Saturday, November 28, 2009

File Under Others Saying It Better Than I Ever Could...

Courtesy of James at Grognardia:

"...I have several possibilities in my mind -- that's the job of a good referee, after all -- but I don't favor one over the others and, even if I did, the X factors of player choice and the randomness of dice militate against my being able to ensure that any one possibility happens "as it should."

All of this is a long-winded way of agreeing with Rich Marshall's comment that "The advocates of pre-scripted storylines believe that without predetermined ends, overarching stories are impossible. They believe that if you allow the players' actions to create the story, chaos will ensue instead and no story will be possible." I am not in the slightest opposed to the idea that even old school RPGs include "story." Rather, I believe old school gaming generates stories -- many stories -- through play rather than through explicit referee planning beforehand. I can pretty much guarantee that, if I had a different group of players, the campaign would currently be quite different, if only because their dice rolls would have led to different outcomes and thus different decisions in response to them. That imaginary alternate campaign would likely have different stories and, to my mind, that's as it should be...."


  1. I couldn't agree more. Apart from the fact that the Old School style of gaming serves to CREATE the story through the players' own actions, I also find this style as a way of EMPOWERING the players themselves. Ultimately, the players attain a very large influence on how the adventure moves and what direction their players' fates take. Great post.

  2. I usually toss together a few maps, a rough key with a few written encounters, shuffle some 3x5 cards with magic items, monsters and NPCs and let the players do the rest.

    I believe scripting comes from those titanic stat blocks from 3.x+. If it took you an hour to make a major NPC you would probably want to get a little payback for that hour of time. I have a Pathfinder game too (the group is trying out) and while the characters are deeper, so is everything else.

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