Tuesday, August 13, 2019

RPGaDay Challenge 2019 - MYSTERY

For me it's all about the Mystery.

I view a good Mystery as the key to a solid Role Playing Game experience, which can be problematic, as I don't think many gamers are great at Mysteries.

The result of this unfortunate situation is frustration as both a GM and player; running a game for a group of people who aren't great with deductive reasoning or being a player in a session where the GM has made the conundrum completely inscrutable. 

Mysteries really aren't hard to construct but they can be hard to solve if you forget the number one, most important thing about them - you want them to be solved. The player wants to solve it so they can feel a sense of accomplishment. The GM wants it solved so their campaign and progress and the story can continue forward. Most importantly, think about what happens if it isn't solved. Often the answer is nothing. Nothing happens. The game can grind to a halt.

Gamemasters, please don't lock yourself in to one and only one possibly outcome of an investigation unless you are going to leave ample clues as to what is going on, how it's happening, and why. 

Players, be sure to investigate. Don't just roll your 'Detective' skill or similar ability and hope the GM hands you all the answers. Be inquisitive. Have your PC look around, check inside desks, in closets, behind furniture. Have them talk to witnesses, locals, and experts in the appropriate field. Become involved in the Mystery and active in the solving of it. 

You can click on the label/tag 'Mystery' attached to this post to see my previous discussions on the subject. I am pretty happy with those so I don't feel I need to go over the whole thing again here. Suffice to say, most Action/Adventure books, movies, TV shows, and the like have Mysteries, and your game should as well. Like the sources it draws from, the best part of the Mystery is the reveal. Do what you can to make that possible. 

Why you would do it any other way is...A Mystery.

Barking Alien

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