fang_langford (fang_langford) wrote,

Why Can’t Gamemasters Play the Rules?

Ever notice?

Ever notice that in most typical role-playing games there simply are no rules that the gamemaster must follow. In fact, there is a sad lack of rules for them at all.

Why is that?

I’m thinking it is because the mentality where the game system stands in for physics when it comes to the preternatural. It would follow that, as the figure of god in the game, the gamemaster is not bound by them. What they get instead are any number of vague, self-contradictory and explicitly reversible suggestions. Guideline quality in typical or popular gaming has always suffered from a certain amount of ambiguity.

What happens then?

This I think leads to the unspoken understanding that role-play gaming is something you must learn from people who do it. Surely this retards any growth happening in the hobby, right? I remember starting the whole gaming community in my home town; I must have been talented because it never seemed that hard (until somebody else tried it).

What’s the alternative?

Make some gamemaster rules. Now I’m not talking about broader rules for players and gamemasters alike; I doubt you could subvert the difference between them to generate such rules.

Here’s some of the thinking I’ve been putting into Scattershot. The die mechanic has already been altered such that over any period of measure, you will fail noticeably more than you succeed. In order to move towards your chara goals, you simply must spend experience dice. In short supply, you need to go out of your way to do things that garner experience dice. What is their primary use then?

To improve rolls....

So, as far as I’ve gotten, I need to work out the rules for which a gamemaster must roll his dice (and require his own experience dice). I’ve only a few ideas here. And they aren’t that good (yet).
  1. A mirror of the ‘hunted’ disadvantage; a GM must roll to use a recurring chara
  2. In conflict with a player’s goals; much like in a conflicted resolution
  3. ...I’m stumped and tired; let’s hear some of you suggestions!
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