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Is "GM Agency" A Thing?

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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Odd....wonder how I do that? Seems like I don't.
Can you show me a written list of rules for how to interact with society? With your parents? With your significant other? With your kids? With the cashier at the store? With the line waiting for checkout. With the people walking by you on the street? When a random stranger says hi and approaches you. Etc.

I’m sure you can show me the list of social rules that factor into your behavior in these scenarios. Or maybe you can’t because social rules are nearly always unwritten.
 

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pemerton

Legend
Framing social norms as a "social contract" is fraught in my view.

In the general analysis of norms and norm-generated obligations, natural duties and voluntarily assumed duties can be contrasted. Promising and contract would normally be in the second category. The obligation not to murder or rob people would generally be in the first category.

Arguably, many social norms - eg around queuing, greetings, etc - are in the first category.

And what makes social contract theory as an approach in political philosophy distinctive, and potentially controversial, is that it attempts to analyse at least some components of the first category (and in Hobbes's case, all of it) through the lens of the second category.

Here's an early explication of the term "social contract" in the context of RPGing:

The interactions, emotional connections, logistic arrangements, and expectations among the members of a role-playing group, relative to the role-playing activity. It includes both verbalized and non-verbalized components of these things.​

I think comparing these to natural duties and social customs is not all that helpful, as many of them are in fact voluntary and relatively straightforwardly subject to change by way of implicit or explicit agreement: I think this is especially true for interactions, expectations and logistics.
 

bloodtide

Legend
Can you show me a written list of rules for how to interact with society?
Yes, we call them Laws.
With your parents? With your significant other? With your kids? With the cashier at the store? With the line waiting for checkout. With the people walking by you on the street? When a random stranger says hi and approaches you. Etc.
No rules here for any of the adults listed above. For kids, yes they get a list of written rules
I’m sure you can show me the list of social rules that factor into your behavior in these scenarios. Or maybe you can’t because social rules are nearly always unwritten.
Only for the kids. No rules for anyone else.
These aren't massive secrets to other people, including many in this thread. Perhaps you should ask why they are to you.
Well, I know why: I'm an Independent Free Thinking Adult.
 



Hussar

Legend
snip.

Finally, in my experience most players don't want the GM's responsibilities. If they did, the would be GMing. I think many players would balk at being given responsibilities above and beyond running their PC. Half of them can't be bothered to do that with full attention.

I wonder how much of this is chicken and the egg. Players are disengaged because the are not allowed to have any of the gm responsibilities. They’ve been taught over and over again that they are bad players if they even try to take on any responsibility. To the point where dms will claim they would rather eject a player than allow them to have responsibility over the game.

So it’s no wonder players become disengaged. They know they are only allowed to respond to what the dm puts on the table. They wait for the plot wagon to roll up because they know they are not allowed any other choice.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
I wonder how much of this is chicken and the egg. Players are disengaged because the are not allowed to have any of the gm responsibilities.
Based on actual experience with actual players, I am going to guess "nearly none." A significant portion of players come to the table to be entertained as if if they were going to a movie. And that's fine. But I think it is silly to suggest that for some secret hidden majority of players there's this quashed desire to really WORK at the table.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I wonder how much of this is chicken and the egg. Players are disengaged because the are not allowed to have any of the gm responsibilities. They’ve been taught over and over again that they are bad players if they even try to take on any responsibility. To the point where dms will claim they would rather eject a player than allow them to have responsibility over the game.

So it’s no wonder players become disengaged. They know they are only allowed to respond to what the dm puts on the table. They wait for the plot wagon to roll up because they know they are not allowed any other choice.
I really doubt player disengagement primarily springs from a secret desire for more control that the mean old DM is denying from his screen of secrets.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I really doubt player disengagement primarily springs from a secret desire for more control that the mean old DM is denying from his screen of secrets.

Kind of depends how much blocking he's doing. I've seen GMs who think its an unwarranted intrusion to define the village your character came from.

Teach people they're just along for the ride, and they're unlikely to try to do something else again.
 


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