If you really want to take your tabletop RPG to the next level you need to learn game. Game is not just for banging cheap and easy sloots, it’s a complete reframing of your entire life, and it can do for rolling dice what it does for knocking boots. Think about it – your players are a lot like chicks. They show up unexpectedly, they expect you to put a lot of time and effort into preparing to entertain them, while they do little more than show up, and while they might talk about being grateful, they very rarely reciprocate the effort. A few of them might put in a little extra work to ensure that you’re having a good time, but most of them are like hot chicks in the sack – they figure you should be grateful they showed up at all and expect you to do all the heavy lifting, and then blame you if nobody is having a good time.
The best ones show up with a little something they thought you might like, too. The best ones throw themselves into what you have planned. The best ones don’t sit and wait for the fireworks, they respond to what your doing. They turn themselves over to your tender ministrations and don’t complain when things get a little rough. In fact, most of them secretly hope you’ll have a strong pimp hand and push them hard. Push them real hard. Sometimes, they’ll give you a short break and ask for a second session immediately following the first. That takes stamina, but if you’ve got the right mindset you will rise (heh) to the challenge and keep that pimp hand strong.
Here’s how you get into that mindset. Treat your players like you would a date. You don’t beg for hints about what they would like to do. Instead, you plan something that you will enjoy and then invite them to come along for the ride (heh). Sure, you’re not a control freak here – you are going to present some options, but by and large, you’ve got a plan for the night, and you’re here for you. If they don’t like it, they can find some other chump who will bend over backwards to give them what they feel they deserve. Meanwhile, you’ll be doing your thing and having the blast you deserve. And before you know it, they will be having a blast, too. You’ll be blasting them in the face with thick, gooey streams of fun that will make them laugh the whole time. Do I need to add a (heh) here? I don’t think so.
Players, like sloots, are a dime a dozen. You adopt the abundance mindset. You start spreading rumors that you have no room at your table and players will pre-select like you would. Not. Believe. They’ll be beating a path to your door.
Take me, for example. I’m a horrible person. Arrogant. Bloated. Crude. I have a partially subsumed twin staring out from my forehead. And yet, every time I go down to the local game shop, my table is darn near full. Why? Because I faked it until I made it. I project an aura of unflappable control over my table, and have a firm vision for how D&D should be played. (Moldvay FTW!)
Which is not to say I’m a complete jerk – not at all. A lot of the spineless dopes on the left who were never weaned from the validation teat of public schooling take exception to my utter certainty about things, but they don’t count – we’re talking about real people here, not SJWs. I’m fair and even handed to a fault, and while players can sometimes grow frustrated with my even keel and refusal to sacrifice my long term vision for their short term laziness, they respect me and in the end have a lot more fun at my table than if I just threw out freebies like it was the first of the month at the inner-city welfare office.
Remember that your players are lucky to have you around, and don’t be afraid to pack up your books and screen if you aren’t enjoying yourself. You don’t owe anyone at that table your time. Be strong. Be adamant. Adopt the gorilla DM mindset.