You broke it. I’m fixing it.

Knock me off my kilter, and I’ll get up again. Never gonna keep me down. Erm. Wrong story.

I wrote on my Twitter:

“I can sum up my ACNW game submissions on Twitter: `It’s all gone wrong. It’s your fault. Can you fix it?’ and have characters left over.”

The reason I’m talking about it here and not on my Amber Blog is because this isn’t inherent in any fashion to ACNW, Amber, or even my games.

It’s indicative of a methodology I’ve embarked upon in changing the way I GM.


I grew up in the age of old AD&D modules. You know, boxes of flavour text, maps, and the whole, “Defeat this creature and move one space,” kind of design. Nothing wrong with it, and it’s a great place to get comfortable. I just want to jump forward, off the board, so to speak.

See, I am an over-planner. There’s a part of me that’s uncomfortable not having a dozen lines of dialogue written out for every bit part in case he or she becomes important. I want statistics for everything (hence why I cheer everytime I re-read my friend’s Falling Rules for Shadowrun – which I really could have used after pushing that mobmaster off the cliff into Tir Tairngire… but I digress.) I want to know I can handle whatever happens.

Because I *want* “whatever” to happen.

My friends know I will run things from the seat of my pants, and usually that works just fine. (There are notable exceptions. [sigh]) On the other hand, having reams of notes doesn’t help my in-game comfort. Sure, it makes me feel more prepared, but maybe my group thinks I’m better when I’m knocked off my kilter.

Whatever my kilter is. Perhaps it’s something like a tuffet?

So, I figured out my problem in part was that I took too much responsibility for the game. I needed to make the players responsible for more of the design. Not that they mind, necessarily, it’s just that I was dug in too deep to “GM as host,” and I’d hate to be impolite. (The Laws of Hospitality, and all.)

Hence, “It’s your fault.” There’s the buy-in right there. And “Can you fix it?” is the game.

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