Nov 20, 2008
Hi and welcome back to Narrative Control, Episode 12. This week
Justin and I talk about players characters taking actions that
disrupt the group, either by upsetting another player or by
removing their character from the scope of the game.
Hosts: Sean Nittner and Justin Evans
[00:28] Intro to the show. Player characters taking actions that
step on other players fun.
[00:49] Battle of Wits
the card system based on the
Duel of Wits
[01:55] “That’s what my character would do” – We borrowed this
topic from Episode 55 of Son’s of Kryos
[02:51] Definition: Players taking actions that upset other players
or take actions that remove their character from the story.
[04:05] Preventative Methods: Come to an agreement about what the
game is going to be about ahead of time.
[04:26] One element to hash out: Situation. What is going on?
[04:42] Yeah, we found this one in Prime Time
as well in the pitch session. This will define the
theme of the game, the genre, and the characters or character
[05:22] Example pitch session: Ch-osh-kys. Clerks meets Office
[06:13] Concessions we made to include all the elements we wanted:
Hardware plus food.
[06:45] Situation: The two stores have just been purchased and are
[06:54] Characters: The Lifer, the snotty kid and the kiss ass
[07:20] Sets: Reinforces where conflicts will occur. Keeps things
in the story.
[07:50] More traditional format. GM presents a situation but the
players still make an agreement about how their characters will
interact with the situation.
[08:57] Avoid throwing out ideas that will remove characters from
the game unless that is presented as a conflict to overcome.
[09:45] Fear the Boot (Episode
) talks about Group Templates for creating characters.
[10:00] Another example. A gladiator game that was about being
gladiators slaves, not escaping.
[11:18] Justin’s Game set in
: Outside the city the world is at war, the “game”
however takes place within the city walls as the character act on
the behalf of the duke.
[11:52] How to bring some of those “out of game” elements into the
game for the players behalf and to make the story richer.
[13:25] Corrective measures: What happens if player characters
breath the forth wall anyway?
[13:47] Possibly this is the time for the character to leave the
game. Maybe this is a good time for their story to end?
[14:25] Escalate the conflict around that decision. Make it a hard
choice to leave the game. Also, you could give the character and
easy out if the player wants to keep the character in the game, but
can’t figure out how.
[15:19] Alternatives to allow for characters to leave the
[15:28] Granting a solo session to a player. Justin and Sean
disagree on this.
[16:33] Use the Living
technique and have the other players take the roles of
NPCs in the character’s spotlight scene. This can also work well
with simmering scenes.
[17:52] What about players stomping on each others fun?
[18:43] Create a cliff hanger moment. Pause the game and ask the
offending player how they see this playing out? What direction do
they think this will take their character in.
[19:40] Ask the potential “victim” how they feel about this.
[20:22] Set stakes for the conflict. Stakes have to be agreed on by
both characters. This allows both players to know what worst case
scenario and how the character relationship might change.
[21:29] Feedback. Let us know how if this is come up in your games.
How has your group dealt with it?
Son’s of Kryos
Fear the Boot
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