Dungeons & Dragons Online

I WANT my players to fuck my campaign up.

Damn straight. As the title says, I'm quite happy when my players find a way to turn the campaign on its head. It is a nice change of pace in all cases and, in most cases, a way to raise the stakes. And, what's more, it's a result of players/character actions, which is the end-all be-all of RPGs.

So, to illustrate, couple of examples. One from recently that hasn't even developed yet, one from about a year and a half ago.


First, I have a Mage: the Ascension game going. The backdrop of it is an eldritch horror that's coming, yaddy yadda, but the main focus is how all the factions are so enthralled in their own politics that they regard this looming, but seemingly distant threat, as something secondary.

So, my players have come to have the "trust", or, should I better say, the reluctant complicity of 3 factions. Doesn't matter what they are right now. My original plan was that they would side with one of the factions, maybe two, and then go after this threat, right?

Well, guess what, they did none of that. They have basically tricked the three of them to meet at a specific point, not to convince them to cooperate and face the threat, but to have them figh an all out brawl, and side with the winner, just because they hate all 3 factions so much.

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Usually, this would be a "oh, fuck, what do I do now?" I, on the other hand, was salivating at this possibility. I love this kind of shit, and my players know it. I have often told them that they're not in a videogame, and that their actions, good and bad, have consequences. I'm ready to deal with anything they throw my way. Moreover, I'm actually glad to have to deal with the shit they throw my way.

Second example is somewhat similar, but in the opposite direction. Had a group who I had planned would have a tough fight to reach a secondary villain, extract information, then get out. To my surprise, they actually hand over a gift to him, ask for parlay, and are open about what information they seek. Instead of a foe, they're trying to make this secondary villain their ally, or, at least, a temporary friendship.

Now, I could have gone with the old "the villain wants nothing to do with you", but, what the hell? Let's hear what these bozos have to say. They actually make a compelling case, and they become circumstancial collaborators. Why not? That turned a 1-2 session situation into a full-blown mini-campaign, where they got to explore a whole region and theme I hadn't prepared before. There were far more dramatic moments in that campaign, and new, overarching decisions that they made out of the blue, without me expecting them.

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Just, roll with the punches.


Next time the characters do something unexpected, but that is possible in universe, just, roll with it. Cherish it. It means your players are engaged with your world, and not only understand it, but are adept with it enough that they can manipulate it to their own goals.

This is what RPGs are all about. Just, give it a go, see what happens.


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