One of the most common issues in Traditional RPG’s is that many people do not think that the RPG story is as detailed as it should be. While to a point this is where the Game Master is required to build a foundation of the story, at the same time, it’s just as important that the gamers be involved in the story as well. Some reasons that can account for storytelling difficulty:
1) A lot of RPGers do not really play for the RP part. Many gamers like the combat and the encounters more than they do the story. What I can never understand is if you are all about combat, why are you playing an RPG? They do have action games like Warmachine and Warhammer 40K for more action oriented gamers.
2) Some people never really created their full characters. Or they build their back story as the game progresses.
3) Some are just lazy. And if you are going to be that lazy, then you shouldn’t be playing an RPG.
4) And the most common for most, is that they may not have realized that they needed to. For many who play RPG’s they usually played RPG’s that don’t require or need back stories. In my group, they are all really bad at it mainly because of the fact that they all play WoW and you don’t need to have a back story, even in the RP servers, although it would help. So many times it falls on the DM to implement a backstory and understand the knowledge of things.
Regardless of the reason, players and game masters need to make sure that storytelling is a part of the game. Otherwise why are you playing an RPG with no story? Here are some tips to help build stronger stories amongst game masters and players:
1) Encourage building back story for characters prior to game time. When you start your inital session, you at least have a formidable starting ground and you also learn what type of gamers you are playing with. Back stories are an indicator as to who is a tank, support team or downright a-hole in your group. Knowing this, helps build a stronger story.
2) Always take time to build the back story of a character during the game time. Whether it’s a challenge or a split up of the party, or even a crazy moment in the story that makes the players have to be strategic. You are building the character’s story.
3) DETAILS ARE IMPORTANT! If the party doesn’t understand what the character’s alignment or personal issues/hangups are, you are setting your team up for some very interesting things to happen in the next few sessions. It’s also good to know as a DM so that you can either play up or play down the issues.
4) When writing your campaigns’ story, make sure that everything is fleshed out. So that way your characters aren’t making something insane that’s out of story’s mainlines.
5) And of course, make the story fun. Even if it’s a serious story, there is always room some funny things to happen. Always leave a random side story, and a random moment to allow the characters to have an easy, funny moment.
Remember, storytelling doesn’t have to always be hard. With a little creativity and input from the whole crew, storytelling can become the easiest part of the entire campaign you are running.