In Robert McKee’s book – STORY he says “True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure – the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature”
He’s talking about character arcs, but the thing that struck me about the quote is this is exactly why I love to GM. Only I’m not so much interested in the character arcs, I’m more interested in learning how the player will guide the character. It’s almost like a laboratory to find the essential core of the players.
That’s why I think I’m less interested in constructing a “Story” and more interested in how the player interprets their character. A good story helps to do that, but arriving at the story isn’t my end goal. It’s to know that essential element of the player’s personality, to see who they are inside, revealed by that pressure.
It’s really only then I feel like I know someone. So while I like exploring fantastic worlds and finding out how they work, those fantastic worlds allow me to explore the people I’m playing with in ways I can’t in everyday life.