If you are a gamer it shouldn’t be a secret that your Game Master does a lot for you. For every hour of playing time, most GMs match that time in session prep, adventure design, and trying to anticipate every crazy thing you might do during the game. As well, many GMs are running multiple games, often to the point where session preparation becomes a part-time job. They deserve our respect and admiration; more than that they deserve tangible demonstrations of that respect.
Of course, you can get your game master gifts. Who doesn’t enjoy a present now and then? But speaking for myself, the best presents I can get from my players is an indication they are engaged in our game. This can be done by every player at every session, costing nothing but time and an occasional bit of brain sweat. Next time you want to show your GM some love, try one or all of these suggestions:
1) Be On Time – And by that I mean be early. If your game is supposed to start at 7pm, try to get there by 6:45 at the latest. That way you can settle in, talk about the week or the latest sci-fi blockbuster, grab a drink from the fridge, maybe ask that question about your character you have been pondering, all before the session is due to start. Being early shows that you understand how important the game’s time, and by extension the GM’s time, really is. Obviously, things will come up which keep you from arriving on time occasionally, but if you’ve made the effort your GM will definitely appreciate it.
2) Let It Go – Not every gamer is like this, but if you are, this is for you. The next time you are mid-encounter and the GM makes a rules call that you disagree with, let it go. I know it is hard to do, especially when you feel your character is getting the short end of it. But you have to acknowledge that your GM has a lot on the go in any game, and can’t always have perfect recall of the rules. And even if they could, let’s face it, sometimes the rules are ambiguous. So let the GM’s call stand and keep the game running. Alternately, if the rule in question is something that will come up often with your character, take some time between sessions to read up on it yourself. Then you can contact your GM to ask some questions before it ever comes up at the table. And if it is really that big a deal on the evening, talk to your GM after the session and sort it out then. Out of the moment, you’ll both be able to focus better on the issue.
3) Make an Offer – Come up with a little something extra for your GM’s campaign. You don’t need to fully design entire cities complete with centuries of history (though if you do I guarantee your GM will love you). But you could do the farm or village where your character grew up. Or write-up your character’s family. Or come up with some plausible descriptions for your character’s contacts, allies, and/or enemies. Doing this for your GM is like giving them the gift of time, and no game master I know ever has enough time. Your GM will appreciate anything you can do to shoulder part of the world-building. And relating it to your character will show your GM that you are invested in the campaign they are providing you.
So what do you do to show your GM some love? GMs, anything your players do to show how much they care?