[SotE] Scales and scope in elfgames

One of my personal pet peeves in game design is assuming that everything should be about the player characters. This has probably been a reaction to metaplot-heavy games where characters only bear witness for Important Non-Player Characters.

However, I personally like the idea more that there’s always forces beyond anyone’s individual ability that actually change the world. Economic forces, military forces and so on. This puts the character on a level where they can affect local goings-on a lot but the bigger picture is always operating on it’s own. So, more about the Seven Samurai than something like Pacific Rim. One of my favorite concepts is the tagline from the RPG Godlike which says “You are larger than life, but the war (WW2) is larger than you.” You are influencing events, but at the end of the day you are just one of the best duellists in Denmark or the best fire magician.

One reason for this approach is that going for larger scopes is often hard on the GM: how do you come up with a string of events that allows four or five people to win a war by themselves? Large scopes also lose sight of the people in the events.

That doesn’t say that there can’t be some epic stuff going on. But at their peak, player characters are people that have inhuman skills and magical powers, more Beowulf or Gandalf than King Arthur, who ends up changing the course of history mostly by himself.

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