You can thank your GM by being present. By being focused. And by contributing to the success of the game. Failing that, you can thank them by paying them for their time, I guess. From what I understand, there is such a thing as a paid dungeon master now.
I can only speak for myself, but when I decide to take on a game, I take it as seriously as a job. I do hours of prep each week. I try to never be the one who can’t show up. I carve out serious time in my life around it. I know that doing anything has opportunity costs, but that’s how much I care about running a good game.
In recent memory, I’ve had problems with phones at the table. I am seriously considering a “turn all phones off” policy as a game master moving forward. It’s not just upsetting to me – it’s upsetting to other players. I know we live in this weird always-on instant gratification society, but the whole poing of RPGs for me now is to unplug and collectively build story. Now, those people distracted by their phones could well be my fault. I might not be doing enough to draw them into the story, to get involved. So I’ll just keep striving to do a better job with that.
Also, it would really help move things along if you would roll your to-hit dice with your damage dice simultaneously. You’d be surprised at how much that can speed up combat.
For the month of August, I will be participating in #RPGaDay. I haven’t posted much on this blog about my love for role-playing games, and for a while, I wasn’t really acknowledging that love myself. But RPGs were my entry point in the the geek lifestyle, and they are very important to me. I’ll be exploring my relationship with RPGs all month with these posts.