PLAY SORCERER 76: V. The Game Master and Players Gather for Character Creation (11)

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11. The Game Master’s Creative Authority

The Game Master, on the other hand, has authority over everything else in the fiction people create. So, if a Player says, “I want my Demon to be a dancing purple dog,” and the Game Master knows that Demons don’t like to be noticed, he should first ask, “Tell me more about that.” And if the Players answers work out, then the Demon will be a dancing purple dog.

But if the answers clash with the Game Master’s sensibilities and judgment of what the setting should be like, then the Game Master is allowed to say, “You know… that just isn’t working for me. Here’s why. Can you come up with something else that works within the setting assumptions for Demons?”

If I’m the Game Master and I do this, I never get flustered with the Player, and I don’t anticipate a conflict with the Player. We’re all peers here and here to make a story as peers. The Player knows he’s in charge of his Character and I’m responsible for everything else. The Player knows I wouldn’t do this unless I had a good reason.

That said, just because I don’t understand what the Player is going for doesn’t mean I reject it out of hand. Again, I ask questions—not as a bullying tactic but from genuine curiosity. As a Game Master I assume everyone at the table is loaded with Pure Awesome, and if I’m confused about something, it’s my job to understand what the Player is going for to tap that Awesome and pour it over the fictional bits we’re creating.

So, again, ask questions. Go deeper. Get the Player to talk about what they’re going for if you’re confused. See if you can keep them brainstorming in the direction that makes sense for you if you’re stuck on the idea they have.

Remember, there is always one more idea.

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