Power escalation in RPGs is when the challenges for the group are increased in power to provide genuine risk and the players response is to min-max even harder to deal with those challenges. Power escalation is basically force escalation. It continues until a party submits, or is killed. Therefore in our RPG’s, what do we do about it?

1. Ignore it. (It’ll just grow)

2. Allow it for players, only (the game will no longer be challenging)

3. Only for GM. (will end up slaying all PC’s)

4. Reduce it, over time, to preferential levels.

5. Stop escalating, until it seems normal.

There are likely more options but for me number 5 is the best choice. Problem with this is in part how it all starts. It seems to me that often it is done so that the previous meta-game approach can be maintained.

In my group I upped the challenge to provide genuine danger to the players. They did not change tactics and now two player characters have fallen (died). The new characters are being built for much bigger numbers in an effort to go toe-to-toe with the monsters they’ve been having trouble with.


Problem is how it all starts: the numbers begin to represent things and powers that are extremely out of our experience and disassociation sets in.


Based on some random notes whilst waiting for a train.

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