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Full Version: Cause and effect in roleplaying games
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Cause and effect is often used in discussions on RP forums, be it for character generation ("My character got hurt by a cat in his youth, so now he hates all cats") or for metaplot/background ("Without X, we'd never have Dante's Inferno in Seattle, it would be in San Francisco").

What I noticed is that often, it seems as if people think that cause and effect are linked, and fixed. If A happens, B follows. If B is, A had to have been.

But that's not true in just about every action sequence more complex than "I shoot him. He is dead". There are almost always multiple causes for any effect, and multiple possible results for any action. Removing one "cause" usually does not prevent an effect, it may just delay it a bit.

I do believe that in roleplaying, both devs and players usually decide what they want (character trait, event), and then pick the explanation/cause for it. Even if they pick a cause they decide its effect - they pick from multiple possible effects. If for example a countries goverment breaks down that country could break up in different parts, peacefully or through war. Or a neighboring country could step in and take over. Or the UN might move in. Or the opposition takes over, and things go on as usual. Or sweeping changes happen to the constitution. Or the country breaks down into an anarchy of warlord-driven massacres.

So, since there are valid possible reasons/causes/explanations for almost every decisions a player or dev takes, arguing that the decision taken is the only valid one, or most logical, seems shortsighted.

In the end, the cause follows the (player/dev) decision.
heh, have someone been watching the matrix movie again?

as in, people act, and then try to rationalize their action wink.gif
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