Firstly, let me say that agree with +Jon Marr
and +Shawn Sanford
. House-ruling and people finding how the game can fit with their play style is an amazing thing and part of what tabletop RPGs are about. We all mess with the game to find what works for us. This thread, though, and problems presented in it made me reflect on my own game and things I'm not sure of in the campaign. As an example, I am currently dealing with ramifications of a high-point spellburn and a Nat 20 on a Charm Person spell. In sobering analysis, it isn't the spellburn that is causing the problem but my cumulative decisions on what spellburn means in my game that are of issue.
When I look at the spellburn section of the rules or table 5-1, my reading of the game as written is that spellburn is something more than just a mechanical sacrifice for a mechanical gain. That entering into a situation of high spellburn and not have it result in story complications feels like me choosing not to referee the game as is. Which is fine but it also means that I am toying with the "balance" in the game and am inviting the possibility that something may go off the rails later as a result.
I find that I read a lot about player agency and consequence online but I feel like there is little discussed about consequence on the Judge's side of the table. Judge's possess a lot of agency in determining how the game is played at the table and those choices have consequences. In looking at my own game, I feel like the parts that might be off balance are a result of how I have decided to implement elements of the rule set in my campaign.
The linked to thread got me really thinking about these things and the culpibility that Judge's might have when things don't seem to be working right at the table or something feels unbalanced. I am sure that somewhere buried in there are a few things that are a product of my bias that when it comes to DCC, I feel like the rules as written do a beautiful job of tying ways of balancing the rule set through elements born of story and ignoring these parts is ignoring some of the rules. I know that not everyone enjoys all of these elements nor do they necessarily fit with the play style of every group. I am, however, curious in exploring what these kinds of changes mean to how the game plays and how well it plays. I am also interested in pondering the idea that as much as the players need to deal with the consequences of their choices in order to give those choices meaning that maybe those of the Judge's side of the table should look at the choices we make and sometimes have to accept things we are unhappy with as a consequence of the agency we exercise. Without that, aren't our choices also robbed of any meaning?