Suspense in RPGs - Page 8
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  1. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkbard View Post
    So foreshadowing, essentially. But then doesn't this run up against the problem of railroading? Telegraphing too far in advance presupposes certain PC actions in response to the stimuli.
    That assumes you're dead set on using later that which you're foreshadowing now.

    Foreshadowing is (close to) just another way of setting a plot/adventure hook. You can give hints and glimpses of all kinds of things which may or may not be related to each other, some-all-none of which may ever become relevant in later play, depending on what the players/PCs choose to do.

    Put another way, just because the party find a still-warm murder victim in an alley and due to some movements in the shadows think the murderer might still be nearby watching them doesn't at all mean the party is going to get involved with that scenario.

  2. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caliburn101 View Post
    Likewise, if the players think they will always win, because you fudge it so that they do, then your game will not be as suspenseful as it could or in my opinion should be.
    Why do you have an opinion on what other people's games should be? Do you have opinions about what other people should have for lunch? Or what TV shows they should watch?

    This smacks of, "I now what's good for you better than you do." Which... you don't, generally speaking. You're not an authority, you don't generally know the people at the games of your audience. So, your assertion is pretty weak, rhetorically speaking.

    This is an age-old argument, and some of it is spilling over from another thread (qnd really, how about we leave it in that thread, please and thank you). Ultimately, the answer, "I find this is better, but you should choose what your players like best," is superior to, "I know what's better for your players than you do."

    IMHO, anyway.

  3. #73
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    I think it would be (more) fair to say that one of the risks of saving your players too often with fudging, is that it 'could' undermine the suspense in the game. If you always save your players, then they may not feel like their characters can die.

    But this all depends on how you fudge, how often you do it, and your players.

    I think we can learn a lesson or two from Game of Thrones in this respect. Put the fear of death into your audience early, and you will clearly establish the stakes for the rest of the story. Don't be afraid to kill off some beloved characters to make them afraid.

  4. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by Imaculata View Post
    I think we can learn a lesson or two from Game of Thrones in this respect. Put the fear of death into your audience early, and you will clearly establish the stakes for the rest of the story. Don't be afraid to kill off some beloved characters to make them afraid.
    I can give you another lesson worth learning from Game of Thrones - particularly from my own experience with the Song of Ice and Fire community - is that this "fear of death" regarding beloved characters can also trigger a different emotional reaction than suspense to cope with the constant threat of death: emotional detachment/divesting from characters and the story. If you are afraid for the characters, then one solution is to stop caring. This is the reaction I have seen from so many longtime readers and viewers. They have become increasingly jaded and their engagement with the respective media has become more akin to participatory autopilot.
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  5. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imaculata View Post
    I think we can learn a lesson or two from Game of Thrones in this respect. Put the fear of death into your audience early, and you will clearly establish the stakes for the rest of the story. Don't be afraid to kill off some beloved characters to make them afraid.
    And, 1st level D&D (most eds, anyway), does that as a matter of course...

    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    I can give you another lesson worth learning from Game of Thrones - particularly from my own experience with the Song of Ice and Fire community - is that this "fear of death" regarding beloved characters can also trigger a different emotional reaction than suspense to cope with the constant threat of death: emotional detachment/divesting from characters and the story. If you are afraid for the characters, then one solution is to stop caring.
    Sure, "Don't bother naming your PC until 5th level," for instance.

  6. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    Why do you have an opinion on what other people's games should be? Do you have opinions about what other people should have for lunch? Or what TV shows they should watch?
    Though I'm not the person you quoted to ask this, I'll answer anyway:

    Sure I do.

    I don't necessarily expect anyone to agree with my opinions, but I'm entitled to have them and to - within the bounds of reason and decency - express them.

    Without this ability to have and express opinions, there'd be nothing to discuss and this forum (among many, many others) would have much less reason to exist.

    Lan-"but this is only my opinion, of course"-efan
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  7. #77
    Fudging is a red herring in relation to Vincent Baker's remarks. The play of a RPG can establih that something is at stake in action resoution, and that the players care about that, without any need for GM fuding.

    I also think a focus on the risk of PC death is spmewhat misplaced. I do'nt think the threat of protagonist death is necessary to create suspense. And in RPGing, relying on that as the sole, or principal, means of creating suspense can tendsto be unsatisfying for the sorts of reasons @Tony Vargas and @Aldarc have given just upthread.
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  8. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    TSure I do.

    I don't necessarily expect anyone to agree with my opinions, but I'm entitled to have them and to - within the bounds of reason and decency - express them.

    Without this ability to have and express opinions, there'd be nothing to discuss and this forum (among many, many others) would have much less reason to exist.
    Please stop and consider the difference between the opinions, "I myself like X or Y, but not Z," and, "You should have X or Y, but not Z, because I like them."

    'Cause, this site is even more built on the idea that there isn't One True Way in gaming. And the latter is pretty strongly OneTrueWayism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    Why do you have an opinion on what other people's games should be? Do you have opinions about what other people should have for lunch? Or what TV shows they should watch?

    This smacks of, "I now what's good for you better than you do." Which... you don't, generally speaking. You're not an authority, you don't generally know the people at the games of your audience. So, your assertion is pretty weak, rhetorically speaking.

    This is an age-old argument, and some of it is spilling over from another thread (qnd really, how about we leave it in that thread, please and thank you). Ultimately, the answer, "I find this is better, but you should choose what your players like best," is superior to, "I know what's better for your players than you do."

    IMHO, anyway.
    Stories without risk are dull - they lack suspense. When was the last time you watched a movie, series or play where there was physical conflict and absolutely no risk of death?

    That's right - you didn't, because writers know it won't work. This is very, very long established truism - not an opinion, which if you knew anything about the history of storytelling, you wouldn't have gotten confused about.

    That's been the opinion of story-makers since at least the ancient Greek playwrights, and probably long before that.

    A GM in a campaign (and I did clearly make that distinction) who constantly fudges to keep PCs alive takes that risk away. Players are not stupid - they notice these things.

    I've been running games for 40 years. I run convention games on a regular basis, and I have successfully completed all the novel and script writing courses offered in the Groucho Club in Soho - London.

    I wouldn't use the word 'authority', especially as a backhanded put-down, but I would say that I have the experience to comment with clarity and insight. The word 'should' was offered quite clearly as an opinion after the equally stated caveat that games of other sorts are in no way invalid, just duller if they involve a risk of death that everyone knows is fake.

    Why not do some homework on what makes a good story - there is so much material online you cannot possibly miss it all.

    Everyone here is entitled to an opinion, especially when they back it up with some reasoning. I am not sure that telling anyone their opinion smacks of <<insert putdown here>> based on you opinion (which seems ignorant of the long-established best practices of conflict in storytelling) is a productive response.

    Let me say it again - stories with physical and violent conflict should have a risk of death or they lose suspense and are dull.

    If you really want to argue otherwise - then by all means do so - addressing the argument and not deploying your virtue-signalling spun ad hominem routine.

  10. #80
    Quote Originally Posted by Caliburn101 View Post
    Stories without risk are dull - they lack suspense. When was the last time you watched a movie, series or play where there was physical conflict and absolutely no risk of death?

    That's right - you didn't, because writers know it won't work. This is very, very long established truism - not an opinion, which if you knew anything about the history of storytelling, you wouldn't have gotten confused about.
    Ummm... there are a lot of movies, series, or plays that may feature fist fights, brawls, or other forms of physical conflict where there is no "risk of death" but simply in externalizing inner emotional conflict between characters. It may just be a mild-mannered person who finally throws a punch to show (1) they have "grown a spine" or (2) show how debased/desperate their situation has become that they have been pushed to this point (e.g., Jimmy Stuart in It's a Wonderful Life at the bank). Media with physical violence without the risk of death is probably even more common than media with the "risk of death." Consider that we had three Rocky movies of physical violence before "risk of death" really entered the picture with Apollo Creed.
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