I must confess that I am a recent convert to the greatness that is Joss Whedon. His ability to craft an engaging story is nothing short of epic awesomeness.
I would not be surprised to find out he is, or at one point was, a gamer/GM. I see it when I watch Buffy (halfway through season 3), and while I was watching Firely. The way his episodes flow and his characters develop.
So what does this have to do with betrayal?
Last night I was watching an episode of Buffy where someone she trust every much, and depends on every day, betrayed her for the sake of tradition. Although that person attempted to redeem themselves by the end of the episode, the damage is done.
These type of emotional responses are things I would really like to strive for in my various games. As I have moved more towards “story-telling” from “Dungeon-telling” I look for ways to develop the characters, their world, and the people around them, hence why I have moved more towards “mouseguarding” my games by using the goals, beliefs, instincts, and failure (complication/twist/condition) mechanics.
Sometimes I accomplish this, and sometimes I don’t.
Story-Telling VS Dungeon-Telling
When I started GMing (and largely this is still how thing are done in most games) it is the GM setting up obstacles and situations to challenge the players. For the most part the players are in constant reaction mode, and the GM only reacting when the players come up with something unexpected.
As I have grown as a GM and tired to learn new tricks and whatnot the whole concept of a communal story has really gripped me. Sharing the narrative (albeit only to a certain point for me) with all the players is an awesome way to really pull them into the story and make it their own.
Doing so puts both the GM and the Player in the action and reaction roles and yields its own rewards. I also think that through story-telling everyone becomes more attached to the world and characters around them.
In one regard I think part of the trouble I come into is my group is usually 7-9 people and since we only get to play once every two weeks (or less) we tend to want to rush into the action and further the story line. I am using new tricks to incorporate as well as reminding myself and staying focused on flushing out more than just “action and martial conflict” into the story.
What do you do for your games? As a player or a GM?