thread: 2010-08-19 : One of my favorite GenCon conversations

On 2010-08-23, Simon C wrote:

Different words:

If the different things, like fire breath vs. ice breath were just numbers that increased or decreased your chance of winning, you could just make them that, right? There's a reason that it's interesting that the monster has one vs. the other.

I mean, there's stuff like "I dive into the water to evade the fire breath" and such, where players use fictional positioning to give themselves an advantage against the thing. So it's interesting in that sense. But my experience is that the more singlemindedly the game focuses on competition - on whether you'll beat it - the less satisfied players are with unreliable currencies like fictional positioning.

If you compare, say, early editions of D&D with the most recent one, you'll see a big move away from any kind of unreliable currency, as the competition aspect of play has become more important.

I'd say that the reason fictional positioning matters so much in early D&D, and why it should matter in StWT as well, is because there's a tension between two goals - competition, and also exploration. There's this sense, as a DM, that you've built this amazing thing, and your agenda in play is to show that thing off to the players. I think that's the agenda that informs fire breath vs. ice breath, as much as "see if they win".


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