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Look, Ma, I'm a Newbie

Started by Thayne, January 01, 2007, 12:03:34 AM

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Hello all, I don't see a place for first posts, so I'm just going to grab a spot right here.

I'm a site owner of and I was drifting through the internet looking for a cached copy of my site when I happened by Musings and Mental Meanderings and he mentioned my site in his pages. I was reading through the author's various thoughts and The Forge was mentioned as well. So, I thought I'd check ya'll out.

It's interesting, stumbling upon this site at the end of a hectic year at myrealms. I've been spending quite a bit of time in contemplation lately on what my site needs to grow, and how to keep the interest of play by chat rp alive in this age of MMORPGs.

I look forward to reading through your forums and hopefully contributing as well.

Ron Edwards

Hello, and welcome to the Forge!

There actually isn't any place here for introductory posts, but we can make this thread a good start for you anyway, if you're interested.

The first thing is that most of the games being designed and discussed here are table-top, face-to-face role-playing. That's not 100% exclusive, though, and we've had some good contributors from chat-game designers before. I only ask that you focus on issues of play and design which are at least relevant to face-to-face play, if only by comparison.

The second thing is that this forum, and the site in general, concern play and design. If you're currently figuring out something to do with how the actual game-play functions (not software, but rules/people), then tell us about it here. I also encourage you to write about an instance of actual play, any at all, in the Actual Play forum.

Best, Ron



As for your concerns, my site is built, so it's not like I'm going to be asking questions about how to read unix access logs or anything like that.  Still, it could be that my issues are unique and something The Forge really isn't capable of helping me with. Ultimately, I've been contemplating our pathetically simple rules system, and I've been trying to come up with a better way of gaming that doesn't require a perpetual game master. Also, I've been trying to educate my members on the importance of improving their story telling and role playing skills. Both of these tasks are daunting in a world where you never get to see the person face to face, and you have to rely on the speed of keystrokes to portray combat.

Ron Edwards


Sorry it took me a bit to get back to this.

You wrote,

QuoteI've been contemplating our pathetically simple rules system, and I've been trying to come up with a better way of gaming that doesn't require a perpetual game master.

Well, that's a design consideration that I think we can help you with. Here's a quick breakdown of mine that proved useful over the last few months of discussion.

1. Leadership - this is a very personal, informal issue; one doesn't assign these roles so much at arrive at them over time, in a group. My point is that these three sorts don't have to be concentrated in the same person, necessarily, and also that leadership of any kind doesn't have to be the same thing as the #2 topic below, authority.

- Social: host, standards of courtesy, organizer
- Creative:
- Procedural: how rules are to be referenced and applied, or even better, how the larger context of "how we imagine stuff" is applied, with the subset of rules-use

2. Authority - this is best considered a set of necessary tasks, rather than a social role (although historically I think they've been smushed together with #1 above, not always to the good). But looking just at them, I suggest that they can be distributed among the group in nearly any way imaginable. You might be surprised at

- Content - backstory, how many planets orbit this sun, whether the butler did it
- Situation - ninjas attack through the skylight! she rips open the front of her bodice!
- Plot - how scenes and conflicts turn out (as opposed to how they start) - I don't care if you're my father, you must die! Ker-thunk!
- Narration - how anything at all is described ("said") during play

So here's my point: I'm saying that the words "the GM" and "GMing" are a bit of a historical abomination, assuming that any and all of the above things must be squished together as a basic assumption. Now, I'm also saying that many functional combinations are available as well, so I'm not saying to distribute them as widely as possible either.

Which leads me to this question: when you say "perpetual game master," and in wanting not to require such a thing, what do you envision in terms of these roles and tasks that I've outlined?

Best, Ron