As a member of the Professional Gamemasters Society, I saw a post by Vb Wyrde who linked to an article on enworld titled "D&D goes to Work Part II: Professional Game Masters"
The article itself is set up into seven different points:
- Why would anyone pay for a Gamemaster?
- What's a professional Gamemaster worth?
- Trolling Around
- Going Commando
- Your Friendly Local Game Store is Hiring
- The Online Revolution
- The League of Extraordinary Gamemasters
The article then goes over to talk about seven qualifications a professional gamemaster should have. I could list what I'm good at and what I'm not. I could even make up excuses why the bad things weren't actually bad. Instead I'll write a short comment about why my mastery should make me a professional.
- Mastery of Gamemastership - With 24 years of experience, good references, and knowledge of many different types of games and systems, I should have mastery of gamemastership.
- Mastery of Rules - Being able to referee on rules, especially obscure ones is very crucial and something I have experience with.
- Mastery of Systems - I have always been good to use various systems and interpret them, expand on them, and combining all of it to create my own.
- Mastery of Adventure Scenario - Check out our Extra-Life 2015, which was a 24 hour Dungeons and Dragons game based on the adventure "Princes of the Apocalypse".
- Mastery of Campaign Milieu Creation - I have created settings, campaigns, and adventures of various types.
- Mastery of RPG systems expansions - Ever tried GMing a written adventure that was based off of a computer game RPG? It's a lot of fun, and the challenges are very different from anything else.
- Mastery of Creation of Role-Playing Games - I once worked on a TRPG with a friend where the players played the crew of a large mech, a humanoid machine of war. It was Warhammer 40k meets Star Trek meets World of Darkness.
The article covers more examples and games played at local game stores. We have something similar here in Denmark, but it works differently and you wouldn't be able to earn any money off of it. It is mainly used to advertise the store itself. The article also covers the use of digital formats such as Roll20, which personally is one of the reasons I started this blog.
The article finishes off with talking about streaming games, and in my experience that only works if you already have a personality and appearance on the net. Someone like me would never be able to start up and become a famous gamemasters through Twitch.
Vb Wyrde's Post
The founder of the Professional Gamemaster Society covers the article much better than I do, and his insight into it is inspiring. He points out that the article focuses mostly on the gamemaster but that in truth, the article should focus on the player. Why would players pay? Could companies become the players? Why would players go for a professional gamemaster when they can get a free one?
The thing that caught my eye the most was the way that Wyrde set up the business model. Things are very different in different places around the world, and Wyrde posted a business model where 6 players would play 20 hours per week and the pay would have to give the gamemaster a normal standard of living.
I decided to reply to Wyrde's post with this blog article, but also with the following post:
Vb Wyrde, a very interesting analysis of the article and I've taken the liberty of posting a long reply to it on my blog.
I would personally love to become a professional gamemaster, but don't expect that dream to come true. Still, I started up my blog and other minor projects specifically due to the job posting on Roll20, hoping that it would help me in the future. I have streamed 24 hour Extra-Life games for two years now, and am now planning a larger project. I am working closely with my local community and a company to set up an official yearly LAN party. This LAN party will be unique in that it will also include Magic the Gathering, Warhammer 40k, and Dungeons and Dragons. I'm in charge of the D&D part and I'm hoping to set it up in a very professional way. It'll be set up for the first weekend of November 2016.
Now for the heart of this reply (sorry for the long post). I tried running the numbers for a business model myself based on a gamemaster here in Denmark. Running 20 hours every 7 days means running a mean of 2.86 hours/day. With a mean of 30.4 days/month and at 33,330 DKK/month (4,859.91 USD/month) the income would have to be 1.095,78 DKK/day (159.78 USD/day), which would give 383.52 DKK/hour (55.92 USD/hour). This nets to a total price of 63.92 DKK/hour/player (9.32 USD/hour/player). True enough, this is very difficult to attain, but it should be possible.
A note on conventions and capitalism, here in Denmark you pay for the convention, but once in you aren't charged an additional fee for attending, and TRPG conventions are very rare. Charging money for being a professional gamemaster isn't about capitalism, but about worth. A professional gamemaster will spend most of his life GMing, just as anyone else spends most of their life doing whatever they do to pay the bills. Getting paid for it simply means that you can do it. I would love to GM more games, but I'm limited to very few games, and I've only played 24 hours in the past 6 months. If I got paid for doing it, I would be able to do it a lot more would be entertained.
Sorry for the long post, and thumbs up on the link to the article.
Next weekend we're officially launching our gamemasters campaign with a simple meet-and-greet where we set up the outlines. I'll write about that in a few weeks. Next week I'll try to stick with the plan and write about TRPG christmas calendars. If you have any ideas on articles that we should write about, let us know on our Facebook page, or leave a comment.