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I dunno about you, but I just write people (sometimes human, usually not), with their own wants, needs, and assets. I don't think about shoehorning them into "character roles" or hitting "plot beats". I want to inhabit a character's mindset when playing, not sit outside it and check whether I'm hitting a checklist of tropes.

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that's very unsatisfying to some people. I know because they tell me; "I want this event to have x beats."

we are in the storytelling business, after all, and if we don't think like storytellers, if we don't at least examine the rules and devices of storytelling, we are not doing our best.

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it means "read novels, watch TV, go to the movies, attend the opera, play video games, listen to the radio, and dissect those stories."

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a "beat" is a unit of narrative time, part of a larger rhythm, and it comes from musical notation. basically put, you put beats in the storytell so not everything happens at once, or so things don't just keep happening without pause. in any 'random game', as you put it, a beat is just an event that happens in the story. you hit the upbeat, then you hit the downbeat. you spend a session fighting the vampire lord, then you spend a session deciding what to do with all the blood. in one scene you play the boxer in the ring for the title championship bout, in the next you play the boxer celebrating their victory or mourning their loss.

i'm not a particular fan of the three-act; i prefer to improvise the narrative structure of my campaigns. but just because i improvise, doesn't mean i don't spend a lot of thought, work, and time on the structure.

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"I want this event to have x beats."

Yeah but why should I follow that whim (assuming it's not an invocation of a safety tool)?

The Last Jedi would have been a weaker film (i.e. it would have been The Force Awakens) if it polled some random sample of the fanbase and constructed its plot according to what they wanted. Rian Johnson knew what he was doing with the deliberate evocation of dissatisfaction.

And I'm not even trying to create a film. I'm trying to create a *game world to inhabit*, where NPCs have depth and meaning to their actions beyond some instrumental value to the protagonists' arc. For all that people like to point the finger at D&D and say "it treats NPCs as sacks of HP and loot, mere objects for the PCs to plunder", at least it's not treating them as sacks of plot points and tropes for the *players* to plunder. Why is that better, less problematic storytelling?

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here's why you should follow that whim; because your players asked you for it. what else are we here for?

and I mean, if it has never happened to you, maybe it'll never happen, and you won't have to learn anything new.

I get what you're trying to say with "plundering plot points and tropes," but you are unequivocally wrong. a story is a living thing, and the play is the pumping of the blood. plot points and tropes cannot be plundered, and those are but the components of a story to begin with. the story matters. the gold and treasure may go into a fictional economy, but I have never heard of it as a system mattering aside from fiat. if there's a game out there concerned with GDP and the actual flow of goods, I will retract my criticism.

and I mean, it doesn't need to matter. if all you want is for players to get lots of money to buy the things they like, there's no reason why you have to calculate deficits to determine this quarter's sales tax.

finally, being able to inhabit a character's mind and being aware of tropes, clichés, and other narrative conventions are not mutually-exclusive positions.

Do you actually believe I "won't have to learn anything new" by choosing not to be some wish-fulfilment genie?

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its a possibility, yes.

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point one: no, i believe you are mistaken. glacus is not basing the idea that narrative language should be mechanically weighty; "immersion" or inhabiting a mindset or otherwise roleplaying is usually a fiat thing.  and fiat is the furthest thing from concrete; interacting with emotions, beliefs, and motivations in a concrete way will require mechanics - narrative in nature - that make these things matter.

point two: sure, i'm saying that as a gm, that these players do exist, because i play with them. and that one day you might have to deal with their desires, and they may not intersect with yours (the horror!). which leads me to the last point.

point three: of course the gm is also a player.  of course they should also have fun at the table. but when someone wants something different, you're going to have to deal with it. you must decide whose enjoyment is going to win out. and you can save yourself a lot of grief by preparing for it.

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we really aren't, my friend.