Game Master


After watching several RollPlay shows I got back into roleplaying, this time online and in English. I probably have a ton more to say on this subject but recently Adam Koebel (the creator of Dungeon World) started a show with Steven Lumpkin (the GM on several RollPlay campaigns) so yet again I wrote some long-winded comments on the first episode. Here is the playlist, it’s a bit controversial but check it out even if you weren’t interested in my comments :).

Part 1/3

For me house-ruling is one of the main reasons I play PnP games. PC games are only as good as the coding is and often you have to make mods to fix what the developer did wrong – Neverwinter Nights was great for online RPing but balance-wise it was all over the place.

Playing PnP, if the group want a different angle, if some rule doesn’t make sense, you don’t need any coding skills to change it. All you need is the idea and that’s the beauty of it. For example I really like Apocalypse World so I’m working on a space ship add-on which would keep the original feel of the game. 🙂

Part 2/3

I definitely think you’re having a ton of fun because RnD as a group works incredibly well, you take very little time to act and bounce off of each other’s actions.

Other than that my experience with Numenera is that it’s an interesting system where old technology is usually obscure and as such considered almost magic so you’re re-discovering the stuff and making use of the narrative implementations of Cyphers (I tend to avoid the “+2 damage on attack” stuff). It’s like “show me what you can do, be a MacGyver!”

Part 3/3

Concerning managing problem as the GM’s authority, I think you need to make the player/character distinction. If you have a problem player then it’s definitely your responsibility to deal with any kind of toxic behaviour, the same way an authority figure like a teacher needs to make sure a class is a good environment.

Some people don’t like conflict, for example after countless arguments with a dorm roommate instead of going into a fistfight or trying to get the authorities to resolve our problems I simply moved into a shared apartment, got a much better deal overall. In a campaign one toxic person could drive off several other people who didn’t feel like going to the GM with the problems, arguing during a session or trying to team up with other players. That’s the situation when you need to bring it up, you’re a moderator, you have the authority to kick people out.

If there is a problem character then it’s up to the other characters to deal with the situation. You just need to make sure to encourage people to do something that antagonistic even if it might cause conflict between the players. If the player behind a problem character has good intentions he will understand the reaction, that’s how you can tell a good player. For example I’ve frequently had problems with JP’s characters, on one hand there is Bubba, on other hand there is Duncan. If I was in a party with Duncan, I’d ditch him after the first adventure, if not earlier but the people on RollPlay probably wouldn’t do that because it would cause tension between the players.

Just remember the drama concerning LivinPink and how JP reacted to InControl doing what LP used to do all the time. I’m not saying it was good roleplaying from InControl, quite opposite considering a typical fantasy vernacular, but at that point I think a character conflict should reveal if it’s a well-played problem character or just a problem player. It’s the GM’s responsibility to bring up the question of character conflicts and player conflicts because it sets a tone for the campaign – for example look at Shadowrun.