"Do you give people more than what they ask for, or do you leave them wanting more?"
For starters, I no longer do full blown requests. If it alienates that one player for benefit of the many, I always choose the rest of the people.
- No, you can't bring in a character with soul-eating armor in a campaign of 3rd level PCs
- No, you can't bring in enough magic items whosw xp value (2nd Edition AD&D) combined is higher than the combined xp of the party!
- No, you can't buy a sniper rifle, in the middle of the suburbs, with no contacts.
- No, you can't play a polymorphed dragon in a low powered Rifts game.
I will, however, allow whatever unreasonable concepts you can thnk, so long as you leave the door open. In my college AD&D games, we had numerous strange personalities.
- Echellon, the pigeon raising priest of Shang Kai Tshing
- Rolf, loner barbarian who was far more wise than everyone thought.
- Talis, womanizing bard, and Echellon's secret half-brother
- Kane, monk style cleric, whose main weapon was Create Water
- Maloran, the Beavis and Butthead of the group.
- Norm Dingleberry, Dwarven Mushroom Farmer, one-time Emperor of the Known World.
- Ashe, a fairly standard min-max Half-Elf Ranger
- Throw in a quarter ogre, and dozens of extra PCs from other people haphazardly joining the game and I had a LOT on my plate.
What did I give them in return. Well, there's a certain school of thought that believes the GM is God, and as they say, God doesn't give you more than you can handle.
But I certainly did try my darnedest...
Every character got their moment in the sun, but the payment in return for that might have been a bit stringent.
Echellon got to be a Baron, but in between there were tornadoes, and spider people dopplegangers, and bankruptcies to overcome.
Rolf got to begin the process of a Talislanta Thrall tattoo (far cooler than it sounds at first) but he had to go completely out of his element, travel to other dimensions, and keep the group together in the throes of it's greatest challanges.
Talis got to be the womanizing jack of all trades he wanted to be, but got a half-brother, discovered his father only after his death, plus he DIED at the beginning of an epic quest.
Norm was the dwarf the wouldn't die, even though his stats and play style suggested otherwise. At the end of the day he actually got his own Kingdom carved out of the ruins of the campaign finale. And he still grew mushrooms with his own poop.
Did I say my guys are always classy?
Leaving them wanting more? That's my goal for my Cthulhu game. Investigators are going insane, getting blown up, and generally reading books and losing a grip on reality. It's my job to make reality worth it for the characters.while they're being hunted by a cult, or losing their job due to the mythos-inspired episode of mania. I truly want the players to utter "oh shit" and have a twinge of fear in their voices, yet be able to make the tough decisions to inspire the others to keep going in unlocking the secrets.
They still keep bugging me when we're playing next, through my personal storm of work, home, and the holidays. I must be doing something right.