Sniffen Packets

With a name like Sniffen, it's got to smell good.

Scene framing

“We walk out the door.”

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard that in games. I heard it last night. As before, it was a moment of terror: a blank canvas thrown in front of me, with a demand that I make something interesting. It’s a larger relative of the moment after hearing “I get 4 successes to know about the history of this place.” Any knowledge skill works the same way: simulationist players demand that I fill in more of the world.

I’ve got a new realization from last night: I don’t have to continue the game right outside the door. I can pick up a scene however much later I want. I’ve still got more to learn about this: last night I guessed that the players wanted more time exploring the catacombs, asked, and was confirmed. I should be able to read that, or just have confidence in my own choices. But since I can skip forwards, I can give them a scene of exploration, then jump right to an attacking troll.

I fumbled a bit of that troll attack: by giving so much forecasting of it, I gave the players a chance to avoid it. They wanted more interaction, but played their characters as trying to avoid any interaction. That’s crazy, but that’s players for you.

On the other hand, the random wandering exploration scene was interesting color: one guy wanted to drop back and hide from the other PCs, and another wanted to “fumble” checking for danger and “accidentally” cause a cave in to isolate the skulker. That was neat! I’m not sure how to do that from the GM’s chair. I guess players have to do it themselves. It sure would be nice if players could have some freedom to call for color and building scenes like that.

This was all with the free Burning Wheel scenario “The Sword” I’m so happy with the BW demo scenarios, I’m even willing to run them again if there’s call for that.