I never really thought about this until a few months ago when I took over as GM for a group whose GM had evaporated.
This is a very different group to any I had GMed for before. They go out of their way to interact with the characters around them, and that inspires me to add more realism to the characters.
I’d noticed this from the start, but it was really brought home to me how much they had inspired me when they stopped in a pub.
Now, Karameikos is a land which was Traladaran (I see them as a sort of celtic nation), was conquered by Thyatis 100 years ago (think the Romans), and 30 years ago was swapped by Grand Duke Stefan Karameikos for his ancestral lands and turned into an independent nation again. So there is this tension between the native Traladarans and the incoming Thyatians who consider it their land and form a large part of the aristocracy.
Anyway, they go into this pub and start talking to the innkeeper. Remember they have just been literally dropped into this world and know nothing about it. So they start asking the innkeeper about the country. He asks where they’re from to not know about it and asks if they come from Thyatis.
“Oh yes” they reply ingenuously.
This is the worst possible answer for the Traladaran innkeeper, so he gets in a grump, finishes serving them sullenly and encourages them not to stay.
This was all inspired by how interactive the players were. So to all players, please interact!
Next: how can a GM make the stakes important?