Monday, January 6, 2014
"The reader might ask if players want to be angered. To that I must reply, players want to be engaged. Having entered the world, they are subject to the events of that world. For drama to occur, events must be confrontational. Some of these events should be the sort that allows the player ‘off the chain,’ permitting them the luxury of expressing their indignation, their passion, their fuming, bristling fury and ultimately the acquittal of their wrath upon the hapless creature who so foolishly wronged them. Dramatists use fury in a performance to whip up the audience’s blood, to make them sit up in their seats and burn with anger against the action they see depicted on the stage. There is, it must be admitted, a part of being human that likes being angry, in a setting where it is permitted, even condoned. In the moment, perhaps, the player is too busy venting their ire to be having a good time—but the after effect, I have often observed, has been tremendously cathartic.
"My favorite fury-causing device is to introduce a character into the party that is friendly, helpful and legitimately forthcoming with information that makes an exceptional difference to the party’s wealth and status ... and then to have that individual abscond with the most precious single object the party possesses. A close second would be the opportunity to have an ally conveniently disappear at the most inconvenient time, leaving the party in the lurch. Both scenarios, carefully developed and then sprung, tend to create a frenzied manhunt which, when over, typically results in some satisfaction for the party. Thus the appeal. But then, it is rare I get to pull either trick on the same party twice.
"In using any technique to inspire fury among the party - from a society based on the mistreatment of slaves, who might all be freed, to a non-player character that exploits children, to the above-described direct infringement upon the party’s pride - I remember that it is a well to which I must go rarely. Too much exploitation in my world, or too many nefarious characters, can lead the party to lose faith in the world. It’s all well and good to let them encounter one of these sordid villains now and then, but all the time will produce feelings of absolute distrust for everyone. If the party is driven to the point where they are attacking everyone they meet on the off-chance that they might be villainous, their sole crime being that they were unlucky enough to meet this a distrustful party, then I’ve obviously gone too far. The solution must be that for each cretinous, backstabbing, pompous lout the party encounters, they should encounter thirty or forty genuinely helpful people. To put it another way, the apple barrel must be full of good, healthy apples. If they are all bad, the party would throw the barrel away — that is, they would stop playing in my world."
No, I'm not going to explain how this fits into context.