I’ve talked about communication, and taking notes and a bunch of basic stuff, and now I’m going to talk about another important skill set for a GM. Consistency and responsibility.
Yes, it’s your game, you call the shots, you can decide a lot of things and you have, as a GM, a lot of power. However, with that comes a certain amount of responsibility and a need to be consistent. You can’t just change something back and forth on a whim or because you think it’s funny; I can guarantee you aren’t going to keep players for long if you do this.
New players who’ve never worked with me before get a run down on house rules I use, and a warning that I reserve the right to defenestrate the rules on occasion. Players who have worked with me know that I prefer a certain amount of consistency in the rules and I expect that certain things will work essentially as expected, and will occasionally build new house rules where a given rule doesn’t measure up. As a result, I don’t always interpret the rules in the book the same way they do, but they know what to expect and that I don’t do it for laughs. I might do it for plot, but they know, when it’s for plot.
A wizard might have done it, but he didn’t do it lightly, easily or without cost!