September’s RPG Carnival topic — I’m a little slow on the uptake — was that of Game Master Mistakes. It’s a subject on which every GM can comment. We’ve all made mistakes. I, personally, continue making mistakes every time I GM; my saving grace is rarely committing the same mistake more than once.
Take, for example, my old Mage: The Suppressed Transmission campaign, the actual play reports of which I’ve been posting on what I’ve informally dubbed Actual Play Friday. I made a ton of mistakes in that game, which doubtless contributed in some degree to a number of original and prospective players’ independent decisions to stop playing.
Very early on, the first session or so, in fact, I made a classic blunder, all while telling myself I wasn’t. To get the group together, I concocted some vision or other of oncoming darkness. This piqued one player’s interest in particular, and every time he brought it up, I — foolishly — waved it off, saying, “Oh, I just made that up to get you all together. This game is really about what you all want to do.”
Thing is, that is what at least some of them wanted to do: find and push back this oncoming darkness. I ignored the very plain signs telling me what interested the players in favor of following their lead as expressed by what the players chose for their characters to do.
It was very silly of me, when I look back on it in hindsight.