So we have all have bad GMs. Come on admit it, you will feel better. See what I mean? Okay, really though, bad GMs can suck the fun out of the best games in the world. I have seen adversarial GMs, the “I want to win” GMs and even the dreaded no-prep at all GM. I can’t stand a bad GM, mostly because I try so hard to be a good one. I can’t claim that I am the best game master to ever GM, but most of my players enjoy my games. So what are some signs that a GM is going bad? These are the three signs that I perceive:
— The GM begins to think in terms of Me vs Them. The game turns into an attempt to destroy the players rather than collaborate with them. Players quickly wear out when they have to deal with adversity from the GM. I have personally had to quit games because the GM became too obsessed with TPKing the party.
— The game becomes too serious all the time. The GM starts to cut out the little things that make the game fun. Examples of this can be being sharp when the players get off topic (this is tough to measure) or forcing the plot in order to minimize the amount of in-character fun that the players are having.
— Prep time starts to go down. The GM starts to prepare less and less over time. The game starts out with a lot of prep and it shows. The prep work dwindles as they become frustrated or lose interest in their own campaign.
Note that the GM may not be a bad person or even a bad GM. In fact, many times the GM is a good GM who just goes bad. What are some traits of a GM going bad that you have seen? Have you ever been under a GM that was just bad? Tell me about it!