About “Narrative Control” for Players
Christopher Stone-Bush said
“While I think Dungeon World really shines when the players have a lot of narrative input,”
and that is true but I sometimes see people applying this incorrectly and thought I’d use that chance to bring it up.
In short, I am talking about this article by John Harper:
In this he explains what players can and can’t be asked about. In short, you can only ask about things that are known to the character. You can’t ask someone what is in the Dungeon – only what they know and think is in the dungeon. If they have no knowledge about that you can’t ask. You can set them up by saying they have read about it – but normally we would think they don’t.
So why can you ask a player about the characters hometown but not about what is in the locked chest?
Because you are not asking the player. You are asking the character.
“Hey Gunhard, what is the biggest problem in your hometown”
“Those pesky Ratmen, coming out of the Sewers at night and multiplying by foul magic.”
that works right. Cleary Gunhard knows about this. So let’s look at the chest,
“Gunhard, there is a big golden chest behind the altar. What is in it?”
“Ahem… I don’t know?”
The conversation doesn’t work like that. You as the GM are talking to the characters. You are addressing them, not the players. You could in theory ask Ashanti, the player of Gunhard what she thinks would be a great idea, but the book isn’t really advising you to do that. It is not Ashanti’s job to come up with these things. It’s yours.
Does the game break if you do it in another way? Not really.
You are loosing some of the immersion, or at least narrative quality of the game though, if characters need to come up with things they don’t know.
So how do you deal with this at the table?