GM Partiality. To be, or not to be...

payn

Legend
I was going to ask how you arrived at the scientist's lead being was what it was. And how the cops arrival being was what it was.
The scientist had a sound proof secure lab. Some stuff happened and she kinda went mad. She fled from the lab and was randomly attacking folks in her path. Like a shove, not an actual attack, but still really out of the ordinary for this station. The head scientist of the station clued the Travellers in before security (they dont like the megacorp and are trying to keep their work hush hush). The travellers tried to chase her down, but took a few wrong turns and she managed to steal a trader. At this point the security was aware something was happening and on high alert. This gave the scientist a head start on making for the jump point. Even with her head start, the Travellers ship was faster and had long range weaponry. They attacked to stop her, and that's when the local SDBs (security) made way to see what the fight was all about.

Basically, the scientist was one step ahead of the Travellers, who were one step ahead of the megacorp security.
 

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DrunkonDuty

he/him
Cool.

There's not much you could have done except skip the whole on-station scene and just let the Travellers know the scientist had already escaped in a ship. But if you'd done that you'd have missed out on the build up/scene setting and the chase. And it sounds like it was a good chase and everyone had fun.

Sometimes the game has it's own momentum. And honestly, I think those are the best moments in the game.
 


aramis erak

Legend
I wouldn't call it impartiality. I call it having no expectations. You play to find out what happens, and respect the results of the dice when they are brought out. It's when you decide that she should get away, or she should get captured, and start bending things to go that direction that you're getting into trouble.
If one decides she should get away, one shouldn't bend the dice, one should simply not bother with the dice.
Putting the players in a position to have to make consequential, life-or-death decisions never feels like the wrong choice to me. That's where the fun is!
As long as the choice has meaning, yeah. If they don't have any clue which is which... then the choice is irrelevant.

Which also leads to the fundamental issue of partiality... does the story stand well for them to face a trial? Or at least a board of Inquiry? Admiralty courts are often kangaroo courts, but equally as often, fair investigations, and the rest of the time, some bureaucratic hellscape between those...

I don't feel GMs need to be totally impartial on players vs NPCs, but do on player by player partiality. The coroner's inquest and the admiralty court could be a source of a lot of fun, even if the GM has already decided the court will, in the end, let them off the hook.
 


aramis erak

Legend
The idea is to not decide that beforehand at all.Play to find out what happens. Don't plan events or have a plot. Let the players generate story through their actions.
THere are many ways to play to find out - not all have an (IMO Unhealthy) fixation on everything being subject to players and/or dice.
Especially when emulating certain genera.
 

dragoner

solisrpg.com
The idea is to not decide that beforehand at all.Play to find out what happens. Don't plan events or have a plot. Let the players generate story through their actions.
In the engineering world we say "a failure to plan, is a plan for failure" - generally it is good to have a framework to build the game on.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I think you made the right call. I think the problem you have is the characters made a rather less than heroic choice because they don't seem to have thought through their actions very far and then when they got stuck, they made a "good of the many, and I'm one of the many" call to murder someone.

I always try to be the GM I would want to have as a player. I can tell when a GM fudges hard because his stories always work out well. As soon as I realize the campaign is all illusionism, I'm out because all the fun of it drains away if I realize I'm not empowered to make any consequential choice. I need those moments of failure that are downers to know that the game is real. If you don't have them, your running a fake game and just pretending to give the players agency.

So, move on. Failure happens in the real world and it happens in real games as well. Fail forward if you can, but if you can't life is like that sometimes.
 

RivetGeekWil

Lead developer Tribes in the Dark
In the engineering world we say "a failure to plan, is a plan for failure" - generally it is good to have a framework to build the game on.
And just like in engineering, most of that planning is for the case of failure. And therefore isn't actually something people see. For an RPG, that's silly. I'm not going to plan for every contingency in a game the way I would a SQL Server high availability/disaster recovery architecture.

But even then, if you plan a lot for your games, good on you. I don't plan for specific events to happen no matter what.
 
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dragoner

solisrpg.com
And just like in engineering, most of that planning is for the case of failure. And therefore isn't actually something people see. For an RPG, that's silly. I'm not going to plan for every contingency in a game the way I would a SQL Server high availability/disaster recovery architecture.

But even then, if you plan a lot for your games, good on you. Don't plan for specific events to happen no matter what.
In ME we look at the frame of reference, being a hard science, physics oriented. Everything is a specific event, while it is impossible to plan for it all, like Chess, one looks at specific outcomes. I find too much improv lacks depth, and indeed is more work than simple planning.
 

RivetGeekWil

Lead developer Tribes in the Dark
THere are many ways to play to find out - not all have an (IMO Unhealthy) fixation on everything being subject to players and/or dice.
Especially when emulating certain genera.

It's not about having everything decided by the players or the dice, it's the principle that the GM doesn't know what will happen the same as the players because the GM is a player too. Once the GM has decided that an event will happen regardless of how the game plays out, player agency or the dice don't matter anymore. When I'm running a game I may think about a few contingencies based on a situation. If it's a game where I need to, I might throw together some stats or consider how it might go down mechanically. But I won't ever decide that this one thing has to happen no matter what. The players one shot my BBEG? They likely worked for that outcome beforehand because of the games I play and how I run them. I'm not going to decide that fight should take x rounds. Similarly, I'm not going to fudge rolls because the BBEG is winning. I run games where the players have options to decide how much they want to put on the line or sacrifice to win when things get tough.
 

amethal

Adventurer
I agree with pretty much everyone else in that I think you made the right decision.

My only query is whether the Travellers were sufficiently aware of the likely consequences if they did stop the ship in-system, so they could at least consider temporarily letting it get away so they could deal with it in more private surroundings.

Even then, I'm not sure if they could have taken that chance - I don't know a lot about Traveller, but following a ship that has "Jumped" is presumably not that easy?
 

payn

Legend
I agree with pretty much everyone else in that I think you made the right decision.

My only query is whether the Travellers were sufficiently aware of the likely consequences if they did stop the ship in-system, so they could at least consider temporarily letting it get away so they could deal with it in more private surroundings.
Yes, this was my biggest concern. It was mentioned several times, and the Travellers knew to stay under the radar, but during the chase it didnt really come up until the ship was disabled.
Even then, I'm not sure if they could have taken that chance - I don't know a lot about Traveller, but following a ship that has "Jumped" is presumably not that easy?
Right. There were at least 5 different systems to jump to. Thats unusually high in Traveller but thats where this story took place. Their choice then would be jump and take a risk at finding her, or instead heading for whatever her likely final destination would be and waiting.
 

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