?

Log in

entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
Planning, Overplanning, and Underplanning - Qualified Perceptions
firstfrost
firstfrost
Planning, Overplanning, and Underplanning
A couple of runs I've been in recently have run into one of the traditional player schisms, between "keep talking/figuring stuff out" and "time to start the action". The battle cry of the "action now!" people is "A bad plan now is better than no plan later", but often the choice is actually between a bad plan now and a good plan later. Not all attempts to figure something clever out are doomed to failure.

I'm willing to go with a half-assed plan into a combat. A better plan probably won't survive contact with the enemy anyway, and a party in combat often has bonus resources (karma points, one-shot items) that can be thrown in, in the even that things go badly. And, usually, even if the fight turns out not to be winnable, it can be fled from.

But the half-assed "Get 'em!" plan works a lot less well for other plots and conflicts. You can't just charge into a murder mystery and browbeat the first potential suspect to make them confess. Deciding a complicated moral conundrum quickly isn't likely to be satisfactory, and a hit-and-run persuasion will probably not win over the target.

I don't want to bore other players. But it ought to be acceptable to let the thinkers and the action types both have their fun, even if one of the types of fun is slower-moving than the other.
10 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
twe From: twe Date: April 2nd, 2008 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)
"A bad plan now is better than no plan later."

Hey, that was my line! Of course, as treptoplax and I periodically admit to each other when reminiscing, it's not actually true; Mara just had 30 points of "overconfident & impulsive." Ironically, I think (you might have a different opinion) that I am usually firmly in the non-combat end of the spectrum these days: sure we could get 'em, but it many genres, a fight feels like the last refuge of the incompetent, or at least the bad guys, and so I strive to find another way out. Maybe I just haven't built a lot of combat heavy characters, but I think when I do, I'm happy to be mostly ineffectual in the fight, as long as I'm allowed to try and deflect what fights I can.

Hit & run persuasion should not be dismissed outright though. Sometimes the really outrageous stories just escape one's lips unbidden.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: April 2nd, 2008 01:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hit & run persuasion should not be dismissed outright though. Sometimes the really outrageous stories just escape one's lips unbidden.

This is the distinction between persuasion and fast talk, I think. Fast talk is often best done without any thinking at all, but you mostly leave confusion in your wake rather than allies. :)
algorithmancy From: algorithmancy Date: April 2nd, 2008 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Two words: Leeeeeeeroy Jenkins!
From: tirinian Date: April 2nd, 2008 03:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Mmm. In the Comet run, which I think was one of the runs you're talking about, Jelom talks a good game about wanting to "Just Get'Em!", but I think it's largely Jelom's new wild-elf personality, more than the player's actual opinion. :-)
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: April 2nd, 2008 01:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Jelom is busy being a wild elf, but Jelom's player is paranoid about meta-time, so it synergizes some. :)
desireearmfeldt From: desireearmfeldt Date: April 2nd, 2008 12:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also, it's more likely to be true for non-combat than for combat Plans that Planning is actually part of the fun. That is, there is some fun to be got out of combat strategy/tactics, yes, but as you say, contact with the enemy. Contact-with-the-enemy holds true for non-combat as well, but there the planning is more likely to involve...ethical and/or narrative pondering? Like "what outcome do we want, what outcome do we think we can get, what are we prepared to give up...?" etc. In combat, the goal and possible sacrifices are usually pretty clear from the get-go.
dpolicar From: dpolicar Date: April 2nd, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
One approach is to have different types of runs. That is, have a couple of dedicated planning/research runs, where the action-now! players can opt out.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: April 2nd, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
We did that a couple of times in Oath, for things that were a Whole Big Pile Of Planning that could be separated out into an optional run, or for a research mechanic that could be abstracted into between-runs puttering, and it did work okay; the people who cared about something could spend a lot of time on it, and the people who cared less didn't have to. On the other hand, that does mean the people who care less get even less engaged with those particular decisions.

In this case I was thinking of smaller amounts, like, say, a murder mystery plot: spend X time figuring out who did it and why, spend Y time figuring out what the right thing to do about it is, spend Z time in action pouncing. That, you wouldn't really want to separate into different runs. :)
From: tirinian Date: April 2nd, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. I think my favorite murder mystery in Comet was the one where poor Pho Sien went to Grandmother for help with X, and she jumped straight to Y with "ok, who do we frame?" :-)
arcanology From: arcanology Date: April 3rd, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm definitely more in the get 'em school I think, but mostly because I really don't like planning with insufficient information which is a lot of in-game planning.

If we don't know anything, don't bother to make elaborate plans about what we would do if we did know anything, make simple plans and a fallback for disasters.
10 comments or Leave a comment