GM Improvisational Contest Concept & Rules

The Game Master (GM) Improv Contest idea is to test the ability of a GM, by presenting a general plot, and have the GM Improv the adventure from there. It tests many aspects of the GM’s ability; general roleplay, game flow control, improvisational skills, and story telling. It creates a very dynamic and challenging environment for the GM. Only the best kind of GM truly can do well in a GM Improv Contest.

The GMs sign up and list at least one Role-Playing Game (RPG) system for their writer to write for. Someone else will be writing the plot for the games session, based on the RPG. The GM will not be seeing the plot until the day of the Contest. The writer does not necessarily have to have knowledge of the system the GM is going to run, but it always helps. Sometimes the best and most challenging plots come from a writer that knows nothing about the system.

Once the contest has GMs signed up, each GM selects another GM that he will write for. The best way to do this is randomly.

The participants should agree on how much detail should be put into the plots, and perhaps, how many pages it should be. The detail depends on the writer’s knowledge of the RPG system they are writing for. The GMs should be prepared to run the game(s) they signed up for, including having pre-gen characters ready for each system. There will be no time for character generation.

Once the pre-arranged time has arrived, the Contest should begin. A set time limit should be determined before hand. It is best that players for the each game, are selected randomly. Even space the available players to each GM.

Start all sessions at the same time, giving each GM equal time to run. The GM should read the plot as many times as it takes for him to get what he needs out of it, and then run with it.

Once the time is expired, the players score the GM on the following score sheet. Average the score together and you should have a winner.

The challenge should be obvious to any GM. This idea came about when I heard people saying that the best sessions they had played in were the ones the GM “shot-from-the-hip”.

The Guild has one GM Improv contest once a year or so, and we always have a great time. We seem to add new ways to testing and scoring a GM, so it is always an evolving thing. These “rules” are more a guideline, because a GM Improv Contest can be done any number of ways. We just wants to convey what we have done in the past, and perhaps inspire other GM Improv Contests.

GameMaster Improvisational Contest

Scoring the Game Master

Game Master’s Name: ____________________

System: ____________________

Scale

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Seriously Bad Very Bad Bad Needed to be better Average OK Good Very Good Damn Good Never Seen Better

Score the GM according to the above scale on these points:

_____ (1) Initiation: How well did the GM handle the very beginning of the adventure, getting the characters introduced, etc.?

_____ (2) Random Encounters: How well did the GM handle the Random Encounters (events not directly related to the plot)? (If none, rate him how you think he might have handled them.

_____ (3) Plot-Related Encounters: How well did the GM handle the plot-oriented Encounters (events directly related to the plot)?

_____ (4) Rules: How well did the GM handle the system rules and any rules hang-ups? (If none, rate him how you think he might have handled them.)

_____ (5) Game Flow: How well did the game flow?

_____ (6) “Bunjee”: How quickly did the GM handle snapping back into game when the group strayed? (If none, rate him how you think he might have handled it.)

_____ (7) Roleplaying: How well did the GM roleplay characters? (If none, rate him how you think he might have handled them.)

_____ (8) Rap-Up: How well did the GM handle the game rap-up?

1 2 3 4 5
Worst place to end a session Very Bad place to end a session Bad place to end a session Didn’t finish, and didn’t end the adventure at a good place Didn’t finish, and ended the adventure at an OK place
6 7 8 9 10
Didn’t finish, and ended the adventure at a good place Didn’t finish, and ended the adventure at a pretty good place Finished it, but the ending could have been better Finished it, and it ended well Perfect Closure

____ TOTAL

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