Sunday, 3 May 2015

Dungeon Master: Players as Storytellers

Role-playing games are by their very nature different than other activities. However, at their heart is the idea of telling a story. Every story has at least one story teller and in this article, even though it may seem apparent, I am going talk about who the story tellers are in a role-playing game. I've also mentioned it briefly in other pieces I've written but wanted to get it down explicitly.
The entire point of me writing this comes down to simply stating that the players are also telling part of the story. It may seem straight forward (I've been saying that a lot lately) but it is easy to forget in the moment when Dungeon Mastering. It also has some implications.


If everyone at the table is technically a story teller there are certain. The players create their characters and try to tell their stories and the Dungeon Master writes the stories of the rest of the world. As a result the Dungeon Master opposes and supports the players and together a story is told.
Generally, my players don't like to be railroaded. At the same time, they don't want anything to be possible and want the world to be grounded. These factors usually mean that instead of trying to write a story for the players to live I end up writing my part of the story and let the players write theirs. I write situations and characters but leave the solution to the players when I can. Naturally, if you want to include a puzzle there is going to be only a few solutions. A solution that the Dungeon Master never thought of may also exist and it is part of their job to react to their players' actions. Finding the role the Dungeon Master plays is a tricky thing to do but the realization that the story doesn't only belong to the Dungeon Master is generally a good thing.

Summary in a Single Sentence

A role-playing game session is a collaborative element between all of the story tellers (Dungeon Master and players).

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