Monday, October 12, 2009

Once Again Onto the Breech part 2!!!

Creating an exhaustive list of disruptive player types and combonations is both fiddly and unproductive. There is really no other reason to do it other than there are people who just obsessively like to make lists about things.

What is important to notice about the list I made is that there is an antagonistic relationship between the player and the rules themselves. This, I think is of absolute critical importance. Because the crux of the antagonism comes between the player and the rules then there is the belief that there is a sort of equal footing between the players. Everyone can indeed become a power gamer or a rule lawyer. It isn't really that hard, except for the part where you sell your soul.

What throws a monkey wrench into the entire works is the GM. The gm is the avatar of the rules. He is allowed to break them, bend them, fudge them, ignore them, and there is hardly a mainstream rule book on the market that doesn't give the gm the express permission to alter something s/he doesn't like. So all the sudden the power gamer comes onto shaky ground, the rule lawyer gets out his big book of argumentations and they get to work. Here is where the role player extrodinair and the goof ball also really start to shine.

The supposedly inherent disjunction between the GM and the players doesn't excist. The disjunction is then created by the rules themselves, and the agression twords the gm is created as a sort of proxy argument.

As a result plot interference, killing of NPCs, raping of bar maids, dismembering of corpses, grave robbing, and everything Mr. Welch is no longer allowed to do, is a result of testing out the human component that comes along with the rules. Is the gm going to use the rules to dick us over, how much freedom do we actually have, how well does he know the game background, if I make him laugh will he let me pass the role (in paranoia you do!), how much argueing can he take before he gives in and lets me have my way... et cetera. All of these questions and thousands more usually end up taking the place of the actual important question, which is how would my charecter respond in this situation considering his place in the world.

I can pretty much guarantee that it isn't kill the king.

So having come to this rather brilliant realization, what can be done about all of this? Well first step is to moderate gm behavioure but my lunch is over and tonight I think I want to write fiction so I'll get back to it later.

5 hours later and I'm back!

Unlike last post which makes a decent little unit all on its own this one clearly isn't finnished yet. So lets get on to it.

First and foremost, the most visable part of the equation is the GM's reaction to the pressure the players put upon him in reaction to the rules. Most game master sections devote quite a bit of atension to how to properly run a game and diffrent amounts of advice, all of which is useful to varying degrees. It is, after all, the gm's adherence to the rules that gives or takes away power to certain types of different players.

Lets go past that real quick and get into forge terminology. The forge, along with some of the other independent games that surround it take a different view than moderating GM behavior. Instead they seek out to clearly define the GMs role, limit it, and in some cases they all but remove the gm from the equation. This presents an interesting approch to the problem of the rules/gm//player conflict but ultimatly I think it fails to deal with the actual problems inherent within the player rule divide.

Lets start with the idea that "System Matters" which is an essay by Ron Edwards. To be honest it has always bugged me and it is the ultimate reason why I am here tonight typing about it. The idea that the way to solve all game play problems is to have games that have specific systems. The system will be tailored made to the deisred game play.

I believe that this works to a point. But it isn't the end all be all of rpg design. It doesn't matter how well you design a system a disruptive player will still be disruptive, an uncreative player will still be uncreative. It doens't matter if the game is D20 ad&d with all source books available, or something as tightly regulated as My Life With Master. The disruptive player problem is still unsolved because there is a fundamental disjunction between the players, the rules, and the gms interpretation of the rules.

The solution, it isn't so much a radical change to the way gming works, or even a removal of the gm. Instead game developers, paticularly independent ones should be focusing on better system based forms of conuication between the players and the gm. This along with better comminication in the charecter generation process and campain set up will help turn around the vast majority of the in game problems that the players suffer from.

K NOW I am finally on the right fucking track. I'll do some more of this later.

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