Was talking to some friends on Facebook the other day and we got to talking about how much control over the game should players have? This can be when it applies to the specific scene and surroundings. It could also be in regards to the world setting too. Maybe a player wants to be from a place that you didn't have in your setting. Should they have control over other players characters in a scene? Should a DM veto something the players do? How much control over these things should players have?
When it comes to a combat or an RP encounter the players may want a chandelier hanging over the group for example. Do you allow it? You may or may not choose to do so. Do you allow a player to state that they cut down the chandelier falling on the bad guys, giving up full control of the scene to your players? Maybe you are the type to allow some control but not total control when they have the floor. Where is your line?
Everyone has had a player at some point that has wanted to play a race that either wasn't in their setting or wasn't typically a player race. The real question is how do you handle that situation? Do you allow it without question? Do you try to work it into your setting? Are they there from another plane, planet, or time period? To some people this could be very disruptive but to other people it won't change anything. How do you handle this situation?
In more narrative or cinematic games there may be a time when a player wants to take control of another player in their scene. For example the strong fighter in the party picks up the halfling rogue and throws him at the BBEG (big bad evil guy). Maybe the rogue had other plans like sneaking around the pillar to backstab the BBEG. Do you like it when your players are doing things like this?
This is a similar situation to the one before except it is with NPC's. Maybe you handle this differently because it isn't effecting other players at your table. Maybe you would want things to be the same whether PC or NPC. It could be something as simple as the player taking the spear from the NPC and throwing it in the same turn and now your NPC is unarmed.
Something that I have heard people say can ruin immersion is when a DM vetoes a player. An example of this would be if the player attempts to jump over a chasm and the DM says you can't do that. Another example might be when a player wants to use a weapon in a certain way "I want to throw my great sword at the running bandit." How do you handle these types of things?
How much control should players have in your games? As a DM I don't usually like it when players take liberties that effect other players. There is a line and I want it respected. When it comes to other things like player races or certain actions I think about it for a second and usually will allow it. I think it is important to let your players know up front before a campaign begins what types of things you may allow. It is never fun when a campaign starts and you realize early on this person won't allow you to play in a way that is fun for you as a player.
Hope you found this article helpful and it at least gets you thinking a bit more about your own games. If you found it interesting please go over and subscribe to me on YouTube or follow me on Twitter. You can also find me on Facebook as well as in the Tabletop RPG One Shot Group on Facebook which now has over 2,000 members.