Improvisation

3. Say no.

Sometimes it’s okay to say no. Maybe Nemod has been dead for millenia, or is so powerful it would be suicide for regular mortal characters to even enter his plane of existence.

Or you can just say that you weren’t prepared for this based on the previous actions, and refocus the group back to task.

The reason I don’t like using this method unless necessary is because you can miss some amazing storytelling possibilities.

Gather around children, for I am going to regale you with a tale of game master woe.

One of the best games I’ve played in involved normal people being thrust into a world of twisted mythology and theology. One character’s wife had disappeared into the world, and we had found our way in with the intention of saving her.

Now, this GM had an amazingly in depth world planned. Maps of the world, descriptions of all places and characters, and we were free to pursue which options we liked.

We had a book which gave us a breakdown of the politics of the city, and who to mess with and who not to.

There was a particular entry in the book that warned us about the lethality of a certain place.

Funland.

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Funland was the world’s twisted amusement park and carnival, with malevolent clowns and disturbingly violent mascots. The park had been shuttered for years, and no one who went in ever came out.

One player who could stand to learn a lot from my entry on being a good player (me,) thrust the party and GM into chaos when he was dead set on going into Funland. The party had had numerous setbacks, and he wanted to do something on his own terms.

But Funland was where the party was supposed to end. It was so heavily warned against, only an idiot would go in there with zero preparation! (Me.) We also had a brand new player with us who finally decided to give RPGs a shot after months of prodding.

The GM did probably the best he could in the situation. He… rolled with it. Heh. Anyways, he let us go. He didn’t pull any punches, I almost died, and we found the other character’s wife trapped in some kind of cage. The other player’s broke it not understanding what it was, and we irreparably changed the world forever. We never found out what had actually happened to the character’s wife.

And we had an amazing time and still talk about it to this day.

All because of a player who wouldn’t say no, and a GM who was brave enough not to say it either.

That new player has become one of our steadfast players by the way.

So, don’t be scared to improvise if you’re ready. Don’t be scared to take a little bit of time to prepare, or say no altogether either. Improvising large portions of the story can drastically change the dynamic of your game.

Other times it can lead to the characters being respected for being the only ones to ever escape Funland.

Let your characters chase Nemod. You never know what you’ll find along the way.

Let me know what you think!