Ok, I have given this a lot of thought now, and I have come to a couple of conclusions.
When I was drawn to that Red Box all the way back in 1981, my world changed.
I grew up in a place called Darwin, which at that time was an isolated frontier town on the central north coast of Australia. The town itself was still rebuilding after it was completely wiped out by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas day 1974.
My family moved there in 1979 as jobs in Darwin at that time payed double what similar jobs in the bigger cities payed.
Unfortunately money did not keep my step father a happy man and I was his go to target for venting his frustration.
D&D offered me a world that I could escape too, a world I could control, a world of heroes that righted wrongs.
As a player, my default was the Dwarf. Tough, stalwart, and able to fight
As a GM, the adventures I created were standard fair dungeons. It wasn’t until the Blue Box that wilderness adventures were even considered (hey … I was nine).
Hitting high school, AD&D entered my life, which was a good thing because as a small kid that didn’t get his growth spurt till late, my sense of “justice” would cause me to challenge kids much bigger than me. Early secondary school consisted of floggings at school and at home.
AD&D introduced me to Greyhawk and the concept of world building. I can hand on heart say AD&D saved my life.
2nd Ed, I played but it never captured me the way it’s predecessors did. I had a new mistress, Star Wars D6. The tales I built the foundations for there, spanned a galaxy and exemplified the struggle of rebellion against injustice.
I became known as “The Star Wars GM” and players would seek me out to experience my games. It was not only good for my ego, it taught me how powerful effective communication and presentation was.
Without RPGs, this high school drop out would never have been skilled enough to talk his way into Microsoft and lead part of the team that launched the first XBOX in Australia. Nor would I have gone on to be an Area Manager of EB Games (GameStop in the US).
RPGs helped me maintain my ability to learn, which allowed me to study to become a Data and telecommunications tech … Running my own business for 14 years. If not for the change to optic fibre technology, I may still be doing that.
Thankfully our network changed and I had to evaluate what I really wanted in life. I had a couple of years to study Mental health and Youth work before the work dried up.
From there I went in to the service industry, made the link between gaming and its power to change lives, and GAMER was born.
So all this was a really long way of me coming to the conclusion that I am a GM because it is the best way I know to explore, present and celebrate the ideals I hold dear.
I GM because I enjoy the craft. Performing it, exploring it and improving my skills.
I GM because I love to tell stories, but revel in adapting a story on the fly so it is organic and credible. I live for the challenge that players throw at me to have an entire world adapt at a moment’s notice.
I GM because I love watching players overcome, grow and succeed.
I GM because it is a calling.