Saturday, September 26, 2015

Do my posts make me seem adversarial?

I wonder sometimes, how my posting makes my campaign come across.

After all, you see my posts and a smattering of comments by some of my players.

Often my posts are talking about rule changes, stuff my players have figured out how to use or abuse, and things I'd do differently. Mix in the stuff that has nothing at all to do with my game or my players that just pops into my head and gets thrown in, too. It's got to seem sometimes like I'm this grumpy GM with a hostile relationship with his players.

It's really far from that, though. Most of my gaming group were my friends outside of gaming (only a few recent additions were online-only or friends of friends, and only one is a direct gamer add-on.) We play games to play games with each other, not game with each other to play games - it's something for friends to do, not people who happen to do the same thing as each other.

So I write my games based on the idea that we all want more-or-less the same kind of fun. In game I might be harsh and strict. I might make bad rulings and be all stubborn about them. I might say "no" as my default answer and only come to "yes" if I'm convinced it's a great idea.

I write rules based on this idea, too - that they are for co-operative groups.

A good example are the XP rules - we've got a number of options on the table for changing them. It's not because I want to punish my players or whip them into line. It's a mix of the rules we've been using and suggestions from them mixed with suggestions from me to come up with ways of doing it. We all want the same thing - rewarding certain play approaches and not others - and it's just a question of how to do it.

The light armor thing recently is the same - the majority wanted jungle, and "there goes my mail!" was just a new challenge. So are the restrictions on chargen - some players would want them relaxed but they're not there to oppress them but rather to fulfill a greater group purpose. My crazy rulings on all sorts of things are also ones we generally agree on.

But yeah, sometimes, from comments, I feel like I'm giving them impression of being an adversarial GM riding herd on an uncooperative group of players and whipping them into line. Far from it. It's vastly friendlier and more cooperative than that, even if the perceived tone of my posts sometimes make it seem not so.


  1. I never percieved your posting as adversarial. You always seemed to be trying to express a gro6p consensus,

  2. Keep on keeping on man. Don't even sweat that shit from others. Love the blog

    1. Thanks Chris. Yeah, I just started thinking, geez, maybe I seem like a whip-cracking dude from the tone of my posts. It's not like someone directly gave me a hard time. :)

  3. I agree, I never thought you were particularly adversarial. Your group seemed like a friendly group that was adjusting the rules to meet the group consensus. I do think you or your group is maybe a bit more traditional or less gonzo on the PC side than my groups tend ot be, but my groups are maybe a bit crazy in that regard.

  4. I've always thought you had a very neutral, non emotional sort of "tone" to your writing; very factual and descriptive, but I've never thought it was adversarial.

  5. I think I have a unique perspective (reader, then player), and I say: No, they don't read that way (nor is it applied that way in-game). I always read the rule-related posts as, "This is a situation that comes up, to be fair to all, it needs a tweak, and this ensures that the game stays fun." I see it as a broad look at GURPS, like the "30,000 foot view" and musings on game design. Not adversarial.

  6. No, it seems like you run it pretty straight. Write the adventure, lay down the rules ahead of time, then run it as written.

    But I can see how someone who'd only played in "easy mode" campaigns where the GM cheats in the players' favor would consider that adversarial. It's all relative.

  7. Your players' comments don't materially contradict your descriptions of what happens. I don't have any reason to think those statements are false.

    Several times you have stated that your design intent is a particular feel, and also that this feel is set by consensus.

    One doesn't get fun and immersion by saying yes all the time or by saying no all the time.

    It is always hard to judge the impact of one's own writing.

    I think there is frustration over the TPKs. I get the impression that everyone wants to minimize those in the future, but not at the cost of the fun you are having. The players are focusing on learning from their mistakes. You have been looking at your end, and wondering if you've built in perverse incentives.

    Mostly I have a strong impression of the problems you present. They are interesting, and I want to try solving them.

  8. I'm glad it's coming across this way. Thanks for the feedback, everyone!


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