For Comparison

Tuesday, January 03, 2006



This is how I ran RPGs for a long, long time. It was fun. I don't think I have the patience and finesse required anymore, though. Tasks and conflicts happened at random intervals, sometimes connected, sometimes not. Conflict resolution was always a physical battle, everything else was pass/fail task resolution with stakes resolved solely by me, the GM. Things would wander to an eventual "big battle" which could mean the resolution of the situation, or not, depending on my judgment.

Everyone had fun because our social contract was solid, and I got pretty good at reading player flags and spinning illusionist techniques. The players didn't ever have any authority within the resolution system, but their input was carefully considered by the person who did have authority, and I often made the right guesses and judged things fairly. It was a lot of work. Running even a few games in a row would drain me, which is not surprising considering the mind-reading and improv authorship and acting required.

The diagram in the previous post (below) is not the way to roleplay. But it is a way that I appreciate a lot now. The one above now fills me with dread.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Bankuei says:  

A lot of people think I'm being insulting when I refer to a LOT of games as being GM Fiat at heart- but I think this diagram accurately portrays what I mean when I say that.



Blogger Mark Causey says:  

This method is actually how my group has always played and the players are smart enough to recognize games that don't encourage this method and refuse to play them.



Blogger Joshua BishopRoby says:  

To me, this model's basic disorganization is the first thing that jumps out at me.



Blogger Phil says:  

Dude, are you still hating on butter? I can't believe you're still pushing this jam stuff when we have perfectly good butter. Jam's not really butter anyhow!



Blogger Matt Wilson says:  

That diagram, and the comment about "sometimes connected" reminds me of a thread on rpgnet where some dude was talking about a moment in his D&D game. The characters are on horseback riding through some woods. The DM rolls a random encounter, resulting in a rabid dog running out of the woods, biting one of the horses, and then running back into the woods.

It still makes me laugh out loud really hard.



Blogger Troy_Costisick says:  

Heya,

I've dealt with limpdick GMs like that, Matt. That's breaking the Social Contract and probably the spirit in which the game they were playing was written. Ugh.

Peace,

-Troy



Blogger ecboss says:  

Thanks for giving your personal testimony, John. This way does take a lot of personal skill developed over time, but sounds exhausting.



Blogger Bradley "Brand" Robins says:  

John,

Thank you for the diagrams. The visual reference for what I've been trying to describe to players is a wonderful thing to have.



Blogger Troy_Costisick says:  

Heya,

Sorry to ask a kind of off topic question, but what software did you use to create your graphics?

Peace,

-Troy



Blogger John Harper says:  

Photoshop. It's not very good for diagram creation, but it's what I use for pretty much everything already.



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