Inconsistent or Unknown

In a comment on a Monsters & Manuals post, knobgobbler wrote:

One of the reasons I won’t GM for my regular Saturday group is because I KNOW those guys will pick apart anything I run… ‘Oh! that aqueduct wouldn’t work that way!… and ‘Oh! You’ve got the physics of that all wrong!’ I’m really reluctant nowadays to run anything for self-proclaimed ‘gamers.’

This experience is alien to me. Anything like aqueduct mechanics is a mystery, from the PC point of view. Sometimes I will know why the (for example) aqueduct works the way it does, because that will be something that I have thought about, and sometimes I won’t (it’s obviously impractical, not to mention boring, to think over every fictional thing beforehand).

In either case though, if a player ever says something like “hey, that doesn’t make sense!” the response would be: yeah, that’s kind of mysterious, do you want to investigate, and if so how? If I already know some backstory, then the player can figure it out through adventuring, and if I don’t, then we can figure it out together.

3 thoughts on “Inconsistent or Unknown

  1. Seth Clayton

    I’ve only occasionally encountered it. There are some people who are [insert thing here] geeks who are really into that thing and when that thing enters the game, they get a real kick out of it. They really enjoy that part of the game, because they know a lot about it. And sometimes “little inconsistencies” bug them.

    But especially in fantasy games, it’s easy to hand-wave it away. Modern games it’s a little tougher. Regardless, I tend not to make a big deal out of it when it comes up. I either give them a “it’s magic/modified/supertech” line or say, “sure, that’s right”. I don’t have to change the rules or how things happen, so I don’t really care about the details.

    But I can see how it could be a problem. Character/player knowledge can often be an issue. Most of my players are really good about it though.

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  2. LS

    In my monthly group, I have two people who are deeply involved in ecological science. They’re normally good players, but the moment I describe a plant which doesn’t make sense, they start to complain.

    The first few times, yes, I did just say “It must be unnatural in some way then, musn’t it?” But now I just avoid ever putting plants in that game to avoid the annoyance.

    Contrary to Knobgobbler, though, I find avid tabletop gamers are more understanding. They get it. You’re just one person, with one person’s knowledge, and your game world is occasionally going to be nonsensical because you’re unaware of some piece of science which makes what you’re describing impossible.

    Honestly, it probably has less to do with a gamer / non-gamer distinction, and more to do with a distinction between “people with the emotional maturity to recognize it’s disruptive and rude to point out anachronisms just for the sake of pointing them out,” and “person who isn’t that.”

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