Sorry for the long silence. I’ve been kind of distracted by irl events, but I’m not abandoning this endeavor quite yet 😉 As always I’d love any questions, suggestions, or opinions from any of you who might have them.I’ve been reading a lot of books lately and I started thinking about the differences between book stories and game stories. Much of my advice tends to involve book references because in a lot of ways a good game is like a good book. For example, the best games and the best books are usually character driven. Typically if the writer/GM has to resort to pushing their plot along without the help/participation of the main characters/PCs the story/game has some serious problems in its basic design. All good books and good games are about people, not events. Another similarity is that both books and games need to have a beginning, a middle, and a conclusion. Even long book series have story arcs that both start, progress and end. If you have a game that just rolls along indefinitely without any resolution, you’re running it incorrectly. There are also some differences between books and games that probably need to be examined as well. The main one that came to mind for me is personal power. Sure there are games in which the PCs are just regular people and don’t have any special powers/talents, but those games are few and relatively unpopular. Gamers typically aren’t satisfied playing a game of the self-discovery, coming of age, or emotional growth variety. True, some games involve those themes, but they don’t often rely upon them for their main line of content. In other words, the characters who are undergoing the emotional growth are often vampires, sorcerers, Jedi, ninjas, warriors, rogues or some other kind of PC archetype rooted in personal power. Not many gamers would be interested in playing a group of poor tenement farmers moving west during the great depression and yet The Grapes of Wrath made for an awesome book. Antagonists and protagonists are clearly defined in games because protagonists are always the PCs. In books it is possible for everyone to be a protagonist in their own way. Take the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Even people who hate each other are the heroes of their own personal story arcs. The only games that come close to accomplishing this is the LARP phenomenon and LARPs comprise only a small percentage of the total games out there being played. Books can have a central character around which the entire story revolves. If your game hinges upon one specific member of your PC group with the others all being secondary at best, then you’re doing a poor job as GM. A good game would more resemble a book with an ensemble cast than one with a single focal character. An appropriate book example of this would be The Lord of the Rings vs a central character type of story like Harry Potter or the Dresden Files. In The Lord of the Rings you get multiple people’s points of view and each of them are important in their own way. Sure Frodo was the one carrying the ring, but he wouldn’t have made it without Samwise and the book wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting without Sam’s point of view. Even Gollum was the hero of his own tale. The story would have still happened without any individual character; it just would have been a different story. In their respective series, Harry Potter and Harry Dresden are indispensable for those tales to be told. All the other characters are expendable. A game can’t be like that. Each player should be able to maintain the illusion to themselves that they are the main character. Any other examples/opinions out there?