What is a GM?

As described in the Beginner Lesson What is a DM, GM, or Narrator? a GM, or Narrator as I prefer to call them, is the person responsible for the running of the game. They create the story, characters, and responses to the players’ actions. It is the hardest job in the game but it can often be the most rewarding. The role of a narrator is very trying. A narrator needs to know most of the rules for the game they’re running inside and out. They also need to be prepared to take command in a multitude of situations. When the rules in the book are unclear it is the narrator’s job to make an immediate decision for what will happen so that the game does not slow down or stop. They might also decide to overrule the book and change a rule. They can give the players things the book wouldn’t normally allow or strike a character with sudden illness. The narrator is a godlike figure in the game, creating the area and the events that take place there. They are responsible for every character in the world that is not under the control of a player and they determine what happens when the players do something. If the players decide to kill the king in front of everyone how does the kingdom react? What do the guards do? How does the world they are playing in change after this event? These are common questions a narrator will need to ask themselves.


Outside of the constructed game world the narrator has a myriad of other jobs. They are primarily responsible for assembling the players, working out schedules for times to play, what the table etiquette will be, and how the game will be played. Some groups use miniatures and maps while others rely solely on narrative voice and descriptions. Any arguments at the table or any distracting behavior such as cellphone use is on the narrator to handle. The narrator is the game and the one who keeps order at the table.

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