Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Player Goals

I received an e-mail from one of my Dungeons & Dragons DMs a few days back.  He's having doubts about continuing the game because he's read on a number of blogs and forums that Epic Tier "blows" in 4e.

Apparently a lot of game bloggers have different goals when playing games, and there are either mechanical issues or balance problems or something that bugs these other bloggers that doesn't bother me.

You see, when I play games, my goals change as the game goes on.

At lower power levels, my goal is to learn the system and have fun with Kewl Character Powers. This is also when I'll start to look at higher-level elements to figure out what direction I want the character to take, including  powers and abilities to pick up in the future.  At low levels, I get an idea of a character's potential - and it doesn't matter if the game is D&D or L5R or Burning Wheel.  This is also the point at which I start to get a handle on a character's personality. Thorssen, my first-level Paladin of the Raven Queen, for example, started out looking at moving towards a Warlord multiclass, but he wound up being much less warlike than I had expected once he hit the table.

Lower levels are also when the party dynamic is figured out - this is a group goal. It's when we figure out that Thorssen and Kaden (the party's Cleric) will banter back and forth and try to convert one another. Both respect the other (and the other's God), but they communicate best via light teasing. Thorssen is a bit afraid of Thava, our party's Dragonborn Wizard - you can tell in part because he tends to move away from her when a fight starts. Out of combat, he barely speaks to her at all.  He's got a soft spot for the party's Thief, and he respects the fighter. He often moves to help either with their flanking. He also has a habit of making himself a target so that the rest of the party can maneuver around him.

The mid-level game is when the party dynamic is pretty well set. My goal for the character may change, depending on what personality turns he's taken. For example, Thorssen had initially multiclassed into Bard (it did the same thing as the Warlord without being ... well ... warlike). And then, a few levels later, he retrained out of it, as it didn't fit. It was too social for him.  Thorssen is a high-Charisma character that isn't particularly social by nature. And no, we're not using Charisma as Attractiveness (at least, I don't think we are ... ).

As we head into higher levels, my goal in play will be working on the internal party relationships more and more.  Do I have kewl powers? Yes. Do they matter?  Not really.  It's great that I can be a part of the team.

At all levels of play, however, my biggest goal as a player is getting to interact with my friends. Not Thorssen's friends - my friends. John and Katie and Jim and Dawn and Stephanie and (occasionally guest-starring) Wade.

In fact, that social aspect is my biggest goal no matter what game I'm playing. I don't care if it's No Thanks! or Burning Empires or Fireborn. I come to the table (whether a real physical table or a virtual web-based table) because around that table are people I like with whom I want to spend more time.

I might even play Fluxx, if that's what it'd take to get these folks to the table with me.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:02 AM

    It's always about the people for me, too.