pawndream
 member, 180 posts
Sun 18 Oct 2020
at 16:34
Re: Would you pay a GM?
Jarodemo:
Okay, random question that is purely hypothetical, Iím not planning a new business venture...!

Gaming is, for most of us, an amateur hobby. We play for free in our own time as and when we can. As such we often see games start but burn out as the GM simply doesnít have the time to commit to running it effectively. So...

Would you pay for a GM to run a game for you, either F2F, line online (e.g. via Discord) or by PBM?

If yes what expectations would you have? What sort of fees would you expect?


Yes. I have paid-to-play once and the experience was okay.

My main motivations were I had just moved to a new city, didn't know anyone, and wanted to meet other gamers. The FLGS where the GM hosted their games was/is billed as a premium gaming experience: interior resembles a medieval castle's hall, rock walls, timber beams, long tables and benches, weapons/armors on the wall, etc. with private gaming rooms with all the bells and whistles (whiteboards, miniatures, game mats, terrain, Syrinscape sound, comfortable chairs, wooden gaming tables, small refrigerator, etc.). Neat experience and was worth the ticket price, which in my case was $10, but the game wasn't something I wanted to continue long term (homebrew GM who seemed more enamored with world-building and voice acting NPCs than he was in facilitating a fun/engaging story).

The Professional GM and Pay-to-play model is actually quite common now and the going rate ranges from $10-$20 per player, per 4-hour session.

As to whether I would pay to play again, sure.

My expectations for Professional GMs: GM either comes prepared to run a fun/engaging session and/or is gifted with the ability to run fun/engaging games through pure improvisation. That's it.

This message was last edited by the user at 16:56, Sun 18 Oct.

donsr
 member, 2081 posts
Sun 18 Oct 2020
at 16:36
Would you pay a GM?
 big no here... i am in games with  DMs  who just left...some GMs  , don't care  are  the table setting is  done.

 and? if you start paying, you start expecting  things..and  the whole thing goes  down hill
facemaker329
 member, 7262 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Sun 18 Oct 2020
at 16:51
Would you pay a GM?
Playing is only a narrow slice of why I game.  It is, for me, as much about social interaction (yes, even in a PBP environment) as it is about playing a character and exercising my imagination.

As such, I couldn't give a clear yes-or-no answer to this question.  The right GM with the right group?  Maybe.  But my enjoyment of the game is as much about the other players as it is the GM...I have joined games by GMs whose games I had earlier enjoyed...but the lack of chemistry within the group killed my interest in the game.  So, since the GM can in no way guarantee that I will have a satisfactory gaming experience, I'd be reluctant to pay them to run a game.

Now, in a different scenario...if a GM running a game that I'm in and enjoying fell on hard times and needed a little help, financially, I'd be happy to give what I could.  But that would be a case of giving money to help a friend, rather than paying someone to offer a service.
praguepride
 member, 1704 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Sun 18 Oct 2020
at 21:57
Would you pay a GM?
A friend of mine became a paid GM. The party would each pitch in $5-10 to help compensate for things like minis/paints/scenery etc. About half the party were friends prior to the game and the other half were randos recruited from message boards/game stores. From what I heard the party got along just fine but it really stressed the GM out.

He would spend hours crafting this or that because he felt obligated to make it worth the while and because it was a custom home-brew campaign it was all on him to craft each upcoming scenario. I ended up getting drafted to assist him because he couldn't keep up with the workload on top of everything else. He ended up dropping out of a couple games he was playing in because this game became a huge time sink for him and he was only making like $40 a week from it...

From his experience here is my advice:

If you want to have a paid GM it is going to be a part-time job. It isn't a cool hobby you're making some money at, it becomes a part-time job and one that you will likely not be making even minimum wage with.

If you want to use the funds for minis and scenery just talk to the group. I had a GM talk to the group and we all pitched in funds so he could buy some cool expansions for the system. That worked out great because we could each pick some rule set we wanted to focus on for our characters and he got a ton of splat books to work off of.

Unless you're looking for a job, I wouldn't recommend it though.
NowhereMan
 member, 382 posts
Sun 18 Oct 2020
at 23:39
Would you pay a GM?
It used to be my job, years ago. In my case, it was a bit different, as I was being paid by the FNGS that hosted the game rather than the players directly, but it was still a paying gig.

praguepride has the right of it - it was a job. It was a fun job, but it was still a job. The stakes are higher than a regular game , just like working a kitchen as a chef is higher stakes than having your friends over for dinner. That said, it was a nice way to make money, and it gives you a very different view of the game than you have playing with your friends, and my groups since then have really appreciated the professional outlook I developed during that time.

As to whether I would pay a GM, yes! In fact, I have. I think every group has that "dream game" that everyone wants to play in, but someone has to take one for the team and run it. If you hire a GM, you all get what you want, and you get a lot more bang for your buck than a night at the movies.
Heath
 member, 2961 posts
 If my opinion changes,
 The answer is still 42.
Mon 19 Oct 2020
at 02:46
Would you pay a GM?
My son wants to do this for some side cash. I think it would work best if they offer a free trial first, like many professional teachers do. If they like what they see, they will pay for it in the future. If not, chalk it up to experience. They can also call it quits at any time.

It just probably needs the right personalities--not too demanding for players, and don't underdeliver for the DM. In some cases, if the DM uses the same modules over and over, he can probably get quite skilled and fast at running it, which would improve the quality of the game.

I think this is one of those "to each his own" situations.
OceanLake
 supporter, 1142 posts
Mon 19 Oct 2020
at 04:06
Would you pay a GM?
I'm thinking it'd work best if the GM were running a very detailed campaign written by a professional writer, or writers. IN that way, the GM would act as stage manager, bookkeeper, and umpire. Al this would require a large player base, each in several locations. Thinking about it, not so likely to happen.
Heath
 member, 2962 posts
 If my opinion changes,
 The answer is still 42.
Mon 19 Oct 2020
at 04:09
Would you pay a GM?
And I'm only half joking when I say he could leave out a "tip jar."
Tileira
 member, 523 posts
Mon 19 Oct 2020
at 08:32
Would you pay a GM?
If I was part of a group at a table or venue and our GM asked for cash to cover the booking, or providing food, or because they needed the income, I'd be happy to do it.

If I was going to a venue (game shop or cafe or a public/shared location) and the GM was running published modules, I think I'd be happy to pay into that per session on the door, or per session with a deposit on the first session. I wouldn't want to pay down for the whole module and then find out I don't get on with the group or the GM.

I wouldn't pay to play with a GM running a homebrew, because (a) I don't know him, so I don't know how far off the rails his plot is, and (b) I think that's a lot of stress for someone to run and the risk of burning out or giving up when the group gets too small is higher.

I would probably be ok to pay up to £15 per session, if it was at a booked venue (depending on the group size and venue costs) or £10 for paying a friend at their house. I would expect that unpaid, everyone coming to the game should bring either food for themselves or food to share, so that the GM is responsible for the game and doesn't have to worry about hosting.

Online, I just wouldn't do it. It's too easy for people to flake online and for people to misbehave in ways they might not do in person.
Rincewind
 member, 8 posts
Mon 19 Oct 2020
at 12:21
Would you pay a GM?
I would, as I am already doing so. Paying for a weekend voice game on roll20 & discord. I pay 10 euros every session. With 4 players and 5-6 hours each session, it's not the most profitable work. The money pays for nice maps, tokens as well as the rules which he can share with the other players.

As an added bonus, I have found the game to be one of the most stable I've been involved in. None of the players have up and left us without word and we have played for almost 30 sessions.
praguepride
 member, 1705 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Mon 19 Oct 2020
at 18:36
Re: Would you pay a GM?
Heath:
And I'm only half joking when I say he could leave out a "tip jar."



I wouldn't call them "paid GMs" but for tabletop games there was always the understanding that the players would pay for pizza and beer.

edit: If you want to ride that gap between "paid job" and "free for friends" just offer up a list of things you would LIKE to purchase, a wishlist and just let your players know its there. Similar to patreon or kickstarter providing a reason WHY you need the funds might do a lot towards getting buddies to chip in.

This message was last edited by the user at 18:37, Mon 19 Oct.

Heath
 member, 2963 posts
 If my opinion changes,
 The answer is still 42.
Tue 20 Oct 2020
at 00:33
Re: Would you pay a GM?
praguepride:
edit: If you want to ride that gap between "paid job" and "free for friends" just offer up a list of things you would LIKE to purchase, a wishlist and just let your players know its there.

Funny you should say that. As an enterprising 13 year old in the early 80s, I asked for money to pay for the published modules and snacks. I kept the modules and we shared the snacks...until friends' parents didn't want to give them money anymore.
Jarodemo
 member, 874 posts
 My hovercraft
 is full of eels
Tue 20 Oct 2020
at 11:08
Re: Would you pay a GM?
For me, the appeal of paying a professional GM (as opposed to giving a friend a few quid to go towards materials and/or snacks) would be the expectation of a high quality game that is well planned and exciting to play, with a GM who can react well to player curve balls, and, most importantly, doesnít vanish after a couple of sessions due to real life getting in the way.

But then, playing with your mates is half the fun...!
Gaffer
 member, 1656 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Tue 20 Oct 2020
at 19:41
Re: Would you pay a GM?
I suppose I do indirectly at cons. But generally, no.
ladysharlyne
 subscriber, 2856 posts
 You get out of a game the
 effort you put in it !!
Wed 21 Oct 2020
at 12:11
Re: Would you pay a GM?
quote:
FACEMAKER329 - Playing is only a narrow slice of why I game.  It is, for me, as much about social interaction (yes, even in a PBP environment) as it is about playing a character and exercising my imagination.


That statement is why the majority  of us on here do play.  I have never played a tabletop game here or in real life but have friends that do.  The problem is with the amount you would pay a superbly great DM from £10 - £30+ a week, a month, is not affordable to must everyday people.  Hence, they would not join and pay only because they could not afford it.  That is why this site and others(if there are any) like it are important so the everyday person can write, enjoy socializing, friendships, creativity, etc.  Putting a price online or off soon stops those that need and escape, a creative forum, online friendships, and more out of the reach of those that need the therapy.

Just my opinion and we all have one LOL
praguepride
 member, 1706 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Wed 21 Oct 2020
at 15:45
Re: Would you pay a GM?
Gaffer:
I suppose I do indirectly at cons. But generally, no.


This brings up a really good point. If I were to pay a GM I think it would be in terms of a one-off adventure. A bachelor's night (day? weekend?) experience where we all get to be on the same page and we bring in a ringer to wow us with minis and equipment and run through a single module.

If I were to become a paid GM I would have a set campaign and be able to provide an overall timeline. I wouldn't want the stress of an "open-ended game" where I never know what to prep. Instead I would develop a custom campaign along the lines of either a module or an adventure path and develop the crap out of it and sell that.

"Pay me $XXX and I will run you through the best Waterdeep: Dragon's Heist experience."

I would have high quality vinyl maps, painted minis for all the bad guys, develop voices and theatrics for the major villains, inject my own stuff when it fits and I have the motivation just so it isn't bog standard 'out of the book'.

Develop one game really really well and sell that as an experience. $XXX for Y sessions for Z story. My buddy who lost his mind as a paid GM did really well at first but because he felt obligated to let the players pursue whatever goals they wanted he ended up losing his mind as he had 8 different storylines he was juggling and they were always going in random directions so half his prep work would be thrown out every session etc.
ScooterinAB
 member, 221 posts
Thu 22 Oct 2020
at 22:55
Re: Would you pay a GM?
No. As an ESL teacher, I can charge in excess of $30 an hour because I have a degree in communication, an ESL teaching certificate, and 5 years of teaching experience. I have credentials I can show a client or an employer that support my claim.

What credentials does a GM have? Have can they be peer reviewed and accredited? A GM can say whatever they want about what the experience would be like, but I can never know until after the game has ended and I've already paid. I can't prove that this GM is actually good enough at what they do to justify the cost, no matter what experience they say they have because there are no credentials to prove.

Now, if a game creator was running the game, or there were giveaways, that's a different story. If someone like Shane Lacy Hensley, Ken Hite, or Jolly R Blackburn were charging to run a game, I know from their work that they will probably run a good game. That they are published and continue to be is each of their credentials.
NowhereMan
 member, 384 posts
Thu 22 Oct 2020
at 22:59
Re: Would you pay a GM?
Back when I was doing it, there was an accreditation process for Dungeons and Dragons. You studied, there was a test, etc. It was through the RPGA, then through DCI when Wizards of the Coast combined the two organizations.
praguepride
 member, 1707 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Thu 22 Oct 2020
at 23:00
Re: Would you pay a GM?
Would you consider props and minis as part of credentials? Like if a GM had a picture of a whole room full of painted minis and terrain and said "pay me so you can use all my awesome stuff" might be a worthwhile experience as well.
NowhereMan
 member, 385 posts
Thu 22 Oct 2020
at 23:13
Re: Would you pay a GM?
That's a good point. I have several hundred dollars worth of minis, since a store I worked for gave me a bunch of store credit. I averaged about 50 new minis a week for 5 years simply because it was a good way of burning through credit. My main group doesn't use them much, but my newest group seems pretty into them.
Isida KepTukari
 member, 365 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Fri 23 Oct 2020
at 02:40
Re: Would you pay a GM?
If I were wanting to try out a game without wanting to commit to a group or a particular system (and didn't have the wherewithal to go to a convention), trying out a particular game via paid GM seems a good service to pay for.  Then I don't feel bad if the system ends up not being to my taste (as I can just leave), or if it is, then I can see about fitting it into my budget for a longer-term thing.

I might also pay a GM if we were playing a store where we had to rent a table or room (as my FLGS does), to not only cover the cost of the space, but also the GM hauling additional books or props and doing set-up.

Mostly I'd see paying a GM as a stepping stone to a permanent group, or a way to offset inevitable costs of playing at a particular space.  If the game was particularly good, then I could see working it into my budget as a more regular thing.
Jarodemo
 member, 876 posts
 My hovercraft
 is full of eels
Fri 23 Oct 2020
at 06:29
Re: Would you pay a GM?
In reply to ScooterinAB (msg # 20):

Does that logic not also apply to many other things? You might pay to go to the cinema and not enjoy the movie at all, despite positive critical reviews. You might hire a tradesperson and then not be impressed with their work. Or tried a new hairdresser and had a total fail.

Credentials certainly help, but donít tell the whole picture. Iím sure you are a great ESL teacher, but I also bet you have met plenty of qualified teaching professionals who you felt werenít good teachers, I know I have!

Hiring any person to perform a service brings an inherent risk that they might not live up to expectation.
Isida KepTukari
 member, 366 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Fri 23 Oct 2020
at 07:30
Re: Would you pay a GM?
*shrug*  That's a risk with anything.  While I game to find new friends to game with, if I were just shopping around, paying a GM in a neutral setting could be a good way to figure out if a type of game could be worth playing at all.
Piestar
 member, 756 posts
 once upon a time...
 ...there was a little pie
Mon 2 Nov 2020
at 18:05
Re: Would you pay a GM?
No.

That said, a full on LARP experience, with a meal, props and actors might be fun once, if I had some extra cash.

I did once have a DM who put out a bottle that he called the DM's benevolence fund, and you could buy adjustments to your dice rolls. I found it tacky.
JRScott
 member, 59 posts
Sun 8 Nov 2020
at 17:52
Re: Would you pay a GM?
Years ago I DM'd a game on what became yuku forums and then later something else. The game ran for years and sadly ended when one of the principle players died of cancer and it became to hard for the others to continue. I even tried to rebrand it with new name, logo, new theme but it just fell apart. However for the first year I paid the fee to register the board and then the players voluntarily donated to pay the board after that. So I guess in a way I was paid, but the funds only went to pay for the board at that time. It lasted for nearly a decade, and yes some people involved with game design at the time did play in the game but I will not say who.

In running the game even with people just paying to keep the board going, I will say there was pressure to keep regular post, etc. More pressure than if I DM'd in person at a table when I was just getting snacks.

In face to face games I've often brought chips or drinks to share when a player.

I've never paid cash though and since I'm largely medically disabled right now with no source of income I couldn't pay right now (and I can't attend face to face games as I have an open wound that is still healing). As a result of the wound I can't sit or stand for long periods of time, but if I were able and wanted to I'd probably be willing to pay a little to sit at a table if I couldn't find a free game.

This message was last edited by the user at 17:54, Sun 08 Nov.