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Mirumoto Jin

RPG speculations - part 3

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As for GM arbitrarity... well, I'm sorry to break it to you, but the Gamemaster, as the narrator of the story the players are playing, has to be arbitrary. His is the responsibility of keeping the story, the chronicle even, developing along the general lines he planned. This is different from railroading (which it seems you're confusing it with), where the GM forces a very specific path to be followed, and removes even the illusion of choice from the hands of the players. If the GM is not willing (or not capable) to take this responsibility, to guide the players through the story he's narrating, then he is not a very good GM - and as I said before, he should ask someone else to take over the job of GMing.

 

I don´t say the Gm doies not has the abitary. What I say is that the Gm is playing together with the players. He is helping them to tell the story of their characters. He is the setting which can be spinned by the players and he should not go and cheat in the way it is pictured in the book cause this actually is railroading.

Cause the scene says, the player had hit,m the player did dmg and the gm simply ignored it. Therefore he is avoiding the result of the action f the player and deniyng him the path he has choosen and even worse makes all the work up to this point meaningless.

So yes the Gm has a right to be abatary but suing this against the players and making their efforts useless exspecially not in the way described in the book

 

 

Given that it is a section of GM advice, there is no expiration date. It can be used on any RPG, of any edition, in any language. Everyone is free to use it, at any time - as they are free not to. It all depends on personal preference.

 

Yeah no the whole book is a second edtion book fulkl of Ideas that were valid back than but are outdated at best today. There is a reason why we print new edition cause the design and Ideas how the game can be played are changeing.

Useing 2cond edition books is therefoire not helpful and hoestly should not fielded as an argument cause they simply don´t apply anymore since the new edtion took their place.

 

 

As for consequences of actions, please.... that argument is hilarious, especially in the context we were talking of "killing a powerful and iconic NPC". The consequence of such an action, in the world of L5R, would be the entire guard/army/samurai that followed said powerful/iconic NPC falling on top of the 4-6 Player Characters. By sheer force of numbers, the characters would die. Chronicle over, no more fun to be had.

I have no problem with the Samurai swrarm after the assasination. I have a probelm with the sentance where the gm is advised to ignore the dmg and than just ktpc the party. I agree there shoudl be Samurai trying to kill the player but the players should have a chance to surrive so it is basicly open what will happen and not like the siuation in the book which basicly describes a TPC railroad.

 

 

Finally, an average GM is able to do all, all that guiding the players and directing the story, without being blatantly obvious. A good GM does so with barely a hint of guiding. An awesome GM is able to manipulate the players' emotions into following the general path he thought for the story. Resorting only to random chance of dice, using them as an excuse not to have a hand in the story, is the sign of a bad GM. Judging from your posts, especially the last one ( with lines such as "Going during the game and say... yeah this does not work is not a good Idea to do."), leads me to believe that you met plenty of bad GMs, but few (if any) awesome ones, and that's a pity.

 

Iam not argumenting from the personal xp I have cause in my groups we don´t ahve these problem cause the GMs I play with a pretty great. I argue cause I know not every Gm is as good as the ones i met and want to prevent people from having a bad exp cause the book said something which willnot come true most of the time.

Edited by Teveshszat

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Tev, you're seeming to confuse advice (what is given in the section I mentioned of the 1st - not 2nd - edition book), and mechanics/setting (what is updated with every new edition). These things are independent, and while everyone is free to follow and/or agree with them (regardless of the time of writing or author), it is not correct to say that just because something was written X years ago, it is no longer valid. A lot of your argumentation is resting on this.

 

Likewise, you are ignoring a few basic element of roleplaying, and that is that the rules are secondary to the story (something repeated in every single RPG, in all their editions, for the past 30 or so years). For example, if the GM understands that the story is best served by suddenly adjusting the HPs of a monster, then he's more than welcome to do it.... either increasing them (to give the players a harder challenge) or decreasing them (to avoid a pointless slaughter of the PCs). The other side of this is, if facing a player (or group) that is hellbent on just screwing with his story, he's perfectly justified in dropping a (metaphorical!) meteor on said character's head, handling the problem so that he can continue the game with the folks that aren't there just to screw things up (note: I'm oversimplifying problem-player handling to an extreme, as there are plenty of ways to do it). Yes, this is cheating - the GM cheats. Shocking - but if cheating (or, to use the more politically correct term, dice-fudging) leads to a better story, and therefore, a better experience for the players (or majority of them, in case there's a problem-player at the table), then why shouldn't he do it? It is not the GM's role to blindly follow the rules. But tell a good and engaging story... that's his role.

 

Otherwise? Grab a random dice generator, and play without a GM. In fact, there has been more than a few games, over the past 10 years, that rely simply on player interaction - without a GM - to tell a collaborative story. Personally, and having tried them, I'm not a fan of that style of gaming but there are plenty of people who are, and who have countless hours of fun using that alternate model.

 

 

Also, and this is unfortunate, you cannot prevent bad GMs from giving people bad experiences - regardless of how many rules and hoops you put in a game.

Edited by Bayushi Karyudo

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Likewise, you are ignoring a few basic element of roleplaying, and that is that the rules are secondary to the story (something repeated in every single RPG, in all their editions, for the past 30 or so years). For example, if the GM understands that the story is best served by suddenly adjusting the HPs of a monster, then he's more than welcome to do it.... either increasing them (to give the players a harder challenge) or decreasing them (to avoid a pointless slaughter of the PCs). The other side of this is, if facing a player (or group) that is hellbent on just screwing with his story, he's perfectly justified in dropping a (metaphorical!) meteor on said character's head, handling the problem so that he can continue the game with the folks that aren't there just to screw things up (note: I'm oversimplifying problem-player handling to an extreme, as there are plenty of ways to do it). Yes, this is cheating - the GM cheats. Shocking - but if cheating (or, to use the more politically correct term, dice-fudging) leads to a better story, and therefore, a better experience for the players (or majority of them, in case there's a problem-player at the table), then why shouldn't he do it? It is not the GM's role to blindly follow the rules. But tell a good and engaging story... that's his role.

 

I higlighted where I think the problem origates from. Infact it is not the story of the gm it is the story of the whole gorup the Gm has special power to aid the party in ttheattempt to telling the stories of their chracters and provides the stetting npcs, sotry outlines and if you want metaplots etc. Playing the game is a group activity and therefore each part should have fun and the right to let their thought influence the story.

So while A Gm can certainly go and say I tell you my story and you can participate but esseintaily if you don´t do what I want or if you don´t follow my lines bad things ahppen to you this strikes me as bad GMing cause it is more like I read a slkightly interactive novel with gives me baisc choices liek do you want to turn left or right and but can´t change the story in a meaninful way like for example resucing Princess Organa from the caputure though darthvader cause you prevented her to board the shuttle or go to save Senator Organa cause you lure him off the planet.

So yeah before playing all should agree on what they want from the game and than shape the story together so no one is left out and not either players nor Gms should shape a story allone or claim the right to do so cause both strikes me as a bad Idea cause either the Gm is left out or the players

feel bad.

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Tev, you're seeming to confuse advice (what is given in the section I mentioned of the 1st - not 2nd - edition book), and mechanics/setting (what is updated with every new edition). These things are independent, and while everyone is free to follow and/or agree with them (regardless of the time of writing or author), it is not correct to say that just because something was written X years ago, it is no longer valid. A lot of your argumentation is resting on this.

 

Likewise, you are ignoring a few basic element of roleplaying, and that is that the rules are secondary to the story (something repeated in every single RPG, in all their editions, for the past 30 or so years). For example, if the GM understands that the story is best served by suddenly adjusting the HPs of a monster, then he's more than welcome to do it.... either increasing them (to give the players a harder challenge) or decreasing them (to avoid a pointless slaughter of the PCs). The other side of this is, if facing a player (or group) that is hellbent on just screwing with his story, he's perfectly justified in dropping a (metaphorical!) meteor on said character's head, handling the problem so that he can continue the game with the folks that aren't there just to screw things up (note: I'm oversimplifying problem-player handling to an extreme, as there are plenty of ways to do it). Yes, this is cheating - the GM cheats. Shocking - but if cheating (or, to use the more politically correct term, dice-fudging) leads to a better story, and therefore, a better experience for the players (or majority of them, in case there's a problem-player at the table), then why shouldn't he do it? It is not the GM's role to blindly follow the rules. But tell a good and engaging story... that's his role.

 

Otherwise? Grab a random dice generator, and play without a GM. In fact, there has been more than a few games, over the past 10 years, that rely simply on player interaction - without a GM - to tell a collaborative story. Personally, and having tried them, I'm not a fan of that style of gaming but there are plenty of people who are, and who have countless hours of fun using that alternate model.

 

 

Also, and this is unfortunate, you cannot prevent bad GMs from giving people bad experiences - regardless of how many rules and hoops you put in a game.

 

 

As a GM, I long ago lost track of the number of times I've grabbed an appropriate-sounding lump of dice, rolled them behind the GM screen, looked down for a couple of seconds... and then went right ahead with what I wanted to do anyway.  Not over and over again, but at certain moments because I knew what needed to happen in order to keep the game fun, moving along, and not completely off the rails.  It was my role as the GM to provide an entertaining and satisfying game, and I wasn't going to let a pile of plastic RNGs keep me from doing my job or ruin the game. 

 

According to some players, that's "cheating", and I had one player get VERY angry at me because he thought I was doing it.  What he didn't realize was that the only time I'd actually done it that night was capping the result of a runaway damage* roll to AVOID one-shotting his character so overwhelming that the character would have been a bright red puff of mist, hair, and eyeballs if I hadn't made that judgement call. 

 

 

You're right -- no game system can stop bad players, GM or otherwise, from taking a club to the gaming group's enjoyment.  But that doesn't mean that we can't do our best to keep the game system itself from just immediately handing that player a big old nail-studded club

 

 

( * I don't like "exploding dice" or White Wolf's "reroll 10s" because of the way they exagerate the affect of growing dice pools and can generate catastrophically unpredictable results. ) 

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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As a GM, I long ago lost track of the number of times I've grabbed an appropriate-sounding lump of dice, rolled them behind the GM screen, looked down for a couple of seconds... and then went right ahead with what I wanted to do anyway.  Not over and over again, but at certain moments because I knew what needed to happen in order to keep the game fun, moving along, and not completely off the rails.  It was my role as the GM to provide an entertaining and satisfying game, and I wasn't going to let a pile of plastic RNGs keep me from doing my job or ruin the game. 

 

According to some players, that's "cheating", and I had one player get VERY angry at me because he thought I was doing it.  What he didn't realize was that the only time I'd actually done it that night was capping the result of a runaway damage* roll to AVOID one-shotting his character so overwhelming that the character would have been a bright red puff of mist, hair, and eyeballs if I hadn't made that judgement call.

Been there so many times.... :D

 

Had some problems with those players a few times. Usually, by spending a session or two always rolling in front of them and following the dice to the letter, they stop complaining. But character-survival is optional... :ph34r:

 

Tev, a player has control over his character's story. That's his contribution, and his responsibility, to the game. But the overall adventure, campaign, chronicle, NPCs, antagonists' stories? All the events and situations that take place? They are the GM's contribution and responsibility, and the players have just a small input on it. Therefore, it is not just fair but also accurate to say that it is the GM's story, his adventure, his chronicle. Does that make it look like an interactive novel to you? Perhaps, but it's the reality of the beast.

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And when *a* player take over the plot, it's not only about keeping your story intact - it's about keeping the problem player from ruining the game for everyone concerned. 

 

It is not your Story. T over all story is the story of the group not the story of the Gm. The players are the defining element of it and the story is developing based on what they do. So yes the GM has the control over all the NPcs antagonists etc but what happens is dependent on the actions of the players and is not allready pre writrten on any plan. So there is no need to keep something intact cause before the player doing something there is no story to have kept in tact.

Yes sometimes the guidelines of the game a a bit exact like your are members of country X and want to reach the capital etc but behoynd the starting scenario what happens next

should be depending on the player actions and not on what the GM planned.

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And when *a* player take over the plot, it's not only about keeping your story intact - it's about keeping the problem player from ruining the game for everyone concerned. 

 

It is not your Story. T over all story is the story of the group not the story of the Gm. The players are the defining element of it and the story is developing based on what they do. So yes the GM has the control over all the NPcs antagonists etc but what happens is dependent on the actions of the players and is not allready pre writrten on any plan. So there is no need to keep something intact cause before the player doing something there is no story to have kept in tact.

Yes sometimes the guidelines of the game a a bit exact like your are members of country X and want to reach the capital etc but behoynd the starting scenario what happens next

should be depending on the player actions and not on what the GM planned.

 

 

I agree with you, but not as you think. Some wonders why I say "Storyteller" instead of "Gamemaster" that that's why. A Gamemaster let the story being built by the players, while a Storyteller creates a story that the players will live. It seems the same but it's far from it. A Gamemaster just need a few times to prepare his games since he doesn't have too much control over his player, while the Storyteller has everything planed and knows how to motivate their players to drive them into the goal you want to do.

 

I'm not saying that one of them is better, I'm just saying it's different way of being the responsible of the game. I have to agree that the Storyteller needs a lot more time to prepare his game. Does it make the game a "Rail shooter"? Not at all, my players actually really enjoy the way I'm doing my games because they have the feeling that they are free to do what they want, yet, they always end up where I want them to go. Are they doing this because they don't want to break my game? Not at all, because sometime they asked me if they picked a direction that broke what I've planed, the answer was no, because I'm planing multiple directions.

 

This is why I agree with you, because what you've said is how a story from a GM is, nothing more than a control over all the NPCs antagonists, NPCs allies, etc. A Storyteller controls a lot more but requires also a lot more which is, what you may call "Rule bending", working outside the rules. I will say that storytelling is a lot harder when you barely know your players, because that's part of the Storyteller's preparation: "What would do each of my players in the given situation?".

 

There might have more ways to run a game, but that's the two most common that I know. The preference is from each others and based on our experiences. Each of them has their pros and cons but in the end they are both good ways of handling a game.

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Well, from Crawds definition I'm more a GM than a Storyteller. And my players and I are ok with it.

 

I prepare my campaings/adventure/oneshots the following:
.) I have an idea I want to play, like "I wanna play something themed with Hanami, the cherryblossom festival"

.) Then I think: is it something I would like to experience as a player? What can I do to let them enjoy it and what could this campaign be about?"

.) In case of my Hanami adventure I decided for the following plot: 

1) The Empress wants to annonce something very important to alle Samurai and inveted them to the cherryblossom festival in Toshi Ranbo

2) The cherrytrees are not blooming, because the Lesser Fortune of cherryblossoms yearns for her own shrine or temple and a name, but has neither (looked that up in the books and the wikia)

3) Since in "my" version of Rokugan the Spider are still an enemy group of tainted people, I let a Spider propose that they would make her a Dark Fortune, if she would prevent the blossoms from blooming, since everyone would see it as an ill omen and may get suspicious regarding the Empress

.) The rest was improvising. And after I GMed this adventure for the first time I decided to write it down and share it with the others. And the feedback from the g+ community was positive. 

 

Well, the group never realized that the Spider Warrior was not alone. But this will have consequences.

 

The first group I mastered, I had one "problem player". It was my first time to be GM. I let the players fight against a few Goblins, but the were to easy. So I just took the "Enemies of the Empire" and opened a random page. I found a small Oni and decided to modify and use it. So I canceled the imunity and reduced some other things and when one of the players asked if his character knew something about this creature I told him the name and some other facts. The "problem player" happened to know the Oni and was adamant that the group can't even hurt the Oni. After explaining that it was a younger(smaller version the player still insisted on the stats from the book and I finally yielded. At the moment that the group was nearly dead I decided to let the Oni just go and leave the PCs there to die...the players decided to run after the Oni. So they died. Or at least almost, since the whole group decided to take "Great destiny" as advantage, so fate didn't let them die.

 

Since then I create my own mosnters or take the stats as they are for this group. And the morale of this story: even cheating does not always work they way you want.

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You shouldn't have yielded. Last time that happened, I just told the guy that 1) his character knew only the facts I had given him, 2) I was running the game, not him, and 3) if he thought I was going to kill the whole party just because I had an itch on my nose, he was welcome to leave the table. Dude got quiet, party succeeded, and I didn't hear another word of complain from him ever since.

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AKA the reason for not one but TWO explicit rules in the rulebook of the RPG I'm working on.

 

1)Anything you read is the state of public knowledge in the setting. It could turn out to be a lie, propaganda, or a false belief. 

2)Any stats given in this book represent an estimate and an average - gamemasters are free to alter them. 

Edited by Himoto

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AKA the reason for not one but TWO explicit rules in the rulebook of the RPG I'm working on.

 

1)Anything you read is the state of public knowledge in the setting. It could turn out to be a lie, propaganda, or a false belief. 

2)Any stats given in this book represent an estimate and an average - gamemasters are free to alter them. 

 

These reasons are the same reasons that I don't always like to see too many stated NPCs. Some people use these stats as law by thinking: "It's writen, therefore it's the law!". Some of my friends who plays D&D (They are not in the games I play for those reasons) thinks that a "monster manual" is the Holy Bible when it's about monsters.

 

In fact, in L5R, the 2 explicit rules you said are stated in the book, it's just that people rarely read the introduction.

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Well, in EVERY RPG-Corerulebook I read up until now there always was a sentence which said something like "All the rules following are guidlines, if you don't like them, feel free to change them. But we can't guarentee the game will work out the same way if you do. If you don't like the stats of NPCs or creatures change them too."

 

It was either somewhere in the introduction or at the beginning of the GM-part.

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