This one is MOSTLY for our novice or beginning GMs out there but everyone can use a reminder…
Today two of my good friends tied the knot and I was there as a guest in the capacity of “partner of a wedding party member” this means a lot of time “almost involved” in the main event but also means that you are running in a support capacity. The story was NOT about me today, it was my great friends’ big day and it was perfect. As one of my many roles in the periphery I offered to take candids while the wedding got going and the real photographer showed up…
So I stepped behind the camera… and became invisible.
As I tried to capture the story of the afternoon, tried to bring things into focus, and tried to get clear every detail my own importance faded. People shut out the lens, ignore it, and sometimes even pretend it (and you) are not there. On the rare occasion they pose or ham it up for the observing eye but as a whole the experience was about the subject. I ceased to be present as a person and became rather a part of the event.
You see where I am going?
GMing (or DMing or whatever you call it) is an act of service. Often GMs are considered egotistical or controlling, a puppetmaster forcing the players to move through the curves of your narrative. A great story well told however, has little to no trace of your actual presence. Instead you are the inflection of a tone, the shift of the wind, and the intangible force of destiny itself. Don’t let the dissolution of self get you down. If you feel invisible or absent you are probably at your a-game. Judge your skill by the reactions in your players, the yelling and the laughter at your table. You don’t always want the game to break down with “Awesome discription man…” A post-game smiling nod or a “Great game” is probably a sign of a profoundly better GMing that an in the moment exclamation of “Awesome!” in the moment (though I never really mind that).
So craft your world, set your scene, and prepare to vanish in plain sight.