GM perspective... revisited | KingSpoom's RPG Design & Theory Junkyard

GM perspective... revisited

Speaking solely about rpgs where the GM has nearly full power, what kind of actions are unacceptable? Ask even a small group of people and you can find conflicting answers. Most people don't like to be railroaded, but some people do. Some people don't like to be killed, but some people won't mind. Some people don't like to be given a false choice (illusionism), but again... some do. The circumstances usually matter. I don't want my character to be killed by a falling rock from out of nowhere, but it's fine if he dies in combat.

The GM has a lot of power, but not much context. Many games give guidelines or advice on how to handle that power. However, it is generally vague support. Should the GM create a villian that he knows can flee when he needs him to? If he should, should he also downplay his escape so the characters don't try to give chase? Was it wrong to play within the rules, but use your power to get exactly what you wanted done, done? Tough questions that I haven't seen GM guides tackle clearly...

Perhaps, though, they do this on purpose. Not just on purpose, but for a purpose. Most people will say the important thing is to have fun. I agree, but I'm wary of using that as an excuse for everything. People have fun in different ways, and there lies the real trouble. The most important thing might be to have everybody in the group on the same page. Only then will everyone in the group be able to have fun, at the same time. That is something often overlooked, I think. However, this is also done for a reason. Many people cannot afford to change groups, or to pick and choose their members. I have a feeling that the people who can do that, are the ones who are likely to have fun.

So what actions are unacceptable? That simply depends upon your group. You will quickly find out what the group does and does not accept (hopefully). As long as you are still playing by the same rules, you'll be able to tell what they don't like. Some systems just pull off the fleeing villian better than others.