Good Solid Gamism
Monday, November 14, 2005Mike Holmes has some crucial things to say about good Gamist play, over here at the Forge.
Pretty much everything Mike says is also true of good Narrativist play, too. The main point is simply this: know what your game is about, and then deliver those moments of decision-making to the players. Don't present false decision points, or "filler."
"What do you do now?" is one of the most dangerous questions a GM can ask, when it comes to facilitating coherent play. That question needs to be asked from within the framework of a proper scene, where "proper" means, "the preferred space in which game-appropriate decisions can be made."
Mike's example is a good one:
Asking "What do you do now?" when the party encounters an intersection in the dungeon can be a good GM question when the game is about navigating dungeons and getting out again alive.
In the same game, asking "What do you do now?" when the party is in town is probably a recipe for disaster as everyone goes wandering off "doing things" that have nothing to do with the stated goals of play. That's when you see players fidget and roll their eyes because Fred is "wasting time" haggling with merchants and getting his armor dyed green.
Good Gam and Nar play demands a GM that can cut from scene to scene so that players area always presented with "What do you do?" questions that support the goals of the game at hand.