Questions tagged [player-agency]

For questions about the players' essential ability to make choices, and take actions, that have a meaningful impact on the game world.

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37
votes
5answers
6k views

How do I engage someone who is playing his character poorly?

I am DMing a game where one player has never quite seemed happy. He regularly questions rulings and gets quite hurt when he tries to do things with his character and they don't succeed. He is playing ...
41
votes
5answers
4k views

How do I handle kids' conflicting goals?

I'm playing Amazing Tales with my two daughters (an even simpler version, actually-- we don't really make characters with specific skills, I just let them be whoever and we make up a story while ...
26
votes
8answers
5k views

Using succubi as villains in a low-sexuality game

Question I'm seeking expertise regarding using iconically sexual creatures without leaning on that nature. Specifically, one of the players in my group has a backstory that prominently features ...
24
votes
8answers
6k views

How to deal with low agency players?

I have a group of four players who meet in-person and are very intent on playing "Dungeons & Dragons" specifically, but suffer from astoundingly low agency. In discussion, the group very ...
1
vote
0answers
130 views

What's the point of things like intelligence/wisdom scores, when those are the predominantly characteristics of the player? [closed]

While I understand the role of things like strength (you can/can't lift that), dexterity, constitution, etc. as character attributes, I really can't make sense of intelligence/wisdom scores. If a ...
24
votes
4answers
5k views

How to deal with a GM who favors other players

I have seen plenty of GMs write about how to deal with problem players, and I suppose I should ask about a GM who favors some players over others. It's only natural if you have a more rich backstory ...
0
votes
1answer
108 views

How can I write up interesting filler for my campaign? [closed]

At the end of the fourth session, just yesterday, I actually ran out of content for the session almost an hour before I thought I would. So I'm going to employ the old 'Adventurer's Guild' trope to ...
25
votes
5answers
3k views

How to deal with different levels of initiative and propensity to overtalk in a large group?

I recently started playing with a large group of about 7-8 people. I noticed that, in our group, a couple of the people are very active: whenever there is a chance for the group to do things, it only ...
11
votes
5answers
685 views

A Rogue dilemma: to roll for Stealth, or not to roll?

I need some guidance about how to best use Stealth checks for a campaign. When it comes to Stealth, say of a Rogue*, would it be better to allow players to roll for their own Stealth skill check, or,...
15
votes
3answers
839 views

As a DM, how can I ensure that everyone feels involved when only a single player is driving the story?

I've ran into a bit of a dilemma with a 5e campaign that's soon coming to a close. It's been running for about a year, and one of the primary goals that I had when I started the campaign was to focus ...
37
votes
6answers
6k views

How can I communicate feelings to players without impacting their agency?

As a Game Master I'd occasionally like to communicate premonitions or sensation to my characters, as a benefit of their backstory, or as a means to give them opportunity to be deeper tied into the ...
18
votes
2answers
675 views

How do I encourage my GM to relax her grip on the story and let the players have some free will?

I've been playing a number of different games with the same core group of friends for years now. We meet once a week with the occasional exception. For the last few months, one of our players has ...
20
votes
9answers
5k views

What are the uses and limitations of Persuasion, Insight, and Deception against other PCs?

Yesterday, I was in a D&D 5E group. Today, I am not. We were playing Out of the Abyss, but that's redundant to my issue, I think. Basically, the DM and I are interpreting Insight differently. He ...
7
votes
0answers
115 views

How to deal with a DM who pointedly ignores important details? [duplicate]

The campaign was intended to be difficult. We knew and accepted that up front, and it sounded like a fun challenge. But we never knew until we were already a fair ways into it how much of the ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

How do I handle a table mixing up the DM and the players' roles too often?

So, after some time I came back to playing live (not online) RPG because a friend of mine, who is used to D&D 3.5, asked me to help him with a 5e table where almost all the players are new to D&...
10
votes
3answers
334 views

How to Prevent Player Apathy Despite Cosmic Retcons?

In the cosmology of Awakening, some entities - primarily Archmages, but also some more abstract forces - can retroactively rewrite huge parts of the world as we know it. We're talking about changes ...
0
votes
2answers
155 views

Gameplay-to-cutscene ratio: how interactive should I make the introduction to the campaign? [closed]

I'm planning a campaign with a specific backdrop-the characters are employees of a certain organization and this is their first day on the job. The organization and the job will no longer actually ...
21
votes
7answers
3k views

Does asking a player to not to do something violate their agency?

This is something I am rather conflicted about as I have met with several gamemasters and I was told that asking players to not to have their character do something breaks their immersion and violates ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it feasible to let a newcomer play the “Gandalf”-like figure I created for my campaign?

I'm writing and DMing a campaign based around members of a nonprofit organization in a province of a decaying empire undergoing a civil war. The premise The player characters are new members of the ...
41
votes
11answers
7k views

How to roleplay my character's ethics according to the DM when I don't understand those ethics? [closed]

Recently in a Pathfinder campaign I encountered the following in a combat situation, after our group made an ambush on a castle inhabited by a small Gnoll clan. Our group clearly had the upper hand ...
64
votes
7answers
10k views

Is it a violation of my player agency if another player is allowed to wish away memories from my character?

A situation occurred in a recent game in which one PC ended up in control of a being of power from the outer planes via their true name. The being confirmed that they would attempt to "slip the ...
6
votes
2answers
659 views

Encouraging piety in classes besides Paladin/Cleric [closed]

As a DM who has almost always played with inexperienced or casual players, I find many or most of those players trend towards homogeneity. They choose a patron deity and alignment when they roll up, ...
38
votes
7answers
9k views

How can I, as DM, dictate the emotions and actions of the players (magically)?

(Some of) my players are trying to role play in a meta-gaming sort of way. For instance, I had an array of weapons in a dungeon, and when they took them, they had to make a Wisdom saving throw, else ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I keep a published adventure playthrough “on rails” without removing player agency? [duplicate]

Split from: How do I deal with players who make friends with goblins? I want to run a campaign "from the book" for a group of new players (played RPGs before, but stuff much much lighter then D&D,...
10
votes
5answers
336 views

Does skipping an ability check for a hazard needed to advance the dungeon remove player agency?

I'm currently running a sort of mega-dungeon made of other dungeons cobbled together. I know most of my players browse here frequently so I'll keep the description brief. At the end of the current ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

In Tomb of Annihilation, how can I run the Orolunga ziggurat pyramid challenge with a little more player agency?

I'm running the Tomb of Annihilation adventure, and my players are about to come to Orolunga. There's a particular "gateway" challenge there: The text says "It might help to think of the whole ...
48
votes
6answers
9k views

NPC casting Suggestion on PC: who decides it's reasonable?

A simple scenario: The DM wishes to break a cleric's concentration on their bless spell, and a foe uses suggestion to tell the cleric to cast silence on an enemy spellcaster. The rationale is that ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Should I request an ability check only when the player asks for it?

I am struggling with something in my sessions: should I ask for an ability check only if the player attempts to do something? For example, the players stumble upon a stone door with some symbols on ...
24
votes
6answers
10k views

How can I politely explain to a DM that removing player agency is usually bad?

Playing D&D 5e. I asked a similar question on reddit, so I will copy the summary of events from there: Okay; I admit that part of what I am about to say is fairly absurd, because we do ...
8
votes
3answers
480 views

Running an Unstructured Narrative

What measures and pitfall should I consider when running an especially unstructured narrative in Pathfinder? In the campaign I am running that has started recently, I am attempting to run a fairly "...
32
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I narrate Charm/Fear/Rage/etc effects in a liberating manner?

Or, How can I implement behavior-centric status effects without giving the players a sense of having lost their autonomy? It's something I have found to be a personal agitant as a roleplayer, and ...
7
votes
1answer
540 views

How can I deal with a DM I feel is over-exerting control over our characters?

I play AD&D 2e and we rotate DM's every few months. Each one runs a different campaign. When we reach a good point we pause one campaign and switch to another and eventually come back to the ...
13
votes
2answers
676 views

How do I add player agency to a canned adventure?

Our current GM is going to be out of town for a few weeks, so I have decided to try my hand at GMing our group using the We Be Goblins module from Pathfinder. The module is short and has good reviews ...
24
votes
4answers
5k views

How do I get my players to be more decisive and take the initiative?

I've been running HotDQ with a group of people for about 9 months now (about 20 sessions; we're on Ep 6.) My current frustration is that things go along OK as long as I'm narrating and asking ...
3
votes
2answers
487 views

How much should I limit a plot-driving GM 'avatar'?

I am GM for a group of (mostly) new Pathfinder players who are extremely off-the-rails in their approach. This is fun, but made it nearly impossible to prepare for a session — they are as likely to ...
14
votes
8answers
4k views

How do I handle a PC who likes to move allies out of danger during his turn?

I have a player who loves to just grab other PCs or NPCs to get them out of danger in the middle of combat. He's got the highest DEX mod in the party so he's usually at the top of the initiative ...
28
votes
6answers
32k views

How much of a hindrance should my cleric's low intelligence score be?

I'm playing D&D 5e with a group of friends, and for most of us (me included) it is our first time. We rolled for ability scores, and as luck would have it, on one of my rolls I got all ones (which ...
82
votes
12answers
12k views

Is saying “Your PC wouldn't do that” to a player denying their agency?

In a comment to my answer to What would be the side effects on a Druid of wearing metal armor?, @Kevin asked: "So, RAW a druid will never choose to wear metal armor or use metal shields, so the ...
74
votes
3answers
36k views

What is Player Agency and what is it good for?

Agency, specifically player agency, is a term that frequently comes up as a reason for why a particular rule or GM decision is better than another. How is agency defined in this context and why is it ...
42
votes
6answers
7k views

How can I best handle monsters/NPCs using social skills vs PCs?

I've checked the books and can't find an answer by RAW other than the DM decides, so I'd like to know the best way to handle this in my games. What happens if a thug tries to intimidate/persuade the ...
90
votes
13answers
12k views

How do I keep the game moving without undermining player agency?

In basically every game I've run or played, regardless of the system, I've encountered the same problem: things that should be quick decisions end up taking ten, twenty or even thirty minutes, and not ...