The third element is challenge. This is not to say that we advocate running the Dark Souls of D&D or anything, and indeed GMs who pride themselves on killing players often tumble down the slippery slope of setting narrative, fantasy, and basically everything else on fire, a sacrifice upon the altar of their “fearsome reputation.” The element of challenge is not about any particular level of challenge, it’s about objectivity. Total objectivity is impossible, because the GM is a human being, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t strive to be more objective. A GM who tries to be more objective is giving players more power over the narrative, because they are not invalidating their successes (for example, allowing the plot to be derailed if the players are clever enough to skip a step the GM thought was unavoidable or come up with a completely novel approach to the problem) nor their failures (and when all roads lead to success, players paradoxically have less power, because the GM has decided in advance what the results will be regardless of player action, so even though those results are good for the players, player input is still being ignored). The fun of challenge is to look at a kingdom saved, a villain defeated, and peace restored, and knowing that this happened because you made it happen, not just because you showed up and fate mandated you could never lose.