Here’s what confuses me about other gamers’ origin stories:
“I picked up a copy of the red box. I made up the weirdest dungeons, stuff I’d never show anyone today, and I ran the game for my friends”
I would never have done this. I still couldn’t today.
This is a post that Liz asked me to write after I talked to her about running games at GenCon. It went like this.
Me: “So I’m in Kennon’s Dread and your Fiasco.”
Liz: “Yep! You aren’t going to run anything? You should run something for us on Hangouts sometime”
Me: “I can’t. See, if it sucks, you will never want to play games with me again.”
The truth is, I have Ridiculous GMing Insecurity. I have only been a GM 4 or 5 times in my entire life. Each time, I was scared. I woke up the morning of a game with a pit in my stomach. I like to GM in bars so I can calm my nerves with a beer.
So what’s my fucking problem?
I have a lot of game ideas I’d like to try out – that’s not the problem.
There are a lot of games I love with my whole heart – that’s not the problem.
I’ve been in games where the hook wasn’t tight enough, and I’ve thought no less of the GM – that’s not the problem!
I have the time, the space, the technology, and the friends. But I’m too shit-scared to get in front of my friends in a Google Hangout on the off chance they don’t have the greatest gaming experience ever to run a damn thing. Most of my imagined GMing scenarios end in all of my friends leaving my house, so disappointed in the lack of fun that they will never call me again. This is a gaming fear I have had since my first time behind a D&D character sheet.
Because of this I’ve felt like a leech on gaming groups by soaking up story but not contributing any, I’ve felt like a great big ol chicken, and – perhaps most strongly – I’ve felt like I’m missing a key part of being a gamer by not putting a story up on the slab to be dissected by my players. I’m scared that if I do, they’ll find it lacking to such an extreme that they will laugh me away from the table.
Rationally, I know that can’t be true – I’ve made disastrous characters (the soccer mummy: worst character ever fucking written) and it’s just funny. I’ve been in disastrously run games that were the same: fun jokes now! I’m easygoing, I can roll with a few story-punches. It isn’t that someone will get smudgy fingerprints over my spun sugar world that’s holding me back. There’s nothing more to it: it just scares me.
I’m working on it, though. In small ways I’m taking the lead during games. Facilitating story games? Fuck yeah I’ll do that! One shots are another arena where I feel a bit more sure of myself, and I think that running a campaign is still in the foggy distance. Slowly, I’ll improve on this. It’s all in my head, and my friends just want to see what cool ideas I come up with.
I can’t be the only person with a really foolish gaming insecurity. Do you have one?
Did you have one that you overcame? How’d you do that, fancypants?