#RPGaDay 2016 Day 31: Best Gaming Advice I Was Ever Given




Probably the best piece of advice I was given in gaming was in college - it was actually a criticism and I'm not certain if it was kindly meant or not. The criticism was that my adventures had a funnel-like quality - whatever course of actions the players took there was a preordained outcome.

Probably a fair criticism, though given it was the early 1990's it was the era of plot-driven adventures, going to such an extreme in the Forgotten Realms Avatar Trilogy that the players got to watch gods fighting and escort mortals who were the real protagonists.

What I've learned to do over time is let adventures get "wrecked" by my players. In last night's Ghostbusters game the players followed their rule - of the three equipment cards each character takes, one has to be "useless". In last night's game a player took alpine gear as their equipment as they went into a middle school gymnasium to investigate a possible Mesoamerican demon visitation. In the mayhem that followed a possessed kid opened a portal some twenty feet above the floor. The encounter was designed for possessed folks to float through it and spectral hands to toss students through it - but not player characters, who would have to take the long road... But... one character had alpine gear. Now I could have ruled "no, the portal closes before you go can climb through it" but really, it just seemed too cool not to reward the fact they brought alpine gear into a school gymnasium.

That's not to say I've no idea how an adventure is likely to end - usually there's a "default" ending that I realistically suspect will be the outcome. But I've learned not to require that to be the case.

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