Give Me What I Want

2007 September 17
by Stupid Ranger

Phil posted a questionnaire completed by one of his players. On the questionnaire, there was a very provocative question: What do you look for in a game session to make it a great session? Sure, playing is fun, but what is it that distinguishing the good sessions from the great sessions?

Give Me a Spotlight

In a great session, my character gets to do something completely in-character, something that is truly unique to her personality, something that lets her shine. I want the details I’ve planned for my character mean something. If I’m playing a bard, I want to use my Perform skill to calm the nervous crowd. If I’m playing a ranger, I want to track (and destroy) my favored enemy. If I’m playing a fighter, I want some awesome battle in which I can display my prowess with the blade. For at least one moment, my character should be important.

Give Me Part of the Story

In a great session, our group should advance the storyline somehow. I want to make forward progress. My character didn’t get involved in this group to just hang out… she wants to accomplish something. Maybe we finally find that reclusive wizard that will give us the information we need to defeat the Big Bad. It might not have taken that much in terms of game-time, but it was significant to advancing the plot.

Give Me That Look

Every once in a while, in a truly great session, I want to do something so spectacular or unexpected that I get that special look from the DM that says, “I can’t quite believe you just did that.” Once upon a time, back in the college days, my monk, Jade, was actually a half-dragon and had the ability to transform from human to dragon shape. In the epic end battle, while being pursued by wyverns, human Jade desperately needed two things: hit points and a means of escape. I told the DM my plan: while running toward the cliff, I would use my Wholeness of Body ability to heal myself, then, throwing myself off the cliff, I would transform into my dragon form and fly off. Chuck blinked, made me roll a few checks, and allowed it. In the end, we all died (one of my only failed campaigns), but I will never, ever forget that moment.

5 Responses leave one →
  1. ChattyDM permalink
    September 18, 2007

    Good stuff! You beat me to the whole let’s have the player’s point of view! But I give credit where’s it due, both Yan and I think you make a series of good point.

    The choice of character does give the DM a clear sign of what the player wants to do.

    Thanks for the post!

    (BTW how do I refer to you in my posts?… I read your Bio, which is rather silent about your name, and calling you anything with Stupid in it makes me feel bad).

  2. Stupid Ranger permalink
    September 18, 2007

    You inspired me yesterday, so I had to share my side of things. Honestly, I’m a miserable DM. I tried it once and hated it. So I jump at the opportunity to tell it from the player’s point of view.

    And you can refer to me as Stupid Ranger… I have no problem with it at all anymore because I know you don’t mean it. Or, I usually just abbreviate as SR… which makes me sound cool…. like spell resistance. 🙂

  3. Vanir permalink
    September 18, 2007

    Around here, we prefer to call her THE stupid ranger.

    It’s much more official-sounding, and helps avoid any confusion with any other less-popular stupid rangers that happen to wander by.

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