thread: 2011-09-08 : Trad vs Indie: FIGHT! pt2

On 2011-09-13, cc wrote:

Conversations are the least predictable.  There were occassions in which I didn't manage to impart the information or apply the spin, as it were, that I had intended.  If that ccurs, then I have to construct some other method to convey that info.  That might be improvised there and then, or I might tackle it as part of next session prep.  I had a hacker NPC who served as a useful conduit for this sort of thing.

I had, perhaps foolishly, expected that the players would balk at some of the things they were asked to do, but they didn't.  That actually meant that some things went ahead faster than I had anticipated.  I also altered some exposition to make the NPC look more villainous as a result.

I don't feel I do a huge amount of guessing what decision the players will make.  In practical terms, if I haven't framed the context sufficiently, I've already screwed up.  That's why it has to be thought about ahead of time.  I'm not going to tell you you can't go left; I'm going to try to set things up so that there would be no reason for you to consider going left, and more immediate things to worry about.

As far as NPC actions go, yes I treat them as knowing what they would reasonably know, and doing what I think they would reasonably do.  But I should have a pretty good idea of what that will be at any given moment from before play begins.  If I plan for the PC's to go off and do mission A and then mission B, I will have factored the response to mission A into the design for mission B.

Fairness isn't an especially important concept to me.  I'm knowingly crafting this, its inherently lopsided.  But NPC actions of course have to hang together and appear human and reasonable and so on, so they make mistakes and suffer from limited information etc.  But thats only important because it's part of the impression I want to create, not because it's fair.

Its not as if there are no cockups of planning in my gaming, but this game was the result of learning from those experiences.  Back in the ur-history of my teenage gaming there was a classic Rocks Fall scenario in which I brought the PC's into contact with a villain in a public place, expecting, wrongly, that the implied legal and social restraints would create a tension as they socialised, but instead they tried to cut him down there and then.  Much as David described, therefore, I plan to avoid such potential single points of failure.


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