Now that I’m knee deep in the planning stages of the Mage: the Awakening campaign, I’ve been thinking about how the Players will respond to situations. Seeing as they’ll be playing teens, there’s a certain expectation that not all of the decisions and choices they will be making will be the “best” for a given situation.
So let me make a case for making “Interesting” choices as opposed to “Optimized” ones.
Having just recently been a player in an L5R campaign, I realize that while the players don’t involve themselves in planning things out in the level that GMs do, they still have an obligation as a participant in an activity that is supposed to be fun for everyone. Players are contributors to the overall enjoyment of the activity, and therefore a straightforward and optimized solution is not always the best one if you want a fun campaign.
While it might seem counter-intuitive, taking an Interesting action may spin off opportunities for other players and the GM to get in on the action. Sure you could solve X problem by taking the straightforward Y solution, but if you can loop in the other players with you, or approach it from Z angle with similar results then why not do that then? That way everyone is a part of the solution.
This of course requires an interesting balancing act of sorts as Players must consider the nature of their decision:
- Can I involve the other players?
- Is it unexpected, without being annoying?
- Am I solving the problem, or making the situation worse?