Content of the article: "Paid DMing"
For a while I've had this conflict around the notion of getting paid for DMing. Recently one of my friends started doing it at he asked for my opinion on it and I wasn't able to give it to him, honestly because it confuses me a lot. There are arguments in favor and against it, but overall, I feel we are talking about completely different activities or "games", which is the crossroads where tabletop rpgs lie.
So in favor I would say that if there are players willing to pay for it, knock yourself out. The market for players will show you if you are giving someone their money's value in return, probably it will take time, but you will reach a fair fee. Also, for most campaigns and styles of play, DMing involves, at least, 0.5 hours of prep for gaming hour, for example, a 4 hour session takes 6 hours of "DM-as-service". Lets say your job wage is 20usd/hour, a session has an opportunity cost of 120usd, divided in 6 players, that would translate into 20usd/player, which is a price tag I've seen before.
My issue with the concept of "DMing-as-Service" is that it leads to a worse gameplay, or at least, to a type of game I personally find boring. I highlight "personally" because I understand that there are tons of players that have no issue at all with the kind of gameplay that I am about to describe. Essentialy, in my eyes, the DM is just another kind of player, and the responsibility of what happens at the table is shared. From the player's side, the signs point to not having to work at all for "what I am about to receive" since I am paying for it. I understand that many people approach the table setting as a analog version of a rpg computer game, where the game studio designs the whole experience, but let me tell you, it can be much more than that. And that is what I mean by "boring". Maybe it is because I've been DMing for 26 years, and when I started, and computer rpgs were not what they are today. Having tried most styles of play, for me, how the stories are enriched when the players are involved is in a different league to what I imagined beforehand or the story I had drafted. For them, it is all me, which is part of the trick. In a way I am conflicted because I am really happy that so many new people have been picking up the game in ways that I can't imagine, but also, I am sad that not all players get to experience what is truly unique of tabletop rpgs.
In a way, I feel that tabletop rpgs are a lot closer to a "play" that to a "game". In that scenario, DMing-as-service is like asking the actors to pay for the director and the writer. Sometimes this happens, "a local troupe of actors cash in to be directed by a prestigious director from out of town" (I would certainly pay for being able to play with Matt Mercer). So, I am still conflicted, on one side, I want to support this friend and there are certainly good arguments in favor of launching his dm-as-service business, but also, I don't want to recommend him in the local community because I feel it is not a good experience of gameplay.
That's it, I just wanted different opinions about this issue. Thanks (I know it is a dicey topic because for some people this have become their income).
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