I GMed today another session. It was really nice, and the players enjoyed it (at least, that was their answer when I asked...) but I went out of it feeling a bit disappointed. You see, I came to the game with expectations that were too high. Most of them are good players, that I GMed for at least a couple of times, and yet it wasn't as good as I expected. Maybe it was me? Maybe it was because I didn't stress from beforehand what I want from my players? And then I started to think: What is it that I look for in my players? What special things, beyond coming on time do I want from them? My conclusions follow:
- I want my players to be an integral part of the game. It means 2 things: First, I want them active, not sitting in the background waiting for when they are attacked to do something. Secondly, it means that I want them to come with ideas ("wouldn't it be cool if we'll meet the dragon for a final battle just above of his cave?"). Nothing too fancy, just, you know, suggesting things that they may find cool.
- I want my players to participate in the stories we tell. I don't want them there to just say "I attack" or something like that. I want them to make important decisions, to fight for their morals, to help create a better story. The fact that I'm the GM means that I'm helping to advance it and that I have a bigger share of telling the story than each one of them, that's all.
- I want my players to keep to the tone of the game. I don't want them cracking Monty Python jokes in a horror game, nor do I want them to go kill the king and all his men in a political game (at least, not in the normal hack and slash way...).
- I want my players to help me with making sure that each one of them has about the same screen time, so all of them will be able to shine.
- I want my players to come to every session wanting to go out and explore a different world, ready for adventures and horrors and stories yet to come.
- I want them to come passionate to the game, and I want them to think about the game beyond of the normal gaming hours.
- Lastly, I want them to deliver characters that are more than just their stats, characters who have a personality, conflicts, background, relatives, and all other ways to make them part of this world we're telling the story within.
There are surely more things one expects from his/her group of players. After all, the GM is only one mind, one brain, and the players have more brains to come with more ideas. Also, they have less of a responsibility, and as such have more time to invest in more things of the like. Is it too much? I don't know, but I don't think so. What do you expect from your players?