|Eberron. Where every race has an identity crisis.|
I have tried to find ways to give that kind of narrative control to players. As I continue to run multiple games, I find new and different ways to subtly (or not-so-subtly) give players the ability to drive the direction in which the story goes. There are different ways to shift narrative control to the players. Some of them are relatively simple while others can quickly become quite complicated. I thought I would discuss a very simple one here: developing character (back)story with players. For a take on collaborative dungeon design, consider reading this article at Dungeon'sMaster.com.
Collaboratively Developing the Character's Story
|Today's Forecast: Partially cloudy with a|
95% chance of Blazing Inferno.
Although he has yet to appear and threaten the heroes of Waterdeep, Chet Doppler is potential villain that the group helped create. By giving my players control of significant portions of the narrative, I have made my work as a Dungeon Master easier and allowed the players to invest in more than just their own character. Every player that helped contribute to the development of Chet Doppler knows that this is a potential threat lurking on the horizon. When he finally appears to menace Waterdeep, it will be something familiar yet also new. Most importantly, it is something that the players contributed as much (if not more) to as the Dungeon Master.
Giving Power to the Player
There are many other ways to give narrative control to the players. Collaboratively developing backstory, history, and potential enemies and allies is just one thing that shifts the game from being just the Dungeon Master's game to everybody's game. Although this style of more collaborative play may not appeal to every player or group, it can help get everybody more involved with the story of a campaign in a greater way than they may have been normally. For Dungeons & Dragons campaigns that focus on character and story, this can make it a lot more fun for everybody at the table.