RPGaDay 2020 Day 2 – “Change” #RPGADAY2020

Carrying on with the RPG a Day Challenge, the second prompt is “Change”.

Since I just discussed how RPGs changed me as a person in the first Day post, I won’t retread that ground on this post, as that feels like a cop-out.  Instead, I thought I would talk about another facet of change I touched on… my evolution as a GM.  Back when I first started, I didn’t (naturally) have the encyclopedic knowledge of Shadowrun lore in my head that I do today.  To compensate for this lack of knowledge, I thought it prudent to map out the entire plot of each session.  Many GMs out there will know the perils of this approach… I should have just written a story, as my players did precisely none of the things I had laid out in meticulous detail.

So, in light of this, I had to very quickly learn the art of improvisation.  It is an indispensable skill for intrepid GMs whose players are so outside of the box, they don’t exactly recall where they left it.  My notes per session went from 20 pages down to 10 and eventually to the point I have them now… roughly 3-5 on average.  As my skill with “making it up as I go” grew, my style of GMing evolved.  I went from sticking strictly to the rule to loosening up and finally just making a judgement call in moments of dramatic tension.  My games went from “We do A, then B and finally C” to a cinematic off-the-cuff style of play that I absolutely love.

I got into RPGs because I loved the idea of telling a cooperative story with my friends.  In the middle of my transition to my current game style, I lost the drive to tell a story and was merely running one-off games to entertain my friends, but I wasn’t deriving much joy from it.  In recent years, story has returned to the front and center of why I run my games and even though my games have evolved so much.  So, despite how much I have changed and the way I play my games have changed, for a time I was lost.  My games of today barely resemble my games of 20+ years ago, but when it comes to telling a good story, I’m glad to have come home.

J.

~ by 1nsomniac on August 4, 2020.

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