As a GM, my job involves making sure that no matter what happens, the player characters will lead interesting lives. Of course, whether or not “interesting” is good or bad is debatable, but it can’t be argued that by keeping things interesting, then the players will keep coming back.
But what constitutes interesting in a player’s mind? Well, I can’t say that I can read my players perfectly, but there are a few hooks that a GM could rely on and expect a fair amount of success:
- Make it personal – If the object / person / issue in the conflict is something that the character cares about, then you’re sure to get an instant response from players.
- Make it immediate – Personal issues are interesting, but if they’re not interesting right now, then they might as well not be present. Knowing that a potentially bad situation is right around the corner will draw the attention of your players in a heartbeat.
- Make the options obvious - Nothing frustrates a player more than knowing that there’s something bad about to come down, but they’re powerless to do anything about it. When you present a situation, explore options, give them avenues to explore to resolve the issue.
I have to admit that I still have trouble at times with the third bit, but overall, I’d like to think that I’m pretty good at making sure that no matter what players do, I’ve got some way to spin things in a fashion that makes it interesting for them.
Oh, by the way, interesting could be both good or bad by the way. Giving them a personal, immediate and actionable advantages is just as important as giving them personal, immediate and actionable bad situations to deal with as well.