Since today is Thanksgiving, I wanted to do something different. I want to share something meant to bring everyone at your table together and offer thanks to each other and to the people in and outside of the industry that have influenced your gaming experience.
Thank Your GM
Being a game master is incredibly rewarding, but it is also stressful. Your job is to entertain and engage everyone at the table at the same time while allowing each of them enough time to express themselves and influence the story while not allowing anyone to take up so much time that it overshadows anyone else too much. It’s a delicate balance and it’s not easy to do. On top of that, GMs spend hours drawing maps, building or researching creatures, stringing together a (hopefully) interesting story, implementing influences and suggestions from the players, and giving up on some time relaxing with a form of entertainment in his or her free time in order to accomplish all of those things.
Take some time and thank your GM. Tell them your favorite moment of the game thus far. Tell them your biggest surprise from the game. Tell them how the game positively affected you. Tell them something meaningful and express your appreciation for their dedication. A few words (and maybe a cake or sketch or something nice for them) can go an incredibly long way.
For bonus points, ask the GM to tell you about a time or two where he or she created a complex encounter that the players completely nullified or circumvented through unexpected means. Anyone GMing for long enough has plenty of examples.
Thank Your Players
Despite trying to keep everyone engaged and happy, there are times when a story element or encounter isn’t as exciting or interesting as you thought it would be, someone gets left out, or you make a bad call during the pressure of a stressful, fast-paced moment. It happens, but it’s the affected player that has to deal with the bulk of the fallout from it. While the GM’s mind is constantly racing with what to do now and next, sometimes one or several players are left with nothing to do. Despite our best efforts, sometimes we drop the ball as a GM.
So thank your players for putting up with you when problems arise. Ask them for a suggestion or two on how to engage the players more or suggestions on some other problem you face or uncertainties you have. Ask them what they really like about the game so you know how to better incorporate it. Engage with them about what they enjoy and what could use improvement.
And while the GM’s life can be hectic, the players have lives of their own as well. While they (most likely) enjoy coming to the game every week, they’re still giving something up to show up. Thank them for their time and influence on the story.
Thank Your Influences
Take some time and write an email, a tweet, or something else to someone or some company that made a positive impact on how you play or run tabletop RPGs. If a celebrity or podcast that plays or talks about RPGs got you into it, say thanks and let them know how it positively affected you. Did a Bethesda RPG give you a taste of the joys of exploring and how that can impact your view of a world? Send them a tweet letting them know how much you appreciate the effort they put into their games. Did a Bioware or Dark Souls game help influence your play style or to create a world showing how choices and specific interactions can completely change a story? Thank them. Did the world or ideas in a book make you want to set a whole campaign in that world? You get the idea.
If someone on Reddit or Facebook or another social network answered questions, offered suggestions, or helped you, tell them that you are grateful and appreciative of their contributions. Tell the mods of your favorite subreddits or forums that you appreciate their work.
Personally, I Want to Thank YOU
I started Steal My Idea over a year ago. After posting something new every week, I started sharing more on Twitter and Reddit to reach more people who could benefit from these ideas.
Every week, I get around 700 to 2,500 people on my website, with the overwhelming majority of them looking at Steal My Idea. I’ve received a few comments on my site saying that they enjoy the post, and I’ve engaged with some people on Reddit who enjoy my posts and say they will use them in their own games. I cannot express how much I appreciate your kind words, your thoughts, your critiques, your questions, and your encouragement. Knowing that people get enjoyment out of the things I write is a feeling I can’t compare to anything else. It truly overwhelms me.
To lurkers and commenters alike, thank you, thank you, thank you. Your engagement and views are such a means of motivation and encouragement. I will continue to work on creating entertaining new ideas worth stealing.