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International GM's Day

Today we celebrate game masters, who are known as GMs for short. Spunkrat, a user on EN World's message board who later changed their username to Heathen72, made a post on December 4, 2002, proposing the idea for a day honoring GMs. They asked for suggestions for a date, and a user named Mark suggested March 4, because it was not only a date but a command that may be used in a role-playing game—"march forth." This is the date the messageboard community settled on, and the day spread to the rest of the role-playing game community. On today's holiday, the work GMs do is celebrated, and they are given thanks and gifts. Deals on role-playing games can often be found in stores and from game publishing companies. Since 2008, the day has held greater significance, because Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax died on the holiday that year.

GMs date to the early 1970s. They were used in play-by-mail games, where players chose actions to take such as moving armies and mailed their moves the GM. The GM would mail back updated versions of the game to all players after recording all the moves. Some early examples of other games with GMs include Ironclad, Blackmoor and Chivalry & Sorcery.

GMs may have any number of jobs, such as organizing and moderating role-playing games, developing nonplayer characters, and making sure game rules are followed. In tabletop role-playing games, they bring character's stories together, solve disputes, and controls aspects players aren't involved in. In online games, they often enforce rules and provide customer service. They are often known as referees, game managers, and game moderators, and different gaming systems may have different names for them that may reflect their primary job related to the game. For example, they may be called a director, narrator, judge, or referee. Some names reflect the name of the game, such as a Dungeon Master, or DM, for Dungeons and Dragons. Today we celebrate GMs no matter what their role is and what official name they are given.

How to Observe International GM's Day

Celebrate the day by playing an online role-playing game or a tabletop role-playing game. Find out who the GM behind the game is and thank them for their work. Perhaps you already are a diehard gamer and know who the GM of your favorite game is. In that case, it may be easier to thank them and give them a gift. Many stores and publishing companies have deals today, so be sure to keep an eye out for them. Some places to look include DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, Dungeon Masters Guild, and Storytellers Vault. You could also check out the Facebook page dedicated to the day.

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