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A gamemaster (also GM, game master, gamemanager, or godmodder) is a person who acts as an organizer, officiant for questions regarding rules, arbitrator, and moderator for a multiplayer game. They are most common in co-operative games where other players work together and are less common in competitive games where other players battle one another.

The role of a gamemaster in a traditional role-playing game is to weave the other participants' player-character stories together, control the non-player aspects of the game, create environments in which the players can interact, and solve any player disputes. The basic role of the gamemaster is the same in almost all traditional role-playing games, although differing rule sets make the specific duties of the gamemaster unique to that system.

The role of a gamemaster in an online is to enforce the game's rules and provide general customer service. Also, unlike gamemasters in traditional role-playing games, gamemasters for online games are typically paid employees.


History and variants of the term

The term gamemaster and the role associated with it could be found in the postal gaming hobby. In a role-playing game context, it was first used by Flying Buffalo in the 1975 game Tunnels and Trolls, with previous usage in a wargaming context including Guidon Games 1973 ruleset, Ironclad.[1] In typical play-by-mail games, players control armies or civilizations and mail their chosen actions to the GM. The GM then mails the updated game state to all players on a regular basis.

Each gaming system has its own name for the role of the gamemaster, such as "judge", "narrator", "referee", "director", or "storyteller", and these terms not only describe the role of the gamemaster in general but also help define how the game is intended to be run. For example, the Storyteller System used in White Wolf Game Studio's storytelling games calls its GM the "storyteller", while the rules- and setting-focused Marvel Super Heroes Role-Playing Game calls its GM the "judge". The cartoon inspired roleplaying game Toon calls its GM the "animator." A few games apply system- or setting-specific flavorful names to the GM, such as the Hollyhock God (Nobilis, in which the hollyhock represents vanity), or the most famous of such terms, "Dungeon Master" (or "DM") in Dungeons & Dragons.

Gamemasters in traditional role-playing games

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