Gamemastering as Generosity

Gamemastering is a generous act. It’s done for other people – the players – as much and if not more than it’s done for ourselves. GMing is a creative endeavour in which we present situations, characters, and the world itself for the players and their characters to explore.

As a generous act, gamemastering can be fulfilling. It’s well-established that giving of ourselves – especially our time and our skills – is a positive contributor to our well-being. But only if we are doing it from a place of generousity.

Is it possible to gamemaster without generosity? Yes, it is.

This has been a large part of the problem within my own GMing over many years. I would suggest that wanting the games I run to have certain outcomes, to play in a certain way, for it to be what I want it to be without much regard to the players has been a problem for me.

But that’s not all. You can be fail to be generous to your self, sitting at that table too. Generosity requires to freely give of your self and you can’t do that if you’re holding back what you have inside because you fear what other people will think of your ideas.

Gamemastering that is generous is going to come from within your self – your unique combination of experiences, desires, thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Your inner being. Your particular humanity.

Only you see the world the way you see it. Only you can express the gaming experience you are offering in the way you can express it. As has been said before, you can’t rely on being anything but your self because every one else is already taken.

To be generous means to reach inside your self and offer up what you find with honesty. Generous means to work out what your world, your characters, and the situations that arise from them might be… and then to offer them to your players. Trusting that it’s enough.

Generous means to give the thing you made to the players and then being willing to see what they’ll do with it. Maybe it won’t work they way you thought it would work – this particular combination of rules, methods, and world that you conjured up. But that’s ok. You offer it up and you see what happens.

I want to be a generous Gamemaster. I need to focus less on the outcome and more on the practice of Gamemastering. To find my authentic self and offer it to the players who sit at my table, or who gather around their computers, to experience what I offer.

I need to let them play with what I offer with no expectation but that I can observe what happens. I can focus on learning from the experience. I can iterate for next session. I can remember that I am doing this for us.

We are the group and my role is to be generous with my self. To give them the world, characters, and situations that arise from within me.

Game on!

One comment

  1. Remember also that part of being generous to self is being forgiving of yourself.
    In your wording always you expect so much of yourself.. to offer the perfect game. … it doesn’t exist.
    When u learn to forgive yourself of your perceived failings, only then will you be able to be the generous GM.
    Without the inner strength of personal forgiveness n acceptance, we find ourselves often making choices for the wrong reasons, because we are blinded by our own hurt.
    That bitterness we carry for ourselves serves none and hinders ourselves most.
    I’m still on that journey.
    I think we’re getting closer to the goal.

    Your insight in ghis post I believe is still genuine and true.
    Do this not just for self or others, but also the joy of the game itself.
    If we are too wrapped up in one aspect, it’s very easy to forget to enjoy the experience and really be present in it.

    Thank you for continually offering that opportunity to us.


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