Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Glory of Minions

The Dungeons and Dragons game engine has gone through many changes. In early editions of the game, fighters didn't have a lot going for them in terms of special abilities as they advanced in levels.
One interesting option though, was to gain as many attacks against lower level enemies as the character had levels.
This was meant to represent them being able to cut through vast hordes of goblins, orcs, hobgoblins and other vermin.
In 4e, they've borrowed the minion mechanic. A minion is an entity that requires a single hit that inflicts damage to kill.
Why mention this background of game mechanics and Berserk?
Here, Guts and Caska are hunted down by a minor NPC villian whose brought with him one hundred mercenaries to capture or kill these two who've given him such trouble.
Here is an allowance of "letting the players be cool." Guts, heavily injured and a little weary at the end of it all, earns the title, "hundred man slayer" at this point. It's a title and accomplishment that follows him through the series as people recognize him based on that feat. It's a title that showcases Guts ability as a warrior with few equals.
When possible, throw the players some opportunities to showcase their cool. Players are there to enjoy the game and by allowing them the chance to shine, they'll grow to appreciate the game and to enjoy looking for opportunities to do so again.
In terms of things outside of bloody slaughter though, there are other things that one could take heart from. For example, Caska informs Guts of her own past and motivations. Providng players with world views from Non-Player Characters that they trust, allows them to get different viewpoints of how the world actual works. Allowing characters to see how others preceive the world about them at no risk or harm and injury but through comrades, allows them the opportunity to think about their own role in the setting. Players may not always design their characters with a lot of background and details and indeed, may not have long term goals and plans for their characters and merely enjoy the game.
But letting the players know what motivates the NPCs of the game and what opportunities exist in the setting gives them, at the very least, things to think of for future sessions when they may not be in a dungeon setting.