by Jacob

Intent is Important

This is going to be a really short article for me. I’m mostly trying to reflect a point that the Angry DM’s article makes. I highly recommend the Angry DM, by the way. As his nickname implies a little, he can go off on some angry rants sometimes, but that’s mostly on twitter. His blog is mostly full of some amazingly well-thought-out articles on gaming.

Anyway, one of the points in his article is that players should state the intent of their actions in RPGs. Many players will simply say what they’re doing, and everyone else at the table doesn’t know why (but often assumes a reason). The GM agrees and allows the roll, and the player narrates something completely unexpected, and often it is something that the GM would have run differently had he or she known what the player was intending. Then an argument might ensue.

I’m sorry that I can’t give an example (from real life or made up), but I’ve experienced it a couple times in my life as a gamer. It’s not fun for anyone. Ever since playing Fate, though, my group has gotten a lot better at it.

Why Fate? Fate has it’s four actions, and you can describe your character as doing something, but unless you state the intent, it can sometimes be confusing as to which action you want to take. Most often, the confusion is between Attack and Create Advantage.

Anyway, as I’ve said, you can’t just state what you’re doing; you have to say why you’re doing it, what you intend to accomplish by doing what you’re doing. If you’re a GM and a player doesn’t give you his or her intention, ask for it. It’s simple, just ask, “What are you try to accomplish with that?” The only times this is not necessary is when the player says their attacking or when you’ve told them to make the check.

Now go out there and play nice.


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