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Tragedy in games?

   
Pendragon has a tragic aspect in that the overall campaign is going to end tragically whatever the players do. I suspect that Vampire could be run with tragic overtones and work pretty well.

In my experience... (here at MW, not so much at the table)

I have oftentimes been accepting of 'bad things' happening to my PC for the element of plot that it creates. But I have found -as some others have already mentioned here- that this tends to be a hard balance for (other) players and GMs alike. If a GM needs a tragic event and I've set my character up (or have at least opened the door) to that tragedy, then I feel like I've signed a social contract to play it to its extent. This might mean falling into oblivion or it could involve redemption. But both likely need lots of time and attention. Which is not something that a table full of players -virtual or otherwise- might find enjoyable.

So you fall into the individualized issue already mentioned. "Over Spotlighting Effect". That's not always something that the group can guarantee will be available. So a plot-developing tragedy eventually devolves into a bad luck footnote because the rest of the group isn't as invested in it and the player may be forced to 'drop it' to save the game.

Now, when you get multiple players involved for one character's tragedy, that's where I've found success. Notably, there was a game that ran awhile back that was far more grim than the normal adventure. Another player required something defining to happen to his character in-game to help launch her in a new direction. After some OOC conversations between Player A, myself, and the GM, using already existing plot points of the game (this part is pretty crucial)... we made it happen. But what I found to be even better for the game was that by nudging the plot into a specific scene we were able to set up a tragedy/dramatic scene that multiple characters benefited from. I had not intended for my PC to be effected by the scene -I was merely a pawn to Player A's development- but by the end of that particular chapter I found that I had been given enough clay to shape my own PCs narrative.

On the dark souls comment, you aren't simply prolonging your worlds existence. You are reshaping its rebirth. Which is why all the games take you to the First Flame and have you reigniting it with the last cinder.

That is why fire is so important to the verse.

You as the hero of dark souls ignite the flame the finally allows all the undead who have their humanity to finally die in peace and be reborn. Remember, it's a game about Shinto.

As for being the tragic hero, I often play and apply as them because life is a tragedy. Or at least mine has been. Though this short third century I've been around has been punctuated by horrible things and death of those I love, and the death of my enemies. Why should I write a happy hero. I am the hero of my story and while I dont refuse happiness I find it bittersweet in knowing that it is brief and only serves to give you hope that something will justify all the pain.

We live in a beautiful, terrible world, people who love tragedies are simply more in tune with that fact than others.

I don't think its unlikely. I think that all tales, even comedies, are tragic. It's unavoidable, especially if the tale continues forever.

The most tragic thing I think, is that most humans have resigned themselves to death, and yet knowing they will die do very little in the course of their lives. I refuse to die, I will live every day like I am already terminal, and pray to be immortal. Because life is pain, and anyone who says otherwise is selling something. Maybe I'm just masochistic enough to love life because of it.

Please, never stop trying to write tragedies. And if you ever need a tragic hero, I am here for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Black_Valor
The most tragic thing I think, is that most humans have resigned themselves to death, and yet knowing they will die do very little in the course of their lives. I refuse to die, I will live every day like I am already terminal, and pray to be immortal. Because life is pain, and anyone who says otherwise is selling something. Maybe I'm just masochistic enough to love life because of it.
Well, other people are genuinely optimistic and cope better with the world when viewed with that lens. People have different personalities, so it's not a case 'they're just trying to sell something'. But, I get how you feel, since I cope with a similar lens (or 'outlook').

Quote:
Originally Posted by Basil
So you fall into the individualized issue already mentioned. "Over Spotlighting Effect". That's not always something that the group can guarantee will be available. So a plot-developing tragedy eventually devolves into a bad luck footnote because the rest of the group isn't as invested in it and the player may be forced to 'drop it' to save the game.
Yeah, that's why I was thinking of including it in games where players are largely isolated from each other. Solo-driven games where players can contact each other for deals, or side against one another.

And yeah, if players are siding against each other, then that creates a lot of room for tragedy (and drama), doesn't it? I would fudge it to prevent one player from dominating too much (like, you can have uneasy, even hierarchical alliances, without players freaking out and hating the dominant player for life... at least, I hope).

I actually prefer tragedy unless I as a player or the players if I am GM put together a meaningful set of tactics and thinking into the situation. I often plan, especially around boss type fights for a few mechanics that are just damnably deadly if the party does not turn them off or circumvent them. In each case there is usually more than 1 way to do each of these things properly.

Further, the storyline usually finds a way to spotlight each character whose player I think can handle the added responsibility and is reliable enough to show up regularly. Since I do not let other players NPC characters and I play them soft like all my NPCs where they act slower than 'live' PCs the players know that not attending and animating their characters is very dangerous for them and the group.

What I do not prefer that still sometimes happens is the random and essentially meaningless death along the way. I find falls especially to be quite good at this. And since resurrection is very rare in my campaigns the credible threat of death is higher and thus recovery from such is not likely.

I find all of that infinitely more enjoyable on both sides of the table than easy peasy sleazy game flow where everything is all YES and rules are brushed over and there is little in the way of challenge. Each to their own tastes. I seem rather alone in my tastes these days. Back in the day most GMs were like I still am.




 

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