Prisoner of my own Head

Further to the post about Gming and timing.

I’ve been going about this wrong.

I’ve been considering how to introduce timing and pacing to a game without compromising player freedom and I’ve been attacking it from the angle of a GM and the angle of a writer but that’s not where the answer lies.  It lies within the purview of the player.

This, by the way, is a mortal sin for me.  I’ve been too much within my own head that I don’t have the perspective of those who have to put up with my storytelling.  Fun is the most important factor in any roleplaying game and, for me, the fun of the player has to come first.

Players introduce change in the actions they decide.  Players set the timing in the way they act and describe.  Players have their own thoughts about how fast or slow, dynamic or progressive a story moves.  They set their own beat and they march to it.  Players control timing and pacing for the most part.

I like this rational because not only does it encourage player freedom, it absolves me (The GM) of responsibility.  Aha ha ha ha!  I win.

Or not.  Because if the player is marching to the beat of his/her own drum then it’s the responsibility of the GM to keep up or match pace and that introduces a new angle on the storytelling:  Not only adapting player actions to the story, but telling the story in a manner similar to the player’s description.  Telling the story that the player has in his/her head.

And that can be bloody hard at times.  Players have their own agendas, thoughts, beliefs etc not just about the character but also about themselves and also their interpretation of how a story can play out.  Depending on GM and player, there can be common ground between the two over what is good/cool versus bad/uncool.  But in other cases, these interpretations can differ radically and then compromise must be reached by either GM, player or both bending a little to make a story.

But I digress from timing.

Analysis of players over the next couple of games in conjunction with experiments regarding timing and what works may be in order.  For those of you who read this and play in my games, you’re in for an interesting time.  For those who don’t, you’ll probably read about it.

More on the subject in future posts.  I’ve got other stuff to do.


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