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Author Topic: Players establishing facts about the world in play  (Read 808 times)

HappyDaze

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2021, 03:40:52 PM »
Does this also include players injecting canon facts from previously unknown sources? I've seen this happen a lot in Star Wars games, but also in WH40K RPGs and even L5R. Sometimes it's interesting or adds to a scene, but sometimes it's intrusive.

Eirikrautha

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2021, 04:38:58 PM »
...what do you think of players establishing facts about the world impromptu during play? Players, do you feel happy & confident doing this? GMs, do you enjoy this or dislike it?

As a GM I love it when players do it well, and dread it when players do it badly. So as a player I do it a bit more than most, but feel very wary of stepping on GM's toes.
No, no, no, no NO!

Players can suggest elements of their back stories that might influence their characters, but always before the campaign and always subject to GM approval.  They can also suggest connections between previously established elements ("We talked about how my family was a local power broker.  Has this guy heard of them?  Would he want to avoid crossing them?").  But no one is going to assert "facts" about the world at my table... at least not twice...

FingerRod

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2021, 04:57:05 PM »
Not my tempo.

The players have enough to worry about. If it is something clearly within the nexus of their character, great. I don’t need them making up wars, conflicts between NPCs, or using flashback mechanics to change some aspect of the world.

Want there to be a war? Figure out how to start one. Conflicts between NPCs? Tell the sheriff that the shopkeep is plowing his daughter.

I almost never care, just do not be lazy about it.

Brad

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2021, 05:42:05 PM »
PCs in-game can say whatever they wish about the environment; they may or may not be correct. Plenty of people are wrong about all sorts of stuff. Players dictating the TRUTH, nope, that’s my job. I have, however, asked players to fill in the gaps for me for things that aren’t really that important and I didn’t particularly care. For instance, bard rolls a knowledge check about the details of some minor magic item. If he wants to come up with the activation words and backstory, fine with me. It might not even be true but since it doesn’t matter to the game, whatever. Sometimes I will directly ask for how something looks or operates because, again, it doesn’t matter that much and speeds the game along.

Otherwise, if I’m responsible for running a game, my one benefit is being solely responsible for the world. All this “collaborative effort” bullshit is usually promoted by people who are too lazy to actually run a game and too uncreative to write a novel.

ScytheSong

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2021, 08:25:33 PM »
Does this also include players injecting canon facts from previously unknown sources? I've seen this happen a lot in Star Wars games, but also in WH40K RPGs and even L5R. Sometimes it's interesting or adds to a scene, but sometimes it's intrusive.

That reminds me:

I was running a Traveller game back in the day, and one of the PC's (the player was a collector of all things Traveller) asked a Droyne how Grandfather was doing. Needless to say, I was a bit upset by that, considering I hadn't even thought about adding Ancients to the campaign (the pitch was low-level down-on-their-luck tramp spacers rather than any kind of core-worlds treasure hunting nonsense).

sureshot

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2021, 09:46:47 PM »
what do you think of players establishing facts about the world impromptu during play? Players, do you feel happy & confident doing this? GMs, do you enjoy this or dislike it?
As a GM I love it when players do it well, and dread it when players do it badly. So as a player I do it a bit more than most, but feel very wary of stepping on GM's toes.

yes, yes, yes, YES!

Especially if I am running an AP or module. Or if I am running an homebrew campaign. Certain elements are set in stone, otherwise always room for player input nor fear such input of any kind. Mind you to a certain extent and within reason. I rather the players be engaged at my tables.

jeff37923

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2021, 10:49:45 PM »
Does this also include players injecting canon facts from previously unknown sources? I've seen this happen a lot in Star Wars games, but also in WH40K RPGs and even L5R. Sometimes it's interesting or adds to a scene, but sometimes it's intrusive.

That reminds me:

I was running a Traveller game back in the day, and one of the PC's (the player was a collector of all things Traveller) asked a Droyne how Grandfather was doing. Needless to say, I was a bit upset by that, considering I hadn't even thought about adding Ancients to the campaign (the pitch was low-level down-on-their-luck tramp spacers rather than any kind of core-worlds treasure hunting nonsense).

Sadly, there are canonistas in Traveller who aren't as interested in playing the game as they are in showing off their encyclopedic knowledge of Traveller trivia. Personally, I would have been very tempted to just kick the bum out.


thedungeondelver

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2021, 12:44:45 AM »
if it's not a world-breaking tidbit and it's based on inferences from what information I've given them, why not?  I can add the information and use it for good or ill.

Sometimes they don't even realize they're doing it (much to their sorrow when things gang agley). 
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S'mon

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2021, 04:35:52 AM »
A guy on EN World made the distinction that there is a line between "stuff PC should know" and "stuff PC wouldn't know". So eg a PC talking about his family and home village would be on the PC side of the line and would be legitimate for the player to add in play - the GM could negate it by saying later "You thought that, but actually..." I remember one PC Hakeem, it turned out his dad probably wasn't who he thought it was, rather another guy who was now an evil warlord.

Does anyone object to a player adding that sort of stuff? I do think it can be taken too far (for a traditional game); one (otherwise v good) player came up with a lot of convoluted family stuff with relationships (ok) but also with plots that didn't interest me to play through and didn't relate to the other PCs. I rem saying "OK, that stuff gets sorted out". :) If she had just made NPCs that would have been fine.

Steven Mitchell

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2021, 08:19:50 AM »
A guy on EN World made the distinction that there is a line between "stuff PC should know" and "stuff PC wouldn't know". So eg a PC talking about his family and home village would be on the PC side of the line and would be legitimate for the player to add in play - the GM could negate it by saying later "You thought that, but actually..." I remember one PC Hakeem, it turned out his dad probably wasn't who he thought it was, rather another guy who was now an evil warlord.

Does anyone object to a player adding that sort of stuff? I do think it can be taken too far (for a traditional game); one (otherwise v good) player came up with a lot of convoluted family stuff with relationships (ok) but also with plots that didn't interest me to play through and didn't relate to the other PCs. I rem saying "OK, that stuff gets sorted out". :) If she had just made NPCs that would have been fine.

I don't object to a player adding "color" to a character.  That the character disliked a childhood acquaintance is color.  What the character did about it is probably mere background.  That's no different than a mannerism the character affects.  If there is any meaning to attach to it (e.g. what the childhood acquaintance did and certainly why), then it falls under the GM umbrella for me. 

Again, in a one-shot or in series of unrelated adventures that might as well be one-shots except with the same characters, I don't mind more than that.  When I'm running my usual campaign, details about who you know, what they did, why they did it, etc. often form a web of intrigue that if pursued can drive a major course of action in the campaign.  For example, in a recent D&D campaign, one of the threads was that three of the characters shared the same mother and none of them knew it when the game started.  That was why all three of them had some unusual abilities.

Of course, you need players that thrive in that kind of environment.  The one thing that unites all the players in my main group is that they love uncovering mysteries.  The last thing they want to do is provide that information on the fly.

Edit:  It's a good thing that the players agree with me, because I don't particularly enjoy the whole, "Player throws a monkey wrench into the basis of the campaign and now I need to somehow work it in," activity.  Which might be strange, because I don't mind monkey wrenches tossed by actions of the characters. 
« Last Edit: May 03, 2021, 08:23:39 AM by Steven Mitchell »

FingerRod

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2021, 08:54:13 AM »
Edit:  It's a good thing that the players agree with me, because I don't particularly enjoy the whole, "Player throws a monkey wrench into the basis of the campaign and now I need to somehow work it in," activity.  Which might be strange, because I don't mind monkey wrenches tossed by actions of the characters.

This is a great distinction. Character action puts skin in the game, and I will take those monkey wrenches all day too.

Narratively wishing a key on a guard previously encountered to get past a locked door, an example from the video, is lazy and not interesting. This holds true whether I am a player or a GM.

A player in a biweekly game my wife and I also play in probably does this 3/4 the time. One of three things typically happen, the DM allows it, the DM does not allow it, or the player gets a roll without consequences in the event of a miss. Yawn.


S'mon

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2021, 08:58:55 AM »
Narratively wishing a key on a guard previously encountered to get past a locked door, an example from the video, is lazy and not interesting.

"I search the guard for a key" is fine though, surely - not establishing facts about the world. Most players either say that or "Does the guard have a key?" to which GM should say "You see one" or "You don't see one - are you searching him?"

VisionStorm

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2021, 09:13:38 AM »
Does anyone object to a player adding that sort of stuff? I do think it can be taken too far (for a traditional game); one (otherwise v good) player came up with a lot of convoluted family stuff with relationships (ok) but also with plots that didn't interest me to play through and didn't relate to the other PCs. I rem saying "OK, that stuff gets sorted out". :) If she had just made NPCs that would have been fine.

It depends on what kind of details they add, and whether what they describe matches the actual cultures and traditions in the game world, or involves events that are at least plausible in that context, as opposed to being merely convenient for the PC in play or some weird contrivance that's out of tone with what I envision for the world or the scenario characters find themselves in.

FingerRod

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2021, 11:30:18 AM »
Narratively wishing a key on a guard previously encountered to get past a locked door, an example from the video, is lazy and not interesting.

"I search the guard for a key" is fine though, surely - not establishing facts about the world. Most players either say that or "Does the guard have a key?" to which GM should say "You see one" or "You don't see one - are you searching him?"

Absolutely fine.

The example guard Sandy was talking about did not originally have the key. He magically placed it on the body after a player suggested there should have been a key on the guard. He agreed and thought it was a good idea, and then concluded the example saying the players were co-creating the world.

That is certainly a viable way to play a game, almost like a mini aspect of Blades in the Dark or other story games where flashback mechanics can influence the past, present, and future. While viable, I don’t find it compelling.

The locked door is the present obstacle. As a GM I want to limit the use of previous obstacles as solutions. In that example, I might say, “Good idea. It is reasonable some guards would carry keys. The one you dealt with did not have one, but that does not mean another might not.”

When building the scenario, if I had determined the guard had a key and they just forgot to search the guard, that is different.

S'mon

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2021, 11:41:40 AM »
As a GM I want to limit the use of previous obstacles as solutions.

Why's that? Is it that you don't want to make it easy for the PCs?