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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 251 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: I listened to my friend's game last night Part II  (Read 2220 times)
Jack Spencer Jr
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« on: April 12, 2003, 08:11:10 AM »

I go to be a fly on the wall again this week. Unfortunately, nothing quite as insightful had come up. I had actually written a lengthy post but closed my word processor without saving so now youíll get a shortened version, which is probably for the best.

At the beginning of the game, the GM announced some rules changes to the home brewed system including an extension to the time it takes to heal based on how injured the character is. This makes sense. It is unlikely a character will jump out of bed and do one-armed push-up if they were at deathís door a minute ago, but this does mean that a player can be stuck for months of game time just watching while their character heals up or they can roll up a new character.

I didnít notice anything especially interesting during the game. Play was dominated by the GMís girlfriend who had gone off to do a job since she was an assassin. This puzzles me after the ďcharacters are not evilĒ thing last week, but what do I know. Two other players went with her, so it was mostly these three playing while the other five did little but watch. On the ride home, one guy complained that little was accomplished this week. I asked the other what he wanted to happen in a game and he said, in so many words, combat.

I kind of developed a theory of this on the fly at that moment. In combat, unlike the roleplaying that happened that night, everyone gets a turn and it goes around the table fairly quickly. I believe itís easy to perceive, for these guys to perceive combat as a better event in play since it allows everyone a turn and you arenít sitting and watching for an hour. This is unformed at the moment, but maybe we can hammer it out.

The most interesting thing that happened was the discussion I had with the wife as we drove out there. We discussed the game and gaming in general and why I have chosen to not play anymore. I said I wasnít enjoying it anymore. To this she said itís because I had become a gaming snob. That I no longer can go with the flow and just enjoy it. I pointed out she didnít just go with the flow and enjoy it when I had her watch Plan 9 From Outer Space. She said but Plan 9 sucks and I said, so does the game.

I got serious again and explained how I had been thinking about the game, what it is, and why I didnít do it anymore and I explained that I believe the game is a form of Illusionism, which is that the GM controls the story absolutely and the players only think they do. That it is his story and I wanted either the game to be much simpler than this home brewed game so it doesnít matter and play mostly for the social interaction.

Over the past week, I had become convinced that the wife and the GMís girlfriend would enjoy playing a different kind of game. In the last game, the group was mostly elves and they had spent several weeks preparing for and then throwing a big party for a solstice festival of something. She said she had enjoyed it. I suggested that she and the girlfriend would probably have a blast where that was the main point of play. Most of the rest of the group are there mostly to socialize so I think they wouldnít mind if this happened. I got a non-committal answer from her that I have come to expect when asking people about roleplaying. and something about not hating combat. I said it wasnít about combat. Combat could still happen in that style of play. Itís just that instead of being the heroes who are trying to save the world or something, the point would be to throw parties all the time and scheming to get enough cash to throw another one. She replied that the GM had said he doesnít want another game where the characters were just a bunch of elves hanging out. I asked who made that decision, the players or the GM? She said the GM. I said thatís the problem. There are eight people sitting at that table. Two of them I am convinced would like to play this way the rest are non-committal but one guy decided theyíre going to play that way and thatís it. Itís his preference, but heís imposing it on everyone who is playing. This is why I donít play anymore.

I think she understands now.
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Jason Lee
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2003, 02:25:44 PM »

Why, in a group of nine, is this guy the only GM?  Not to be a radical (I don't know if this is against the social rules of your group), but what about rotating GM's?  They can even stick with his home brew system.  You might find out what everyone in the group actually likes playing then.

Or is he not the only GM?
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- Cruciel
Jack Spencer Jr
Guest
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2003, 04:39:32 AM »

Because he is the only GM. I know that four of us had tried running something at various times, myself included. His girlfriend ran most recently using this system and it had ended badly. I had discussed this on this forum.

Basically, he is the GM because no one else wants the job. Or so it seems.
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Jack Spencer Jr
Guest
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2003, 06:31:48 AM »

Slight update: It turns out there is some real social issues involved in the group as well. Stuff I feel a real need to talk about with someone, but really shouldn't on an internet forum. But these are problems completely at the social level. I'll have to work this out somehow.
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Gordon C. Landis
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Posts: 1024

I am Custom-Built Games


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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2003, 11:37:42 AM »

Well, I'm with cruciel - a nine person group screams out (to me) for splittin'.  One GM gets three players, another gets four.  And Jack, sounds like a good call to discuss those social issues in another manner/venue . . .

But I wanted to comment on this bit:
Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
I kind of developed a theory of this on the fly at that moment. In combat, unlike the roleplaying that happened that night, everyone gets a turn and it goes around the table fairly quickly. I believe itís easy to perceive, for these guys to perceive combat as a better event in play since it allows everyone a turn and you arenít sitting and watching for an hour. This is unformed at the moment, but maybe we can hammer it out.


I think the key issue here is scene framing and pacing - a search on those words should turn up some interesting threads.  I also realized not too long ago that part of the appeal of combat is that, in most game designs, it is the one place where "what happens" is explictly shared and managed by the system.  GM's have WIDELY varrying degrees of skill in managing scene-start, flow, and stop outside of combat, and rarely get help from game systems in doing so.  There's a recent "Social Combat"(?) thread that mentions some games which try to solve this by using a combat-like mechanic for other kinds of actions (Hero Wars perhaps most generally, Dying Earth with it's specific "Duel of Words" mechanics, etc.), but it's a big issue, IME.

Gordon
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