25 September 2016

Cooperative Creativity

What sets tabletop role playing apart from writing fiction is the player is your co-author.

The players are participants in the creation of the story and setting and not mere consumers of what the gamemaster has authored.

In the best games the players add to the world.  In computer "role playing" games the player has no opportunity to add to the world, they merely select a playing piece and consume what the developers made.

In a universe as expansive as Traveller, a player can make a lasting contribution to the setting merely by declaring their character is from a particular world and defining cultural norms attached to that world.

They can do this within the confines of the canon world descriptions because there's not much actual detail for nearly all of the Imperium.

But it's not just Traveller.

Almost any game benefits from giving the players a bit of freedom in defining their characters rather than applying rigid strait-jackets.  Else why let them make the character, since you're so much better at it?

The canon descriptions in most games for settings, nations, races and cultures are usually not even an outline for them.  Often, at most, you get a page of information to use.

Sometimes you get lucky and get a whole book on the subject, like the Traveller Alien Modules.  Sometimes you get even luckier and get a player willing to tackle the nuances while staying inside the canon lines.  Those are sparking times indeed.

There are limits, of course.  Too much freedom leads to anarchy.  The parts the players make must fit the world the GM has laid before them.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Try to remember you are a guest here when you comment. Inappropriate comments will be deleted without mention. Amnesty period is expired.