“Okay, How Do You Do That?”

Posted by on May 3, 2017
'2012 Adventure Photography Competition' by FrontierOfficial

‘2012 Adventure Photography Competition’ by FrontierOfficial

Players often get caught up in the game mechanics of what their character is doing and don’t think through the fiction of what they’re doing.

A classic example is a rogue who says he “stealths” across a bare field in full sight of an enemy.

The GM can check this with a simple question: “Okay, how do you do that?”

Crucially, this question doesn’t punish the player. It asks the player to clarify the action in the fiction. The player may be perfectly justified in their action; they just didn’t explain it well.

It also helps the GM understand the player-character’s approach. A character who wants to intimidate a guard can do that in lots of different ways, each of which the guard can react to in different ways, which can further impact the story in different ways. Is this the sort of intimidation that the character won’t want to talk about, or will want to talk about?

Plus, this question encourages players to think in terms of the fiction rather than the rules. Which is what we’re all here for.

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