Monday, June 23, 2014
Epiphanies in Game Play
It's important for Game Masters of every stripe to realise that not only will players sometimes be dense, requiring a great multitude of clues to point them in the right direction, but also that sometimes they will suddenly tumble to the answer. They may do this with astounding quickness, taking a few disparate details and joining them together, either because they're genre savvy to a few general details or because of a sudden leap of logic that just fits the pieces better than any other current alternative. Either way, it's important not to take their realisation away from them because that breathless moment when an epiphany strikes you is a golden opportunity that players very often remember. If you steal it away from them, negating it using GM fiat, then it becomes quite disappointing and the moment will instead be remembered as "That time I was almost awesome but then the GM blocked my moment." Now while a certain amount of genre blindness can be expected and the player shouldn't use out of character knowledge to help them (such as suddenly declaring the tome should be burnt or the artefact shattered when they know nothing of their sanity draining effects in-game), other moments of genre savviness should be respected. After all, not every genre detail is illogical. In crime fiction as in reality, the murderer is likely to be known to the victim and copycats are a distinct possibility. If the players are in the middle of a serial killer investigation and thus picks up a few clues on one death that doesn't quite match the others, they have every right to start knocking down the husbands' door demanding answers. Sure, your player may have relief on a little bit of genre savviness to figure it out but they're not trained police investigators so they need every edge they can get.