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The Game Master – The Puppeteer Pulling Your Strings

Have you ever had one of those days where you just feel like you’re not in control of your own actions?

Old Balbo is having one of those days. I dropped a flagon of whiskey earlier today, then spilled a bowl of nuts on the floor.

Not one bowl, five bowls, Balbo! You were carrying a platter with five bowls. You saw a squirrel and made a bad joke about the nuts then tripped and spilled everything.

Yes. Well. Thank you, Evelyn, for clearing that up for our new friend here. Why have we set up all these snacks and refreshments around the bar, you ask?

Today, we are honoring a class that is the master of all other classes. Can you guess which one it is?

No, not Warlocks. Granted they can be overpowered in some instances, lol.

Paladins? No. Another good guess though. They do hold mastery over life and death.

However, Balbo had another class in mind. Here is a hint, friend, it’s the person behind the “screen.”

Yes! You got it. The GM, aka the Dungeon Master, aka the DM. Here at the Dragon’s Beard, we will call this class the Game Master.

What is a Game Master?

The Game Master is the studied and skilled storyteller for the RPG game you are playing. They will lead the game and its players in a predetermined direction.

You could say they are driving the bus, while the players are along for the ride, and at each stop the players will jump out and face the obstacles the GM has prepared for them.

Does that make sense? If not, please roll these dice. Ha! GM humor!

Weapons and Armor

The Game Master’s weapons are their dice. Oh, yes, in the hands of the GM, the dice can be deadly. Other tools of the GM trade can be tokens, maps, a pencil and paper, graphs, and of course…many rulebooks.

Rulebooks, ho, there be many of them. Some include basic rules. Others are filled with advanced rules. The information in these books can be used as reference.

You see, some GMs are known to use their mental strength to bend the rules from these tomes like a raging barbarian can bend metal. If they could bend metal.

Old Balbo knew this one barbarian years ago, his name was Gargg, and he bent a sword in half with his bare hands. The sword was ancient, yes, but it was made of sturdy stuff. Gold, I think.

The only armor a GM uses is their game screen. A game screen can be as big and as decorated as the Game Master desires.

Some examples of favored ones can be found here.


Role-Playing games do not judge. Just another reason they are so great. All ages, races, backgrounds, and genders can enjoy RPG games and be the Game Master for the campaign.

That all being said, one of the best backgrounds a GM can have is that of a veteran RPG player. Who knows how to lead a game better than someone who has played it a bunch?

What Makes a Good Game Master?

A good GM is someone who has read all the rule books (several times) and is aware of most of the game’s intricacies.

No one will ever know everything. And if a rule is in question, you can always refer to your books or the web. It is important to remember that the rules are there to help guide the game and not impede its fun.

Good GMs develop stories with varying new and exciting monsters and environments. They make sure they are aware of all the players’ characters before the game. This can mean keeping notes that have each player’s character’s name, class, and notes on their backstory.

Why? No one wants to hear, “Hey you, what’s your name again? What do you want to do about those goblins over there?” while playing.

What they want to hear is, “Keldor, you suddenly recognize that one of the Kobold bandits who is attacking the party is the very villain who raided your village when you were a child. Around his neck is the necklace your father gave your mother on her birthday months before the raid. What do you want to do?”

See the difference?

To make that situation even better, a good GM will write something into the story that allows the other players to help. A key point in what makes a really fun GM is one who knows how to build a story that allows for cooperation and interaction between the players.

You might be asking yourself; how do I do all this?

Well, as significant as learning is, listening is just as important. Listen to your players. Take notes. You can get great ideas on how to create your next story. Better yet, you can pivot, because improvisation is what keeps your players on their toes.

You have probably seen it during a late-night RPG game. The one guy yawning. The girl thumbing through her social media. That one dude who picks up a car magazine and starts reading its articles in the middle of the game! Gah! Infuriating!

With some quick and witty improv, you will keep your players second-guessing. And if they are not sure what you will do next, they will be paying more attention and having more fun.

There is a lot to being a good GM, but one thing is super easy. Hey, friend, just be yourself. You were a player once. You know how it goes. Just enjoy it.

We Thank the Game Masters for All Their Hard Work

They put the work in so we can have fun.

No. No. No. Do not feel bad for them, friend; most GMs enjoy it. They love to create the world and oversee it.

How do we know?

We base our opinion on one of the most famous Game Master’s ever. His name was Dungeon Master and he led Hank, Sheila, Eric, Bobby, Presto, and Diana through the realm of…Dungeons and Dragons… (the cartoon). Dungeon Master always had a smile on his face because he was happy. Dungeon Master loved his job.

Tabletop Beard respects the GM and all they do. They also understand that not everyone wants to smell rain, coffee, leather, or citrus on their beard. Therefore, Tabletop Beard created the GM scent which is odorless.

If you want a beard oil or beard butter with all the good all-natural ingredients like meadowfoam seed oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, sunflower oil, and avocado oil, but want it unscented…ho, the Game Master class will take charge and rule your beard.