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Showing results for tags 'contextualization'.
Imagine this: You're walking down the road when, suddenly, bandits spring out of the bushes! They say "We're going to kill you and take your stuff!" They refuse any further conversation than this. They automatically know where you are so there's no avoiding the encounter with stealth. Invisible walls form a sphere around you so there's no escape until all the bandits are dead. You fight to the death, collect the loot and XP from the bandits, then the game otherwise continues as if that encounter had never happened. My opinion is that this has absolutely no place in a roleplaying game whatsoever. Before I can tell you why I think this, first I have to tell you what I think a roleplaying game should be: An RPG is a series of questions posed to the player (usually implicitly) and a set of systems the player can use to give their answers. The DM sets the scene asks "What do you do?" and the player says "I do X." When I play an RPG, I want interesting and meaningful questions and systems that allow me to give my answers in a satisfactory way. There's a lot to be said about the systems but today I want to talk about the questions, specifically the "interesting and meaningful" part. Let's give another scenario: You're going down the highway with a dead body in your trunk. There's a loaded handgun in the glovebox. A cop pulls up behind you and turns on his sirens. There's several different approaches you could take here, each with its own set of risks: Do you floor it and try to get away? Do you pull over and try to play it cool? Do you grab that gun out of glovebox just in case? If you screw up, there's several different consequences depending on exactly how you screwed up and how you act to try to fix your mistake. The consequences range from mild (you get away with a speeding ticket but no suspicion from the cop), moderate (you have to kill the cop to get away, so now you're wanted for 2 murders), or severe (the cop arrests you after finding the body). Furthermore the situation is both defined by the earlier context of the narrative and your answer defines the later context of the narrative. Are you guilty? If you are, who did you kill and why? If you aren't, why is the body in your trunk? Are you being framed and trying to cover up the (false) evidence? If you are, are you trying to find the real killers and find justice, or are you just trying to get back to your life as fast as possible? How much deeper are you willing to dig yourself in? Compare this scenario to the one I posited at the beginning. There's no proper context because the bandits just pop in out of nowhere and you never hear from them again. They're attacking you for no reason except that they're bandits and, thus, the Bad Guys. You have no choices in what answer you can give except Fight to the Death, or stand there and die and reload a previous save (and get attacked again next time you go through that area). There are no meaningful consequences because you either win and continue with the game, or you don't. It fails as a Question to pose to the player by every conceivable metric. Yet this scenario is absurdly common; Probably 99% of your time in your average CRPG is spent wasting your time with this nonsense. Why?