Structured GM fun in HQ?


A week or so left, so....

Elsewhere, Tony L-B raised an interesting question:


Yeah, yeah, I know ... "the GM wins when other people have fun."

Is that really the only sensible way to do things?

The thing is ... the other players in the game often have something that they can strive for, rules that support their striving, and reasonably clear victory conditions. There are things, with stuff. There are rules for killing these things, and then you can take their stuff. When you kill the things and take their stuff, you win.

I cannot, off the top of my head, remember a game that gave that sort of support to the GM. "If you roll a natural twenty then your players will have fun, and therefore you win?" Maybe I'm just not thinking hard enough.

Very few systems seem (to my mind) to give the GM a clear road-map to victory in the same way that they give players a road-map. I think that makes the GM's job very, very hard.

Is it necessary? Or is it just historical?

Is it important not to put any structure on the GM in order to maintain their freedom? Or would it be useful to say "And in this situation you do X, Y and Z" in order to free up mental energies to concentrate on more important things?

For HQ, I thought of this for GM-structured fun:

Simple contests, PC vs. Universe...

PCīs abilities with augments add up to a target number (ignoring situational modifiers like it is night or whatever). The GM/Narrator-created Universe also has an ability plus augments, so a TN.

Any PC target numbers are replicated by a pool of points awarded the GM. In future contests, the GM can draw on these either to stat out opponents or directly feeding into contests to generate those target numbers (one would work better than the other, I suspect the latter).

I can immediately see major flaws but forget that for now, itīs a mechanism.

- Players will have to think about how much they (as a player) wish to win the contest; I think it makes failure a more interesting option.
- The GM also has to, but additionally has, one hopes, some element of managing this resource.
- It could (could) give the GM that frisson the player gets at seeing the outcome of a result where (s)he has not simply made the numbers up.

Any thoughts (on the mechanics leading to structured fun for the GM)?


Mike Holmes:
I've seen systems like this before. They can work, but often require rules about debt and/or bankruptcy, etc. Also there needs to be some interrim step. That is if the Resistances are being generated by the TNs used, aren't you going to simply have the next resistance always being the last TN? If you catch my drift?

But, sure, work this out, and I think you have a workable idea.

That said, I think that Tony worries too much. I already have my own roadmap to fun. :-)


I catch your drift but I donīt think the TN is so automatic - the Narrator starts with a bank, say 40. The players need to fish for the narrator (and vice versa) by creating a cool setup where (s)he canīt resist. This is a nice aspect of CAPES.

Meanwhile, bankruptcy and debt donīt come into it as the outcome of the contest is irrelevant.

Some problems are the narrator might insult the players (and vice versa) by not responding with a high TN plus the players need to avoid making others feel they are spendthrift.

Further potential advantages:
- As in CAPES, there can be an advantage to using your crappier abilities.
- The use of your main ability has a cost - the Humakti keeps hitting things with his sword, heīs (or more interestingly, his companions) gonna get it in the neck later.
- The cooler things (e.g. crossing over to the other side) are not necessarily so expensive, so the narration automatically has a free rein to become more heroic (as in CAPES).
- Everyone knows from the start that they will on average lose half of the contests in the game - fun, unless they start to run shy of contests.

Yes, Iīm not entirely sure my own roadmap is perfect...



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