I had a conversation with one of my players a few weeks ago about “PC glow”. The conversation came about because I am getting ready to run a low pc glow game. I realized in talking to him that not everyone has the same definition of pc glow (shocking).
So, what do I mean when I say “PC glow”? There is this phenomenon, especially in tabletop games that the PCs are invincible. Laws don’t apply to PCs. They can break into government buildings, steal national treasures, or kill people at random, and the consequences will never catch up with them. They can do whatever stupid, dangerous shit they want, and they will somehow pull through. PCs can jump off buildings, or challenge people well beyond their skill to duels, and at the end of the day, they’ll still walk away none the worse for wear. Since the PCs are, well, PCs, the friendly NPCs around them lack the power to stop the PCs from doing stupid shit, and the rest of the NPCs don’t have the ability to cause lasting damage anyway.
There are some good arguments for PC glow. The first is a good story. We see it in movies, TV and books, and of course it is reflected in our role playing. No one wants to play the civilian that runs away screaming through the streets of New York when the aliens invade. Everyone wants to play the Avengers. The people who are unique; the ones with the power to affect real change on the world around them. And if you have such heroes, you must have appropriate villains. And suddenly you have a story of epic proportions on your hands. And how could your heroes not experience daring escapes and immunity from mundane laws that don’t understand what must be done to keep humanity safe?