Professional Game MasterStephenhe/him
I've been DMing various systems for the last 20 years. I believe that the most important aspect of any game is for the characters to be able to affect and be affected by the world. If you choose to play in one of my games, I'll work with you to create a character that is tied to the setting in some way - typically by means of membership of an organisation, or guild giving your PC a unique resource of quests, hints, services and allies to call upon. When I run a purchased adventure I always try to expand upon the options the players have creating other locations and NPCs for the group to explore and use to their advantage to create a more unique experience instead of it feeling like you're just one of millions treading a preprepared path. When I'm running a homebrew campaign, I like to ensure that there is always a lot of plot for the characters to become interested in - local politics/tensions, individual goals from the PCs, requests from allies and a main plot that will extend through the campaign. No one particular 'quest chain' is vital to pursue, but I believe that a fundamental aspect of the game is to be able to choose what ways you want your players to shape the world.
I believe that there are 3 core things that a DM must ensure are present for any session to be a success. 1. A safe environment where everyone can feel they can have fun. 2. The opportunity for all the players/characters to get involved. 3. An immersive experience using high quality maps and audio. Aside from this I tend to craft sessions which tend to be narrative heavy with lots of options for memorable roleplaying and some climatic battles. As I always try to ensure there is a lot of different activities for the players to carry out and different ways to achieve their goals the exact balance of RP/Combat and Exploration is largely over to the group. If the group feels like getting themselves into a big messy fight, then why not finally take up the offer from Baronet DuPon and head out to the royal hunting grounds to track down that vicious griffon. If the group is looking for a more RP dedicated session then why not track down the leaders of the royalist rebels and see if you can defuse the political cold war that is brewing in the city. Finally, if you'd prefer a bit of exploration you could try and locate the hidden tower of Alabastor which supposedly sank into the ground when he died 100s of years ago. As a GM I believe my biggest strength is to create engaging plot to entice the characters into so they can feel they are part of a living breathing world. I feel most proud when my players spend time discussing what they believe my NPCs will be doing, and thus how their characters can outwit them.
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