Wednesday 27 June 2012

'They called me the Riddlemaster'

'The mysterious farmer wants you to help find his lost wife and daughter.'

'We say Yes!'

'The last he saw of them they were going to visit a strange statue to the west. You can ask it a question once a week and it will give a true answer. If you ask any further questions, it will give you a riddle. Succeed and you can recieve another true answer.'

They reach the statue...

'O.K, what do you ask?'

'What does this evil magical flower that we stole from a safe and that's being hunted by everyone on the island do?' 

'The one being hunted by all the flower-based monsters, including the Death Saint..

and the the Orchidmen...

 that just melted the face off Klaus Von Scorn' (Hero of Scrodd, weilder of e demon summoning blade with a 35% failure rate, 2nd level fighter and first PC fatality) and the Lord of the Island and his deadly War Chimps?'


'You're not going to ask about the wife and daughter?'

'No, we'll save that for later, tell us about the flower.'

'It's roots grow in the afterlife, it can be used to break the barriers between life and unlife. It can destroy the boundray between the two realms.'

'Ahhh we could have used it to bring Klaus back to life.'

'O.K I'm going to wrap it up here, see you here next week.'

'Are you going to print out a load of riddles?'


Then later, on the way home a player said this.

'I used to run a page with a new riddle every day. It got so popular that I became 2nd in command in the clan. I only stopped playing becasue our enemies were Turkish and they were allowed to play the game in work, so it was impossible to get the drop on them.'

'So you were kind of like the Riddlemaster?'

'Yeah, that was my online name actually, the Riddlemaster.'

Now I have to out-riddle the Riddlemaster. I have a week to prepare. He's 18. Has infinite free time and possibly very mild Aspergers. I'm fucked.

Sunday 24 June 2012

Who is the Most Old-School?????!

Part one. The Ends and Means

   Sun Tzu      or.....         Carl von Clausewitz? 


How can you even compare Carl and Sun? One won't use ten words if a hundred will do, the other gives his battle plan in the form of a five bar poem.

When I was reading Carl I had to go over each page three times to make sense of it. With Sun it was like dripping honey from a jar. It happens so quickly you look down and touch your chin, assuming you spilled something.

Carl is so complex, and said so much, that anything I say about him here will be so abstracted that it may as well be a lie.

And Sun has walked two and a half thousand years to see us. Even his first western translation is 200 years old. How much do we really think we can understand from this man?

The biggest difference everyone mentions is these two parts.

First Sun,

'.. For this reason attaining one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the true pinnacle of excellence. Subjugating the enemy's army without fighting is the true pinnacle of excellence'

Now Carl,

'…. the destruction of the enemy's armed force appears therefore, always as the superior and more effectual means to which all others must give way'

At first glance, Carl sounds stupid. Winning without risk is always smarter in Old School play. You do not fight to be fighting (4th Ed), you fight for the prize. If the fight destroys the prize the fight is meaningless. But then..

'…. It follows therefore that the destruction of the enemy's military force is the foundation-stone of all action in war, the great support of all combinations, which rest upon it like the arch upon its abutments. All action, therefore, takes place on the supposition that if the solution by force of arms which lies at its foundation should be realised, it will be a favourable one. The decision by arms, is, for all operations in war, great or small, what cash payment is to bill transactions.'

Carl talks for a long, long time about the numerous other ways you can get what you want in war. Manoeuvrings, passive resistance, trickery, attacking the enemy's alliances, political action. But in his view, if you take those paths, and the enemy does not but attacks to destroy your forces, and if you are equal, they win.

Scheming can always be short-circuited by violence.

A game of old school D&D is not about combat , but combat is the core from which all other actions spring. The potential for violence shapes everything. The old-school player plans to avoid it, but, deep in their hearts, they don't truly believe they will.

Carl wins this round. He is the most old-school. So far.

Saturday 23 June 2012


"We were talking about how we all got frozen by that priest and I didn't and how I saved us all, and David's girlfriend was there and he didn't like me talking about how I saved him."


'O.K you're driving a cart full of treasure through town, in the rain, in the early hours of the morning, what do you do?'

'Can I sing?'

'If you sing the song in full, in front of me now, then you can sing.'

'Can I get other people singing?'

'There is one drunk man following the cart. Roll a charisma test.'

The new popular song in the tiny medieval town of Scrodd on the lost Isle of the Unknown is now 'Call me Maybe' 

'You are being awarded the freedom of the town for clearing Ruffthroat Keep. Do you want to make a speech?'

'Can I sing 'Call me Maybe'?' 

'If you want to. Same rule as before.'


'Yellow the Unholy, the rain-cursed wizard is begging you to help him.'

'Didn't you say that as well as being cursed with eternal rain he also had to talk constantly about the moon?'

'I did say that. By the moon, help me.'

'Can I heal him with the power of Thor?'

'That is a spell way above your level.'

'I want to try it anyway.'

'You understand you will be rolling on the same table that ended up cursing the Wizard with the Moon and the Rain thing?'

'I want to try it anyway.'

'I will allow that as a one-time roll as it is non-combat and fucking hillarous.' (the eternal rain was also pissing me off)


'O.K your spell went wrong. Thor is punishing you with....'


'A gigantic animate brain and two giant eyes. Its a Six HD monster, you are a 1st level character, the giant brain has appeared in the castle stables. You are in the stables. It's between you and the door. What do you do?'

One surprising combat later....

'Since Yellow the Unholy is dead does that mean the rain has finally stopped?'


'So does that mean the weather predicting device I found under the keep that told me it would be sunny is actually correct?'

'Yes, yes it does.' 


'As you cross the bridge you look down and see a body caught against the pillars. What do you do?'

'I don't know, can I pull it out?'

'It's up to you, you can folow the river and wade through the mud on the bank, you might be able to snag it.'

'O.K, I pull him out.'

'Are you going to tell anyone? There is a church right behind you. You could take it there. Maybe someone saw you?' 

'They might think I killed him.'

'They might.'

'But someone might have alredy seen me.'

'They might have.'

'I could just push him back in the river.'

'You could. Maybe somewhere in Scrodd there is a family waiting for dad to come home, but he never will. Maybe somewhere there is a pet dog slowly starving to death behind a locked door, waiting for master.'

'I dont know what to do! What should I do?'

Every other player at the table - 'We're not there. Its YOUR character, YOU have to decide. It's a role-playing game'

Friday 22 June 2012

Zero Point

The is an 'In a Wicked Age' Oracle we did for our Byzantium/Dying Culture Ooort Cloud space station Zero Point.

Made by Noisms, a Displaced Yorkshireman and Dice & Decisions. (and myself). I'll let you guess which is which.


Ace - A recently awakened clone searches out the reason for his prior's death.

Two - An artist looks for truth and meaning in their art. A non-human intelligence decides to steal his work.

Three - A usually peaceable Velociraptor clan stalks through parkland looking for prey.

Four - The League of Docking Bay Families refuses passage to any and all who would attempt ingress.

Five - Uplifted spider-monkey clans worship a pantheon of Echelon-II emulates.

Six - A starscraper lies empty, save for the man who tries to maintain it.

Seven - Cometary fragments are noticed by an amateur starwatcher, as well as the Lords of the Cloud.

Eight - A sentinel from Zero Point's reserve armoury wanders market spaces looking for signs of trouble.

Nine - A wannabe mech pilot scavenges parts to fix an old battle engine.

Ten - A HMBT stasis-pod drifts in to Zero Point's gravity well; the occupants awake.

Jack - The Engineers Guild prepares an initiation and a geneered woman flees persecution.

Queen - News of a predator stalking the Undercyst reaches a princeling looking for a challenge.

King - A militant hegemony virus propagates through the transient populations.


Ace - An uplifted primate is accused of murder.

Two - At the centre of the station a vast sea curves upwards towards an impossible horizon.

Three - A renegade librarian guards a vast archive in the station's lower reaches with dangerous traps.

Four - A gardener tends megafauna in enclosed biomes under the light from an artificial sun.

Five - After civilisation collapses, an AI takes the form of an ancestor spirit to relate to the survivors.

Six - A mysterious barman takes confessions from his clientele. Afterwards they find that their problems are solved in unlikely ways.

Seven - A grief-stricken soul dreams of a new life as a ship's captain.

Eight - Guerilla ontologists warp reality to their will by reworking the laws of physics and logic (Space wizards!).

Nine - A slum lord depressurizes a section of the station because his tenants can't pay the rent.

Ten - The Jungian unconsciousness invades the station's internet.

Jack - A humble dock worker is haunted by dreams of darkness and war.

Queen - Fractious love affair between an AI and a human

King - Nanites begin to build a vast citadel within the station but no construction order has been given.


Ace – An insane Robot tends an ancient mosaic, endlessly renewed.

Two – A chitinous, black mercenary arachnid alien, terrifying yet honourable guard for the elite.

Three – A brave rogue, dared by friends to attempt the circumnavigation of the station.

Four – A Doctor searching for the cure to an impossible human ailment in corroded Alien torture manuals.

Five – The discoverer of an open airlock, inside, a forgotten telescope, frozen in place, pointing at the pale blue dot of earth.

Six – A tribe of intelligent cancers, banished and ruling a peaceful realm in the recycling pipes.

Seven – An epochs-old, damaged war mech, One functioning weapons pod and cracked lenses, guarding the last repository of original art.

Eight – A cryogenic sleeper, soul-struck and melancholic refugee from a bright and optimistic age, awakening today.

Nine – A silver beast with ruby eyes that hunts only man and has forgotten how to die. The man that hunts it.

Ten – The foundation stone. A beam of Iron drawn from the heart of the Sun. The druid that serves it.

Jack – The recycled Death Scream of a world. The cult that worships it.

Queen – A trio of crippled friends, none human, all without fear and destined for adventure.

King – The intelligent computer virus, designed to kill Zero Point. Transformed by aeons, dedicated to saving it.


Ace – An inquisitor for a forgotten inquisition tortures those he suspects of hiding secrets.

Two – A scroll-bearer for a librarians’ cult makes a discovery. 
Three – Three sisters, one blind, one deaf, one mute, all holy.

Four – A criminal punished with sentient stasis.

Five – An AI dreams that it is the god which created all the other gods.

Six – A serial killer seeks 24 corpses, one for each of Shostakovich’s Preludes and Fugues.

Seven – A mad architect will destroy his rival.

Eight – There are ghosts in space that worship Satan.

Nine – The daughter of a priest rebels against all he stands for.

Ten – A maker of clockwork animals and people believes he can use them for more than play.

Jack – Monks plot revenge on those they envy.

Queen – A proud queen of whores.

King – Four old men plotting abduction.

Thursday 21 June 2012

In The Mail

Recieved the below scrawled on a ruined postcard, shoved loudly through the letterbox just before dawn. It was written in tiny pencil letters and they are already fading. I was just about able to decipher what follows.

Dawn Guard Ruleset Not for distribution, play alone or in bright sunlight or in total darkness, let no half-light enter the room.

You cannot directly describe or relate any of the strange or unreal things your character sees to other players. Describing them makes them more real and more dangerous. Locating them precisely in time, in space or accurately in form or behaviour:- all of these things make your enemies more dangerous and call them to you.

Use metaphor. Fill your speech with quotidian reality. It will keep you safer.

Everyone gets 13 points.

You have three stats, Body, Mind and Soul. Divide your points between them. 4 is an average person. 8 is very good. 12 is maximum human potential.

You can buy equipment that a normal person wouldn’t have at the cost of one point per syllable.

Everything else is just stuff that you (the player) have in your pockets right now.

Your combat value is 4. Your defence value is 2.

Your health is the sum of your body and soul multiplied by 5.

There are three kinds of roll: Loach, Lynch and Tarentino

Loach - If it's something that could happen in a Ken Loach film or an episode of Eastenders, if its something you (the player) could do or have done, then roll 2d4 and try to get your Stat or lower.

Tarentino - If it's something that could happen in a Tarentino film or a Bourne movie, something you could do, but you're pretty sure you never will, then roll 2d6 and try to get your Stat or under.

The next one is a bit different.

Lynch - If its something that would happen in a David Lynch film or Surrealist movie, something you are not sure can be done or has ever been done before, then roll one d6. Add a Stat.

If you get a 10 or above you get what you want. 7-9 you get what you want and something else happens. On a 6 or below shit goes very wrong.

Time is measured in panels, pages and issues. If its something that could happen in one panel of a comic then that,s what it is. If it would take a page then that's what it is. Same for issue.

Distance is measured as Breath, Touch, Whites, Shout and Shape. That's where you can feel someone's breath on your skin, touch them, see the whites of their eyes, shout to them or see their shape in the distance.

Speed is one or two. That's the distances you can move between in one panel. If your body is 8 or more then your speed is 2, other wise it is 1.

If two living things are contesting for something to happen (or not happen) both roll dice. Add a stat.

Attacker succeeds, Defender Fails – Thing happens, if damage then defender takes damage to the same value that the dice rolled.

Attacker succeeds AND Defender Succeeds – Defender chooses, take damage/allow event or let attacker choose non-damage result or non-success situation.

Defender Succeeds, Attacker Fails – no result, turn goes immediately to defender who then makes attack roll.

Both fail – BLOODBATH. GM chooses, damage everywhere and/or whatever added chaos they can come up with.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

The Scales of Action

This, got me thinking. In particular:- 'Carefully marshalling equipment, using it when it is needed, improvising where necessary, making good logistical choices.'

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Necessary qualities of the heart.

The conclusion that we draw, is that a correct and penetrating eye is a more necessary and more useful quality for a general than craftiness, although that also does no harm if it does not exist at the expense of necessary qualities of the heart, which is only too often the case.

But the weaker the forces which are under the command of strategy, so much more they become adapted for stratagem, so that to the quite feeble and little, for whom no prudence, no sagacity is any longer sufficient at the point where all art seems to forsake him, stratagem offers itself as a last resource. The more helpless his situation, the more everything presses towards one single, desperate blow, the more readily stratagem comes to the aid of his boldness. Let loose from all further calculations, freed from all concern from the future, boldness and stratagem intensity each other, and thus collect at one point an infinitesimal glimmering of hope into a single ray, which may likewise serve to kindle a flame.”

Carl there is talking (I believe) about concealed intentions in warfare, and about trickiness and scheming in general.

People have accused Carl of not respecting trickery and movement, and of regarding war as purely attritional. But he does understand it, he just thinks its not very useful at the largest scale of warfare. But very very useful when using a weaker force against a stronger one, especially when there is a high level of randomness involved.

We can map this understanding onto nerdgames. In particular, almost literally in 40k the conflict between games at 1500 points and 2000 points. Low point games requiring more stratagem, and being less enthralled to list building.

It can also be pushed to D&D. PC's don't bring more guys to the game the same way Wargamers bring more troops (usually). But they have hit points inside them, which are sort of analogous to combat power. The higher the hit points then the more important the long reaches of planning before the game starts, the careful optimisation, the accounting for any conceivable situation.

But at lower HP levels, where one swing of a sword can end you right now, then we are 'let loose from all further calculations' and 'boldness and stratagem intensify each other'. Which is my favourite part of the game.

I left in the first paragraph because I like it when Carl breaks into mild poetics, and because he is managing another bunch of polarities there. The cold penetrating vision, craftiness, and the necessary qualities of the heart.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

The Dog Was Called Priestly

In the comments to my last post my friend. mentioned my rule for risky extra spellcasting. Nicked from Apocalype World. Here it is.

If you want to cast a spell that you know but have not memorised then roll 2d6.

If you are a Cleric, add your WIS modifier.
If a Magic User then add your INT modifier.

On a 10+ the spell goes off,no trouble.

On a 7 - 9 then the spell goes off. But Something Terrible happens.

On a 6 or less. The spell does not go off. AND Something Terrible happens.

Something Terrible


I built a d100 chart of strange events. Its cribbed from and inspired by, the magic table in Vornheim, results from the Metamorphica, the mutation table by Scrap Princess, this d1000 table someone made for 4th edition(much props for doing that for Fourth.) and the Terrors of the Warp from Dark Heresy. (Though that is surprisingly boring when you actually look at it. Like everything else in Dark Heresy the totality of the Gothic horror of the nightmare future can be reduced to an endless series of pluses and minuses on a d10.)

I'm reluctant to post it as it's made up mainly of other peoples material but if anyone wants it then let me know. The main convenience is that it could save you the half hour it takes to steal all your favourite fuckups and combine them into one giant thing.

The exact choice of stuff was interesting. One of the initial characters ended up being cursed so that it always rained wherever they were. Even though this had very little in-game effect it ended up depressing the players so much they just gradually forgot about the guy and left him behind.

It seems like the best results are ones that are powerfully immediate, negative but also with enough imaginative energy and a rich enough nature that they can be mis-used by players.

Something that dramatically alters the scene in a living and active way, and that no-one could want to happen to them, but that just might have a weird up-side.

Our Cleric ended up being cursed with a variant of Zak S's Vile Hound spell and had to perform an emergency Cesarean on himself to remove a little Chihuahua.

he was a good dog

He then failed his loyalty roll to command the beast who immediately made friends with another PC after being fed scraps of flesh from a dead Wizard. The dog was ultimately made useful as a lure for monsters, against the wishes of its owner.

Long term persistent low-grade problems just seem to irritate the fuck out of players. You want to give them short term colourful problems, they like that.

Though saying that, the same player now has a portal to the Nightosphere inside his head. 

Whenever I play with Nate I always end up maiming or mutating him. God knows whats going on in my subconscious. Sorry dude.

(he has a lawful god as well, but I couldnt think of many lawful-but-interesting entries so he gets the same one as everyone else)

Friday 8 June 2012

No Mind Of My Own

But only a heap of influences, burning with a low, blue flame.


(I wish. None of my players are girls, or likely to play one.)


Vampire. Heads.

(Fancy name for Specialist, which is a fancy name for thief.) 

Magic User

And now the wierd re-skins.



Sea Blood

Wednesday 6 June 2012

A Horde of Ice a Throne of Gold

This is cribbed from a email to a friend about a poential game of Diaspora that never quite went down. Put here because it may be useful to someone else.

I made this chart to see if it would be possible to combine the Disapora rules for generating clusters and the actual moons of Jupiter to create a playing space that seemed real but could still be improvised at the table.

This is only some of the estimated 66 moons but the names are real. The small inner moons are the ones next to Jupiter. The large Gallilean moons are arranged around them and there are three groupings of six moons each, the Carme group, the Ananke group and the Pasiphae group.. The positions on the chart aren't meant to represent their actual positions in space but to show the ease of moving between the moons. We can use the random Diaspora rules to find out how easy it is to get from moon to moon within a group. Assume you can move around the inner worlds quite easily.

The tiny moons are really tiny, like a few k's long, but thats enough for a settlement or even a conflict, if there's one set of miners on one end and another on the opposite side.

If you print off the chart and re-do the transport routes with each game then it should present an energetic simulation of a moving orbital system, but one abstract enough that you can actaully make sense of it (or that I can actaully make sense of, I found actual orbital mechanics too hard).

This fits in well with the idea of reation mass, or fuel, being quite expensive and diffucult to get. So you have to conserve your mass and think carefully about when you are going to use it and where you are going to get more.

The simplest kind of reaction mass is water. Water is also valuable to us because we can use it to make air and to fill hydroponic systems to make food. It seems that for a bunch of relativly poor (in mass) Jovian moon settlers would use water as the basis for currency.

(Europa has loads of Ice of course but it's at the bottom of a gravity well and we could assume that having access to loads of water has turned the rulers of Europa into decadent Oligarchic Ice Kings lording it over everyone else, imprisoning ice pirates in the deep oceans, trapped by the very thing they sought to steal, which seems like the kind of thing dickhead rich people would do.)

So I turned the environment chart from Disaporia into this:- 

This rock is pure ice, nothing else.
A thin skin of rock over ice, or a rock of dirty impure ice with some fragements of other stuff locked inside.
Large amounts of easy to find Ice, some hard to find metals.
Lare amounts of Ice, somewhere, if you can get to it. Rumours of other stuff deep beneath.
An average rock, some ice and some metals beneath the surface.
Enough Ice here to export very small amounts at a very steep price. High concentrations of metals somewhere beneath the surface.
Not much Ice, or very hard to get. Lare amounts of metals if you mine for them.
Precious metals easily accesable. Ice locked deep beneath in very small amounts.
This rock is made of almost pure gold, or some other precious heavy metal. No ice at all.

The idea is that places can have Ice, which is really valuable in the moons but almost worthless elsewhere, or rare heavy metals, which are worthless in the moons but can make you a millionare back in 'The Wells' (or The Deeps? However low-g settlers would refer to the planet bound.)

This way there is a kind of market and politics inferred by the world creation and an interesting dichotomy of choice. Do you go to the moon-of-gold where starving miner kings rule from thrones cut from pure shining gold and barter kilos of platinum for chipsof ice? If you do, will you have the ice to get back?

I made this after watching some of the Sagan Series on youtube. Anothe chart-hack for the mining cultures of the Jovian Moons.


"Militarily, we succeeded in Vietnam. We won every engagement we were involved in out there."- William Westmoreland.
"There can be no boundry set to rational hope." Sagan/Rodenberry level optimism. As optimistic as you can be without being nuts.
"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces,I would still plant my apple tree." -Martin Luther
"Have a great day!" Standard American level optimism.
"Typical" Standard British-level pessimism.
"Some people say my work is often depressing and pessimistic, with the emphasis on death, blood, overcrowding, strange beings and so on, but I don't really think it is. "- H.R Giger
"Memories and possibilities are ever more hideous than realities." Lovecraft 
"Life in the oceans must be sheer hell. A vast, merciless hell of permanent and immediate danger. So much of a hell that during evolution some species—including man—crawled, fled onto some small continents of solid land, where the Lessons of Darkness continue." Herzog

Saturday 2 June 2012

Complex Theory, meet Mundane Reality

"What defines the depth, background and consistency of your invented world?"

The weight of things I can carry in my bag. About three to five kilos back and forth to the Nerd Cafe is the most I can move without it becoming a stress.

(A factor in moving away from 4th is that the books just physically weigh too much.)

So, two LOTFP rulebooks, Realms of Crawling Chaos, Vornheim, Isle of the Unknown, a folder of one page dungeons and info to tie it all together. Dice, many many pencils and a bottle of water. If it doesn’t fit in there then it probably wont be forming a firm part of the game background.

"So if you dropped the water bottle and took something else then the world could become more dense by a measurable extent?"

Yes, but that leads to another problem. Energy levels.


The extent to which I can connect different parts of these sources as meaningful aspects of the living game depends on my state of mind as the game is being played. This is affected by the amount of food I have eaten and how recently, how thirsty I am, how much caffeine I've consumed and where I am on my depressed/maniacal cycle.

Caffeine makes me more aggressive and intent, for about half an hour, then leaves me more isolated and lethargic. Then I need to go to the toilet. I'm pretty sure Mountain Dew got more than one character killed when I was playing Cyberpunk. So when I was MC'ing Apocalypse World games would peak in violence and danger as I got caffeinated, then undergo a period of distance and ennui, then break for 5 mins while I went for a piss. Like a Michael Bay film turning into a Werner Herzog film, then just stopping for no reason.

I try to moderate my caffeine intake to ride this wave.

Being hungry makes me monomaniacal and emotional. Emotional in a bad way, like a 13 year old girl who had a birthday party and no-one came. Never DM hungry. Gives you decision fatigue. (Though sometimes the impaired self-regulation can lead you interesting places.

What about the weird shit that comes out when you run out of stuff to say and just start free-styling?”

Some of that comes from stuff I daydream about at work. So if the flow of calls at Argos is low then the game should have more colour and original incident. If its high then the game gets more derivative. Other stuff is fragments of books I'm reading. Like Werner Herzog is the grand Duke of the Isle of the Unknown because I was reading an autobiography when I was putting together the tables. Other stuff is just from dreams or the silent moments between events.

When does the Quantum Ogre come out?”

Good question. When does stuff get moved around behind the scenes? Only if it can happen so quickly that even I can't think about it. Two or possibly three seconds from conception to statement. Something else I noticed MC'ing Apocalypse World is that if you invent something very quickly and as part of a rapid interaction with one or more players then it doesn’t feel* like railroading.

The same thing goes for reincorporating stuff that’s already in the game, or that came up in tables but that the players don't know about. So one of the random NPC relationship tables is Scrodd, a place the PC's are visiting, came up that one NPC wanted to consume another one. This made no sense to me. But then one of the players used the word 'vampire' and I remembered a dungeon I have with a vampire in it. So it became part of the game. It happened very quickly. It didn't feel like making something happen, it felt like discovering something or allowing something. Iain Mcgilchrist has a lot to say about that sort of thing.

But if you think for longer than about 3 seconds, the nature of the choice seems to change. Almost as if different parts of the mind were coming online and trying to assume control of the situation. Forcing it to make sense in a different way.

The nice thing about dice is that they are a kind of gateway between the parts of you that hunger for control and want everything to be logically consistent and the parts of you that love to abandon control and experience new and inconsistent things. So the whole thing becomes a kind of continuous tennis match between the different parts of yourself, and more than the parts that make it up.

A DM gets to make more of those kind of choices than players which might be why a good game leaves me with a vaguely ecstatic feeling.

How do you know if you are fucking the players out of a meaningful choice?”

I actually don't know. I believe that I'm not. But I wouldn't win a public debate with myself on the issue. I trust to the silent parts of my mind to arrange the patterns so that they remain true to themselves

*Cue Nerdstorm. Man obeys feelings. Betrays REALITY.