Saturday, July 10, 2010

What is your gaming (player/GM) style?

Due to other threads on different gaming forums, I have been curious about this: What is your play/GM style?

For myself…its hard to say. I started roleplaying with free form V:tM so I have a special place for that in my heart, and I believe that it still influences my playing/GMing style today. In that game, interaction was between character and character, between character and public NPC’s (public in that anyone could control said NPC), and much less common, between character and owned NPC (such as bodyguards and whatnot). Because of this, I tend to thrive in games where NPC’s are just a small aspect of the game.

The next aspect of gaming I had was that of Palladium Fantasy, my first foray into gaming at a tabletop instead of over the internet. I loved it and as such, fantasy gaming is my favorite by far. This game also cemented my idea of NPC’s being of little importance, with the exception of perhaps one or two NPC’s that are part of the characters group.

So in regards to NPC’s, I feel they should either be part of the group or should fade into black the moment they are no longer being spoken to and whatnot (this is not to mean that said shopkeeper is not alerting the authorities or whomever that you are in town after taking your money, but that should be done inside the GM’s head).

The PF game also gave me something that I really liked: Specifics. I like specifics being there in games that I play and run. I find it refreshing to know not only that my character can summon a fireball out of thin air and throw it at someone, but also know how hot said fireball is in real-world terms and what it can and cannot burn through. However, due to that game and others that I have played over the years, I really hate it when the specifics get in the way of having fun and taking time away from the game.

For example, if the GM says that the fireball burns through a certain substance, for me that is all that I need to know, that the GM said it does. I could care less if the rules state that this is impossible, maybe that section of the wall is weakened or a difference substance altogether made to look like it was something else. So when someone begins to argue the point, that’s the moment the game immersion ends for me, which I really hate.

I guess this means that I gravitate towards crunchy systems that is very rules light when actually in use (probably why I like Tri-Stat dX and Savage Worlds: Explorers Edition so well).

I am not big on romance in games that I play/GM, unless it is between my wife and I, in which case I feel it is rather insignificant to the story and game.

As far as purpose of a game, a grand scheme of things, I can go either way. I am fine with tv show-like game sessions where each week is something new to take care of. I am also fine with having a need to save the world. I am not into political games, precisely because they cause NPC’s to become rather invasive and in-your-face, which is not where I want them. To me, the game is about the characters and their interaction with each other.

Why some people want a game with other players but prefer to interact with NPC’s instead of doing what they want, which is obviously playing a game that consists of just themselves and the GM (1-1 type of gaming), is beyond my comprehension (not to say that that type of gaming cannot be fun, I have done this in the past and have had a great time, but if you are joining a group, then the game is about the group, not your character and some NPC).

I like long, epic storylines but I feel that I am not very good at implementing them as a GM. I tend to play characters who are rogues/thieves/scoundrels who think outside of the box and would prefer to come up with a unique and off-the-wall approach to solving any problem than to take the easier route, so my riddles and plot-lines tend to be about the same. Meaning my players often have a hard time figuring it out, so I downplay it and… well, I get bored (course, I’ve not done something like that since I ran a game with a crunchy system for combat and resolution, so I think I could do better now).


I like to play/GM games that are a chrunchy in character creation and have real-world examples, but want the system to be nearly invisible during gameplay. NPC’s should know their place: Either be part of the group (only 1 or 2, max) or interact only when interacted with. Players should play as part of the group, not desire one-on-one time with the GM all the time. Games should be full of political intrigue. I am very much so a “Why yes, you can do that.” as a GM, but I also like skill/stat checks when appropriate.

So, what about you? What is your style of playing/GMing?

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