Starfinder When players ask "leading questions" rather than just saying what they want to do.

Doctor Futurity

Adventurer
I think it's more a play style sort of thing. I saw the same thing in a thread on "underappreciated GM skills". Some GMs/players are very simulational in approach, and they hate any attempt to define parts of the world based on the characters in that world. So for them, they want to explain the world without reference to the characters. By saying "can I climb the wall?" it biases the GM into defining the world based on the desire of the character to take that action. Instead they ask a character-neutral question about measurements.

I find that style of play a bit tedious and often adversarial, so I prefer the character-focused creation style. I accept that it means I will often define the world in a way that favors the characters, but that's OK by me.
This here, for sure. I as a GM will handle both styles of player and in most all cases realize it says much more about how the player approaches a situation or thinks of it than anything about their trust in me, other than that they can count on me to give them an answer. If a player at my table asks, "how high is the ceiling?" I give him a straight answer, and if another player asks "Can I climb the walls to get up there?" I'll tell him, sure, it looks possible....with a skill check or whatever. In both cases the player is getting what they want, and I as GM do not assume they are fishing for any information in most cases (I probably would if I feel like the player is going down a twenty-questions interrogation, though).

As a player, I have GMed too many years not to be cognizant of the GM's actual information process, and I tend to frame my questions along careful lines because I (like Campbell earlier) don't want to lead the GM and attain an unearned win. I will usually state what I want to do and then what I am looking for. So I might tell the GM something like, "I can climb fairly well, and have spider climb. Are the ceilings rough enough and high enough I could do this?" and let the GM decide because I will bet he hasn't got that info in the module and he needs to make a quick call on it, anyway. I've been in games though where I can see that the GM is just aiming for player gratification, and that tends to turn me off on the game. I am old school in this respect, I guess, in that I prefer the sense of a challenge earned over a challenge given, and realize it is (in my view, YMMV) a very rookie mistake to want to consistently pander to the players. Yes, giving the players all they want is great, and you should do it....but as GM you really want to make them feel like they earned it and not like it was given to them. Nothing destroys a sense of accomplishment more than the realization that you were in the padded safety room all along, and the GM was never going to let you fail or give you a real challenge to begin with. This is a very common problem for new GMs who labor under the misimpression that wish fulfillment for the players will make them happier. Earned success will make them happier....but you have to allow some risk to balance out the reward, or it will be worthless. And if you never intended for them to fail, then you as GM still owe it to still give them the feeling that they had a chance of failure, and managed to pull victory from defeat. An experienced GM knows how to do this.

Now, in contrast with that is adversarial GMs. These are GMs who have gotten confused about the process. A GM who hands out wins for everyone without any real earned effort is bad, but a GM who actively seeks to prevent any wins is much, much worse. I remember a game I had where I first played a scuzzy CE rogue who defaced a good temple. The GM put a debilitating curse on my character which appeared to be a punishment from the gods (I thought it might be a plot deal but got the weird feeling the GM was mad at what I had done). Later in that same campaign with a new paladin character I trashed an evil temple. Lo' and behold I was cursed (even as a paladin) with an evil curse to debilitate my PC for thrashing the temple.....and I was by plot and design doing what I was supposed to, too, but the GM once again appeared annoyed that I was doing this. Everyone in the group noticed this, in relation to their own choices as well. One of my cohorts commented that when he found an unassailable feat combination that made him exceedingly effective the GM was really ticked off, and stopped using encounters that could have let my friend's PC benefit from the combo he had figured out. Not a good GM.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top