No flips for you!
Yeah, the point is that the player forces the GM to pick one of the two. This doesn't exist, ever, in 5e. Either the GM has the NPC agree with your demand, or the NPC suffers whatever you've threatened. The Burgomaster calling for the guard is neither of these -- it's not a book-legal move by the GM.The rulebook I'm looking at says, "When you Go Aggro on someone, roll+hard. On a 10+, they have to choose: force your hand and suck it up, or cave and do what you want. On a 7-9, they can instead choose 1:"
That tells me it's not the player choosing, it's the GM, so the player really has no control over the outcome. The example I laid out is book-legal, though it'd be horrible GMing--and I never said it was otherwise.
The key is force your hand and suck it up -- this means they choose the "or else" and that "or else" happens to them. The nature of AW means that Go Aggro requires an 'or else.' That's missing in the OP, but given that the player in question immediately tried to take the Burgomaster hostage, I went with that as the "or else." That's the nature of Go Aggro, on a success, you either give in or you suck up the "or else."
What did the Burgomaster suck up? What bad happened because he refused? Your example has no bad for the Burgomaster. It has good -- the odds shift in his favor. Choosing this outcome isn't just bad GMing -- it's not following the rules.Oh, yeah, they're different games, aiming at generating/enabling different stories, and I have no doubt that Baker played in some deeply dissatisfying games in other systems before he wrote his own.
I don't think I've been unclear that published adventures, especially adventure paths, are problematic for character agency--for the characters mattering much, even--and I also don't think I've been unclear that 5E is designed to enable play through published adventures. So, it's probable that many players' experience of 5E is going to be ... less than ideal. I think, though, that there's support in the game to play differently; I don't think 5E is limited to that sort of play.
The rulebook I have says "Force your hand and suck it up." BurgerMaster calls for guards and other party member attacks (tries to take him hostage). That genuinely doesn't sound all that incongruent to me. Yes, it's bad GMing in AW if any result of Go Aggro will have that result, and I've never said otherwise; I've just said it's possible to GM that way (and that the play examples in the book don't discourage it, actually seem to suggest it).
And, no, the example in the book follows this exactly -- the GM chooses to have the NPC not accede and so he gets brain fried. Since the specific move used doesn't require going loud as part of the Go Aggro (which usually does), the PC was able to leave the brain fried NPC without starting a fight with the henchmen. Seems like exactly what needed to happen -- now the NPC has a serious level of Harm, which will make any future engagement easier for the PCs until the NPC can reasonably get help (if the PCs, for example, don't press for a while, I can see that Harm rolling off).
Randomly determining if a door is trapped is nothing like what I described play in PbtA as, regarding the fiction of a trapped door. It's not random.Yeah, I understand the mechanics, and I understand the ... rationalization of the mechanics--how the mechanics are meant to reflect/shape the emergent story.
OTOH: A 5E DM could randomly roll to determine if a door was trapped--the old school-ish random dungeons seem a likely application for this. He'd be finding out if it was trapped about the same time as the PCs. That's not my prefered playstyle, but it's not meta the same way as having it hinge on the outcome of a Perception check (or the equivalent).
FATE doesn't go far enough in telling you how to play it -- it's wishy-washy. As I run a 5e game you'd be hard pressed to find isn't by the book, I don't have a problem with either style of game. FATE just doesn't give enough insight into how it works and so appears to support multiple playstyles -- and it does, to a degree, but if you bring a D&D mindset, it's not going to work well. That's my gripe with FATE -- it just soft pedals that it's actually a different game, so people bounce off of it.Yeah. The GM's job is to place obstacles in the characters' way, and to present plausible opposition. That's ... pretty close to universal (there might be edge cases but I don't think they're the focus of discussion). Without the obstacles and/or opposition, there'd be nothing to center a story around--no decisions or actions that mattered. I think my sense is that having the world exist in a more or less objective sense (to use the most-current example, that door is trapped) makes it clearer that the GM is neither the obstacle nor the opposition; that seems to be true for me as a player, as well as as GM.
It's plausible I'm bouncing as much off Baker's writing as the game mechanics, but I did come to a similar conclusion about Fate (that the game needed the GM to be more antagonistic than I wanted to be), and that game is written ... more conventionally--and yes, I remember (I think) that you don't think Fate goes far enough.
I wouldn't say I've ever put my players through the wringer, but I would say the Masked Ones killed Imaktis, and more the Tundra Queen seems to have drawn their ire. The players have been coming back every other week for more than two years, so it's tempting to say they're digging it. There's probably some fundamental-ish difference in how we look at the stories that emerge from play, and the elements thereof.
Let see, the last few campaigns in 5e I've run -- a Big Plot game, which was a cosmic mystery, full of deep backstory to uncover and plotting tightly; a hex-crawl exploration game of a prison plane, not plotted but mapped pretty well; and a Sigil-based Planescape game where I don't yet know who the villain of the campaign will be, or what will be the focus, despite having run it for a bit over a year. I don't have a "way" I see how stories emerge, I see lots of "ways." And I'll use every one of them, if they're fun. But, when I run/play Blades, and when I look at PbtA games, I see how they're used to tell stories and I use that way when I run those games. I do different things when I run 5e.
Regardless, how you run games like FATE and Blades is not antagonistic, or petty jerkry. It's actually far more disciplined and constrained than most of the other games I've tried, especially 5e. Not to say that individuals aren't disciplined when running 5e, but the system has very little discipline. It says, "the GM decides," and pretty much leaves it there, maybe with some vague handwaves at technique. You can clearly see this in the official adventures, which are all over the map in approach and certainly don't leverage the ruleset very well most of the time.