Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's Lonely At The Top - ST Blues

Man, the trouble with being the Storyteller or Dungeon Master or whatever you like to call yourself is that most of it is like plotting a novel. Not the actual gameplay aspect (or your players will be bored as hell) but the actual NPC generation and the plot generation and the events and the encounters and the traps and the combat statistics and you just sit there and you dream big, and you tweak, and you come up with cool ways to showcase your player's talents and then....

...you keep it to yourself or maybe you blog about a little but you can't just sit down and talk folk through your mental reasoning because, let's face it, the players want to play and would get bored if you did. People who aren't playing the game have nothing invested in it and will be doubly bored and likely think it's a dumb idea because, well, most ideas are unless they're very simple or you have the full context.

To make matters worse, when you get to run it all those mechanics and cogs and wheels that you had in play, all the juggled balls, all the machinery behind the scenes, never gets seen. You never get to explain all those neat ideas that you had which didn't come up or the way you steered them ever so deftly to the answer. And even with the stuff they see, in three to five hours it's over ... or they've at least chewed through a lot of it.

Gah! It's sure lonely at the top.


  1. I feel your pain... I tend to do a lot of prep for games, and that means plenty of it just never sees the light of day, especially things like NPC motivations or the little touches you drop in. And it's all so beautiful in your mind, the relationships, the abilities, the personalities... all the cool things people might do.

    It's nice chatting to other DMs or RPers about stuff, but it's not the same as seeing things come up in-game. Sometimes players do want to chat about that side of things, which is cool, but of course you can't give away everything.

    So yeah, blogging it is...

  2. So very, very true. And unfortunately, with folks who aren't playing your game you normally have to get them up to speed first and, depending on how good you are at summarising, you might expend your allotment of time where you can talk about your game without boring them all on backstory.