I watched a video the other day, reviewing Elder Scrolls Online.

You can watch it too, but my interest had little to do with what I actually saw in the video. Still, you might get something out of it, so I’ll embed the video for your convenience.



Anyway.

To make choices matter, you need to be able to predict some of the consequences of a decision but not all. I was working on a system for framing these kinds of things some time ago, but all I really worked out were the categories. Questions have answers. Problems have solutions. Et cetera.

There was a logic to it, but I didn’t have anything more than that.

My supposition — the basic premise — was that at any given encounter, you can know your choices, or the consequences, but never both at the same time.

Somehow, you need a system for tracking the actions taken by the party. You have to make actions gameable. Even if it doesn’t necessarily make sense, you need a concept of time that works at the players’ pace. The game’s pace.

Choices need to come up. Consequences have to roll out.

There is a degree of abstraction necessary in order for the GM to be able to… implement a plot properly. If they become to invested in the plot, it leads to capital-‘b’ Bad Things. So there needs to be a degree of separation there, so a game master can “roll it up and let it happen.”

Maybe this is where my encounters are going.

I’ve been having difficulty framing them lately, I wonder if perhaps there’s something else going on that I haven’t been able to quantify.

I’m not certain. I need something more concrete for my plot generator.

It may be that I haven’t fully thought around this problem yet.