in the Shadow of Greatness


May 14, 2004

WISH 96 :: Click!

counting up to WISH 100

WISH 96: Click!

Describe one or more occasions when a game went 'click' for you and things fell together. Why do you think this happened? What factors made it possible? What were the consequences?

A virtue of foreshadowing and long running games where threads and thoughts can be introduced without GM or NPCs having to dump information on Players in obvious fashion.

I like the Player Characters to be the stars. One of the ways for that to happen is to let them take their travels, acquired information, and ideas to npc folks that Want, Need, or would be Thrilled to have them. So whether your PC is a problem solver, puzzler, or pure action hero, they too will be part of events weaving around information and intrigue.

So if a Player says, "But I suck at riddles, please don't give me stuff to solve."

I can point out, "But remember that info you took to Bleys? He never would have gotten a whiff of 'problem X' if not for your early notion there was something interesting about that bit of stuff you tossed him."

I don't create these arcs and concepts as often as I put the raw ingredients into the story and wait for lightning to strike. Amber DRPG supports this mechanism because the Family gossips and trades info all the time. There is a certain canon elegance to the idea that no one in the game really knows what's going on — but they as a group might often jump ahead to a solution.

Most PBEMs move so slowly that the 'payoff' can be further down the road than your Player memory will take you. Maybe that's just my memory ... or maybe I'm moreso a victim of my own design— since I can't keep up with fast PBEMs. Ah, well.

But F2F gaming does allow for something that happened two months ago to suddenly match up with something you are doing right now. Something that seemed to make sense one way suddenly makes sense in a whole new way because you didn't have enough information before.


There are few joys more intense than watching lightning strike in a PC's brain.

I have mixed up one such batch of raw material in the Eternal City that is going to "hit" any week now. It involves the maxim "all roads lead to Amber" and the contradiction that certain Very Dangerous Things cannot get into Amber.

The question unsolved is: "How is it that both things are true?"

For a while, many members of the Family have recognized that there are some things that prowl at the borders of Amber—looking to get in. Whether it is to bring the battle to Amber's turf, or to get the Jewel, or to have vengeance, or to bring certain powers to bear against the Family ...

While at the same time, it is a given that things do come in out of shadow all the time. That trade and visitors and oddities arrive on a regular basis.

So some day soon I'll write up a 'Mysteries of Amber' bit and post it with the answer.

The significant consequence of Click!, to me, is that Player Characters change the world by their perspective. When you take the same info that's been lying around for a long time and suddenly arrange it (or distribute it to different people) and go, "Aha!"

You've change the world.

Every game needs the PCs to change the world.

Filed under : Amber, Game WISH at 14.05.2004