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Referee's Lounge Discussion of how to (and not to) Referee Traveller and Cepheus Engine games. No edition warring allowed.

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  #41  
Old August 7th, 2017, 12:41 PM
AsenRG AsenRG is offline
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Originally Posted by The Pakkrat View Post
The mark of a good Referee in Traveller is the ability to keep your players from being able to discern an adventure you have developed from the freedom from going sandbox. If you can wing-it, run the numbers behind the screen without giving away that you are winging it, your players will believe that you meant for their choices to take them down the path.

This is about flexibility. Free will of the characters to suddenly dump a mission, quest or other task is something your players will value in your role as a Referee. Delegate the Ship Operations to the players and watch as they become more committed to the task. Who wants the Captain to suddenly go off the rails after they've loaded the cargo hold with 80 tons of fertilizer for that needy Ag world?

So, the ship discovers a rogue comet. Mark it on the astrogation charts for exploration later. A sandbox can take any shape around an agreed-upon mission. Hold your players to the causality of their decisions to stay on-mission or to dump the Patron's contract.

Being flexible enough as the Referee to hide your frustration that an adventure, published or your development, is suddenly abandoned. Mark the causality of their choices in the backstage, backdrop, behind the screen and move on.

Example: I once laid a Zhodani Villain at the footstep of the players, one who was trying to change the Government of Zamine (Spinward Marches 0421) from Balkanized to Religious Dictator through the 'miracles' propagated through the use of psionics. The players didn't bite, despite the fact that the Bad Guy was only two Jump-3, six parsecs away and calling the shots on Zamine. The characters decided that they had had enough of curbing change on a Darrian Confederation world. I shrugged and let them move on to something else more to their liking, without letting them know my original intentions. 30 Darrian Aslan later, inserted onto Cunnonic (Spinward Marches 0822) and the players were none the wiser and fully happy to meet and chat with Darrian cultured Aslan warriors.

Stay sharp, be flexible, have a plan but ready for the other fork in the path of your players. Never let them see you sweat. Hope this helps.

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Also, it doesn't cause me any gray hairs if the players suddenly switch plans. This means they've stopped working (or never started) on the current situation, and inaction is also an action.
If you can be sued for inaction, and you can, you can totally get some consequences in an RPG. Sometimes, they can even be positive ones.

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Originally Posted by Ulsyus View Post
Flexibility: absolutely. The players should have the ability to make whatever decision they want, but just as in the mundane world they are subject to the consequences of their actions. Breaking a contract? If they want to. Then they can head off to wherever has taken their fancy, but sooner or later things are going to catch up with them, and they'll have to take their lumps.
Exactly, the existence of psychics doesn't absolve from the laws of causality!
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Old November 28th, 2017, 06:53 PM
kilemall kilemall is offline
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How about this metaphor-

Adventure rails are plot trains, but players are air/rafts, be ready for them to go anywhere.
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Old December 6th, 2017, 06:49 AM
AsenRG AsenRG is offline
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How about this metaphor-

Adventure rails are plot trains, but players are air/rafts, be ready for them to go anywhere.
Works for me.

Though I prefer the "random cocktail" metaphor. "NPCs' plans are the basic ingredients. Add PCs, shake vigorously and see what the results were. Rinse and repeat for the next shot, possibly using the same basic ingredients, or varying them to taste!"
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