Dungeons & Dragons Online

When does player agency becomes the jailer, instead of the liberator?

Content of the article: "When does player agency becomes the jailer, instead of the liberator?"

To preface this, I am no longer an active DM or Player, due to many circumstances. This time away from the game has allowed me to analyze the game, and how my former table played.

Most things point back to one, recurring, trend; too much player agency – or so it would seem.

We, as a table, have always prided ourselves in player agency, and allowing people to play the character they want – how they want. At first, this was fantastic. We got some crazy party comps, but the table made it work.

Well… a few years down the line, and now people are more concerned about their 'agency', than playing a group based game.

Characters making brash, bold, and damning decisions (one after another) without concern for the party – because it furthers their characters goals. On occasion, this can be fun. But when the entire party tries to each go their own way, all the time, it's incredibly taxing.

Likewise, the freedom of character creation has deteriorated from a healthy place to an unhealthy place. could be.>

What really brought this to my attention was the most recent failure-to-launch game;

A new, but good, DM stepped up to run a game – but he wanted to do it in a more RAW fashion, with restrictions on classes to fit a certain setting he thought would be fun to DM for.

This. Exploded.

The table said they were fine with it, but their actions betrayed their words. Obviously creating characters that conflicted with what the DM was putting forth – arguing with the DM that he was denying their agency, when he expressed their choices where going against the setting he wanted to run. Borderline bullying the DM, to be honest.

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The DM dropped the game, and dropped from the group. Seeing this, myself and one other member dropped as well.

Everyone knew, going into session 0, that the DM wanted to run something different than we've played before – and everyone agreed different would be good. But, since different didn't include all 50+ races and all 300+ classes and prestige classes – it wasn't 'different' it was restricting.

Now, if that sounds harsh or venomous, I apologize. It was mildly upsetting seeing people so up in arms over something (in all reality) so insignificant.

So, my questions to you are;

1.) Have you ever experienced something similar?

2.) How did you handle it?

3.) At what point does player agency become the jailer, instead of the liberator?

Source: reddit.com

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