Thursday, September 27, 2012

60 Shades of GM

From time to time in doing reviews I hit the problem of naming the Game Master. Also known as the GM. Aka Gamesmaster, Games Master, Game-Master, Games-Master, and Gamemaster. That's always been my preferred term.  On the other hand, to me a DM or Dungeon Master, is someone actually running Dungeons & Dragons. That's a matter of taste and experience I suppose (or I'm just plain wrong). Below I've tried to assemble a list of the many 'alternate names' RPGs use to name the GM. For each I've listed just one example system, even when that name appears in several games (Storyteller, Narrator, Director). Many were suggested by my excellent colleagues on the original list at RPG GeekFeel free to suggest any I may have missed.

With GM as #1 and DM as #2, here are 58 others:

Adventure Master (Dragonraid)
Animator (Toon)
Bartender (Tales from the Floating Vagabond)
Big Mac Daddy (StuperPowers!)
The Boss (Low Life)
Cannibal-in-Charge (Cannibal Contagion)
Castle Keeper (Castles & Crusades)
Chill Master (Chill)
Continuum Master (TIMEMASTER)
Control (Agents of S.W.I.N.G.)
Cryptkeeper (The World of Tales from the Crypt)
Director (Night’s Black Agents)
Dorn Keeper (Dorn)
Editor (Pandemonium)
Fate (The World of Synnibarr)
Fixer (Leverage)
Galaxy Master (Starfaring)
Game Control (Spycraft)
General Management (Time & Temp)
Ghostmaster (Ghostbusters)
Grey Eminence (Agone)*
Guide (Don’t Look Back)
Hand of Fate (The Secret of Zir’An)
Hollyhock God (Nobilis)
HōLmeister (HōL)
Host (Ironclaw)
Interrogator (InTERRORgation)
Judge (Marvel Super Heroes)
Keeper aka Keeper of Arcane Lore (Call of Cthulhu)
Leader (Shadows of Esteren)
Loremaster (The One Ring)
Magister/Magistra (Kata Kumbas)
Marshall (Deadlands)
Master of Ceremonies (Apocalypse World)
Mayor (Kobolds Ate My Baby)
Meister (Das Schwarze Auge)
Moderator (Blue Planet)
Mythguide (Aria: Canticle of the Monomyth)
Mythmaster (Mythender)
Narrator (Houses of the Blooded)
Navigator (Mermaid Adventures)
Overlord (Descent)
Producer (Primetime Adventures)
Prophet (The Seventh Seal)
Referee (Traveller)
Seneschal (The Riddle of Steel)
Sholari (Skyrealms of Jorune)
Storyguide (CthulhuTech)
Story Master (Dungeons the Dragoning 7th Edition)
Storyteller (Vampire: the Requiem)
Superuser (Freemarket)
Timemaster (TIMEMASTER) see above
Umpire (Lace & Steel)
War Master (Weird Wars)
Watcher (Marvel Heroic Roleplaying)
Watchtower (Smallville)
Wulin Sage (Weapons of the Gods)**
Zargon aka Morcar (UK) (HeroQuest)
Zombie Master (All Flesh Must Be Eaten)

Suggested Additions:
Administrator (Top Secret/SI)
Antagonist (ΑΓΩΝ)
Campaign Master (Star Ace)
Consul (Super Dungeon Explore)
Corpse Master (Rotworld)
Dawg Master (Dawg the RPG)
Dolphin Master (Everything is Dolphins)
Everyone Else (Everyone is John)
Excursion Master (Excursions into the Bizarre)
Fairytale Teller (Wiedzmintrans. from the Polish)
Gamekeeper (Tales from the Wood)
Game Moderator (Wild Talents)
Game Operations Designate aka GOD (The Legend of Yore)
Grand Master (Witch Hunter: The Invisible World)
Game Sheriff (Dzikie Pola- trans. from the Polish)
Kennel Master (Woof Meow)
The Man (Starchildren)
Mutant Lord (Mutant Future)
Operations (Wilderness of Mirrors)
Overseer (Catacombs)
Puppet Master (Puppetland)
Runner (Rune)
Sherpa Guide (Sherpa)
StarMaster (Space Opera)
StoryHost (Enter the Shadowside)
*Eminence Grise in the original French
**If I were to run Weapons of the Gods, I would require that the players address me as the Wulin Sage at all times.


  1. I remember thinking how bland "game master" was after knowing "dungeon master". How things have progressed.

  2. Timemaster used a "Continuum Master." In fact, all of the Pacesetter games had a CM -- Chill had a Chill Master; Star Ace has a Campaign Master; and the new Rotworld (released by Goblinoid Games) has a Corpse Master. That way, the same Action Table could be used amongst all of the games, so "CM" is correct for all of them.

  3. I think I know a few more...

    Man, The (Starchildern)
    Mutant Lord (Mutant Future)
    StarMaster (Space Opera)

    Ars Magica uses both Storyguide and Storyteller depending on product and edition it seems.

    In my own campaigns we've used Director for The Muppets, Editor-In-Chief for some Superhero campaigns and of course Smurfmaster for The Smurfs.

  4. Friend Computer (Paranoia)

    1. Except it almost always refers to the person running the game as the Gamemaster or GM.

    2. That is knowledge above your clearance. Please find your way to the disintegration booth, citizen.