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Old September 14th, 2018, 10:05 PM
Enoki Enoki is offline
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First and foremost, a good ref is a great storyteller. If you can't create a setting and weave a story for your players, it becomes a slow slog you want to end. You also have to be able to change the story to fit what the players might do. By redirecting them back to the original premise, you let them go far afield only to return to the purpose of the scenario you originally set.

Next, regardless of how anal or pedantic a player may be, and this does happen, you don't play God to get even. The know-it-all, or the rules lawyer, you deal with them gracefully and without malice. Being fair and even handed is important because players will quit if they think they're being singled out or unfairly treated.

Involve the players. It's their game. Make them want to participate. Give them a chance to create and even make the game go in directions you didn't expect. For that, you need to be alert and able to work on the fly as the players do things.

Make sure the players know how the rules will work with you. I tell them there are times when things won't be random simply because they have to work to fit the scenario. That isn't "unfair" or "cheating," but rather ensuring things move towards the outcome, for better or worse.

Keep the scenario you are doing within the player's capabilities as characters as well as players, and don't drag it on forever.

If the players do go off into the proverbial left field, then sometimes it's better to just admit defeat, so-to-speak, and tell them, "I really didn't expect you guys to do that. How about we call it a night? That'll give me a chance to work up something decent for what you've decided to do, rather than me trying to improvise."
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