PLAY SORCERER 71: V. The Game Master and Players Gather for Character Creation (6)


6. The Game Master Asks Questions to translate what matters into bits of fiction stuff

Game Master, as you listen to the Players brainstorm, ask questions.

Sometimes you’ll do this because something isn’t clear. For example, if a Player says, “My guy is married,” you might say, “Okay, you also said your guy will be starting the story in prison. Where is his wife now? What is their relationship?” You do this to help the Player brainstorm deeper into the fictional elements he or she is already creating.

Because you’re not caught up in having to brainstorm a Character, you can sit back and listen and think of things that might be more intriguing to know about. This isn’t an interrogation, nor are the Players failing if they don’t have answers for all your questions right away. What I’m saying is: Just be curious. That’s what I try to do when I’m in the role of the Game Master. I’m there for the Players at this point, listening and simply asking, “Hey, is there something more here? Is the relationship with the daughter good or stressed?” Or, “Your drug dealing sorcerer… does he use the drugs, too, or just deal?” Or, “Okay, he’s a veteran back from Afghanistan. Is he still in contact with anyone from his unit? Okay, pick a couple of them and write them down under Cover on the Character Grid.”

See, all you’re doing is helping the Character to translate the things they are already interested in playing into specific bits of fiction on the Character Sheet. This matters because you need things translated into bits of fiction. That’s how we tell stories—not with intellectual concepts or a hammering of moral dilemmas, but with the interaction of people, objects and places, specific behaviors and actions, one after another. There is no mystery to this. Go watch a movie you love: Everything that matter is told is told in this way.

When you go off to do your preparation for play, you’ll be looking at the Character sheets for material to use. All the specific bits of story stuff on their Character sheets becomes material for you to use, not only making your job easier but making sure what you prepare connects to what the Players care about.



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