PLAY SORCERER 48: The Role of the Game Master—Pointing the Camera on the Character

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When I’m the Game Master I ask the question, “What do you do?” a lot. It’s a little shove to a Player who might not realize that Sorcerer play really is about what he or she is going to do have his or her character do.

Let’s say a Character approaches an exclusive club and tries to enter. I say, “The bouncer by the door steps forward, blocking your path.”

The Player, bluffing with some information he picked up in a previous scene, says, “My Character says, ‘Bill sent me. He said to say hello.’”

I say, “The bouncer peers at you a moment, shakes his head… ‘Naw… I don’t think so.’”

The Player sits there a moment. “Okay,” I say, “what do you do?”

Notice what just happened here.

The Player clearly wants his Character to get into the club.

I establish an obstacle to that want.

The Character tries to bluff his way past the obstacle.

What am I doing here?

I’m pointing the camera at the Player Character.

What is this story about? The Player Characters.

I might have a lot of characters that are mine to play. And they might be busy with all sorts of agendas and concerns. And some of them might be happening offscreen, and some onscreen. But what matters here is the Player Characters. The same way a TV show will make it’s scenes about the lead characters, so the Sorcerer Game Master keeps the camera pointed at the Player Character. The Game Master provides obstacles, opportunities, threats, and hope for the those Characters.

What is the scene about, in one way or another? The Player Characters. What is the camera most in love with? The Player Characters: What they do, how they react, what they say, what they make happen. What am I doing as the GM? I’m tossing opportunities for the Player Characters to do things, make choices, react take action. I have no agenda as to what they’ll do. I’m just pointing the camera at them to let it record what they do. Because that’s what we’re here to see.

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