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Author Topic: What "that guy" is called  (Read 15402 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: September 06, 2002, 05:53:51 AM »

Hi there,

The fellow who goes by "nipfipgip...dip" suggested, in this thread:

Is it about time someone drew a list of the names given to the GM role over time?
It would be quite long.


Yes!! For historical purposes, let's get that list going. Please include as many games that you know of that use a given term, so this thread can have some utility in the future.

I'll start:
"Dungeon Master," first used in Dungeons and Dragons, in the mid-70s.

And ...?

Best,
Ron
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mahoux
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2002, 05:57:14 AM »

How about Marshal from Deadlands
and
<shamelessplug>Airedale</shamelessplug> from Knights of the Road?

aaron

edit: actually, it becomes just a flavor bit doesn't it?
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2002, 06:26:03 AM »

Funny how the question is "what is the GM called"?

Quite often Game Master or GM.

The question might more properly be phrased, what do you call that participant in an RPG who has the traditional split of power which enables him to create events mostly at will with director stance play, and is in chargte of portraying all characters that do not belong to the players officially (NPCs)?

I suppose the former is easier, but then I can answer:

Player.

In Universalis, we refer to the multiple GMs that comprise all the participants of the game as Players.

But getting back to the more traditional definition:

Keeper - CoC
Referee - Traveller
Seneschal - tRoS
Storyteller - WoD and other WW productions

Just a few obvious ones.

Mike
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Valamir
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2002, 06:36:16 AM »

Narrator...alot of games.

Doesn't Agone have some bizarro GM name...like Emminence or something?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2002, 06:44:07 AM »

Hey,

Hero Wars uses "Narrator," but I'm pretty sure it's not the first. Any help on this one, folks?

The term in Agone is "Eminence Grise," or Gray Eminence, which is a reference to Cardinal Richelieu specifically and to any "power behind the throne" generally. I find it very appropriate for that game, as the text is explicitly Illusionist.

Best,
Ron
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xiombarg
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2002, 06:48:49 AM »

Off the top of my head:

Stuperpowers calls the GM the "Big Mac Daddy" or BMD. Humorous RPGs have a long history of calling the GM something goofy.

And on that note, the GM for Toon is "the Animator". There's a good "historical" reference for you, as Toon is one of the oldest comedy RPGs.

All of White Wolf's games call the GM the "Storyteller", or ST. Except HOL, where the GM is the "HOL Master", or HM, IIRC.

Nobilis calls the GM the "Hollyhock God".

edit: more when I get home and can access my RPG collection
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2002, 07:00:22 AM »

Hey,

One of the earliest post-DM terms was "Referee," used in High Fantasy in the late 70s.

How about early BRP (Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest)? "Game master," if I'm remembering correctly. Tunnels & Trolls? The Fantasy Trip ("Game master" there too ... or was it?)? Damn, I need my library back, and it's all still in boxes from the move.

Best,
Ron

P.S. Editing this much later - screwed up the reference; High Fantasy used "Judge" not Referee.
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Walt Freitag
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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2002, 07:42:00 AM »

Space Opera (1980): StarMaster (always with both capitals)

Some very minor variations on "gamemaster..."

DragonQuest (SPI ca. 1982) used gamesmaster (note the extra s, not a typo), and HackMaster uses GameMaster (always with both capitals). (The HackMaster glossary also lists "Screen Grunt" and "Screen Monkey" as derogatory alternatives.)
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2002, 08:13:44 AM »

What was the wacky title from Immortal? That game had wacky terms for everything.

Thinking about it, I think that we can blame CoC for starting the wacky title trend wayback.

Didn't some of the Bad Classics have some interesting terms, too? Games like SenZar, Synnibar, DeadErth.

It's funny, but, though I just read through it, I can't remember if Children of the Sun used a strange term. It seems that most recent games I can't remember the term. I think that I've reached a stage where if there is something other than GM, I just block it out and replace it with GM.

Just remembered my favorite, however, a title which really speaks volumes of meta-game about how the position works: the Computer from Paranioa.

Mike
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jburneko
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« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2002, 08:22:31 AM »

I believe Narrator is used in Story Engine as well.

In Spycraft the GM is refered to as Game Control

Jesse
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Zak Arntson
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« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2002, 08:36:11 AM »

My Sea Monkey RPG (published, even): "Giant Human Head"
Tribe 8: "Weaver"
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2002, 08:58:54 AM »

Nobilis: Hollyhock God
Donjon: Donjon Master (only mentioned once for copyright reasons)
Dust Devils: The Dealer
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Clinton R. Nixon
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lumpley
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« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2002, 09:05:16 AM »

Plug.  Matchmaker: Cupid.

-Vincent
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2002, 09:20:56 AM »

Plug. Matchmaker: Cupid.

Um...I thought Matchmaker was GM-less. "Cupid" just has the highest agglomeration of traditional GM powers. I say we throw this one off the list and dunk Vincent's head in skunky beer for good measure.

What was the name used in Paranoia? I remember all the great Jim Holloway illustrations of him, but not what the game called him.

Paul
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lumpley
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« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2002, 09:48:03 AM »

Ha!  Skunky beer for you too, Paul.  Mike already said the Paranoia one: the Computer.

(You're right about Matchmaker, of course.  I'm ashamed.  My pluglust overcame my good sense.)

-Vincent
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