Playing with No DM - is Collaborative play viable?

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  1. #1

    Playing with No DM - is Collaborative play viable?

    Just read an article on Collaborative Roleplaying and linked to this site
    ERGO Collaborative Roleplaying

    It discusses roleplaying by collaboration with NO DM and all players involved with creating the situations and story of the game-adventure.
    Have you ever done this? Is it viable longterm? What styles best fit?

    I'm thinking of using it hmmm

    I also found this DM-less game SOAP - the RPG anyone tried it?

    Anyway from the Article
    Collaborative role-playing is based on some simple principles:

    1. All players take responsibility for the game, both the game-mechanics and the flow of the story. There isn't one player with special powers whose word goes.

    2. Characters are no longer the 'avatars' of their players; i.e. a character is not some extension of the player into the gamesmaster's world. Characters are actors in the story, the whole story is an expression of the players personalities.

    3. Players are free to have more than one character, ebbing an flowing between them as the story dictates. Characters might have a 'parent' player (called the character's guide) but can just as easily be shared or loaned to other players.

    4. There is no such thing as player-characters and non-player characters, there are only characters. The evil pirate from one game might become a central character for a player in the next. Characters exist to be role-played, not as a player's only access to the game world.


  • #2
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    This is the first time I hear about this, but it is an tnteresting idea. It would make for a very different game from what we are used to. I might give this a try, sometimes, maybe at a con.

    But there is one unresolved mystery in the ERGO rules, that completely baffles me:

    You may find them [the rules] completely unsuitable for playing... your epic bacterium role-playing game set in a dog's small intestine.
    So how did they find out about Monte Cook's secret project?!
    Last edited by nsruf; Saturday, 6th April, 2002 at 05:44 PM.

  • #3
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    This sounds a little fluffy to me.

    I doubt any of my gaming groups could (or would) be impressed by a game without a hard set of rules with which to interact with the environments, or a game without a referee.

    D&D is often described as an "elaborate gameof make-believe". What's described above doesn't sound particularly elaborate to me.

    It just sounds like it would eventually devolve into some really wordy and intellctual version of 'Bang, you're dead!!"..'No, Im not!!" Pretty quickly.

    " me a game where the roleplaying involves deep emotional experiences and making tough decisions in-character and experiencing vicarious unpleasantness and, generally, all the stuff that people like Ron Edwards insist is the very heart of roleplaying without which the activity has no meaning and is so much wasted time, and I'll show you me leaving the room..."

    ---Stephenls; Moderator---

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    Pick up the Rune RPG. It's based upon this very concept.

    Founder of BADD - Bothered About Disposable Dragons

    "Provide evidence of this claim, or retract it because it's a dishonest statement." -- Mourn, laying down the law

    "The sins of the previous edition don't excuse the sins of the next." -- Kamikaze Midget, giving words to my thoughts

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    In traditional D&D game the game focuses around the characters. This type of game focuses around the story. You need a certain group for this to work. Long term goals are hard to have because the story is controled by everyone, and not everyone wants the story to go to the same place. I've never had a campaign like this, I have done a two part adventure. After two sessions it had evolved to something completely different then it started. Sort of like when you whisper a phrase to a person, and then they whipser it to someone else and so on and so forth till it comes back around to you and it's nothing like what the orginal was.

  • #6
    Have to agree with Teflon here. In all respects it sounds simply like a 'make-believe' game by itself. With the mechanics established more so by the players (so while they may exist, they exist only because all agree). Roughly about the same as round-robin storytelling. Nothing wrong with that (it can be quite fun in fact), just well I'd consider it a different type of game than most other RPGs...

    Given a base line of rules would work to make it more similiar long as the entire group held the same manner of belief on the baseline of rules .

    Still seems more like a step-up from round robin storytelling, and well nothing wrong with that .
    - Reiella (1 line limit, something something)

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    This style of play seems to work fine for freeform PBEM games - see eg:
    Many female players especially seem to prefer this style to traditional D&D-type rules-based, GM-led play. It looks a lot like interactive fiction, but there are still 'PCs' - players' primary characters, who are protected like the lead characters in a TV show - and 'NPCs' who are disposable. There's usually a sort of GM, but they coordinate rather than control, sometimes they do almost nothing.
    ***Henry/S'mon Super Quick d20 NPC Generation System*** The Gods of the Copybook Headings With Terror and Slaughter Return!

    eriktheguy, on S'mon's latest idea:
    There are 2 major problems with your idea:
    1: It is far too awesome
    2: see 1

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    There is a card game, by Atlas Games, called "Once Upon a Time", that follows a similar concept.

    I think the major issues become one of long-term story development. It would be exceedingly difficult to develop long-term plots without collaboration in such a scheme, but that "lets the cat out of the bag", ruining the surprise. Traditional RPGs tend to lose focus even when you switch GMs between major adventures....

  • #9
    Hmm - Interesting idea, although I guess it'll remain 'idea' for me.

  • #10
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    Collaborative Play

    I agree that collaborative roleplaying isn't a particularly attractive option for most RPGs. One of the fundamental pleasures of roleplaying is the exploration and uncovering of mysteries (not Whodunits? necessarily, but locating artifacts, uncovering secret plots, etc.) This is easiest and most fun when one person--the DM--knows the secrets (or makes them up on the fly) and has the authority to give the definitive answer to such riddles.

    Tonguez wrote: "I also found this DM-less game SOAP - the RPG anyone tried it?"

    SOAP (The Game of Soap Opera Mayhem) is great fun. But it's a different animal than your typical RPG. In SOAP, the players are in competition while collaboratively writing a story. And yes, it's clearly inspired by Atlas Games "Once Upon A Time". SOAP's free and a lot of fun--you should definitely check it out.

    -- Darkcross

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