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 Has anyone tried... ???? 
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Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:19 pm
Posts: 228
Post Has anyone tried... ????
Has anyone tried a pay to play system online?

The reason I ask is that I see a lot of GM's get burned out running games online. They constantly have players show up late, or not at all, without any notice... for someone that prepares their game in advance and is ready to game each week on time, this has got to be a soul crusher.

I was wondering if anyone had ever tried to collect a nominal fee from players to see if that would encourage them to live up to their commitments. I am not talking much, like $5 for 6 sessions or something like that through a service like paypal. That would give the GM $30 per 6 sessions assuming 6 players which is enough to buy a new book or adventure every month.

The idea is not to get rich GMing, GMing is a labor of love. You either have the knack for it or you don't. But, a little something like a book or adventure a month for free, might keep that GM from feeling like he is being taken for granted. Kind of show him that he/she means something to you and you appreciate the time and commitment that person has to running the game you play in every week.

I am done with GMing... at least for a year or so until I can get this software project I am working on in shape. But, I would be willing to pay for a good game once a week. I don't have a lot of money, but if I could get 5 other players to pony up $5, I think that would be enough.

This is just an idea I was talking over with a friend and so I thought I would post it here to see what pros and cons people had...

Don't get me wrong; I LOVE the two games I am currently in... I don't want them to end EVER. I don't pay for either of them, and have never paid for a game online. But, I used to go to conventions with my daughter a LOT and we always had to pay to attend the conventions. I never minded that because I actually got to play for a couple days and not GM, so it was worth the $20+ for the games.

I feel like I need to do something for my GM's if they see their games through to the end. It happens so rarely, either the GM burns out or the players fade away, or some combination of both happens. Very seldom is a game played to a suitable conclusion like a pathfinder AP, that goes from 1st through 15th level, and you really feel like you have done something if you finish it.

Maybe I will just send them a gift card or something to show how much I appreciate their time and commitment. The problem is that online, games never seem to go the distance; there is always something that comes up, usually burnout, that causes the GM to end the game early. I would like to know if anyone out there in the community has experienced this as well and if they think some small amount of a thank you, would help keep the burn out factor down.

It's late, I know, and I may be over-simplifying things. Any thoughts on the matter would be appreciated, but I think I for one would be willing to pay something like $5 for 6 sessions of a good game. If the GM flakes, you are only out $5 on your paypal account... but I know so many GM's out there that are there every week for free, I don't think the problem is usually with them; if the player flakes, well, at least they showed the GM that his/her time was not without value before they flaked. It's an idea we were tossing around tonight, so I thought I would share it.

If you have never been to a gaming convention, then you have probably never payed to play before... so this is probably a new and terrible idea in your opinion, but if you have been to gaming conventions, then you know you get something special from those games, they are reliable and the cost is reasonable usually. I don't know, it's just a thought...

Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:12 am

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:13 am
Posts: 5
Post Re: Has anyone tried... ????
Actually I could see how this would provide incentive for players to attend. I believe the Something Awful forums does something similar; where people have to pay 10 bucks for membership under the presumption that they won't act like a toolbox and risk losing their $10 registration fee.

But yeah, I know I used to love to run Vampire: the Masquerade but it required an extensive amount of planning. And after spending several hours planning out a story and then players would just make excuses for not showing; it got very tiresome.

I think it can be a good idea to help further weed out the people that aren't serious about wanting to play.

Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:35 pm

Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:30 am
Posts: 1051
Location: Marietta, GA
Post Re: Has anyone tried... ????
I've GMed online for free for years and in the last couple of months decided to take a break from GMing online for a bit. I might return to GMing as I'm pondering an idea or two. It's been good, but burnout does happen. I've also been an extensive tournament GM for a major convention here in Atlanta, GA. (Dragon*Con from 1992-2008 give or take a couple of years). At the con, you have to pay to play, because that's how they provide the dealer coin/prizes to best roleplayer and help offset the costs of the use of hotel room etc.

In the past, I've had people pay to play, but they don't show up either at times. So if you wanted to give the GM some appreciation that way I wouldn't be opposed, buying a new game product can help one continue providing entertainment, but it wouldn't be a requirement either to play.

Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:24 pm
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Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:19 pm
Posts: 228
Post Re: Has anyone tried... ????
Wow, I would have thought paying to play would be incentive to show up and game.

I used to GM at conventions a lot as well as playing at them, everything from GenCon on down. As a GM, I always got some kind of swag. At GenCon, it was a free room and t-shirts and books; at smaller cons it was usually just books and minis and stuff. Made GMing fun when you got a little appreciation for it, at least for me it did. Even with a little swag, I have always preferred playing to GMing, but there never seemed to be enough GM's to go around, so I would help out when I could. Not that I didn't appreciate the stuff, I did, I just would rather pony up the cash and enjoy running my characters.

It is disappointing to hear that even paying to play, like at a con, people online don't take it seriously...

If anyone has any ideas on how to prevent GM burnout, I am dying to hear them. I thought a little swag might be a good idea, but maybe not. I know a lot of players have never GM'd so they don't have a clue how much energy and work goes into a good game. All that work with no appreciation, and then having to deal with the disrespect of players not showing without giving any kind of notice will burn anyone out eventually.

My problem is I like long term games, where I really get to know my character and enjoy the other characters for their quirks and personalities. These kind of things develop over time, so month long games, leave me wanting more. Which is why I am looking for ideas on how to make the GM's life easier... Happy GM == Long Term Game.

Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:07 pm

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:39 am
Posts: 29
Post Re: Has anyone tried... ????
Well paying is a touchy subject. You would lose alot of players that don't want to or can't play. And just because they pay doesn't mean they will good people to play with. As people not showing up thats the chance you take with online pug games.

The only way to prevent gm burn out is to not care if people show up. Have at least one game with just friends online that you know will show up and have it be a nonstress fun game.

Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:50 am

Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2011 6:48 pm
Posts: 6
Post Re: Has anyone tried... ????
I've talked to a GM on another forum who did this. Basically, you paid for your table seat on a game-by-game basis; so if you missed a week for whatever reason, you'd still have a seat at the next game. I didn't get a clear answer on refunds for withdrawals.

It's an interesting concept, and I could see it being useful for keeping some people punctual. Of course, other people will never be punctual.

I think the real issue may be that getting any group on the internet to coordinate is a bit like herding cats. It's got to be hard to see your plans trashed because someone can't make it or decides to flake out. The only way to really combat that is to have a "Plan B" and "Plan C" available, and it's not going to be even close to 100% effective every time.

I have wondered at times if GM burn-out also happens because the GM just gets tapped out from GMing too much. Too much time spent making plots and plans without much time to really kick back and have fun playing. Maybe have someone else do something episodic, or just take the night off.

Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:06 pm
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