Action and adventure lead a good game by its reigns. It drives the plot forward and compels us to follow it. But what makes a game great at its heart? I think the answer goes down many levels, both psychological and sociological, which I will delve into greater detail in a future post; but the level I want to talk about right now is the topmost level: the coolness of the game. One of the greatest benefits that roleplaying games have is the ability to make anyone feel awesome. You can be whoever you want, and do just about whatever you want. Now there are some times that what you can’t do and what you want to do clash. For these moments I like to defer to the rule of cool.
What is the rule of cool? Well, simply put, it’s the idea that if an action’s cool factor outweighs its impossibility then you allow the player to try said action. For an example, let me set up a scene for you. The party is fighting a young red dragon. Well, I guess “dying to” would be more appropriate than “fighting”. Then the rogue had a brilliant idea: he wanted to climb the cavern wall, jump to a stalactite, then jump onto the dragon’s neck in an attempt to get it to drop down. Now something like that is usually pretty far fetched, even for a game of D&D. But it sounded like a cool feat of skill so I allowed him to try it. Sure enough, he succeeded. When he bowed the dragon’s head down he pulled a magic item out of his backpack: an immovable rod. He placed the rod on top of the dragon’s head, pinning it to the ground. From there they were able to get past the dragon and continue on their adventure. All due to the rule of cool.
The rule of cool can be used to reward your players for thinking outside of the box. This is especially important for players who haven’t had that “aha!” moment where they realize that anything is possible. It rewards the player and really everyone playing at the time with this cool memory that sticks in their mind as something they affected the game with. It helps fill that part of a great game that makes each player feel like the hero that they want to be. Applying the rule of cool when appropriate can lead to many memorable moments, and your game will be better for it. And while you’re performing these spectacular feats, be sure to keep those dice rolling high!
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