Narrative Control – Episode 56 – Can’t Touch This

Hi and welcome back to Narrative Control.  This week we’re talking about the sacred cows at the gaming table. What are the things that a player doesn’t want to see changed about their character.  Brought to you by a conversation between Sean and Leonard Balsera.

Length: 38:59

[00:27] Welcome back to the show.  We talk about the RPGGeek’s GoldenGeek Award.  We didn’t win, but congratulations to YSDC: Cthulhu Podcast.
[01:28] Shout out to Leonard Balsera of Evil Hat, lead system designer of the Dresden Files RPG and assistant designer of Spirit of the Century.
[02:05] High stakes gambling in Vegas! Wagering on RPG minutiae at Neoncon.
[03:37] The crux of the episode: What changes result in the character not being fun anymore
[03:48] Advancement versus change.
[04:04] Examples of change in Golden Geek winner Dresden Files and in Dogs in the Vineyard.
[05:28] Changing a core concept of a character.  Does it break the character?
[06:27] What is fixed and what’s open to change.  Fred Hicks’ concept of “the character sheet as a love letter to the GM”
[07:10] Beliefs in Burning Wheel; more about what is your character going to do.
[08:11] An example of a persistent trouble: Alcoholism in Iron Man.
[08:42] An example of a more evolving trouble.
[09:10] Fattig’s favorite foibles.
[11:52] Why would we change a persistent character element.
[12:26] Dresden example: A compelling plot twist that makes sense.  But it affects the character to the detriment of the characters fun.
[13:47] Mage game.  Changing a character element that doesn’t break the character.  On the contrary, it drives the character forward.
[15:34] Sean drives a player bonkers in Silver Age Sentinels.
[18:05] Players want to change on their own terms.
[18:25] Finding the untouchable elements on your own character sheet.
[20:29] Make no mistake though, change is critical.
[21:02] Communicate with your GM.  Let them know what is core that you don’t want to let go of.
[21:29] The character sheet won’t tell you what the character wants to change versus what they want to hold onto.
[22:27] As a GM, pay attention to the brainstorming sessions, and ask questions.
[24:28] “Just because your characters really good at something, may not be what they’re about.  It may be about not doing it.”
[25:15] The Odd Couple: a recurring problem.
[26:38] Reading into a player’s favorite issues based on tone.
[27:25] What to do when communication fails, and a sacred cow gets trampled in play.
[29:40] A core concept changed in play in a moment from Burning Wheel.
[31:28] Recognize that something’s gone wrong, and talk about it afterwards.
[35:59] If you do change something about the character as the GM, give the player options.
Direct Download: NC_Episode_056.mp3

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