Dungeon Master has been used in the #dndÂ game since inception and is the most known title for the person actually orchestrating the game. It is definitely used in official settings by @Wizards_DND . However, it is quite exclusive, is easily misunderstood in “normie” society, and even an easy source for silly memes.
Different games have different unique names for the role — be it Space Master or Master of Ceremonies — but the general term has been shifted, or tried to shift, into Game Master.
I still find an issue with this name as Master is a very overbearing title. Even if you lose the connotation of a person completely in charge and in control of the game as opposed to another player whose character is the world, this implies much responsibility that is not necessarily the GM’s purview or singular domain.
In Hebrew, there is another word that is coming more and more into use and that is “Mancheh” (Hard Ch’) which is, roughly, translated as “Guide” (Roughly because it’s missing some of the attached cultural nuances).
This, I believe, is a better way of describing what that person actually does. They take part in the story in the same way everyone else does, they share the responsibility, but they are the guide. Like the Tour Guide, they know the world, the environments, the dangers, and the inhabitants better than the players but their job is to explain and show, not wrangle and Master. The Guide’s role is to respond when the players interact with the world, act on it or ask it questions.
I also believe this term will make the job feel less intimidating and more inviting to new guides who are afraid to be Game Master but could still be wonderful Guides.
Language is powerful and it affects thought. Let’s rethink our use of it and make the dungeon masters and game masters into Guides.
Posted in Gaming, Philosophy, Practice, Role-Playing, Thinking Out Loud by Eran with .