Day 9 - Light
I could go one of two ways with the prompt word for the day, so...
I've decided to talk about the spotlight in an rpg. It's that moment in time during a game session when a particular character at the gaming table comes to the fore and the metaphorical "spotlight" (as in the theatre) shines on them. This matter of spotlighting the player character has to be looked at through the lens of both the perception of the player and the GM. It's important to note that both players and GMs have the ability to shift the spotlight to another player's character as well, but that's something that can be difficult to arrange (unless it's pretty spontaneous) because players naturally want to hog the limelight. (More on this below.)
From the point of view of the GM, it's important to put the spotlight squarely on a character, one at a time, over a series of game sessions. The best way of doing so is to focus in on what the player character is good at. For example, if the players excels at scholarly things, such as doing research in libraries or is perhaps excellent at talking with people and learning information... The GM sets up a situation where that player character gets to do some research in a library, possibly talking to others in the library to enhance the experience. In the latter case, the player character talks to various people in the village to learn what happened the night that Aria, the wife of the local innkeeper, disappeared. There's also the element of hogging the spotlight that players are wont to do. The best way for the GM to avoid this or discourage it is to shift the spotlight to another character, declare a scene shift to what the other characters are doing during this time, or even have one of the non-player characters approach a player character who may not be all that involved in the game and the action going on. The key is a lot of players don't realized they're hogging the spotlight, though my experience has shown me that the good players back off in this respect when they do realize it or it's pointed out to them.
The player's perspective on the matter is different. Most players like to have the spotlight on their characters, for a variety of reasons I won't get into here, but the trick is that the good players are generous enough to share their spotlights with the other players and their characters. Or better yet, they choose not to get involved when another player's character is in the spotlight. The key when allowing the other characters to share the spotlight when they're under the bright lights is to keep the other character's roles to a minimum, so as not to take away the character's limelight; this also works when being allowed or trying to join the action when another character is in the spotlight.
As I said above, it's difficult at times to arrange shifting the spotlight to another character, whether you are the GM or the players, but moreso for the latter. The key to shifting the spotlight to another player for the GM is, of course, to have a situation present itself where a different character's abilities come to the fore. With players, on the other hand, the best to do this is to have the player set up a situation or allow one to develop where the focus turns to another of the player characters. Sometimes, this can be established by the player(s) in much the same manner that the GM would use to do so. Other times, a player may have to suggest to another player that it's their turn to be in the limelight through whatever means they feel like using or in a manner that seems more natural than forced.
Finally, there's one other thing to bear in mind: Some players don't like being in the spotlight or are rather shy or quiet during the course of the game. That's fine, too, and one should never force a player to take action and have the spotlight shine down squarely on them. But other times, one discovers that the shine happens whether one likes it or not, as fate is fickle.
And all of that said, it's important to remember that sometimes when one shines a spotlight on someone or something, the flaws also come out!
Shine on, you crazy diamonds! :)
And there you have this ninth post for this #RPGaDay for August, 2020. Comments, thoughts, questions, etc. are all welcome, of course. :)