Over the years I think the main thing I learned about while playing myriad characters, was how to share. I know when I started playing I was all about the cool things that I could do, the sweet treasure I could get. I think that’s normal, especially if you start playing when you’re a child/adolescent. Eventually, hopefully, you learn that there is benefit to sharing the spotlight with other characters, letting them have their hero moment. That not trying to grab all the glory for yourself goes a long way to not only succeeding in the adventure, but making sure you get asked back to the gaming table. Not everyone learns this lesson right away (see also: Every TTRPG Troll on the Internet), and I think this is the basis of the majority of “I can’t find a gaming group!” complaints. Not all, of course, even with all the avenues to gaming I talked about in yesterday’s post it is still possible that circumstance makes finding a group difficult. But in a great many cases, by talking with the complainant for a few moments, I can figure out the likelihood that they did find a group, possibly several, but those groups decided to “unfind” that player.
Sharing is also an important part of development as a game master. Learning to share helps move you from an Us v. Them attitude, to what the GM’s role should be: a collaborator who presents the players with challenges. If you stay stuck in an antagonistic role with your players, they will never really trust you as a storyteller, because you may just be lying to them for your own ends. If they know from the start that you are as invested in their success as they are, however, but you are going to challenge the crap out of them on the way to that success, your players are more likely to go along with what you present to them, even if at first glance it may seem against their interests. More so than as a player, the day that lesson really sank home for me was the day I really felt like a game master, like I was finally “good at” role-playing games.