Narrative Control – Episode 42 – Jumping off the rails

Welcome back to Narrative Control.  This episode Fattig and I are talking about getting games off the rails.  Whether its intentional or accidental, if the gamers are frustrated by the lack of influence the players have, here are some things we think help.

Hosts: Sean Nittner and Eric Fattig

Length: 27:52

Show Notes

[00:26] Intro to the show. A response to my own LJ post about railroading and the frustration it causes both players and the GM:
[01:48] Best game EVAR! Let me tell you what you do Fattig.
[03:01] This story sucks. Blame Nittner for it.
[03:55] Sometimes games get so heavily scripted that the players lose their voice in the game.
[04:32] Tour de Thea 7th Sea module example.
[05:34] The players perspective: surprising and frustrating.
[06:34] Benefits of a strong story structure for players: Clear direction. Support from the GM if they follow that direction.
[07:30] What does the GM get? Best case scenario: Telling an awesome story. Worst case: A giant headache and enormous amount of work.
[09:27] Why does this happen? Perception. The GM feels the need to keep things moving and give everyone direction.
[11:50] A fair concern, what will happen when the GM says “You’re in an inn… what do you do?”
[13:05] Another factor: Pride. I’m going to tell the BEST STORY EVER!
[14:11] The Narrative Control drinking game.
[15:30] The new paradigm. Everyone contributing to the game in amounts that make them happy.
[16:38] Some player empowering techniques: Setting stakes, framing scenes and narrative control.
[20:18] Addressing the issue directly.  Talking about the game before it ever starts.  Describe setting and situation.
[21:41] Establishes an environment to create characters and stories out of.
[23:00] Adding an arbitrary pacing mechanic that ensures the story is moving forward independent of the players or the GM’s actions.
[24:14] Some examples: My Matrix Game, Burning Empires.

Direct download: NC_Episode_042.mp3

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