There’s been an ongoing conflict in our group regarding styles and personal preferences. I’m right at the center of it, because the things I’m after are quite a bit different than what people are used to from other players. I’m essentially after “addressing a premise, answering a question” fun, while most of the group members are after “tell a good story, emulate a particular thing, dream the dream” fun.
The perennial argument is about what the responsibility of the GM is in accommodating different notions of what a good game looks like. Because others are used to dealing with each other and have very similar desires, supporting those styles is “easy.” Since what I want is different, that’s “hard” — they don’t have as much practice with it. To them, it looks like I am demanding a lot more from the GM, when really I just want different things.
Yesterday, someone said “But that’s pandering!” when I described my attempts to understand and provide, as much as possible, the kinds of fun that each player was after. I realized that I find the concept of pandering to be self-contradictory. Pandering means catering to other’s viewpoints, and implies that those viewpoints are less valid than the one you already hold. But if your viewpoint is valid without basis, without justification, simply because its yours, then so is everyone else’s, just because it is theirs.
This realization catalyzed a new vision for what a functional group would look like to me: The group members would each take responsibility for providing everyone’s fun, including their own. They would acknowledge that each desired kind of fun is valid, and, in a sense, everyone would “pander” to everyone.