The GM's World, the Players' Campaign

aramis erak

Legend
When I was running Blood and Honor, I introduced an incomplete villain - a green ogre, 18' tall... angry... they redefined him into a normally jolly bloke, angry with his hostile neighbors in the other direction. When a game gives players that much control, prep can become meaningless.
 

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aco175

Legend
Nobody has really mentioned playing in a published world and how that may affect things at the table. I have been playing all of 5e in the greater Phandalin region of Forgotten Realms (FR). Some campaigns or parts are from a book like the box sets and Princes of the Apocalypse and others are completely homebrew like a couple campaigns that take place after the box set or in the town of Leilon.

Each of these has some other author's world as a base and I add more to this. Some of the players know some about that world and some stuff on the gods.
 


Reynard

Legend
I really like coming up with things like that on the spot as DM or with more time between sessions as player or DM. It really throws me as a player in game.
I see that happen sometimes when running a game for people I don't know (like at a con). I take care to let the player know they can always "pass".
 


My preference here is closer to @Campbell's (as per his post upthread): the easiest way to achieve this is to have the players author, or play a role in authoring, the relevant stuff.
I am inclined to agree with that. Insisting on writing the whole thing means handing your players a lot of information and then finding out it wasn't enough.
 

Reynard

Legend
When I was running Blood and Honor, I introduced an incomplete villain - a green ogre, 18' tall... angry... they redefined him into a normally jolly bloke, angry with his hostile neighbors in the other direction. When a game gives players that much control, prep can become meaningless.
If you are going to allow players to author material, don't prep that material.
 


Reynard

Legend
"No one knows anything" is not the same thing as "adequately informed."
The information flows at the same time and rate as it would if it had been prepared, just from a different direction.

Note that this isn't theory. This is how Fate works if you are starting a fresh Fate game unconstrained by an existing setting. Everyone sits down and collaborates on the nature of the game: genre, setting, conflicts and characters. You can do this exact thing in any RPG, whether something traditional or otherwise. You lean into genre to fill in space that have not been defined yet. If you are playing a game in the vein of Arthurian Romance, for example, the things that are true in Arthurian Romance are true until they are not true. That gives everyone at the table purchase. They are speaking the same language from the same tropes and assumptions, until someone declares something that is different from those things. You could define your genre as "The American Old West but Dinosaurs never went extinct" and do the same thing because people at the table (presumably) understand the tropes surrounding the Old West and Dinosaurs.

I do think either a light ruleset or one with which everyone at the table is very familiar is best for this sort of thing. it isn't impossible otherwise, but it moves more smoothly if less time is spent trying to model things in the system.
 

The information flows at the same time and rate as it would if it had been prepared, just from a different direction.

Note that this isn't theory. This is how Fate works if you are starting a fresh Fate game unconstrained by an existing setting. Everyone sits down and collaborates on the nature of the game: genre, setting, conflicts and characters. You can do this exact thing in any RPG, whether something traditional or otherwise. You lean into genre to fill in space that have not been defined yet. If you are playing a game in the vein of Arthurian Romance, for example, the things that are true in Arthurian Romance are true until they are not true. That gives everyone at the table purchase. They are speaking the same language from the same tropes and assumptions, until someone declares something that is different from those things. You could define your genre as "The American Old West but Dinosaurs never went extinct" and do the same thing because people at the table (presumably) understand the tropes surrounding the Old West and Dinosaurs.

I do think either a light ruleset or one with which everyone at the table is very familiar is best for this sort of thing. it isn't impossible otherwise, but it moves more smoothly if less time is spent trying to model things in the system.
I am a big fan of improvisational GMing myself but I find it easier to do if I'm adlibbing off of and building onto something. My views as a player are pretty similar. The sort of complete blank slate you seem to be advocating would likely leave me with very little in the way of places to set my feet. Different people will want and/or be good at different things and that's fine.
 

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