Do Players Care If I’m Freestyling?

I was thinking about this this morning.

When I play in a game, I like it to be part of a pre-defined narrative, or something written down beforehand. It’s probably my childhood of pre-written modules which has conditioned me.


There is a certain ‘suspension of belief’ when you know the GM is freestlying his way through the session. You know that the encounters or things that happen are acts of almost randomness and may or may not form part of a cohesive plot. It seems odd that the things you might say become part of the story or plot hooks for the GM, like;

“I wonder if that silver amulet opens portals to other worlds?”.

If that then becomes the case, it seems somehow false that the player should make suggestions for the narrative. Players should be part of a prepared story, not writing their own. They should interact with that story, and have impact upon it by their actions. Cause and effect.

In a recent session, I was totally freestyling and acting on the whims of the players, and just developing the narrative ‘on the fly’. Whilst this is a GM’ing skill, I felt that if the players had known that, it would have somehow spoilt the session.

I think freestyling is good, but I think players should be oblivious to it.

4 thoughts on “Do Players Care If I’m Freestyling?

  1. Except for the entire genre of RPGs where players are explicitly part of world creation… As always, it depends on the players and expectations. In general I prefer to play in games where I think the narrative exists independently of my player input, but there is an ever-growing branch of the hobby where that is not true, and it seems to be popular.

    1. Yeh, it’s not my thing really. I like to be a character in a story, not a character influencing fate.

  2. I agree. I don’t really feel clever if every solution is a yes. As a GM I reward solutions that are clever but not random blather spoken while looking at a cell phone. I understand a GM will have to free wheel once in a while but doing this all the time is not my thing as a player or GM.

    1. Yes, I figure that if you want to create a narrative, then be the GM and don’t tell your players about what it is 😉

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