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  1. amdawursk's Avatar
    I argue that paying a GM is just the natural progression of any service. Rpgs are becgoming more popular but people like to play, they don't like the pressure of having to build the world, build the npc's, build the adventure and plan out the time. In rough estimate one hour for a players game time is about 4 to 5 hours of just prep for the GM. On top of that, the GM has to work a regular job to survive in general, pay bills, get food, etc. So they have to actively set aside time to plan this out, sometimes on a biweekly basis or more. Gms are in incredible high demand I could post on one of these forums and get 7 players in a few days at most. But if you're a player finding a GM is very difficult.
    Further, a lot of gms are lazy (not the majority). Everyone has some sort of bad GM story where the GM railroads players cause they gate them "going off script", or refuse to adjust encounters to the party's skill level, either up or down, to keep it a fair challenge. Or just lose interest. Paid games would allow gms with the passion to focus all their attention on improving their craft to make it worth the time. And the market will keep quality in check, as more gms start to build businesses around gaming, the market will become competitive. I can understand why many people are against paid gms, but I do not agree that it is the same prostitution. If we wanted to stick to our principles, all services sold for entertainment is the same as prostitution. It is no more prostitution than play actors, than authors than game designers. The world operates on trade. You want me to do something for you, you need to do something for me. You want someone to type out spreadsheets, I'll do it if you pay me. You want read the book I spent 3 years working on, you can if you pay me. You want me to spend 20 hours building an adventure for you to derail for your entertainment, I'll do it if you pay me.
    No, just getting paid doesn't make you good at your hobby, but it is an incentive to improve your craft. I'm currently working on my drawing hobby so I can draw out my npc's and characters for my games, and if I get good enough, I'm going to offer to do commissions for other gamers who want them.
    The one biggest benefit of paid GMs verses unpaid, is control over players who join. The pay wall creates a filter and the gms price determines the guard of the filter. A GM who charges a 20 dollar game per player will have a higher amount of players interested over the GM who charges 50 dollars. I know people who would pay 50 dollars for a 6 hour session with a reputable GM. I know people who would pay 20 bucks just have someone run a game, I've been offered money to GM.
    The ultimate fact is, as long as rpgs become more and more popular, paid gms will be unavoidable. Not everyone can run a game, not everyone wants to run a game, so to help control supply and demand, pay walls will become more and more common. If your not willing to pay, it's going to be harder to find a GM than if you are willing to pay. It's not going to be a super well paying career path like any subjective based service, but it will be like YouTube, some people will do it for fun, some will be able to make a small amount of money, some people will make a reasonable living, and some people will thrive and make a fortune.
    My last point of contention is your advice on, "if you can't find a game, run one yourself..." If you apply the prostitution analogy to it, it breaks that analogy, if you can't find a prostitute for free, become one yourself. GMing most of the time now a days isn't just amongst friends, it's with random people, I get 3 new players every month on average for adventures league and after a while other players drop off. I've made friends yes, but most of the time it's closer to a "one night stand" relationship than "normal" relationship. I know you mean well so this isn't meant to seem over aggressive, but I feel it's kinda insulting to equate paid GMs to prostitution cause the further extension from that is we're a bunch of dumb prostitutes cause we offer our services for free when we could be getting paid for it.
  2. BobTheMercenary's Avatar
    I need to find one of these paid games. Im tired of not having a game to play in. At least if the GM is paid he'll be there.
  3. Saladin's Avatar
    Of course ó thatís why I pirate modules and software, and sneak in to concerts. Who do these greedy Capitalists think they are? Their time and creative abilities arenít worth anything.
  4. wmsmitty's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails
    Interesting article I just ran across;

    It's from April 2017, so not new, but new to me.
    I saw this a while back. I even checked out their channels. They're knowledgeable guys and know the game quite well; but nothing out of the ordinary. In my mind anyway. Their approach and content isn't anything that I haven't already done as a GM. ****, I've been GMing since 1988.

    But again, I don't fault them for making money on what they love to do and I don't fault the players that pay them. Basically, Youtube enabled them to do this. If there was no Youtube, these guys wouldn't be getting paid. They took advantage of an online medium early on and are now profiting from it.
  5. mervhd's Avatar
    A lot of good thoughts here. I for one am not apposed to pay to play games but I can see how people would feel like it cheapens the experience. With that said I can see how it can bring some stability to flaky games. Nothing more annoying than a player or DM flake out at the last minute... online or in person.
  6. dulux-oz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mlesnews
    As I'm just getting back into RPG after 40 years, I found that your advice is spot on to what is normally referred 'Need before Greed' in most modern MMORPGs. Breaking this down further with dice rolls, buy-in and buy-back is geniusly simple way to resolve looting rights. Sage advice sir, thanks!

    You're welcome
  7. mlesnews's Avatar
    As I'm just getting back into RPG after 40 years, I found that your advice is spot on to what is normally referred 'Need before Greed' in most modern MMORPGs. Breaking this down further with dice rolls, buy-in and buy-back is geniusly simple way to resolve looting rights. Sage advice sir, thanks!
  8. LordEntrails's Avatar
    Interesting article I just ran across;

    It's from April 2017, so not new, but new to me.
  9. Felix4099's Avatar
    People spend entirely too much time talking about why they don't like this or that. It's not illegal. If you don't believe in paying for a DM, then don't. Go do something you enjoy.
  10. mbabbs's Avatar
    Doesn't bother me - if someone wants to make some money out of professional GM'ing and others want to pay for it then great. Got no problem with that.
  11. wmsmitty's Avatar
    Free market enterprise. If players are willing to pay a GM money to run a game; kudos to the GM. Live and let live...what's the harm? If you don't believe in paying for the service of a GM, don't. If you are a player who is open to paying a GM to run a game, then who are we to judge? If the players are finding value for the experience of paying a GM for a game, then good for them. Personally, I would never pay a GM to play an RPG; but let's flip the coin. How many of us have paid to play RPG's at GenCon? You're paying to play a game there. So what is the difference? The experience of attending a convention?

    DM's spend a lot of time prepping their worlds, adventures, buying modules, miniatures and spending money on all sorts of gaming accessories to provide a great gaming experience. All players do, is show up with their character, PHB and maybe a miniature to represent their character and play. The opinion of the poster is a valid one and one I partially share; but it is an opinion and I myself am not one to judge the success or failure of players paying a GM to render a gaming experience. If money can be had as a paid GM, then good for that person. I wish them continued success; it just won't be me that will be contributing to their success.
  12. Lunalight's Avatar
    I think I understand the points you are making. Please correct me if these are unfair reductions.

    1. Roleplaying games are an activity to be conducted amongst friends. Paying people to be a friend is problematic. Therefore, paying for your roleplaying games is problematic.
    2. Paying for someone to operate your game misaligns their incentives, giving you an inferior experience.
    3. You are getting ripped off because the money you spend does not result in a better experience.
    4. You are better off searching longer for a free game/making a game yourself than paying for a readily available game.

    If I have this correct, then I have a few counterpoints.

    Addressing point 1, I don't think that roleplaying games are conducted with friends in the traditional sense of the term. Especially online, people who play games with each other have very little if any commitments to each other, and can often be flakey. I think we are united by a common hobby, but that doesn't make me friends any more than going to a convention makes me friends with everyone who attends. Roleplaying games are an opportunity for friendships to foster for sure, but there is something inherently attractive about people being committed to the game for reasons that you can control.

    As for point 2, I agree that definitely can be the case. When paying for games, the expectations should be made very clear what sort of experience will be delivered. If a player actively seeks out an easy mode and is willing to pay for that experience, I don't mind them cheapening their own experience, but the problems stem from the group nature of games. If some players seek a challenge and others want easy mode, then the GM cannot deliver one experience without compromising the other.

    For point 3, you are half right. You are correct in saying that there are amazing GMs who do not charge the players for the experience and that having to pay for an experience doesn't mean that it is worth money. However, I think it is weird to say that GMs need to be good at being GMs to justify charging for their games. It doesn't have anything to do with quality, but instead availability. Maybe I want to spend a few extra hours working on making my campaign a more enjoyable and compelling experience, but I could also spend that time relaxing or working more hours. Undoubtedly the most dedicated to the game will accept the sacrifice of their relaxation or opportunities for additional income, but if you just wanted more people to expend such effort, paying them is an efficient way to create that result. More people are willing to create quality experiences for money than those who are eager to do so for free. There is excellent and unique value in a GM who is willing to spend their time and resources towards creating a fantastic experience for their players, but there are just not enough of them to sustain all the players looking for a high-quality game.

    Lastly, on point 4, I think that while that is a valid subjective opinion, I can't say it will exist as commonly as you might want it to. For many people, roleplaying games are about having fun, and not having to deal with real-world problems. If I can pay money to make GMs and players adjust their schedules to fit mine, that is an enticing proposition. GMing, while able to be done by a 12-year-old, is something which involves a lot of management. If you don't find the act of GMing entertaining, then you will probably try to find someone who does. Failing that, it is usually easy to find people who enjoy being paid money in exchange for services.

    As an afterthought, I wanted to address your comparison of love-making to paying a prostitute. I admit, when you pay someone to GM for you, that makes it hard for them ever to become your friend. The power that you hold over them makes that prospect challenging. It could be the case that the pinnacle of the roleplaying experience could be lost through paying for your GM. But, the accessibility of the pinnacle of the roleplaying experience and that of finding a loving partner are significantly different. Most people have an intrinsic desire to be loved and to love. Few have the desire to be a quality GM for the sake of it. If it means that more people can play games of good quality, then the existence of paid games seems to be a positive force towards achieving that goal.
  13. Zuger's Avatar
    I just wanted something for when my PC's find 100,000 cp and say we will take them :-) I like to ask how
    And finally magic users will consider using other spells than fireball and cone of cold ^^
  14. Myrdin Potter's Avatar
    I don’t have an issue with someone charging to run a game, and if people are willing to pay, then it is their money, their choice. Paying for entertainment, especially entertainment done well is really not a big deal.

    Would I charge to run a game? For charity, yes. Otherwise, no I would not. I am paid quite a high rate when I work as a consultant and I place very high standards of performance on myself because of that. There is no way that I would charge someone to DM as I enjoy it for its own sake.

    The hobby itself and this program and these forums are supported because people pay for them.

    I respect and mostly agree with dulux-oz’s opinion, but the counter balance to that is that I will not interject my dislike of their behavior into thread or conversations where it is not wanted. The new forum rule to keep aggressive advertising down is enough and they are welcome to their own threads and personal business.
  15. GunnarGreybeard's Avatar
    I think I might find it hard to kill a PC or not fudge rolls when $$$ is involved. Kind of invokes a 'quid pro quo' that I wouldn't really be comfortable with, but maybe that's just me.
  16. LindseyFan's Avatar
    Kind of like CPR.
  17. LordEntrails's Avatar
    GMing is a valuable skill. Not everything that has value should be traded for money. Or has the same value when it is traded for money. imo.
  18. LindseyFan's Avatar
    I of course agree 100% with Dulux-Oz. I think everything he said in the OP and follow-ups are pretty spot on in assessment of this bizarre habit. A comment that struck me though is how the game play experience may be altered because those that pay may expect an easier time (ala pay-to-win). I now know I personally could never be paid... I crave the tears of anguish that can only come from a solid TPK. I wash my dice in them (both in the physical and virtual world). There is nothing like seeing how trembling fingers type and mispell: "bbut do do I gget a ssssave?" Ctrl+F3 - my macro for the response "No!" hehehehehehe

    Seriously though, how much fun is a person paid to tell you about a treasure you found? Compare that with someone who waited all week to make sure every copper you place in your pouch is done so with blood soaked hands. Does a paladin truly feel brave confronting beatable foe after beatable foe? Or does she truly live when she tells her friends to run while she holds back the horde?

    I pay to watch movies. I play with my friends to experience a different life. That and to collect those salty tears... love 'em!
  19. dulux-oz's Avatar
    No, I don't think GMing is inherently (or otherwise) a skill-less or valueless commodity - I don't think its a commodity at all, and anyone who treats it as a commodity to be bought and sold is missing both the point and the true joy (the deeper, more meaningful aspects) of gaming, just like anyone who buys and sells sex is missing out on the true joys (the deeper, more meaningful aspects) of "making love". Not everything is nor should be subjected to "market forces", and I maintain that GMing is one of those things.

    Look, I find you arguments unconvincing and/or "false flags", but I'm not going to argue with you further because it is obvious neither you nor I will convince nor be convinced by the other. I've laid out my arguments to my position and you've laid out yours. If people want to engage in paid gaming or not then its up to them, just like its up to the individual to oppose paid gaming if that's their view. I and others are not in favor of it; you are, and so let's just leave it at that, shall we?
  20. Full Bleed's Avatar
    Charging someone doesn't make you better. But in the real world the cream does usually rise to the top. Quality of service and demand usually sets the market value of something.

    And I know for a fact that I don't approach the games I run as a "professional" (largely, of course, because I'm not being paid). And I bet you don't either. So I'm not sure why you're question the veracity of the assertion. I might show up 5 minutes late... or pick up a phone call... talk to the wife... talk about politics, religion, or something personal that happened to me that week... I might even belch amoungst friends... curse unnecessarily or say something provocative that has nothing to do with the game... take a bathroom break when I could hold it... eat and drink without muting... let a player derail the game... be sloppy with my syntax or recollection of something. I would, in short, run the game exactly how I felt like running it. And so long as it seemed like everyone was having a reasonably good time, and the game was moving, I'd be ok with it. So, pretty much nothing like I am when I'm doing something "professionally".

    I would also argue that GMing is, indeed, a more tangible skill than you seem to indicate. Like public speaking. Or teaching. Storytelling. Writing. Etc. I've seen teachers that have been teaching for 30 years that I thought were horrible. And teachers that had only been doing it for 2 that were awesome. Experience is not the sole indicator of quality, let alone professionalism. Charisma, Wisdom, and Intelligence--for example--aren't just stats in a game. Real people posses these traits, too. And what they do with them matters.

    And there is certainly a VAST differentiation in the quality of GMing out there. And quite a spectrum of the kind of campaign any particular GM might be good, great, or awful at. Some might be great at story telling, at running efficient combat, at varying the behaviour of enemies or NPC's, keeping the players moving, subtlety across the board, rules mastery/application, the art of compromise, conflict management, improvisational skills, and on and on and on. Every cut of meat isn't the same.

    I just don't agree that the people willing to pay for a GM are like johns at all. On the flip-side, I'm more inclined to think people who think they're "good GM's" are probably like all those guys that think they're awesome in bed. I mean, how many guys have you ever heard say they were terrible in the sack? I know of none. However, women will tell you otherwise (when speaking about their exes, of course... their husbands and boyfriends are awesome. )

    A lot of people play golf for nothing. Some can get paid to do it. Almost everyone can grill a steak. Others get paid to do it. Some people do wood-working as a hobby. Some people get paid to do it. Some people love to paint and draw. Some people get paid to do it. Some people can play guitar. Some people get paid to do it. Some people spend time on forums helping people they don't know figure out how to set up their networking. Some people get paid to provide technical support. Some people program for a hobby and share the fruits of their labor for nothing. And some people get paid to do it. Some lawyers and doctors get paid millions. Some do a lot of "work" pro-bono.

    Getting paid to do something that you're good at doesn't make you a bad person. And paying someone for something they're good at doesn't make you socially deficient. Maybe it just makes you practical. If you go over a friend's house and they cook a meal, you won't hold it to the same standard that you would hold a $100 meal at a restaurant. And that's fine. But, ya know, maybe you want that $100 meal instead of mushrooms in the sauce when you don't like them, or medium-well when you want medium-rare, or white wine instead of red.

    So, yeah, if you think GMing is--inherently--a worthless, skill-less, valueless commodity that anyone can do at the highest level... then, sure, no one should ever consider paying for it.

    Others, as you've acknowledge in your opening, probably beg to differ.
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