August 21st, 2002

Aggressive Voice
  • kurosau

Gluttons for Punishment

Over the last couple of years, my gaming group has gotten tired. We've run fewer games, and when we did run, they seemed to lack the same stamina and vigor of our earlier titles. People would usually be tired when they showed up for a game, and the GM would frequently not 'try' to run, relying on the age old assumptions of the Blue PC Aura to push the game along.

As a result, I think our group has suffered, as people seem to be willing to just play something because it's being run, regardless of the quality of the game.

Game #1
An example of something we would've played a long time ago. A Methuselah game. Set in WWs, World of Darkness, we played ancients that were incredibly powerful. Normally I would've envied anyone playing this game, but after a few sessions, it became clearly evident that a) the GM didn't know where to go with the game, and b) what little he did know, he made sure to railroad us into.

Game #2
Star Wars. I don't know if there's anything worse than playing in a Star Wars campaign run by a man who, a) has never successfully run more than one session of a game campaign. Star Wars reached to two sessions before it died. b) Supports using only Canon material (from the movies), but then does stuff like allowing a PC to play a character from a Clone world who has force adept powers, and seeks to harvest the genetic material of a Jedi for further propogation of his clone species. c) His favorite characters are an NPC mechanic that can fix/destroy anything, and travel faster than the quickest starship, appearing in places we're going, even though we just saw him before we left.

Game #3
This time, we were out for a Wheel of Time adventure, set just before the events of 'Winter's Heart'. The whole game has been a big mess, but I'll just try to hit the high (low) points. Right now, and for most of the examples I'm giving you, we are 9th level characters. First, the GM insists on running a 'by the novels' campaign, but still enforces rules from the RPG that are blatantly against the setting in the novels. Second, when the time came for our two channelers (spellcasters), to get captured, they were ambushed by 13 Black Ajah (evil spellcasters), all of whom were at least 2 to 6 levels higher than we. On top of that, there were also 13 Myrdraal (think the Black Riders from LoTR if you aren't familiar) backing them up, as support. After that session, I expected the game to crash abruptly, but strangely, it has continued.

The question I'm asking is thus:

Is it reasonable to continue playing in a game where these many flaws crop up, just for sake of nothing better to do? When does no roleplaying become better than bad roleplaying?

So far, I haven't participated in all of them, save when I wanted to roleplay with my friends, but everyone else has, mostly because they didn't have other games to play. And the more I play, I keep wanting to run my game (hence the earlier post about Superspy Cthulu), or at least get people to stop playing these crappy, crappy games.
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    aggravated aggravated
Aggressive Voice
  • kurosau

Dealing with Violence

Read here about a video game designer who claims he was maligned on a recent episode of Donahue.

I know this sounds a little off topic, but I ramble, so bear with me.

One of the points he wanted to make clear was how violence was an ever present factor in human entertainment. I think he says 'media'. With a few very specific exceptions, I think I can say with surety that RPGs show the same phenomenon, traditionally being laden with violence or violent themes.

They're also usually loaded with twinks, but hey, that can barely be helped. I'm looking more to get the opinions of other GMs, as I think this will help me run better.

What I want to ask you is this.

1) What lengths do you go to, when you're running a game, to make sure that violence is actually part of the game, and not just the 'half time show'. An example of this is from Adventure!, which suggests that every action scene (read: violence) be integral to the game. Run no action that isn't important to the events at hand.

2) What other ways have you found for expressing the conflict that violence gives us? Certainly some sessions of Vampire can be likened to a game of 'Social' combat, but I'm looking for more esoteric examples, if you've go them.

3) Does the desire for violence in a game have anything to do with twinkery? Or do twinks just usually happen to enjoy exploiting rules for simulating violence?
  • Current Music
    VNV Nation - Solitary (signals radio edit)

A characters current health

I am curious what people think about the DM being the only one knowing about a characters current health condition. I ran a Ravenloft game where I, as the GM, kept track of how many hit points each character had at any given time. I would describe each wound and how they felt afterwards, ie "One or two more blow like that would surely be fatal". It seemed to work pretty well and helped to promot a sense of fear and caution.

Have other people tried this? For any system not just D&D. I had kinda guidelines for when the description would change like at half the health and one quarter their health. I was always concerned that the description was not clear enough to describe how wounded they really were. Maybe that adds some level of realize, maybe not. What does everyone think? As a player would you feel that too much was taken out of your control? I was concidering doing this again for my current game.