Who’s the best GM/storyteller/party leader you’ve ever had? What made him/her so great?
No answer possible. Every GM has great games, the same GM has games that aren’t as great. It’s true for me and games that I’ve run, and I think if a GM claims they’ve never run a sucky game they’re probably being less than honest.
There are lots of great scenes that I’ve been a part of over the years, and to keep this short I shall relate only two, both are from Champions campaigns. One was with Nightshade, my assassin sent in to kill a superhero group. She was on a date with another member of the group (who was actually a descendent of Dracula) and they were accosted by a guy on the street with a 38 revolver who panicked and shot Nightshade. She was standing at DCV zero as it was better for her to take the bullet than let an innocent behind her get potentially shot. She had scads of resistant physical defense and the bullet bounced, doing no damage to her but ruining her expensive dress. She also had scads of strength, so she grabbed the end of the revolver’s barrel and pinched it shut.
The other story goes back to a very fun little tabletop board game called Swashbuckler, published by Yaquinto. It was part of their series of “album games” that were packaged like LP records and had about the same dimensions. In this game you layout in advance what your turn sequence is going to be: movement, action orders, special orders, things like that. You could swing by chandeliers, throw mugs, topple shelves, and flip tables, among other things. Back to Champions, we were playing Swashbuckler occasionally, and again I had a character on a dinner date with another PC. We were sitting in a Mexican food restaurant called Willy & Guillermo’s, sipping margaritas and munching on chips and salsa when goons burst in shooting up the place, trying to kill us. I said to the GM when it was my phase, “Jim, I have an action order: flip table!” We got a nice, heavy barricade, and promptly took out the thugs.
And there was much rejoicing.
What makes a great GM? Good story-telling skills and the ability to go with the flow. If you want the group to go left to follow your carefully-constructed plot and they all want to go right, if you can think fast enough on your feet and go with it, it will probably be a great game. If you force the group to go left, resentment shall be fostered and the game probably will not be as successful.