Reverb Gamers 2012, #2

Category: Cussin' In Tongues
Created on Wednesday, 04 January 2012 Written by Steve

REVERB GAMERS 2012, #2: What is it about gaming that you enjoy the most? Why do you game? Is it the adrenaline rush, the social aspect, or something else? (Courtesy of Atlas Games. Visit them at www.atlas-games.com)

My favorite thing about gaming is definitely the collaborative storytelling aspect, especially when elements from character backgrounds, minor supporting characters, and other bits and pieces start fitting together in ways the GM never expected. I know a lot of GMs hate this, but it's one of my favorite aspects of the hobby, which is why I never have more than a very basic plot worked out when I run a game. By keeping things vague, I can react to what the players want to do and work things that they introduce into the story. This GMing style occasionally requires me to scramble for a plot (usually at convention games when I get a weak or very mission-based player group), but usually if you give the players some freedom, they'll do interesting things. The key is to be willing to toss out your initial plans and expectations if the players come up with something more fun.

A good example of this kind of thing is the M-Force game I ran at GenCon last year (2011). The basic plot going in was "the characters fight some monsters," and I think I actually had a short list of potential monsters for them to fight. The players got to decide where their M-Force office was located, and if they'd picked some bland Anytown, USA, the session likely would have been a ho-hum monster hunting adventure. Fortunately, the players chose to play members of an M-Force office based in Hawaii. Since I'd recently found out (thanks to  Sarah Vowel's Unfamiliar Fishes), that there's been a native secessionist movement in the state for as long as it's been under U.S. control, the plot (about the secessionists using magically-controlled monsters to advance their agenda and prepare for the ritual by which they would summon an ancient volcano god using the HULA OF THE DAMNED!) pretty much wrote itself. 

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Reverb Gamers 2012, #2.
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