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All For One | Gnome Stew



Mar 18, 2022


This text is partly for the gamers and partly for the game masters on the market. The Musketeers from Alexandre Dumas’s guide, The Three Musketeers, had a motto that goes, “All for one and one for all.” The intent behind this motto is that when one Musketeer wants one thing, all of the others come to help. The flip facet, clearly, is that when the group wants a carry, one Musketeer could make all of the distinction on this planet. There’s way more nuance to this motto than what I’m going to discover right here. I’m sure that complete treatises and prolonged essays have been written about Dumas’s works, and that’s not the purpose of this text.

What I do what to discover right here is when one member of the group shines or is left at nighttime. These are the 2 completely different sides of the identical coin that we generally name, “highlight time.” It’s one thing to cross round, share, and make the perfect of when you’ve it. It’s attainable for the gamers to cross the highlight, share the highlight, or let it replicate off them onto different gamers on the desk. It’s additionally one of many many issues the GM must juggle and hold truthful. As a Player, it’s extremely boring to not shine occasionally. It’s additionally impolite to shine for too lengthy throughout the course of a session. Let’s dive into what might be accomplished on the 2 completely different sides of the display to ensure all of us get some highlight time.

Gamers with the Highlight

When you’ve got the highlight, get pleasure from it. Really. That is your time to shine and convey forth your character’s expertise and talents to alter the course of the storytelling at hand. These moments may even change the plotted course of the marketing campaign. Get pleasure from these moments Nonetheless, don’t hog the highlight. There are two normal methods to keep away from being impolite about being the first character within the story being instructed.

 When you’ve got the highlight, get pleasure from it. 

The primary method is to replicate the highlight on one other PC within the group. What I imply by this, is you can embrace one other character (or extra) into the realm or occasions being spotlighted. This may be mechanically enforced by asking for help (+2 on the roll; benefit on the roll; a free re-roll; reducing the goal quantity; getting a bennie; and so forth.) from one other PC. This may merely be a storytelling second by which one character reinforces the ideas, concepts, or expressions of the spotlighted character to an NPC. This will obviate the necessity for a roll if two (or extra) characters are exerting the identical type of affect on an NPC. This reflection of focus will hold your fellow gamers engaged as they discover new and artistic methods to help you in what you’re doing.

The second factor you are able to do is to cross the highlight to a different character. When you notice you’re not the perfect particular person for the duty at hand (keep away from metagaming and comparability of stats or expertise for those who can), then recommend to the group {that a} completely different character try what’s being accomplished. Alternatively, you possibly can get pleasure from your highlight for whereas it lasts. When your second to shine is clearly over, flip to a fellow Player and ask them what they’re going to do in response to what you simply completed (or failed at).

Gamers With out the Highlight

Attain out to the highlight character.

If it’s clear that you simply’re not the first character of the second, that’s cool. Sit back. Loosen up. Take note of what’s occurring. Don’t zone out. You by no means know when one other Player (or the GM) will pull you into the motion. Nonetheless, don’t turn out to be complacent. When you really feel that creeping dread of boredom overcoming you consciousness, step in. In different phrases, don’t attain in your cellphone or pill. Don’t stare at your character sheet or refresh your reminiscence of how your spells really work out of the rulebook.

As a substitute, attain out to the highlight character and ask, “How can I show you how to accomplish [insert goal here]?” Do it in an inviting method, not in a “I’m butting in” method. Have an concept ready on how one can assist. Having a strong plan of motion for aiding one other PC on the desk can go a good distance. You by no means know, the present highlight PC is likely to be stymied on how you can method engaging in their speedy targets.

Game Grasp Accountability

 This isn’t science, however a intestine really feel. 

It is a tip I picked up at a convention by means of statement. Patrick Hester is a pal of mine. He used to run the SF Sign Podcast and based (in 2010) and co-hosts the Useful Nerds Podcast (https://functionalnerds.com/). At conferences, he moderates panels with a number of audio system. He’ll write down the names of the entire panelists in a column. As every panelist makes a Large Level concerning the matter of the panel, he places a tick mark subsequent to their identify. When a panelist runs “low” on tick marks, he makes certain to handle the subsequent query or matter to the particular person with the least quantity of marks subsequent to their identify.

This isn’t science, however a intestine really feel on Patrick’s half. He doesn’t mark down every minute that every particular person has had the highlight on the panel. When somebody has had “sufficient” time, it’s good to shift to an individual that ought to discuss subsequent. Patrick is a grasp at this, and you’ll be too, however it’ll take follow and desk consciousness. Don’t minimize folks off except they’re hogging the highlight for private gratification. I additionally suggest gently tamping down on a Player who continuously injects themselves into the highlight moments. This is likely to be a chat after the session, but when the opposite gamers are getting visibly upset by somebody butting in, then a mild, “It’s XYZ’s flip to behave proper now. Let’s see what they wish to do,” assertion will work simply effective.

It’s simple sufficient to shift the highlight to a different Player by merely asking a Player, “What’s your character doing proper now?” Truly, be extra direct and main than that. My earlier instance is ok, however too open. Ask them what they’re doing about an occasion that simply occurred. Tie their subsequent motion into the earlier one which simply went down. It is a pure shift within the highlight.


Shifting the highlight between characters and protecting issues working clean from a storytelling facet is one thing that can take follow. You are able to do this, however take your time doing it. You’ll quickly come to appreciate when it’s time to shift to a different Player on the desk. Sharing the highlight is significant, however refined. I assure you’re going to mess this up (I nonetheless do every now and then), however don’t get down on your self. Study from previous errors and enhance!

Keep in mind, the highlight is there for all and for the one. It’s a matter of understanding which method it’s presupposed to shine when the time comes.

This publish is dropped at you by our fantastic patron Eric Bontz, supporting us since November 2017! Thanks for serving to us hold the stew fires going!

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