Narrative Control – Episode 75 – Back Seat GMs

Welcome back to Narrative Control, season 3. This season we’re taking calls from listeners and offering up what advice we can about their gaming conundrums. This episode we talked to David McBride about handling a back-seat GM.

Hosts: Sean Nittner, Leonard Balsera, and Eric Fattig

Guest: David McBride

Length: 52:05

[00:27] Intro to the show. Explicit episode in both English and French.

[01:26] News: Fattig got a HOUSE!
[02:17] Fate Core is at print!
[04:08] Welcome David McBride to the show. Is it David or Dave?
[05:20] Regular player in a weekly group, very close friend – he back seat GMs games.
[07:03] Seven players, two hour sessions, powerful (11+ refresh) characters.  Brave GM!
[07:42] Big fight in the game – Player suggest using another system to adjudicate it.
[09:59] Does the player reflect the group consensus or is he an outlier?
[11:44] What happened? How does the story end?
[12:53] Starting point. Have you talked to him about this?
[13:33] Sean sympathizes. I could be that player.
[15:02] Worth noting that this behavior is not done out of malice. Look at his contributions.
[16:47] The GM itch. The Kinsey scale. Permissive games like Dresden encourage the player contributions.
[18:18] Concrete advice #1. Systematize and put constraints around how you are going to take input AND give the player something to be in charge in the game.
[20:50] Co-GM as an option.
[22:00] David has the dream group.
[23:44] How do we take this creativity and enthusiasm and channel it positively into the game?
[25:36] Familiarity may be contributing to the overwhelming flow of contributions. A history of GMing together.
[28:07] Dresden Files specific solution: Give ownership of specific locations.
[29:43] Where does the frustration come from?
[36:05] The issue at hand is reaching a saturation point. When it’s too much.
[35:57] This might be something a player needs to get out a game that they aren’t getting.
[38:04] Player expressing what they want out of a game.
[39:21] Get some pints!
[39:56] Easier to do when you’re not in the middle or running a game.
[40:52] Layout the process. A guideline for future communication.
[41:30] Bring it to the group. Diffuse tensions with transparency!
[43:20] Sean: But, but, but…
[45:25] Fate Specific – Setting aspects give guidelines where what input is appropriate and what isn’t.
[47:26] Recap. Practical Advice #1 – Give the player something to have authority over in the game.
[47:53] Recap. Practical Advice #2 – Talk to them about what’s going on. Don’t treat it like a problem.
[48:22] Recap. Practical Advice #3 – Recognize this comes from a place of love.
[48:53] Recap. Practical Advice #4 – Establish a baseline – a format for presenting ideas.
[49:21] Recap. Practical Advice #5 – Open the channels of communication to the group.

Direct download: NC_Episode_075.mp3

4 thoughts on “Narrative Control – Episode 75 – Back Seat GMs”

  1. I’ve worked my way through nearly all of your podcasts and greatly enjoyed your take on things. Will you be posting more podcasts in the future?

    ::waves from Antioch::

  2. This is like the best podcast ever, was this the last episode?

    I have been listening since season 1, so I know
    you sometimes take looooong breaks. So if this was the last, I just wanna say thanks for an awesome podcast!

    1. Many thanks Oscar. Nope, it’s not the end, there has just been a very long hiatus as we regroup and plan on how to proceed. But there is light up ahead. I am, at this very moment editing the audio for episode 76 – Talking Torches (a Torchbearer advice show) and I’ve got too more recording scheduled.

      Good timing to pick back up.


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