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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Role-playing <> Killing (GM Tip)

A time honored tradition in role-playing games, from the first iterations to more modern versions, is making a game all about fighting. While fighting and killing is as part of the world as breathing is for people, it tends to limit your players to killing stuff instead of immersing in a role or thinking about plot or story development. Killing is also easy; and GM can easily build a preference for games that become more about killing the next latest thing than developing plot or storyline. It’s understandable. After all, combat is dangerous. At some point, regardless of the most passive role-playing character persona you assume, a fight is going to break out. People are going to die. Specifically, people not oriented to combat: which if you are that passive non-combatant, the dead corpse is likely yours.

How do you deal with this problem? Well, in some respects, you can’t if your GM likes this form of game play. Accept the fact and find a different game if you don’t care for it. Otherwise, work with the GM to ensure the game and game play supports the use and emphasis on more than killing and fighting. Build on the social models and uses, make the commercial and economic systems work, immerse and intrigue players with plot and story and above all, be flexible.

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