The Beast With Three Options – Chapter 7, Act 4, Strip 29

Oh, come on now, Mopey, don’t be ungrateful. The average RPG gives you so much free choice, from the number of rations you carry to the boots you wear. You can’t really expect it to give you any say about the big, life-alerting decisions on top of that, now can you?

This is one of the advantages a computer/videogame RPG has over the tabletop version: In a real-life RPG, the DM has to disable your choice via shenanigans and trickery, occasionally fortified with violence. The digital version can simply take your choice away, and you have no, uh,… choice there. It saves time and lends an air of simple honesty to the procedures… and no resentful DM bent on revenge in its wake.

And, yeah, both kind of RPGs basically have to restrict the players’ choices, even if it’s not philosophically sound. In the digital version it’s simply a question of the lack of resources, and their efficient use…while in the real-life version the limited resource is the DM’s sanity, and its preservation and efficient use is just as important. >_> A real-life DM could go along with whatever decision the players make in this sort of situation…in theory. The problem is just that they’d have to throw out dozens of hours of their preparatory work…and that the decisions rendered by groups of players in these situations are regularly piss-poor and absurdly bizarre to boot. Giving players a clear and obvious path triggers a kind of contrarian reflex, which makes them think feverishly for the most counter-intuitive alternative: “Evildoers have kidnapped the king’s daughter and are holding her to ransom? Quick, let’s…kidnap the king’s son and hold him to an even higher ransom!” >_> Yeah, and that’s one of the better outcomes. You could also get: “Evildoers have kidnapped the king’s daughter and are holding her to ransom? Quick, let’s…get to the botton on that barkeeper’s remark yesterday, that the beer coming up from Farhaven just isn’t what it’s used to be anymore.”

I do admit that it’s a bit unfair in the case of Mopey, who does have a track record of ultimately always doing the right thing, even if only very begrudgingly. But, by and large, players can’t be trusted with big decisions, and while that’s hard on a free spirit like Mopey, she’ll just have to deal with it. I’d recommend the “Yes (green)” option, personally…it’s a nice color, and a choice that’s slightly more individual than the other two options. >_> My second favorite would be the middle “Yes”, because it’s so well centered.

Anyway, the decision is made – our heroes wild stride boldly forth on the quest offered by the Elder. Voluntarily. *cough*

More on Mon…uh, Thursday

2 Replies to “The Beast With Three Options – Chapter 7, Act 4, Strip 29”

  1. To quote DM of the Rings: “Players tend to stay on the rails better when you place obvious landmines on either side of the tracks.”

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