Ceding some measure of narrative control to players is not just for those of us who choose to play fancy pants indie or "story" games. It's a technique that I had been applying to more traditional games for years before GNS theory or the Forge or even before White Wolf (though not by much). Giving up narrative control is not directly related to being touchy-feely or melodramatic. It's a technique that can be very effective for games involving mercenary treasure hunters and monster slayers in a half-civilized fantasy landscape. Moreover, it's a technique than can easily be employed using your favorite classic role-playing system with no adjustment to the rules.
One small technique that I will mention in this post is the "How Do You Kill It?" technique (better name pending). In Risus, the rules explicitly state that a player who wins a combat has absolute control over what happens to the loser. There is no reason why some variation on this can't be applied to more traditional games. In fact, I have.
When I run Dungeons & Dragons (new school or old), I allow (and encourage) players to describe their killing blows in exquisite detail. When I do this, I borrow from Risus and allow the character to deviate slightly from the rules, if only to give them latitude to come up with a move that is cooler than the last. The character can flip and dip like a crazed monkey ninja for all I care - he has already done the hard work of defeating the enemy with "to hit" rolls and lots of damage. That killing blow is a chance for the character (and the player) to be all iconic and badass without rolls getting in the way. And as I said, the dice have already done their job.
I'm up late on a work deadline, so I may speak to this more in subsequent posts. There is a whole range of options between "How Do You Kill It?" and ditching the GM entirely for games like Fiasco and Microscope. In fact, I even discussed this a bit with Target Numbers and the Single Scientist (for Risus but adaptable to other games).
I May Actually Run This
1 day ago