If you ever play in a table top RPG, or in a video game, player agency becomes a very important topic. Here’s what it is.
The capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power.
Agency is how much control you have as a player to do the things you want to do. I always give my players full control of themselves and their backstory. It’s great.
Recently, I made a second character for a reddit based superhero/villain rp. She recharged her powers by eating meat, and she was from another world. She was going to be kind of a villain who was really cool, like Punisher or something.
“Okay, so you’re organic based. Organic based heroes have you eat human flesh, or else thier weaker.” That’s not what I wanted…
“Oh you’re from another world? That means you’re a dream being. Don’t do anything evil or one of the mod’s characters will come after you. She hunts dreams.” What? When did being from another world make you a dream?
I was frustrated. I almost quit. There’s a policy that the only time a character can die is if the mod and the creator both decide on it together. That’s good, I won’t actually have to worry about get dying. Wait. I am making a character, and the first thing to come up isn’t how cool she’ll be, what powers I have our allies, or my secret base… But how not to die? What?
I should have said no, I won’t take this! This is my character, not yours! I want to have fun, not worry! But I didn’t. I made my cannibal hero. I decided, I’ll show them! I’ll kill people and fight back when they hunt me down! I can’t die!
But this is thier game. You play by thier rules. You can never win.
So, I realized how good of a GM I am. I empower my players and give them options. I don’t threaten them and tell them thier choices will screw them over. I don’t take my players’ agency. Thank you.