Introducing Complications Without Forcing Players to Play the "Mother May I?" Game - Page 4
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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numidius View Post
    I'm following with growing interest.

    "The Gm is the Mechanic" sounds so true, but also so double edged a weapon.
    It is an approach. It isn't for everyone. And every approach has its up and downsides. However, the problem I am seeing here is the downsides are too often being presented as worst case caricatures. I am under no illusion that 'GM as mechanic' is a good fit for everyone. But it is a good fit for some people, myself included. To me, the GM as mechanic is the thing that really separates RPGs from other mediums, it is what gives the game the flexibility to create a sense of a real world where you can try just about anything. You don't really have that in a video game, a board game or a movie. In a video game you are at the mercy of the computer's creative limits. In an RPG, if you ask for more details about a location, or ask to do something really unusual, I can think it through and make a judgement about how to determine what the details are and/or what happens when you try to perform the unusual action. This is a strength of the medium that I think there is value in leaning on.

  2. #32
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    I agree fully about that.

    Anyway IME it's easy as a Gm to fall into "The dark side" or for players to became lazy, truly beginning every declaration with "May I...", because of the big asymmetrical definition of roles at the table, in classic rpg style.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numidius View Post
    I agree fully about that.

    Anyway IME it's easy as a Gm to fall into "The dark side" or for players to became lazy, truly beginning every declaration with "May I...", because of the big asymmetrical definition of roles at the table, in classic rpg style.
    My experience is this happened more frequently when I was young, but as I got older, people weren't there for that kind of play and it just didn't happen as much. I think a lot of this is less to do with system, and more to do with people having been younger, the hobby having been younger, when they used some of these systems. Back in the early 2000s, I had somewhat of a snooty view toward the classic systems, and it wasn't until I played them again, older and wiser, that I realized they had something to offer that I wasn't getting from the more comprehensive systems at the time. And picking them up again, I didn't experience as much of the negatives as I had remembered. I also found some of the recent innovations or rules developments were hindering the kind of play experience I wanted. For ages I thought I wasn't getting the play experience I had remembered having before, because I was older, and just being nostalgic. But shifting more to a GM as Mechanic approach really helped bring back some of that atmosphere.

  4. #34
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    In my case is quite the opposite.
    As we grew older, I found my friends and people around getting more and more rigid as Gms, and lazy as Players.

    Your words define you as a sage Master; equanimous, if you prefer.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numidius View Post
    In my case is quite the opposite.
    As we grew older, I found my friends and people around getting more and more rigid as Gms, and lazy as Players.

    Your words define you as a sage Master; equanimous, if you prefer.
    I saw groups that were more rigid, but they seemed to enjoy what they were doing, so it is all fair. Generally I have played with pretty mixed groups and with people whose company I enjoy. It isnt perfect and it isnt like we dont have lulls or conflict, but the mother may I thing never really seems to be an issue. I will say,I generally like to play with enthusiastic gamers who are there with a bit of optimism. I think mindset can make a very big difference. Also one of our GMs died (really our main GM) rather suddenly a few years ago and that really helped put a rest to the petty nitpicking that might otherwise have cropped (just put things in perspective for us and made us more appreciative).
    Last edited by Bedrockgames; Saturday, 2nd February, 2019 at 04:41 AM.

  6. #36
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    A brief thought on the mechanical side of things: when back in the day we switched from Warhammer 1e to 2e, some character stats were completely missing in the new edition.
    Dexterity, Leadership and Coolness had been canceled, and the areas of play they fostered, all of a sudden became almost an inconvenience for the Gm to rule out every time... in Mother May I territory on the Players side.
    Not to mention the nearly impossibility to have a decent Dwarf Pc

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bedrockgames View Post
    Pemerton, this isn't mother may I. Just because there is no rule for resolving it, doesn't mean it is mother may I.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bedrockgames View Post
    The issue is, if you are using mother may I to describe a method of play where the GM decides whether the sect members are at the tea house, without necessarily using a mechanic, then I think the term is little more than an insult rather than a useful gaming label. At best it is being used a very rough analogy that, like I said previously, doesn't really reflect what it feels like to play in such a campaign.

    <snip>

    In the games I run, there are mechanics I may call on in that situation, but I don't have to. I would be the one who makes the call about whether they are specifically at the tea house or if they are even present in the city.
    In a thread I started a year or two ago, I described this as play where the player goal is to learn the content of the GM's notes. And people got angry about that description too. My experience is that people who play GM-driven games are very easily upset by attempts to describe the actual processes they use.

    In this particular sect-in-teahouse example, assuming that the system is more like Gygax's AD&D than the other ones I mentioned, whether or not the player's attempt to find sect members in the teahouse succeeds depends primarily on a decision taken unilaterraly by the GM. So the player's action declaration is, essentialy, GM, will you please decide that there are some sect members in the teahouse for me to make contact with/spy on/whatever it is the player hopes his/her PC will do.

    In suggesting that this is an example of Mother May I, I believe that I'm correctly following the usage suggested in the thread title and the OP.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bedrockgames View Post
    I think people following the thread should be wary of some of the terms and arguments being deployed here.
    Wary? Of what - the indie ninjas suddenly jumping into their basements and starting to GM their games?

    You are adding a whole layer of threat and drama to this thread that doesn't make any sense to me.
    XP Aldarc gave XP for this post

  8. #38
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    My opinion, based on observations of play groups back when I was a club player, and based on reading RPG forums in more recent times, is that many RPGers enjoy and prefer a game where a significant amount of the action consists in (i) making moves that trigger the GM to tell the players stuff that s/he has decided about the gameworld, and (ii) having the GM tell them that stuff.

    But the title of this thread is 'Introducing Complications Without Forcing Players to Play the "Mother May I?" Game'. I think that title makes it unambiguous that the OP has different preferences and is looking for advice that speaks to those (different) preferences.

    I don't see why that is any sort of big deal. No one is being tricked or trapped.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    In a thread I started a year or two ago, I described this as play where the player goal is to learn the content of the GM's notes. And people got angry about that description too. My experience is that people who play GM-driven games are very easily upset by attempts to describe the actual processes they use.

    In this particular sect-in-teahouse example, assuming that the system is more like Gygax's AD&D than the other ones I mentioned, whether or not the player's attempt to find sect members in the teahouse succeeds depends primarily on a decision taken unilaterraly by the GM. So the player's action declaration is, essentialy, GM, will you please decide that there are some sect members in the teahouse for me to make contact with/spy on/whatever it is the player hopes his/her PC will do.

    In suggesting that this is an example of Mother May I, I believe that I'm correctly following the usage suggested in the thread title and the OP.

    Wary? Of what - the indie ninjas suddenly jumping into their basements and starting to GM their games?

    You are adding a whole layer of threat and drama to this thread that doesn't make any sense to me.
    It is no more mother may I than real life is mother may I. The players are going to a specific place looking for something. It isnt binary. Anything could be there, including other leads. The GMisnt playing mother may I, the GM is serving as the mechanic to determine the outcome. Calling that mother may I is like calling the use of Survival skill in that case Magic 8 ball. It is s very weak analogy.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post

    In suggesting that this is an example of Mother May I, I believe that I'm correctly following the usage suggested in the thread title and the OP.

    Wary? Of what - the indie ninjas suddenly jumping into their basements and starting to GM their games?

    You are adding a whole layer of threat and drama to this thread that doesn't make any sense to me.
    I dont think I am bringing drama. I am disagreeing with you and pointing out the questionable terminology. I think people should be wary of any rhetoric in acdiscussion that is designed to convince by evoking an emotional reaction (in this case using a term to suggest a style of play is like a childs game). Note I didnt find the OPs use of the term as questionable as yours because he seemed to be using it to describe a worst case scenario, where the play does devolve to a state remisceht if mother may I. The difference is you equate any situation where the GM makes the call as mother may I. I think it is fair, if a whole style of play or cluster of games are being assigned a label like that, for people to wonder why such a loaded term is being used.

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