Wow this is absurdly late! Sorry about that.

It’s been about 3.5 months since the last update, and I’m happy to report that I finally accomplished mine. As I said in the last installment one of my gaming group was prepping a The One Ring event for Gen Con and I got to be a player in it.

While it was only for a single evening, I felt that I got a good player experience. I knew nothing about the game going in, as is typical for players in my group (between all of the playtesting and my whims, they tend to rely on me). I had to rely on the GM for the rules and just tried to stay in character, coming up with strategies and solutions based on what made sense rather than what I thought was mechanically supported.

I primarily learned three things:

First, immersion is better than lecture. My GM spent way too long explaining rules to us and our eyes glazed over long before he finished. I generally stick to the basics and teach the rest of it as we play. My general rule is that if it doesn’t come up during play, it probably isn’t worth spending time teaching.

Second, character motivation can create unexpected roadblocks. The playtest didn’t give a reason for our group to be together, so the GM made one up. Unfortunately, that reason (delivering a package from one town to the next) proved compelling enough that we began “resisting the adventure” when the GM tried to lure us in. It reminded me that it’s better to tie the hook into the adventure rather than just drag the PCs by the hook across the entrance to it.

Third, I was reminded that players don’t often see what is behind the curtain and thus aren’t bothered by omissions. After the game, my GM beat himself up for forgetting a few rules (no doubt tripped up by the player rebellion when he belabored the rules lecture). None of us knew he forgot them and the game played well enough without them. Had this not been a playtest then he’d have the opportunity to incorporate them into the next session.

All-in-all it was a fun experience and, given that I didn’t have time to play at Gen Con this year I’d definitely enjoy being a player again. I’m going to encourage my players to step into the GM chair once in a while.

So, those of you that adopted Gnew Year Resolutions, how have they been coming? And for all of you, how have your experiences as players affected your GMing?