GMs: do you stand up?

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Necrozius

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I've found that when I stand up while Game Mastering, I:
  • feel more energetic; less likely to need an energy drink
  • More likely to roleplay NPCs thoroughly and enthusiastically
  • Find it easier to get the players' attention (better able to pull folks back into the game during off-topic chatter)
But since I saw a thread on G+ about this, where a few people expressed that it felt domineering or controlling, I'm having doubts. Maybe I shouldn't do this after all if it makes some players uncomfortable or annoyed.

What about you? Do you ever stand up? As a player, does this behaviour bother you?
 

Baeraad

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I only play online, so it's not quite applicable - but I do get up and pace a lot while waiting for replies.
 

S'mon

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I stand up occasionally. Maybe I want an NPC to seem domineering & controlling. :smile:

I'm aware of the psychological effect - I'm a University lecturer, so dominating a room is kind of necessary to doing my job >:smile: - and I wouldn't want to run a whole session like that, even if I physically could. One reason I dislike GM's screens is the psychological effect they have, distancing GM from players. Just having one side of the table to myself is plenty of distance.
 

Shipyard Locked

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I only play online, so it's not quite applicable...

That's one of the things that drives me nuts about running games online. I like to stand up for all the reasons Necrozius mentioned. It's a habit I picked up from teaching, where you use proximity to keep people focused and engaged without having to resort to discipline techniques.

Necrozius said:
What about you? Do you ever stand up? As a player, does this behaviour bother you?

No more than wandering entertainers at a show, which is to say not at all.

Necrozius said:
But since I saw a thread on G+ about this, where a few people expressed that it felt domineering or controlling...

:trigger: Maybe I'm just sleep deprived, but I'm rolling my eyes at this.
If that's how they react to the person actively working to entertain them and keep the damn game moving, I can't imagine how they deal with bosses and other serious work interactions. I'm going to guess they spend a lot of time hyperventilating in HR's offices.
 

K_Peterson

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No, I never stand up as a GM. I think it would make for an odd session and make me feel disconnected from the play-experience.

As a player, if a GM did that in a session I'd wonder, where's he going? Or what's he doing? Or should we be shining a spotlight on him?
 

Grelan

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I stand frequently, both when running and playing. I think better on my feet. Also sitting for prolonged periods has been proven to have negative health consequences. Get up and move around at least once an hour.
 

Melan

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Occasionally, for emphasis, or when a particular NPC's personality demands it. It can give the game a kind of animated enthusiasm that gets the players into an action-centric mindset.

I saw some recent GaryCon pictures where the GM (Matt Finch of all people!) was standing on the table. And I mean a huge table with lots of people around it. Now that's enthusiasm!
 

CRKrueger

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I usually stand up during combat, especially when we use minis or some physical representation, makes it easier.
Sometimes I’ll stand up for emphasis, depending on the NPC the players are talking to.
If you get one of those players that tunes out every second their PC isn’t talking, standing occasionally can keep them focused, especially once that connection is made that “standing equals combat”.
We all should probably stand up more anyway, health wise.

I understand your empathy and concern, Necrozius, but frankly, if someone is intimidated or suffers some kind of psychological impact from a GM standing, they need to stop gaming and go to therapy until they can handle their shit.
 

Baulderstone

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Standing up can definitely help, both as a psychological effect on players and as way to keep your energy levels up. I never thought about it actively until I took acting classes. It's much easier to act when you are on your feet.

As a player, if a GM did that in a session I'd wonder, where's he going? Or what's he doing? Or should we be shining a spotlight on him?
Exactly! Having all the players wondering what you are up to and wondering if you need a spotlight is the effect to be going for!
 

Baulderstone

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I'll add that being stuck in a chair the whole time is the thing I dislike most about streaming games. I still really enjoy them, but I definitely have less energy in them, and not being able to stand is part of it.
 

Edgewise

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I hadn't before I went to Gen Con. When I GMed there, I had to stand up just so my players could hear me without mutual screaming.

I can see how it could work. It's all about one's personal style of presentation. I could see it working well in conjunction with a whiteboard.
But since I saw a thread on G+ about this, where a few people expressed that it felt domineering or controlling, I'm having doubts. Maybe I shouldn't do this after all if it makes some players uncomfortable or annoyed.
You gotta know your players for this one, but I agree with others who say this sounds very oversensitive. If I had a player who was intimidated by me standing up, I wonder what else I might do that offends them. Probably something.

My first instinct would be to say that such a player might do better in a storygame where they have more "power" over what happens. But I think such a player might have even more problems with such a format if they didn't like what other players are doing with the narrative. A player like this needs to play with likeminded people, period, and I'm not one of them.
 

Dumarest

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Only if there is some reason to stand up.
 

Apparition

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I am a dwarf IRL, so I tend to sit to maintain eye level, or a semblance thereof.
 

Dammit Viktor

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Standing on my feet hurts more than I like. Walking hurts more.

I would prefer not to.
 

Jetstream

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Shit, I didn’t see the part about people thinking it’s domineering. Hah. No.

The domineering part is when I tell people like that to get the fuck over themselves :tongue:
 

Necrozius

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Great feedback so far, thanks!

Some notes:
  • I tend to stand more during battles, or scenes of action
  • I'll stand when I'm giving dramatic introductions or descriptions
I've found myself sitting down frequently when playing lower-key, or more subtle NPCs.
 

thedungeondelver

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I do until my back and legs start to hurt, which is typically at the 4 hour mark.
 

K_Peterson

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Exactly! Having all the players wondering what you are up to and wondering if you need a spotlight is the effect to be going for!
I mean it in a sense of being a distraction, in terms of relating to players or the GM. Breaking eye contact and stepping away from the group's "level" (for me) breaks the sense of being involved together in the activity. A symbiosis of experience.

For me, it doesn't have anything to do with needing more physical activity or more room for boisterous roleplaying. When I GM at my house, we play around a small circular table and it serves as a focal point during the session.
 

BedrockBrendan

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I used to stand, but I found it sometimes put people on edge, so I generally tried to not do it so much. The OP mentioned that people found it domineering. I don't think that is really an issue unless someone is hyper aware of power dynamics or something. I think it is more like when people all come inside from the cold and only one person doesn't take off their jacket, it just kind of disrupts the relaxed atmosphere. I think when someone is standing and pacing, people instinctively feel like they might need to get up at a moments notice. But I think it is a relatively minor thing. It is just something that seems to impact the mood or serve as a distraction. But it can also help you think to get up and move, so I don't think it is a huge deal either way. These days I tend to game more on Skype or hangouts, so it isn't much of a consideration.
 

Melan

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tumblr_p5ujl98ecm1rxmn3vo1_1280.png

(with apologies to Guy Fullerton's Garycon X album)
 

zweihander

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I am a very kinetic GM - I wildly gesticulate with my arms, make sound effects, and so forth. As such, I oftentimes stand.

I have a standing desk at work, and constantly moving meeting to meeting. I think it's definitely carried over in my game.

edit - here's my foolish ass running 'Night of Blood'
 

Ulairi

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Stand up during action and sit down in between
 

zunbazu

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I stand up here and there, depending on the context. Embodying NPCs through acting and dialogue is one of my strengths as a DM and sometimes it helps to stand for that, as noted by others in the thread. I can get a lot more subtlety and nuance into my gestures when I'm standing. But my group also plays casually strewn about the living room, so it isn't too jarring.
 

Voros

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No I don’t stand although the idea of a standing desk for online is appealing.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I used to when we played face to face. I rarely do now that we play online.
 

PolarBlues

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I don't stand up. By then I'm not particularly wordy or descriptive. My approach to GMing is to try to keep the spotlight on the players so basically I try to stir things up then fade in the background as much as possible. I guess this fits with my preference for systems where only the players roll the dice.

I admit I do sometimes I carried away playing an NPC, so sue me, but that not part of the game plan.
 

Baulderstone

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Hey Tommy, do you do Savage Worlds online, and if so, do you use a VTT and if so, which one?
Not Tommy, but if you run Savage Worlds, you want to go with Fantasy Grounds. It's got got a module specifically to handle Savage Worlds, and it gets a lot of official support. As far as I have seen, it's a bit of kludge to use any other VTT for Savage Worlds.

People often look at usage numbers for Roll20 to divine what everyone is playing, but they are missing the fact that the different VTTs are setup to run different games. Roll20 is always going to have lower numbers on games that other VTTs actively support. And some games are better just to run without the VTT and just use use straight video chat.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I couldn't even get the demo of Fantasy Grounds to work worth a damn. Roll20 has a great tabbed character sheet that handles most Savage Worlds functions and while it is more work adding stuff in manually, I'm not rebuying anything I already own.
 

opaopajr

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Hmmm, rarely, but have stood before. Now that I know it wilts hothouse flowers, I'll be sure to do it some more! :shade:

:angel: I AM THE SUN! :hehe: :sun:
 

Votan

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I did a lot of my GMing in 3rd edition and Pathfinder. It would take a much better memory than I have not to have to sit for easy note consultation. I might occasionally stand to draw something on the battle map, as a matter of reach, which i doubt really counts.
 

opaopajr

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I did a lot of my GMing in 3rd edition and Pathfinder. It would take a much better memory than I have not to have to sit for easy note consultation. I might occasionally stand to draw something on the battle map, as a matter of reach, which i doubt really counts.

To be fair, GMing 3e & PF should come with a personal assistant loaded for bear with IT gear. :angry::tongue:
 

TheophilusCarter

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Mostly, I sit, especially since I stopped using GM screens. I may have to stand up if we're using minis and maps, but that's the exception. And I'll occasionally stand up a little to stretch and such - sitting too long is uncomfortable - but I'm quite sure none of my players think of that as intimidating ...
 
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