Thursday, February 4, 2010

More thoughtso f Ascension

One of the things that I try to keep in mind when I'm reading a book, is that even if there are some great ideas and it reads solid, it may not be appreciated if incorporated into the game.
For example, Vin, is certain of a particular course of action she must take. Her scholar friends are also convinced of it. She must not take the power of the Well of Ascension for herself.
Turns out that was a lie and that she winds up releasing something that leads us into the next book.
Works well for a book. The hero must go to some levels of redemption.
In a role playing game? It might not work quite as well because as far as I can tell, the characters all put in time with their specialties and were essentially flat out lied to by the Game Master.
Don't get me wrong. I have no problem giving players enough rope to hang themselves with, but if you're going to let players have specilties and have them go through various trials and tribulations and lie to them anyway to have them set up the next episode of the campaign, it's a railraod and it's probably close to the Game Master wanting to write fiction as opposed to Game Mastering.
In addition, Vin, who I've described before as being very much a player character, initially has such a massive distrust of her kandra servant due to past issues, that she doesn't follow her questioning nature at first which smacks of not using every tool at her disposal. She eventually does start following those lines and it works out that her ally, the kandara, a race of near dopplengangers, will simply not answer some questions about their culture thanks to their own lore encoded in 'the Contract'.
It's okay if the players want to know about each and everything in the world, but that doesn't mean that every Non-Player Character is there to just spill out the history of their people. First off, many people, especially in a dark ages style setting, are ignorant of the real past of their people. Most don't leave the small towns they grew up on. It's one of the reasons they often welcome outsiders to gather news of the outside world, even as they may be insular themselves.
When looking for inspiration, remember that it's a group game and don't try to force the players down one path if they're not interested in it. On the other hand, don't be afraid of leaving some red herrings out there. There's nothing like providing just enough rope...