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should we pay the gm?

Owlbear Camus

Autothrusters engaged!
Validated User
I usually play with friends, or the people I play with end up becoming my friends. One of us getting paid to get together for a social leisure hobby activity would be weird.

That said I'm on board with the "you should chip in for his share of the pizza" type sentiment.
 
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zenten

Active member
Validated User
That's quite true (and it means expectations change, somewhat. You're more likely to suffer complaints as a paid GM than as a free one, because people always want more for their money, for example)

But just because most people GM as a hobby doesn't mean it's impossible to GM as a job or a carreer. I'm not saying it's likely (it's not like most painters or people who cook get paid much either), just not impossible.
Right. But the nature of that would look pretty different from how and I think most people here play.

If I help a friend move furniture, or bake a pie, or edit their thesis proposal I'm not going to charge them money for it. And I wouldn't expect the same in return. So I'm not going to charge money for running a game, or pay money for when my friends do.

Even the FLGS doesn't really have the right environment for it.
 

Paqman

Mr. Paquin
Validated User
Well, in our case, we alternate at Game mastering (though I game master more than the others :) ).
When I do the game home, my wife even makes a nice supper for everyone
So... we could almost say that I pay my players to be there LOL

Seriously, we've been all playing together for so long (20years) that we no longer count who game masters more than who.

The game master as free choice of systems so, these days, we go for rules light therfore we can concentrate on plot lines (which is really fun to develop thus there is never resentment amoung us on the part of the game masters to prepare the story/background content which is really fun as we are relatively all creative and likes to write stuff)
 

Lethe

Deserve's got nothing to do with it
Validated User
I enjoy running games, and I'd wager that most gm's do enjoy it, or else why would they bother?

Like others have said, I think most people also play with friends or at least people they kinda like, so if you charged it'd be like the players were paying someone to hang out with them, which is just weird.

If you pay someone for a guitar lesson, that person is teaching you a skill.

If you pay to watch a play, those people are entertaining you.

If you pay to use a batting cage, you're renting equipment.

What, exactly, are you getting if you pay a gm? You, as a player, are just as important in making the game fun as the gm is, and you're not really renting any equipment since the gm is the one using the books, and the gm isn't really teaching you anything.
 

Pandora Caitiff

Goblin Princess
Validated User
Once you start charging for your GMing services it changes the nature of the player/GM relationship. If I have to pay, then surely I deserve consumer rights.

Do I get a refund if you kill my character?
If you advertise a political campaign and it turns into a dungeonbash can I sue you under the Trades Description Act?
Am I guaranteed a certain amount of spotlight time? Or experience? Or treasure?
Are you going to provide everything, or do I have to provide my own dice, paper or pencils? And if I bring miniatures or snacks do I get a rebate?
etc
 

Owlbear Camus

Autothrusters engaged!
Validated User
What, exactly, are you getting if you pay a gm? You, as a player, are just as important in making the game fun as the gm is, and you're not really renting any equipment since the gm is the one using the books, and the gm isn't really teaching you anything.
You could argue that you're paying for the prep time, but meh, any GM who thinks that's worth more than maybe free snacks and intangible appreciation probably is doing it for the wrong reasons, IMO.

Thing you can do to reward a good GM that aren't as mercenary and weird as paying him cash:
  • Compliment him on a well-run session, let him know you appreciate his effort
  • Always chip in for his snacks.
  • Don't be a pain in the ass player.
  • Maybe every once in a while chip in to get him the latest splat book or campaign guide as a gift.

I've run some great sessions, some so-so sessions, and some downright bad ones. I appreciate the compliments I've gotten on my better run ones. If my friends offered to flat out pay me for them, I'd feel damned awkward.
 

Eled the Worm Tamer

Spider Jeruselem's Warior
Validated User
Once you start getting paid, it is no longer a hobby, it is a job. an awesome job, but a job never-the-less.
Yeah, knowing a bit about Motivation in terms of play or pay, Id be deeply worried what what changing the nature of my DMing would do.

Then theres a bigger issue. as a 'hobbing' DM if I have an off night, I apologize, my players pat me on the shoulder and remind me of good times.
If I'm being paid to run an adventure once a week? Then a bad day borders on breach on contract. If I kill a charicter do I owe that player a refund?
Do I relay want to bring in a legalese DM agreement and change what was a frenship on shared love of the game into a business arrangement?

To be honest the idea of being a paid Pen and paper DM squicks me out. Too many ways it can go badly.
 

ZombieButch

Only mostly dead
Validated User
I've run some great sessions, some so-so sessions, and some downright bad ones. I appreciate the compliments I've gotten on my better run ones. If my friends offered to flat out pay me for them, I'd feel damned awkward.
Indeed. I've never seen a relationship that wasn't changed in some form or another, even if only temporarily, when money enters into it. Even if it's just lending a buddy $20; neither of you might not say anything about it, but both of you have that $20 in the back of your minds whenever you meet, and it's a relief to both of you when it's paid off.

On the other hand, I've never seen a relationship that wasn't made better by beer and pizza.

Friends and money are two great tastes that taste great when they're kept as far the hell apart from one another as humanly possible.
 

Michael Cule

Gaming Dinosaur 2nd Class
Validated User
I got laughed at when I proposed the idea of professional GMing: specifically people paying me to come and run games for them. (Yes, I am that awesome a GM!) Look, if you're out of work long enough you'll get desperate enough to propose anything.

I think at the moment it's rather like being a prostitute would be if sex were virtually free of the risks of disease and violence and nobody was ashamed to say 'Come round to my place Saturday and we'll have another weekly orgy.' That is to say there's no prospect of making a living wage out of it and to make any sort of money at all you'd have to GM for the worst of the cat-piss-men who can find no other gaming group and run their favourite systems which won't be your favourite systems. ("FATAL? I charge extra for kinky stuff...")

Perhaps things will change: perhaps cheaper and more versatile virtual reality systems will mean that individual GMs rather than corporations start to offer to run their self designed universes. But at the moment it's an amateur art-form (except for the few lucky people who can make a living by selling stuff they've written) and likely to stay that way.
 

Owlbear Camus

Autothrusters engaged!
Validated User
I think right now if RPGs are your passion and you want to turn it into a career, the only way to go is to try your hand at writing/design/illustration. You have to be shit hot and lucky to make it in the market, but hey, maybe you'll come up with the Next Big Thing.

I think that people who would consider GMing an actual marketable "service" are probably an outlier, infinitesimally small niche of a niche of a niche. I know most people I game with just consider it being "part of the group," maybe putting in some extra effort worth a pat on the back and, as I have belabored, free snacks. :)

If you're GMing for a bunch of whiny ingrates and it's actually becoming work, well, I guess if you can get them to pay you, more power to you.
 
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