Giving up Player Control
"Player Agency" is a big buzz-phrase in one of the wings of RPG development these last few years, but that's not what I'm talking about today.
No, I'm talking about a situation that is similar in some some few ways to the discussion +Douglas Cole started the other day about the "Bait and Switch" style of game, where the GM has players make up characters with a specific genre and game type in mind, and then switches it out on them: Wild West, but with Zombies! Spec Ops soldiers, oh, but I'm going to have you abducted by aliens! That sort of thing.
The idea I have in mind is one where the players know going in what sort of game it's going to be, but they give up control over some or all of their character design. Maybe you go in totally cold, with the moral equivalent of a pre-gen. Maybe you get to describe the character you want to play. Maybe you even get to create a "mundane version" of your character, who gets to be improved in some fashion.
I've been playing in just such a game, over on Myth-Weavers, in the super-hero genre. We all gave the GM characters based on a handful of points with full backstories of our normal lives. We could choose to build our own character if we wanted to, tell the GM what sort of hero we wanted, or give up all control and let the results be revealed in time.
Well, we started with six characters, and not one of us created our own heroes. One gave some broad suggestions of the types of powers she wanted. Others of us said the sort of heroes we didn't want to play. But we are all learning our powers as we go along, in separate threads (occasionally crossing), and it's been a total blast. We may never get everyone together in the same scene, at the rate we're going, but we're all having a great time reading about all of our adventures.
What do you think about this? Would you enjoy this sort of play? Have you done it?