I was reading a post at Once More Unto the Breach! about the responsibilities of the player at the table, when I read the following:

A player should take an active role in being engaged with a game session. Of course, this includes responding to the GM’s eternal question, “What do you do?”

Emphasis mine. Something clicked. Something that was bothering me that I couldn’t quite place. A question I hear a lot at my table is, “what happens next?” There are different philosophies behind roleplaying, different camps that favor one side or the other when it comes to who’s in charge at the gaming table.

There was a time when I used to be in the camp that said the GM was in charge — and that was a long time ago. After a few years, my stance changed to one of, “the GM should be allowed to play too.” As a player, I try to help my GM to play.

Maybe this is a bigger problem in D&D than other games, where the rules are less about structured adventures and tables of character advancement, but it seems to me that players are just as responsible for helping others play as they are to participate.

I got to thinking about what I would put on a hypothetical “GM-Player Contract.”

One of the first things I think I’d put there is that any question of “What happens next?” should be answered with, “What do you do?” I don’t like being talked over, but when it’s important that something be said, I tend to interrupt a player to say it.

In a way, it seems like the GM would be the one player at the table allowed to interrupt others. Is that in any way like how a courtroom judge works? It’s important that each player is heard but there are times when the judge needs to hand down a ruling.

I definitely need some time to mull this over before I put anything to the page. What would you put in your contract with your players? With your game master?