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How much danger do you enjoy in a role playing game?

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  • How much danger do you enjoy in a role playing game?

    This is more of a general role playing question rather than a Trinity Continuum question. I have run two games in my campaign. In my opinion, I do not like the fiendishly deadly game referees who periodically kill player and constantly risk a total party kill. Perhaps I have gone too far the other way. During the two sessions, the players avoided taking any injury whatsoever. They made good plans, cooperated with each other, and had average die rolls. They have all said they enjoyed the game, but I worry that in the future that combat and the campaign will get boring.Would you feel bored as a player if none of the player took any health damage in any combat?

    However, I suspect the real reason the players in my group enjoy the non-combat part of the game. They have created fictional followers, mentors, allies. One of my players is forming a freelance mercenary company and contemplates how it will earn a profit and reduce taxes. They like telling jokes.

    What I like about this game is that it does not have elaborate combat rule. Perhaps players could create complex miniature rules. The Trinity: Battlegrounds book could be obtained, but I guess most people are like me and do not want to really use it. Perhaps because I am an inexperienced Storyteller, in combat scenes, we use miniatures to avoid confusion. For me, there is a Platonic ideal Storyteller game that has no miniatures whatsoever, like the Theater of the Mind. However, my friends and I have played miniature combat games extensively, so I guess its how we roll.

  • #2
    i like a good amount of lethality, but not so much that characters are constantly dying. enough so that the players have to bear in mind that you have to be careful. so long as the players have a fair chance of avoiding the fight or winning the fight, its all good.

    it works, because if you die in the game i set off an airbag under the players chair. it makes things more exciting.


    • #3
      It varies from game to game, both as GM/Storyteller and as player. I've run and played games where the characters are in no serious danger at all as well as games where a few bad rolls can kill them. I've also run games with little or not combat or danger from any source, where social and political activities made up most or all of the 'action'. These differences naturally alter play styles, and it's best to make sure everyone is on the same page about what can be done.

      Consider the point of combat in a game where it has no real risk attached - in a long-running game I ran, combat was essentially a chance for the players to show off with stunts for their characters, which they had fun doing.

      Craig Oxbrow
      The Trinity Continuum freelancer


      • #4
        The key to a satisfying combat is the feeling of having overcome a serious challenge, whether that comes from ending the encounter at death's door or looking back at careful preparation and a well executed plan the result is the same.


        • #5
          This definitely depends on the game. When I run Aeon games I tend to like a fairly high level of danger in combats - but not necessarily lethality. Like 2ptTakrill, I prefer to see a serious challenge, but achieve that in multiple ways outside of mechanics like damage.

          I mentioned in another post somewhere about how I use Aberrants in the Aeon era - basically like the xenomorph in the first Alien movie - the thought of it should make you want to nope the hell out of there. I find anticipation of danger, plus actual danger (as in damage), plus combats where you really have to go for it to put the bad guy down are far, far better received than routine combat encounters. I tend to make combats set pieces though and focus more on investigative style sessions from week to week. I very rarely use mook / extras style rules, in any game.

          Ad Astra


          • #6
            I heavily foreshadow lethal danger a lot of the time until characters have at least a fair chance of survival. A struggle with resources, access or something else hanging in the balance instead of life. But, i'm also a firm believer that a character's death is a really good launching point into other tangents, at least at times - i've learned that some of my players become extremely deflated and defeated when a beloved role is lost to them. If it's a mistake, there are tricks you can use to bring a role back for them; flashbacks, clones, machine emulation, neotic tranfers (loosely based off Bue Li).
            In a way danger is innately intertwined with the Gygaxian style of play, challenge yourself, challenge your mind and re-roll everytime you slip up too dramatically. But a much more story friendly LARP like approach is rather encouraged at times by storyteller games - because of that, i've rarely seen death in those systems despite dishing and eating a fair amount of it in other systems. I feel i have to write permission slips for ST's to kill me in Storyteller games - but, i have no regrets about killing an investigator in Call of Cthulhu as gruesomely as possible.
            It all really depends on the game you are running, not some external, arbitrary measuring stick of lethality.
            Play how you and your group like playing; is the whole of the law.


            • #7
              I really like lethality in games. Especially if you have a ST/DM who's cool with you throwing together a new character at just south of the power level of the rest of your team... there is some penalty for bad luck/choices but you can hop back in relatively quickly. I think the game Eclipse Phase was built exactly with this question in mind. Deadlands does something cool with becoming a mostly autonomous zombie.

              We just started a session of Interface Zero and the ST promised we'd have some opportunities to become full cyborgs, clones or transfers if it gets too lethal.

              Too many re-roll opportunities or jammed guns/poorly blacksmithed swords/great eagles make it a little less fun when you do win. I recall badly losing a doomsday situation in a Brave New World saga and we just kept playing as a group of heroes fighting a guerrilla war against a world ruled by alien/demons. I think we abandoned it when we started getting building-leveling weapons, alpha-level totems and X-O Manowar level power armor. Geez, I really wrote "level" a lot in that last sentence.


              • #8
                I don't run an extremely lethal game, by choice. I don't think anyone has ever died in a game I've run. That said, it is certainly an option. For something like the Trinity Continuum, based on what very little we know right now, the mood doesn't seem to be one that lends itself well to heavy lethality, life-is-cheap role-playing. I would probably stay my hand as of yet.


                • #9
                  I really don't like killing PCs, generally speaking. Unless they do something eye-gougingly stupid (like attack a group of vampires alone with a single stake), the worst I'll really do is hurt and humiliate the character. That said, the people I've run for in the past are either pretty sensible, or prone to doing stupid but play combat-monkey-munchkins so they can actually pull that shit off. Which is... good, I guess?

                  My Commandments for GMs My Commandments for Players


                  • #10
                    My players either do extremely well in combat situations or are hopeless. Certainly there is a chance of death in a story but the deciding factor is always the players. My players expect a certain level of realism, the first chronicle I ever ran in my Exploration Chronicles involved Homo Saipens Insectus a hidden colony on a world that had been surveyed but not fully explored. The players unfortunately discovered a pack of hunters and through a series of misfortunes were discovered the players were overwhelmed by a vehicle sonic weapon: I was willing to allow the players to be captured instead of dead. My players decided they preferred death, since then I have kept the lethal level fairly high.