Narrators require a special disposition. You must be comfortable performing in front of a small group. You may want to do special voices for NPCs. And you will be called on to improvise.
Narrators must also embrace the values of servant leadership. Remember, your Players are here to have fun and it's your job to make sure they do. Let them shine. Let them take the lead. Challenge them enough so they feel satisfied when they overcome, but not so much that the story gets bogged down. When they surprise you with the unexpected, be prepared to go with it, make it fun, and keep the story moving.
Read on for more details about the Narrator's three step cycle:
1. Set the scene
Each Campfire Story is made up of "Scenes". It's up to the Narrator to set the scene by reading out loud the scene description, sharing any supporting art, and playing the role of any non-player characters (NPCs). For example, if you are playing a Murder Mystery Story the Narrator will being by describing the dark and stormy night, the dusty old mansion, the baroque parlour, and the backstory for why the characters find themselves in such a place. This will usually end with an invitation for the Players to take some action that begins the adventure. This means the Narrator is also the story's catalyst, keeping it well-paced and exciting.
2. Play the Challenges
Each Scene has the potential for Challenges. Some are explicitly written into the scenes with tons of detail. But sometimes, Players will take unexpected actions and the Narrator has to improvise a challenge. All challenges begin with the Player describing what they want to do, and which Action they will use to do it. The Player's then roll the dice to see how well they perform the Action on a seven point scale. If the player meets or exceeds the level required to win the challenge they are rewarded. If they fail, the consequences could be dire. For example, if you are playing a Murder Mystery, the Narrator will invite the Players to "Search for Clues". If one Player rolls "Poor" they will probably come up empty handed. If another Player rolls "Great" then they will find some useful clues.
3. Reward The Players
Narrators are the source of all rewards in Campfire. If a Player rolls well, finds many clues, and resolves critical challenges in the Story, the Narrator is responsible for rewarding this success. And what your Players crave most is narrative pay-off! For example, if a Player rolls "Superb" while using the "Deduce" action to figure out how two or more clues are connected, the Narrator (with their narrative omniscience) will reward the Player with critical information to help them advance the story. Artistic flourishes are encouraged in both success and failure. So if a Player's creative and unusual plan succeeds, it's the Narrator's job to flatter their ingenuity by describing their success in grand terms. On the other hand, a skilled Narrator can turn even an epic failure into a memorable moment.