Girl GMs

So I GM’d Lace and Steel at the Fresher’s one-shots today. I like role-playing and I like GMing, although I am still learning about the GMing thing and am well aware that I need all the practice I can get. I wasn’t actually expecting my game to be that popular today but I totally filled up. To be honest I thought after the rambling pitch that not many would be up for it. Turns out I was wrong. Actually had to turn people away, that was kind of a nice surprise, and I really enjoyed the game. The two new players that I got really enjoyed themselves too. I wanted to ask Spike what he thought about the game but didn’t get the chance, I like asking experienced GMs what they think to get an idea about what they’d do differently so I get better.

What I did notice though, was that I was the only girl running a game. I haven’t seen many girls running games and it’s not as though LURPs isn’t full of girls. They do, however, all seem to be more interested in the lives than in tabletops and I know that there are any number of female refs. I can’t work out what it is that means that I’m frequently one of the few girls running a game. I think that there is something that makes lives more attractive to girls but I can’t figure out what it is. I really don’t like lives myself (except the Cthulhu) – although this is a biased view, I’ve never played in a fantasy live I just haven’t ever wanted to. In fact, after hearing bits and pieces about them, I really, really have not wanted to.

Meh. I ramble. I still can’t work out why there seem to be less female GMs than male in LURPs.

14 thoughts on “Girl GMs

  1. Like you, I don’t really know why either, but it does intrigue me, and has for years. In the old, old days, Gin, Bianca and Sarah would run games on occasion, which was grand, and there have been other female refs, but the reasons why reffing is male dominated remain vague. In the past one could perhaps make a stab at blaming it on the importance of system nuts and bolts (particularly combat systems), but that seems an out-of-date view these days. I’d love to hear any good theories, but mostly I’d love to see people bucking the trend!

  2. Hmm…

    Nai ran Werewolf: Wild West, but that was three years ago.

    Cath has run a couple of games, but she is behind a lot of the live stuff that goes on and seems to prefer that overall.

    Erfalaswen ran her excellent Buffy game at Barrow.

    None of them are what you’d call LURPS regular GMs, and I can’t (off the top of my head) think of any other female GMs.

    Anyhow, I is looking forward to Thursday…

    …which will make you my first female GM, unless I’m forgetting something.

  3. Oh yeah, I can think of several girls that have GMed (you missed out Fluzz of the ones I’d thought of but I can’t remember what it was she ran), my point was simply that it doesn’t happen often. Compare it to the lives however, where there seem to be a lot of female refs and it seems a little odd.

    I don’t think that girls run things particularly differently but then I’m not sure that theres a big enough test pool to check that from. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll give me your observations.

  4. Source and age of sample, at a rough guess.

    Take the typical fresher intake; first off, it’ll be around two-thirds male, which means we get a greater proportion of male GMs to start with.

    Second, about half the males will be experienced gamers, which group is more likely to be/become GMs over time. If we’re lucky, about two of the women will, tops.

    If LURPS was instead a town-based group advertising and otherwise recruiting in (say) the 25+ demographic, a greater proportion of the women would have a few years’ RP experience under their belts and thus be more likely to be willing to GM. (No, it doesn’t need that length of experience. But except for the hyperenthusiasts people often seem to think it will.)

  5. I think the experience thing really does matter a lot – I’ve now been table-topping for a couple of years and start to feel ready to GM, but I’ll need a bit of practice before I am confident enough to take on a LURPS full-term game. Maybe I can get together some volunteers for me to practise on at some point… 😉

  6. Hell, I’ve been role-playing now for night-on 10 years and I just don’t feel the appeal of GMing. I enjoy playing and I’m too much of a control freak/story teller to trust players not to brutally violate my plots. I’m posessive about them, see? Plus, I lack the confidence in myself to improvise and lead-without-leading.
    I was tempted to run Paranoia at the new-GM one-shots a few months ago, but other things happened instead and I didn’t get the chance.

    I’d like to try it some day, but right now it’s a simple case of personal preference and lack of faith in my own abilities.

  7. I’m not certain, Tom, that you can simply put it down to experience. I’d only been roleplaying a year before I GMed my first game. It didn’t occur to me not to, a lot of my friends were GMs and most people seemed to try it at some point. So I tried it, I mainly viewed it as an extension of my writing. I’m sure that experience does play into it, I’m just not convinced that that’s it.

  8. And I was GMing in a similarly short space of time.

    Thing is, that’s rare.

    Note I never said there were no female new members with some rp experience, either – but, again, it’s rare, and that reduces numbers.

    We don’t have zero female GMs, we have few. Probability question rather than absolute.

  9. Actually Tom, no, moving to GMing in a short space of time isn’t rare, it’s quite common. It is the way that most referees start. Though this is disguised by other, more highly probable routes in the environs of an established roleplaying society.

    That aside…

    The male/female probability pattern you describe is undoubtedly part of the way the situation is presented to us, but it simply doesn’t explain what is going on at root.

    Thinking hard about this I’m fairly sure that I only know two female referees who choose to run games regularly and enjoy it. One is Mish, and one is my old friend Gin. Most lasses I know have consistently played, and a few have run occasional games. There is some mechanism which the probabilities disguise, but do not adequately explain.

    And it is rather fascinating!

  10. Yes, and, if anything, this makes it clear that LARP refereeing and tabletop refereeing are quite different things!

  11. There’s a simple reason why I don’t want to GM for an open-call lurps game – I don’t want to deal with the arguments about rules and systems/lack of rules and systems.

    Seriously. I don’t want the arguments. I’ve seen them crop up in games, I’ve seen how into this people get and I do not have the strength of will or interest to keep having to ‘put my foot down’ to maintain a game when I’m not sure what players I will get. I roleplay to have run and tell stories and have no interest in having to argue over statistics with the people involved, and from what I see as GM I would potentially be obliged to deal with a lot more of that.

    I didn’t do that when I ran for the kids – but only I had access to the book and in the sacred position of teacher, my word was taken as law. I’ve been assured this should be the case for GMs as a rule, as a matter of courtesy, but it doesn’t match the behaviour I’ve seen sometimes.

    I don’t like it when this sort of argument crops up in games that I’m in, but at least I can switch off when I’m not in charge and let other people hash it out.

  12. See I get out of that by saying that I’m not interested in system and I expect my players to know it better than me (especially combat systems). But that I will fudge system to make the story funky.

  13. I know that works for some people, but I’d feel leery about running a system where the players knew the intricacies of the rules better than me, because I’ve seen what happens when people I role play with are allowed to make free with systems. Things get broken and refs tear their hair out. I’d just rather not run games through lurps and be able to choose who I want without an open call.

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