What do you think is the most important quality required to be a successful GM? Please discuss amongst yourselves.
GMs must be confident about the game system and the Player group first. That given, I think there are two things that a GM has to have in order to maintain success over the long haul.
1. Communication. The give and take of Listening and then Responding to the PC. If you aren’t Listening, your responses are coming from your imagination, rather than the PC’s actions. One of the fastest breakdowns in a rpg is if the PC doesn’t get good perception from the GM’s communication. Communication starts with character creation and never really lets up through the gaming. The GM also is the default arbiter of schedule, house-rules, and social dynamic and all that requires some decent communication skills and a willingness to actually be the hinge point.
2. Improvisation. GMs have a vision of the game they would like to play. They share the vision—and get some folks interested. But when the story starts to play out, the GM cannot be the sole vision of how things unfold. If there is a script the PCs must discover, the game cannot have a long success. In fact, the sooner the GM learns to run a game based only on the PCs’ motion within the Vision parameters—the more stable and fascinating the game will become.
It is not so much the Monarda Law as it is my idea that the balance of greater creativity comes from the Players, not the GM. The GM needs to encourage and catalyze the Players to take the game world as their own.