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Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0907

RPT GM Robert Creedon sent me an email in response to my Three Part Quest Template. In it he had a great tip that got my wheels turning:

  • Always ask yourself what would be so bad about remaining static. Why do the characters need to learn the magic and escape?
  • For change to take place, you need a need for change, a plan for change and an expected result of that change.
  • For characters to take a path or plot, the players need to see why not doing so and staying the same will have a negative result.
  • Next, they need to have options to make the change or plans like stories of others or seeing available resources like learning magic.
  • Finally, and most important, they need hope for something better or those expected results.
  • Players can be weird creatures and may give up or just quit games due to no hope.

My thoughts wander to three parts of our games. Characters, rules, and players.

Robert is right. As a player or character, why should I choose the more difficult road? Why not just stay the same?

With characters, they are active agents in the world. They impose their will and change things. This, in turn, changes the characters.

New allies, enemies, friends. New causes, regrets, and hopes. New ideas, failures, and successes to learn from.

Interposed between players and characters are the rules. An RPG foundation is quantified character improvement via levels, points, wealth, or whatever methods your game system uses to measure, reward, and motivate change.

And with players, they change from experiences you’ve designed (or co-designed) and gamed out together.

Players also master the rules over time.

Everyone at the table also becomes closer friends.

If you are so inclined, players might also change from virtual experiences they map back to reality. The feelings of reward when taking risks, or new awareness of what causes bad things (it’s us) and its consequences.

We come to the table to play. But our human nature makes us come to change.

Very thought-provoking Robert. Thanks.