It’s been over three years since I last updated my GMing manifesto. As I gear up to start a new campaign, I figured it was time to revisit it and rework it. The updated version is meant to reflect my current values and address issues I’ve had to deal with since then.
Specifically, I no longer see the GMing manifesto as a series of one-sided pledges to players. The original version made it sound too much like the GM “owed” things to the players. Now, it’s a series of exchanges. I will do this in return for this; I think what I’m asking for is pretty reasonable.
Without further ado, here is my updated Manifesto:
“I am a gamemaster. I create worlds for players to inhabit and partake in great adventures in them. In order to ensure a proper balance between myself and the players, I pledge to do the following and would appreciate the following in return:”
- I pledge to use the characters you made to help determine the kind game you want to play. This includes class, stats, skills, and backstory. I will also take into account your expectations and style as a player. In exchange, I would like to place certain limits on the types of characters available at character creation to ensure that nobody’s character is disruptive to the campaign or to the party as a whole.
- I pledge to try and tell a good story. I will give you characters to conspire with and against, nations to save or ruin, and memorable encounters to terrify you or provide comic relief. In exchange, I hope that you’ll contribute ideas of your own to help make the setting something you want to be invested in.
- I pledge to value “rule of cool” over game rules. This means that I might cheat or fudge rolls in order to tell the best story possible. Conversely, if you want to try an awesome stunt or do something to enrich the story that’s not covered by the rules, I will work with you to let you do it.
- I pledge not to play favorites. I will not show preferential treatment or give special favors to a single player for any reason; everyone will have a chance to shine. In exchange, players will not gang up on or bully other players out of character, or do the same in-character without that player’s express permission.
- I pledge to help you create a character and understand the rules. If you have any questions about your character’s abilities or why the enemies are doing what they’re doing, please ask me and I will slow down to explain what’s going on. In exchange, I would like you to take a reasonable amount of your own time to familiarize yourself with the system we’re using.
- I pledge to stay within the limits I’ve set in terms of mature content, and I expect you to also to adhere to the game’s agreed-upon rating.
- I pledge to keep to a schedule, and to give advance notice of cancellations as much as I can. In return, please come on time and let me know if you expect to be late or miss the session. I will work with you on availability to the best of my ability.
- I pledge to honor fun above all else. Above egos and above rules. If there is something interfering with the fun at the table, work with me and together we can address it.
What does your Gamemaster’s manifesto look like?
Texture by So-ghislaine