The single best piece of advice I can give to you as a game master: Connect the Dots
From the player’s actions to the story line, Connect the Dots
- When they make a decision, how that will connect to the larger story?
- When they turn left, how will that affect the overall picture?
- When they choose their class of study, where will that come into play in your story?
You determine the story, they determine the character. You tell the story together. My games are not only for fun, but for development. I have a whole list of articles on developing yourself through D&D.
I play my 5th edition tabletop roleplaying game as a dice-influenced story led game. I tell a story and the players act upon that world of adventure. Sometimes we roll dice to express chance and risk. Then I connect the dots of their actions to the overall storyline.
We waste nothing.
In the land of Bereaton, the town gathers for a funeral. Each of the players are present in one way or another. The deceased, the town sheriff, lies in the casket ready to be lowered into the ground. In the most somber way, gentle gray clouds break a small drizzle of rain over the congregation.
Who are you and what are you doing? What questions do you have about this scene? This is where the players speak up, interact and ask great questions about the scene. Eventually, they make a decision that affects the storyline.
It’s that simple. I waste nothing. I find connections between everything. I read that this kind of thinking is called “synthesis”. Each of the pieces of the puzzle fit together in a meaningful way. It’s “all things working together for good” mentality. And, as the table master, the narrator, the storyteller, it’s my job to get busy connecting those dots and express them in a meaningful way.
Whether you play D&D, or any RPG, or not, I bet you that this kind of thinking will help you in your “real” life on any given day. What is the overall storyline of your life? What are your day to day actions? How dot those actions connect with the bigger picture or “our story?” Once you begin to think this way, in synthesizing your actions into our story, then you begin to … well, you become a sojourner in this world and change it for the better.
As always, sojourner, may your story continue