Episode 001 : Planning to Death

Our un-distinctive voices and feedback, the website blog schedule, how often RPDNA will release episodes, Episode’s topic: player planning from Justin’s blog post.


Play Dirty by John Wick

Sean Preston from Reality Blurs blog post response

Jared Sorenson

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6 Responses to Episode 001 : Planning to Death

  1. Judd says:

    After ten or fifteen minutes, tops, I tell the players that I am bored and that we’re going with a plan and dice are hitting the table. Having the players plan for hours feels mired in the way of thinking that the GM is there to bring the fun and not just another player.

    As a GM, I’m there to help facilitate a fun game but I’m also there to have fun and watching folks plan for hours is just not fun.

    The whole shame with “getting meta” is basically shaming the act of stepping out of game in order to talk to your friends. That isn’t anything to be ashamed of, I say talk to them and let them know that you are another person at the table.

    As a long time Burning Wheel player, I have often told players, “Settle this in a few minutes or we go to Duel of Wits.” If it is really important to them, they will take it to the dice.

    I have also told friends, “This isn’t fun. Come up with a plan and let’s get to playing.”

    I had two players who were lawyers years ago and they would monopolize tons of table time gleefully arguing. Odd thing, when I’d ask them to go to Duel of Wits or shut up, that behavior stopped, leading me to believe that they were more interested in taking spotlight time than they were about proving any real point.

    Fun show! Thanks.

    • Ron Blessing says:

      Those are some great insights, Judd! Thanks for taking the time to listen and comment.

      You’re right about the “shame of meta.” You should definitely be able to talk to your friends. In a game with strangers, say at a con or game day–or even someone you just don’t game with regularly–I’d say keep it “in game.” Mechanics like Duel of Wits or any other form of social combat–even a simple roll-off–should work nicely.

  2. Temmogen says:

    Justin, having been the mole for a friend in a CoC game. That may be your best option.

  3. Derek says:

    First, great show.

    As far as using game mechanics to solve the problem and get moving–I’m all for that. In fact I’d only let the players plan for something like 10 minutes before I cut them off. And I think the “meta” thing is more of an issue if you DON’T step in because most of the conversation being held is by the players, not the characters. It is very hard for the players not to bring in their own knowledge and skills to the planning process. The game (in most instances) requires the characters to do the planning. This is why having a player like Vern (playing the character that she was) make a roll and then telling her what is such a a good idea, and is much more in-game than having her, the player, struggle to try and figure it out. Her character has knowledge she wouldn’t and on the flip side, the character shouldn’t have knowledge that the player does (at least not under all circumstances).

  4. Eloy Lasanta says:

    Great show with lots of ideas. Another one that I use is to make their planning mean something. If they are really putting that much work into it, then why not make it matter. So, if they really just had to put the armor on and walk in, but they are crafting forged documents, then I’ll have that be part of the checkpoint. If they stole the armor and painstakingly hide the bodies, then I’ll make pretending to be the lost soldiers a challenge or even have the bodies show up later.

    Basically, if the players are bringing it up, it’s because that’s where their minds are going. Go there with them. Don’t be so stuck on what YOU have planned. Take everything they say and morph your adventure around them.

    Can’t wait for the next episode!


    • RPDNAEd says:

      This is a very good point, Eloy. By having the consequences of the characters’ planning relate to the plan they came up with, you reinforce that the challenge was not a trick – the GM wasn’t trying to fool them by hiding that one key piece of information. Sometimes a challenge is intended to be a bit of a puzzle; But most of the time, as Justin was saying, the challenge is just a minor plot point and belabored planning is overkill. If the encounter and then related consequences wrap up quickly, you reinforce the silliness of such elaborate planning.


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