I got my start in 3.5 in Junior High, played a solid campaign with a friend of my mother's co-worker filling in as the DM. Eventually that campaign, as so many do, came to an end (unresolved I might add) but I genuinely still wanted to enjoy the game. So I went on to start diving deep into various materials and trying to figure out how to be a GM. After a few failed starts, rough patches and gaps in time, I eventually managed to get the principles of Game Mastery to actually click, and I've found a passion for the craft well beyond anything else I've done in life. Computers, video games, technology, comedy, and all the various nerd/geek things always appealed to me, but nothing brought me the kind of satisfaction a good game session does. These days I very much prefer GMing to playing, and I've rather confidently found my style. Rules are a framework, and players should always feel the option to introduce new things not accounted for by the rules: This is part of the reason for a Game Master in the first place -- to adjudicate edge cases. Agency is prized, roleplay is adored, and a living, breathing, believable fantasy world is key to meaningful engagement.
I strive for verisimilitude. Games are run in a shared world with an emphasis on player agency. We're here to build, shape and determine the course of a fantasy world, and your characters within it. The effects of one party on the world may ripple on and set the stage for quests undertaken by another. I generally favor a healthy mix of the core pillars of play. Combat is there, but it's not the only way to gain XP/advance. Other tools sit in your belt to solve problems. Diplomacy, Creativity, Subversion, Luck, Good Planning -- All options are on the table to resolve problems and advance your goals. Some sessions can be rather heavy on roleplay, interaction and story development, others might be more light-hearted, others still will be a good old-fashioned dungeon crawl, or overworld travel and exploration. I find variety is the spice of life, and prefer to allow the players and their actions to direct the nature of each session. I like to work with players to develop their characters, but death remains a risk in adventurous life, so I tend to flesh the characters out little by little, session by session. Prompts and questions get posed to the players each session to encourage them to give some thought to unconsidered aspects of their character and bring the answer to the next game session. I run my games through Discord, with the use of Foundry VTT for dice rolls, character sheets, combat and other elements as needed. I ask that players be willing to engage with the fiction, and try to roleplay. That doesn't mean you have to do funny voices, or even speak in character all the time, just give some thought to the character, and understand the separation between in-character and out-of-character play.
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