Lords of the River of Gold
Gaming tropes/cliches that you should forget
You may read them at your leisure, or ignore them completely!
1. Don’t split the party.
Feel free to split up, it gives people time to eat dinner, take care of kids, go to the bathroom. Just make sure you can get back if needed.
2. You either win or lose.
This game is centered around your decisions and their consequences. Generally, the “right” thing to do will tick someone off and will make someone else happy. You honor an opponent by holding a funeral for her, you just ticked off your boss. You cause a small fire in the back of town to cause an evacuation, saving the village from the next day’s battle, you just pissed off the church and the village who don’t put two and two together. Lie and frame an Earl who was leading the resistance against your proposal before the Baron? You just made friend’s with the new Earl, who was glad to see his father jailed. There is no right or wrong answer. Winning and losing is measured in whether or not you achieved the desired result for minimum undesired consequences.
3. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.
Expect your actions to have consequences. Acts of generosity, even if small to you, may mean allies later in life. Acts of cruelty, though necessary, could mean enemies later in life. The more famous you are, the more likely the consequence.
4. Cartesian Logic.
The world operates without you in it. NPCs and powers will move without your sayso or effect. An ally may be destroyed or an enemy imprisoned based on nothing you did. Nothing is static.
5. Party Cohesion.
I should underline this. If your character should leave the party because it is not meeting his or her expectations or desires, then do so. If plot critical, I may work with you to keep your character in or bring them back, but if you are the “lone wolf, who plays by his own rules” then it’s unlikely that character will stick around. If your character really just wants to farm, it is likely she will be able to do that eventually, go farm and be happy. We’ll roll up a new character and move ahead. I’m not saying it will definitely happen, but let’s not strain logic to keep them around.
6. Combat will be based on your power level.
First off, combat is not always the right course of action, but it will certainly happen. That said, when you are really powerful, it’s not as though the Duke will suddenly have guards who are much smarter and better equipped than before. When you are weak, armies will not suddenly be bumbling idiots. I’m not going to throw you in fire, but you should not anticipate that your encounter will be well balanced for your exact skill level.
7. The GM wants to kill you.
We are making a story together, it’s fun for all! I will determine basic adventures and NPCs. Generally, those NPCs will have certain courses of action that they will take. I will try my best to make their decisions before I hear your plans. It could be that your plans totally screw me. Congratulations, you just made your life easier. It could be that your very clever plan just happens to be perfectly countered by something the NPC independently thought up. Man, that sucks for you. That is going to be really hard.
8. Losing = Death.
I anticipate that some of the sessions will be frustrating. I have designed the game so that you do not always get what you want. Friends will die, you will likely be betrayed at some point, and sure wins will go south. Generally, this does not mean that you will die, just that you’ve been stymied. (If you make a bonehead move, you might die, but I don’t want you to. Death will happen when you combine bad decisions with bad rolling.) Don’t expect everything you want.
9. He’s telling the truth, therefore it is true.
Part of this game involves fidelity and loyalty. Many people are loyal because they have been sold a bill of goods and they bought into it. If you succeed on an empathy check and determine that someone believes something to be the honest true, that means just that. They believe it’s true. It doesn’t make it true.
10. Last one. If you’re not having fun, grin and bear it.
This is supposed to be a serious game, dealing with issues of consequence and morality. I fully anticipate that some games will leave you a bit frustrated at your inability to make headway or avoid some powerplay. You may feel somewhat railroaded, but see No. 4. But if the feeling persists, then please talk to me about it, and I will listen to any concerns you may have. If you feel uncomfortable with something that’s going on, let me know and I will change directions, or handwave a scene.
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