It is always debatable who the world's best gamemaster is, because a lot of it is subjective and comes down to what you, as an individual, like in a gamemaster, and what type of game and what roleplaying game you enjoy.
That said, Chris Perkins probably holds the title of the world's best gamemaster at the moment. This is both because he has a large following due to being the gamemaster for Acquisitions Incorporated, and because he is a game designer for Wizards of the Coast and has released many great games. He even worked on the Star Wars Saga roleplaying game. Amongst professionals he is sometimes referred to as the best, and thus he probably has the most votes. The reason I like him is because of his articles The Dungeon Master Experience.
The Dungeon Master Experience
The Dungeon Master Experience is 106 articles written over a few years. These articles are great because many players and DMs can relate to what Chris writes about. He uses his own games as examples and inspiration, but what makes it truly great is the simple way he explains things that seem hard to overcome and hard for experienced gamemasters to teach others. The way he plays the game is truly enjoyable, and the way he uses the rules and bends them as they should is inspiring.
To take an example, then look at this article. He begins by explaining that he likes to reward players who resort to solving challenges in other ways than hacking their way through it. He shows an example where a player tries to disguise himself as a warforged in order to bypass a challenge without the use of violence. He even explains how he would have rewarded the party if they had continued with their ruse, even if they had rolled a 1. What makes this specific article so great is the fact that Chris explains that the rules are there to be followed, and that DMs shouldn't simply look away from the rules and avoid dice rolls. Instead, they should reward the party in other ways. He bends the rules, letting the players roll a diplomacy check, but ignoring the fact that there should be a lot of insight rolls. As he explains, "Sometimes the rules are more what you'd call "guidelines."", as he quotes Captain Hector Barbossa.
If you want to read more about Chris Perkins, I suggest Powerscore's blog about him.
My personal favourite gamemaster is Monte Cook. You might know him from D&D 3.5 and Call of Cthulu. He also created World of Darkness and Numenera. The reason I like him is because of his earlier works on Planescape. Planescape is a setting for Dungeons and Dragons created by Zeb Cook, which is similar to Monte's Numenera in that it goes outside the box. You can clearly see Monte's influence on Planescape.
There are many campaign settings to chose from when playing any type of roleplaying games. Many gamemasters also create their own settings. All of these are very similar, in my experience, but Planescape is extremely unique. It's a D&D setting that focuses on the otherworldly. You can go to Heaven and Hell, but more than that, you can go to ANY Heaven and Hell. You can go to the Greek version known as Elysium and Tartarus (known as Carceri in the game). You can go to the Norse version known as Yggdrasil or even the Native American afterlife called the Beastlands. To make things even better, he has created a centre for it all, a spire that goes up forever, but at the very top (there's a top even though it goes on forever?) there is a city that lies within a torus that floats above the spire, which is ruled by a being so powerful that she defies even the gods. All of this is only the tip of the iceberg that is the complexity and innovative setting of Planescape.
If you want to read more about Monte Cook, I suggest Powerscore's blog about him.
I'm hoping to write a blog next week about our Extra-Life session. We'll be playing from saturday morning until sunday morning, and hopefully I'll have time sunday to write about it quickly. If
any stories or ideas on articles (I could try to write Gamemaster Experience articles) that we should
write about, let us know on our Facebook page, or leave a comment.