Saturday, May 28, 2011

swords & wizardry, player input

Ye gods, that took me back.
It occurs to me that in games with a very heavy GM presence in the decision-making process (GM-as-final-arbiter, for example), those occasions in which players DO make creative choices are moments to be treated with something almost like solemnity.

Those moments tend to take the form of decisions made by the adventuring party or whatever, such as: which path should we take? Should we finish off this adversary who begged for mercy? Et cetera.
The issue presents itself as, essentially: "I have hardly any say in what's going on in this tale. Please respect my wish to let the ogre-mage live, as that is an expression of what little autonomy and control I have here."

It's kind of an uncomfortable feeling. I would likely quite enjoy switching over to Dungeon World, as suggested by a player, but we shall see.
This may also be a product of playing S&W with folks who usually do not partake of games of that type, but I don't usually play such games either! And everyone at the table was itching to push things in a more modern, story-gamey direction, even the D&D veteran.
That is totes fine! I've definitely seen what we can do with the system, and I have to admit that I'd probably love designing Dungeon World adventures instead.
I have some reading to do.

I will add that I have been genuinely respecting all dice rolls (no fudging!) and respecting player decisions as much as possible. I did kind of nerf a boss by not playing him as hard as I could (I really need to stop being afraid of PC-deaths), but that was my only self-criticism afterwards.

1 comment:

  1. It's a little hard to say what is respecting a player decision, I think? Suppose the GM respects the ogre mage being left to live...but really how it turns out, he never turns up again and it has no effect on the climax of the campaign (assuming the campaign has a climax)?

    I'm inclined to think mechanics should be made AS the way of respecting player choices. Mechanics which go all the way through to the climax, so maybe the player has some extra card up their sleave at the campaigns big showdown.