Story telling is a skill. It’s the building block of humanity, in everything we have ever created, discovered, pursued. We tell stories on our screens, on papers, through speakers. We learn how to behave from observing actions and forming narratives. The consciousness itself is a storyteller, creating scenarios and guiding our selves through every moment of life.
That being said, there’s a difference between telling stories and getting people to listen to them and engage. I have found over the past couple of years that there’s a lot of delicate balancing that happens around a table of RPG players. Games like Dungeons and Dragons and similar systems have become prevalent and prominent, with the game gaining a massive boost in popularity over the last five or so years. With prominence comes diversity and variety, and as such, there is a game for everyone if only one makes enough effort into carving out a spot for themselves.
I have been in a few campaigns, some less complicated than others in terms of mechanics, but most of them rich in storytelling and collaboration. My group of friends, all avid storytellers, has found a really amazing rhythm and we feed off each other’s energy and always make the narrative more complex and full. We know when to lay off something, when to let the GMs lead the group in certain directions, when to break encounters in interesting ways. There’s open communication, the knowledge that the others will listen, conversations that set boundaries and define them.
There are a couple of instances where I have played with different groups of people and there was almost always some issues with how people meshed, with pacing and equal character time, and with railroading GMs or ones that can’t establish control over their rowdy players. These aren’t huge problems on their own, but for games that are longer, that can last for months if not years, cohesion is the most important part of playing together in order to storytell.
People have preferences for the stories that resonate with them, so there’s a lot of discrepancy in individual expectations. If you find a good group you’ll know right away if you are playing with compatible folks. The storytelling will be fun and engaging, and there won’t be much tripping up over lulls in the gameplay. Do any of you have some great TTRPG group stories?