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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

How to find out if you are cut out to be a GM

 I know, sounds like I'm being a blowhard asshole. We are all good Game Masters if we have been at it enough and are willing to learn from our mistakes and you remember everyone else is there to play a roleplaying game also and don't want to be railroaded.

No, I'm talking about reaching back in time and figuring why when I first heard someone describe a roleplaying game to me (1976?) I had no idea what they were talking about and at the same time I knew I had to get down on this roleplaying game stuff. And why did I go straight to Game Master without considering being a player? What is burnt into my synapsis which makes me think about gaming and the games I'm involved with ALL THE FUCKING TIME? Even when I wasn't gaming from 1993 till 2012 I had a Elric! always by my side and I would rather speculate on what adventure to write as opposed to reading all my fantasy books again? Like for realzies. Not, "oh I'm a creative person, that's why". Everyone is a creative person. Even the ones who say they are not. 

This past weekend I was at a dinner party and the four of us, and this was not my idea, completed the Briggs-Myers personality test. A coupley thing to do with your coupley friends. I'm sure this has been done as a party game like a bagillion times and I was familiar with this test in a pop-culture sort of way. Never took it though. I did take an ADHD test years ago, but I knew what the results were going to be before I took it. Off the charts (passing?) grade! So the test is supposed to identify what of 16 different personality types you are. That is all I knew about it, don't know what the types are, don't know what the definitions of each type are. I was intrigued immediately. You mean I have a class? I love classes. I'm even fine with race as class. Except I don't want to be pigeon holed. I got to be free man, I'm not one thing. This has got to be a crock of shit. 

I landed on ENTP, the debater. Per the game rules, once you came up with your personality from completing the test you turn the laptop over to someone else and they read it out loud. Then you talk about why you think so and so are together. Lot of oohs, awws and of course laughs. 

If you are looking for someone to be game master you might want to ask them if they are ENTP because there is a shit-ton packed into this type which make for excellent traits in a Game Master. It also answered for me my speculations on why there are far to few Game Masters out there compared to players. Or why there are more folks looking to be players as opposed to being a Game Master. One, it is a never ending thankless task of staying in genre and put forth interesting and original ideas for people to dig into, give back and complete the circle. Second the ENTP represents only 3% of the population! We are rare birds indeed. 

I also found out why my wife will never be interested in playing rpg's. She landed on ISFJ, Defender. Protective, warm and caring is not what you want in a Game Master. 


  1. I'm pretty sure that test is bugged, my results were not me that's for sure. Being a G.M is possibly rare because after a while its like work, you have to keep track of events, items, the current story line and what changes need to be made due to the players actions. It's cool if a player picks up some of the slack but honestly most tend to lose their notes.

  2. The research I did so far doesn't support that the test is bugged. In aggregate. It seems the charges against it are not well supported while the work which has gone into it over the last 80? years is well documented and backed up by data collected. It is an approximation, what written test can reveal all the complexities of a persons personality? But, and this is anecdotal the three other people at the table felt they got an accurate result. They said yeah that's me. And then the fun we had was debating the nuances of each other. We were playing a game and the qualities listed for mine had qualities I think go into the kind of person who makes a good game master. But yes, being a GM isn't easy so it helps if the person "likes" doing it. I'm not saying the traits needed to be a GM are rare. I really don't know what to make of the 3% of the population part, that is way out of my depth. I've taken these types of tests before on a lark, they are all available online these days, and if it is something being used and studied by qualified folk (scientists) I've found them pretty accurate and informative.

    1. Someone like yourself, a rare and beautiful flower that you truly are, is not going to be handled well by a test which is designed for us mere humans Mark. I think you would be called an outlier? If someone asked me if that term fitted you I would grin and say with most affection, fucking right, but the guy sure can play the shit out of his character and I would want him at the game table any chance I get!

    2. Cheers man, I'm still trying to figure out why the test just showed me the number for the Samaritans at the end? Weird. :)

  3. I've probably taken this test but forgot the result. Your "I'm a free man" comment might say more about your desire to run the game than be run by it.

    As for your wife, the male/female dynamic plays a role. Generally speaking, men are drawn to fantasy roleplaying more than women. But that might play into their nurturing aspects.

    Either way, good topic for discussion. I'm almost always the GM, but not sure why I do it, aside from being an anti-authoritarian control freak.

    1. Thanks, you are only one of like twenty people who didn't say I was an asshole!

    2. and my wife never has shown any interest in ttrpg. here interests lie elsewhere; camping, hiking, vegan cooking. she thought the test nailed her and she is a doctor. we travel really well together and that is our glue which keeps us together year after year... :)

      PS: How do I get you a copy of my latest release from the press Venger? The Black Book of Sorcery!


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