Yes And…

I have read on several other Role Playing Game (RPG) blogs that a good Game Master or Game Mistress (GM) should always say ‘yes’ to the things their players want to do. I feel so strongly that our role as GMs is to entertain, to tell a good story and to ensure that our players have a great time. When your party is having a good time, you will have a good time because you’re a key part in creating that experience for everyone.

I have never had a problem saying ‘yes’ to my players when they ask if they can do something in game. RPGs are games about possibilities. So always saying “yes” just felt natural to me.

I was discussing this with some actor friends of mine and they told me about an improv technique called ‘yes and’. Essentially, not just saying yes to my players, but saying yes and adding something to the story that makes it more interesting.

Here, let me give you an example.

Character #1: I cast ‘Detect Magic’. Do I detect anything Magical in the cave?

Dunger Mistress: You do and it’s coming from behind that wall.

Character #2: Can I try to punch through the wall?

Dungeon Mistress: You can and when you do the cave falls in on you. Role a reflex check to see if you get out of the way in time.

Character #3: Can I start moving the fallen rock out of the way to try and get to the magic item?

Dungeon Mistress: You sure can and as you do a rock golem springs up from the rubble!

See what I did there? I just kept adding something to keep the players on their toes. Had I just only said ‘Yes’ to all of my players requests the game would have turned out a lot more stale as you can imagine.

I know a lot of blogs say you should always say YES to your players, and I know I just said that you should say YES AND… But a lot of how you use this gaming tip should be based on your game and how it is going. What’s going to be best for you and your party on any particular night? I can’t say. That’s going to be all up to you. So be observant and most importantly, have fun!

Have you used the ‘YES AND…’ technique? How do you feel about it? Do you have any other ideas or suggestions? Leave a comment below and lets share ideas!

Dungeon Mistress

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