Do you consider the GM part of the group, and why or why not?
I really should have this answered by those I’ve GM’d or someone from my F2F game. Perhaps such a person will comment below.
I think I am inseparable from the group both in alchemy and in social dynamic. I’ll go further and say that the way I approach NPCs is more immersive than the way I approach my own PCs. What I mean by that is:
While I bend my PCs to keep a better game running, I don’t do that with my NPCs as a rule. So while ‘PC X’ might be a creampuff or an ass depending on how I see relating to other PCs to enhance everyone’s enjoyment … Llewella as an NPC is always going to charm, frustrate, mystify, and disturb you depending on who she really is, not what the game ‘needs’ to be more fun.
This may be part of why players often comment on my NPCs being vivid.
My point is that if I weren’t stylistically part of the group, if NPCs were not reacting faithfully to PC input, then the ‘push-pull’ dynamic wouldn’t be there to be commented upon.