JP On Gaming

Monday, October 26, 2009

Shades of Gray... Bringing it together (Part 3)

Still arguing?

By now, some of you are complaining about how every choice cannot be a critical, difficult choice, about sometimes a DM must present false choices to players. And you are entirely right! Take for example a campaign where PCs are forced to take sides in a civil war, a religious conflict, a political argument, whatever. Some players may try to duck and avoid the "big choice" by trying to remain neutral in any conflict or by waiting to see who wins. It might be possible for the PCs to avoid choosing for a while. But sooner or later, the choice comes to them and it must be made. Not choosing is making a choice. Rush sums it best in their great song "Freewill".

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice

You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill

Simple and simplified choices are fine most of the time. When setting up a "shades of grey" campaign, try to make the choices more difficult, requiring some thought. And by the same logic, the players should be given time to think about what they want to do about it. Why does the duke want us to go and kill all the bandits in the forest? Those are little more than peasants and he has a large army in his castle?

Getting the players in the right frame of mind, in the right way of thinking, and eventually bring them to the inevitable choice they have to make rest squarely on the DM’s shoulders. I know, I know I usually say that role-playing is a two-way street, but in this case, you the DM are the only one who can bring the PCs to that point, give them all the rope they need and let them hang themselves! The hard choices are what you are trying to accomplish! The introduction piece of this blog entry presented you with a choice. One I think is rather explicit.

"Please" mouths your love as your hands are slipping. From behind you, your fellow party members are screaming about the coming arrival of the dark god... Choose.


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