Mechanical Story Prompts vs Good Ole GM Instincts

While I’m not supposed to work on other projects right now, I can’t help but think about the mechanics for a true crime inspired game. Probably because Netflix has so many docuseries on the Mafia and assorted drug lords. In this one, players can “unlock” future story hooks and problems that will require future jobs to wrap up as they clean up someone’s mess… or their own.

The thing is that having a game tell you what “adventure” you have to do next can rub some GMs the wrong way. Myself included (though it does depend on the game, I suppose).

So I’m looking to poll you BSers. Which would you personally prefer?

  1. The game tells you a specific problem/adventure hook.

  2. The game tells you a type of problem and the GM can craft the problem/adventure hook to fit the story.

  3. The game tells you there’s a problem and the GM can make up whatever they want to fit the story.

And if there’s another option not listed here, what is it?

I feel like1 is restrictive, and reduces replayability. Once you’ve done this specific problem, do you just do it again? I think 2 is probably the sweet spot for a lot of people, as it puts bounds on things and may reduce analysis paralysis. 3 I think has a lot of legs, but may require a more openminded GM. (two cent, no refunds available.)

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