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April 22, 2009 / jadettman

Unanticipated Events

Frequently, roleplaying games lack the unexpected events that intrude into our real lives.

I usually rationalize that by saying that an RPG reflects the narratively engaging aspects of life rather than a straightforward simulation of a reality. Sometimes, though, all it takes is a little injection of that kind of unexpectedness to lend some verisimilitude to a game.

Saturday, Britt and I drove down to Rockford and met Peter, James, Megan, and Blythe at the India House for lunch. Afterward, we headed for James, Megan, and Blythe’s home to play some boardgames. On the way, the front passenger-side tire on Peter’s car detached from its tie-rod, making it difficult for Peter to steer. Luckily, it was on a well-traveled road, no one was injured and nothing else was damaged, and we were right behind him. Even luckier, within ten minutes of stopping we were joined by a passing police officer and a tow truck.

If anything, the event was merely a delay in our plans for the day rather than the catastrophe it could have been for Peter if the tie-rod had broken on the highway or one of the busier roads in Rockford.

The whole situation made me think that it would be useful and interesting to inject a surprise like that into a game every now and then, just to see what happens.


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