10 (12) Gaming Commandments

We come down from the mountain with 10 (12!) gaming commandments.

Update: Listener Urs has created a very nice Google Doc with notes on each of the commandments: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1crApXzGObngTWVXZ1CiD2Dgcq033FkEBBoND5bStc58/edit?usp=sharing

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6 Responses to “10 (12) Gaming Commandments”

  1. Ron Edwards Says:

    What exactly is an “adversarial GM”? Being someone’s adversary would mean being opposed to that person. If a GM is opposed to his fellow players & the GM controls the entire game world around the characters, how long would that adventure last?

    Not very long at all. What would be some of your examples of a GM being adversarial?

    What’s the difference between “Traditional” & “indie” games? You use those terms often & I haven’t heard a clear definition of either in regard to how you use them. What do “Trad” games do that “indie” games don’t? Are “Traditional” games bad or less entertaining than “indie” games? Are “indie” games superior in design to “Traditional” games? Do “indie” & “trad” games share common design and/or gaming elements?

    Could there be situations where the person(s) running the game can say “yes” but also require a roll?

    I’ve heard a few people talk about “dissonance” between what D&D is & what it’s marketed as. What is that dissonance exactly? What experience is D&D promising that it doesn’t deliver? I like Gygax’s description of the game;

    “I shall attempt to characterize the spirit of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game. This is a fantasy RPG predicated on the assumption that the human race, by and large, is made up of good people. Humans, with the help of their demi-human allies (dwarfs, elves, gnomes, etc.), are and should remain the predominant force in the world. They have achieved and continue to hold on to this status, despite the ever-present threat of evil, mainly because of the dedication, honor, and unselfishness of the most heroic humans and demi-humans-the characters whose roles are taken by the players of the game.

    Although players can take the roles of “bad guys” if they so choose, and if the game master allows it, evil exists in the game primarily as an obstacle for player characters to overcome. If they succeed in doing this, as time goes on, player characters become more experienced and more powerful – which enables them to contest successfully against increasingly stronger evil adversaries. Each character, by virtue of his or her chosen profession, has strengths and weaknesses distinctly different from those possessed by other types of characters.

    No single character has all the skills and resources needed to guarantee success in all endeavors; favorable results can usually only be achieved through group effort. No single player character wins, in the sense that he or she defeats all other player characters; the goal of the forces of good can only be attained through cooperation, so that victory is a group achievement rather than an individual one.” – Gary Gygax, from his book, “Role-Playing Mastery” (1987)

    In regard to multiple rolls for an action, combat is exactly that; you normally have to make several rolls in order to achieve a single goal (subduing a foe).

    How would you define ‘Railroading’? What are some examples of being ‘railroaded’ while gaming? What are some examples of a person running an adventure that was completely free of ‘railroading’?

    If players and/or the person running the adventure “fudge dice rolls”, what’s the purpose of rolling dice? Wouldn’t a more “Free-form” game system be better?

    Each comic book is a story or an episode of story, which has its own Climax & Resolution, but as it was said, the story never ends until the writer(s) end it.

    It can be argued that the person running the adventure isn’t actually a player, largely because that person knows what each scene is about. There’s limited excitement for that person outside of how the actual players will make their way through the adventure.

    How much Role-playing occurs during a game should be left to the group; some enjoy more RP, while others might enjoy less. I’d say “Bad-Wrong” is when we tell someone they have to play the way we do in order to be correct.

  2. Urs Says:

    I’d love to have these written down – just the shorthand, as in “Thou shalt not kill” – to share and discuss them with my fellows.
    Would you open your/a Google Doc to the public?

  3. Urs Says:

    I tried to capture the gist of what you said from the episode itself.
    If anyone could have a look and tell me if I missed something, that’d be cool.

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1crApXzGObngTWVXZ1CiD2Dgcq033FkEBBoND5bStc58/edit?usp=sharing

  4. Kevin Weiser Says:

    Urs,
    Here’s the document we were riffing off of: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11_V-lIDCEagtkdIqAcxBerN8EGSz2cF3MjqHtPGqSrE/pub but your notes are far superior!

  5. Ron Edwards Says:

    The “Ron Edwards” in the first comment is not me. Unless it’s someone else who shares my name, you’ve been trolled.

  6. Shimmin Beg Says:

    Mid-way through your podcast at the moment. Your example with the sneak rolls caught my attention. Ron 2 touched on it in passing, but anyway… I really think this depends entirely on how important you think sneaking around is to the game you want to play.

    A friend of mine made a very convincing (to me) point about stealth in games, in that most RPGs don’t support it very well because they leave the outcome up to one roll. This is fine some of the time, but if you’re interested in playing a game where stealth skills (in a non-mechanical sense) are important, then actually resolving covert action through a series of rolls that branch into opportunities and challenges is a much better way of doing it. Okay, if any single failed roll alerts the whole castle then it’s failure-spamming as you say; but in a similar way, if players are interesting in heist-type play or actually feeling sneaky, then skipping it can be unsatisfying. If you make one successful roll that gets you from outside the castle to the sorcerer’s bedroom, it doesn’t feel very sneaky.

    Ron 2′s point was that you don’t resolve combat by making one roll to overcome every enemy in the fortress (although that’s a game idea I’ve been hanging onto for a while…). Something similar is generally true of elements important to a game; either they become a kind of minigame with lots of back-and-forth, or they don’t involve dice at all.

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