Streaming verses freeplay

November 30, 2006 at 11:02 am (Articles)

I recognise fairly well this sort of play, when I started off these had been the kind of games I had played in. I started moving away from this kind of style even in my first campaign. The idea I got from onceoffs was the whole party was supposed to die in the end. Luckly of me, I didn’t implement that in my first once off.

I think the streaming method has it’s advantages, expecially for short games, but I personally prefer a freeplay style.

The players do whatever they like, handle any situation as they like, go where they like and you do the world.

If they investigate one thing you provide them information as they find it, if they do another you give them information on that. 

They make friends or enemies as they want to. And people react as the characters would. An enemy of a powerful person might ignore them, go all out to get them, bad mouth them to other powerful people. An enemy who is weak might do the same.

Just because an enemy is too weak to take them, it doesnt mean he/she wont try. Just because the players dont stand a chance against someone, doesnt mean that that person will decide against crushing them. A degree of randomness based on the npcs character is needed. When the npc is played, the characters should have a fair idea what the npc might do after they annoy her/him.

If you know your world and what plots are happening or whats hidden there or whats this persons secrets, then this style of play is easy. If you dont know but can think fast then fix it as the ‘reality’ in this place, then you are still ok.

Problems can happen if the players have no goals, but that what daily news, other peoples problems and friends and enemies plots are for.

Times when nothing seems to happening, is a good chance for a smart player to start taking care of some of the business they haven’t had time to check. In a cp2050 game I’m in, the group has 5 major tasks to do as soon as we have time and lots of little project. In the cp2050 game I run, the party as 3 major ongoing projects and lots of day to day problems in their path to their goal.

Hmm I should point out that this world work best when you remember other heros and villain live in the world. Hero’s act unselfishly and selfishly. Villain’s mostly work selfishly. If the party does something evil, hero’s might turn up, or injuryed party’s seeking vengance might turn up. Villians usually only become a problem if you get in their way. But the odd sociopath or pychopath should exist.

What I find players love most in an open world however is the chance to make their own friends and enemies, love interest and rivals.

Please tell me how you run your games, or what style of game you play in.

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