I was wondering last night, in between boughts of sleep, about what kind of GM I am. Am I any good? Do I tell a good story? Am I fair to my players? Am I an overbearing railroading linear nightmare?
I like to think that I'm a storyteller, first and foremost, and that I'm engaging the players in an adventure that we all create but I ultimately lead. I got the wargame way of playing the game out of my system twenty years ago (I'm aware that I've strangely returned to that now that I'm playing D&D 4e) as I was more interested in mechanics, dice and XP at that time. I never really got into the character-driven angle until about twenty years ago, and then settled in to a story- and plot-driven way of doing things about sixteen years ago. Since then the games I have most enjoyed are the ones with the emotional highs and not the ones where the players killed the monster who was better than them - although there's still plenty of room for that! - and I've felt a much better sense of achievement.
The next time I sit down to GM I might go back to my roots and just lay out a basic adventure with traps, puzzles and monsters, and see if I miss that kind of gaming. I'm sure there's room for both action and storytelling in a game.