10 thoughts on “FRIGHT CHECKS!!

  • December 13, 2005 at 6:46 pm

    Is the “jungle fever” like “river blindness”?

  • December 13, 2005 at 9:08 pm

    I don’t recall. I do recall that river blindness was an attempt to force some character growth and change on an unwilling player, though! Something else I wanted – player characters who were marked by their experiences in profound ways – that I didn’t know how to make happen. I do now. I’m interested though in why this has been a persistent point of mockery – what do you see as my folly in suggesting that fate for that character? Is it somehow tied to ownership of the character? Did that feel like an unwarranted attack on your ability to control the character? I remember feeling like I had crossed a line but was puzzled at the time about exactly what that line was.

  • December 14, 2005 at 9:14 am

    I was thinking about this all night. I think it was a combined social contract and creative agenda issue. I’m guessing you didn’t think it was appropriate for me to arbitrarily change your character without some challenge/opportunity to test him (social contract) and I was a frustrated narrativist running a drifty sim game (creative agenda).

  • December 14, 2005 at 9:43 am

    (takes this thread, runs it through babelfish)

    uh… (scratches his head) Hmm.

    (pulls out a Universal Translator, runs the thread through Jaws and listens to the results)

    Ahh, yes. I think you’ve got it. You fucked with his character without letting him roll any dice. That’s bound to rankle a player.

  • December 14, 2005 at 10:09 am

    Why the sarcasm? I think it’s worthwhile to think about things like this.

    Your reductionist response seems to suggest that the next time I, as GM, want an Interesting Thing to happen I should just set the target number impossibly high and let the player roll. Or require a repeating series of tests until the player fails. There are fancy words to describe these standard GM techniques too (illusionism and force, IIRC). I think these techniques are lame, and even thought they were lame before I had names for them.

    I maintain that the whole river blindness debacle happened because Patrick and I were playing different games, so to speak. I was all “I’ll give your character something interesting to work with” and Patrick was all “you can’t just hand me a fucking handicap, dude”. That’s a clash of social contract. I was all “this will be awesome for the overall story” and Patrick was all “but it fucks over my PC”. That’s a clash of creative agenda. It’s not like I was right – I wasn’t. We just were not on the same page, and the result was memorable (obviously) and bad.

  • December 14, 2005 at 10:35 am

    The sarcasm was my response to your funny choice of language- if you were addressing your question to Patrick, why couch it in Forge-speak?

    To elaborate on my response, I don’t think this is that complicated. You wanted an “Interesting Thing” to happen in the story, and it involved the players’ character. Beyond all the other techniques you mentioned (setting impossible odds, etc.) for making this happen, there’s one you neglected, that would have done the job- asking the player.

    If you’ll recall, you got the same reaction from me when you threw my character into Sing-Sing (effectively taking him out of the game, and forcing me to make a new character).

  • December 14, 2005 at 10:43 am

    For what it’s worth, these are just a few egregious examples of railroading out of years of great weekly games. We remember them mostly because they stand out, and they’re kinda funny, but you really shouldn’t let it bother you. You’ve always been much better at running games than you give yourself credit for.

  • December 14, 2005 at 10:45 am

    Right, absolutely, the solution to this sort of problem is to empower the player. Unfortunately the game we were playing didn’t support that option mechanically, so I was a bit out at sea.

  • December 14, 2005 at 11:03 am

    Most of that game wasn’t supported mechanically, if I recall. We were playing a very loose interpretation of Fudge, and changing the rules as we went along. Nonetheless, I think open discussion between GMs and players is always the first option.

  • December 14, 2005 at 11:19 am

    Anyway, system matters. Don’t try to say otherwise; I’ve seen the light! How about a game where players are eager to get their characters fucked up, because it simultaneously makes them more interesting to play and more potent in resolving conflicts? Wouldn’t *that* be cool!

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