As of this writing, i am both a VST in our local Cam chapter AND i've just been named head Storyteller for Wanton Wicked. As something of a lone wolf, i find this amusing simply because my i have a streak of Alpha. I gravitate to positions of authority in my community, but i refuse to compete for them. It's weird, but I tend to find myself calling the shots.
In my Cam chapter, most people know me, and they know what to expect, but my Chat gamers don't know me personally. Well, the bulk of them don't. There are a few that have come to play simply because i like it there and i talked it up. So, Being made Head ST there, and in a relatively short amount of time, i felt it important to make a post in the fora about various ideas and attitudes that i had about GMing. This was to be a basic distillation of my philosophy of gaming.
Yeah. I hadn't really thought that through at all. Clayton busted on me for being long winded, because gamers are famously short on attention span. But considering that i was trying to boil down the basics of my theory of gaming, a topic that i've been writing about for the better part of a decade, i think i did pretty well.
One of the things that came to me in the midst of writing this, was a basic idea that burst full blown into my head while i was writing and in hindsight, it seems that it should have been something obvious.
I favor people.
This might seem like a horrific revelation. Especially when i have preached about favoritism and how destructive it can be to a game. But you know, i may be coming around to a better understanding of the basic underlying social dynamic at work. So bear with me here.
I find that as i get older i tend to fall into the idea of, "You decide your own level of Involvement" It generally means less work for me as a GM. Out of any game you'll find a percentage of players who totally groove on it. You'll find a much larger percentage of people who enjoy the game, but don't think a single thought about it outside. You'll have another percentage who aren't loving it tonight, because they are getting boned. Any group will also have a few folks who come and "play" but are really kind of bored and just show up because they get to see their friends. Occasionally, you'll have people who develop a desire to damage the game and the other player's calm, but most people stop coming before they reach this place.
Now, my natural tendency is to favor people who are really jazzing on the game. I also tend to really enjoy players who bring me really interesting plot-generating toys and storylines. I also like players who are genuinely nice people and make the game a nice environment to play in.
So, if i state flat out, that those things are the sort of things that i'm looking for from my players, then that becomes again, a case of "You decide your own level of Involvement" Doesn't it?
Look: I am far more likely to toss a plot cookie to someone who looks like they are going enjoy it, or who is going to go to some lengths to involve a number of other people in it. If approached by the sorts of players i favor with some wild scheme, i am more liable to be flexable.
I will say, that in major scenes and in combat scenes, i am a great deal less likely to favor players. Frankly i have too much on my mind. I usually like to be clear about this as well. People i favor ought to know that i musn't ever favor them in combat. Also that combat is dangerous and you can get killed doing it. In addition, players that i don't know all that well, or don't like as much ought to understand that I'm still willing to mediate for them. Would prefer it in fact.
Frankly, the only thing i'm liable to favor in combat is cool and unexpected solutions to problems. I have to admit that someone swinging from a chandelier jazzes me far more than someone quizzing me about the total modifiers of a full burst from a kalishnikov with a laser sight on a target with full cover.
And shouldn't you have a lot of that shit pre-figured ANYWAY!
Happily, in many ways. i have been blessed with decent players and i hope that things in the Chat will start to bring out basic understanding in many of the players there too. Lately it seems, the OOC soap opera has been getting out of hand.
I do however expect that all this new found responsibility will generate plenty of grist for the mill here. And also you folks will get to watch what i hope will be a highly entertaining nervous breakdown.