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GM Best Practices:
• only call for rolls when there's a non-trivial risk of meaningful failure[and] • use die rolls for inspiration (or to lend legitimacy to a direction you already favored)
"Only call for rolls when there's a non-trivial risk of meaningful failure" doesn't seem to capture the full breadth of rollable situations. What about pacing? What about fishing? What about ritual/signaling? Maybe, "Only call for a roll when something exciting and unexpected might happen." (Which is to say, only roll when a 1 or 20 won't make you go "...the heck do I do with this?" and stall out.)
What is the difference between 'spicy roll' and 'princless play' from the player's perspective? How can they work together or why not?
I hate the term "princess play" for this playstyle as much as trad gamers apparently hate the term "toy" for that playstyle. (And there's a good, non-insulting reason behind "toy"!)Maybe "group solo play"? Like, you're playing with a group, but the solo relationship between a player and their character is very prominent?guess this should be another thread...
@Silmenume re: "set in stone" and takebacks, I think my word choice was confusing. By "the fictional world" I meant "the particulars of the characters' immediate environment, which informs their decisions".As long as the players are bothering to attempt deductions (rather than just assuming, as you clarified), and the GM is responsive to their queries, then I'm reasonably confident that Big Problem errors will be rare.
The Big Problem error I was asking about was more like when a player decides to leap a chasm because they failed to first ascertain that it was too wide to leap. If there are no takebacks, then your character commits a nonsensical action and the fiction-in-the-moment is broken.
I think you need to be both very assertive and pressing but also empathetic to succesfully create these rollercoster experiences for your players.
Jay,That's really interesting, but I'm not sure I follow the details.Can you give some examples of what it might look like when a player does this well, compared to another example where a player does this poorly?Sometimes an illustration is much easier than a complex explanation.
Thanks, Jay!Real examples from the actual game are usually best for this kind of thing. It doesn't need to be terribly detailed or accurate, though - just identifying the meaningful phrase of dialogue or particular exchange that made it work is enough for illustration!
What do you think would have happened if he had rolled poorly? Would you still remember it as a good example of proper play?
Also, is announcing your action quickly and without hesitation considered a virtue at your table? Is that part of being a good player?
If he (as the player) had hesitated, would his character (the elf) been more likely to get fried by lightning?
Finally, examples of seasoned players failing may be difficult to think of, but examples of the players who "didn't work out" might be easier and just as instructive. Perhaps you can think of a few of those?
In spicy play, we NEVER roll secretly, and there's no target number to lie about (except for in rare cases where the target number is extremely explicit—"Don't roll a 3 or less"). You can't fudge; there is nothing to fudge. If the GM gives narration that clearly doesn't fit with the outcome of a roll, she loses trust and authority.Spice is fudge-proof.That's not to say there aren't a ton of other classically illusionist GM-force techniques that spicy play supports extremely well, though. In particular, "roll until you succeed/fail," fishing (holding a desired result up your sleeve until you see a die roll that justifies inserting it into the narrative), and all roads leading to Rome (always nudging things back towards the same ultimate destination, regardless of the journey).
However, looking at cases where things went *wrong* is a much better way to really understand the processes of the game: how things actually work. That's when the "guts" of the process are laid bare to examination, so to speak. I hope you can think of one or two!
(1) We've had problems with new players just not being able to handle the apparent openness (lack of deterministic mechanics which give cues as to what the player is supposed to be doing in game) and flail to the point of being utterly ineffective. (2) We've had players come in with the idea that they are effectively immortal because of previous game experiences with their "adventuring parties" and the "DM's prefab story." That never ended well. (3) We've had players freeze up/shut down down due to the overwhelming pressures of the game (FREX - the player we thought might have been heading into stroke territory). (4) We've had players who just didn't grok to the "rules" of the world and just kept dying. (5) We've had players who just didn't understand the "themes" of the world and that created all sorts of disharmony.(6) There's been lots of times where we as players failed to deduce events properly and came to erroneous conclusions about the "big picture". IOW abductive failures.If you could give me an example of what you think might constitute a breakdown or failure of this mode of play that might help.