RPG Theory - Restrictions and Authority

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Only the social contract. The rules don't differentiate between whim and planned out changes. They just give the DM the authority to make any change. That's why, even if it's not interesting, you can't really take the social contract out of a discussion on restrictions on the DM.

Without the existence of the social contract, the DM could and would change things on a whim. There would literally be nothing stopping him and the players wouldn't leave the game if he did. The offense taken by players at playing in a game where the DM changes things on whims is rooted in the social contract and the expectations it provides.
Okay, and what empowers the DM to have any authority whatsoever?
 

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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I think we are closer in position than it might seem.

Most of the changes I make are in-between campaigns. Most of those changes are talked over with my players and if a majority don't agree, the change typically doesn't happen. Sometimes if I feel strongly enough about it, it will happen anyway.

I agree with you that once the campaign begins, the DM is much more constrained with regard to changes. That constraint, though, is entirely from the social contract, not the rules. There have been rare times when during game play something breaks the campaign in some way, or some combo that I've never seen is so unbalancing that it becomes disruptive and I announce a change in the rules mid campaign. It's not a whim, because I don't change things on a whim, but it is a mid campaign unilateral change by me. I can do that because the rules not only don't stop me, but actually empower me with the authority to do so.
I never really thought we were that far apart. Going back and forth for the sake of clarity is a useful endeavor. (y)
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
The DMG and PHB. They give the DM unilateral power to change rules both before a campaign begins, and during it. And they include no limitations on that power.
Mind you I still disagree with this notion completely, but the nature of our disagreement isn't actually all that important in terms of how people actually play, only in terms of whiteroom discussion (I'm pretty sure). Anyway, carry on.
 

aia_2

Custom title
Let me remind an important detail which has been overseen in the last part of this conversation: the critical aspect is whether the DM should be higher than the rules (i.e. he can bend them whenever he feels necessary) or the other way round (i.e. once a rule is set and agreed, no one can change it during the game).
To my eyes is wrong the question, the starting point and not the answer. Therefore you are discussing on the answer but you'd focus on the question.
The overall concept should be revised in terms of ultimate goal: what leads any change in a RPG rule or the other way round is the fun of both DM and players.
If the fun is granted by a rule, then the DM should be smart (and experienced) enough not to change it at all, regardless to the circumstances. This work also for the opposite case: when a rule is used (or abused) to waste the game, the it should be amended/erased/replaced.
That's all, no dmg guidelines, social contract or whatsoever else can hinder this logic.
 

Darth Solo

Explorer
Get rid of Gamemasters. The term alone is pretentious and I've been one for decades.

Each player has a turn where they shape the scene. It just IS whatever the player says it is. THEN the next player adds to that in improv-style (Yes - Yes, and - Yes, but - No - No, and - No, but). Didn't someone create a system that mirrored this (D6 such-and-such)? We don't need the "restrictions and authority" of a Gamemaster and even Gary suggested it.

Playtest it: NO GM. Everyone has a character and you roll 1d20 to see who goes first. Then each player creates and/or revises a scene the characters are in. It could be crazy fun because there's no plot the GM is forcing you down.

You just have fun.
 

pemerton

Legend
Get rid of Gamemasters. The term alone is pretentious and I've been one for decades.

Each player has a turn where they shape the scene. It just IS whatever the player says it is. THEN the next player adds to that in improv-style (Yes - Yes, and - Yes, but - No - No, and - No, but). Didn't someone create a system that mirrored this (D6 such-and-such)? We don't need the "restrictions and authority" of a Gamemaster and even Gary suggested it.

Playtest it: NO GM. Everyone has a character and you roll 1d20 to see who goes first. Then each player creates and/or revises a scene the characters are in. It could be crazy fun because there's no plot the GM is forcing you down.

You just have fun.
I've played Burning Wheel a bit like this - two players, each with a PC, each with responsibility for framing the adversity for the other player and their character.

One thing that BW does, which helps with this, is to give fairly clear guidance on how to establish adversity and how to narrate consequences.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Get rid of Gamemasters. The term alone is pretentious and I've been one for decades.

Each player has a turn where they shape the scene. It just IS whatever the player says it is. THEN the next player adds to that in improv-style (Yes - Yes, and - Yes, but - No - No, and - No, but). Didn't someone create a system that mirrored this (D6 such-and-such)? We don't need the "restrictions and authority" of a Gamemaster and even Gary suggested it.

Playtest it: NO GM. Everyone has a character and you roll 1d20 to see who goes first. Then each player creates and/or revises a scene the characters are in. It could be crazy fun because there's no plot the GM is forcing you down.

You just have fun.
You do know that a lot of people don't like to play this way, right?
 

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