Tuesday, August 22, 2017

On Being a Game Master: Player Buy-In

I have two gaming groups and absolutely zero drama, it's wonderful and very refreshing. However, one problem I've encountered a few times in the last year or two is the issue of Players buying-in to the game. I've mostly seen this from new players, but I'm sure it can be an issue for anyone.

I attribute it to the expectations of some players who are more versed in novels, cinema, and these days even DnD on YouTube.

Essentially, what I'm talking about are player's who are constantly expecting for me, as the DM, to provide their character with a reason to continue to adventure. Heck, sometimes they even expect the other characters to provide this drive. At my table, if you are setting there, the understanding is that you want to be there and to some degree so does your character.

It's great to have deep ties to the story being told and clear goals that your character is working toward, but those things are two-way streets. The person running the game needs help achieving those goals. When you sit at my table for the first time, I don't know if your an active or passive player. If you prefer deep roleplaying, exploration, or heavy combat, and honestly most of us want some or all of that at the same time and our preferences can vary depending on the session.

And at my table I'm deeply appreciative, if the players convey their goals and expectations, though I can't guarantee to address all of them immediately.

Additionall, sometimes your character's arc is completed or the character isn't what you expected, and that's okay. I don't want you playing a character you don't enjoy. What I want is for you to come to the table and realize you are running a character in a game. That you are going to work with the other players to have an experience and either shape the story in the direction you want to go or be willing to follow another character doing the same thing.

Finally, every table isn't for everyone. I've had players who didn't care for my DMing style and we all parted amicably after communicating and trying, it just wasn't meant to be.

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