Saturday, August 28, 2021

The Three Questions

Crypt-Thing is Back from the grave!!! A very busy time at school and then crushing work has kept me away, but I’ve resolved not to let my blog become a dead one. Enough about my personal life, let’s get down to brass tacks.

The greatest element I’ve ever added to my D&D game is Feedback. Some of you in the workforce may eschew this, as you feel it reminds you too much of your corporate job, or adds something un-fun into the game. I’d rather like to think that although we have feedback loops within the system of the game to speak to as if we’re having fun or not, somethings things go awry just as much as they go horrifically wrong. You’ll give a player an open plate, and then railroad them. You’ll let a player talk you into adjusting a die-roll. Things will eventually go wrong. You’ll also go into a game weary and unprepared and improv a session so great  you’ll never see again. You’ll invent a rule on the fly that will change your games forever. Things will eventually go very right. 

But how do you know your players enjoyed the game? How do you know they had fun? Some people are bombastic personalities, who shout and laugh and jump up when they score a critical. Some people are much more reserved, and enjoy RPGs but don’t display such open emotion.  Sometimes both of these people aren’t having fun, even when they do those things that keen you in that they are. 

Well, frankly, I’m no expert at reading people (despite it being a skill you need as a referee). So I decided to just flat-out ask my players. 

At the end of every session, I ask The Three Questions: 

What are some things you thought I did well? 

What are some things you thought I did poorly?

Did you have fun?

This may seem a little obvious and is frankly blunt, but I think blunt can be good sometimes. The last question in particular has often gotten me “yes” but occasionally a “no” from people trying the game the first time or if I made a gratuitous error. 

Still, knowing where and how you messed up or areas you need to improve are pertinent. It gives you a goal you can focus in on, especially if you write down the errors and positives if you make notes. And it lets you see those good/bad elements in material you run written by others, which helps to either bolster your confidence or show examples of how to shore up those weak points. It makes you aware of your strengths and your foibles and allows you to see repeated patterns of behavior in your games from you as the game master. 

It’s because of these questions I know that: 

  • I am good at describing things. 
  • I am bad at moving the spotlight around the room.
  • I am good at educating new players 
  • I am bad at including puzzle design during my initial drafts
  • I am good at mediating between players out of game
  • I am bad at mediating at the table
  • My max table size is six players
  • My players should switch seats often
  • I am forgetful
  • I am good at improv
  • I am
  • Bad at writing that improv down for later

So, this is just an example of some of the stuff I’ve learned. Clearly this may not be for everyone. Indeed, people who aren’t the self-reflective types may just toss this out the window. But I find that, for me, this works well. 

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