Beedo of Dreams in the Lich House posted a survey piece yesterday that ended with the punchline that the ultimate X-factor in tabletop rpgs is the creativity of the GM. Tearing down or building up that assertion itself could fill up several posts, but I was taken more by a gauntlet he dropped in the resulting comments: “something I'd like to see more bloggers discuss is their successful table techniques that translate into good games.”
Active GM worth their salt are constantly honing up, mulling over, tearing apart, and obsessing around what makes or breaks their home games. Why is the topic so under-represented in our writings? Why the strange disconnect?
No wait, don't answer that.
Instead, let's try and make good on poor Beedo's deathbed wish with the following challenge (to be replicated on your own blog):
- Name three “best practices” you possess as a GM. What techniques do you think you excel at?
- What makes those techniques work? Why do they “pop”?
- How do you do it? What are the tricks you use? What replicable, nuts-and-bolts tips can you share?
Truth be told after typing this out last night, this morning I found it to be harder than it looked. Your temptation will be to cheat; to name more than three or collapse them into a very generalized theme.
Don't give in. Focusing on three very specific techniques makes the whole exercise more concrete, more potentially portable to another GM.
My own entry coming this way by the afternoon. Until then, happy mulling.