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THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SCREEN: FROM STORYTELLER TO PLAYER

So, you're no longer God. What do you do?

When stepping down as Storyteller for Uncanny Valley, I knew it was the right decision. Buckle is, without exaggeration, brilliant, for starters - but even more to the point, I knew I was done. I had told the tale of the Five in Beckett and explored almost everything I wanted to. I also had written everyone into a corner. They were at the peak of their supernatural powers, and seemingly looking forward to a happy life away from the table. Why would I be so cruel as to change that?

It's important to know where your stopping points are, but as I've joined Buckle at their digital table, I've had the horrible and sudden realization: I no longer know what's going to happen next. I'm no longer judge, jury, and executioner.

At this realization, I may have blacked out.

When you go from being a Game Master to a Player, you have to face a completely different set of rules, expectations, and goals. My Goal is no longer to tell a good story but to be PART of a good story. Sure, gaming is a collaborative process, but it's so much more passive when you're a player! You make your character, you make sure they're part of the narrative discussion at the table, and you make sure that you keep the adventure... Well, happening. Unless you're that one scuzzball who intentionally tries not to be involved in the narrative, in which case, I hope you stub your toe. You DON'T plan for weeks on end about what's going to happen next. You don't dig into everyone's backstories and dig out personal traumas to keep them on their toes. You go from playing the world to playing a small part of it. Congrats! You're not in charge anymore!

No longer being the storyteller meant I no longer had all the cards at my disposal. I can't just say "OH, WELL, GOOD THING THIS PLACE SELLS HAMMERS" because that's not something Wolfe would, could, or should know about the Haunted Home Depot*. And that's... Scary. It's like being the driver for years and years and then trusting someone else behind the wheel. So, how do you deal with that? Simple: Trust. Most GM/ST/DMs or what-have-yous want to do two things: Keep everyone engaged (not happy) and keep the table entertained. So, it's super important to TRUST that whoever is behind the GM screen is thinking about making the story interesting. They're going to do things differently, and that's what makes running games so fun. Everyone does it differently! Buckle doesn't run games like I do, and I don't run games like Wes Otis or Matt Mercer and his beautiful hair, and that's what makes it an experience! And I like having experiences, as do... Really, everyone else.

So, that's what you do. You trust that the driver knows what they're doing and, yeah, it's not the road I'd go on, but hey: That's what keeps it interesting.

*In all fairness, the Haunted Home Depot would have hammers. That's just common sense.