But, sometimes that little comment box isn't enough and, lo and behold, DigitalKat has dropped a bomb on me that really needs its own entry. In response to my last entry on the exploits of my Friday night group's exploits in the Weird West, she mentioned:
Truth be told, this is a subject of some contention throughout gaming! DigitalKat, in fact, tackled this subject herself in an earlier entry, but found herself in the same predicament I find myself in now.My only observation would be that, having taken all the shooty fun skills, is that not the game they wanted to be playing, and not the gang rivalry one? Granted, throwing them a curveball every now and again keeps them on their toes, but when you make a party full of courtiers and throw them in a battlezone, or a party full of a warriors and put them in a palace, are you running the game you want to play, or the game they wanted?
GMing a game, as I'm sure that many would agree, is a method of storytelling that's far outside the norm. While writing a novel or filming a movie allows for a significant amount of directorial/authorial control, the amount of control held by a GM is...well, limited, at best. The other players' actions, the improvisational nature of the game, and even sheer luck itself create for dictates that simply do not exist in other media.
|The posse's ride...in Davy Jones' Locker!|
Thinking quickly, I checked the encounter table for the Great Maze and flipped a card--Black Joker! A mighty Maze Dragon! Immediately, I started dealing out cards, but the PlatinumChick had other ideas...she hoped to distract the Maze Dragon into attacking Kwan's citadel! But, while her plans succeeded at first, the dice had their say: Snake Eyes!
The story being told in our game could not have been told with any single element--player, GM, or chance--but rather, emerges as a strange amalgamation of consensus. While every person at the table may not necessarily advocate a given choice, the understood social contract of the table leads to consent for these story elements to take place. While the PlatinumChick might not have been happy to roll snake eyes--and was certainly less happy with what I ruled about that fateful roll--she was willing to let the story continue.
There's a difference between "unanimity" and "consensus". While everyone would surely love to game with people that share their personal interests in what they want out of a game, people are simply too different for that to be entirely feasible. Achieving a "unanimous" decision on what type of game to run is just...not something one should expect. But, there are going to be similarities and trends between what players like! Making sure that everyone enjoys the game and has the ability to contribute equally provides consensus.
Relying on those trends and those common elements provide a start for story-building. Our group decided to play Deadlands because of a common interest in the setting. I certainly have players more interested in role-play, while others are more interested in the setting, and still others in the mechanics. All are fine, but we achieve balance between all three by enabling collective storytelling. Plus, we find new interests, new combinations, and new likes and dislikes each time we play.
|Constructivist Educational Theory:|
The Zone of Proximal Development!
In gaming, we do much the same. While each of us certainly have our own preferences, we push outside to include other elements, introducing elements to the story that not only make them enjoyable to that player, but also introducing others to elements that they may not have considered or thought interesting previously.
That's the advantage that gamemastery has over other forms of storytelling--by providing collaborative elements through GM, through players, and through pure chance--gamemastery allows us to challenge our own wants, interests, desires, and even our own perceptions of plot, characterization, genre, and story. That's heady stuff, right there! And, that's worth doing...