Devil's Push, Betrayer's Pull
A word or two about GMing and Flexibility
Iadace, friends. And well met.
I want to take the opportunity to provide a bit of out-of-character, out-of-game, table talk. I want to state for the record that as a rookie GM with a tendency toward over-thinking things, I’m going to try and keep this kind of talk to a minimum, but this seems to be worth it.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. I really love this published adventure. It includes a wide variety of tasks and encounters and I think it is a fantastic tour through the Ninth World. If we follow every page to the letter, I think we will have a blast, and there will be plenty of shock and surprises along the way. I suppose my task as a GM would be to try and keep it from feeling as though this is all “on rails.” Fair enough, and not a bad worst-case scenario at all.
Now that’s out of the way, I’ll get to my point: Or more specifically the tension between two points. On one hand, you have me as the GM leading/steering/incentivizing/etc. you towards certain plot points, and on the other hand, you as players get to feel like you have lots of freedom and licence to just roleplay in this big world.
I’ve learned a lot in our early sessions, and I’ve got a long ways to go.There are still a lot of skills with which I am not yet fluent. But I am resolving to, whenever possible, favor player freedom and options over my leading you by the nose.
From my perspective, in our present adventure, it looks like this: You have the quest of Devola laid out before you. If you attempt to focus on that, and carry out her tasks, I can promise you it won’t be boring. But it is also true, that if Shires and Letoh decided to completely buck the quest as Devola has laid out, it wouldn’t break the game, either. [EDIT: There is that pesky matter of deadly parasites and a ticking clock, but that’s all part of the fun] Discovery and fun — these are the only things that should be assured for the future. The rest is up to us to decide.
To wrap up, a bit of insight as to how I understand the system and setting of this game. The Ninth World is full of things to discover. It is practically bursting with mysteries and odd happenings. No matter what you choose to do in game, you will likely be presented with what may be “side quests,” or distractions, or red herrings. The same rules for the main quest apply here. Take it or leave it, investigate or don’t — I feel pretty happy with my role as the GM to make that it fun right up to the point of that unfortunate TPK /evil_laugh. As a final reminder — the world of Numenera is a weird and strange place — for every discovery you make, it is likely that you are also surrounded by mysteries to which you will never find answers.
Fun times ahead.