The GM is Not There to Entertain You


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hawkeyefan

Legend
I think that the failure to connect here is because for many of us, any given game is specific to its participants. For others, its specific to the GM.

If folks think of a game as “the GM’s game” rather than “our game” then no amount of describing it otherwise will convince them.

And that’s fine, we can all look at games differently. But then those folks should probably be a little less likely to say that other games limit player agency while holding this stance.
 

bloodtide

Adventurer
This is interesting to me.

I'm curious what you feel intra-game turnover yields in terms of "new players bring new things to the table?" What "new things" do you have in mind?
Wow, does my game get a lot of turn over...that is players join, freak out, and then run away.

So once upon a time I posted a classic "save the kingdom from a dragon" adventure, with my usual warnings "Unfair Unbalanced Anything Rolls Hard Fun Killer DM". There is a pool of players desperate to play, so it's no problem getting five. It does not take too long for players to leave. And just as fast for a new player to join. Each player brings new ideas, outlooks, experiences, and so forth. BUT it's also important what the leaving players teach the players that stay.

The players start with the idea that they are too weak to just attack the dragon, and figure they need help. So Bob had the idea to 'make an army' out of the kingdoms peasants, his character was killed by a local sheriff for being a nusince. Bob complains his character dies and quits. New player Joe picked up on that idea using wit and charm to get a peasant mob...that was killed by the dragon in one round. Next Joe looks for epic level knights that are just sitting around and would be willing to be under his command....he fails to find any. Joe quits as the "GM never makes any of his plans work". Sally joins and is told about the silly "lets somehow get an army to kill the dragon for us" idea and suggests making an undead army. Eric leaves here as it's "taking too long to kill the dragon". Zoe joins, is told the new plan, and she points out that an army of weak undead will be killed in a round just like the peasants. Sally leaves as now no one wants to do her undead army idea. Kevin joins, and is told the story so far.....he asks why have they just not attacked the dragon yet? The group complains about being too weak. Tony wants to go on another adventure to get more powerful, but everyone else wants to finish the dragon one first. Tony leaves. Hank joins, and suggests tricking the dragon into a trap. But for bait they will need lots of treasure, and the characters are poor. Side adventure here where the group takes several games to steal all the local barons treasure. Kim joins during this. Eventually they get into the barons vault to find....not much treasure. Hank leaves. Kevin gets that a baron does not have millions of gold coins sitting in a room....and suggests going after a lost sunken ship of gold. No one else wants too.

And this goes on for a long time Players, even old ones, come and go...

Eventually Zoe and Kevin get the idea of finding a good dragon, doing it a favor, in return for fighting their dragon. This works, but Edsel has everyone ready with Back-up Plan A: "kill the wounded red dragon". Sure enough the red dragon wins the dragon fight....and the group pounds on the wounded red dragon. Characters die....but so does the dragon.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Wow, does my game get a lot of turn over...that is players join, freak out, and then run away.

So once upon a time I posted a classic "save the kingdom from a dragon" adventure, with my usual warnings "Unfair Unbalanced Anything Rolls Hard Fun Killer DM". There is a pool of players desperate to play, so it's no problem getting five. It does not take too long for players to leave. And just as fast for a new player to join. Each player brings new ideas, outlooks, experiences, and so forth. BUT it's also important what the leaving players teach the players that stay.

The players start with the idea that they are too weak to just attack the dragon, and figure they need help. So Bob had the idea to 'make an army' out of the kingdoms peasants, his character was killed by a local sheriff for being a nusince. Bob complains his character dies and quits. New player Joe picked up on that idea using wit and charm to get a peasant mob...that was killed by the dragon in one round. Next Joe looks for epic level knights that are just sitting around and would be willing to be under his command....he fails to find any. Joe quits as the "GM never makes any of his plans work". Sally joins and is told about the silly "lets somehow get an army to kill the dragon for us" idea and suggests making an undead army. Eric leaves here as it's "taking too long to kill the dragon". Zoe joins, is told the new plan, and she points out that an army of weak undead will be killed in a round just like the peasants. Sally leaves as now no one wants to do her undead army idea. Kevin joins, and is told the story so far.....he asks why have they just not attacked the dragon yet? The group complains about being too weak. Tony wants to go on another adventure to get more powerful, but everyone else wants to finish the dragon one first. Tony leaves. Hank joins, and suggests tricking the dragon into a trap. But for bait they will need lots of treasure, and the characters are poor. Side adventure here where the group takes several games to steal all the local barons treasure. Kim joins during this. Eventually they get into the barons vault to find....not much treasure. Hank leaves. Kevin gets that a baron does not have millions of gold coins sitting in a room....and suggests going after a lost sunken ship of gold. No one else wants too.

And this goes on for a long time Players, even old ones, come and go...

Eventually Zoe and Kevin get the idea of finding a good dragon, doing it a favor, in return for fighting their dragon. This works, but Edsel has everyone ready with Back-up Plan A: "kill the wounded red dragon". Sure enough the red dragon wins the dragon fight....and the group pounds on the wounded red dragon. Characters die....but so does the dragon.
Sounds like you had a lot of fun with that.
 

Darth Solo

Explorer
It's INTERACTION.

The GM does their thing and the players do theirs.

Is the GM entertaining the group? Yup. Are the players entertaining the GM? Yup. It's cooperative. You don't even have a tabletop RPG unless the GM is introducing and the players are reacting.

How do you escape the entertainment value of a Gamemaster? It's historic and truly vital. With games that need a GM that person is KEY entertainer. The players just fill a lesser reactionary role. I've never seen my players as anything other than secondary to my role as CREATOR. The PCs exist in MY world dealing with MY conflict. Perhaps they aren't entertained on a personal level but, following the word "entertain" what I am doing as GM is providing scenes that the players may enjoy or be amused by.

Am I as GM trying to amuse the players? Well, yeah. No matter how badly I attempt the act. Just as I look towards to being amused/entertained by the PCs. I mean --- we try to be amusing, right? What GM just throws "adventure" at players with zero intention of evoking amusement? If I run "Ravenloft" and the way I run Strahd is pure MurderHobo (kill the PCs) is that maybe entertaining to some of the players? Maybe not. It becomes a question of presentation, maybe.

But I think if the GM & players are trying to entertain/amuse each other with what we're doing at the tabletop, real or virtual, it hits exactly why we play these games. I try it with violence and laughs. Maybe my players try another way. But, why even play if entertainment isn't the focus?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
This isn't logical. The game has changed in ways the GM does not have control over by the player leaving. How can you claim that they still have full authority?
Because his authority over the game world and what goes on within it isn't diminished. You the player can leave, but the PC remains or leaves at the DM's decision. Or put another way, if your argument is true, there's nobody ever has full authority over anything.
First, the GM has never had "complete authority over everything that happens within the game"
Nobody in the world ever does by your definition, because all authority is defied by someone.
Second, if a bunch of players fire the GM and a new GM picks up with the existing characters and situation, the first GM still "owns the game"?
The DM literally cannot be fired. Players can quit and find a new DM, but they cannot fire the DM.

In the case you describe above where the players quit and find a new DM, the former DM still owns his game 100%. The players can do nothing about it. He can go and get a new group, keeping the former PCs around as NPCs or not as he sees fit.

The new DM can create a new game with the old PCs, but it won't be the game the players quit. It's entirely new.
Sure, you can take your ball and go home. But unlike Settlers of Catan this doesn't deprive the players of their characters. Can another GM step in? Heck, if you are running a published module can another GM pick up right where you left off?
Not with the same game, no. It will be a new game with a new game starting at the same point in the module, but it's a different game with a different authority figure running it.
"The game" isn't a physical thing like a Settlers set, it's an intangible shared creation. The GM does a bigger share of the set design, the players do a bigger share of moving the story forward.
This is group dependent, not game dependent. Proactive players do as much and sometimes more than the DM to move the story forward, but they still need the DM's backdrop to also move the story forward, and as the DM is reacting to them and controlling more, I'm not 100% convinced that they do more. Reactive players absolutely do not do more.
What does your authority over Settlers allow you to change that?
Nothing. But my authority over the game remains unchanged.
Does your absolute authority over Catan by owning the physical game do anything about that?
I'm not sure what these Red Herrings have to do with the authority. Yes there are things that the DM doesn't control. Those things are all outside of the game.
Please explain how it's both the group effort but only belongs to one person. It's not like we're creating a physical mural somewhere, it's in the shared imagination of the table.
That's easy. The end result was arrived at as a group effort, but the game itself and all of the authority resides with the DM. There's nothing the players can do to change that. Their options are 1) convince the DM to change/compromise things, 2) yield to the DM's authority, or 3) quit and leave the DM's authority behind. At no point do the players ever gain authority of their own unless the DM cedes some to them.
If you start another Settlers of Catan game later with different people, is it still the same game? Or has that first game ("your game" in your parlance) gone away and now you are playing a new game with the same basic configuration.
Yes. It's always the same game. It has the same pieces with the same rules and so on. Game play can differ, but the game doesn't.
If you insist that lighter than air is the only method of flight, you don't need to utter the words "The Wright Brothers will never get their 'aeroplane' to fly", it's implied in what you said.
I never implied it, either. This is wholly a fabrication that you've come up with. Then argued against. That's called a Strawman. Stop it.
When you disputed that the player grants authority and can take it away, and instead insisted that the authority comes from the rules, you are saying that the rules are a higher level of authority than the player. Which means that your premise can only be right if the rules can prevent a player from leaving.
Nope!!! Your logic is faulty. When I said that the game grants the DM complete authority over the game, I am saying and imply ONLY that the DM has full authority over the game. You are trying to twist things so that I'm saying that the game gives authority over the players, which it doesn't and is never the case. The DM has zero authority over the players at any time. At least not from D&D.

Conflating authority over the game with authority over the players isn't doing you any favors.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This is interesting to me.

I'm curious what you feel intra-game turnover yields in terms of "new players bring new things to the table?" What "new things" do you have in mind?
New approaches, new interpersonal dynamics, new character ideas-concepts, new playstyle, etc.
I'm curious about this because I don't remember the last time I had intra-game turnover.
In long campaigns like mine (currently over 14 years), player turnover is almost inevitable - people move away, new (or returning) people join, etc. So far I've had a total of 13 players in the campaign, but never more than 8 at once (split between two groups with some overlap); and of 950-ish sessions totalled between all parties, no single player has been at the table for more than 560 of them. (covid had a lot to say here as well: the last 100-ish sessions have been solo with my SO; but she didn't start the campaign - she joined about 6 years in out of 14).
The same players at every game (and just in the last 2 decades you're talking GMing probably 150 different players, yet every game had no more than 4 players with most of them 2-3 players) have consistently kept things fresh and brought new and different and very consequential things into play consistently...all the time.

So can you maybe elaborate on that second sentence above with some examples from your games?
One example that leaps to mind from early-ish in my current game: for in-game reasons a couple of established players split their PCs away from the party and started a new sub-party of their own. Shortly after this, an old friend and past player moved back to town after many years away and wanted to get into a game, so we took her in to this sub-party and it became a second main party (i.e. now I was running two sessions a week).

The returning player had never met the two existing players, but she fit in well with their somewhat-gonzo dynamic while at the same time changing it - her character concepts, being a bit more down-to-earth than theirs, pulled the party back a little bit toward the sane side and probably extended its lifespan significantly in so doing.

Half a year or so later another player joined that group, completely new as a player but otherwise well-known to most of us through work. After a very brief period of learning the ropes he pushed things right back to the gonzo side, and due largely to sheer bad luck that group ended up becoming the only TPK I've ever DMed.

The timing on this worked out well in that the returned-from-out-of-town player was about to move out of town again (her career is as an ESL teacher in southeast Asia), so the three remaining players formed a new party - same setting, etc. - and took in yet another new-to-us player who I'd originally met through this forum. This brought a different dynamic again - loads of fun, but not so gonzo and ultimately much more successful in their adventuring exploits.
 

aramis erak

Legend
For me, that contrasts with "say 'yes' or roll the dice" - instead of the stakes being determined by intent, we have a set of moves built around a conception of what sorts of actions in this fiction raise the stakes. As I posted in another one of these recent threads, that's why custom moves become important - to allow specific sorts of stakes to be brought within the scope of the action resolution system.
No argument; I'm fine with the concept. I just feel that the author didn't explicate it in a broadly intelligible way in the original Apocalypse world. There are a number of places where various folk didn't grasp what was being said.

It's on par with giving someone the advice "to quit smoking, quit smoking" That the two dupicate words have different meanings is not evident. (I quit cold turkey in 2008... the day I mangled my knee... The trick to not smoking any further is to find a way to not give in to the urge to light up. In my case, I went through a LOT of chewing gum.)
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I'm talking about how in D&D, mechanically, getting captured, unless everyone happens to fail a save vs certain powerful spells, normally involves playing out a whole extended combat in which the party gets beaten down.

If that’s what the players choose to do, so what?
Fun matters? I want them to have fun, and for losses and setbacks for them in the game not to suck too much time and joy out of the session?

We have a common scenario from fantasy and dramatic fiction. One that players can be expected to occasionally get into through their choices. One game makes playing that scenario out lengthy and un-fun, and makes subsequent game scenes more difficult and less fun to play out. A different game lets the scenario play out quickly and more enjoyably, and doesn't hinder following scenes the same way.

It seems to me like there's something to that second game. Maybe it would be a fun one to play, and does this particular thing better, even if I love the first game.

Loss of HP, waste of spells, and a roughly (depending on edition, level, play skill, etc.) 30-60 minute exercise in losing.
They’d rather die than be captured. That’s how viscerally players react to even the potential of loss of agency. They’d rather waste hours in a losing fight and have their characters die than give up their agency. Maybe we should stop trying to force this as referees.
I'm not sure that I grant your premise. I'm not sure they really WOULD rather waste hours in a losing fight, or would make that choice if they realized that's what it would entail. I think that situation sucks all around. I don't think it's giving up agency to non-lethally lose a fight or confrontation once in a while, if you CHOSE to get into that fight or confrontation, and either misjudged your opposition or rolled so badly that you lost.

I certainly do try to avoid forcing any loss of agency. Part of honoring player agency is letting them get themselves into a bad situation and lose once in a while. If we can have non-TPK losses, that seems like an improvement to the game. More fun for everyone involved.

I've certainly seen advice in OSR circles that you don't always have to kill the PCs- having bad guys take them prisoner can be fun. But D&D doesn't offer a lot of mechanical support for that.

Players don't enjoy it. And they almost certainly attach a negative emotional view of the NPCs who did it. If they later get a chance to take REVENGE on those bad guys, they may really enjoy that payoff. But IME the game is NOT conducive to a) making that scene run quickly so it doesn't suck to play through, and consequently b) leaving the players in an emotional state where they are potentially open to a positive or working relationship with the guys who got one over on them.

This is a common trope in heroic fiction and fantasy, and D&D seems to be largely incapable of supporting it.

Because RPGs are not stories. And they cannot replicate every aspect of stories. In Sword & Sorcery fiction, the author can simply decide for the character (no agency) to surrender. Whereas the referee in an RPG cannot decide for the player what that player’s character will do without violating player agency.

That players are so stubborn and resistant to loss of agency really shouldn’t be a surprise and really should inform design. Maybe stop trying to violate player agency as a general thing.
I'm not. 🤷‍♂️ I don't think I'm trying to replicate every aspect of stories either. But I would like my games to be better able to handle common fictional situations and interactions. This particular example Campbell gave just happens to have struck on something which my decades of experience with D&D have shown to be a weakness of the system, and engaged my curiosity about how a different game might handle it better.
 

loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
Agency-huyagency. All this stuff feels very silly to me.

My opinion on this is dead simple: "your" character isn't your character. It's our character. Like everything else in life, it doesn't, (or, at least, shouldn't) belong to one individual, but to the collective.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Agency-huyagency. All this stuff feels very silly to me.

My opinion on this is dead simple: "your" character isn't your character. It's our character. Like everything else in life, it doesn't, (or, at least, shouldn't) belong to one individual, but to the collective.
I can't quite go that far about characters.

But I think it's entirely true of our story. And while I always want to respect player agency with their characters, that means respecting their decisions, not always making the outcomes of those decisions what they were hoping for.

I'm fine with according the player full ownership of their character, but it's not in an authorial sense. They don't get to dictate every win or loss. They don't get to decide everything good or bad that happens to the character. The way I prefer to play there generally isn't a story laid out ahead of time. The GM sets up situations, sites and relationships, the players make characters and decisions, and we find out what the story is after the fact.

One thing that seems neat to me about PbtA rules is that who's deciding some stuff seems a little more transparent. Someone earlier in the thread (IIRC) talked about PbtA doing conflict resolution whereas D&D mostly does task resolution. So if the PC makes his Check in D&D, we know he succeeded at the task, but it's pretty much always up to the DM's judgement whether and when the conflict is resolved. Whereas if the PC is making a Move in AW, the check generally resolves the conflict, and whether he succeeded or failed actually binds the GM in terms of limiting what kind of consequences ensue.
 
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Thomas Shey

Legend
We have a common scenario from fantasy and dramatic fiction. One that players can be expected to occasionally get into through their choices. One game makes playing that scenario out lengthy and un-fun, and makes subsequent game scenes more difficult and less fun to play out. A different game lets the scenario play out quickly and more enjoyably, and doesn't hinder following scenes the same way.

On the other hand, this can be read as players telling you they don't want to see that kind of scenario. The fact it occurs in related fiction doesn't mean they'll accept it here; as I've noted before, media matters when looking at genres.

It seems to me like there's something to that second game. Maybe it would be a fun one to play, and does this particular thing better, even if I love the first game.



I'm not sure that I grant your premise. I'm not sure they really WOULD rather waste hours in a losing fight, or would make that choice if they realized that's what it would entail. I think that situation sucks all around. I don't think it's giving up agency to non-lethally lose a fight or confrontation once in a while, if you CHOSE to get into that fight or confrontation, and either misjudged your opposition or rolled so badly that you lost.

See above, however. You're going in with the premise that the players aren't resistant to getting captured at all. My time in the hobby suggests this is a big leap. Even in superhero games, where its usually more benign just because of the genre conventions, people are pretty foot draggy about it, and elsewhere they tend to be outright hostile.

I certainly do try to avoid forcing any loss of agency. Part of honoring player agency is letting them get themselves into a bad situation and lose once in a while. If we can have non-TPK losses, that seems like an improvement to the game. More fun for everyone involved.

Again, I think this misunderstands a good number of people; I've seen a fair number of people who would literally rather their character die than get captured.

Basically, I think your argument has some sound basis as long as people are actually onboard getting captured at all, but just assuming that is not, I think, a great idea.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Agency-huyagency. All this stuff feels very silly to me.

My opinion on this is dead simple: "your" character isn't your character. It's our character. Like everything else in life, it doesn't, (or, at least, shouldn't) belong to one individual, but to the collective.

You can have that attitude, but I can promise there's a large number of players who disagree, or only agree to a limited degree.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
On the other hand, this can be read as players telling you they don't want to see that kind of scenario. The fact it occurs in related fiction doesn't mean they'll accept it here; as I've noted before, media matters when looking at genres.

See above, however. You're going in with the premise that the players aren't resistant to getting captured at all. My time in the hobby suggests this is a big leap. Even in superhero games, where its usually more benign just because of the genre conventions, people are pretty foot draggy about it, and elsewhere they tend to be outright hostile.


Again, I think this misunderstands a good number of people; I've seen a fair number of people who would literally rather their character die than get captured.

Basically, I think your argument has some sound basis as long as people are actually onboard getting captured at all, but just assuming that is not, I think, a great idea.
I think this is to some extent a self-fulfilling prophecy. As a rule, players never want to lose any given encounter or situation. Some may be philosophical and open to losing sometimes in general, but in the moment it almost always smarts.

I think that if occasionally losing were more often a setback rather than a death sentence, players might not loathe it so much.

I certainly try to avoid using the trope much in D&D, even when the players are steering themselves toward it, precisely because of how negatively it tends to play out. This heightens my curiosity about the possibility of another game handling it better.
 

niklinna

Legend
I think this is to some extent a self-fulfilling prophecy. As a rule, players never want to lose any given encounter or situation. Some may be philosophical and open to losing sometimes in general, but in the moment it almost always smarts.

I think that if occasionally losing were more often a setback rather than a death sentence, players might not loathe it so much.

I certainly try to avoid using the trope much in D&D, even when the players are steering themselves toward it, precisely because of how negatively it tends to play out. This heightens my curiosity about the possibility of another game handling it better.
You can also argue that in D&D (and quite a few other systems), nearly all combats are to the death for the NPCs. So many creatures just fight and fight til they die, instead of fleeing or surrending. It sets a precedent for the players, that those other options aren't viable.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
You can also argue that in D&D (and quite a few other systems), nearly all combats are to the death for the NPCs. So many creatures just fight and fight til they die, instead of fleeing or surrending. It sets a precedent for the players, that those other options aren't viable.
Yeah, there's definitely something to be said for DMs needing to help establish the idea that conflict or encounters don't always lead to combat, and combat isn't always to the death.

I've definitely done more of this since digging into the OSR and starting to regularly use Reaction Rolls and Morale. Potential enemies wanting to make a deal, or actual enemies fleeing or surrendering instead of fighting to the death adds more dimension to the game, and hopefully sets a precedent.

I also keep trying to improve/add rules for fleeing a fight. Make it more viable. Players still tend to be reluctant, and I'm not sure how much of that is pure resistance to ever losing, and how much is having been conditioned into being convinced that fleeing doesn't actually work and there's no point.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
On the other hand, this can be read as players telling you they don't want to see that kind of scenario.
Players generally don't want their characters to die, either. Doesn't mean it ain't gonna happen.
See above, however. You're going in with the premise that the players aren't resistant to getting captured at all. My time in the hobby suggests this is a big leap. Even in superhero games, where its usually more benign just because of the genre conventions, people are pretty foot draggy about it, and elsewhere they tend to be outright hostile.
Players are generally resistant to any bad things happening to their characters, of which capture is but one. No problem here.
Again, I think this misunderstands a good number of people; I've seen a fair number of people who would literally rather their character die than get captured.
Their characters, their choice.

And, ironically enough, this means their replacement PCs are almost certainly going to be brought in having already been captured, via meeting the surviving captured PCs while in captivity! :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Yeah, there's definitely something to be said for DMs needing to help establish the idea that conflict or encounters don't always lead to combat, and combat isn't always to the death.

I've definitely done more of this since digging into the OSR and starting to regularly use Reaction Rolls and Morale. Potential enemies wanting to make a deal, or actual enemies fleeing or surrendering instead of fighting to the death adds more dimension to the game, and hopefully sets a precedent.
For me it depends on the enemy and how said enemy has been set up and-or presented. Last night, for example, the party were up against a combined group of fanatical cultists who would fight to the death and hope their deity would aid them (and one actually got said aid!) and faux-Roman Legionnaires here as, in effect, guards and troop support. More or less the "boss battle" of the adventure.

The Legionnaires were (mostly) honourable and disciplined sorts, and the party had been accepting their surrender through earlier encounters and treating well those who had surrendered. Result: the Legionnaires came to see the PCs as decent-enough folk when it came to things like honour in combat etc., meaning that when last night's battle erupted it was fairly easy for some party Legionnaire captives to talk the other Legionnaires into neutrality. This meant the PCs could, while keeping just a half-eye on the soldiers, focus on the Clerics.

Still cost them two party members out of six - one was outright beheaded in melee (thanks to the divine intervention noted above!) and another was (permanently?) changed into a giant ant with no memories of her former self - but they got through it.
I also keep trying to improve/add rules for fleeing a fight. Make it more viable. Players still tend to be reluctant, and I'm not sure how much of that is pure resistance to ever losing, and how much is having been conditioned into being convinced that fleeing doesn't actually work and there's no point.
Part of it might also be reluctance to split the party, as fleeing often works best if only some do it while the rest (often sacrificially) cover their flight.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I think that last bit is exactly what blue refuses to accept/acknowledge.
Blue's not the only one. I flat out reject the axiom of "One person leaves it's no longer the same game."

But Same GM, same Setting, same rules: May or may not be the same game. Depends upon the characters and the story continuity.

You can have that attitude, but I can promise there's a large number of players who disagree, or only agree to a limited degree.
I make it clear to most of my players that, if you aren't there, your character still is and gets used with or without you.
So, no, characters aren't personal property in the same way as dice, nor as book characters: your ownership only matters while you are present. And, for regulars, who gets to play your character when you're absent if it's prearranged.

Also, in some games, given the way the character creation works, you don't even have full control over the nature... Spirit of the Century being the clearest. 2 of your 5 aspects are created by other players.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Blue's not the only one. I flat out reject the axiom of "One person leaves it's no longer the same game."

But Same GM, same Setting, same rules: May or may not be the same game. Depends upon the characters and the story continuity.
I think you might have lost track of who was saying what.

Lanefan was saying that if the referee leaves the game ceases to exist. I agreed with that.

Blue seems to think that the referee isn't that important and that if any one of the players leaves then the game ceases to exist. Likely he means "in the exact same way as it did before that player left". But left that part unsaid for some reason. But that's flat out not true.

If a player leaves, the band plays on. If the referee leaves, the game's over.

Players are not on par with referees in their importance to the continuation of the game. We really need to stop pretending they are. Without the one referee there's no game. Without 1-40 players there's no game. The referee to player population ratio is still something like 1:20 or higher. Which is why you have paid referees as a thing now. So many players desperate to play that they'll pay for the pleasure.
 

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