I’ve been role-playing for a very long time, and it’s hard to pinpoint a single particular experience that really changed how I played. I’m sure my play style has changed many, many times over the decades through many many lessons. A couple do come to mind with some thought. In college, I learned that, by selecting players who generate their own content amongst one another through role-playing well-designed characters, I could offload a lot of the work of being a game master. Ever since the epic Earthdawn campaign, I’ve tried to be a little more selective about who I play with because of that. Great role-players contribute so much more to the game. Sometimes being a serial GM can feel like a slog. You cand spend part-time job hours preparing for sessions. I rarely had to do that with the Earthdawn folks. I only had to give them a small seed and off they went.
A favorite memory from my early days of learning to DM was the time my players decided to teach me a lesson. I couldn’t have been more than 10 or 11. For whatever reason, we were playing at my house and we had some foam bricks laying around, leftovers from someone’s crafting project. In those days, my adventures weren’t particularly elaborate. They mostly involved me selecting monsters out of the Monster Manual and springing it on the unsuspecting players over and over again.
I had a tendency to over-use the word “suddenly.” “Suddenly, a dragon strolls out of the woods!” “Suddenly, you fall into a pit!” After an hour of this, the players had enough, and they declared that they would pelt me with foam bricks every time I said “suddenly.” A couple hours of that, and they mostly broke me of the habit. To this day, I try to avoid using that word while gaming.
For the month of August, I will be participating in #RPGaDay. I haven’t posted much on this blog about my love for role-playing games, and for a while, I wasn’t really acknowledging that love myself. But RPGs were my entry point in the the geek lifestyle, and they are very important to me. I’ll be exploring my relationship with RPGs all month with these posts.