Game Mastery

Tag: spotlight

Yet another random observation

by on Jan.22, 2009, under self improvement

I had a thought.  My games tend to focus on story.  I like writing story.  Building powerful enemies feels like homework, but story is always new and exciting.  In all of GMing, nothing is more fun to me than spawning a new plot thread or tying two plot threads into one.

As much as I like story building, I don’t like story telling.  In my head I know that a story is about the journey, not the destination, but when I’m speaking (something I do frequently as a GM) I rush it.  And it’s not because I have a super cool ending that I have to show the players.  Far from it.  I rush to the end because I want to find out what happens.

If I’ve written a plot correctly, it’ll be up to the players to handle the conclusion.  So they’ve killed off the BBEG?  That’s not the end of the story.  The end of the story is what they do once they’ve stumbled into control of whatever power he was amassing.  Done correctly, I’ve given momentum to the plot and then set the players free to resolve the final conflict.

But when I get excited and rush it, the players don’t take over when I hand the game back to them.  What’s supposed to be the grand finale sputters and halts.  I’ve handed off the game to the PCs, but they’re left bewildered and don’t know that it’s their turn to take over.  I can’t blame them for dropping the ball.

Strange as it sounds I think my GMing would benefit if I hogged the spotlight just a little (this goes for NPCs as well as giving plots enough time to boil over).  I should take time to tell the story instead of pushing to see it resolved.  The more I steal the limelight, the more the players will want it back.  As it is, they’re used to taking control whenever they feel like it, and I let them because I want the game to be open and sandboxy.  Maybe denying them control is the best way to make them want to take control.

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