GMs: Delegate for a better RPG experience

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As a Game Master or Dungeon Master, managing a table is no easy feat and a LOT are happening at the same time.

It’s often too much too handle and can be stressful – tracking initiative, conditions, rules, time, combatant hit points, and other rules. For an inexperienced GM, this will definitely slow down the game and affect the “fun” at the table.

Delegation isn’t just a trait used by managers in the corporate world but works well in your gaming table too.

As a GM, I often delegate minor and logistical tasks to the other players so that I can focus more on the story and get the game moving. This speeds up the game (and helps me so much) and the players will feel empowered with their assigned tasks.

Here are some of the things in my table that I let the players manage:

  1. Tech Assistant GM: Surely one in your table will be a rules-geek. I assign that guy to search for rules answers and to get clarification on any rules question(s) that come up in-game. Of course, I still have final say.
  2. Initiative Master: This guy handles all aspects of initiative, including asking the players to roll, recording the results, announcing the turn order and getting things moving during the actual rounds.
  3. Battle Lord: I assign a player to keep track of damage dealt to major monsters or adversaries. If I need an update, I just ask the Battle Lord so I know how bloodied or wounded (or dead) my bad guys are.
  4. Treasurer: Delegate someone to keep track of all loot and magic items gained during the adventure.
  5. Death Lord: In games where “kills” determine Experience Points, I assign someone to record all monsters killed. At the end of the game, he/she gives me the list and I make a tally.
  6. Scribe: In our games, those who love writing and making journals are assigned the task of recording our adventures and making synopses and game summaries. Often, I ask them to post it on our private Facebook group, blog or Obsidian Portal after a game. Even “bullet points” of major events and anecdotes go a long way so as not to forget what transpired during your sessions.
  7. Mood MC: One of my players loves to take care of setting up our sound system and managing our playlist during the adventure. This is a great help since I just give him a cue such as “fight music”, “exploration” and he never fails to surprise us with brilliant selections of songs and even background, ambient sounds to bring life to our gaming!

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I often give out either extra EXP to those who volunteer for being “Assistant-GMs”. Sometimes for games such as D&D, you can give them “Inspiration” at the start of a session as another reward. For other game systems, it will be easy to find a minor reward as way of saying “Thank You”.

I also make sure to rotate the tasks so that everyone gets a turn at having management roles at the table. Soon, you will find particular players who favor a certain job over the other and they’ll be more than happy to volunteer come next session.

Hoping you’ll apply the tips here in your table.

May the dice gods be always good and remember – if it feels like work, then it’s no longer a game!

Strength and Honor,

Mon Macutay, August 2017

PS. A shout-out to my perennial GM-assistants, Mark Aragona (Initiative Master and Scribe), Chris Cruz (Musical Conductor and Director of Sound), Glenn Chua (Accountant and Loot Wiz), and Carlo Rivera who handles everything in between! Thanks guys! You make my GMing life so much easier!

 

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