Over the last decade, I’ve run hundreds of games of D&D. Recently, I dabbled in professional game mastering (paid to GM). Here are three things I learned.

People Are Willing to Pay

There’s definitely a market for professional game masters. No matter your opinion on whether people should pay for a GM, people will pay. A lot of people. Let’s face it, finding a good GM (or any GM) can be difficult. Some people have the disposable income and value this hobby enough to pay to play. And that’s great!

With online games as popular as ever, your options are even greater. I was lucky enough to meet some incredible players and people.

Paying Players Are Invested

When someone is paying to play D&D, they’re invested beyond finances. They care about your game. About the entire experience. They’re not likely to be scrolling through their phones or not paying attention. These players want to engage and they want to have a fun time.

You might be lucky enough to have some of these players in your home games. I know I am. But you’re more likely to have people there who aren’t as invested, too. It’s refreshing to have an entire table engaged and excited for each game session.

Professional GMing Is Not a Sustainable Path to Financial Freedom

At least for me. Most GMs charge between $5-25 per player per 3-4 hour session. Let’s set up a quick example.

Let’s say you’re running a 4 hour session for $20 a seat. You book 4 people so that’s $80. After a platform fee (say 10%), you’re left with $72 or $18/hour for the session, which is not terrible. But wait. It takes time to prep a game session. This varies based on the GM but for paid sessions, you shouldn’t be winging it. Let’s say you prep 1 hour for each 2 of play. A 4 hour session then takes 2 hours of prep. That $18/hour turned into $12/hour.

GMing and prep is a lot of work and time. Many professional GMs have stated that 6-7 sessions a week is about all they can sustain long-term. So be wary about dropping your current job in hopes of becoming a full-time pro GM.

I don’t always have games scheduled but if you’re interested in playing with me, you can always request a game.

I hope this has aroused your curiosity in professional game mastering. It’s a fun opportunity that didn’t exist a few years ago.