Another quick post today in honor of yesterday having been the 4th of July. Today I want to talk quickly about Consequences. Yes, with a capital C. See, there's a saying I often say when me and friends are talking about games - games past or online usually - which goes like this: "Actions have consequences? When the hell did this start happening?"
Now, most people who are reading this blog probably get a bit of a chuckle at that quote. After all, it's obvious right? One of Newton's laws and everything. Actions have equal and opposite reactions, and as a GM it is your job to have the world react to the players and what they are doing. If the PCs rob the hell out of a mob boss, the mob boss will probably send someone to deal with them or at least try to. If the PCs do a lot of good deeds for the people of the city, the people of the city will probably start to like them.
All of this gets summed up nicely in a quote a GM I once knew had as his forum signature. It is very fitting, and something that is good to remind your players of from time to time, both verbally and in game. "When you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action."
That doesn't mean you'll know all the consequences before they happen. Sometimes things are linked in ways that we just can't see or don't understand without seeing the big picture. However, our actions should have consequences, both the good and the bad. You choose those consequences when you choose your actions. That's really all there is to it.