Tuesday, August 7, 2018

#RPGaDAY2018 - DAY 7: How can a GM make the stakes important?


Day seven of #RPGaDAY2018 - a week in already! Today's question asks "How can a GM make the stakes important?"

I dunno if that's really a GM task. In my experience, it's about the players. If they've invested in their characters, really got into playing them, then any threat to them will feel real and make it feel more important. I've played a lot of games where I haven't really cared about my character, and found myself throwing the character into situations that seem dangerous - they've usually worked out in the end, and sometimes even saved other characters. But, as I didn't really care about the character to begin with, it didn't really matter. It didn't feel like there was a risk.

Thankfully, in the games we've been playing recently - especially the Star Wars and Tales from the Loop games, I've felt more attached to the characters. When they're in danger, I care about their survival and the survival of the rest of my group, and any threat they are under feels real. The danger is there, the stakes feel high as the town they're trying to save, the NPCs in danger, the information they need to retrieve that'll help the cause... they all feel urgent and important as we, the players, are invested.

Strangely, Loop is an odd case when it comes to this. We're having a few issues with the "you can't die" element of the characters (what with them all being kids). With the threats in the game escalating with the arrival of killer robots, velociraptors and mind-controlled enhanced thugs, we feel like we're in more danger than we really are. We keep forgetting that we can't actually be killed in the game, and wonder how a teenager can really hope to face these dangers.

I guess that's a roundabout way of saying that the players and their investment in the characters and the world will make the GM's job of making the stakes feel important ultimately pretty easy.

I hope that answers the question!

Until tomorrow - stay multi-classy!

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