Tuesday, August 13, 2013
"15. I don’t want to hear about my destiny. My character is disposable and better not figure into your meta plot, otherwise I’ll know I live and challenges will be worthless..."
I picked this off of Barking Alien's commentary on someone else's seemingly endless "tips" for being a DM. I admit that my eyes were glazed up after twenty or so, there is a reason that Dave Letterman stick to top ten lists.
Yet this one irked me. Yes, that is right a deep-down irking.
Lately I've been exploring about the blogospehere, something I don't really bother that much with when I have an active game. I see a lot of the same advice given out, often as if nobody else has ever given it out. Most of the time much better than I would ever give it out. Pretty much a good old regurgitation of the same Dragon articles I and most likely you read back before TSR started moving product, rather than encouraging DIY.
Yet this just pisses me off. As I've rambled about other times. I like long narratives. I don't think I've ever hit the end of a story line before abandoning the campaign. I always have a sequel or continuation in mind. Quite often it's a doomsday device or some apocalypse. Some of which I file away for later use, such as that vampire scenario which I never seem to have quite got into play and am now scared to execute as someone is bound to accuse me of catering to pop culture. Others I reuse, such as the idea of a Tontine brotherhood, where the death of each member strengthens the others, which I think I lifted from Lloyd Alexander. Nobody has ever gotten down to the guy who is as strong as five hundred men.
Quite often the character fails such big narratives spectacularly. I once tried to run a scenario with Ragnarok, but they failed and then missed the whole entire schedule of events, largely due to a magical device I made which allowed them to travel a year into the future, which in typical fashion went wrong, as one guy kept using it an absurd number of times, forcing everyone else to catch up. So they come back to Midgard and the place is a wreck. Sometimes they succeed, in which case there is always some sort of Son of Ragnarok on the horizon etc...
Maybe I should blame Lloyd Alexander as his under-read series made an impact on me.
This series, most likely modeled on T.H. White's Once and Future King along with the Welsh mythology (we are but dwarves, standing on the shoulders of giants...) had a character who went from being a no-name pigboy to being High king. Which is really what all the best heroic myths are about. Without personal growth, you just get endless sequels. Not to slam Conan, I just prefer a longer story line.
So I like the prophecy of Great Things to come.
I think players like it as well. Sure it's fun to play the hard bitten mercenary, a sword for hire, but it's even more fun when you're the hard bitten mercenary who swoops in last minute and destroys the death star and then gets laid.
It isn't as if the blind seer, tarot reader, or even deity is always right. You never know if you have Cassandra or Mama Zoltan, who is just looking to scam you. Maybe the old wizard is balmy when he says you're the chosen one.
For that matte maybe you fail and the whole campaign turns into a post-apocalypse setting. The world burns. The Dark One is king. All is ashes and the wailing of women in your ears.
I don't have a problem with switching up mid-game and shifting from a universe of predestination, to one with free will, although I do draw a line at "it was all a dream."
Till the box is opened, the player is neither a king or a corpse.
(Happy birthday Erwin, one day late)