Player Characters Doing The Dumb Things

Reynard

Legend
One of the interesting things that you see when you look at historical events is that humans are dumb. Like, really, really dumb. They make choices based on all kinds of reasons except actual reason and logic. I am currently reading "The Main Enemy" by Bearden and Risen -- a history of the end of the cold war spy games between the CIA and the KGB -- and even the ostensibly smartest operators in the world just do the dumbest things. Sometimes ideology gets in the way, or pride, or greed or just plain thick headedness.

This almost never happens in tabletop RPGs. I don't mean that Players don't ever make bad decisions or dumb choices. hat i mean is it is exceedingly rare to see a player have their character intentionally make a dumb choice. if the PCs are all CIA operatives, they are cool and collected and awesome 100% of the time. They never decide to run out for a quick cup of coffee because they are sure their mark is sleeping and then lose them. People do that sort of dumb thing in the real world all the time -- skilled people, important people, "heroes" even.

I think this is driven by the competence-porn that most modern adventure entertainment is. Heroes have to be infallible. if they do have flaws, they are tragic heroic flaws, not mundane failings. In general, this is fine, but it makes certain genres and styles of games hard to do. Espionage is just one example where players playing their characters more like actual people would enhance play, i think.

Do you find that PCs are too perfect? Do you think PCs with more failings make RPGs more interesting? Do you reject those notions and prefer competence and cool?
 

log in or register to remove this ad



HaroldTheHobbit

Adventurer
I run mostly semi-sandbox campaigns in the systems I GM, and all campaigns are basically fueled by player characters doing dumb things, drawing wrong conclusions and - most importantly - thinking they are smart and clever when doing stupid stuff. It's an improv GMs wet dream really, since the only thing I can be certain of is that they never will take the straight line between A and B.

And since I riff off their stupid shenanigans moving the campaign forward, they still often think they did the smart and clever thing, even if the consequences are dire from an outside perspective. So in a sense, one could say that I uphold the possibility for them to feel heroic, or rather competent depending on system.
 



Reynard

Legend
I run mostly semi-sandbox campaigns in the systems I GM, and all campaigns are basically fueled by player characters doing dumb things, drawing wrong conclusions and - most importantly - thinking they are smart and clever when doing stupid stuff. It's an improv GMs wet dream really, since the only thing I can be certain of is that they never will take the straight line between A and B.

And since I riff off their stupid shenanigans moving the campaign forward, they still often think they did the smart and clever thing, even if the consequences are dire from an outside perspective. So in a sense, one could say that I uphold the possibility for them to feel heroic, or rather competent depending on system.
Are the role playing their characters making bad choices and falling to their vices or ineptitudes? That is what I am talking about more than player engaging in shenanigans because the game is more fun with a higher stupidity quotient.
 



I play PCs with more and more flaws.
Recently my wizard use his action during a fight to light up a cigar, claiming that he has seen enough action, and he would wait in the back for a while.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top