April 7, 2003

Game WISH 41: Coherence

Perverse Access Memory: WISH 41: Coherence

How coherent do you expect a game world to be? Is a game world merely a stage for the characters, or does it have a life of its own? How deep does it need to be to satisfy you? How do you contribute as a player or GM to making the game world more coherent, if you do?

I am a purist when it comes to such matters...I dislike inconsistencies with a fervor and a passion that I was frankly surprised that other people reached as well.

My worlds always make sense, at least to the GM in full, if not completely to the players in parts. I strive hard and always have had, to come up with as complete a milieu as possible. I work to make inconsistencies and contradictions more a matter of incomplete information, than a glitch in the game world.

This is mainly the present and the past of the game world, mind you. Players can very definitely in my games affect the present and the future. I've had ideas of what was and is going to happen in games before the players touch it. The sort of "If this goes on" theory of gaming--but the players can certainly change their fate, change what will be if they did nothing. But the backstory, ladies and gentlemen, is where I want consistency and completeness.

Sure, the player might think a particular thread is dangling or incomplete, but, usually, I have a strong sense of what has come before, and why, and how it all fits. And I am a sucker for detail and keeping the milieu as "real" as I can possibly make it. In one of my D&D campaigns, I had detailed the entire royal family of the kingdom right up to the Dowager Queen...even though the characters had small chance of ever meeting her. (They were low level types).

So much for me as a GM. As a player, I assume, somehow, that the GMs I am playing for have thought about a lot of this, and it has taken a lot for me to realize that not everyone is a detail freak...and that, yes, Marcus' observations about the Weirmonken might be useful in detailing a world. Or a mention of an Egpytian themed shadow that the GM didn't think to add to the Golden Circle...Bete Noire has been useful in helping me add to a world from a player point of view, rather than a GM.

Posted by Jvstin at April 7, 2003 8:45 AM