Writing down your own ambitions?

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Writing down your own ambitions?
« on: September 28, 2016, 05:19:09 AM »
When we go through the experience list at the end of a session, one of the players is like: "Nope, none checked - of course. I told you I didn't like swords & sorcery!"
(To which I usually reply: "What about keeping a fellow PC from committing an atrocity? I know you want to do that!", and she's like: "What a hopeless bunch! There's no way I can ever manage to keep them from doing what they enjoy so much.") :)

However, I know for sure she's actually enjoying our game. And this isn't a case of "I've had all the experiences I cared about so the game is over for me", either - actually, I think we all feel like the game has just started.

While responding to all the trouble which has been snowballing since the 1st scene of our 1st session (and will continue doing so for the foreseeable future - I guess I'm just good at making trouble snowball) it's obvious she's setting up objectives for herself. Specifically, her character has developed into a necromancer with issues about his upbringing as a necromancer and who morally disapproves of necromancy the way people in the setting usually employ it - as portrayed by me so far. Thus, he's growing into something like a "reverse necromancer" (that's what the player called it), constantly trying to use his necromancy skills to set right the wrongdoings of other necromancers in the city. And how could I, as a GM, fail to love such a development?

Also, in out-of-game chatter, she has half-jokingly stated some more objectives. She said she'd like her character to get a cat; I told her the easy way was through moving to better lodgings, and that, based on what little we know about cats on Venus, the alternative was bound to be quite the adventure. Considering what a rare, dangerous creature a Venusian cat is, those actually strike me as a perfectly valid, genre-fitting ambition and an equally valid, genre-fitting potential adventure.

What I'm now pondering is: should I customize the big list of experiences, adding a couple ones to validate a player's declared ambitions? I'm thinking such additions as:
  • I have set right a fundamental wrong.
  • I have permanently changed the customs of a city-state and the ways of her people.
  • I have acquired a most extraordinary being as my bound companion.
Vincent, what do you think of going this way? Have you walked it already and walled it off on purpose?

Re: Writing down your own ambitions?
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2016, 04:18:37 PM »
Very interesting question.

I find those particular ambitions far more intriguing than some of the "default" ones, and I like the idea of adding them to the game, although I'm not sure what the best way to do that is. How much of the value of these ambitions has to do specifically with that particular player and that particular situation?

Predefined ambitions do a great job of telegraphing the direction of the game to everyone (including the MC! Important!).

Player-defined ambitions do something different and potentially more interesting to a particular group.



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Re: Writing down your own ambitions?
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2016, 11:33:04 AM »
Definitely don't. If she's playing toward off-list ambitions - and I'm sure she is! And I'm also sure that every single other player who ever plays the game will! Playing toward off-list ambitions is part of the game's design - she's doing it for off-list reasons, and so they should remain.