Playing with Youngers: “Stopping” the Inevitable

“You do what now?” Shipwright.

This is part of the “Playing with Youngers” series, but requires no additional context to read and enjoy. Find the rest of the series here.

This is something I wrote while working an upcoming project of mine. I don’t know if it’ll make “the cut” as it’s a bit unfocused, but the advice is still solid enough for a post.

When a player (especially a younger player) wants to do something rash or destructive, you as the Game Master can stop time by asking another player what they do first.

  • “Bailey’s character looks ready to charge into the room filled with armed frog-men. Charlie, what do you do?”
  • “Abby, you see Sean’s character reach for his sword in the king’s court. You notice six guards with hands on weapons of their own. What do you do?”
  • “Devin, Clara’s character bends her knees to attempt a jump you’re pretty sure she can’t make. What do you do?” 

This technique isn’t meant to stop players from making Choices of any kind, good or bad, but is a more subtle way to ask “Are you sure you want to do this?” It also gives other players a chance to give their input before something irreversible happens. Just don’t be completely surprised if that player declares, “I charge too!” or “I also draw my sword!” or “I don’t do anything.”

This technique also works to help players plan, albeit in a backwards fashion…

3 thoughts on “Playing with Youngers: “Stopping” the Inevitable

  1. This, right here, is the only reason why I’m not certain removing death is something I can follow through on. Actions demand consequences. If you save the players from themselves, they will just keep on throwing themselves directly into the thickest and worst danger possible, every time. Maybe I can make the consequences harsh enough to function the same as death but… eh?

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