View Full Version : Changing perspective

2019-05-17, 06:56 AM
Hi Playground,

I guess my problem isn't necesarilly an PnP RP problem, but it affects me when im GMing the most (I think) and thought you could have similiar experiences and perhaps can help me.

I have a very straight GM style, I confront my players with a problem (like darkness) and most of the time they find a solution (we light a torch.) The problem in my mind is solved they can see (just a few meters, but I handle that as full visibility, the far the light source shines, I think I put that at like 10 meters or something.)

But my players wanted to give themselves a debuff, because let's face it, torchlight is not a really good light source, it is irregular, you cant see that well, etc. etc. I just wanted to go on with the game, but as I said, my players insisted that they should be further limited, because of the bad light source.

I can understand why they wanted that, and I see that it's reasonable but I can't take that as a standalone problem, there are a lot of things I see as solved, when in the game, they should be more partially solved or shouldn't work at all. (Another time I threw them in a snowstorm, a very limiting factor, that I completely discouraged after they threw up some improvised shelter with some big Stones and a carriage.)

How can I make myself think more critical? Can I even do that? Or did you found a way to wrap your way of thinking into giving everyone at the table a better experience?

2019-05-17, 09:33 AM
Me, I wouldn't worry too much about it - just listen to your players.

When they want to experience the bad lighting, or the cold of an imperfect shelter, it seems that they're happy to tell you. Acknowledge what they're saying, and include it in your descriptions of their character's experience - but if you want to avoid any mechanical consequences, then just don't apply any.

So you might say, "The torch illuminates the room, you can see."
Your players respond, "Torchlight isn't very good though, it must still be kind of dark?"
And you answer, "Yes, the torchlight flickers and casts wavering shadows, but it's better than the total darkness..." - and you then carry on with treating it as if they can see fine, but describe it to fit into the experience they imagine their characters are having. Or you can decide to apply some small penalty to their actions because the light is bad if you choose.

Similarly, you tell them, "You make your shelter out of an upturned cart between two big stones. You are out of the bad weather."
And your players respond, "But the shelter isn't perfect! We must still be cold."
So you say, "Yes, but you're sheltered from the worst of it. Despite the cold out there, the strong wind doesn't get into your improvised shelter, and you're starting to warm up a little." Again, you don't have to apply penalties for the cold if you don't want to, but you can still describe the world how they're expecting.

I hope that helps.

2019-05-17, 10:16 AM
Consider no problem fully "solved", except by the most excessive, most powerful solution possible.

Mundane darkness in your way? Let's just give everyone in the party Darkvision.

Snow storm on a mountain pass? Well, let's just change the weather.

Figure out what is the best possible solution and then scale down the rewards. This way, players are incentivized to spend resources to solve problems, but they're still rewarded when using cheap and easy solutions. If every dark hallway was easily solved with a torch, why would they ever need to learn to cast a lDarkvision spell? If a player DOES learn that spell, how are they supposed to use it?

Come up with counters to the cheap solutions. Why would a torch be a bad solution compared to Darkvision? Stealth is a major factor, as is range. The enemies will see you much sooner than you'll see them.

It doesn't always have to be a debuff, it could simply be a negative consequence for taking the easy way out. Perhaps enemies are patrolling the area, using Darkvision, to ambush a group of light-bearing heroes.

2019-05-18, 01:16 PM
This is as simple as you might want to play another game, or even just another version or edition of a game. You should be able to find one with just the right rules.

Maybe you will find a good game with ''light units per foot" or something with five pages all about light and darkness.

2019-05-20, 03:18 AM
Thanks a lot for the suggestions.

We played this sunday again and although it was a pretty minor thing (no one could really understand the local language, they just had some points in that particular language skill, no one enough to even hold a basic conversation.) I just sprinkled some words in they could understand, the rest of the talking wasn't understood.

I felt like this was a step in the right direction and even if they're wasn't a really similiar situation I wanted to thank you for your suggestions.