The group I game with is currently flipping back and forth between two different games. One of the members is currently GMing a Dungeon Crawl Classics game, and I am running a BattleTech/MechWarrior game.
Since we flip-flop back and forth every couple of weeks, it gives me time, as a GM, to do some above-average prep for the adventures or sessions. As my game is part investigative, part heavy combat, I get some good variety in the player handouts I get to make.
For example, here is an image I found using a regular old Google Image Search of a person the PCs needed to make contact with once they got on planet.
Along with that, here is another individual the PCs might be seeking out as part of their investigation.
Next up, here’s a couple of images taken from Google Maps for a military base the party would need to infiltrate.
When it came time in the session to “hand out the handouts,” the players were appropriately pleased, which in turn, pleased me. I like happy players, and seeing their reaction to the extra effort made, is one of my little “GM Joys.”
A few weeks later, it came back around to my turn in the GM chair after the DCC sessions. At that time, one of my players had a bit of a surprise for me.
He has a reputation of providing outstanding handouts and in-game props of his own, but that’s usually when he’s in the Big Chair. Doing such things as a player is not usually his SOP.
But at this session, he surprised me with the following:
Now it was my turn to be impressed. And I was. I always am when he shows off his handiwork. I did have a moment where I thought, ‘Should I be offended by this apparent one-upmenship?’ Thankfully, that moment passed pretty quick, as I realized the work he had done was an incredible compliment to me. The player didn’t have to do those things. There was no real motivation – other than an expression of enjoyment of the game on his part.
Which, in turn, caused me much enjoyment. I liked the handouts I had given, but when I saw his version of the handouts, it made me appreciate my own game even more.
In many ways, it was like a good role-playing game session, where everyone, players and the gamemaster contribute successfully to a great game and a memorable experience for all.