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How to Figure Out What Players Want

September 27th, 2016 | Posted by vaklam in Podcast Episode

Welcome to the 63rd regular episode of the Play On Target podcast (PLOT for short). How do you figure out what players want? As a player, how do you communicate to the GM and other players what you want? Being a GM often requires some detective work.

What did we leave out? Tell us in the comments or start a discussion on RPG Geek.

Things mentioned in this episode:
  1. Games Powered by the Apocalypse
  2. Fate
  3. Nobilis
  4. The Sprawl

You can contact us at Hosts@PlayOnTarget.com or you can send us a private geekmail on the RPGGeek website; our usernames are lorddillon (Sam), Vaklam (Brian), edige23 (Lowell), and MasterGeek (Andrew).

You can also follow the podcast on Twitter @PlayOnTarget

Follow each of the hosts at @DMSamuel (Sam), @GeekworldOnline (Andrew), @Edige23 (Lowell), and @Vaklam (Brian)

The music played at the beginning and end of the podcast is Dance of Fire – Bolero in A minor by Sinfonia Electronique. You can find more great music on the podsafe music network at music.mevio.com. The d20 logo is by the awesome Joe Kundlak, a.k.a. joeyeti on RPG Geek.

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4 Responses


    I have to disagree with Sam about PbtA giving a sense of what characters do beyond the most basic actions. Since the information on the sheet is so minimal, there is a lot left to the imagination. There are no skills and very minor stat differences. Personally, I often pick classes/playbooks based on very basic appeal, then try to figure out what I want to do with them.

  • Lowell’s mention of ‘money’ – actually Experience Points, and Character Points – as well as some bits from your previous episode make me feel that system mechanics play a larger role in your game choices, and execution than I previously thought.

    Definitely there is a greater emphasis on mechanics than is of interest to me. I found this episode very interesting, but also very foreign to me. I haven’t traditionally experienced many of the negatives you point out, largely because I think we think differently about the importance of some elements over others.

    For example, when we played Champions, the players picked Disadvantages that they knew would be used. Of course they would. That’s why we picked them. We got points for them because they create story, and tactical disadvantages. Why is Superman so powerful? Because he has to deal with Kryptonite, magic, Lois Lane being put in danger, etc. We want characters like that, so yeah, you pick disadvantages. The points from Disads are rewards for creating interesting, flawed characters.

  • Also, why are you, or everyone you play with so afraid of ‘looking foolish’? That seems so weird. Not every action is going to go perfectly. People make mistakes. They screw up. It happens. So what? I don’t get that. You flub a roll, you laugh, everybody laughs, you move on.

  • Pteryx says:

    Another potential complication when it comes to player wants that I’ve run into: does the player want to DO the things on their sheet, or simply bask in possibly-unearned glory centering on the things they’ve put on their sheet? For my own part, I want to do things appropriate to my role and any glory to be earned and proportionate, but I’ve found out the hard way that not everyone looks at things that way. I’ve been in the situation of being given too little role-appropriate stuff to do in a game and too much glory for what little I did do. As a GM I’ve chafed with and ultimately thrown out a player who took on roles based on perceived glory without saying that what they wanted was not to do things related to that role, but for the story to glorify their character in ways appropriate to that role.

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