Yesterday, over at "Troll in the Corner" they posted about the GM's role. This made me think about it. We talk a lot about how to be a better GM, how to roleplay the NPCs better, how to improvise... But we never ask the most important question about the GM: What is the GM's role?
For me, the role is quite simple: To entertain everyone at the table. The GM isn't there to lose or to win, to look totally badass or to look like a wimp, to tell a great story or a lousy story. The GM is there to be the leading entertainer of the group. The GM has tools in order to fulfil this purpose, but the tools are not the GM's goal. It means that the GM doesn't have to tell a great story, but it can surely help the GM in his/her role. It means that the GM doesn't have to be a great actor, but portraying the NPCs can help to enrich the game.
It also means that the GM is not there in order to win or to lose. There's no connection between the GM's role and the win/lose ratio. The GM isn't losing there, and the players aren't winning there. The characters sometimes win and sometimes lose, and the NPCs and monsters sometimes win and sometimes lose. But there's a clear distinction between the GM and the characters s/he plays and between the players and the characters that they play.
In a future post I'll probably delve into the little details of this distinction, but it's enough for now to say that there's a distinction between these things and that these things should be looked as separate things that are part of a whole and not as the same thing.
How about you? What do you think the GM's role is?