Understanding your Mortal Players

mortalplayers_headerI know what you’re thinking, fellow GMs. You’re thinking, “Jesus, in the last article, you showed us how you can become a Gaming God. But, now that I have transcended the bounds of humanity, I find it hard to understand my mortal players and give them what they want. How could I possibly present interesting worlds with my vast cosmic powers that won’t make their tiny mortal minds burst into nothingness?”

Don’t worry my fellow GMs. Because I am the most merciful of elder gods, I’ve come up with three simple rules to understand the insects….er…. people you will eventually have to GM.

1) Surprise them


As I often say to David as I appear in his living room without warning, it’s important to surprise your players during the game. To bring about feelings of excitement and wonder as an unexpected moment throws a wrench into their plans. For example, a peasant could turn into a dragon, an archenemy could set off a heinous trap, or you can suddenly appear in your friend’s apartment while he screams “How did you get in here?” And, to add some extra flair, you could start singing “You’ve got a friend in me” from Toy Story as you start walking ominously towards them. It gets them every time.

2) Listen to their ideas.


As a GM, you should always listen to whatever your players suggest for your games. It’s important for them to feel like they are contributing to the continuing narrative. And, if they have issues, make sure to find a moment to tie them down and have a heart to heart. For example, as I was cutting bits of Daniel’s beard, I asked him how he thought the progress of his character was going. As everything but his wide eyes were frozen in his chair, he gave me several ideas on how to really advance his personal arc. Of course, make sure to not lose your concentration. You don’t want you player to accidentally nick an artery while you’re shaving your initials into their face. Speaking of getting close to your player…

3) Get to know your players


It’s always important to really get to know your players. To really dig deep and figure out what makes them tick. It’s the only real way to get a sense of their boundaries. The last thing you want to do is perform an action that can make your players uncomfortable. For example, I could mention the fact that every time Angela and Billy try to get to sleep, they always seem to shudder and look apprehensively around the room with a worried look on their faces. Personally, I think there might be a bee buzzing around the room, but it would be rude to mention that fact while my invisible shadow form stares at them in the night. So, I subtly sprinkle articles for pest control services around their bedroom.  And I know what you’re thinking but don’t worry. I always make sure to check the Yelp reviews. You can’t be to sure who you invite into your home.

I hope you find this information helpful. And, If you ever need to talk to me for advice, please turn around. I’ll always be there with a gentle smile and a cone of silence surrounding the room. Wouldn’t want to wake the neighbors.


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About the Author
Jesus “Arvandus” Rodriguez is the founder and website tweaker of the Fandible podcast. When he isn't out creating imaginary worlds for his players, he also runs a youtube channel where he writes short fiction in various fictional worlds. https://www.youtube.com/c/ArvandusTheStoryteller

2 comments on “Understanding your Mortal Players

  1. Cayce says:

    Another hilarious article! Makes me wonder why we haven’t seen more games where Jesus inflicts the torments of thirsting gods upon the Fandible group…

    Or, actually, maybe the article is proof enough 😛

    Still, very enjoyable! Much love to the Fandible Crew!

  2. Jordan Lionne says:

    At last! We’ve discovered the secret identity of He Who Walks Behind! Phone Dresden!

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