People have asked me how I GM. People have asked me how to play in my games. By a kind of ontological fusion, this document answers the questions of both groups. It’s amazing.
There is no “plot”, and we are intense
The heart of my method is improvising — I am making this shit up as we go along. That’s my default position. My default model of “run a game session” is that I have no plan or knowledge of what will happen. The players could do anything and it might seem reasonable for anything to happen. That is where I start from, and any prep work I do to is to support that. This is probably the key to my success.
There is thus no “plot”, ever. You are free. But that comes with responsibility — as a player you must make the game work. Good drama has ongoing themes, good drama goes somewhere. So you need to have direction, to be going somewhere, and to stick with that at least some of the time. You need to try to change the world, or at least try to change your position in it.
Example If you start out looking for your brother, you should keep looking for him until you have good reason to give up.
Side-jaunts are not a problem, just so long as you get back on track eventually. But my runs are usually short — 10–12 sessions is typical — so “eventually” is quite soon.