There’s a common wisdom in gaming circles with regards to running an RPG. That wisdom goes somewhere along the lines of “Never say no to something the player wants. Always say ‘yes, but…” And for most situations that works just fine. However, there’s also a few situations when saying ‘no’ is the appropriate response. And that’s what we’ll be looking at today.
In today’s post, we’ll be looking at a few situations where the traditional response is either the wrong one and why or where doing the exact opposite is more interesting for your game. So without further ado, let’s dig into it.
This week, we’re talking about situational abilities. D&D’s feather fall is probably the most egregious example but there are plenty of others in different games. Anima’s ki techniques had the ability to build moves that would work on a specific opponent or only at night and games like World of Darkness’ Werewolf had abilities that dealt only with specific targets (Spirits).
Other examples include characters that are highly specialized in a specific skillset (Pilots or Drivers are a good example here) or carry very specific tools (like explosives)
How do you, as a GM give these people the opportunity to shine without making that specific element of play the focus of the campaign? And how do you, as a player, make sure you actually get to use those cool spells and abilities you’ve worked so hard for to have?