My partner Tamara read yesterday's rant and remarked, "I guess you really are back to posting, yes?"
She knows me so well.
I guess the thing to talk about today is my unreasonable insistance at being called a 'DM' and not a 'GM.' Clovis Cithog tried to warn me the other day that the term "DM" is owned by Wizards/Hasbro, and that they vigorously guard this ownership.
Thing is, I'm not trying to sell a game. The Advanced Guide in no way challenges or undermines the sale of any game by Wizards of the Coast, nor does it offer any competition to those sales. In fact, the book should actually HELP their sales, point to be made. My only copyright concern here is that I don't misrepresent the term DM in such a manner as to cause libel or slander. Which isn't my intention at all. Fair use indicates that I am entitled to reproduce copyrighted material (in this case, two letters) for the purpose of criticism, comment, news reporting, TEACHING, scholarship and research. These things are not an infringement on copyright.
So welcome to my classroom.
Still, is the use of the term DM dead?
I had written a small note to the subject that I had intended to include on a lonely page prior to the preface:
"This book has been written to teach the reader how to be a better ‘Dungeon Master,’ or DM. This is the term originally used to describe the administrator of the Dungeons & Dragons game, the first role-playing game I encountered. The title DM is anachronistic. Many present-day enthusiasts prefer the term ‘GM,’ or ‘Game Master.’ I have never been happy with that watered-down alternative. The original title had zeal. The original title had mystery.
A ‘GM’ is a general manager, a modernistic, shareholder-serving drone, a caretaker of someone else’s business, fitting a neat, round, limited hole. I do not conceive that my role is to manage generally. My role is to master the dungeon of the player’s soul. This may variously be understood to be a cage, an asylum, a catacomb … or the dark, unplumbed tombs of the player’s psyche. I see my role as the builder of elaborate cages of gilded design, with far-flung boundaries and untapped possibilities. I need a title that carries weight. I need a title that promises the world. So I have always embraced the atypical, unique appellation of Dungeon Master. I am loathe to surrender it."
But perhaps I am being unreasonable. Perhaps I am being a literary Luddite. Perhaps it is time to accept the inevitable, and label myself a Game Master, and let the matter go. There is, after all, much wasted effort that is applied to shouting at the wind. I'm a long standing wind shouter; and in this case, perhaps it is time to let the wind win. Perhaps it is time to bend.