Meeting Management for the GM
As noted in my biography, I do have a day job in addition to my role as Chief Monster Officer. As a result, I’ve learned a lot about a lot of different topics, including how to run a meeting. For a maximally productive meeting, it helps to have certain roles filled, and filling these roles around your game table can help make your experience better.
- The Leader: It’s helpful to have a player who is the normal spokesperson for the party in social interactions act as the party “leader”. A leader is also useful in settings where the party is part of a hierarchy, like a military unit. The leader’s job is to focus on the team/party’s goals, and help drive the team towards those goals. That includes making sure he or she understands both the individual goals for each player as well as the overall goal for the group.
- The Facilitator: Too few meetings have facilitators, and hardly any RPG groups do. The closest most groups come is a designated initiative tracker to help out the GM. In a business meeting, the facilitator’s job is to help out the group while the leader is focused on the team objective. That means assisting with conflict resolution as well as helping the team use collaboration tools. In a gaming context, that can mean prompting shyer players to participate and making sure they are heard, managing player vs. player conflicts, and helping the GM with administrative tasks like initiative, benny economy management, and keeping track of everyone’s current conditions.
- The Scribe: The scribe’s role is to note down what happens in the game session. This can be extremely helpful to GMs who want to blog about actual plays, as well as for the players to keep track of NPCs, plot hooks, and other useful facts.
In general, with the possible exception of the Leader role, it’s useful to spread these roles around, unless you are fortunate enough to find someone at the table who both likes doing the job and is good at it. Awarding bennies to volunteers for these roles is one way to get the players more excited about participating. From the GMs side of the table, having the party more organized in this fashion really streamlines play, and the notes from the scribe can help track those improvisational details that might make good stories later.
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