Everyone agrees that players and the GM work together to create a great game. The following is fully my opinion, and not something I expect others to adhere to, its just my ideal. What are the responsibilities of each party? Read on...
A GM's Promise to Players
Each week I will:
Be Properly Prepared
A few minutes, or even an hour or two thinking about the plot is not sufficient preparation, it is, in fact, just the beginning. Proper preparation has many facets, including (but not limited to):
Have all necessary details for important NPC's handy.
Have detailed maps of all locations likely to be visited
Understand the personalities and motivations of all the players and major NPC's
Be ready to move the plot if the players don't.
Be ready to adjust the plot to the players actions.
Be Fair and Impartial
When the players trust you, the game moves much more easily.
Never treat a player in a way you wouldnt treat any player.
Never punish a character for the actions of a player, or vice versa.
Keep the Game Moving
Sometimes the game can get into a rut. This is not solely the fault of anyone, but it is primarily the responsibility of the GM to recognize this and take whatever action is necessary to keep it from continuing.
Refrain from participating in idle joking and screwing around.
Maintain a consistent setting and mood.
Have multiple contingencies ready for the inevitable game slow-downs.
Bring the World Alive
The GM gives to the players a kernal of a universe in which to play. Make this kernal as interesting and detailed as possible.
Differentiate NPC's by their personality, not their character sheets.
Describe the scene as often as possible, and in as much detail as possible. Do not save descriptions for 'important' parts of the game. Its all important.
Create interesting handouts when possible.
Understand the Players Motivations
Everyone comes to the gaming table for a different reason. Understand the hierarchy of these reasons for each player, and work to have the elements each player wants present in each session.
The Players Agreement
As a player there is a responsibility to not only the other players and GM, but to yourself. The following are what makes a responsible player:
Do your best to be a committed, regular player.
Come to gaming to participate in the game. Refrain from reading books that are not related to the current game or otherwise bringing distractions to bear on the group.
Keep distractions such as joking and unrelated anecdotes to a minimum.
It is my opinion that all present, GM and players alike, owe their first allegiance to the story. Players owe their second allegiance to the character they have chosen to play.
Try to stay in character for as much of the game as possible.
Understand that the story is bigger than any character, and dont be too upset if your character dies or is otherwise removed from the game.