Agency, Fiat, and Randomness in Role Playing Games

The Black Campbell

While I was putting together my review on Things Don’t Go Smooth — the new(ish) sourcebook for the Firefly RPG, I found myself starting to think about elements of game design over the years, and how they sought to achieve fairness, or player agency, or certain narrative focus. A bit of history —

When RPGs first evolved out of war games, there wasn’t much focus on stats and what they meant outside of how many spells you could have, how hard you hit in combat. The players might be stupid or super-intelligent, but ultimately, they knew what you did, and the player had to figure out the problems that were presented to them, and the dungeon master had a definite antagonistic role — both as the NPCs and creatures you encountered, but also in their design of the adventures you took on (which usually wound up with the party exploring high-improbable…

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About Jack

BRIEF BIO: Jack Gunter is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and songs. He is the co-owner of Open Door Communications, a copywriter, an inventor, and a former broker and private investigator. He is a naturalist and an amateur scientist and cryptologist. He likes to compose music and to design and play games and puzzles of all types. He homeschooled his children. He lives in the Upstate of South Carolina with his beautiful wife, talented two daughters, his old friend and Great Dane Sam, and his three Viking Cats.

Posted on December 27, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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