Part 3: Meta
1. What are your favorite books about gamemastering?
There's books on gamemastering?2. A novel solution: what’s the best advice you’ve borrowed from a totally different field?
Improvisation from playing music. The game is best when it's improvised all around including the GM. Always achievable not always achieved but usually you still have fun anyway.3. What effects do the system mechanics have on the story?
Not too much. Random encounters or random events come up often and, of course, combat can change the dynamic of the adventure / story. Nothing really more than that though. With rules-lite formats the mechanics tend to stay out of the way.4. Canon vs. alternate universe vs. original settings? What are the strengths and drawbacks of each?
I DETEST using a setting or situation from published fiction (Conan and Hyperboria, Flash Gordon and Mongo, Middle Earth, Marvel Comics Universe). I don't need to play in those universes when I can read all about them. Personally, I can't get past what the author has written. Also, I believe that the books have been read by so many people / players that major changes in game will jar the per-concieved universe that the author created. Keep in mind, that's just my opinion. Alternate universes work well and original settings (home-brewed or published) work best as the only interruption that fills the imagination is from the players and GM.5. Problem players and drama llamas: what’s your horror story and how did you resolve it?
Never really run into that. With rules-lite there's usually no rule lawyering and if something comes up, a brief discussion at the table usually resolved any issue. That said, I have left a game because I didn't like the other player(s).6. Are GMs bad players? How do you step back when someone else is running the show?
I look forward to stepping back and being a player. GM'ing can be a drain over time and it's refreshing to be on the other side of the screen. Of course, thoughts always creep into my mind on how I may have run something different than the GM but I usually file that away for my own notes. Usually I just try to have fun and enjoy what the GM is dishing out.7. Have you ever co-GMed? Would you consider it? What are the pros and cons?
The only time I tried a co-GM campaign was with our ICONS super-hero game. We would alternate every session or couple of sessions knowing that the next GM can alter and build upon what the previous one introduced. It turned out to be a blast and worked well for our Supers campaign and each GM kinda represented a different comic book writer much like in the comic books. It was also great to build upon what someone else presented and be surprised at what they did with your ideas. It was a very positive experience and I would try it again. Just go in without any attachments. You can read our ICONS campaign summary here.8. Transcending the material plane: how do you GM online?
I've only GM'd online a couple of times via Roll20 (a great tool, btw). It's a different animal than face-to-face tabletop gaming. The technology doesn't so much 'get in the way' as it becomes another component to the session that, as a GM, you need to manage. Pre-game prep is a bit different too as, in my experience, it is more time consuming. It doesn't have to be, mind you, that's just how it was for me in my initial GM'ing experiences online. I think that can be adjusted, though, over time. It's different and you need to adapt to it.9. Teaching the rules: how do you sell players on the system while running a demo or con game?
With a rules-lite game it's pretty easy. Here's a pre-made character, the stats are somewhat self-explanatory, let's roll. Old-school games are very easy for players to jump right in and have a good time. I, as a new player in a more complicated rule-set, usually get bored and rarely really enjoy role-playing with a bunch of rules and stats and skills and terminology to keep track of. I really kind of hate it actually.10. How do we grow the hobby?
I don't really think about that too much. If I come up with something that I think others can use, I'll post it online for others. Besides that, I've got too much else going on to worry about marketing an industry.
...And that's that!