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Author Topic: Players establishing facts about the world in play  (Read 792 times)

S'mon

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Players establishing facts about the world in play
« on: May 01, 2021, 07:20:42 AM »
at 20:44 - 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.

Kyle Aaron

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2021, 08:40:25 AM »
what do you think of players establishing facts about the world impromptu during play?
Players already have an inflated sense of their importance. I welcome player input into my game world about as much as George RR Martin welcomes people's input on his diet.

Ghostmaker

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2021, 08:44:24 AM »
As always, it depends on the situation and the input.

My rule of thumb is that if it's something the players run past me to see if it works, I'll at least look at it. I'm not so in love with my own farts that I'm resistant to outside input.

Dropping something in my lap in mid-session is not a good way to do this, though.

robertliguori

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2021, 08:55:17 AM »
While not to get too auter-y, I feel that the GM is responsible for the creative vision of the world.  The GM should absolutely take player input, but filter, process, and adapt it so that it fits the world as a whole.  When the group is in synch, little of this is needed, but the GM still needs to be the one in control.

I personally prefer the leading question model, where the players ask questions about the world and get individual answers, which can chain together to the fact they are trying to establish.

VisionStorm

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2021, 09:15:46 AM »
Haven't have the chance the watch the video yet, but...

I once ran a short, impromptu campaign that started out randomly without any preparation*, so we basically improvised the entire world collaboratively going off different people's character concepts and backgrounds to make them fit the world. And it turned out pretty well overall. It took the weight away from me of having to come up with everything out of the blue when we didn't even have a clue what we were gonna play, and it helped us integrate different elements of the world that were necessary for everyone's character concepts to make sense. Someone wanted an African-looking character, so we added an Africa stand-in area to the south. A couple people were playing traditional elves, so we added a huge forest with the dominant elven city to the north, etc. Going through each character then filling in the blanks in between with stuff that randomly occurred to me to make it all fit together.

I would definitely do it again (if I don't have anything specific in mind), as it was a good dynamic that helped players become invested in the world and helped me come up with stuff when drawing a blank and playing randomly out of the blue.

However, ALL of this happened BEFORE play. We established this as everyone was creating their characters and I was trying to come up with an adventure idea in the background, taking notes and stuff. But once play started, the world was set (for the most part) and we went along with whatever was established. Nobody tried to provide additional input during play and I'm not sure I would accept it. I don't like the idea of players inserting random shit into the game world. Doing it collaboratively before hand is a different deal because we're all still trying to establish what the world is about. We could even discuss further stuff after play to continue fleshing out the world. But inserting stuff in the middle of play just seems so "Oh, so random!"


*I basically got a call one day after years of not playing from a friend who wanted to play and introduce his daughters to the hobby, and also had found a bunch of extra people to join.

Steven Mitchell

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2021, 09:40:09 AM »
I'm happy for players to make suggestions anytime they want, including during play.  Those will never be incorporated during the current session and are unlikely to see the light of day in the next several sessions or even the current campaign.  I do maintain a list of such suggestions.  They often inform the next campaign that we do.

But no, the players do not establish any facts about  the world in play while it is in play.  Player suggestions have often been incorporated into a world when it was first being set up.

RandyB

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2021, 10:26:03 AM »
As always, it depends on the situation and the input.

My rule of thumb is that if it's something the players run past me to see if it works, I'll at least look at it. I'm not so in love with my own farts that I'm resistant to outside input.

Dropping something in my lap in mid-session is not a good way to do this, though.

 ;D Concur. Completely and unreservedly.

Lunamancer

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2021, 02:22:32 PM »
I think to varying degrees this has always been done. Plenty of times I've heard players speculating on what is to come next, and if one player articulates something particularly horrible another player might say, "Shhh! Don't give the GM any ideas!" I've also at times advised players of certain "Jedi mind tricks" that tend to work on GMs. Like letting the GM in on the intent along with describing the action your character is taking. This tends to cause the GM to evaluate whether or not what you hope to accomplish is reasonable, as opposed to whether or not it is the most reasonable outcome, and that makes you more likely to get your way. If the outcome is dependent upon details the GM hasn't previously considered, there's a good chance your OOC input will have a strong influence on the world itself.

Now I know this is anathema to some gamers who live and die by strict definitions of their own precious playstyles. I just think for the most part we're fooling ourselves to think these things don't happen, and in fact it would take extraordinary conscious effort to ensure that it doesn't.

jhkim

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2021, 07:23:06 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.

I like it especially for establishing the PC as an authority in their field -- whether a professional field, or a personal field like what their family or hometown are like. In places where the PC should already know all the details, I think it helps if the player is allowed to establish facts. The GM can and should set limits on this, but without some authority, the PC comes across as incompetent or ignorant about their own subject.

Arkansan

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2021, 08:22:43 PM »
As long as they run it by me and it fits with what I've generally established about the world. Other than that, fuck no, I'm a jealous god.

ScytheSong

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2021, 10:20:26 PM »
When I'm running an open campaign, and it's expressly impromptu, I don't have a problem letting my players come up with details as long as they fit into the broader form that I have given the world. As an example, I've said that the Dwarves have a kingdom in those mountains over there, and they send caravans to trade with the city that's here. One of the characters is playing a dwarf, and says, "I bet one of the guards for the caravan is a clansman -- we're the main warrior clan of the kingdom." I respond, "Sure. Your cousin Ordan is surprised to see you here in town...." and the conversation goes from there. I hadn't previously established that the Dwarven kingdom was organized in clans that specialized in certain duties, but I hadn't yet established that they weren't, so I let it stand as a cool detail and work with it.

Steven Mitchell

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2021, 10:28:51 PM »
... in fact it would take extraordinary conscious effort to ensure that it doesn't.

Conscious effort, yes.  Nothing extraordinary about it, except perhaps some people wouldn't bother.  Some little minor thing that doesn't matter at all?  Sure, no reason to waste any effort on that--because it doesn't matter. 

I'm always running a game with multiple mysteries, often intertwined.  There are a lot of details and casual relationships that matter--and nothing that a player says in play is going to change one of them one iota.

I have had a player suggest something to another player about what was going on that I liked a lot.  Maybe even a little better than what I was doing.  That invariably gets used in a later, unrelated adventure or campaign.  Those kind of ideas don't grow on trees.

Omega

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2021, 01:53:36 AM »
Great, Gaming advice from at least one person who barely seems to even grasp RPGs except to look down his nose on them.

As for players interjecting details. Like others here I work with it if it makes sense and does not contradict anything established.

But Im more used to players asking if such and such is a feature and then working with it or not if it fits. I've never had a player actually try to ursurp control of the setting and dictate whats there.

"Im going to go look for the towns inn and see if we can get rooms for the night" is perfectly fine with me long as I havent for whatever reason stated before hand none exist in a town.

"Are the dwarves on bad terms with the halflings to the south" Im also perfectly fin with working with for the same reasons.

"The Kink has declared all gnomes outlawed from the land!" is probably a flat "Sorry. No." and explanation why and also an explanation why making a statement like that is not really the perview if the player. And suggest how to better frame that as a question or suggestion.

Altheus

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2021, 08:27:59 AM »
It depends how world altering it is and whether I've already thought of what they're think of and if the players idea is better than mine.

For example

Dwarven cuisine consists largely of spicing and seasoning food so that you can't taste what you are actually eating, this persisted even after more  varied foodstuffs became available.

Is fine.

The dwarves are locked in a war of extermination with the elves.

Is not fine.

I'm happy for the players to add detail and fill in any of the blanks I haven't, why should the DM do all of the heavy lifting with worldbuilding?

jeff37923

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Re: Players establishing facts about the world in play
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2021, 01:39:20 PM »
at 20:44 - 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.

A lot depends on the Player and their input. As GM, I welcome Player suggestions but reserve the right to not entertain their suggestion in that particular game or that particular campaign.

Some Players are just thuddingly uncreative, or don't understand the specific "tone" I want for a campaign, and then there are the ones who just want whatever the latest media hotness is in the campaign no matter how much it wouldn't fit. The ones who do come up with some great ideas are worth their weight in gold to me, but may not stick around.

I used to let Players come up with their own backgrounds for their characters as long as it was no more than a page long, but I found that I had to edit them before integrating them into the setting or else every character would be the son or daughter of the Supreme Galactic Overlord and own a planet (which can make adventuring a losing proposition).