A Gamemistress’ Manifesto


This “meme” has been going around my blog feed for some time, so to take a cue from Andy and Will, here is my very own version of the “Gamemaster” Manifesto originally found on Reddit:

This is my official manifesto as a GM:

“I am a gamemistress. I create worlds for players to inhabit and partake in great adventures in them. Without the players, I am nothing. In order to ensure a proper balance between myself and the players, I pledge to do the following:”

  1. I pledge to use the characters you made to determine the kind game you want to play–this includes class, stats, skills, and backstory. If you make me soldiers and spies, I will give you an action-packed game. If you make me politicians and schemers, I will run with the intrigue. I will also take into account your expectations and style as a player. To ignore this leads to frustration on all sides. Trust me, I know from experience.
  2. I pledge to run a game I enjoy. I will not scroll through my Twitter updates during combat if I am bored, and instead figure out what about combat is making me bored. I may use a 1-2-3-KO system if it’s too slow, or will try to tie them better into the story if they seem too detached to random. But if I ignore my own style and flair, I will burn out and the game will eventually crash.
  3. I pledge to give you a good story. That is, after all, what I think I’m good at. I will give you characters to conspire with and against, nations to save or ruin, and the Disreputable Dogs and Slaveys to terrify you or give comic relief.
  4. I pledge to remain true to the system. If we’re using 4e, I will utilize your combat powers. If we’re playing Savage Worlds, I’ll give you fast and furious. Ravenloft will be dark and tragic. I won’t try to sneak Houses of the Blooded into things, or deny that D&D is essentially a game of combat. Unless, of course, you want to go with Legend of the Five Rings or somewhat else that combines the two.
  5. I pledge to challenge your characters and you as a player. If you give me a strength, I will endeavor to make a weakness of it. If you want to be a hero, I will give you odds enough to make the title a true one. And I will make you choose between honor and pragmatism, if need be.
  6. I pledge to share the reigns of the story with you. I don’t believe in linearity, or railroads, and recognize that for every hook I give you, you will try to be as creative (and wacky) as possible in shaping it to your needs. I will run with the game and improvise the best I can. I will make sure your characters are active, rather than reactive.
  7. I pledge to keep to a schedule, and to give advance notice of cancellations, at least one week before. In return, please come on time and let me know if you expect to be late or miss. I will work with you on availability to the best of my ability.
  8. I pledge to honor fun above all else. Above egos and above rules. If there is something interfering with the fun at the table, I will address it.

What is yours?

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