#RPGaDay2021 – Day 5 – Gamble

Thursday brings us to August 5th and thus the 5th prompt of #RPGaDay2021. Of the four options, today my eye is drawn toward the second. Of the four, throne, gamble, include, and community, much can be said and it is a hard choice, but something keeps pulling my eye to the gamble prompt so it’s time to see why that is.

Day 5!

LISTEN to the Casting Shadows Podcast instead.

When I think about gaming and how I play characters, I seem to enjoy the opportunity to take calculated risks – to gamble in other words – with the dice as an possibly unreliable ally. When I started gaming, some of those risks, most often in combat situations of course, diminished over time and with the improvement of or addition of useful gear, the acquisition or development of spells and other powers, and most importantly with the growing understanding of the abilities and best tactics of the group of both players and their characters. Some risks, however, were tied to game elements which did not improve for the characters as they gained experience, gear, and abilities. They were always risky and poor gambles – unless it was a die not trying / die trying / luckily survive sort of choice~

From this, I have learned that I truly do like risk and motivating rewards for the characters in an RPG. I like there to be challenge that does not frame things in a context of the character having expectations of success in all things. Balancing that, it is a preference for characters that do have skills and abilities that if not at note at the start, can become so. I lose interest when the characters can expect to succeed, and I lose interest when the characters are unable to succeed. Where I experience the most interest is when the odds can be shifted by what we do, how we plan it, how well we coordinate and execute our contributions to that plan, what timing, gear, and abilities we bring to the team, and so on. I like the factors that define the risk to be open to influence or outright tampering on the character level.

Even if the effect of our striving is minimal it matters.

When a challenge arises, and it seems all but impossible at first glance, but then slowly resolves into a solid possibility for success if all the things which could shift the balance of probability fall into sync – that is exciting. In that equation we the players matter in how we approach decision and declaration, and our characters matter in how who they are and what they can do.

For me, it is not about rolling and seeing what number comes up. There is excitement there, for sure, but I have learned that I prefer a different flavor of thrill. It is not about unassessed risk for some random reward. It isn’t risk for laughs. That isn’t how I connect with games. For me, it is the calculated risk for the specific reward. These are the gambles that I like to experience as a player. Those are the situations I like to help shape when I am the GM.

In Our Play

Today’s example of what I am talking about comes from our ongoing campaign using Leagues of Adventure by Triple Ace Games. Called the Sky is No Limit, the campaign embodies the spirit of exploration, risk for reward, and trying one’s best to swing the odds in one’s favor…. or die. While I would be happy if readers of the blog were to watch each session, I have included just one that really walks that tightrope of gambles for gain~

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