heck I know I’ve been everyone of those one time or another. So my best advise is just like going to a bar or steak joint if you order and eat, pay tip appropriately (and yes sometimes 0 is appropriate) and tell your friends and don’t patronize them again!
So I’m glad your still reading look at Wizards of the Coast their Adventure League has GMs and game stores running the same one hour session with the same pre written material provided by the stores to GMs with usually 3/4 provided and the last 1/4 for purchase. For all of this thrill for $3-$10 each person depending on city/store. Now this is great and the stores take care of the GMs in materials and normally some store credit which is awesome! Heck that’s a perfect symbiotic relationship between GMs and Stores generating supply for players needing a fix. Now this reminds me of an argument for paying GMs in that they are willing to pay for books and supplies but not ‘cash’ to a merc GM! Ok so how about next time you play how about you secretly pass the hat and pick your GM up a gift card as a group and invest in your GM to have him invest in your gaming and investing it you fun and hobby after all GMing is entertaining players is job full of pressure!
The more you invest in your game with stories, backgrounds, helping give story ideas, bring snack and please please please get your GM some drinks, hell take time and pay attention to your gaming table, your GM is doing the lions share of talking and asking questions that’s a fast way to get yourself dehydrated!
All in all support your GM in some way, even a bad GM puts a lot of time, money and energy into a past time we all love and enjoy as much as we can and if they ask to get paid maybe it’s worth the price of a fru fru drink or meal to spend time at the table and seeing their style, heck you may have to get on a wait list for a really good GM or Adventure League table!
Please comment and share! But before you say Chris Perkins or Matt Mercer know they get paid for what they do and it’s not just in exposure for their other projects.
And if your a GM remember to always guide all your players along a heroic journey to glory and victory!