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Cookiemobsta
2010-05-25, 11:20 AM
I think we can all agree that the difference between a good DM and a bad DM is often the difference between a good game and a bad game. Although of course the players have a great deal to do with the quality of the game, generally there is a high correlation between the quality of the DM (including the work they put into the game, their skill at storytelling, their ability to manage the players, etc) and the fun that everyone has in the game.

My question is, is that higher level of fun from a great DM something that you would be willing to pay for? This is purely a hypothetical question; I've never heard of a "professional" DM. But to me, the idea makes sense. Let's say you've got three friends who all enjoy playing dnd. The four of you want to start a new campaign. Now, all of you are busy, and none of you are expert dms. One option is for one of you to volunteer to DM, cobble something together during your free time, and then run the game. You'd probably still have fun--but the person who is DMing might wish that they were playing, and if they weren't an experienced DM there might be problems with the way they run the game.

The other option is for you to hire a professional DM. This is a person who spends hours developing each campaign he or she runs (although honestly, if we're talking about a professional DM, we could probably just say "he" here), a person who has DMed dozens of campaigns. They know how to make a deep, involving, fun game. And if each of you chips in 5 or 6 bucks a session, you won't even notice the amount over what you're paying for pizza and mountain dew.

Would you consider hiring this person, this hypothetical professional DM? I'm interested more in your reasoning than in a straight yes or no; so whatever you choose, tell me why.

And for the more business-minded among you--it probably wouldn't be possible to be a "professional" DM and to support yourself on DMing. If you're curious as to the specifics you can PM me, but basically it would be very hard to find anyone willing to pay you for all of the hours you work--since not only are you running the sessions themselves, but you're putting lots of time into prepwork. A good professional DM would probably develop a few campaigns and then run them for every new group that hired him so the prepwork would be limited, but there would still need to be some work to tailor the campaign to the unique group. So you can estimate that every week you're working 4-5 hours to DM the session itself, plus another 2-3 hours of prep time. If you get paid 10 dollars an hour, the gaming group has to fork over about 80 bucks a week for your services, which few people would be willing to do. So you'd probably have to wind up charging only 20 a week or so, which means that you're only making 5 dollars an hour, which is worse than minimum wage.

But for someone who enjoys DMing, this could be a lucrative side hobby. If you're always getting asked to DM anyway, why not polish your DM skills a bit, advertise yourself as a professional DM, and make some money while you have fun?

Cyrion
2010-05-25, 11:28 AM
I wouldn't pay for a DM simply because I've always been in games where the DM was good enough for everyone to have fun. Even the ones who were so paranoid about character power that they made sure first level wizards didn't get magic missile.

Nor would I want to be a professional DM. No matter how good you are at creating awe-inspiring worlds and adventures and plots, the players are, at some point, likely to say "But I'm paying you- my character should get/be able to do X!" It's all downhill from there.

Caliphbubba
2010-05-25, 11:38 AM
I have paid and been paid to run LARP games before, so yes I could see doing this with a tabletop DM if he/she was very good OR there was some expense involved in running the game like there is for a LARP.

That being said, the 'payment' even for a LARP never much more than covered the cost of rent a site to play at and often times it didn't even meet that, so I ended up 'paying' to RUN the game.

Adumbration
2010-05-25, 11:40 AM
I recall, ages past, there was someone on these forums who tried this. Didn't work out so well, though - but can't remember the specifics. Sorry.

Comet
2010-05-25, 11:41 AM
The Game Master usually gets free food and drinks around here. But that's it, the notion of paying a GM or being a GM for hire myself makes no sense to me.

Firstly, as has already been said, making the game 'business' creates a sense of entitlement in the players.
"I paid you, but your campaign isn't fun enough! Change things or give me my money back!"

Secondly, the GM is probably using someone else's intellectual property to create the adventures he offers. This thread in particular has used the term 'Dungeon Master' in place of 'Game Master', implying that we're talking about Dungeons & Dragons, a ready-to-use game system that is made by an outside source.
Something about taking a pre-created rule system (and perhaps even a campaign setting!) and earning money by using it doesn't sit right with me. I could be wrong, but I think there's a violation of some kind in there.

So, no. Roleplaying games should be all about the fun, in my opinion. Making it all 'serious' and 'business' can only lead to dissapointment.

That's not to say the players shouldn't reward the GM at every possible turn, though! A free pizza and a genuine 'thank you' are all I need to keep running games for all eternity.

Gnaeus
2010-05-25, 11:58 AM
So you can estimate that every week you're working 4-5 hours to DM the session itself, plus another 2-3 hours of prep time. If you get paid 10 dollars an hour, the gaming group has to fork over about 80 bucks a week for your services, which few people would be willing to do. So you'd probably have to wind up charging only 20 a week or so, which means that you're only making 5 dollars an hour, which is worse than minimum wage.

That is 4-5$ an hour of play time (20/4=5, 20/5=4). When you add in prep time, you are closer to server wage, but without the tips.


But for someone who enjoys DMing, this could be a lucrative side hobby. If you're always getting asked to DM anyway, why not polish your DM skills a bit, advertise yourself as a professional DM, and make some money while you have fun?

Good luck with that. I don't know anyone who has been able to make that work. I will echo Caliph that I have run LARPs that people paid to play, but those fees very rarely exceeded costs (And when they did, they were usually farmed immediately into the NEXT game). It is remotely possible to make money running large games at cons, but I'm pretty sure in almost all cases you would make more per hour bagging produce at a grocery store.

Edit: And those games are a LOT of work. It isn't like sitting down with your friends and running a local game. If people pay, they want to have a good time, all the time. They feel justified in bitching at you in a way that no one would do to their buddy who is volunteering. It can be a long way from the delightful scenario of being paid to game that you suggest.

Thefurmonger
2010-05-25, 12:12 PM
I'll go against the grain and say that yes, I would be happy to pay for a good quality game.

I can see paying 10$ for a 4-6 hour session, 6 players gives the DM 60$, not bad.

I however would expect a hell of a good story, visual aids, perhaps some music, etc.

in other words if I pay you to be a professional, I expect a professionaly run game.

Starscream
2010-05-25, 12:31 PM
Only thing a DM has ever gotten out of me is pizza. I certainly wouldn't expect to be paid to DM, nor would I pay someone else to do it.

VirOath
2010-05-25, 12:39 PM
Along the terms of payment and income rate for a Professional DM at $4-5 bucks a player per hour, or hell, just a 3-4 hour game session once a week. Assuming that campaign can be dealt with during that day, we will toss in 3 more groups doing the same with this Professional DM. Now on it's own that isn't very impressive, more of a hobby than a business.

But, if you are serious then the adventures created can be sold as their own IP (Be it adventure modules or novels). So now it is closer to an author being paid to use inspiration. Now all of this income is directly bias to the quality of the world created, and even so one shouldn't expect to quit their dayjob for this.

The group I'm playing with has 3 people that alternate being DMs for different campaigns and each have their own styles and flaws. I'd be interested in trying out a payed DM for a one shot to see how they were.

Edit: And yes, I realize that at the top there is no room for work either. That's just the silly part of the idea being pointed out.

HunterOfJello
2010-05-25, 12:41 PM
I pay for all other forms of entertainment. If I could have some really fun games, then I'd try it.

Telonius
2010-05-25, 12:49 PM
I recall, ages past, there was someone on these forums who tried this. Didn't work out so well, though - but can't remember the specifics. Sorry.

I recall that as well.

Anyway, I think you're going to run into the same sort of problem as fee-based internet news. You have to have some kind of seriously good gimmick if you're going to charge for something that other people are giving away for free. It does work in some limited number of cases - Wall Street Journal, for instance, has content that nobody else does, so they can charge for it. If DMming for cash is going to work, your gimmick has to be something that's big enough to be noticeable and actually superior to what people are willing to do for free on their own time.

Convenience could be part of that, but IMO it's not enough to seal the deal. Especially with things like Skype and PbP forums, these days you don't even have to be in the same country as your DM, and you can still have a decent session. (In fact I just DMmed my first game with one of our players connecting by webcam).

Akal Saris
2010-05-25, 01:03 PM
I'd be willing to pay up to $10/session for a DM if he came highly recommended from my personal friends and I liked the idea of the game he was providing. That's on par with a 1/week movie night, give or take.

I never get to play in a high-powered 3.5 game, and rarely get to play rather than DM at all, especially now that I live in a new area. But I'm also a full time grad student with very little cash, so I can't do more than support the DM for the gas and snacks he probably bought to host the game.

I would DM for cash myself, if I had the free time and inclination. But I can get more money from my current 2 part-time jobs than I would make DMing, and I don't want to go through the effort to turn my hobby into another job :P Especially since I'm picky about my PCs and have no desire to play with most gamers I meet...

Winter_Wolf
2010-05-25, 01:06 PM
I'd quit playing before a paid someone to DM a game.

A big difference between a DM and, say, some form of software application, is that I can use the software whenever I want. You don't have that option with a DM. Three a.m. on a Wednesday, and I want to play? Sure, turn on the computer and away I go. Call up anyone with a normal schedule at 3 a.m. and demand a game and see how far that gets you.

Then there's the issue of satisfaction. If the game sucks, do I get my money back? What if the DM cancels? What if I cancel? I cannot think of a single circumstance under which I would ever give a DM money to run a game. My books, I have to buy them. The food, I chip in if we're getting food. The place, sometimes might well end up being mine. Should I charge rent for playing in my home?

If I pay for, say, martial arts lessons, it's because I'm learning something from the instructor, which I can still practice on my own when I'm not in class. You can't play without a DM. Or, if you can, then why are you paying that schmuck in the first place?

Shademan
2010-05-25, 01:27 PM
Am I the only one who keeps thinking about prostitution?
switch out the word DM with prostitute in any of the above posts and have a giggle!

The J Pizzel
2010-05-25, 01:52 PM
The Game Master usually gets free food and drinks around here.

That's how it is with our group. I'm the DM and they never let me chip in for pizza and drinks. They say it's just their little way of saying thanks for me putting in all the work of coming up with campaigns, designing bad guys, etc. They know it takes time to do all that and they appreciate it.

Yeah. I have a great group.

Darklord Xavez
2010-05-25, 01:53 PM
I wouldn't hire a DM, because if they don't know me, why do they have any motivation besides the cash to make me have fun?
-Xavez

Alleine
2010-05-25, 01:57 PM
I would maybe pay to have the same DM as SilverClawShift. Though I wouldn't pay regularly, probably just get him stuff as a thank you for being awesome. And that is what I consider to be one of the best tabletop experiences I've seen. If you don't know about these campaigns, google it or do a search through the forums.

Nero24200
2010-05-25, 01:57 PM
No, I wouldn't pay for a DM. To me, it's the equivilent of paying the other kids on the street to play football with me.

Lin Bayaseda
2010-05-25, 02:14 PM
I think we all agree that it's acceptable to pay a golf pro for a lesson, and it's stupid to pay a golf partner for playing a round of golf with you.

So the question is, what is the DM? Is he a professional guide, or a partner? I'd say he's much closer to a partner than to a pro. Admittedly, he's the kind of partner who brings the golf clubs, reserves the course, and keeps score for everyone, but still a partner. I just can't see a DM (any DM) on the same level as a golf pro.

Free pizza and a hearty "thanks man, cool game!" should be enough of a payment.

Hendel
2010-05-25, 02:16 PM
No and I won't pay for a subscription to a game when I already bought the rule book either!

Gnaeus
2010-05-25, 02:21 PM
I think it is acceptable to pay a DM to run a game. If I won the lottery, I might consider keeping a DM on retainer. I DON'T think that DMing for money is a workable scheme for anyone who doesn't have a large supplemental income unrelated to work (like disability or a huge trust fund). There just aren't enough gamers who have won the lottery (I guess we are too good at statistics).

Theodoriph
2010-05-25, 02:25 PM
I recall, ages past, there was someone on these forums who tried this. Didn't work out so well, though - but can't remember the specifics. Sorry.


I was just about to bring that up. =)


As to the OP. No I wouldn't. There is no amount of DM talent that warrants being paid more than the pizza and pop that our group usually buys (whichever of us is DMing doesn't have to chip in!). :smalltongue:


Edit: There is one exception. If it's like a celebrity DM running a brief campaign with all proceeds are going to charity, then it would be acceptable.

Nero24200
2010-05-25, 02:30 PM
Edit: There is one exception. If it's like a celebrity DM running a brief campaign with all proceeds are going to charity, then it would be acceptable.

Guess your've kinda got something there. I wouldn't mind chipping in to have Mr Moviephone start off our campaign with "In a world without justice..."

Ernir
2010-05-25, 02:34 PM
Am I the only one who keeps thinking about prostitution?

Ooooooh, no you're not. :smalleek:

Daimbert
2010-05-25, 02:36 PM
I think we all agree that it's acceptable to pay a golf pro for a lesson, and it's stupid to pay a golf partner for playing a round of golf with you.

You know, when you put it that way ... I'm not as opposed to it anymore [grin].

Okay, in all seriousness, I think this is a great example. A golf pro teaches you the game and how to improve your game. Going to a golf pro is not having fun; it's getting yourself better so that you can have fun later. But a golf partner is someone that you have fun with. And it's somewhat odd to think that you pay someone to have fun with you.

But, imagine that you don't have an friends or family who golf, and you hate getting into random foursomes all the time. And you know of someone that you kinda get along with who plays, but it wouldn't be worth their time to come out. Could you pay them?

I think that, like the DM, paying them is a bad idea, and it's bad to pay a stranger to golf with you or DM for you. You have no idea what you're getting, no idea if your personalities and playstyles are compatible, and likely will just end up getting possibly a fun but somewhat impersonal experience.

BUT, what might work is the few things that people say are done here. Find someone who's a good or decent DM that you get along with, and make it less of a problem for them to DM for you. Pay for their food. Give them rides. Slip them bus fare or gas money. If they're willing to put the effort into running a game, pay back their time and effort somehow, so that you don't seem like parasites taking all the fun and leaving them all the work. And that can even happen if they kinda ENJOY DM'ing.

I don't see professional DM'ing catching on, mostly because it'd take too much work for what people are willing to pay to make it really good, and you run the risk of making something great but not for them that makes them very unhappy with the money they spent.

Daimbert
2010-05-25, 02:37 PM
Ooooooh, no you're not. :smalleek:

I take great pride in the fact that my reply is, in fact, consistent with that interpretation [grin].

WeLoveFireballs
2010-05-25, 02:42 PM
My group once did hire a DM. But the advantage of him was he was not paranoid about power, he would allow anything at first and if the group agreed it was broken then away it went. He made jokes was just about as good as DM's got he even played calvinball with us once (our group is fairly young). He was not a "Proffesional" DM he was just hard on money and needed a reason to justify himself not getting another job. If you are able to get someone like this then it's pretty good.

Lev
2010-05-25, 02:44 PM
Paying in money is a little insulting for the community, but a new player not brining snacks is a little empty handed too, a general rule to keep is that the DM has invested more time to host the game, if it's also his house then he shouldn't have to pay for snacks, but he should at least chip in for a full meal like groceries or ordering in.

Telonius
2010-05-25, 02:57 PM
But, imagine that you don't have an friends or family who golf, and you hate getting into random foursomes all the time.

Sorry man, I just read the post about prostitution before I read this one. :smallbiggrin::sabine:

IonDragon
2010-05-25, 03:20 PM
I could see paying maybe $5 as an entrance fee or some such to a really well run game. Like with 3D dungeon tiles, a good selection of painted minis, and a well lit, furnished, and stocked room. Then having a tips jar by the door for on the way out. Now THAT would be something worth doing. I suppose if you're getting all that, like at a con I could pay a little more.

Contracting with a GM for a game and setting a pay rate seems like a kinda bad idea, however if you have a REALLY GOOD GM it wouldn't be bad to set up some form of payment.

Telonius
2010-05-25, 03:33 PM
Another way I could see of making it work... movie theater model. Don't make any money on the show itself, but sell the snacks.

Eldan
2010-05-25, 03:52 PM
Yes. I haven't played D&D in four years (maybe five), and I'd play money to play with just about anyone.

If the DM was actually good... well, my friends and I were all pretty bad. Our stories never lasted long, never got really involved and degenerated even faster.

Akal Saris
2010-05-25, 04:10 PM
Man, all you DMs get free food and drinks from your PCs? I've totally been missing out here. Damned stingy PCs... :smalltongue:

Lord Vampyre
2010-05-25, 04:21 PM
Considering the amount of money, I have shilled out at one time or another just to be able to game. I would probably be willing to pay a DM to run a game. Maybe as high as $10 a session, if they were coming to my house. If I didn't like the first game, I simply wouldn't invite them back.

I definitely would never consider pimping myself out as a professional DM. It would be far too much work. Besides having to perform under pressure.:smallwink:

Emmerask
2010-05-25, 04:41 PM
Well yes and no.
At the moment I play one game and dm another and the one I play is rather good and is free.
So to get me to pay for a dm he/she must offer much more then the free game I play... Gaming room, Miniatures maybe even a beamer/ table for terrain, and of course a campaign of his own making... if said dm would put his temple of elemental evil gaming book on the table I would really be pissed ^^

Anyway with all those requirements and investements, 1000 gaming table + beamer + 500 miniatures + all the source books again somewhere in the 500 range (if he gets them cheap somehow), his beginning investment would be around 2000. More then likely such a pay gm would have not more then 2 groups and even if they meet weakly for 5 hours it would take some time just to pay off his investment. So the fees would need to be quite high to earn any money at all, something in the 20 /hour range.

So in the end yes I would pay but I would want something more then what I get for free (or offer myself for free as a dm), but I also would not want to pay 20 / person for a session which is pretty much incompatible with my expectations such a session must fulfill to be worthwhile :smallwink:

ka_bna
2010-05-25, 04:42 PM
Google found this for me: http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-discussion/254236-professional-gm-possible-return.html
It is at Enworld, but I recall that the maker created a similar thread here. Though there were many posts I didn't read, so I don't know the result.

valadil
2010-05-25, 04:46 PM
At the moment, no. The group I'm involved in all likes DMing. We all take turns and try to outdo each other. The only way I'd consider paying for a DM would be to see just how good a professional is, so I could try and emulate it.

In the future, maybe. We've all hit the points where it's really hard to find time to write game. We've switching from weekly games to alternating biweekly ones. If things continue like this, and nobody has time to run I'd rather pay a DM than stop gaming. Before we reached that point I'd rather buy premade adventures and run those.

If I ever did pay a DM I'd want to pay him to write the games, not just to run them. I don't care how good he is, I have no interest in running through the same dungeon everyone else does. Instead of paying for generic adventures I'd just switch over to LFR for free.

Froogleyboy
2010-05-25, 04:55 PM
I would never ask for money to DM, it goes against the spirit of it all. Though it is an unwritten rule that you feed the DM with my group

Swordgleam
2010-05-25, 05:01 PM
Wow, we've been doing things backwards. We always game at the DM's house, so it's always the DM's food that gets eaten.

I know one guy who does some part-time work as a paid "GM consultant" and gets paid for that. That baffles me on so many levels. He isn't even GMing - GMs are paying him to help them GM. What?

Eldan
2010-05-25, 05:04 PM
Wouldn't be too bad either. I can't write an adventure to save my life. And pre-written ones tend to be so boring.

0Megabyte
2010-05-25, 05:18 PM
I have to agree with the guy who said they might pay to have SilverClawShift's DM.

Maybe it was just SilverClawShift's writing skills, but damn that was a good game.

So, I suppose the answer is "yes, but he'd have to be a level 20 bard with 30+ ranks in Perform: Dungeon Mastering, like SilverClawShift's."

Safety Sword
2010-05-25, 05:52 PM
Considering that the entire reason for still playing D&D is as an excuse to get all of my friends at the same place at the same time (without our wives, partners, kids) to do something we all enjoy, this really wouldn't work for us.

Plus, killing PCs is my job and I'm not paying anyone to have that much fun! :smalltongue:

nefele
2010-05-25, 05:53 PM
I'm a dumb romantic, I guess, cause I still believe that the best things in life:
1) are not things
2) are neither bought nor sold, but shared.

I wouldn't pay for a DM and I wouldn't accept money for being a DM. A role playing game is collective storytelling. Sure, the DM does most of the work, but it's still worth nothing if the others don't get involved and limit themselves to throwing dice. And sure, the DM does more number-crunching than all the others combined, but some people actually enjoy that, and don't consider it a "chore" at all. And sure, the DM may have invested a lot of time and energy to homebrew an entire campaign setting and devise an elaborate story to go with it, but only because it's a rewarding experience on its own right. Doubly so when others participate.

Also, I personally don't like tabletop with strangers. I like to play with friends. That DM down the block may be technically better, and that player from downtown may be indeed able to bring a lot to our game, but they're not my friends, so I'm not interested. And if we're all busy and can't get together, or if indeed no one wants to DM, well, I'm not an addict and I won't die. (I'll lurk in the PbP forums waiting for a decent game to come up, that's what I'll do. :smalltongue:)

Really, paying a DM would spoil all my fun, no matter how good he was. It would make the whole thing seem fake. Once you pay for it, you don't share it anymore, and if you don't share it, then it's not worth it.

Dracons
2010-05-25, 05:54 PM
Wow. This I swear, is like the tenth time I've read that very same OP at one board or another. I think it started at Wizards forums where one wanted to do it.

So, I'm just going to give a giant list of the cons of being a paying/paid DM that I can remember:

House Rules: Everyone has them in one form or another. What do you do? Hmm? Say as a normal DM, you don't want to have plus races, but your people that are paying you want them? Then what?

Starting Level: Some want epic. Some want low. Some want medium. These are the players you'll have, and alot will be in the same group. What then? Each are paying you, none of them can agree, what do you do then?

Where to play: Do you go to players homes? Do you go to your place? What happens if a player steals something from your house? What happens if you go to someone else home, they claim you stole something, or what if there place is a real disgustiing mess with crap everywhere, and you have to wear a mask to get through it?

The very first time I read this thread back years ago, deep in the thraeds the OP mentioned that if he was overbook, he'd simple grab a premade adventure. No one liked that. They are paying you to have original adventures, not somethign they likely owned. That being said, What kind of adventures? Hmm? Again, different players different stokes. What if one player wants to have high magic with dragons and evil sorcerers killing everyone, and even the lowest pleasent knows how to cast wish at will, another wants high seas adventuers, another wants intercity intrique where even a rat could kill you. How do you go about pleasing each of these players?

Food/Drink: They are paying you already. Is your fee, or if your paying a DM, or you are the paid DM, do you still get free food drink? Do you have to bring your own?


Equal Spotlight: Lots of players love that spotlight. Some don't. Some are too shy to talk. But those players that hog the spotlight, what do you do when both demand more time, or more items, or more stuff or more about them? Both are paying you, and both want more time now. But you also have to remember your other players. They may be very unhappy with you, and some are too silent they won't say a word to your face.

End result, it won't work. Not for more then a game or two, before they find something wrong. You didn't do enough different voices, or you did to many voices, your story is too confusing, or its not challenging enough. You also get those powergamers that are beyound powerful, and since you likely have to say yes alot, what do you do when these players start killing other players.

Its best that a DM is beyound such accounts of greed. Putting money on him opens up to the potentional of abuse. Its already been shown that some females can control their male DM's by exposing themselves, or giving alot of flatter. (Some, not all). Hell, some girls boyfriends and husbands are their DM's. I know that my first DM, and first game had me, and two other girls. I remember how each of the girls had uber gear, (one was a weretiger, one became a dragon lord which was another addon that gave her like all the abilities of great wyrm dragons). Both had uber high level npcs as boyfriends. Me? I got a wolf. From a creature I casted animal friendship on at level 4 with ym ranger. Oh, and I got smited by Torm with much lighting that brought my charisma down to 1 because I said I didn't like Torm's ideals. (The DM was a major major Torm level). There were two seperate days, where the DM spent four hours on just one girl. (Girl A on day 1, girl B on girl 2). Needless to say, I wasn't very happy. At all. I wanted to have fun. It was bad enough he wouldn't let me be a fighter/Sorcerer which was what I badily wanted to be able to do was Fight and Magic. (Thus why I was a Ranger, it was the only one he let me be. I wanted to go Paladin to be like Cecil from FF4, but again, No).

It got to point where I asked to borrow his books, and he let me. I ended up DMing for some neighbor kids, and for a while my little stepsister and cousins. I ended up meeting a old friend, and he played too.

I now do all the DMing. My first DM is my major player. My old friend moved., and so did neughbor kids. The two girls above, one works alot now and doesn't have time, girl B went crazy and after repeated suicide attempts, started to scream that we all gang raped her and abuse her and needless to say, we no longer talk to her.

Another_Poet
2010-05-25, 06:28 PM
The real problem here is the pay scale set forward in the OP. It suggests four people each chipping in $5 or $6 a session to a GM who spends hours preparing a great game.

Let's assume the best case: the GM onlu spends 2 hours preparing, and the session only lasts 4 hours. That $24 pay for 6 hours of work, not including travel time, which amounts to....

$4 an hour.

Good luck getting someone to work for that!

Darakonis
2010-05-25, 06:32 PM
Do you pay to read a novel?

Do you pay to watch a movie?

Do you pay for a Paint Ball session?

Do you pay a musician or magician to perform at your son's party?

Do you pay a monthly subscription fee to play World of WarCraft?


People pay for professional entertainment.

Sure, anyone can type up a novel on Word and share it with their friends. Anyone can film a movie in their back yard. Anyone can buy a paintball gun and run around shooting people. Anyone can sing a song or make a coin disappear. Anyone can code up a Flash game.

Anyone can DM.

But people won't pay for these things.


The difference is professionalism. If there were such a thing as a professional DM, then why shouldn't he be paid for providing professional entertainment?

What would I expect from a professional DM? He'd need to supply the dice, the character sheets, the rulebooks, the miniatures, and the game tiles. Preferably, he'd have his own hobby shop, so he could also provide a locale with proper ambiance--music, lighting, props--but also be available for house calls. He'd need to be a published fiction writer, have years of DMing experience, and have at least a dozen player testimonials. He'd need to be an eloquent speaker, a good actor, and charismatic enough to make everyone feel comfortable and be able to get on a buddy-buddy level with players within minutes.

Bottom line: He would need to provide an experience above and beyond what your neighbor John could.


Unfortunately, there's no real market for this. Maybe in the 1980s, but today, D&D isn't popular enough. Many people have trouble even finding a gaming group, and so they are willing to settle for whatever DM they may have.

Also, for most people, D&D is a shared experience among friends. No professional can replicate that. Sure, that novel you wrote with your friends may be laughed at by publishers, but it was still tons of fun to write it.


Peace,
-Darakonis

Jolly Steve
2010-05-25, 06:41 PM
I think the best way to get people to pay to DM would be to set up a business aimed at other businesses, selling role-playing as a fun way to teach teamwork and cooperation.

valadil
2010-05-25, 07:36 PM
$4 an hour.


There's $4/hour and there's $4/hour under the table. Guess which one the GM would be getting. And I certainly can see some people doing that professionally instead of getting $5 or $6 an hour after taxes, if only because it's more fun.

What I think would be difficult is the power dynamic. The players are employing the GM. But he has to decide rules. If there's a rules dispute (and there always is) should he stick to his guns and annoy the players, or should he make them happy?

Ravens_cry
2010-05-25, 07:41 PM
No, I wouldn't.
Unless I am at a Con, the DM is one of my friends or are at least good acquaintances. While I have paid to be part of a gaming club, that was for resources like wet erase pens, mats, character sheets and other paraphernalia we all used, not actually paying the person who ran the adventure.

Gnaeus
2010-05-25, 08:09 PM
There's $4/hour and there's $4/hour under the table. Guess which one the GM would be getting. And I certainly can see some people doing that professionally instead of getting $5 or $6 an hour after taxes, if only because it's more fun.

You can't live on 4$/hour, regardless of which side of the table it is on, with as few hours as you are likely to get. The only way I see it working is if the DM only barely needs the money (like someone on disability, or with a big trust fund). It just isn't viable as a professional job. It MIGHT be possible for someone famous, who lived in a big metropolitan area. But anyone well known enough to make it work would make more attending conventions and signing autographs.

Froogleyboy
2010-05-25, 08:13 PM
Wow, we've been doing things backwards. We always game at the DM's house, so it's always the DM's food that gets eaten.



It's the same with us, and I usually have to restock the fridge after a game. But, they always bring something good (mmm, Luigi's chimichongas )

GoodbyeSoberDay
2010-05-25, 08:18 PM
If I heard great things, then yeah, I'd try it out. For many of the reasons in this thread, I don't expect it to come up.

Dust
2010-05-25, 08:20 PM
I absolutely would. As has already been said, ten bucks is fairly cheap when it comes to recreation these days. Although yes, standards would certainly be high.

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-25, 08:25 PM
Am I the only one who keeps thinking about prostitution?
switch out the word DM with prostitute in any of the above posts and have a giggle!Not now, you're not.

Did you know that DMing is actually legal in some places in Nevada?


...getting into random foursomes all the time.Can I subscribe to your newsletter?

Dr.Epic
2010-05-25, 08:35 PM
Would you play someone to play a game with you? No. All the DM is doing is playing a game with other people.

valadil
2010-05-25, 08:35 PM
You can't live on 4$/hour, regardless of which side of the table it is on, with as few hours as you are likely to get. The only way I see it working is if the DM only barely needs the money (like someone on disability, or with a big trust fund). It just isn't viable as a professional job. It MIGHT be possible for someone famous, who lived in a big metropolitan area. But anyone well known enough to make it work would make more attending conventions and signing autographs.

I'd agree that it probably wouldn't work full time. I could see it working for a high schooler who doesn't pay rent or for a full timer looking for a little something extra on the weekends.

Assuming it is someone with their own apartment, what if the GM provided space? Back in high school we didn't always have a place to play. I wouldn't have minded throwing a little more money at the problem if it would get us a table where we wouldn't be bothered.

DragoonWraith
2010-05-25, 08:42 PM
Doubt I actually would simply due to access to free alternatives, but I'm not opposed to the idea. I'd could definitely see paying, say, $50 for a campaign with SCS's DM/group, I think. Assuming I didn't feel massively intimidated by their incredible skill, which I would...

Emmerask
2010-05-25, 09:17 PM
Would you play someone to play a game with you? No. All the DM is doing is playing a game with other people.

Hm cant say I completely agree with this, yes you are playing a game with people but alone the extend of work the dm has to put into the sessions compared to the players makes a comparison between dming and participating in a game of risk not a good one :smallwink:

onthetown
2010-05-25, 10:12 PM
I have heard of getting DMing licenses or some such thing. You basically register with some organization and get a certification and whatnot, and then you're able to say that you're a professional DM and you can be paid to run a game. Mine was contemplating it awhile ago.

I think it's a neat idea, but you have to be pretty desperate to look up "professional Dungeon Masters". You can get information on free ones at most gaming and comic shops, after all.

randomhero00
2010-05-25, 10:22 PM
No for several reasons. For one, irrational reason, it feels creepy. Yeah, I thought of prostitution too. Two, there are actually a surplus of DMs where I live. Three, I'm willing to DM myself, so I just don't have a need. And finally it feels wrong, cause the DM should be doing it because he wants to, not cause of $$. It'd make it too commercial when its supposed to be about having a good time with friends.

Superglucose
2010-05-25, 10:26 PM
Yeah I'd pay for a good GM. Have any idea how rare that skill is? I've had TWO good GMs in my ten years of gaming.

glennfrogknight
2010-05-25, 10:27 PM
There's a store in town where I live that teaches you to play Pathfinder with a 5 dollar or so entry fee the first time, then IIRC 10 after that. Everything about that setup impresses me.

Thurbane
2010-05-25, 10:58 PM
Yeah, there's always DMs hanging out on the corner at my FLGS, and they keep hassling me.

"Hey player, looking for a good game? $50 for 1 session, no kissing. In voice character acting will cost you extra."

Serpentine
2010-05-26, 12:19 AM
I'm totally fine with this idea. A good, custom-made game is a lot of work, I don't see anything wrong with someone with the skills making some money out of said work.
Make it clear from the outset what sort of game it is (a good professional DM should have multiple campaigns and/or multiple ways of running them to make sure it fits their customers), have sufficient rules from the outset on both sides ("the DM will not faffle about to extend the time and pay", "all players will get equal treatment, and have paid for a proper D&D experience - for your money you get a game and equal treatment, not special exceptions and favours"), and so on, and it'd be fine.
If someone can pull it off, all power to them.

Jolly Steve
2010-05-26, 12:30 AM
Yeah, there's always DMs hanging out on the corner at my FLGS, and they keep hassling me.

"Hey player, looking for a good game? $50 for 1 session, no kissing. In voice character acting will cost you extra."

I had a similar experience. A woman on the street asked me if I was looking for a party. When I said I liked to play games with lots of races she was OK. But then I remarked that "races in fantasy really mean species" and she became quite hostile.

Escheton
2010-05-26, 12:33 AM
yeah, hookers don't generally make good dm's
I like the idea of a hobo dm though.
An adventurer on the move, that pays for food and stuff by playing pretend adventurer with pasty geeks.

Mastikator
2010-05-26, 12:38 AM
Nothing against it in principle, but it's not a service I would ever pay for.

Runestar
2010-05-26, 01:05 AM
To me, I just do not think it is feasible.

The DM would likely have to charge a high fee to offset the prep time, travelling, time spent etc. Much more than most players would be willing to fork out, I suspect.

Also, I agree with the others that what constitutes good DM'ing is very subjective. Does the DM cater to the players' whims or should they trust the DM and go with his playstyle?

I dunno why, I keep having this mental image of rival DM "corporations" trying to hook players in with special deals and offers. Eg: Hire me within the next 48 hours and your paladin is assured of a holy avenger by the end of the session. :smallsigh:

Endarire
2010-05-26, 01:09 AM
I'd only pay if desperate or as part of a magnificent event.

I've paid for convention games, but that's as close as it comes. Tabletop gaming is about love, and being a GM to my friends or customers is a losing proposition. $20 or so per head per week is far too low for me as a full-time job and probably far too much for them as a subscription fee.

IonDragon
2010-05-26, 01:20 AM
I'd only pay if desperate or as part of a magnificent event.

I've paid for convention games, but that's as close as it comes. Tabletop gaming is about love, and being a GM to my friends or customers is a losing proposition. $20 or so per head per week is far too low for me as a full-time job and probably far too much for them as a subscription fee.

I don't think anyone said it would have to be a full time job. You GM? Does the time you take preclude you from working a real job? I think the idea is that it could be something you do on the side for other people either as an added incentive. Alternatively, you could GM for multiple groups. Possibly one per day. So you'd get x7 to that.

I think $20 per player is a bit high, but to use that example and a 4-6 man group of players that's: $560-840/week.

That's more than I make, and it's doing something FUN.

Dracons
2010-05-26, 01:32 AM
... I wish I had art style. I'd love to do a webcomic based on this.

DM for hire.

A man who worked his whole life doing great studies of history, mythology. Got straight A's in advance drama, masterd several langages, map skills, master of everything really (kinda like a Batman for role playing games),

And he encounters power gamers, slobs, lazy people people, greedy people that always wreck his game he tries to do as a job.

Could be done. A comic a week with a group. Every two months (eight comics) a new group. End result still the same. He nearly gives up, but players rave at his greatness, even if he didn't do anything really, and he gets more business through word of mouth.

Eventually has major corps after his ass. He gets his own super villains as some kind of joke, like a random big bully that interupts the game or something. Split between game world and real world.

Thurbane
2010-05-26, 01:49 AM
I had a similar experience. A woman on the street asked me if I was looking for a party. When I said I liked to play games with lots of races she was OK. But then I remarked that "races in fantasy really mean species" and she became quite hostile.
:smallbiggrin:...comedy gold! Well done, sir!

Jolly Steve
2010-05-26, 02:37 AM
:smallbiggrin:...comedy gold! Well done, sir!

Thanks!

I should have had dwarves in there somewhere though.

Cookiemobsta
2010-05-26, 02:41 AM
Actually, after some thought I realized that on the business side of things this could work if it was run at a gaming store. The store would provide all of the minis, dice, etc, and the game would take place in the store somewhere. The DM would be a store employee that would be paid by the store for the hours he was DMing, but the players would also pay a fee to compensate the DM for the time outside of work that he is spending prepping the game. It would be worth the store's time because it would increase interest in dnd and hopefully sell more miniatures, dice, books, etc.
Probably there would be more interest in this from younger players or from players new to the game. But I could see more veteran players being interested in it also; if your group of friends is too busy to play but you're got a hankering to put on your robe and wizard hat, you might be interested in heading down to the local gaming store and plunking down a few bucks to pay.

IonDragon
2010-05-26, 03:21 AM
That's the general idea of what I was thinking originally too, however if the GM were someone who really enjoyed running, had already purchased minis, maps, books etc. there would be no loss incurred in collecting donations or a fee from players. Don't ask for much. Maybe start @ $1/player/session. Then, if you're good you may get competing offers. This way you don't have to ask for a high amount, you just go to whichever group you prefer or is offering to pay you more.

Sure, from a business standpoint you are losing money. You're not making up for expenses like transportation and recouping your investment on materials but that misses a REALLY BIG POINT. The idea is for someone who is talented at running, and enjoys doing it and would probably be doing it for free anyhow.

rakkoon
2010-05-26, 03:29 AM
We just paid for the snacks and the drinks, the DM paid for the books and created the campain.

mikej
2010-05-26, 10:46 AM
Most likely not and it sounds really silly :smallconfused:

However, It's tempting, If I can't play soon. As my current DM/group has me serving some life sentence over something dumb.

Swordgleam
2010-05-26, 11:58 AM
I think the best way to get people to pay to DM would be to set up a business aimed at other businesses, selling role-playing as a fun way to teach teamwork and cooperation.

That could actually work. I remember somewhere on this forum, someone said they get paid to DM. We all said, "How?!" and the guy explained that he works at a youth center and plays D&D with the kids.

So I think we're all looking at this the wrong way. It's less, "How can someone get paid to DM?" and more, "How can someone involve DMing in an existing job that pays?" I think we've established that very few groups of gamers would pay some stranger to come to their house and run a game.

Emmerask
2010-05-26, 12:18 PM
That could actually work. I remember somewhere on this forum, someone said they get paid to DM. We all said, "How?!" and the guy explained that he works at a youth center and plays D&D with the kids.

So I think we're all looking at this the wrong way. It's less, "How can someone get paid to DM?" and more, "How can someone involve DMing in an existing job that pays?" I think we've established that very few groups of gamers would pay some stranger to come to their house and run a game.


Hm, yes it could work as a business team training and or recreation time (might see that google for example would employ such a person). Main problem is that most such team training days consist of too many people to play d&d, 20+ people.
So we need to target a smaller number training and people who are likely to like fantasy and roleplaying. From my experience programmers are the ideal there (but maybe Im wrong) most groups I am and was in consisted of 50% programmers ^^
So a team-lead and their team could be our audience for such teambuilding events :smallbiggrin:

Awkward Map
2010-05-26, 01:04 PM
I like the idea of a hobo dm though.
An adventurer on the move, that pays for food and stuff by playing pretend adventurer with pasty geeks.

This, oh my god, yes. I imagine the adventures would be really gritty. "Alright, ya' been down in the labyrinth for 7 days now and ya' been outta' rations for a day or so. You got like, some stomach aches. You're real hungry. Rat catchin' time, if you know what I mean!"

God help you if you don't help out beggars in his campaign world.

valadil
2010-05-26, 01:21 PM
Probably there would be more interest in this from younger players or from players new to the game. But I could see more veteran players being interested in it also; if your group of friends is too busy to play but you're got a hankering to put on your robe and wizard hat, you might be interested in heading down to the local gaming store and plunking down a few bucks to pay.

So essentially it's babysitting? I suppose I'd rather drop my (hypothetical) kids off with a good GM than at a traditional daycare center.