The Tigger Syndrome in RPGs

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frj

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Apr 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/23/97
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John Mack <ta...@SPAMBLOCKER.ozemail.com.au> wrote:

>"I don't want to play anything that involves morality".

>This completely floored me, as I consider Humanity and the degeneration
>rules to be central to Vampire. What he was demanding (to my mind) was
>equivalent to signing up for Call of Cthulhu but refusing to play the
>SAN rules, or AD&D without character levels. We finally decided to
>abandon the current PCs and the current plot (and, as it turned out, I
>ended up abandoning the players, as I could not muster any enthusiasm
>for a game with the new specifications).

>Has anyone else had this problem? Is it a universal phenomenon? Has
>anyone dealt with it successfully, and if so, how? This has bugged me
>for a while, as I have not only watched at least one talented GM drop
>out of the scene over this, but have not been able to bring myself to GM
>for some years.

It is a definite problem and a difficult one to overcome. I've seen in
a number of myraid ways, from "no politics" to "no ethical challenges"
to "no combat" to "no romance". I've also seen it from GMs, in one
case a GM who had no interest in character development and experience
improvements (despite wanting to run a series of connected scenarios
spanning a year or more of character's lives) to GM's who wanted "No
religious involvement, overtones or importance" in a non-modern
setting.

Sometimes its a matter of the player/GM being uncomfortable with the
situation or the aspects, and sometimes its because they were
previously in a bad experience.

It can get worse. I've had players basically come out and say "No
heavy roleplaying - we just want to have fun, not think about what the
character is feeling". That one floored me. Sometimes its time to walk
away in disgust. (A solution I save as an absolute last resort).


Staff Of The Fantasy Realms Roleplaying Game
_________________________________________
Joseph Teller * Kiralee McCauley * Cynthia Shettle
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Mark Apolinski

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Apr 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/23/97
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I guess the moral of this story is don't believe it when the players say
"We'll play anything." Keep pushing to find out what they would
*prefer* to play.


Mark

Hilarion

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Apr 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/23/97
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Within article <335F1D...@SPAMBLOCKER.ozemail.com.au>,
John Mack <ta...@SPAMBLOCKER.ozemail.com.au> scripted:

[snip-aroo-kanga-roo]

>After a few sessions, the GM was becoming frustrated that the players
>were missing obvious clues, and simply not going in the direction they
>were supposed to. If he didn't know better, he'd swear that they were
>going out of their way to avoid certain crucial scenes. He sat them down
>and discussed his concerns at length. His statement of what he thought
>was the obvious, that he'd designed a very political chronicle, drew
>dismissive responses from the players.
>
>"We have no interest in playing politics."

>My own Tigger Syndrome experience was also with the Vampire game system.
>I had designed a redemption-based chronicle, and most stories were to
>revolve around Humanity (a crucial game stat) and the gaining or loss of
>it. Again, after a lengthy series of missed cues which ended with an NPC
>coming right out and pointing out the way to a recalcitrant PC, the
>player and I finally had it out, with him declaring,


>
>"I don't want to play anything that involves morality".

I've run up against the same things myself. Most people I've been gaming
with in recent years seem to be the tried-and-true-don't-deviate types:
either you play standard fare, or fall out of the game by natural
consequence.

Every time I've tried of late to bring about what I would consider an
interesting game, the same fruitless thing happens: only one player out of
six will grasp at the same straws I do.

Of course, there are different playing styles. One could easily and without
great effort, have a "real time" roleplaying game, instituting a background
that involves nothing but the players. Amber is ideal for this, as are
others that involve more comparative issues between players. (ie, vying for
control of "background elements" in the aspect of political positions,
resources, or what have you.) This isn't what I'd consider real
background material, but as a pale comparison, it still allows some drifting
into a domain where you CAN get closer to your own ideal.

I do feel that there are a great many stories for vampires; the humanity
issue being just one of several. Others may feel the same. Concentrating
on one at a time over a chronicle-in-serial would be highly interesting (as
it would give everybody a bit of everything and resolve a lot of issues that
they hand over to you, carte blanche, as a player and GM to explore).
Another thing I'd attempt to proselytize would be the mix-and-mash in tiny
quantities of the things you'd try to realize, with humanity being one.
This would offend less, and would allow greater divertsity in "stats." One
thing I've found is that a great deal of these same players end up piling
higher on what would be considered "story elements" if they deem them to be
more important, even if by proxy of the fact that everybody else who's
playing with them does.

(By the way, thank you quite heartily for the verbose post--it's nice to see
someone in similiar situations and of similar heart about the same.)

Lise Mendel

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Apr 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/23/97
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John Mack <ta...@SPAMBLOCKER.ozemail.com.au> wrote:

> This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
>
<definition and first horrific example snipped>

> My own Tigger Syndrome experience was also with the Vampire game system.
> I had designed a redemption-based chronicle, and most stories were to
> revolve around Humanity (a crucial game stat) and the gaining or loss of
> it. Again, after a lengthy series of missed cues which ended with an NPC
> coming right out and pointing out the way to a recalcitrant PC, the
> player and I finally had it out, with him declaring,
>
> "I don't want to play anything that involves morality".
>

> This completely floored me, as I consider Humanity and the degeneration
> rules to be central to Vampire. What he was demanding (to my mind) was
> equivalent to signing up for Call of Cthulhu but refusing to play the
> SAN rules, or AD&D without character levels. We finally decided to
> abandon the current PCs and the current plot (and, as it turned out, I
> ended up abandoning the players, as I could not muster any enthusiasm
> for a game with the new specifications).
>
> Has anyone else had this problem? Is it a universal phenomenon? Has
> anyone dealt with it successfully, and if so, how? This has bugged me
> for a while, as I have not only watched at least one talented GM drop
> out of the scene over this, but have not been able to bring myself to GM
> for some years.
>


I've never had it happen to the extent you've described, but I've had
individual plot "threads" snipped because a player didn't want to deal
with them. I've also had GMs say "this is going to be a light campaign"
and bring in angst ridden scenarios and grim worldviews. It works both
ways.

That's why it's important to know your players and _explicitly_ discuss
campaign focus with them before running a game. You may find that one
of the regular players in the group chooses to sit out the game
entirely.
--
Lise Mendel <cata...@access.digex.net>
http://www.access.digex.net/~catalyst
Colician Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the LOSS
Women in Gaming http://www.access.digex.net/~catalyst/WIG

John Gronquist

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Apr 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/23/97
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John Mack <ta...@SPAMBLOCKER.ozemail.com.au> wrote in article [SNIP>
[SNIP]

> Has anyone else had this problem? Is it a universal phenomenon? Has
> anyone dealt with it successfully, and if so, how? This has bugged me
> for a while, as I have not only watched at least one talented GM drop
> out of the scene over this, but have not been able to bring myself to GM
> for some years.
> John Mack
>
> Remove SPAMBLOCKER. from email address to reply
>
> Role-Playing Games: Theory and Practice
> http://www.ozemail.com.au/~tarim/rpg/rpgpage.htm

My friend, you hit the proverbial pin head on the nail as it were... Total
agreement and understanding from THIS fanboy...

Cheers,
John


John Mack

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Apr 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/24/97
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This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

--------------214B46A258E
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

A.A. Milne introduced the character of Tigger to his novels, something
like this:

One day, Winnie the Pooh found a strange creature on his doorstep. After
introductions, Pooh thought to offer his guest some food, and asked him
what he liked to eat.

"Tiggers like everything", replied Tigger.

Accordingly, Pooh offered him the only food he had in the house, a pot
of honey. After sampling it, Tigger declared,

"Tiggers don't like honey."

"I thought Tiggers liked everything," said Pooh.

"Except honey," qualified Tigger.

Pooh took Tigger to the house of his best friend, Piglet, who offered
him some acorns. After disposing of a mouthful, Tigger declared,

"Tiggers don't like acorns."

"I thought Tiggers liked everything," said Piglet.

"Except honey," corrected Pooh.

"And acorns," added Tigger.

I'm sure you can see where this is going; the above pattern was repeated
for quite some time.

What does this have to do with role-playing, you may ask?

Certain games are more background-intensive than others (I'm thinking
particularly here of Vampire), so it's important to make sure that you
put the work into areas where players are going to spend a lot of time.
One GM I know of discussed characters and plots with his players, mapped
out the people, organisations and relationships of his game-city,
figured out a few stories to start with, and went into the first story
in full confidence that his players had gamed with him for years and had
stated that they would trust his judgement.

After a few sessions, the GM was becoming frustrated that the players
were missing obvious clues, and simply not going in the direction they
were supposed to. If he didn't know better, he'd swear that they were
going out of their way to avoid certain crucial scenes. He sat them down
and discussed his concerns at length. His statement of what he thought
was the obvious, that he'd designed a very political chronicle, drew
dismissive responses from the players.

"We have no interest in playing politics."

While mentally checking off the amount of background material he could
modify, and how much he would simply have to discard, he calmly asked
them what kind of game they wanted to play.

"Whatever you want to write, we'll play anything."

"As long as it's not political."

I haven't heard whether this GM went ahead and designed a new chronicle,
or responded to the sinking feeling in his gut and ran screaming from
the whole mess. I do know that, the last time I discussed role-playing
with him, he had given up writing convention modules on the grounds that
"The modules I want to write aren't the ones that people want to play."
Which is the player's loss, quite frankly, but still ...

My own Tigger Syndrome experience was also with the Vampire game system.
I had designed a redemption-based chronicle, and most stories were to
revolve around Humanity (a crucial game stat) and the gaining or loss of
it. Again, after a lengthy series of missed cues which ended with an NPC
coming right out and pointing out the way to a recalcitrant PC, the
player and I finally had it out, with him declaring,

"I don't want to play anything that involves morality".

This completely floored me, as I consider Humanity and the degeneration
rules to be central to Vampire. What he was demanding (to my mind) was
equivalent to signing up for Call of Cthulhu but refusing to play the
SAN rules, or AD&D without character levels. We finally decided to
abandon the current PCs and the current plot (and, as it turned out, I
ended up abandoning the players, as I could not muster any enthusiasm
for a game with the new specifications).

Has anyone else had this problem? Is it a universal phenomenon? Has


anyone dealt with it successfully, and if so, how? This has bugged me
for a while, as I have not only watched at least one talented GM drop
out of the scene over this, but have not been able to bring myself to GM
for some years.

--------------214B46A258E
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Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Disposition: inline; filename="GAMING.SIG"

John Mack

Remove SPAMBLOCKER. from email address to reply

Role-Playing Games: Theory and Practice
http://www.ozemail.com.au/~tarim/rpg/rpgpage.htm

--------------214B46A258E--


Al Petterson

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Apr 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/24/97
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Jason Stokes wrote:
>
> Mark Apolinski wrote:

> >John Mack wrote:
> >> A.A. Milne introduced the character of Tigger to his novels, something
> >> like this:

I like John's name for this problem.

This is almost a variation of the "assumption clash" theme elsewhere in
this newsgroup -- this is a "genre clash".

> >I guess the moral of this story is don't believe it when the players say
> >"We'll play anything." Keep pushing to find out what they would
> >*prefer* to play.
>

> When I roleplayed, I never designed any serious campaign ideas until I had
> a chance to muck around with a few light adventures beforehand. Doing that
> usually means some pretty silly adventures, but you do get a certain feel
> for what the players are likely to do. Kind of.

This works well, when you can do it. It's hard to do with a game like
Vampire, though, where unless you're going to run in a canned setting
(Chicago, fx) there is an awful lot of work to be done up front -- who
hates whom, why, ways to find out and use this to your advantage, etc.

>>>"Whatever you want to write, we'll play anything."
>>>"As long as it's not political."

The key would have been for Pooh to find out what Tigger would do when
confronted with a menu -- and a waiter who won't take "Surprise me" for
an answer. Or better yet to put Tigger in front of a smorgasbord and
see what he eats first.

May I suggest that the GM write a list of "themes" (the word is vague)
-- e.g.
- Combat
- Exploration
- Intrigue/Politics
- Religion
- Money
- Horror
- Interparty conflict
- Moral conflict
- Character development
- Romance
etc.

Give details and examples of situations if possible. Run example
scenes that concentrate on each -- group dynamics, and GM style and
preference, can make some things a lot more (or less) fun than they
initially sound. [1]

Also tell them the basics of the setting (in Vampire you -will- have
some amount of politics and horror; the rest is negotiable, fx). Set
the right expectations for the world.

Now, ask the players to _rank_ your list of themes. Don't allow ties
(except at the bottom). Absolutely don't allow copouts of "I'll play
anything, I don't care".

If all the players put combat at the top, you probably should include
some. If they put intrigue at the bottom, maybe you just plain can't
run the kind of Vampire chronicle you hoped for. If they put character
development at the bottom, perhaps you should get different players.
And so on.

Make your own list, too. And if everyone has a wildly different list,
discuss it and try to find a compromise.

Do it _before_ spending the time on world or character design. And
then, once the campaign starts, if there are things people ranked low
but which you feel you could make interesting to them (intrigue, for
example), keep dropping in bits of the stuff you like while keeping the
focus on what the players said they want. If they pick up on it, give
them more; if they shrink away, let it go and try something different
later.

Much like seduction, actually.


[1] For a long time I was terrible at running combat -- the fights we
did get into were drawn-out and boring. But I got some players far more
interested in romantic conflict than they thought they'd enjoy.

--
Al Petterson aa...@oro.net
(916) 784-7777 x131 (w)
(916) 477-2027 (h)
"He has an inordinate fondness for beetles." -- JBS Haldane,
when asked what biology taught of the nature of God

Jason Stokes

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Apr 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/24/97
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On Wed, 23 Apr 1997 18:50:45 GMT, Mark Apolinski <Mark.Ap...@jpl.nasa.gov> wrote:
>I guess the moral of this story is don't believe it when the players say
>"We'll play anything." Keep pushing to find out what they would
>*prefer* to play.

>Mark

When I roleplayed, I never designed any serious campaign ideas until I had
a chance to muck around with a few light adventures beforehand. Doing that
usually means some pretty silly adventures, but you do get a certain feel

for what the players are likely to do. Kind of. In one Rifts adventure I
ran, the characters were supposed to realise they were up against
overwhelming military forces, and were therefore expected to use brains, not
guns. I soon learned that while my particular group could manage to control
their weapons for more than 30 minutes, they hated it so much I made sure
that my adventures from then on had lots of minor, challenging but winnable
combat situations.

--

Jason Stokes: j.stokes @ bohm.anu.edu.au
Ph: +61 06 291 93 84

Mary K. Kuhner

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Apr 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/24/97
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I had a run-in with Tigger quite recently. We started a new campaign,
and I put some effort into a complicated investigative plot. Four
sessions later the player said "I've been trying hard, but I'm bored
and this is not at all what I wanted. Can't we do something
not so slow and frustrating?"

In retrospect, there was some miscommunication involved. When he proposed
cops as PCs he was thinking action-adventure type cops and I was thinking
detective type cops. Also, neither of us had ever played cops before,
and we were both surprised how onerous the restrictions (probable cause,
burden of proof, permits for wiretapping, etc.) were in play.

But I think my biggest error was starting right away with a complex,
carefully designed adventure. Past campaigns have worked better with a
tiny, rather trivial starting adventure to give the game, characters,
players, and GM time to get the feel of things. Then you can see which
way the game needs to go.

It's easy to blame players who say "Oh, anything," and certainly players
shouldn't say that (it's never true). But it's hard for a player to
list what she doesn't like--it may never occur to her, for example,
that the GM might consider leading a unit of military men suitable
material for an RPG. I think things work best either if:

(1) The GM is upfront about what kind of game he intends to run, and
selects players accordingly; or
(2) The GM doesn't make up his mind what kind of game it is until a
couple of weeks into the campaign, when he's gotten to know players and
characters; or
(3) The GM asks the players what they want, and persistantly keeps
asking until he gets an adequate answer.

The difficulty with (1) is that the GM may have trouble finding players
if he's not willing to bend a bit. The difficulty with (2) and (3) is
that the GM may get pushed into running a game that bores or frustrates
him, which never works well. Perhaps the ideal method is somewhere
in between. Method (2) is particularly well suited for develop-in-play
players (and GMs) whereas method (3) is better for design-at-start.

A misbegotten campaign, like my cops example, can sometimes be saved if
the GM and players hash it out *before* everyone is too frustrated. In
this case, we revised the society to greatly reduce the restrictions on
police behavior, revised the kinds of scenarios to emphasize action over
investigation, and revised the characters a bit to broaden the more
investigation-oriented ones. Seems to be working so far, though it was
a bit wrenching for the GM.

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

Kedamono

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Apr 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/24/97
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On Wed, 23 Apr 1997 18:50:45 GMT, Mark Apolinski
<Mark.Ap...@jpl.nasa.gov> wrote:
>I guess the moral of this story is don't believe it when the players say
>"We'll play anything." Keep pushing to find out what they would
>*prefer* to play.

Interestingly enough, I've found the opposite to be true too. I've run
into "Tigger" GMs. I've joined one or two games, and asked the GM, "what
kind of character are you looking for?" and he would reply "Oh, anything,
we're running a real roleplaying scenario this time." Then I would design
my character...

Afterwards, I would wonder what the GM meant by "real roleplaying". Almost
every character I've designed of late has been balanced more for
roleplaying than "rollplaying". I've replied to a few GMs by mail, asking
what they were looking for, and after receiving their reply of "real
roleplaying", I would send them my roleplaying resumé and never hear from
them again.

I can play the thud and blunder characters, and, with a couple of
exceptions, really don't like that style anymore. Tiggers abound.

--
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Apr 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/24/97
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In article <335F1D...@SPAMBLOCKER.ozemail.com.au>,
John Mack <ta...@SPAMBLOCKER.ozemail.com.au> wrote:
>...


>Pooh took Tigger to the house of his best friend, Piglet, who offered
>him some acorns. After disposing of a mouthful, Tigger declared,
>
>"Tiggers don't like acorns."
>
>"I thought Tiggers liked everything," said Piglet.
>
>"Except honey," corrected Pooh.
>
>"And acorns," added Tigger.
>
>I'm sure you can see where this is going; the above pattern was repeated
>for quite some time.

>...


>Has anyone else had this problem? Is it a universal phenomenon? Has

>anyone dealt with it successfully, and if so, how?...

Tigger is, of course, an infantile Tantalus in denial of ambrosia.
[So would agree Graves, if not Milne.] One can understand how a diet solely
of acorns or honey or ambrosia would sicken some quicker than others but
the one objective reason to design a cuisine around their absence would
be because someone had an allergy. Other than that... what?

The subjective reasons thereafter devolve from sensibility, and
from the subjective perspective there devolves all sorts of do`s and
don't`s various advocates will say either make the roleplaying experience
possible or impossible for them. This will be true of both what they say can
happen or exist in the game, as well as, how the game is to be conducted. Such
proclivities will stray toward advocating the game should always be played
one way or another rather than appreciating that it is the admixture of
things and proccesses that makes RPGs interesting and that roleplaying
should be more of challenge and not just the one way, servile expression
of one's conception of character or milieu. Hidebound RPGers often somehow
muddle sense and sensibility, and then go on to rationalize and ardently
advocate their slavish devotion to it.

People will tend to decline to do this or that because it does
not play to their long suits or it offends their sensibilty. In regard to
the former, on one hand, I feel referees should cater to whatever
characters they have allowed creation: if you've allowed the creation
of a chef, and your campaign revolves around politics or morality, then
you should arrange some intrigue, or something, around state dinners or
the kitchen of the monastary. In regard to both the former and the latter,
again, neither politics nor morality should occlude the whole campaign,
nor need to impact upon the players to any degree much beyond how they've
directed their characters toward it, however, what makes or breaks the
game, will depend upon whether the players and referee engage in a manner
which keeps the ball rolling and allows roleplayers to meet the challenge
of staying in character. Neither can assume an unalloyed stance in their
approach to their parts yet still have the whole succeed.

Travis Hall

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Apr 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/25/97
to

I have had a few experiences with the Tigger Syndrome myself.

About three and a half years back, my players and I got sick of playing in
Krynn. (Dragonlance sounded like a good setting for what was supposed to
be an experiment to see if I could cut it as a campaign DM and what bits
of AD&D needed changing for further games - the "short-term experiment"
ended up running for two years.) As a result, my players and I decided to
restart in my own campaign world. After some discussion, I presented my
players with a list of options for the type of area they would start play
in. I wanted them to choose a setting type, or alternatively suggest a new
one for the list. Included were such fantasy ideas as a lost world
setting, a celtic setting, a norse setting or a magocracy. Only one player
expressed a definate preference (not counting the guy who wanted to move
to Greyhawk, who was summarily ignored, since none of us had Greyhawk
material, I wasn't going to buy it, it was out of print, everyone else
wanted my homemade campaign world, and I don't much like Greyhawk). That
player said he wanted to play in a setting analogous to about 15th-16th
century Earth (but fantasized, of course). The others were "happy" to go
along with everything. The setting was prompted constructed, the
characters made up, and the Greyhawk player replaced. (He refused to go on
when I said that Berserker Priests did not really fit the setting. He had
his chance to suggest alternate settings.) Some time later, it was
becoming apparent to me that the player who suggested the setting was
likely the least satisfied with it. He wanted to go out and thump monsters
with abandon and perform the heroic actions more commonly found in, say, a
Conan the Barbituate style setting, rather than interact with others in a
more social setting and swing from chandaliers a la The Three Musketeers.
When I questioned him more closely, it turned out that he was never really
interested in that society. He just assumed the higher technology of
Earth's 16th century (as compared to, say, the 12th century) would be
replaced with magic, and wanted to see magic as a commonplace thing.
(Unfortunately, I am not so interested in that style of setting, and as
the GM also has to be interested in the game, if I was presented with a
demand to make magic an everyday occurance, of have my players walk out,
I'd reply, "Bye!") In other words, the only player who cared, wasn't
telling the true story. Still, that game held up for two years, until
circumstances induced replacement of some players, and I decided it was
time for another setting change.

But a more disturbing incident, not quite the same but related, occurred
in another campaign I was running. A friend of mine learned that I used to
run a Dragonlance campaign, and asked me to GM another AD&D Dragonlance
game so that she could play in the setting. When an opportune time
presented itself, I brought together a handpicked group of players for a
rather experimental roleplaying campaign in good old Krynn, a game which
was really put together specially for the requesting player. After playing
the game for a while, it became obvious that this player, and incidentally
(and not surprisingly) her boyfriend, another player, were not happy with
the way the game was going. However, when I repeatedly questioned them
about the matter, they told me over and over again that they were
completely happy with the game. Later they dropped out of the game, an
event triggered by my losing my temper and informing the male player that
he would sit down and player rather than reconstruct a computer with some
other people who should never have been there in the first place (I
realise I should never have gotten angry, but I can't run a game when my
players are not present). It was only after they dropped out (and I
cornered the female without her boyfriend) that I finally learned that no,
my losing my temper was not the reason for the dissatisfaction (though it
was the straw that broke the camel's back). Rather, they thought that the
other male player was becoming, shall we say, interested in another female
player, and that, since this game was experimenting with allowing the
players much greater than normal input into the running of the game, the
male player was deliberately biassing the game for the female and against
them. This, frankly, was paranoid BS. (There was more to the situation
than I will state here, but I know that no-one, other than perhaps me,
knows the full story.)

Now, apart from the obvious problems caused by the triple-R (Romantic
Relationships in Roleplaying), it seems that the players with the hassles
were quite prepared to lie, even to direct questions concerning the game
from the GM (myself). If the players will lie to the GM (or be, shall we
say, deceptive, as in the first example) how can a GM possibly be expected
to discern the true desires of the players?

Now, I have no idea where this post is going, but I'll be interested to
see what replies it inspires.

--
Why is it that when I do finally get around to creating a .sig file, I
can't think of a single witty thing to say in it?

The Wraith

Jason Stokes

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Apr 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/25/97
to

In article <5jpn7q$rah$1...@nargun.cc.uq.edu.au>, zzt...@mailbox.uq.edu.au
(Travis Hall) wrote:

[Two MASSIVE paragraphs snipped - I write long paragraphs, but yours are
ridiculous!]

> Now, apart from the obvious problems caused by the triple-R (Romantic
> Relationships in Roleplaying), it seems that the players with the hassles
> were quite prepared to lie, even to direct questions concerning the game
> from the GM (myself). If the players will lie to the GM (or be, shall we
> say, deceptive, as in the first example) how can a GM possibly be expected
> to discern the true desires of the players?

There is no easy solution to the situation, but I think there's an
etiquette involved in all this. In any role-playing group there are
multiple people with multiple interests. No campaign can satisfy everyone
in every detail. However, I just had a brainwave:

*Role reversal!*

Usually you might have the players design the characters, and the GM
design the setting and the campaign. Try it the other way round: the
players design the setting in great detail, and the GM designs characters
to go with the setting. Of course, the GM would embellish any ideas the
players have, but that way the players would ostensibly play in a world
they ask for, and the GM gets to referee characters that he specifically
designed to fit the campaign!

> Now, I have no idea where this post is going, but I'll be interested to
> see what replies it inspires.

Here I am trying to sound like a more experienced roleplayer than I
actually am :) However, I've learned two things from my roleplaying
"career." One, don't bother with palladium games, two, give up when
roleplaying seems so expensive you can't keep up with the Joneses.

Russell Penney

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Apr 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/25/97
to

In article <5jlqfo$2...@news-central.tiac.net>, f...@tiac.net (frj) wrote:

<SNIP>

>It can get worse. I've had players basically come out and say "No
>heavy roleplaying - we just want to have fun, not think about what the
>character is feeling". That one floored me. Sometimes its time to walk
>away in disgust. (A solution I save as an absolute last resort).
>

You disappoint me. If you can't have fun roleplaying then you have missed the
whole point. Yes, there are serious campaigns where, unless your character is
a prankster, levity is frowned apon BUT there are times for a rollicking,
Monty Haul, kick ass, STUPID campaign. Many people I know play multiple
campaigns of both kinds. I have played both kinds. I will not make a statement
that I prefer one kind over another, it depends on so many factors.

Frankly, if you can't or won't play a "fun" campaign or module then you aren't
a good roleplayer. A good roleplayer should be able to fit into any sort of
character, genre and style well. AND a good GM should be able to handle
whatever the characters do as long as they act in character! If they insist on
trying to shoot up the town on a covert mission ( for example ) you should
take them aside and say something ( or let it degenerate into a "fun" campaign
). If they don't turn down the right corridor because they couldn't figure out
the obscure clue in ancient aramaic you let them find on a scrap of paper 5
sessions ago right, then you deserve to be taken aside and told in no
uncertain terms what an idiot you are.

If you are digusted that your players want to have fun, think what it is like
for them to be forced into your campaign. Maybe they are just responding to
your style. Remember too much angst is bad for your spleen and they may just
be venting. :-)

Russell

Carl D. Cravens

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Apr 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/25/97
to

On 25 Apr 97 14:32:08 GMT, rpe...@cyberspace.net.au (Russell Penney) wrote:
>A good roleplayer should be able to fit into any sort of character,
>genre and style well.

This again. It's like saying that, since you're a gamer, you should be
happy to play chess, Magic, roleplaying or gin rummy. They're all
games, so you should be able to play any of them and be happy. Phooey.

You complain that we're supposed to have fun, but your qualifications
for a "good" roleplayer don't involve fun at all... they involve
"fitting in".

Who cares what makes a "good" roleplayer? I want to play a "fun"
character in a "fun" setting. ("Fun" being used interchangable with
interesting, exciting, challenging, etc. depending on just what I
happend to want out of it at the time.)

--
Carl (rave...@southwind.net) * Phoenyx Roleplaying Listserver
* http://www2.southwind.net/~phoenyx
My reality check just bounced.

Travis Hall

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Apr 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/26/97
to

Russell Penney (rpe...@cyberspace.net.au) wrote:
: In article <5jlqfo$2...@news-central.tiac.net>, f...@tiac.net (frj) wrote:
:
: >It can get worse. I've had players basically come out and say "No

: >heavy roleplaying - we just want to have fun, not think about what the
: >character is feeling". That one floored me. Sometimes its time to walk
: >away in disgust. (A solution I save as an absolute last resort).

: You disappoint me. If you can't have fun roleplaying then you have
: missed the whole point. Yes, there are serious campaigns where, unless
: your character is a prankster, levity is frowned apon BUT there are
: times for a rollicking, Monty Haul, kick ass, STUPID campaign. Many
: people I know play multiple campaigns of both kinds. I have played both
: kinds. I will not make a statement that I prefer one kind over another,
: it depends on so many factors.

Actually, I think you might have missed the whole point. The previous
poster did not say that his campaign was ultra-serious, just that the
players refused to play anything that involved the feelings of the
characters. If the game does not take that into account, where is the
roleplaying? It is possible to have a light-hearted campaign, yet still
expect roleplaying from the players.

: Frankly, if you can't or won't play a "fun" campaign or module then you
: aren't a good roleplayer. A good roleplayer should be able to fit into


: any sort of character, genre and style well.

We all play to have fun, even if the campaign is a "serious" one. Serious
roleplayers play serious roleplaying games because they consider serious
roleplaying to be fun. If by a "fun" campaign, you mean a "silly"
campaign, then I think you will find there are quite a few people around
who do not enjoy that sort of game - in other words, they do not have fun
in a "fun" campaign.

None of which indicates that the player in question is not a good
roleplayer. Being able to fit into any sort of character, genre and style
may be a valid part of a definition of a good roleplayer, but just because
a player can do it, does not mean that he necessarily finds it enjoyable.
I myself like to play Paranoia precisely once each year. You see,
Paranoia, for me, is fun that once, but if I play a second game without a
break of about 10 months, minimum, I find it tiresome. So, I can do it,
but I don't enjoy it.

: AND a good GM should be able to handle whatever the characters do as


: long as they act in character!

In the short term, yes, but if a GM does not enjoy the type of play that
occurs in his game, how can you really expect him to keep running it? The
GM is also there to have fun.

: If they don't turn down the right corridor because they couldn't figure


: out the obscure clue in ancient aramaic you let them find on a scrap of
: paper 5 sessions ago right, then you deserve to be taken aside and told
: in no uncertain terms what an idiot you are.

This is certainly not something I would consider to be the mark of a
serious, roleplaying-oriented campaign. Most serious campaigns will not
include the expectation that the PCs will do everything right - in fact, I
think most will allow them plenty of opportunities to screw up, because
without those decisions, the players will not have any control over the
story. Then the GM might as well be telling a story to a mere audience.
Most serious campaigns place great emphasis on the decisions of the
players and the characters, hence the requirement for roleplaying.

: If you are digusted that your players want to have fun, think what it is like

: for them to be forced into your campaign. Maybe they are just responding to
: your style. Remember too much angst is bad for your spleen and they may just
: be venting. :-)

Roleplaying != angst

I didn't get the impression that the previous poster was disgusted with
his players wanting to have fun. Rather, I thought he was disgusted with
his players wanting to have fun *without roleplaying*. He has organised a
game so that all participants have a chance to roleplay, and if that is
what he is interested in, he has every right not to run a non-roleplaying
campaign. Remember, the GM is there to have fun too.

Mary K. Kuhner

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Apr 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/26/97
to

rave...@southwind.net (Carl D. Cravens) writes:

>On 25 Apr 97 14:32:08 GMT, rpe...@cyberspace.net.au (Russell Penney) wrote:

>>A good roleplayer should be able to fit into any sort of character,
>>genre and style well.

>This again. It's like saying that, since you're a gamer, you should be


>happy to play chess, Magic, roleplaying or gin rummy. They're all
>games, so you should be able to play any of them and be happy. Phooey.

Exactly. For me, if my fellow players or GM say "Let's just play to have
fun, let's not do anything emotional or involving" that's like saying
"Let's skip dinner and just have dessert." Fine. Whatever you like,
but if I'm hungry I'm likely to go look for a restaraunt. I don't find
a meal composed purely of dessert fulfilling, and I don't find games
that are purely fluff fulfilling. A session now and then, okay, but
not a whole campaign.

If that makes me a bad roleplayer, I'm quite happy to be a bad roleplayer.
I enjoy the games I do play in, and avoid the ones I can't enjoy.
I'm not trying to win any "versatile player of the month" awards.

I would personally find it impossible as a GM to put in the kind of
work a campaign demands, week after week, if the players weren't doing
something that interested me. They don't have to do what I want them
to--mine frequently don't--but they need to do something that's fun
for me to participate in, which generally means it has to have some
emotional and/or intellectual bite to it. Again, I may not win any
prizes for this attitude, but it's what works for me.

I think GMs that can run anything, no matter how dull they find it,
and not burn out are mythical. I've never met one. Maybe if it were
a more highly paid profession.... Even then the result would likely
be hackwork, like books written purely to pay the bills. From the
players' point of view, it's a bad idea to bore the GM to death;
even if the game survives, it's likely to lose its sparkle. Most
GMs run *much* better if they are interested in the game.

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

Lise Mendel

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Apr 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/26/97
to


> >On 25 Apr 97 14:32:08 GMT, rpe...@cyberspace.net.au (Russell Penney) wrote:
> >>A good roleplayer should be able to fit into any sort of character,
> >>genre and style well.

<snip>


> if my fellow players or GM say "Let's just play to have fun, let's not do
> anything emotional or involving" that's like saying "Let's skip dinner and
> just have dessert." Fine. Whatever you like, but if I'm hungry I'm
> likely to go look for a restaraunt. I don't find a meal composed purely
> of dessert fulfilling, and I don't find games that are purely fluff
> fulfilling. A session now and then, okay, but not a whole campaign.

For me, there's a limit to how "fun" a game can get if there's nothing
emotional or involving in it. I got bored of games that were _nothing_
but hack and slash, solve the puzzle and get the treasure by the time I
was fifteen...

True, I (for one) can be amused by a session of mindless fluff now and
then, but it has to be, at least, funny (which has to be
emotional/involving to some degree). Every so often, when I really need
to get out agression by going out and *killing* something, I play a
computer game or log onto a mud...

<snip>

> I think GMs that can run anything, no matter how dull they find it,
> and not burn out are mythical. I've never met one. Maybe if it were
> a more highly paid profession.... Even then the result would likely
> be hackwork, like books written purely to pay the bills. From the
> players' point of view, it's a bad idea to bore the GM to death;
> even if the game survives, it's likely to lose its sparkle. Most
> GMs run *much* better if they are interested in the game.
>
> Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

Absolutely!

Michele Ellington

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Apr 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/27/97
to

Mary K. Kuhner (mkku...@phylo.genetics.washington.edu) wrote:
> (1) The GM is upfront about what kind of game he intends to run, and
> selects players accordingly; or
> (2) The GM doesn't make up his mind what kind of game it is until a
> couple of weeks into the campaign, when he's gotten to know players and
> characters; or
> (3) The GM asks the players what they want, and persistantly keeps
> asking until he gets an adequate answer.

I would add the caveat that at least the tone must be set before
character generation. We lost one Champions campaign to the
fact that we had three "four color" heroes and one "serial killer
for justice" on the same team. While all of the players could have
played in either mindset, it was impossible to mix the characters.
Unfortunately, it was our most "sensitive" player who was the
killer. She could neither deal with changing characters herself
nor the other three players changing out, she felt both were
criticisms of her play style, despite our protestations to the
contrary. So the game died, there were brief bad feelings erased
by the GMs intelligent return to a campaign setting we had played
together happily before.

I generally want to know if the predominant tone will be silly
or serious; the characters heroic, mundane or dark; and
the general mortality level; all of which has an impact on
personality development for my characters. Of course, most GMs
stay within a certain range, and once you have played with them
for a couple of years, you know what to expect.


Michele Ellington

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Apr 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/27/97
to

Travis Hall (zzt...@mailbox.uq.edu.au) wrote:
> If the players will lie to the GM (or be, shall we
> say, deceptive, as in the first example) how can a GM possibly be expected
> to discern the true desires of the players?

We had a rather lengthy prior discussion in the newsgroup on the
definition of lying, and I'd really rather not open that can of
worms again. But it seems to me that lying is a strong word
for the two situations described (which, of course, I can only
address based on what you wrote, I am sure there are further
details).

In situation #1, it seemed that the player who offered an opinion
really just misunderstood what he was proposing. A PBEM GM recently
offered a similar menu to the recruited band of players. One of the
possibilities was "historic". I selected this category as one of
my primary choices, but made sure to point out that if he literally
meant "historic" as in recreation of actual earth history, I wanted
it last on my list, not second. If he meant traditional fantasy
historic play, then it ranked second. But not everyone would
think of alternatives to their instinctive response to an idea.

In situation #2, it seemed more like a polite untruth than an
outright lie. These players were not in your regular group, I
don't know if you were close friends. But if I were new to a
gaming group and was asked if I were enjoying the game, I would
be loathe to complain. In a game where I know the GM well,
I am compfortable with talking frankly with the GM about problems
within the game and with other players.

Michele Ellington

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Apr 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/27/97
to

Russell Penney (rpe...@cyberspace.net.au) wrote:
> In article <5jlqfo$2...@news-central.tiac.net>, f...@tiac.net (frj) wrote:
> >It can get worse. I've had players basically come out and say "No
> >heavy roleplaying - we just want to have fun, not think about what the
> >character is feeling". That one floored me. Sometimes its time to walk
> >away in disgust. (A solution I save as an absolute last resort).

Run Paranoia. Even I, who am into heavy role-playing
and depise "silly" games (I am just an old stick in
the mud, I don't like comedy much at all) enjoy the
occasional game of Paranoia as a way to let my hair
down and just goof off.

> You disappoint me. If you can't have fun roleplaying then you have missed the
> whole point. Yes, there are serious campaigns where, unless your character is
> a prankster, levity is frowned apon BUT there are times for a rollicking,
> Monty Haul, kick ass, STUPID campaign. Many people I know play multiple
> campaigns of both kinds. I have played both kinds. I will not make a statement
> that I prefer one kind over another, it depends on so many factors.

The poster didn't say they couldn't have fun role-playing. My
perception is that they were saying they couldn't have fun running/
playing a rollicking, Monty Haul, kick ass campaign. I know I
certainly could not. One evening of Paranoia is enough mindless
humor to last me at least a year. Mindless pursuits bore me just
about immediately. Don't read any tone of superiority there, life
would be easier with a more generous sense of humor. My inability
to laugh at the merely stupid, to regard only clever humor and razor
wit as meritorius of a belly laugh, are a social disadvantage.

A Lapalme

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Apr 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/27/97
to


Mary K. Kuhner (mkku...@phylo.genetics.washington.edu) writes:
> rave...@southwind.net (Carl D. Cravens) writes:
>

>>On 25 Apr 97 14:32:08 GMT, rpe...@cyberspace.net.au (Russell Penney) wrote:
>>>A good roleplayer should be able to fit into any sort of character,
>>>genre and style well.
>

>>This again. It's like saying that, since you're a gamer, you should be
>>happy to play chess, Magic, roleplaying or gin rummy. They're all
>>games, so you should be able to play any of them and be happy. Phooey.
>

> Exactly. For me, if my fellow players or GM say "Let's just play to have


> fun, let's not do anything emotional or involving" that's like saying
> "Let's skip dinner and just have dessert." Fine. Whatever you like,
> but if I'm hungry I'm likely to go look for a restaraunt. I don't find
> a meal composed purely of dessert fulfilling, and I don't find games
> that are purely fluff fulfilling. A session now and then, okay, but
> not a whole campaign.
>

Ditto on everything Mary said.

>
> I think GMs that can run anything, no matter how dull they find it,
> and not burn out are mythical. I've never met one. Maybe if it were
> a more highly paid profession.... Even then the result would likely
> be hackwork, like books written purely to pay the bills. From the
> players' point of view, it's a bad idea to bore the GM to death;
> even if the game survives, it's likely to lose its sparkle. Most
> GMs run *much* better if they are interested in the game.
>

Absolutely and, to tell the truth, it still stuns me to I hear or read
comments which seem to have missed that. Why on Earth would anyone GM a
game they find boring is totally beyond me (I guess it does happen in
circles where no one wants to GM - that makes me question the quality of
the game though)? Like Mary, I don't believe in the mythical GM who can
run any type of game have consistently enjoy it or the mythical player who
can play in any game and consistenly enjoy it.

Alain
--
The Advocacy Gathering(Aug 13-16, 1997): The game I intend to run:
http://www.intranet.ca/~lapalme/rpg/advocacy/shir.html
Can-Games XXI - the largest and longest running Gaming Convention in Canada
http://www.magmacom.com/~sharvey/cangames.htm - Sept 19-21, 1997

Russell Penney

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Apr 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/27/97
to

In article <5jrho6$el4$1...@nargun.cc.uq.edu.au>,
zzt...@mailbox.uq.edu.au (Travis Hall) wrote:

>Actually, I think you might have missed the whole point. The previous
>poster did not say that his campaign was ultra-serious, just that the
>players refused to play anything that involved the feelings of the
>characters. If the game does not take that into account, where is the
>roleplaying? It is possible to have a light-hearted campaign, yet still
>expect roleplaying from the players.

I read the previous poster's message differently to you.

>
>: Frankly, if you can't or won't play a "fun" campaign or module then you

>: aren't a good roleplayer. A good roleplayer should be able to fit into


>: any sort of character, genre and style well.
>

>We all play to have fun, even if the campaign is a "serious" one. Serious
>roleplayers play serious roleplaying games because they consider serious
>roleplaying to be fun. If by a "fun" campaign, you mean a "silly"
>campaign, then I think you will find there are quite a few people around
>who do not enjoy that sort of game - in other words, they do not have fun
>in a "fun" campaign.

No we do not all play to have fun ( I do ). Go to a large Con and watch the
jockeying for social status and real or percieved power. Some are there only
becuase they cannot express themselves in society. They need a place in a
group and that is the main reason they roleplay.

>This is certainly not something I would consider to be the mark of a
>serious, roleplaying-oriented campaign. Most serious campaigns will not
>include the expectation that the PCs will do everything right - in fact, I
>think most will allow them plenty of opportunities to screw up, because
>without those decisions, the players will not have any control over the
>story. Then the GM might as well be telling a story to a mere audience.
>Most serious campaigns place great emphasis on the decisions of the
>players and the characters, hence the requirement for roleplaying.

Unfortunatly I have played too many modules and campaigns where players don't
have much of a choice. I tend to drop out very quickly. In fact I have stop
playing most Con modules for that very reason.

>I didn't get the impression that the previous poster was disgusted with
>his players wanting to have fun. Rather, I thought he was disgusted with
>his players wanting to have fun *without roleplaying*. He has organised a
>game so that all participants have a chance to roleplay, and if that is
>what he is interested in, he has every right not to run a non-roleplaying
>campaign. Remember, the GM is there to have fun too.

I read it another way but your points are valid. What is roleplaying? I dont
see roleplaying as having to simulate a characters every emotion. I have
played a module where I ( and most other people who played ) empathised so
much with the characters that I choked up and felt drained for ages. But for
me that was an extreme. Most of the time I don't see the need, I tend to
concentrate on the major feelings and I always realise that it is a GAME!

Maybe I am just old and bitter. Roleplaying was more fun in the good old days.
:-)

Russell

Travis Hall

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Apr 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/27/97
to

Michele Ellington (ad...@rgfn.epcc.edu) wrote:
:
: Travis Hall (zzt...@mailbox.uq.edu.au) wrote:
: > If the players will lie to the GM (or be, shall we

: > say, deceptive, as in the first example) how can a GM possibly be expected
: > to discern the true desires of the players?
:
: We had a rather lengthy prior discussion in the newsgroup on the

: definition of lying, and I'd really rather not open that can of
: worms again.

I guess I missed that during my fairly lengthy hiatus, recently ended.

: But it seems to me that lying is a strong word
: for the two situations described (which, of course, I can only
: address based on what you wrote, I am sure there are further

: details).
:
: In situation #1, it seemed that the player who offered an opinion
: really just misunderstood what he was proposing.

Except that he admitted to only proposing it to attempt to persuade me to
run a high-magic setting, something he knows I am not interested in
running. (And that's the one I termed "deceptive", rather than a lie.)

: In situation #2, it seemed more like a polite untruth than an

: outright lie. These players were not in your regular group, I
: don't know if you were close friends.

The boyfriend had previously played in a campaign I ran lasting two years.
The female had started roleplaying through the loose circle of gamers I
have played with for years. The game had already lasted several months. I
think they were as close to my "regular group" as could be found without
taking the players from my other game from there to here as a group. And
they were asked politely, but firmly and directly, several times, and
stated (unconvincingly) each time that they were completely satisfied with
the game.

But specific examples aside, even if the player is only being polite, how
can a GM possibly be expected to solve problems when players lie about
their existance? We all know that it goes on, even if we couch it in
rather more diplomatic terms.

Travis Hall

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Apr 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/27/97
to

Russell Penney (rpe...@cyberspace.net.au) wrote:
: In article <5jrho6$el4$1...@nargun.cc.uq.edu.au>,
: zzt...@mailbox.uq.edu.au (Travis Hall) wrote:
:
: >We all play to have fun,
:
: No we do not all play to have fun ( I do ). Go to a large Con and watch the
: jockeying for social status and real or percieved power. Some are there only
: becuase they cannot express themselves in society. They need a place in a
: group and that is the main reason they roleplay.

Okay, there are a few who play at cons for status. (If by "large Con" you
mean one of the big US-style Cons, I'd love to attend - are you offering
to pay my airfare? :) ) But even there, most people (at least at the cons
the size we get in Australia) most players are there for fun, and there
isn't really much to prove in the campaign situation. My main point still
stands - even "serious" roleplayers play to have fun.

: Unfortunatly I have played too many modules and campaigns where players don't

: have much of a choice. I tend to drop out very quickly. In fact I have stop
: playing most Con modules for that very reason.

You seem to have fallen foul of the "linear" or "structured" style of
module design, particularly common at cons. I have not noticed that the
problems of over-structured modules are more prevalent in "serious" games.

: I read it another way but your points are valid. What is roleplaying? I dont

: see roleplaying as having to simulate a characters every emotion. I have
: played a module where I ( and most other people who played ) empathised so
: much with the characters that I choked up and felt drained for ages. But for
: me that was an extreme. Most of the time I don't see the need, I tend to
: concentrate on the major feelings and I always realise that it is a GAME!

But most roleplaying groups have the expectation that at least some
attention will be payed to the emotions and personalities of the players.
Extremes aren't necessarily required, but no emotion is also an extreme,
and not considered terribly interesting by many roleplayers.

Lise Mendel

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Apr 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/27/97
to

<note: aus.games.roleplay taken out of followups to save bandwidth)

Travis Hall <zzt...@mailbox.uq.edu.au> wrote:

>
> But specific examples aside, even if the player is only being polite, how
> can a GM possibly be expected to solve problems when players lie about
> their existance? We all know that it goes on, even if we couch it in
> rather more diplomatic terms.

Sie can't. Why should sie be?

It's the GMs responsibility to handle the game world. Obviously the GM
also wants to make sure that everyone is having a good time. So do the
players (one hopes).

Because the GM "runs" the game, quite often sie tries to avoid inviting
players who don't get along with each other to the game. That's probably
the way it should be, but it's easy to blur the line between that and
acting as "social director" and trying to _solve_ any problems that come
up between players during play. What it comes down to is that, unless
the players take some responsiblilty for keeping the game playable, it
won't happen.

You can't _make_ people get along if they don't want to. You can try to
get them to tell you about it. You can encourage them to talk to each
other (if the problem is obviously between/among players). You can even
put the game "on hold" until they work it out themselves. None of this
works unless the players work at it.

Sometimes all you can do is to split up a group/toss out a player (or
player faction) to keep the peace. I wouldn't recommend either of the
above as a first resort, but occasionally it comes down to that.

Mary K. Kuhner

unread,
Apr 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/27/97
to

In article <5jvo5r$jb2$3...@nargun.cc.uq.edu.au> zzt...@mailbox.uq.edu.au (Travis Hall) writes:

>But specific examples aside, even if the player is only being polite, how
>can a GM possibly be expected to solve problems when players lie about
>their existance? We all know that it goes on, even if we couch it in
>rather more diplomatic terms.

This is certainly frustrating. Since there's not much you can do to
change players' behavior directly, about the only thing you could do
would be to look at the social climate of your group and see if
there is any way it could be changed to encourage more honesty and
constructive criticism.

One thing to try would be to encourage one or more of your less-
troublesome or more experienced players to bring something up in
public. This demonstrates that complaints are allowed, and if the
problem players see you tackling a complaint and making changes,
they may be prompted to be more honest.

Another would be setting aside some real discussion time. I had a
game which was not going very well, but no one wanted to spoil our
after-game dinners with a big hairy discussion. (I am not good at
hearing criticism right after I run, anyway, and my players knew that.)
We ended up setting some time aside *before* a gaming session to
talk about things, and discovered that the game had a real problem
(one player couldn't grasp how the magic worked, so her character
was at a severe disadvantage) which could be fixed with effort.

These won't always work, of course. Some combinations of people just
don't make functional gaming groups no matter how hard everyone
tries.

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

ke...@melb.alexia.net.au

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Apr 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/27/97
to

In article <33631...@pluto.ais.com.au>,

rpe...@cyberspace.net.au (Russell Penney) wrote:
>
>
> In article <5jrho6$el4$1...@nargun.cc.uq.edu.au>,
> zzt...@mailbox.uq.edu.au (Travis Hall) wrote:

> > rpe...@cyberspace.net.au (Russell Penney) wrote:
> >
> >: Frankly, if you can't or won't play a "fun" campaign or module then you
> >: aren't a good roleplayer. A good roleplayer should be able to fit into
> >: any sort of character, genre and style well.
> >
> >We all play to have fun, even if the campaign is a "serious" one. Serious
> >roleplayers play serious roleplaying games because they consider serious
> >roleplaying to be fun. If by a "fun" campaign, you mean a "silly"
> >campaign, then I think you will find there are quite a few people around
> >who do not enjoy that sort of game - in other words, they do not have fun
> >in a "fun" campaign.
>

> No we do not all play to have fun ( I do ). Go to a large Con and watch the
> jockeying for social status and real or percieved power. Some are there only
> becuase they cannot express themselves in society. They need a place in a
> group and that is the main reason they roleplay.

Heya Russel. Long time no see. You have to remember Russel, our
gaming/convention society is very small and incestuous. A lot of US
cities have more RPers than Australia as a whole, and even in Australia a
lot of RPing happens that has nothing to do with conventions. What we
call a large con would be a minor affair in places like the US or the UK.
And, from having spoken to international guests over the years, we do
things very differently at our cons than people in other parts of the
world do. So, while I agree the whole con scene is just that, a con, its
not representative of either good or desirable RPing.

> Unfortunatly I have played too many modules and campaigns where players don't
> have much of a choice. I tend to drop out very quickly. In fact I have stop
> playing most Con modules for that very reason.

Again it appears that you are conflating convention tournament modules
and published modules with RPing in general. From my experience the best
RPing campaigns are very different from any module ever published. For a
start, not being constrained by the requirement to make for a fair
competition, and hence providing pregenerated characters, a GM running
ther own campaign can provide more freedom of choice to the players. Con
modules are designed as competition set pieces. Winnning such
competitions regularly tends to require the skills you've described.
Fortunately, normal RPing (hopefully) uses entirely different skills.

> Maybe I am just old and bitter. Roleplaying was more fun in the good old days.
> :-)

Try getting together with a group of friends and RPing without the
competitive overtones of a convention. It can be a lot of fun. I suspect
the problem is that many of our contemporaries in the Aust. RPing
community only have time to RP at conventions, and that brings our their
competitive urges as they try to prove to the young guns they we oldsters
still have what it takes to win tournments. That's one reason I stopped
going to conventions, so that I could socialise with my friends and RP in
a non-competitive environment.

>
> Russell

Phil Keast

-------------------==== Posted via Deja News ====-----------------------
http://www.dejanews.com/ Search, Read, Post to Usenet

Richard Canning

unread,
Apr 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/28/97
to

>Run Paranoia. Even I, who am into heavy role-playing
>and depise "silly" games (I am just an old stick in
>the mud, I don't like comedy much at all) enjoy the
>occasional game of Paranoia as a way to let my hair
>down and just goof off.

If you don't like Paranoia there are many other options
- Macho Women with Guns
- Bunnies and Burrows
- Tales from the Floating Vagabond
- Toon
- Anything written to be a Serious World of Darkness module.

All of these are great for evenings of hilarity and relaxation.

The seriousness of role playing is set by the group, not by any one person (even
the GM) If you feel you are being Catharted beyond what you can deal with
either complain or leave Sydney.

Jocularity rules


Richard Canning

unread,
Apr 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/28/97
to

It is good to see a large group of Role Players from many different backgrounds
and styles get together and write a Freeform like this. It shows a hitherto
unexplored level of teamsmanship and cooperation. There are such good
characters and plots and interwoven opinions and intrigue in this thread that it
is really a freeform in the making.

Well done chaps and keep up the good work.

Richard Canning
eli...@netspace.net.au


Jason Stokes

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Apr 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/28/97
to

In article <862193531.316454@mh_linux.microhelp.com.au>,
rcan...@melbourne.microhelp.com.au wrote:

It's a good thread on Usenet. Uncommon but fantastic when you get them.

As far as players not getting what they want - remember the it's not just
the GM needing to read the minds of the players. There will be
differences in what *each player* expects as well. Sometimes you will
even get an asshole who insists on screwing it up for everyone else.

I think a good player should be able to adapt to whatever campaign is
given to them, and get used to it. Compromises will be necessary.
Equally, a GM will have to respond to the player's needs. However, the
key, as in any collaborative effort, is *compromise*.

One other thought - if you are a GM and your players *are* dissatisfied
with your carefully constructed campaign, well, don't underestimate the
power of reconceptualising and retconning! TV shows do it all the time.
Just change the focus! Say your players want magic in your scrupulously
realistic fifteenth century Italy. Hard? Not at all! You already have
that most people of that time believed in magic, so make their beliefs
somewhat justified. Of course, it's never credible to have wizard's
towers suddenly spring up overnight (unless we use a reality shift device,
such as a portal to an alternate universe) but most settings are quite
flexible.

Psychohist

unread,
Apr 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/28/97
to

John Mack describes the "Tigger syndrome", in which players claim to be
willing to play everything, but end up not being interested in what the
gamesmaster prepares for, and asks:

Has anyone else had this problem? Is it a universal
phenomenon? Has anyone dealt with it successfully,
and if so, how?

I think it happens to everyone, to a greater or lesser extent. My
solution is to keep the preparation work as part of the overall game
background, and go on and prepare something that seems more likely to be
interesting to the players. Over and over again, if necessary.

Looking at your example:

My own Tigger Syndrome experience was also with the
Vampire game system. I had designed a redemption-based
chronicle, and most stories were to revolve around
Humanity (a crucial game stat) and the gaining or loss
of it. Again, after a lengthy series of missed cues
which ended with an NPC coming right out and pointing
out the way to a recalcitrant PC, the player and I
finally had it out, with him declaring,

"I don't want to play anything that involves morality".

This completely floored me, as I consider Humanity and
the degeneration rules to be central to Vampire.

It strikes me that since the game involves morality, and the player has
been playing it so far, his blanket statement doesn't reflect his true
feelings. Based on your background description, it seems that what the
player really means is, 'I don't want to play anything that involves being
moral'.

No problem. Figure out what it means when the player plays immoral
characters, instead. In _Vampire_, this should be easy - as I recall,
there are explicit rules on the loss of Humanity points, including
catastrophic consequences for the player when Humanity goes to zero.

Warren Dew


Lise Mendel

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Apr 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/28/97
to

Jason Stokes <j.st...@bohm.anu.edu.au> wrote:

>
> I think a good player should be able to adapt to whatever campaign is
> given to them, and get used to it. Compromises will be necessary.
> Equally, a GM will have to respond to the player's needs. However, the
> key, as in any collaborative effort, is *compromise*.

I disagree. Being a good player doesn't necessarily mean adapting to
_any_ campaign played. There are some genres/subjects/tones that
somebody might simply not be interested in.

IMNSHO it doesn't reflect badly on someone if they don't wish to play in
every game considered by the GM. Of course there are times when one
feels constrained to play in a game that doesn't suit for meta game
reasons. In this case, expressing one's discontent is a _vital_ step in
dealing with the situation.

Lise Mendel

unread,
Apr 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/28/97
to

Mr Damien Moore

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Apr 29, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/29/97
to

rcan...@melbourne.microhelp.com.au (Richard Canning) writes:

>>Run Paranoia. Even I, who am into heavy role-playing
>>and depise "silly" games (I am just an old stick in
>>the mud, I don't like comedy much at all) enjoy the
>>occasional game of Paranoia as a way to let my hair
>>down and just goof off.

>If you don't like Paranoia there are many other options
> - Macho Women with Guns
> - Bunnies and Burrows
> - Tales from the Floating Vagabond
> - Toon

- Hunter Planet

(There will be a very silly Hunter Planet at Capricon VII)

> - Anything written to be a Serious World of Darkness module.

:-p :-p
Not _all_ of them are bad. Just anything with the word 'Diablerie'

(Actually, I must concede your point - with the exception of Loom of Fate
and Alien Hunger, Whitewolf can't write a single scenario).


Eccles


A Lapalme

unread,
Apr 29, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/29/97
to

In article <862193531.316454@mh_linux.microhelp.com.au>,


rcan...@melbourne.microhelp.com.au (Richard Canning) wrote:
>It is good to see a large group of Role Players from many different
backgrounds
>and styles get together and write a Freeform like this. It shows a
hitherto
>unexplored level of teamsmanship and cooperation. There are such good
>characters and plots and interwoven opinions and intrigue in this thread
that it
>is really a freeform in the making.
>
>Well done chaps and keep up the good work.
>

Eh, we do what we can. Wait 'till some of the silly arguments come back
though. Maybe you'll change your mind then. :)

Alain

Alain
The Advocacy Gathering --> The Shir Brothers' Game
For more information --> http://www.intranet.ca/~lapalme/rpg/advocacy/shir.html
e-mail: lap...@brelca.on.ca


Gordon Sellar

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Apr 29, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/29/97
to

In article <199704280...@a-ko.digex.net>, cata...@access.digex.net
(Lise Mendel) wrote:


> I disagree. Being a good player doesn't necessarily mean adapting to
> _any_ campaign played. There are some genres/subjects/tones that
> somebody might simply not be interested in.
>
> IMNSHO it doesn't reflect badly on someone if they don't wish to play in
> every game considered by the GM. Of course there are times when one
> feels constrained to play in a game that doesn't suit for meta game
> reasons. In this case, expressing one's discontent is a _vital_ step in
> dealing with the situation.

Yes, that is very true. I know of a group I played with in the past in
which there was a player who reacted very badly to a scene that occurred
in a RP game, which was I must add initiated by what could be generally
termed an "evil" or "villainous" character. Of course none of the players
(which were mixed group of male and female) had any idea that she would
react so badly to it, but we learned at that point that sometimes you just
can't know what is going to bother players (let alone appeal to them).
Luckily, everything was cleared up and she didn't quit, and in the
meantime sought counselling for the problem.

But it raises the question of what is acceptable in game play. I have seen
NPC's ranging from Holocaust victims (ghosts) to rape victims, to the
mentally ill, etc. Any of these topics could certainly make a player
anxious or put a player off a game, and they are sometimes things that
just arise in play, right?

How do others deal with this sort of issue?

--
I think I am, I think I am ....
- Descartes

Lise Mendel

unread,
Apr 29, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/29/97
to

Gordon Sellar <gas...@mail.usask.ca> wrote:

>
> But it raises the question of what is acceptable in game play. I have seen
> NPC's ranging from Holocaust victims (ghosts) to rape victims, to the
> mentally ill, etc. Any of these topics could certainly make a player
> anxious or put a player off a game, and they are sometimes things that
> just arise in play, right?
>
> How do others deal with this sort of issue?

If someone is really bothered, my group either:

1) Stops the game THEN AND THERE until it's been talked around (when
it's a big problem)

or

2) The concerned player talks to the GM in private about the problem.

Sometimes the plotline will be dropped, sometimes the player will sit
out a few scenes. Sometimes nothing has to be done, since the GM wasn't
doing what the player thought sie would with it...

But communication is the key.

Avi Wolfsthal

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Apr 30, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/30/97
to

On Thu, 24 Apr 1997 01:43:13 -0700, John Mack
<ta...@SPAMBLOCKER.ozemail.com.au> wrote:

>A.A. Milne introduced the character of Tigger to his novels, something
>like this:

<big snip>

>Has anyone else had this problem? Is it a universal phenomenon? Has

>anyone dealt with it successfully, and if so, how? This has bugged me
>for a while, as I have not only watched at least one talented GM drop
>out of the scene over this, but have not been able to bring myself to GM
>for some years.

I had this problem one time many years ago. It was the usual story. I
devised this wonderful adventure with nifty tricks and puzzles but the
players insisted on getting everything wrong. What usually develops
out such situation is a players - GM conflict where the GM has to lead
the players by the nose and constantly tell them: ‘You cannot do that.
Why? Because it won’t work, that’s why!’....
It was after that bitter experience that I began to develop what I now
call the open adventure. In the open adventure the GM plans as little
as possible in advance and just plays along with the players. I used
to tackle the party with problems I myself did not know how to solve,
but whenever they came up with something reasonable or funny or just
good role-play (and I think role-play is everything) I’d go along.
To my initial surprise this campaign was a big success. The players
were naturally very satisfied as they seemed to get everything right
and I allowed them to do almost anything. I was also very satisfied
because I didn’t have to scarp anything I work on and moreover I had
the time of my life since the setting was so flexible as to allow
anything I wanted. I devised marvelous plots on the fly that were
constantly changing and developing. I found myself playing and not
explaining my idea of a campaign to a group of players bored to the
point of wishing their GM dead.
It was even a greater surprise when I discovered that none of the
players suspected that I was inventing everything as we went and that
convinced me that the open campaign is at least as good as a carefully
planned one. Before each session I would sit down an roughly plan just
a few steps ahead. I also had a stack of all kinds of NPCs and
dungeons that I throw into the game from time to time.
It was only natural that when I started my PBeM not very long ago I
created another open campaign. Playing a PBeM open campaign proved to
be even more fun. I let the players actually take part in creating the
story. For example let’s say a character finds a treasure. I don’t
tell him - ‘you found a sword’ and note to myself that the character
now has a +1 sword. Instead I let the player describe the sword and
decide what it is.
The problem is keeping the balance. A character has no notion of
pluses, he just knows that the sword is magical and that some swords
are better than other. Well, if the player is a good role-player he
will be able to create the needed character-player separation and play
accordingly. Also, since this is an open campaign, a simple sword+1
might later turn out to be a sword+1 that fires fireballs, and later
the player will find his character hunted down by the rightful owner
of sword or just by someone that fancies it.
Remember, it’s easy to balance a campaign when you’re the GM. If a
player finds a powerful sword then it’ll have an ego to match. They
players solve a problem to easily, then just create a bigger one. You
control everything and the great fun about it is that the players
think you have planned the whole thing. It’s much more easy to balance
an open campaign than to create a campaign that would suit the
preferences of all players. It has a little bit of each player so
everyone is satisfied and the GM finds it easier to control the
campaign since he doesn’t have to make his players go in a certain
predetermined direction. The open campaign just avoids any conflict
buy eliminating the causes.
The same goes for character design. I let the players decide their
abilities rather than roll. A player is more likely to enjoy (and play
well) a character that he like and that fits his or her description of
a hero. In my PBeM there is one character who has 18/00 strength (very
high if you’re not familiar with AD&D. actually this has a probability
of 1/21600 to happen), but the player balanced the character
beautifully giving it some traits and drawbacks that keep it balance
and really give the game more flavor.
The PBeM I’m running was blessed with a group of fine role-players
that seem to make the most of out this concept. I greatly enjoy the
campaign as I think the role-play is just superb and some of the posts
are sheer poetry. Anyone who’s interested can check out
http://www.brm.com/~wolfie/cursum_perficio.html where you’ll find more
information about our campaign.

Cheers,
Wolfie.


Psychohist

unread,
Apr 30, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/30/97
to

Travis Hall posts, in part:

But specific examples aside, even if the player
is only being polite, how can a GM possibly be
expected to solve problems when players lie about
their existance? We all know that it goes on,
even if we couch it in rather more diplomatic terms.

By reading their minds, of course.

Seriously, there are ways of overcoming people's polite reactions and
getting to their real feelings. Keep asking in a way that indicates you
don't mind a somewhat negative comment - sometimes people will open up
only after being asked several times. Demonstrate that you are willing to
make adjustments - 'I'm not completely satisfied with how the game is
going, myself; any idea what kind of changes I should make?' If they know
(or think) there are going to be changes anyway, they may be more willing
to participate in shaping them.

Most importantly, when responding to any criticisms, focus on the changes,
and not on why things are the way they are. If you offer even the
smallest bit of explanation about the status quo, many players will assume
that you'd really rather not change things, and clam up.

Warren Dew


Mary K. Kuhner

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May 1, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/1/97
to

In article <gas129-2904...@janus2-17.usask.ca> gas...@mail.usask.ca (Gordon Sellar) writes:

>But it raises the question of what is acceptable in game play. I have seen
>NPC's ranging from Holocaust victims (ghosts) to rape victims, to the
>mentally ill, etc. Any of these topics could certainly make a player
>anxious or put a player off a game, and they are sometimes things that
>just arise in play, right?

>How do others deal with this sort of issue?

I think about all you can reasonably do is try to have good lines of
communication with the rest of your group (whether you're GM or player)
so that if someone is upset, s/he will feel free to say so.

I ran something kind of nasty about undead babes ripped from their
mothers' wombs for a player who turned out to be pregnant. What can
you do? Um, apologize, and get the game to go somewhere else as soon
as possible. (Not only was she upset, but her character's in game
reactions were strong enough that *I* was upset. The material was
more disturbing in play than it had sounded in prep--which I find is
often true with horror scenarios. Either they flop, or they're
disturbing even to the GM.) But there was really not much I could
have done in advance. No matter how well you know players, you won't
have a complete inventory of their touchy points (they may not be
aware of all of them themselves). My husband and I still surprise
each other with this sort of thing occasionally. We threw away one
subplot in _Paradisio_ because I turned out to be a lot more squicked
by a highly contageous lethal plague than either the GM or I would have
expected.

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

ELEANOR J.L. HOLMES

unread,
May 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/2/97
to


> It is a definite problem and a difficult one to overcome. I've seen in
> a number of myraid ways, from "no politics" to "no ethical challenges"
> to "no combat" to "no romance". I've also seen it from GMs, in one
> case a GM who had no interest in character development and experience
> improvements (despite wanting to run a series of connected scenarios
> spanning a year or more of character's lives) to GM's who wanted "No
> religious involvement, overtones or importance" in a non-modern
> setting.

We've had a worse case in our Shadowrun group - we've got one person who
doesn't want to do anything to do with organised crime, another who hates
combat and wants to roleplay EVERYTHING, another who hates roleplaying
and just wants to plan strategy and solve puzzles... and we *all* take
turns at GMing. I've taken a lot of aspirin thanks to this group :)

Lady Jestyr

------------------------------------------------------
A titanic intellect... in a world full of icebergs
------------------------------------------------------
Elle Holmes s42...@frodo.student.gu.edu.au
http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/1503
------------------------------------------------------


scott....@3do.com

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May 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/2/97
to

In article
<Pine.SOL.3.91.970502...@frodo.student.gu.edu.au>,
"ELEANOR J.L. HOLMES" <s42...@frodo.student.gu.edu.au> wrote:

>
>
> > It is a definite problem and a difficult one to overcome. I've seen in
> > a number of myraid ways, from "no politics" to "no ethical challenges"
> > to "no combat" to "no romance". I've also seen it from GMs, in one
> > case a GM who had no interest in character development and experience
> > improvements (despite wanting to run a series of connected scenarios
> > spanning a year or more of character's lives) to GM's who wanted "No
> > religious involvement, overtones or importance" in a non-modern
> > setting.
>
> We've had a worse case in our Shadowrun group - we've got one person who
> doesn't want to do anything to do with organised crime, another who hates
> combat and wants to roleplay EVERYTHING, another who hates roleplaying
> and just wants to plan strategy and solve puzzles... and we *all* take
> turns at GMing. I've taken a lot of aspirin thanks to this group :)
>

Well my little block as a GM is no romance. I don't feel i do it well,
and the whole subject makes me distinctly uneasy. Also I have a low to no
sex incidents in the game either. Even the l0ow lethality runs tend to be
commercial, or corporate team model type games involving starships.

I just am basically not very good at NPC's involvementwiththe p.c.'s
except in rare cases. Social situations are the hand grenade I have to
fall on sometimes to keep the game going, and interesting for the
players, but they are a drain for ne, and not as much fun as a combat, or
a walk through the woods (so to speak.)


Scott

Scott

John Mack

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May 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/3/97
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This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

--------------12E070F91769
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Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Mary K. Kuhner wrote:

> In article <gas129-2904...@janus2-17.usask.ca> gas...@mail.usask.ca (Gordon Sellar)
> writes:

> >But it raises the question of what is acceptable in game play. I have seen
> >NPC's ranging from Holocaust victims (ghosts) to rape victims, to the
> >mentally ill, etc. Any of these topics could certainly make a player
> >anxious or put a player off a game, and they are sometimes things that
> >just arise in play, right?

> The material was


> more disturbing in play than it had sounded in prep--which I find is
> often true with horror scenarios. Either they flop, or they're
> disturbing even to the GM.) But there was really not much I could
> have done in advance. No matter how well you know players, you won't
> have a complete inventory of their touchy points (they may not be
> aware of all of them themselves).

In Sydney (Australia), at the height of the Experimental Role-Playing
movement, it was de rigeur for convention modules to deal with such
topics as the holocaust, urban decay, suicide, racism, child abuse etc.;
every third module seemed to feature a rape or someone who had survived
one. One module that I heard about, cast the players as a squad of SS
troops in the second world war; in one scene, they were required to
exterminate a village (sort of a WWII My Lai), but all players got
through it with no major trauma. However, the very next scene (a tavern
scene which had been designed as comic relief) had many players freaking
out, and expressing trouble coping, much to the amazement of the GM
("But guys, you've just been machine-gunning four-year-olds!").

The consensus seems to be that, above all, you should warn players in
advance _exactly_ what they are getting into, in as much detail as you
can without spoiling the plot. However, the moral of the above story is
that you can never guess what's going to push people's buttons, and all
you can really do is hope you are playing with people who can handle
their own reactions.

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John Mack

Remove SPAMBLOCKER. from email address to reply

Role-Playing Games: Theory and Practice
http://www.ozemail.com.au/~tarim/rpg/rpgpage.htm
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Jason Stokes

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May 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/3/97
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On Sat, 03 May 1997 01:15:15 -0700, John Mack <ta...@SPAMBLOCKER.ozemail.com.au> wrote:

>In Sydney (Australia), at the height of the Experimental Role-Playing
>movement, it was de rigeur for convention modules to deal with such
>topics as the holocaust, urban decay, suicide, racism, child abuse etc.;
>every third module seemed to feature a rape or someone who had survived
>one. One module that I heard about, cast the players as a squad of SS
>troops in the second world war; in one scene, they were required to
>exterminate a village (sort of a WWII My Lai), but all players got
>through it with no major trauma. However, the very next scene (a tavern
>scene which had been designed as comic relief) had many players freaking
>out, and expressing trouble coping, much to the amazement of the GM
>("But guys, you've just been machine-gunning four-year-olds!").

>The consensus seems to be that, above all, you should warn players in
>advance _exactly_ what they are getting into, in as much detail as you
>can without spoiling the plot. However, the moral of the above story is
>that you can never guess what's going to push people's buttons, and all
>you can really do is hope you are playing with people who can handle
>their own reactions.

I've never explored "dark" topics very much in my roleplay - except for
tropes gathered from horror films, which everyone I used to GM watched and
were cool with. It seems to me unlikely that a roleplay would have
traumatic effects on someone any more than playing in an amatuer dramatics
society, *however*, if such events as what you described are going on I
think players should be informed of their rights in the same way they are
before participating in a psychology experiment. The most important rights
in a psych experiment, especially ones involving emotion are:

1) You have the right to withdraw participation at any time.

2) You have the right to be debriefed and discuss the implications of the
experiment with the experimenter.

Unfortunately, because of the methodology of some psychology experiments
subjects can't always be informed of the exact details of what the subject
is getting into - however, when this is possible this should also be
undertaken.

These ideas could easily be adapted to roleplaying.

--

Jason Stokes: j.stokes @ bohm.anu.edu.au

Ph: +61 06 291 93 84

Michele Ellington

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May 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/3/97
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John Mack (ta...@SPAMBLOCKER.ozemail.com.au) wrote:
> One module that I heard about, cast the players as a squad of SS
> troops in the second world war; in one scene, they were required to
> exterminate a village (sort of a WWII My Lai), but all players got
> through it with no major trauma. However, the very next scene (a tavern
> scene which had been designed as comic relief) had many players freaking
> out, and expressing trouble coping, much to the amazement of the GM
> ("But guys, you've just been machine-gunning four-year-olds!").

Were I willing to play in a module that required me to machine
gun four year olds, I would be extremely offended to find anything
intended to be comical appearing in the scenario. Playing out
the darkest aspects of the human soul is one thing. Expecting
us to laugh at it is quite another. The most frightening thing
for me at the theater screening of horror films is when members
of the audience laugh at the people being brutalized and
eviscerated on the screen. I think, "These are my neighbors!"
Now, in some cases, the laughter is a nervous attempt to relieve
tension. But in most, it is a failure of SOD, and an (IMO)
horrifyingly inappropriate perception of pain as comedy.

Joshua Macy

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May 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/3/97
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Michele Ellington wrote:
>
> The most frightening thing
> for me at the theater screening of horror films is when members
> of the audience laugh at the people being brutalized and
> eviscerated on the screen. I think, "These are my neighbors!"
> Now, in some cases, the laughter is a nervous attempt to relieve
> tension. But in most, it is a failure of SOD, and an (IMO)
> horrifyingly inappropriate perception of pain as comedy.

I think it much more likely that it's a reaction to failure of SOD
than a sadistic glee in perceived pain.

Frank G. Pitt

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May 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/3/97
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In article <8626049...@dejanews.com>, scott....@3do.com wrote:
>
>In article
><Pine.SOL.3.91.970502...@frodo.student.gu.edu.au>,
>"ELEANOR J.L. HOLMES" <s42...@frodo.student.gu.edu.au> wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> > It is a definite problem and a difficult one to overcome. I've seen in
>> > a number of myraid ways, from "no politics" to "no ethical challenges"
>> > to "no combat" to "no romance". I've also seen it from GMs, in one
>> > case a GM who had no interest in character development and experience
>> > improvements (despite wanting to run a series of connected scenarios
>> > spanning a year or more of character's lives) to GM's who wanted "No
>> > religious involvement, overtones or importance" in a non-modern
>> > setting.
>>
>> We've had a worse case in our Shadowrun group - we've got one person who
>> doesn't want to do anything to do with organised crime, another who hates
>> combat and wants to roleplay EVERYTHING, another who hates roleplaying
>> and just wants to plan strategy and solve puzzles... and we *all* take
>> turns at GMing. I've taken a lot of aspirin thanks to this group :)
>>
>
>Well my little block as a GM is no romance. I don't feel i do it well,
>and the whole subject makes me distinctly uneasy.

Ditto. Then again, I never understood why anyone intelligent would put
up with all that soppy stuff anyway, and luckily met a woman who felt
much the same way. So, we weighed up the options, and decided that
getting married was better for both of us, and did so. That was
16 years ago now.

Frankly, I've never understood romance and probably never will.
Seduction, on the other hand....

>Also I have a low to no
>sex incidents in the game either.

Hmm, me too. But not by choice. I find most other people are
queasy with it, though I personally don't have a problem with it.

>I just am basically not very good at NPC's involvementwiththe p.c.'s
>except in rare cases. Social situations are the hand grenade I have to
>fall on sometimes to keep the game going, and interesting for the
>players, but they are a drain for ne, and not as much fun as a combat, or
>a walk through the woods (so to speak.)

I don't have that problem though.

We once roleplayed a whole week of beat cops in a US metropolis
and only ever fired our guns on the range, even though we were shot
_at_ several times.

"Combat situations" all the way, but almost every situation was
solved without active violence from the players. The nearest we got to
gratutitous violence was when one player came _this_ close to slapping
the mayor's wife in the face !

Ah well, I suppose, seeing as I met my wife while we were playing
Freddie & Clara Einsford-Hill in Pygmalion, I've never been one
to have problems in social situations.

Though I can understand people wanting to avoid them, you can rarely
find good people to talk to in "mundane" settings, my favourite
concept is Oscar Wilde's response to his hostess asking him if he
was enjoying himself, which was somethng like
"Of course madam, there's nothing else here to enjoy"

Frankie


Mary K. Kuhner

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May 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/3/97
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>Ditto. Then again, I never understood why anyone intelligent would put
>up with all that soppy stuff anyway, and luckily met a woman who felt
>much the same way. So, we weighed up the options, and decided that
>getting married was better for both of us, and did so. That was
>16 years ago now.

>Frankly, I've never understood romance and probably never will.
>Seduction, on the other hand....

A lot of what most of us mean when we say "romance" in games *is*
seduction. It was a major subtheme in the _Radiant_ space opera
game, for example: particularly the spectacular and amusing results
of Markus and Black's determination to seduce each other. (Both of
them might reasonably be described as some kind of vampire; and Markus
came home quite comprehensively energy-drained and said "I should have
known that was a bit too easy.")

I'd be happy never to see another stock Luke&Leia subplot, but that's
not all there is to romance. The key love affair in one of Carl Rigney's
PBeM games was between my character and a fire elemental. Not an
easy relationship, but certainly an intense one.

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

John Mack

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May 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/4/97
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This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

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Michelle Ellington wrote:

> John Mack (ta...@SPAMBLOCKER.ozemail.com.au) wrote:
> > However, the very next scene (a tavern
> > scene which had been designed as comic relief) had many players freaking
> > out, and expressing trouble coping, much to the amazement of the GM
> > ("But guys, you've just been machine-gunning four-year-olds!").

> Were I willing to play in a module that required me to machine
> gun four year olds, I would be extremely offended to find anything
> intended to be comical appearing in the scenario.

Sorry! I mispoke. I shouldn't have said "comic relief", but rather
"light relief", ie. a less gruelling scene between horrors. The module
in no sense trivialised Nazi atrocities - quite the opposite.

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John Mack

Remove SPAMBLOCKER. from email address to reply

Role-Playing Games: Theory and Practice
http://www.ozemail.com.au/~tarim/rpg/rpgpage.htm

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scott....@3do.com

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May 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/4/97
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In article <gbuaz4Fv...@mundens.gen.nz>,

> >I just am basically not very good at NPC's involvementwiththe p.c.'s
> >except in rare cases. Social situations are the hand grenade I have to
> >fall on sometimes to keep the game going, and interesting for the
> >players, but they are a drain for ne, and not as much fun as a combat, or
> >a walk through the woods (so to speak.)
>
> I don't have that problem though.
>

Well one of my players spotted it when she contrasted a couple of NPC's.
the ones that were former P.C.'s wth the serial number filed off tended
to have much deeper interactions that the off the cuff nobles I had to
come up with for the Oortweiss Winter Ball. The characters talked with
most of the Nobles, but tended to be friendly, and have longer
conversations with the Archduke, Lord Broadwing, and the captain of the
guard, who were all retread old P.C's I am much too DIP to be able to
whip off NPC's facilly.

> We once roleplayed a whole week of beat cops in a US metropolis
> and only ever fired our guns on the range, even though we were shot
> _at_ several times.

Sort of a 'Hill Street Blues' Campaign? When they started shoeing that in
Re-runs in the afternoons, a loal GM did a camaign based on it. Not a
whole lot 'earthshaking' happened, but the neighborhood became very real
for the players. i wasn't in the game, but I enjoyed hearing the stries
from those that were.

>
> "Combat situations" all the way, but almost every situation was
> solved without active violence from the players. The nearest we got to
> gratutitous violence was when one player came _this_ close to slapping
> the mayor's wife in the face !
>
> Ah well, I suppose, seeing as I met my wife while we were playing
> Freddie & Clara Einsford-Hill in Pygmalion, I've never been one
> to have problems in social situations.

Pardon? I am not getting the reference.


>
> Though I can understand people wanting to avoid them, you can rarely
> find good people to talk to in "mundane" settings, my favourite
> concept is Oscar Wilde's response to his hostess asking him if he
> was enjoying himself, which was somethng like
> "Of course madam, there's nothing else here to enjoy"

Actually the opposite is true for me, as i tend to be fairly social. It
does not 'energixe me' but i am interested in hearing other people's
stories, or gleaning opinions from them on films or books. And I find
that often Mundanes' have more varied interests than the undersocialized
hardcore fans still living in their parent's basement. but i digress. It
is just that I can not portray anything beyond the sheer surface of an
NPC,unless I have some 'play time' in their heads.

scott....@3do.com

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May 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/4/97
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In article <5kg8m1$7...@nntp5.u.washington.edu>,

mkku...@phylo.genetics.washington.edu (Mary K. Kuhner) wrote:
>
> In article <gbuaz4Fv...@mundens.gen.nz> fra...@actrix.gen.nz writes:
>
> >Ditto. Then again, I never understood why anyone intelligent would put
> >up with all that soppy stuff anyway, and luckily met a woman who felt
> >much the same way. So, we weighed up the options, and decided that
> >getting married was better for both of us, and did so. That was
> >16 years ago now.
>
> >Frankly, I've never understood romance and probably never will.
> >Seduction, on the other hand....
>
> A lot of what most of us mean when we say "romance" in games *is*
> seduction. It was a major subtheme in the _Radiant_ space opera
> game, for example: particularly the spectacular and amusing results
> of Markus and Black's determination to seduce each other. (Both of
> them might reasonably be described as some kind of vampire; and Markus
> came home quite comprehensively energy-drained and said "I should have
> known that was a bit too easy.")

Hmmm. Nope, don't get it. Didn't have much of this in the game either. I
suppose I tend to run rather cold games with any sort of 'emotional
release happening when the bullets fly'. But even in the fantasy games
there was usually a failry cool surfce over things.

>
> I'd be happy never to see another stock Luke&Leia subplot, but that's
> not all there is to romance. The key love affair in one of Carl Rigney's
> PBeM games was between my character and a fire elemental. Not an
> easy relationship, but certainly an intense one.
>
> Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

Ah... I was in one of Carl's PBEM's... Fond, fond memories. He certainly
was a good GM. He was never boring, that's for sure.

Joshua Macy

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May 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/5/97
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scott....@3do.com wrote:
>
...snip...

> Well one of my players spotted it when she contrasted a couple of NPC's.
> the ones that were former P.C.'s wth the serial number filed off tended
> to have much deeper interactions that the off the cuff nobles I had to
> come up with for the Oortweiss Winter Ball. The characters talked with
> most of the Nobles, but tended to be friendly, and have longer
> conversations with the Archduke, Lord Broadwing, and the captain of the
> guard, who were all retread old P.C's I am much too DIP to be able to
> whip off NPC's facilly.
>

I've started to use Central Casting (actually, a simplified automated
version that I developed) to give the NPCs a detailed background; I find
that doing so makes them much more real to me, more like the results of
DIP.

scott....@3do.com

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May 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/6/97
to scott....@3do.com

In article <336DD1...@ix.netcom.com>,

Automated central Casting? Tell me more...

Joshua Macy

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May 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/6/97
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scott....@3do.com wrote:
>
> In article <336DD1...@ix.netcom.com>,
> jm...@ix.netcom.com wrote:
> > I've started to use Central Casting (actually, a simplified automated
> > version that I developed) to give the NPCs a detailed background; I find
> > that doing so makes them much more real to me, more like the results of
> > DIP.
>
> Automated central Casting? Tell me more...
>

Well, I don't know if you want to know more about the Central Casting
part, or the automated part, so I'll assume both.
Central Casting: Heroes of Legend is a generic role-playing
supplement published by Task Force Games and written by Paul Jaquays.
It's a series of inter-related charts to help you quickly flesh out a
character (PC or NPC) in a fair amount of detail. It doesn't touch on
stats, really, just on events in the character's life prior to entry in
the game. It's pretty nifty, and I recommend it highly as a jog to
inspiration. The problem with it, though, is it takes a long time to go
through a complete generation (up to a half-hour of flipping back and
forth looking up tables, rolling dice, and writing down the results), so
I never used it as much as I would have liked to.
I finally decided that if I wanted to get some real use out of the
concept, I'd have to write a computer program to do the book-keeping, so
I did. I started with the CC:HoL book, and stripped down the charts to
an amount that I could stand to do the data-entry for (as well as
genericizing some of the incredibly specific results in the tables,
eliminating a lot of the niceties of applying modifiers to the die rolls
based on previous die rolls for Social Status and the like). At the
moment, I have something where I can press a button, and get results
like:

BACKGROUND : Nomadic
SOCIAL LEVEL : Destitute
LEGITIMACY : Legitimate

HEAD OF FAMILY
FAMILY HEAD : Two Parents
NOMADIC OCCUPATIONS : Craftsman
CRAFTS A : Bowyer

BIRTH CIRCUMSTANCES
NUMBER SIBLINGS : 0
PLACE OF BIRTH : Family home
UNUSUAL BIRTH : Nothing

CHILDHOOD EVENTS:
EVENTS OF YOUTH : Something wonderful occurs
SOMETHING WONDERFUL : Forced into unwanted marriage, but comes to love
spouse
EVENTS OF YOUTH : Tragedy occurs
TRAGEDIES : Character is responsible for a death
OTHER PEOPLE : Known folks
DEATH SITUATIONS : Died of disease

ADOLESCENT EVENTS:
EVENTS OF YOUTH : Special Event
EVENTS OF YOUTH : Riots and unrest caused by scarcity due to war

ADULT EVENTS:
EVENTS OF ADULTHOOD : Helps an unusual person, who promises to remember
the kindness
EVENTS OF ADULTHOOD : Learns an unusual skill
UNUSUAL SKILLS : Gourmet Cooking
EVENTS OF ADULTHOOD : Joins the military
MILITARY EVENTS : nothing yet

Obviously, this is fairly rough, and requires some massaging to turn
it into a reasonable character story (for one thing, the marriage would
probably have to be moved into events of adolescence at the earliest,
although that depends on the cultures of your world), and I haven't
completly finished the tables (note where Military Events says "nothing
yet"), but I find knowing even this much about an NPC can help me make
the person seem real when I GM, even if I never use any of the
back-story when talking with the PCs; the NPC has ceased to be a blank
slate upon which a profession or function has been written.

Christopher G. Passeno

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May 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/10/97
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Finally I have released my first Page...

http://lrbcg.com/seekyr/

I can illustrate via computer your characters shield......
Give me a try

Jeremy Richard

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May 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/17/97
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Russell Penney <rpe...@cyberspace.net.au> wrote in article
<33631...@pluto.ais.com.au>...

> >: Frankly, if you can't or won't play a "fun" campaign or module then
you
> >: aren't a good roleplayer. A good roleplayer should be able to fit into
> >: any sort of character, genre and style well.
> >
> >We all play to have fun, even if the campaign is a "serious" one.
Serious
> >roleplayers play serious roleplaying games because they consider serious
> >roleplaying to be fun. If by a "fun" campaign, you mean a "silly"
> >campaign, then I think you will find there are quite a few people around
> >who do not enjoy that sort of game - in other words, they do not have
fun
> >in a "fun" campaign.
>
> No we do not all play to have fun ( I do ). Go to a large Con and watch
the
> jockeying for social status and real or percieved power. Some are there
only
> becuase they cannot express themselves in society. They need a place in a

> group and that is the main reason they roleplay.

> Unfortunatly I have played too many modules and campaigns where players
don't
> have much of a choice. I tend to drop out very quickly. In fact I have
stop
> playing most Con modules for that very reason.

Welcome to modern gaming. RPG companies have destroyed the hobby with
their greed. When the hobby first got really moving adventures were far
better
because they gave the PCs the freedom to do whatever they wanted.
Adventures
were frameworks; and not stories, and EVERYTHING relied on the decisians
the
players made for their characters.

What destroyed the hobby was that not everyone could be a game master.
It
takes a LOT of skill to create a good adventure with a good plot, and a
good
storyline and then adapt to the actions of the PCs. At first role-playing
companies
were happy to have any kind of a following. But as time when on they got
too
intrested in their profit margins. The guys running RPG companies realized
that
game-masters bought all the expensive books; so they re-defined the nature
(so
to speak) of role-playing to make it easier to run so everyone could be a
game
master and would buy all the expensive books.

Nowadays most game-mastering is crap; there are very few REAL GMs left
out there. Once upon a time when a bunch of game masters got together
(which
was kind of infrequent) they would discuss ideas for modules; and
techniques for
adapting to the actions of PCs. Today everyone who is a gamer is a GM (a
long
time ago groups were lucky to have a GM, today everyone in a gaming group
usually takes turns running thier own game). When they get together they
discuss
ways to simulate the freedom of the PCs without actually giving them
freedom to
act, and