Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What I Do Well

This is something of a follow up to yesterday's post. Yesterday I talked about the need to focus on the positive aspects of one's game instead of always focusing on the negative. Today I want to write down the things that I feel I do well. The things that are strengths in my game. In other words, reasons why a player would enjoy being in my game.

Spotlight Cycling
I feel that I do a good job of keeping my focus moving around the table while still allowing for people to interact with each other. A good amount of my recent games haven't had a focused group of adventurers but rather room for the individual PCs to wander around and do their own thing with paths intersecting on occasion - or occasionaly by design. Because of this I've had to keep my attention shifting from player to player so that someone doesn't get ignored for a prolonged period of time. Sometimes this involves telling a player that "we'll come back to this in a minute" and sometimes it just means wrapping up a scene and finding the person who has been waiting the longest. Either way, while not perfect, it is something I feel I do well as a GM and is something several of my players have commented on as a strength.

Maintaining Control
This wasn't something I thought of until a couple of my players mentioned it. I tend to keep in control of my games in a way that still lets everyone do their thing but without letting a couple of players run roughshod over the game as they may do in other games. Now, that running roughshod isn't necessarily a bad thing from a player perspective, but two of my players specifically expressed that they like how I manage to let everyone do something while still making sure everyone got a moment. This is kind of an expansion of the above, but different enough I wanted to give it its own header.

I Don't Force Things
I don't feel the need to force feed my plot down my players' throats. If they want to go and do something else they can. If I have something I need to do to move the plot along, but the players are having fun doing something else then I sit back,wait, and let the players enjoy the RP. At the same time if something has to happen at location X for the plot to kick off, but everyone wants to go to locations V, Y, Z, and B then I don't prevent that from happening. Players are allowed to explore and venture around the world as they want. Still, that doesn't mean the areas where they aren't just stop functioning...

Actions Have Consequences
One of the big things players have told me they like is that in my game actions have consequences. If you need to go to location X to do something but instead go to Y well, you can, but you may lose the opportunity to do the thing at X. At the same time, the world reacts to what the PCs do, both positively and negatively, and molds around them. A king who has been insulted isn't going to be happy with the PCs because the plot demands it. Though, he may still use them if he needs to and it is in character for him.

And More
There are a few other things I feel I do well, or that were mentioned that I do well with, but these are the big ones. So, what about you? What do you do well?


  1. As a GM the thing I feel I do best is NPC characterization. I feel that I can consistently get the feel of the NPC, and often don't have to introduce who is speaking if they are a recurring character.

    I react well to people's actions even when they haven't been planned for at all in my game prep.

    Actions have consequences is one that I share with you as a positive. Good, bad, or just notable, actions in leads to reaction out.

  2. Might be a little early, being just four sessions into my GM'ing career (ok six sessions, if you include two from an aborted campaign attempt last year), but I'll give it a shot.

    For being a fresh GM I think I'm focused on the right things, even if execution will take a bit.

    To wit, to follow a theme already mentioned, I'm determined for the characters' decisions to lead the upcoming action. Last session they suffered an epic fail at defeating a major villain resulting in two character deaths. For the first 48 hours following that session I was trying to figure out how to get them from that unexpected result to what I had planned for them. Then I realized this was the first great opportunity for the players to drive the direction instead - forget what I had in mind. 48 hours isn't bad.

    I think my creative-gene for facilitating the general storyline of how the universe reacts to their actions is pretty decent.

    Working on my roleplaying of the various NPCs - it's not great yet but the effort's there for improvement.

    I've been very focused on keeping a crisp pace during combat & plan on trying to step that up another notch this next session.

    I've done a good job of incorporating sound effects into my game: different background music tracks to help set the tone/mood, ongoing background combat tracks appropriate to the fight they're in & sound effects to describe the action rather than verbal descriptions from me.

    A work in progress...but a good start.