Depending on the sort of group you started gaming with, you probably had different levels of how much the dice were respected as a decider for your game.
For example, my first groups were unapologetically hardcore Palladium Fantasy and Rules Cyclopedia D&D. The dice reigned supreme. If you failed a save, no matter what it did to anyone’s preconceived “epic story”, that was it.
My groups in the mid-90s were more wishy-washy. These were the times of grand railroading epics, of games where the dice were bent if they didn’t fall into the ideal epic destiny we had plotted for our characters. I don’t know that any of us didn’t secretly believe our character’s story was the greatest fantasy saga yet told.
It took some time, but as I began to Game Master more and more, I found that quite frankly, I was an awful storyteller. People weren’t there to listen to me spin yarn anyways, any more than I was there to hear them. When the dice weren’t paid attention to, my position as an impartial arbiter was suspect of no longer being quite so impartial. Why would I give the bonus or benefit to one character and not the other?
The day I started being a better Game Master is the day I stopped being a failed would-be novelist and started being a referee and facilitator. Let’s set the odds or situation, and see what the dice tell us. I’m not telling the story; I’m putting the basic premise out there, having the player characters add threads by their actions, and the dice determine the outcome.
What I’ve found in all this are that the dice, in their random (I use Gamescience), delightful way of cosmic justice, are a far better storyteller than I would ever be. Storytelling isn’t my goal anymore, but I’ve found in an incidental way, the dice make stories and memories that railroading or fudging never could. And now since the result is a surprise to me as well, that means my enjoyment and entertainment is greater, too.
Random is Beautiful.