Sunday, March 6, 2011
Save Points in Tabletop RPG's.
So how can we apply this to our own tabletop games? Is it worth applying to tabletop games? To be honest, I'm not sure, but I know you can't know until you give something a try when it comes to tabletop RPG's. Something could sound really terrible and just plain dumb, but without exception (except F.A.T.A.L.), I'll try anything at the table at least once.
There's an inherent flaw in the idea of a Save Point for a tabletop game, at least from my point of the view. One of the best things about the hobby is, as a group, discovering the mystery as put forth by the GM. The flip side of this story-telling emphasis is that I also want my actions to matter in the game. The old cliche that the players are the star of the game and the game's story rings quite true. A save point takes all the consequence out of the game if, after a bad decision, I can just go back and take the left where I mistakenly took the right, then each decision isn't really a decision at all, it's just trial-and-error.
So here's my thought: give the power of the Save Point to the GM for those rare times when the players may be fighting a game-ending enemy or enemies. But there's a couple of caveats.
1. Each GM only gets a set, small number of Save Points per campaign (like 5 or 10 tops).
2. The GM never tells the players when a Save Point has been used, only that there are Save Points out there at the start of the campaign.
3. Save Points cannot be used on bosses. Obviously this will depend on the type of game being played and general genre tropes involved, but the point of this rule is that the emphasis of the Save point is on the fights that don't matter as much to the story. It's basically just a way to do a do-over for a small-time fight that went bad.
So, what do you think? I'm not sure if it's really worth your time to include - it'll definitely depend on your group. For those who need rules to stick to and justify how the game is played, this at least gives you some justification for not finishing a campaign on a sour note. Oh! I forgot one more rule:
4. No Save Points in Call of Cthulhu. Nothing, not even GM Fiat, can save you from Nyarlathotep.