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Thread: Crazy Idea...

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Durzan's Avatar

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    Default Crazy Idea...

    Okay, so I'm going to give you a hypothetical scenario:

    First off, let me start by saying that I love being a DM. Its something that I enjoy doing... so much so that if I could find a way to earn a little pocket cash to help me get through college while doing what I love, I would be very happy.

    Sounds crazy right? Who in their right minds would pay someone to DM a campaign? How much per session would I charge? etc.

    So, heres the goals:

    1. Earn pocket money through GMing. (It doesn't have to be a lot, just enough to pay for one, maybe two meals a week.)
    2. Offer a tangible incentive for me to continually improve my skill and put additional effort into my games.

    Idea 1:

    1. For new games, charge a small amount (like $5) per person for the first session. After that, the sessions are free.
    2. For all current and future running games, allow players to tip me through paypal.
    3. Have fun with the players!

    Idea 2: Same as above, but instead of a tip jar, allow players to pay an amount per game session, which they believe is fair.

    If a DM was offering such a system, would you be willing to pay them for a job well done?
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    Default Re: Crazy Idea...

    Assuming the usual, friends and friends-of-friends type of campaign? Not even a little bit would I be onboard with such a system-- and I am usually a GM. You're asking your friends to pay you to hang out and do fun stuff with them. I mean, asking for players to chip in, or even entirely fund snacks is one thing; asking them to help buy books that you all want is also totally reasonable; telling them "I'm not going to play unless you pay" is ridiculous and a total breach of standard social contract.

    If you want to make money DMing, I suggest looking for venues that will pay. I know an Adventurer's League DM at a local gaming shop who gets something for running sessions; you could see if there are any community centers, gaming shops, or something of that nature that would pay you to run games for their clientele.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2016-09-24 at 06:42 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Crazy Idea...

    Quote Originally Posted by Durzan View Post
    Okay, so I'm going to give you a hypothetical scenario:

    First off, let me start by saying that I love being a DM. Its something that I enjoy doing... so much so that if I could find a way to earn a little pocket cash to help me get through college while doing what I love, I would be very happy.

    Sounds crazy right? Who in their right minds would pay someone to DM a campaign? How much per session would I charge? etc.

    So, heres the goals:

    1. Earn pocket money through GMing. (It doesn't have to be a lot, just enough to pay for one, maybe two meals a week.)
    2. Offer a tangible incentive for me to continually improve my skill and put additional effort into my games.

    Idea 1:

    1. For new games, charge a small amount (like $5) per person for the first session. After that, the sessions are free.
    2. For all current and future running games, allow players to tip me through paypal.
    3. Have fun with the players!

    Idea 2: Same as above, but instead of a tip jar, allow players to pay an amount per game session, which they believe is fair.

    If a DM was offering such a system, would you be willing to pay them for a job well done?

    First off this is obviously not going to work with your friends. I would know because a former friend of mine insisted that me and other players paid for materials he was using during his game. Now this could have been all right if he didn't charge us after the fact in a game he wanted to run.

    So that leaves you charging your service to strangers. So If I am going to pay money so that you run a game for me then I am going to hold you up to a certain standard.

    You might have better luck to hold something like beginners courses like is done in a gaming store I know of. There you can pay 20$ and get a introduction to RPG's through 4 sessions or so.

    Then I knew a guy who held paid courses for starting GM's. Of course if you are going to manage something like that then you'd better be a good and experienced GM.

    Then again you can just join open sessions in both Adventure League and Shadowrun at the same place. So if you aren't a total newbie games aren't that hard to find if you live in a reasonable urban area. And even if you are a newbie then you could probably find a game without paying for it.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Crazy Idea...

    Quote Originally Posted by Durzan View Post
    Okay, so I'm going to give you a hypothetical scenario:

    First off, let me start by saying that I love being a DM. Its something that I enjoy doing... so much so that if I could find a way to earn a little pocket cash to help me get through college while doing what I love, I would be very happy.

    Sounds crazy right? Who in their right minds would pay someone to DM a campaign? How much per session would I charge? etc.

    [I cut out the middle because it's not really relevant to my reply]

    If a DM was offering such a system, would you be willing to pay them for a job well done?
    I'd laugh in the face of anyone trying to charge me money to GM. And that's the nicest reaction I'd have. Not to offend you personally, but people float this idea every once in a while, and you gotta understand your competition is willing to do for free, or as previously mentioned, the money goes into a pot to benefit the group as a "gaming fund" for food and/or materials.

    "Awesome game" is so subjective. By way of analogy, I dropped a tip in the guitar case of the guy who was just doing some warm-up chords because I liked the way his music was headed. Meanwhile there was a violinist doing some upbeat non-classical stuff who was I think in his groove and doing technically superior music, but I walked on by without breaking stride and he got nothing. The violinist was objectively working harder at getting money and even had some CDs for sale while the other guy was just fixing to bust out some blues guitar. Completely subjective from my end, but I thought the blues guy who probably wasn't expecting to get a lot was more deserving based on my tastes and the entertainment value I perceived than the guy who was clearly oriented on getting his musical brand out there and monetized. He was good, sure, but didn't even give me a glimmer of the"hey I like what this guy's doing and I want to support that" vibe. At all.

    But hey, good luck to you and I hope you don't end up violating any gaming licenses or getting a bad rep. It's always possible you could make some scratch from your idea. More power to ya if you can.
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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Crazy Idea...

    This sounds rational, but it's not an issue of reason; it's an issue of emotion. Think about people's emotional reactions.

    Go re-read your original post, but instead of "being a DM", put in "having a barbecue", or "throwing a party". or "taking someone on a date", or any other social activity with a host.

    Maybe you can find people who will do it - but it will be very unusual.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Crazy Idea...

    The way I see it several hours of entertainment for less than the price of the coffee I grabbed on my way? Deal. But I'd never pay a friend to DM. Unless it's in beer. Which would cost more, but that's okay. That's different.

    However. My tolerance for not being a good DM is going to be phenomenally lower. It's like if you get free food and it's a little overcooked, you'll deal, because it was free. If I order food at a restaurant and it's overcooked they are taking that back and getting it right.

    So if you could be a good DM, and make games happen on time, and keep me entertained. Sure, but you'd have to realize people's standards are going to be higher.

    You've got another issue however. That is other players. If they ruin your great game nobody is going to want to play, or pay. But they aren't going to want to leave because they're invested (literally) in the game.

    As a complete stranger renting out his services cheaply to DM, I wouldn't be opposed to it. But those services better be good. That's all I'm saying.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Crazy Idea...

    As an individual I wouldn't pay - no DM can provide a good experience by themselves. it comes down to the DM+System+Group.

    As a group - if my playgroup had no one to DM and everyone wanted to play characters and if there was an external DM that one or more of the group had experience before and could recomend and if they had ideas that would work for the group and it was in a system we all liked... then I would give it some serious consideration.

    I think it is a risky idea. A lot of reasons for this have already been mentioned but there is also the risk of entitlement. If you get paid to DM there is a risk that you think you are good enough to justify being paid. From there you think that you are a better DM than the others at the table and from there you come to believe that your views on what is good for the campaign should carry more weight than the others. The end of the path is that you end up running the game for yourself rather than the paying players and dismissing any of their concerns as "not yet getting what you are doing". It might not happen this way - it isn't even as strong as a prediction but it is something that would worry me if i were commissioning someone else to DM.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Segev's Avatar

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    Default Re: Crazy Idea...

    Were I to try to set up a business model around DMing-as-a-service, I would probably look at hybridizing an FLGS with a karaoke bar or movie theater. I'd rent space, and offer bonuses to my employees who ran games that brought in players (and discounts to GMs who were not employees), but the primary money-making would be from concessions. Have a decent snack bar and charge $3 for a soda (free refills), provide gaming supplies and a space to do it, and that's where I'd expect to make my money.

    Alternatively, run events, and again provide food. So you run one-off games open to the public where you take reservations and the first N customers, charging $X per person, and serve food and run a game for that evening. This could be done out of your house, if you have one. Make sure the $X per person covers the food and any other costs, plus your time.

    But advertise it as a "gaming event" or even a "private gaming club," not as "hey, buddies, let's get together and play a game...by the way, you should pay me."

    I have no idea if there's a market for this, let alone in your area, but that's how I'd try to approach it if I were hoping to make money from providing GM-type services.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Crazy Idea...

    Quote Originally Posted by Durzan View Post
    1. Earn pocket money through GMing. (It doesn't have to be a lot, just enough to pay for one, maybe two meals a week.)
    2. Offer a tangible incentive for me to continually improve my skill and put additional effort into my games.
    As everyone else has said... just ask the players to pitch in for food. Have everyone float a few dollars for pizza and chips every week, you get to keep the leftovers, and you easily get a meal from the session and the leftovers. Your incentive to get better? Keep the game good enough that they keep wanting to hang out. If it gets stale, people stop showing up, and the pizza fund goes down. Your pocket change comes from the money you're not spending on those meals.

    I would not pay cash to attend a session, even if I haven't played for years. It just sets entirely the wrong tone to start out, and makes it feel far less friendly. On the other hand, I would be hyped for a session where there's pizza and chips every week, because that's a recipe for a good time with everyone.

    Both get you pocket change, but one of these two options is going to work out far better than the other.
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