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Question about player-driven narration

Byrons_Ghost

First Post
Wanted to see if I could get a little help from the boards here. I'm working on an experiment in letting some of the players take over narrative bits and pieces, such as in games like Adventure when they spend drama points (or whatever it is that Adventure calls them).

If anyone is familiar with games which have these sort of rules, could you post a brief outline of how it works in the game, and maybe how it worked out in tabletop play for your group? I'm basically just looking to get a feel for what systems out there do this sort of thing, and how it works in them. Thanks!
 

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Crothian

First Post
Basically you are handing over some of the DM duties to the players. THis is a good and bad thing depending on yiour players. Some people should not be given such power as they have no idea what they should do with it, other totally ause it and don't care about the story. These type of games really place the story first and all mor ethen just the DM to develope it.
 

Jdvn1

Hanging in there. Better than the alternative.
I've seen this done in Nobilis with success. It has turned out to be fun for the players and the GM, but maybe it's the system.
 

CarlZog

Explorer
I'm running a pirate campaign that uses a type of drama points system that I cobbled together from several other examples of systems (including Adventure!'s). The characters earn points by doing particularly dramatic or swashbuckling things. They can spend the points on mechanics advantages (extra die rolls), but I've particularly encouraged them to use the points for dramatic editing -- altering the physical environment or circumstances to their advantage, often outside the scope of the rules. I provided them a list of examples that were particularly appropriate to the genre, but I've made it clear that they can propose anything.

I don't know if this is the level of player involvement you're envisioning, but in my case it's been working well. (The campaign is only a few sessions old.) In one of the first uses of a drama point, a player suggested that a rogue wave rocks the ship just as his opponent is about to attack, throwing the fiend off balance. I gave it to him, but pointed out that the deck would rock under everybody, requiring reflex saves (or "sea legs" skill checks if appropriate) from everybody. It added a lot of energy to the scene.

Carl
 

LostSoul

Adventurer
It's a house rule, but I did something in Star Wars d20... I let the PCs spend a force point to come up with one of those "unbelievable movie occurances." I've only used it once. One of the players was running from some stormtroopers into a street; he asked me if someone was unlocking their car door nearby. I told him there would be, if he spent a force point. Voila! Instant getaway.
 

Byrons_Ghost

First Post
CarlZog said:
I'm running a pirate campaign that uses a type of drama points system that I cobbled together from several other examples of systems (including Adventure!'s). The characters earn points by doing particularly dramatic or swashbuckling things. They can spend the points on mechanics advantages (extra die rolls), but I've particularly encouraged them to use the points for dramatic editing -- altering the physical environment or circumstances to their advantage, often outside the scope of the rules. I provided them a list of examples that were particularly appropriate to the genre, but I've made it clear that they can propose anything.

I don't know if this is the level of player involvement you're envisioning, but in my case it's been working well. (The campaign is only a few sessions old.) In one of the first uses of a drama point, a player suggested that a rogue wave rocks the ship just as his opponent is about to attack, throwing the fiend off balance. I gave it to him, but pointed out that the deck would rock under everybody, requiring reflex saves (or "sea legs" skill checks if appropriate) from everybody. It added a lot of energy to the scene.

Carl

Dramatic Editing is what I was thinking of. I couldn't remember what the Adventure game called it.

Thanks for everyone's replies so far! Anyone else have any stories or ideas?
 

SweeneyTodd

First Post
It's a lot of fun. I wouldn't worry about people "breaking the game" with it -- if anything, I had a lot of early experiences where they'd just narrate success and that was it. I would encourage them to shake things up a bit, throw in a possible plot hook or connection to their backstory, that sort of thing.

These days our campaigns have so much player narration power that I've got them coming up with justifications for NPC actions, backstories -- heck, they're writing more than half of the game now. I couldn't be happier. :) But don't worry that it'll happen by accident.

My personal take, which I'd guess is controversial to some people, is that player empowerment is always a good thing. If anything, the people I thought were powergamers actually backed off when given more power -- it was kind of like "Hey, I've been struggling so hard to change the course of the game, and now it's just dropped in my lap -- what do I do?" When people aren't blocked from meaningful contributions, they think a lot more about what they want to contribute, rather than how to get it past the GM. :)

I've found player-driven gaming so addictive that it'd be hard to go back to being a "regular GM" now. I'm surprised in big ways every single session, which is something I never used to get. But again, I think you'll find that you don't need special controls on things like Dramatic Editing, as the scope of narration rights is pretty clearly spelled out.
 

Byrons_Ghost

First Post
That's sort of along the lines I'm looking for. Can you give me an idea of what the scope of narrative rights are, like who can do what?

I don't want to be all "Someone tell me what's in the book so I don't have to buy it!" Rather I'm trying to get an idea of what people allow in their games.
 

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