The Virtue of Gamers
One of the things that I personally am bad at is pacing myself and being patient with the things I'm working on. I'm very good at jumping from one project to another, but sitting down and focusing on a specific project to the exclusion of all others is difficult for me to do. That's the reason I tend to take on too many projects at once. Which leads me to today's topic: Why are GMs the ones who have to pay, especially when it often feels like the players fail to appreciate the effort?
That sounds a bit strange, doesn't it? I came across the thought when I saw a mention on Facebook in someone's comment about how he "as a gamer and not a GM didn't have anything to spend his cash on unless it was dice". And I can tell you that, as an author and publisher, my heart bled. Because apparently, it had never crossed this guy's mind that the GMs are in the exact opposite position? I can't think of the last time that I saw any player come up to a GM and go "Look, I'd really like to play in this Adventure. If you want to run it, I'll buy it for you" or who offered to pay for the GMs latest monster book or anything of the sort. Of course, the GM likely wants to tell the story, but players tend to outnumber GMs 4 or 5 times over, so it doesn't really feel FAIR to have them foot all the expenses. Especially when many of them are also the ones who spend the most time actually creating the campaigns and running the adventures of the rest of the players.
Hopefully, this has you (if you're a player) thinking "How can I help?" - And it's really rather simple. Talk to your GM and offer to pick up the next book for them - give it to them as a present and thank them for spending all the time that they do on the game. Certainly, if you enjoy what the GM has been dishing up for you, it's time to show them some appreciation, because many of them struggle a LOT with the whole "is my game good enough?" rummaging around in their heads. And while, to many players, the fact that they show up for every session, I can assure you that it doesn't always feel like players appreciate the effort that the GM has put in. Part of that is just simply paying attention, especially during online games where it's easy to get distracted. Asking a GM to reiterate a point is fine - but asking them to do so, because you were messing around with your Youtube playlist in the background, isn't.
So this holiday, show your GM some appreciation. Buy them a Christmas gift — or if that's too much simply go up to them and say "Thanks for the great session last time. I'm STOKED for the next one". They'll love you for it.