One of the most interesting experiences for a GM is when your players suddenly formulate an in-game goal and just run with it. No need for plot hooks, mysterious quest-bearing NPCs, or an ambush from a new villain. Instead, the player characters arrive to some kind of consensus and decide, “Yep, this is what we’re going to do, and nothing is going to get in our way.”
To see a game suddenly run away from your prodding and herding may seem scary to new GMs, but I think it’s important to give your players the freedom to do something like this. The first reaction to the loss of absolute control is to seize the reins, to pull them back before things go to heck, but I’d actually go for a measured response.
Remember that you’re here to have fun too, and if the players get a mad (and importantly fun) idea and decide to enact it, let them. This doesn’t mean you can’t throw in a few obstacles to keep it interesting, but as the primary audience to their part of the game, the GM owes it to himself to learn how to sit back, relax, and watch the players suddenly plow through the setting, building their own narrative and generally having a great time, with you there to lend structure to their efforts.
Perhaps what I’m talking about here sounds silly, or even blasphemous to some GMing styles, but I firmly believe in letting the players put the wind onto their character’s sails. We’d be doing them a disservice if we don’t give due credit to their own creativity, ingenuity and initiative if we clamp down on any such efforts.
Also, on a completely unrelated note: Merry Christmas! I won’t be posting tomorrow but I wanted to greet everyone and thank them for visiting my blog. With 2010 heading to it’s last week, I’m looking forward to all the gaming and blogging that 2011 is going to bring.