This said, I love control. Seriously - the aspects provided by DMing that make me master of my house. Ego habis totalis dominatus. After all, who doesn't love that? The game provides for it, demands it really, and the players willingly subject themselves to the power cheerfully, avidly and persistently. Which means that I am exempt from the ethical framework that says one person in the context of a group has no more importance or value than any other person. For all the egalitarian shit that I tolerate outside the framework of my campaign, both on and off line, for a six hour period, once a week, in a context where it is not only tolerated, but condoned, I am free from having to pretend that I'm just like everyone else.
It is like getting off the plane in Tortola, and seeing this:
More to the point, however, I possess all this power as someone without a desire to abuse it. Were I interested in power that I could abuse, I would establish myself on Vancouver Island with a Bible and a book I had written about correct behaviour with respect to that Bible, and begin a religion. There's a whole lot more money in falsifying a religion, a whole lot more power . . . and the power flows out of a spigot, non-stop, until the babies are born or the state catches up.
By then, obviously, I would have taken my money, my 'family' and my ego to Tortola.
I love role-play in that I have all this power, and I don't need to use it. Or rather, that it can be used to build a platform upon which players can obtain power that satisfies them. Meanwhile, I get to watch. Whereas I know for some, this means watching players jump through their hoops, I find the larger satisfaction in watching the players make hoops in my world, that they then jump through to satisfy themselves. Heck, it's a good show for me. I never know what these players will do. What fools these mortals be.
DMs who get a kick out of watching a player jump through a hoop of their creation, when the whole world is there to be stormed through, sought through or relaxed upon, reminds me of the religionist who gets excited about God having created a chicken when the sun, 821,000 miles across, blazes overhead. Scale. My being DM isn't a question of my running a game show for contestants. It isn't even being a coach watching his team perform well. To quote, "If God and the Devil were playing football, Manon would be the stadium they played on."
If this seems a bit megalomaniacal, or worrying, then too bad. If you're going to present a world for your friends, a world worth having, go big. Make sure it counts for something. Don't equivocate, don't downplay your part. Because if your world is good enough, your players won't care how narcissistic you are, nor how arrogant. Trust me in this, as someone who has possessed these characteristics for a long, long . . . long time. Players do not mind that DMs are pompous louts - so long as they are pompous louts who make a good game.
To do that requires an arrogance that is not self-absorbed. The DM requires a haughtiness that is not fully self interested. I'm amazing - but so are my players. I love power - because it feels great to give it away. I'm a boastful, bragging, conceited, egomaniacal asshole - but I take pride in stepping out of the way and letting the players HAVE the spotlight. Not merely 'share,' mind, but have it. Full on. Unreservedly.
Because I am that amazing that I know I'll take it back when its time to make the next thing happen.
It just feels so damn good to play a game like this - not only when I am actually running, but the rest of the time as well - when I am designing, thinking, writing, researching and so on. All with the approval of others. All with the shining look in their eyes that I'm going to see when I say, "Finally, the book is done, we can start running again."
Because they can't wait.
How could I not love this game?