Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Tactician

When people think of the stereotypical players as ignoring the primary goals and charging headlong into danger, they’re not thinking of Tacticians. These are your more resource-oriented players and they tend to remember what works, what doesn’t, and generally have a bit more in the way of grand schemes. If you’ve ever complained that one of your players, or co-players, keeps wrestling control of the story to point it towards the resolution of some grand scheme, you may have a Tactician on your hands.

Now then, what exactly is a Tactician?

Tacticians are the sort of players who are very goal-focused. They decide what they want and they plot a course to get there. Very often they see NPCs (and even other PCs) as pawns in their machinations, for good or ill. Not surprisingly, considering their name, but they enjoy playing a more tactical game. They may enjoy miniatures for easy visualization or may instead pay attention to your verbal descriptions, taking advantage of cover and using improvised weaponry where appropriate.

They enjoy taking risks but generally only if there is some kind of reward. They often have grand schemes that would take multiple sessions to pull off and are dead certain that they can deliver, if only they could find the right methods or – more often – tools. They make really good leaders, though, as they can apply a certain level of focus and ingenuity that a team really need in order to rise to the challenge. However, they can also change the nature of the game as new goals suggest themselves and new plans bud in their minds.

You might prefer the Tactician role if your preferred characters were…

  • The sort who liked to sit down and lay out a plan of attack.

  • Geared towards Allies and Retainers (or the Leadership feat in D&D).

  • Often the person who took charge and directed the other PCs.

  • Very good at seeing the bigger picture.

  • Readily frustrated by other player’s either rushing off.

  • Or frustrated by other player’s retaining a too-small focus on goals separate from your own.

  • Tend to remember, and even list out, your major goals.

  • Try to think up ways to utilize your assets in new and interesting ways.

  • Always remember a favor.

  • Tend to accumulate favors.

  • Hated when other people ignored their favors.

  • Either had a lot of status, or enjoyed gaining it.

  • Had disdain for those who cared for personality more than status.

  • Unless, of course, they didn’t earn their status and weren’t worthwhile or truly powerful people.

  • Were frustrated when doors were closed to you just because you weren’t of the right class / race / caste.

They prefer STs who are:

  • Interesting in running a tactical fight.

  • Capable of adapting the campaign in line with PC’s goals.

  • Happy to implement status in the game.

  • Willing to run multiple NPCs that can become resources for the PC.

  • Interested in games where PCs have long-range plans.

  • Happy to allow the PC to make lasting effects to the world around them – whether locally, nationally, or globally.Capable of letting the PC shine as a leader.

  • Willing to throw in some tactical missions with complex, or numerous, objectives.

  • Happy to allow the PCs to develop their own way of solving the problems.

  • Keen to keep the game off pre-set tracks.

  • All about creating complex situation with in-depth NPC interactions.

  • Fans of long-running campaigns that give the PCs the chance to keep building on what came before.

  • Able to create interesting enemies and intelligent villains.

  • Fans of status systems, retainers, and followers, that can be used as tools.

Fictional characters that fit the type:

Kaiser Soza (The Usual Suspects)

Videogames that support the type:

The Sims (and other Sim games)
Dead Rising (at least the rescuing people to stockpile survivors angle)

Can you think of any other games or characters? Ever ran for a Tactician before? Or are you one yourself?

You can find the links to all of the five playing styles over here.

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