Does the world exist for the PCs? - Page 2
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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by HJFudge View Post
    Hence, I build in points of tension and potential conflict as well as Other Actors with Agendas that will be able to either support or oppose various things the PCs might wish to do.
    My perspective is similar. The worlds to be built with a high degree of potential for PCs to get involved, whether that's working their way into the criminal underworld of the city, or poaching aurumvorax for their golden pelts. But I try not to design things for the PCs. I try, and am not always successful, to decide where the dragon's lair is based on where it *should be* not where it is level appropriate (just as an example).

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris-77 View Post
    Well, the world, full stop, is different from a narrative told in that world. The world, lets call it the setting, does not exist for the PCs (I can spell solipsism). However, the setting does exist to service the narrative, which I'll call the game. The game does indeed exist for the PCs (that's why we play). The difference between the setting and the game is an important one.
    Perhaps another way of putting this: the world does exist for the players, it does not exist for their characters.
    Last edited by Charlaquin; Friday, 31st May, 2019 at 09:37 PM.
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  3. #13
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    In between. The PCs and events going on around them are the "in focus" part of the world. Everything outside that bright focus is blurry and dim, but it does exist; I keep track of large events going on and occasionally drop references to them in the campaign.
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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
    A couple threads active right now got me wondering about this: in your opinion, does the world and its doings exist primarily for the benefit of the PCs, as opposed to it existing and going on despite (or even in spite of!) the PCs?
    The world exists for the players, in the sense that I generally only bother developing the world in great detail if it pertains to something the players are going to interact with. But, the world is indifferent to the PC's. As far as the world is concerned, the PC's are nothing special, or at least nothing more special than a group of young but prodigiously talented individuals with amazing aptitude and potential for whom stories seem to spring up wherever they go.

    I am probably not being as clear as I'd like, so I will use an example: when you create a settlement, do you develop it with the PCs in mind (including making sure there's a shop for adventuring equipment, and some NPCs with adventure inspiring plot hooks) or do you develop it independent of the PCs with an eye toward whatever definition of realism or verisimilitude works for your world?
    So, if I develop a settlement I do it primarily with an eye toward realism or verisimilitude. So for example, no shops for adventuring equipment unless the town is big enough to plausibly support a weaponsmith, armorer, apothecary, alchemist, hedge wizard, and so forth.

    However, I do at the same time try to fill the world with plot hooks and adventure. Whether this has an eye toward the PC's or not, I couldn't really say, because if I expanded out the world it would always have these opportunities for adventure, intrigue, and derring-do. So, I guess you could say it's a whole world of adventure. Whether that's plausible I don't know, but I try to at least make it somewhat believable.
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  5. #15
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    In the words of Star-Lord, "Bit of both."

    The world exists, in the sense that yes, there are things going on behind the scenes and gears are turning and wheels are moving and levers are being pulled.

    BUT

    Those things move in "slow motion" when the players aren't around/involved. In part because I have no interest in tracking them, and in part because what's the point of creating an interesting situation, only to have it resolve when noone is looking and the players aren't involved?

    The players are like catalysts. Without them, life goes on as usual, politics moves slowly, things fail to get done so that in part, when the players arrive, there will be things to do, livestyles to upset, issues to become embroiled in. The players accelerate and amplify anything they're involved with, in part because the area is reacting to the sudden influence of new elements, and in part because that just seems to be the nature of players.

  6. #16
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    At my table, The world exists for the players. Because it is their sandbox, it must be a space in which they can play, explore, create, and destroy.

    That doesnt mean things are static but for player involvement. But it does mean that the majority of my design focuses on things in their proximity more than things outside that area.

    This holds true even for established, well-trod settings. I may draw extensively from existing material, but Im using the world to create and deliver adventure content to the players (who are a participating audience). That includes all the toys a sandbox ought to have: assets, resources, obstacles, locations, goals, NPCs, hirelings, allies, and villains.

    By necessity, some things in the sandbox need to be pre-arranged before the players get in there. And that means some things will be set up with them specifically in mind for that session, and some plans might be sketched out for later sessions. Always, I keep the players in mind.

    If I were playing solo, I might let everything run its own course and just see how things play out. With my groups at my table, this activity exists for us to play with, so it gosh darn well better account for that.
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  7. #17
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    Yes and no.

  8. #18
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    What about the little stuff? Like, you have previously established an ancient hero who was buried with his famed weapon. The players' adventures bring them to the tomb. Do you make sure the famed weapon is one your party can use, even if for whatever reason your players have chosen are or esoteric weapons? And if so does that player choice impact the historical context of the hero?

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
    What about the little stuff? Like, you have previously established an ancient hero who was buried with his famed weapon. The players' adventures bring them to the tomb. Do you make sure the famed weapon is one your party can use, even if for whatever reason your players have chosen are or esoteric weapons? And if so does that player choice impact the historical context of the hero?
    I try to avoid including things that would lead my players to petty graverobbing. If there's a famous hero with a famous weapon, it's likely the players are going to need to go on an epic quest to find it....and understand that legends are often blown out of proportion, or twisted in ways they don't realize. That doesn't mean they won't find a magic sword, but it might not be the kind of magic they wanted.

    Also: I have a little note next to all my truly legendary magical weapons: they alter form to fit a worthy wielder. Which is in part why an ancient weapon might get "lost" only for some completely unrelated guy to show up later with a different magical weapon. It's one reason there are so few legendary weapons in the world.

    Excalibur and the sword wielded by Samurai Jack may in fact be the same weapon, traversing time and space to be where and when it is needed.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlaquin View Post
    Perhaps another way of putting this: the world does exist for the players, it does not exist for their characters.
    Well, yeah. "For the PCs" is a very different thing from "From the players". Consensus is great.

    To pick up a thread from upstream about tailoring events for characters, like whether or not one of them can use that magic sword. I think the answer for a good GM, barring pressing reasons to do it differently, would be to make sure a party member could use that sword. If the magic sword of Sir Stabbypants is the big carrot, it's a huge letdown of no one can actually use the thing. That said, if the whole idea is that the PCs are supposed to give that sword to someone else then as DM I have good reasons to maybe wire the thing so it can't be used by the PCs. I'm not going to tailor every bit of treasure to the party, that's kind silly IMO, but I'll do it up to a point.

    The tailoring question is really one best answered by individual DMs. They know what kind of game they are interested in running, and they know the players at the table. That's where those decisions happen IMO, not in a vacuum talking about the game in general. I don't think that one way is better than another in any kind of absolute sense.

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