Friday, July 15, 2011

Embracing the Crazy

One of the problems with running a more traditional style RPG like Pathfinder is that I tend to fall into my old patterns of GMing when I do so. I often forget many of the lessons that I've learned over the past few years about running and playing a better game and revert to a more dictatorial style of GMing.

One of the most obvious mistakes I keep making is that I keep trying to reign in the crazy. For example, the party in our Kingmaker campaign has had some great characters, many of which seem to have an element of the crazy to them, but I keep fighting against those elements, despite the fact that when I step back and take an objective look I recognize just how awesome some of them are.

One character in particular is just full of great crazy that I keep trying to reign in. That character is a human ranger who believes he's a half elf. He was raised by elves, which is where the root of his delusion comes from, but he's quite clearly human.

He's also an ardent lay follower of the god Erastil, to the point that he's been vociferously lobbying the rest of the group to build a huge cathedral to Erastil in the capital of the kingdom they are building. Nevermind that the more ecumenically minded NPC priest of Erastil has pointed out that the god actually prefers rural shrines, and probably wouldn't appreciate a huge urban cathedral, our deluded ranger continues to forge ahead with his plans!

I haven't even mentioned the stack of corpses that he's collecting. See, he knows that one day they will have the means to raise people from the dead, so he's been collecting those he thinks worthy of a second chance so that when that day comes he can return them to life. Those he thinks worthy have included random dead people they find in the forest, and remains recovered from an ancient barrow.

My problem is that I keep fighting these ideas when I should be embracing them. There are some really great hooks for things in this character's behavior (especially when you factor in that he isn't just another adventurer, but also the head of the city guard for a growing frontier community), but I'm too focused on the Kingmaker campaign path so that instead of opportunities I see them as obstacles.

Now that I recognize that the problem is with me and not the player, I'm trying not to block things for him so much. It's still difficult though, because the crazy often leads that character to take actions that will derail the published plot of the adventure. I have to walk a delicate path between allowing the player to have free reign with his character and making sure that the adventure can progress.


J. Griffin Barber said...

Embrace the crazy, make it your own.

Liz Rogers said...

Oh, man. I just had to move away when the campaign was just getting good. XD

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