While my Internet, phone, and cellphone were offline, I wrote this post using tools local to my machine. Much like writing from the comfort of your desk then mailing a letter.
For this post, I dipped into my “saved articles” grab bag. I pulled out the following:
While running a game, I find it helpful to have tools that I can leverage to disrupt my default approach.
I saw mention of Ray Otus’s Oracle system. Three six-sided dice (3d6) and a little booklet are what you consult to think about a different approach.
And this reminded me of Brad Murray’s post Getting out of a Rut, and his “love of a good oracle.”
When I was running a sandbox adventure, I ended up crafting several random tables to help in my prep.
What I found, is that any time I lean on an Oracle, my subconcious offers up something that I didn’t expect.
Abused Gamer Syndrome
A month ago, this post at the Alexandrian rolled through my feed:
What these players have learned is that if they don’t preemptively look for the railroad and follow it, then they will be punished: They’ll be frustrated or have their character killed or be made to look stupid or have control of their character forcibly taken away from them or any number of other un-fun things that GMs do to force players back onto the rails.
I find myself wanting to express character agency. Don’t give me a railroad, give me consequences for my decisions. I say this, having run Tomb of Annihilation. Tomb of Annihilation culminates in what is in essence a railroad dungeon.
I recall in past games, when I found a railroad, I would not participate. In a Dungeons and Dragons: Fifth Edition (5E 📖) game, I played a Gnomish Wizard with a cartographer background. We started with no context in a dungeon and kept encountering monsters. I opted to not cast spells, and focused in character on mapping the dungeon.
Now, I’ll participate for a bit, but I want to build the world together (through actions and reactions). I don’t want to be a tourist in some GMs travel narrative.
Which leads to…
What to Do with the Cowards
Daniel Bishop, aka Raven Crowking, wrote:
What do you do if you have some PCs who keep hiding whenever there is a fight, and don’t do their fair share?
Your job is to present the world, and the consequences in the world that arise naturally from the choices that the players make. Dealing with PCs that cause problems is something that the players should deal with. Let THEM hold back a share of the treasure. Let THEM replace the problem PCs with new party members (which can even be run by the same players).
Solid advice! With a caveat. Make sure that everyone is prepared and equipped to step back from the fiction and talk about it as players. Especially if frustration grows.
In switching to my new Rich Site Summary (RSS) reader, I started saving other people’s blog posts to my computer. I have them in the same Git (git 📖) repository as my blog. In keeping these articles symbolically close to where I write, I find it easier to draw connections.
And thank you Jamie Tanna for mentioning me on your blog. I added you to my RSS feeds.