Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fight or Flight

I used to be an very cautious player and I tried to avoid fights in RPGs in general. It's not that my characters couldn't handle themselves in a fight, I just didn't like it. All that changed with my first 7th Sea game. 7th Sea not only allows you to act daringly and sometimes recklessly, it requires you to. Your character is a hero after all and should act like one.

I've kept that playing style in other systems, even the really deadly ones like Cthulhu. It's much more fun that way. My characters still don't go around picking fights and they are not suicidal, but they take their chances and in a desperate situation will do desperate, reckless things. If they happen to die as a result, that's okay - just let it be a cool death.

As a result, I want combat to be dangerous. I want to have a chance, but there should be an equal chance that players get seriously hurt or even killed. I want to go "ohshitohshitohshit" during a fight, I want my hands to shake afterwards because my character only survived by that much and I want to be proud of winning the fight.

Adversaries should be worth fighting. And if we lose, that's not a bad thing, it just adds to the story. There's nothing better than finally beating that guy who has kicked the group's ass in the past, who has maybe been pulling strings and playing against the group from the beginning. It's not easy for the GM to walk the line between keeping things interesting and frustrating the players, but it's so worth it.

I found that I have much more fun in games where fights are not something that happens at every session and at random, but something serious, at the climax of the story. I also enjoy myself more now that I'm not so cautious any more.

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