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Author Topic: "Guiding"; game guiding techniques (GGT)  (Read 1950 times)
Tomas HVM
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Posts: 244


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« on: February 19, 2004, 11:13:58 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards (in the "GM-less techniques" thread)
I suggest that "GM-less" is an abominable and misleading term.  
This is quite wrong, in my view. The users of a game are players. They are invested with responsibility for operating the roleplaying game, and are expected to bend it to their will (to a variable extent). Some of these "operating tasks" are traditionally bundled together under the label of "gamemaster". However; the GM is still one of the players, and should be considered as such (especially in a theoretical forum like this).

To pronounce the tasks necessary to operate the game as "GM-tasks" is misleading. Firstly; it implies that "players" have no responcibilities in this respect, wich is wrong. Secondly; it ties the tasks to the GM-role, and though this role is much used in traditional roleplaying games, it is not a necessary part of all or any RPG.

To further our understanding of roleplaying games, I hold it wise not to define all games through the lenses of traditional RPGs. Better to define and discuss the bare essentials of the form. The thread on GM-less techniques is laudabel in that respect.

... we could of course call these tasks "GM-tasks", like in "game motor tasks"... :)

Seriously; seems like we need a term for these tasks, a term wich delivers our discussions from the cluthes of traditional roleplaying games.

Any suggestions?
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Tomas HVM
writer, storyteller, games designer
www.fabula.no
talysman
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Posts: 675


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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2004, 12:51:32 AM »

Quote from: Tomas HVM
To further our understanding of roleplaying games, I hold it wise not to define all games through the lenses of traditional RPGs. Better to define and discuss the bare essentials of the form. The thread on GM-less techniques is laudabel in that respect.


Hi Tomas. thanks for the vote of confidence, but in Ron's defense, I don't think you'll see him disagreeing with you that a GM is a player or that GM power can be distributed in a multitude of ways.

Ron and I agree that there's no solid definition of wha a GM is, since what a GM does varies from game to game and style to style. his point, though, is that "GM tasks" exists in all RPGs, regardless of whether they are distributed evenly or collected in one role; also, I think Ron would be happier if the term "GM" disappeared entirely, since he thinks it's a needless distraction.

on the other hand, I'm thinking practically in terms of the way the RPG community uses the term "GM". GMs are people who have power over one or more aspects of a game that they either don't share or share unevenly with the other players. the specific breakdown of what powers the GM has may change, but people have a rough idea of what a GM is, the same way they know what a "dog" is despite the variety of breeds. I'm planning a book aimed at people interested in twisting or breaking the tradition of having a single GM, plus I expect some people who normally don't think of RPGs as being "GMless" will be intrigued enough by the title of a book on "GMless Roleplaying" that they will look at the advertising blurb.

still, Ron raised the possibility of discussing alternate terms for GMless vs GMed games in another thread, and now Tomas has started one. anyone want to discuss this?
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John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
Tomas HVM
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Posts: 244


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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2004, 01:55:23 AM »

Quote from: talysman
in Ron's defense, I don't think you'll see him disagreeing with you that a GM is a player or that GM power can be distributed in a multitude of ways.  
I do not see him disagree at this point, no, but his language ("abominable and misleading") makes it important to underline both that the GM is a player, that his powers are shared with other players, and that these powers should be termed neutrally. Ron's post makes the need for a neutral term even more obvious.

Quote from: talysman
Ron and I agree that there's no solid definition of wha a GM is, since what a GM does varies from game to game and style to style.
And I agree fully with you in this.

Quote from: talysman
I think Ron would be happier if the term "GM" disappeared entirely, since he thinks it's a needless distraction.
Although I think in terms of "designers and players", and not "game masters and players" when discussing RPG-theory, I do not harbour such sentiments at all. I am deeply involved in the design of traditional RPGs, and the use of GM is both natural and challenging within this field. The term "game master" is useful. We should (and will) keep it.

We should discuss the GM too, by all means, but my agenda in this thread is to discuss the necessity of a neutral term (freed from the GM-sphere), on the field of motoring and mastering a roleplaying game.

Quote from: talysman
I'm thinking practically in terms of the way the RPG community uses the term "GM".
That is a practical consideration. Mine is a theoretical and ideal consideration, on how to make the debate on roleplaying games as constructive as possible. There is no conflict here, only the need to apply different language to gain different goals.

Quote from: talysman
Ron raised the possibility of discussing alternate terms for GMless vs GMed games in another thread, and now Tomas has started one. anyone want to discuss this?
This is not a thread on GM vs no-GM games. It is a search for a new term on the motoring and mastering of RPGs.
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Tomas HVM
writer, storyteller, games designer
www.fabula.no
Tomas HVM
Member

Posts: 244


WWW
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2004, 02:22:16 AM »

We could call it "game guiding techniques" (GGT), or for short; "guiding". Not all of these techniques are bound to the traditional leader-role, so that may be an appropriate term.

>>>  Guiding  <<<
Game guiding techniques (GGT)

- "guiding" is the term used to describe how players propels the game, model it and master it between themselves. It is a term for the making and manipulation of interaction within a roleplaying game.

- the "guiding" term signifies that this is not only a question of game mastering (as it is perceived in the context of the traditional GM-role), but also influences of other kinds, both more subtle and brutal. I hold it that guiding may be performed by players more or less conscious on their own role as guides for the game.

- how the "guiding" takes place may vary between groups, and between methods. The hows and whos may vary between scenes also, but the game will always be under some sort of guidance.

- we may safely talk of players being "guides" in a game, or placing themselves in the guiding position, or guiding the game "from behind the scenes".

- in traditional roleplaying games the GM is invested with formal responsibility as guide. Still; the GM is seldom the sole guide in a game. Additional guiding may take place behind his back, under his nose, or openly, with or without his consent.

- GM-free games will be guided by the players, with formal rules based on other models, or without formal rules (freeform).

That's the best I could come up with, folks! Any comments?
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Tomas HVM
writer, storyteller, games designer
www.fabula.no
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