This Blog 2019, Goals and Grommets

Inspired by the 2019 goals post over at Charles's Dragons Never Forget Blog, I figured I would do the same thing. 2018 right around ...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

How to not steal from your friends, GM needs to be a player, talk it out!

How to not steal from your friends, GM needs to be a player, talk it out!
Preface, I consider everyone who plays RPGs just a friend I have not met yet. Perhaps this outlook is a bit strange, but that’s how I trip though life.
I don’t want to steal from my friends, so I need to talk about some of the concepts in my newest game.
The Game Dungeon World has been pollinating my new game with ideas.
Not so much in the nuts and bolts, there are things love about dungeon world and things I don’t. I’m not sold on the system of GM “moves” though I do think it ties the whole game together eloquently. I’m not sure if the game can be played with a running narrative, as it seems fit to generating bursts of fiction. (Like watching the middle 30 minutes of Conan the Barbarian, nice fight, but what, why?)
What I love and what has really stuck with me are the principles for GM’s. What the fine folks working on Dungeon World have done is put into words more concisely than I ever could a lot of the things I feel are true about running games.
One of the GM principles that stand out to me is “Be a fan of the characters.”
I am totally on board with this. I am a fan of the characters that players play in the games that I GM. I don’t want them to fail, I am not out to wipe the party off the map, and I really want the characters to do cool things and enjoy the game world. I really dislike the GM vs. Player paradigm that may have been perpetuated in the past. I have zero interest in getting a total party kill with a giant rock trap in the center of “Ye Ole Dungeon of DOOMETH  tm
For my game I’m squeezing the concept just a bit, to become “The GM is also a Player.” What I hope to convey is that the GM has the same investment towards and right to have fun with the game at the table. This also means the same right to enjoy the unfolding story and the action taking place in game world.
That reads kind of like a, “Duh naturally the GM is there to have fun why else would she play?”  
However I think it is a different way to look at the GM player relationship. For many years the biggest RPG’S clearly drew a line. Here is your player’s book; here is your GM’s book, “do not read past this chapter if you don’t plan on running the game.” This kind of separation is a holdover from a more competitive war gamming background. The Gm and the players need to be on the same page as far as a creative agenda is concerned. For me that creative agenda is “let’s make the most kick ass story together that we can.” (Cue the Splosions!)
The idea of having a set of solid rules by which the game is run (as compared to rules about how things are resolved within the framework of the game) is very appealing to me.
The other principle that stands out is “Ask Questions use the answers”
The game that I am writing revolves around this concept, which I don’t think is new, but is defined nicely by the dungeon world text. The players have what they want to be doing in their minds eye, and usually with incredible detail. Most details in a scene or most results of actions are already there if the GM takes the time to ask. I’m looking for a resolution mechanic based on conversation and the exchange of information. To not complicate it really is as simple as if the GM and players can talk it out, do it.
That’s two ways in which I have found another games design ideas inspiring as I work on my own concept.
I don’t honestly thing I’m stealing anything, but I do think it is important to recognize inspiration and credit it appropriately.

Here is a link to a Dungeon world resource that outlines the subjects I just wrote about.
As usual thank you for reading, and sharing.


  1. lol, yeah we have been saying that for years.
    Th e thin with dungeon world is I'm not sure I would want to play it for a campaighn, but some of the stuff in it is just so good or at least so well stated that for me to work on my game using the "golden rules" of the game and not tip my hat to them would be intelectual dishonesty. Even if my rules are different than thier principles, the format is similar.