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Author Topic: Paid GMming, Again  (Read 2354 times)

jeff37923

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Paid GMming, Again
« on: June 14, 2020, 07:29:01 PM »
OK, a friend ran across this and wanted my input on it, so I wanted to get theRPGSite brain trusts' opinion on it as well. It is a business selling paid GMs called StartPlaying Games and they offer online and in person gaming by a network of GMs (prices vary).

Spinachcat

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Paid GMming, Again
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2020, 07:52:09 PM »
If you have a group of players with disposable income and nobody wants to put in the GM hours (either to prep campaigns or to learn how to GM), then I can see the value.

But looking at the prices, I personally can't imagine paying $100 to $160 for a 4 hour online game for 4 players. That said, plenty of people drop $20 or more on Friday Night Magic events at game stores.

This is one of those "gig economy" jobs that can only exist in a good economy. Once the recession everyone seems to desperately want kicks into high gear, those prices are going to halve or less. It's like all the gourmet pizza places for a $40 large. That's cool when most people are flush, but your potential audience shrinks to nothing when good jobs are scarce.

tenbones

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Paid GMming, Again
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2020, 02:26:05 AM »
I look at it this way...

1) A potential powderkeg for GM's wanting to run high-quality games when some snowflake ignites over something you do that goes against current SJW Doctrine.
2) You lower your standards to running really vanilla games and do it for the cash.
3) If you don't like running vanilla games at that level for adults... then you'll come to hate it.

My wife has asked me to volunteer teaching kids and adults how to GM at our local library, but then Covid happened. I'm pretty busy as a person, but I think it would be good to initiate people in the the Way of the D.O.N.G.

Good GM's are what will save this hobby, regardless of what these companies try to socially engineer. For my time and effort - I don't need money. But I'd rather teach people to be good GM's rather than run games for rando's.

Ratman_tf

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Paid GMming, Again
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2020, 03:26:42 AM »
Eh. I'm not gonna judge. Maybe someone really wants to game and can't find a GM whatever.
For myself, I really like GMing, so if no one else is running a game, I will.
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Altheus

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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2020, 05:13:00 AM »
If someone can do this and make it work I'm not going to say they shouldn't, and I you've got a group of people with more money than time who want to play games but don't have the prep time to make them as good as they would like then fair enough.

Not for me but someone might find a use for it.

David Johansen

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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2020, 05:25:22 AM »
oooh!  DM PIMP!  You don't need to do the DMing, you just need to beat them up a bit to keep them in line and take a cut of their take.
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The Exploited.

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Paid GMming, Again
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2020, 06:41:00 AM »
Far be it from me, to tell people what they should or shouldn't spend their money on. But calling yourself a 'professional GM' is a tad esoteric and disingenuous. At best, you're a paid amateur, unless your making your living from it exclusively.

What actually qualifies these people anyway? Years of gaming - You mean like everyone else has who's been in the hobby for decades? A love of gaming? Uh... Do I even have to answer there. One person on that site said, they were in the Navy, what's that got to do with the price of piss??

Basically, the only thing separating these people from other GMs is having the ego, and balls to ask for money.

Like I said tho'... It's up to people how they spend their own cash. But there are plenty of free games online with GMs who are every bit as 'qualified', and you won't have to pay a penny.
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Omega

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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2020, 06:54:06 AM »
These crop up now and then. Someones allways going to try and monetize it.

Instead I prefer a donation pool for new gaming materials or to pay off renting a room at a library or wherever to meet at. This is what the first group I joined was doing.

crkrueger

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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2020, 08:57:55 AM »
The only "Professional GM" I've ever seen was one of those Living Stereotype Lifestyle Gamers that seem to inhabit Gameshops.

I'd pay for a good GM, no question.  However, even ones that are good I assume will be Schrodinger's Ogre, Narrative, Illusionist, Railroad, all the kinds of GMs the K3wlk!ds want.
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Zalman

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Paid GMming, Again
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2020, 09:49:41 AM »
Quote from: The Exploited.;1134175
Basically, the only thing separating these people from other GMs is having the ego, and balls to ask for money.
I'd say that describes most entrepreneurs, regardless of the field. Of course, talent will ultimately play a part in how much continued business they get -- the online world of feedback is brutal.

I have a different strategy to get paid to run games: sell the idea to the boss I already work for as a morale/team-building exercise.
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Steven Mitchell

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Paid GMming, Again
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2020, 10:17:42 AM »
I would never do this because I know that getting paid for it would change how I approach it.  If nothing else, when I GM it would no longer be solely a hobby, but now have a professional component.  People may or may not be willing to pay a reasonable rate for my games run under that caveat.  However, since it would add a level of stress to one of my main hobbies, I don't think people would be willing to pay what it would take for it to be worth it for me.  And even if they did, then I'd feel obligated to give them their money's worth, which would be yet another level of stress--that I most assuredly do not need.  

Paying for things changes their nature--inevitably.  For some people, the changes may be small enough to not matter that much, but I'd be careful to not delude oneself that there will be no changes at all.

S'mon

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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2020, 12:23:29 PM »
Quote from: tenbones;1134162

2) You lower your standards to running really vanilla games and do it for the cash.


I'm sure that's exactly what happens.
99% of people looking for & willing to pay a GM have never played nor GM'd.
99% of them want the vanilla experience, Lost Mine of Phandelver and all.

RandyB

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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2020, 12:31:53 PM »
Some hobby activities simply cannot be successfully monetized.

The Exploited.

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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2020, 12:43:28 PM »
I doubt they even get many players... I'd say this site is more about 'hope' than actuality.

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Snark Knight

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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2020, 01:15:59 PM »
My opinions on it are very mixed. When it was kept on the 'down low' I scoffed, laughed it off and moved on, however after a a brief exodus from RPGs a while back (due to lack of time) I returned only for it to appear the landscape has changed and they've become quite prevalent. My local gaming Facebook groups have a few very loud, very obnoxious 'professional DMs' shilling as desperately as they can to weasel in every avenue to advertise, particularly as Corona shut everywhere down. Meanwhile Roll20 - already dubious in it's quality - went from quietly shunting them in a corner to being about 50/50 Paid vs Free games, complete with a whopping great red (flag?) label.

After having read a few discussions about this elsewhere, I can sort of see the logic behind the argument that players who pay are far more likely to be committed and show up: if they're serious enough about it to pay, they're probably serious enough about it to be reliable, pay attention, turn up on time, actually want to get involved and be on the ball with what's being played. Now for DMs who don't have a tight circle of friends and rely on 'da community' at large? I can see the appeal in that, especially online, where the average Roll20 player seems to struggle writing out their own name, let alone colour within the lines - I'm barely exaggerating, the amount of people who can't follow basic instructions on signing up to games as requested is beyond ludicrous. However being the cynic I am, I feel like for the vast majority that's just an excuse to justify it and most either want to make a quick buck off their DMing, or are naive enough to think they could actually have a living out of it.

What I've noticed, at least online, is that the vast, vast majority of 'Paid DMs' are literally just purchasing modules like Return to Avernus, Storm King's Thunder etc and running them straight out of the box, particularly on platforms like R20 where pretty much everything from tokens to NPC text is done, you just need to move the counters and documents around on screen. Naturally they toss things like "I invest the money back into R20 to improve the platform!" but when they're asking an average of $10-$20 a head (WEEKLY) with five (if not more) players? I find that doubtful. Most I see also demand 'back payments' even if you miss a session, which is all kinds of hilarious.

Ultimately it doesn't effect me I suppose, being a Permanent GM, but if I was a player I would be conscious in the future of it potentially being the norm. As Steven Mitchell says, for me it would also take it beyond a hobby and into something with much more, well, professional expectations. I also know from experience that a lot of players, particularly those coming off a unhealthy diet of Critical Roll, have expectations of just about everything and anything going the way they want - rerolls, enemy motivations, NPC reactions - and will have a tantrum of, "I'm paying for this, it should be like THIS!", something which I've encountered in free games even.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 01:19:46 PM by Snark Knight »