Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Power of Words

Ever since the NYPD's Police Commissioner made his statement on 60 Minutes about the NYPD's ability to take down an aircraft, the news media has been abuzz.

What weapons will they use? Does the NYPD have surface to air missiles? Armed aircraft? Who gave them the authority to shoot down aircraft?

Commissioner Kelly never stated the NYPD could shoot down an airliner, just that the department has the means to take down an aircraft. A lucky shot from a .50 caliber rifle could do it. Maybe you could force down a 2 seater prop plane with a helicopter, but there is no way the NYPD is taking down a highjacked jetliner. That's a simple fact.

Still, the media filled in the blanks, even if they filled them in wrong. I'm sure your gaming group would do the same.

Rarely, if ever, give them a defined threat to work against. Leave it vague enough that they can make their own assumptions. Most of those assumptions will be wrong. Many of them will make the threat seem more fearsome them it really is.

Isn't that the whole point anyway? If the players are to believe the "cardboard tiger" it's always best to let them construct it themselves. They know it is real, as they built it ;)

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