What am I babbling about? Well, when I philosophize, I tend to want to simplify as well.
One page of paper is my mantra (preferably one side of the sheet). So here's a simple epiphany that I had today:
Although we are playing the same game, players and DMs want very different things from the random elements in the game.It occurred to me today that when I DM a game, I want one particular thing from the dice --
RANDOMNESS. Fickle, unpredictable, unexpected random results. Let the dice fall where they may. Chance is so much better than pre-planning. With chance, I get to explore my world with the players. If I write it all up in advance, its a re-hash for me, no matter how exciting I think it is.
When I'm a player in a game, I want something a bit different. I want SOME PREDICTABILITY or at least some measure of control. When I really, really want to do something really, really bad, I'd like to take a little bit of the randomness away. I mean, it sucks when you roleplay a scene, you belt out a grand soliloquy to your deity and then you roll a "1" on your attack/save/damage/whatever. That sucks. Totally takes the wind out of your sails. :(
I don't think that any rational player wants everything to be a "sure thing". That would be BORING. Its just at those critical moments, those moments that you are really hoping for, you'd like a little more "destiny" built into the roll. Guaranteed? Not for me. The scales tipped a bit? Yep.
It seems to me that these two ideas are not incompatible. I don't want the players to become co-DM with me. I don't really want them having too much narrative control, but when they are roleplaying and when they are really committed to a particular action -- what's wrong with giving them a bit of a bonus?
I'm thinking I might implement something like Eberron's Hero Points or FATE 2.0's Aspects -- something that allows players to tone down the fickle swings of fate every once in awhile. I don't want them tampering with my villains/monsters directly, but I think bonuses that apply to their character would be an OK thing.