Monday, June 20, 2016

Questions To Ask If You're A GM

On Friday we talked about questions for the players when looking at their characters. Today I want to talk about two questions that I recently came across to ask your players about your game if you're a GM. Without further ado, let's begin.

Did You Have Fun?
For years when I've been trying to guage if my players were enjoying a session I would ask this question. Turns out it's not a great question to ask. Why is it not a good question to ask? Because it is a yes or no question. Now the spirit of the question is great, but the way the question works isn't great.

Yes or no questions are often answered reflexively when a person is caught off guard by it, or even when expecting it. It doesn't require the player to think, and so a lot of times they'll just say yes even if they're not actually having a great time. This is great for keeping the GM from feeling like they're doing a bad job, but no so great when you're the GM trying to make sure you're having your players hooked.

Questions That Require Thought
Instead, questions that require more thought are better to ask. Don't ask if people are having fun, ask what they liked about the session. Ask if there was a scene that they particularly liked, or a moment that's sticking out for them. The idea is questions that can't just be answered with a word, but will actually get them to think.

How Do I Judge That?
If people have examples right away, you probably have them pretty hooked. If they have to think longer, it might be a slower session - but that doesn't mean it is a bad one in particular. If no one has anything, you may need to spice things up a bit more. Every session doesn't have a set piece moment, but there should at least be something that sticks out to the players as a cool, fun, or meaningful moment.

Getting Feedback
Stand out moments are great, but what about getting feedback? This one is harder to do without yes or no questions because your group may just like the way you handle things. For this I'd recommend asking if there's something the group would like to see handled differently - or felt the execution was a bit lacking on - that happened in game. Also though, stay in contact with your players and ask the same thing in prviate. You never know, someone might be more open to sharing in private that they didn't like the way you handled an encounter with a PC in a previous session.

Be open to feedback, and fine tune your game so it can be the best game it can be!

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