On Classic Problems

So we ran into our first issues with skill light, agency heavy play. Here are some quotes to give you an idea of some of the problems we encountered.

DM: "How big is the keg?"
Player: "How large does the keg need to be so that it will propel 25 vials of alchemist fire?"
DM: "You don't know. A vial is about 1 lb."

Player: ""Let's do the tripwire, with the alchemist's fire near the door. That will work, right?"
DM: "You don't know, I can't tell you ahead of time the success or failure of this plan."

Fundamentally Player-Agency Player-Skill (PAPS) play is conversationally focused. It is performed by asking questions, receiving information, and then making decisions about actions.

I have been running a relaxed game and environment, and that is important for fun. My game has serious consequences and the players are very responsible for the actions that take place within it. Yet still poor play persists. This is not a condemnation of the players -- poor play is missed communication, frustration over differing worldviews without an objective rule source, and lost focus.

I have elaborated at length over what steps the DM should do to encourage this type of play.

What I have neglected to do is discuss what FRAMEWORK for the game the DM should enforce, and what responsibility the players have to slay the Quantum Ogre.

For in any PAPS game fundamentally about conversational interaction certainly must involve the behaviors of more than one person. Unsurprisingly, some of the most effective advice regarding these problems has been in our source material all along.

A FRAMEWORK must be constructed during play. A relaxed interchange between planning, information gathering, and action-taking will lead to frustration. The existence of a FRAMEWORK need not be hostile to the environment of play.

More Tomorrow.

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