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This sudden realization about storytelling as a gamemaster;

You're not actually there to tell your cool story. You are there to ride herd on 3-10 other nerds and help the story you're making together be enjoyable, in part by making sure the pacing doesn't bog down. The reason you bring a cool story to the table is that you're providing interactive "hooks;" it's equivalent to a player showing up with any character background.

This is why your story is much more of a fallback than an overarching driving plot; having no story at all is the opposite extreme from railroading your players, and we all know how much fun that extreme is.

At some point people will be stuck for things to do, and while characters can get by with no background as hooks you probably aren't the sort of gamemaster who can get by with no background as hooks. "I just felt like doing improv theater with 3-10 people" is equivalent to "this character is this way because I like playing fighters/we needed a cleric/I've never tried playing a bard before," but while there's a chance you're a theatrical enough extrovert to actually go on this alone, very few gamemasters are quite that theatrical and extroverted, so you'll probably want some sort of fallback.

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brushwolf

October 2016

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