GM’s rights and GM trust

August 23, 2007

There’re a lot of discussions on the rights of the game master (GM, DM, ST, whatever): not only what (s)he can or cannot do in terms of game mechanics, but also in a broader sense of when players should suppress their suspicions and trust that GM is still in control of the game process, and when they should say “hold it right there” and probably even stop playing at all.

There are two polar views: one is called “GM is always right” (and thou shalt have faith in the GM in any situation), the other one is encountered in GM-less indie RPG when all players have equal rights and equal trust. Depending on taste and mostly personal experience people would argue that one of the two is best or come up with yet another theory for something in between.

The truth is simple. The more the GM cares about the game and the more the GM does for it, the more rights the GM has and the more trust the GM deserves from the players. If the game goes on without much effort from the GM, (s)he doesn’t and shouldn’t have much influence on it (if it works, don’t break it). If the game requires constant attention and the GM puts much more effort in it that all the players together, they should learn to trust the GM and let the GM do what (s)he wants to build a great game for them. That’s all there’s to it.