Choice versus Consequence in Video (and other) Game Design

I’m prepared to make the argument that this is part of what separates good GMs from inexperienced GMs for role-playing as well.  A good GM presents choices that direct the future of the story.  The plot unfolds based upon player choices, even if they are unexpected.  An inexperienced GM seeks to entrap players with consequences that suggest that they “should have” done what the GM expected them to do all along.  Its a “read my mind” style of GMing that comes from a power trip, not an actual interest in developing story.  These styles of games have pre-determined outcomes for choices and story points.  They are the worst kind of rail-roading.  Striking a nerve?  Good.  Nobody said you getting better would be easy!


4 thoughts on “Choice versus Consequence in Video (and other) Game Design

  1. donnaldjohnson

    I try really hard not to railroad. Do you feel that the message from the Golden Warriors that they were going to destroy Horn as a rail road effect, a choice effect, or a consequence effect?


  2. klecser Post author

    Well, a GM can’t prepare in a vacuum. I always felt that the Golden Warriors confrontation was inevitable. Along the way, there were a lot of ethical choices to be had as to how much we could “prepare” for that confrontation, without it having a significant effect on the populace of the region. Overall, I think we saw some pretty extreme consequences for our choices, but it was a mental struggle to get there. At least, it was for me. For all I know the other PCs were like: “General populace? Who cares?” 🙂



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