Game Master's Assistant
I first brought up having this as a feature in the Dependable Game Master / Dungeon Master - Page 2 of 3 in which I wrote:
Thanks for running this thread.
My thought on the co-Game Mastering was more from the standpoint of allowing the GM at times to be a player in his/her own world.
Co-Game Mastering would also give a chance for future Game Masters to shadow current Game Masters and take some tips and pointers from them. Not all features would need to be enabled for this aspect.
I think the co-GM feature would provide more stability and would be a feature I am in favor of.
As a Game Master I can be very busy trying to coordinate the setting, story, and rules/mechanics of the game; it is easy to overlook a player's question that they may have. This is particularly true during character creation and I think a GM assistant could help with that.
Malcomshaw has sort of taken on that role in my 5e game and I find it helpful to have someone that is able to answer some of the players questions, especially in relation to the system or in regards to this site and how it works. I can focus more on adjudicating policy or how the rules are going to be implemented as opposed to having to guide each player in character creation.
If the assistant is going to have a character in the game though, I think it would be important for them to have a clearly defined role that might be limited to answering questions in the support thread regarding game mechanics or reiterate the policy or rules that the game master has established. By doing this they free up the Game Master to focus on responding to the in-character thread. The Assistant has to be careful though about posting anything in the in-character thread that falls outside of his agency as a player in that game.
The Assistant should not describe scenes, outcomes based on die roll results, or take on any NPC persona's unless specifically asked to do so by the Game Master. Their primary role would be to handle some of the out-of-character issues in order to free up the Game Master so that he can handle the in-character issues.
An Assistant being able to access all the game master features should depend on what features, if any, the game master wants them to have. If the assistant was a player in the game as well, I wouldn't want them to have access to all the characters Game Master notes,but the Game Master want to assign them to be able to send nags to the other players in order to keep the game flowing based on the Game Master's policy. It may also help if they had the ability to "Nag" the Game Master if the GM has failed to respond to something or overlooked a player's question.
I think it would be a good feature to have though.
If you have a GM Assistant then he or she shouldn't be a player.
One consideration, if this gets setup, is to have a private forum for communication between the GM and the assistant.
Aericsteele, good stuff for what needs to take place for something like this to work properly as the GM and his / her Assistant really have to be eye to eye on everything or I can see things getting out of hand quickly. For instance, the Assistant saying or suggesting something that the GM does not want. Or Players refusing to accept the role of the Assistant.
I think a GM assistant should just be someone in the background so players won't confuse roles and the assistant is only in the forefront when the GM is going to be away for sometime. The assistant would have to know the inner parts of the game so the assistant could run it. Honestly, I can't see this working really well unless both the GM and assistant have some existing connection already. In other words, someone just volunteering to do it doesn't make the whole arrangement more dependable.