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Showing posts from April, 2020

Ars Arcana Blog 3-1: A Party Comes Together

A Party Comes Together: A Modal Approach to Group Dynamics
Travis Joseph Rodgers
Ars Arcana Blog
Volume III, Number 1

Two of the central struggles associated with an RPG party - as opposed to the players or the game itself - are how to bring a diverse group of characters together in the first place and how to keep them sufficiently together in the long run to keep them a party. I draw out two distinct polaristic approaches that are especially difficult to make work for most groups: hard railroad and utter chaos. I draw out a third possibility, based on modal operators (what is possible, what is necessary, what is impossible).

Hard Railroad
Whatever railroading is in an RPG, there is a bad version of it. Eliminating player agency altogether seems also to eliminate the role of the player. This seems antithetical to the nature of an RPG (it's a ROLE PLAYING game, after all). At the same time, what amounts to railroading will depend upon what an agent wants to do. If an agent wants to rem…