Game Master or What?

What should the person in charge of a 6d6 game be called?

The traditional Dungeon Master term doesn’t fit. Game Master is better but I don’t like the ‘master’ aspect. It comes across as to authoritarian for a game that is meant to be co-operative.

A Typical Scenario

Where the ‘GM’ role in 6d6 RPG differs from other games is that many decisions about the rules should be made by the group rather than the GM. This is good practice and common on well run game tables but in 6d6 it is explicitly part of the game.

Here is a real life example from running Mince Pies & Murder.

The Private Eye wants to talk to the staff to gain information on the murder victim but he wants to use both his “Charm” and “Intimidate” cards in the same actions. The question is can someone be charming and intimidating at the same time? And if they can be, is it an effective way to get information from people?

This is the sort of question which comes up regularly and the answer depends on lots of factors. However the answer is not important. What is important is how the group decides whether these two cards can be combined.

This process of discussing the meaning of the cards lies at the heart of the 6d6 system. By talking through these issues, everyone moves closer towards a shared understanding about how their world works. It doesn’t matter if that is a high-octane cinematic world or a gritty real-life drama world. What is important is that everyone has a role in creating it.

Terms like ‘Master’ implies the ‘GM’ has absolute say where as I’m looking for a term that suggests that the ‘GM’ just implements the groups decision.

What Do You Think?

On Twitter and Facebook I got a number of suggestions. Please vote for the ones you like (you can vote for multiple answers) and suggest new ones in the comments.

[poll id=”64″]

6 comments

  1. A lot of games use the term “Referee” to denote a non-participatory arbiter of the rules and final authority on decisions. (Of course, there’s always an appeals process.)

  2. DM has D&D connotations.
    GM (master) is the best generic and well known term.
    GM (manager) will probably just become known as GM (master.)
    GL doesn’t really remove the “master” part of the term in my opinion.
    Coordinator and Facilitator make me think of some corporate “team exercise” rather than a game.
    GK isn’t bad but has connotations with Keeper in CoC (albeit a lesser known rpg terminology to the better known DM.)
    The owner of the house I’m playing at is the Host.

    On the totally crazy thought side of the fence: Why not play on the term 6d6 (six-d-six -> six ‘d’ six -> six ‘t’ six -> sixty-six) and refer to them as 66Players? (shortened to 66’ers) Or maybe the term 66’ers should be for all players and 66Keeper (66K) should be exclusive to the person running the game scenario.

  3. I think Judge in that context may be copyright protected. That’s what the head of the old Marvel Superheroes RPG from TSR was called.

  4. Hi Chris et al…

    “Judge” is a good one – I do not think that it can be copyrighted, as it is a generic English language term for one who interprets and applies rules etc..

    If you wanted something which sums up your definition of the role what about “Rapporteur”.

    Or even as it is a difficult question – “Big Giant Head” for a bit of 3rd Rock…..

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