This idea came to me after I wrote Monday’s post.
The job of a GM is to craft his world and set certain parameters that set the limits and boundaries of what is possible.
The job of the Players is to press the limits of the stated boundaries.
Other than ridiculous things a player my try to attempt. For example, in a fantasy RPG with no firearms, a player tries to get the DM to let him pull a .45 caliber Colt 1911 of of thin air. Unless the DM allows for a chance of such gonzo* things to happen, I would say that is not in the realm of “Yes.” If there are no guns, how would a character even know what a caliber is and a specific model of firearm? Player knowledge vs. character knowledge is one limitation.
However, the GM could make note of the odd attempts to do things like this, and find a way to make something weird fall into play.
Most likely, the GM will get the player back on track and allow the character to attempt anything within their level of knowledge in the game.
For example, if a fighter knows magic exists and picks up a wand and tries to use it, will it work? If you have not made that clear, at least in your own mind, what will you do? I had not thought of this possibility until just now, so I know I need to think on it and have an answer should it ever come up.
Instead of a flat out “No.”, I would find a way to get to “Yes.” Instead of making me the fun killer, I could give them a 1% chance to have some powerful wizard in their ancestry and it actually works. If they fail the roll, it is on the dice. But if they roll a 01, then there is an epic story of how the fighter grabbed the fallen wizard’s wand and slew the vile beast and saved the day.
As a father, I had to say “No”, a LOT. Boys can come up with a lot of ideas. I know I had my share when I was growing up. Trying to get to “Yes”, makes it feel like a win-win. Except for truly off the wall ideas or flat out dangerous ones that had no acceptable alternative, saying “Yes” is a lot more fun all around. Well, until Mom hears about it….
As a GM, you don’t have to worry about “Mom” unless you are still in school or for some reason live with your Mom as an adult.
I don’t have that issue, as I live in my own house and can do what I want almost whenever I want.
It is easy as a GM to say “No”. However, if you open yourself to the possibility in advance and try to meet the player(s) halfway to get to “Yes.”, you can have an enjoyable session, perhaps with epic stories of a shared experience.
* This one’s for you, Adam Muszkiewicz. 😉