You are either not logged in or not registered with our community. Click here to register.
 
December 03, 2016, 07:46:25 AM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Click here if you are having problems.
Default Wide Screen Beige Lilac Rainbow Black & Blue October Send us your theme!

Hark!  The Herald!
Holiday Issue 2016

Wiki Blogs Dicebot

Author Topic: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)  (Read 610 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Lord DrakeTopic starter

The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« on: January 25, 2014, 02:42:06 AM »
Hello folks!

Those of you familiar with the Oath of the Drake (and those kind enough to have signed it) know that it is an oath for players in forum group RPs.

I wrote it after a roleplay in another forum went pear shaped because of players bickering. I took it here and its success is making me really proud.. and humbling me a bit, actually.

Now

I have recently had some people poking me for additions to the oath which I am not sure it is the case do (despite the fact that everything could be improved/better worded) because I feel uneasy at adding things to a list that people has already signed.

Now tho.. what is often asked (and can be done) is to create another oath, this time for GMs.

So.. I am basically here asking for support in what could be put in there and how to word it. I have already my ideas but given the fact that I am far from being omniscent I wanted some input.

The basics of the oath are that the rules should be FEW and not influence the GM's style of play.

For example if a GM plays a 'hardball' game in which players get their characters continually killed and raped (not necessarily in that order) it is okay AS LONG as he is fair and does that with everyone. If a GM plays a game in which some players' characters can get the upper hand over the others this can be okay as long as everyone has a fair chance to win and the game's style is clear to everyone. If the more assiduous and prolific players get the best share of the game's assets.. this can be prevented up to a point, as long as even those a bit less active can influence what happens. If a GM is very strict in his rules this is okay as long as he does not think he can bully his players.

And so on. I do not want to tell people what game they have to do. I want to try seeing how fair managing can be done, with an eye to everyone (GM included) having fun.

I hope I am making sense. And thank in advance for everyone's input!

Offline Mnemaxa

Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2014, 02:45:06 AM »
Rule 1: Always expect your players to do something completely unexpected. whether or not you have prepared for it, and accept that it is their nature as players.

This has been my main rule for being a GM since forever.  It is an unavoidable, incontrovertible, and unalienable truism.

Offline persephone325

  • E's Resident Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier Addict | Howling's Dagger | Resident Wiccan | Proud Echelon | Winter Widow | Mab's Sister, separated at birth | Princess Persephone, if you prefer
  • Dame
  • Addict
  • *
  • Join Date: Jul 2012
  • Location: Romania...Russia...Siberia
  • Gender: Female
  • Ready to comply...
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2014, 02:56:29 AM »
As a GM, I will not let the power of said position go to my head. I will not play favorites with players, or purposefully shun others in an attempt to get them to force quit my game, and will do my best to keep a peaceful and fun atmosphere for my game.

Offline Ebb

Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2014, 02:43:29 PM »
Set clear expectations for the game and then abide by them. Communicate to all players openly if those expectations change.

To my mind the game doesn't even have to be fair as long as I know that going in. If I'm playing a mortal in a game full of vampires and that means I'm screwed from the start, that's fine. Just don't lie to me about my chances or spin a story about how all of the characters have equal opportunity.


Offline Lord DrakeTopic starter

Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2014, 04:04:06 PM »
Really good point, that one, Ebb!!

Offline alextaylor

Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2014, 02:46:52 AM »
I'm sure there's something about not pandering to people who throw tantrums and threaten to quit to get their way. But I don't know how to word that. The GM is trusted to be the referee.

The GM's role is to make the game fun. They should be able to bend the rules when it suits the game, but not so much that it confuses the people who try to play it. This is also really hard to word right for an oath. Something about not being too whimsical with adding house rules, but not being too rigid with rules limitations too. And that house rules should be announced in advance whenever possible.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2014, 02:45:31 PM »
Heh, I can just quote my pre-game speech, which sets what you can expect from me, and what I expect from players. In fact, I'm really going to quote it, except I'm going to make it more generalised and edit a few things >:).

And here's the place for my introductory speech. Because I know not all GMs work under this paradigm, I want to make it all clear.

Rule 0 in this game is:
First and foremost, don't be a dick! This applies to everybody, including the GM. Now, NPCs and PCs can be dicks; the players aren't allowed this luxury.
If you think someone is being intentionally nasty, or is crossing your comfort zone, don't hesitate to bring it up. I should do so as well, but don't count on me to police your relationship with other players. I will, if you ask for help, but as a general rule, I expect you to deal with other people.

The GM and his prerogatives:
The GM isn't god, alpha and omega, or any stupid BS like that. I'm a referee who gets to play extras, secondary characters, antagonists and sidekicks. You get to play the protagonists, unless you really screw up and lose that status. Stick to the PCs, they're your tool in exploring and manipulating the (semi made-up) secrets of the setting.
This also means the GM can be wrong. Don't hesitate to call me on it! I'm likely to thank you for it, since the only thing worse than being wrong is being wrong and oblivious, at least in my book >:)!

Since this is a system game, you're going to see my dice all the time, except maybe when the PCs should have no idea whether they succeeded or not (in which case, I'm likely to use normal analogous dice from backgammon). This often comes up with Notice and less often, with some Persuasion rolls.

Players' have to play by the same standard:
At the same time, I expect to see your rolls as well! They only count when you roll them via the E. dice bot. (Generally, I don't mind using Invisible castle for rolls, as long as you're logged in, but let's try and stick to the same diceroller initially). After you roll them, post the link here or in a spoilerblock in your IC post.

Lethality and your character:
It's not my job to keep your characters alive, it's yours! My job is to play the NPCs logically and consistently, even if you don't know why that would be the logical* option. Basically, I'm going to say what honesty demands. (Bonus points if you catch the reference here).
That means that even if all the characters get killed at once, it's fine in my book. You all get killed, we've got the tragic story of your demise. I'm Playing to find what happens. Play smart if you want good things to happen to the characters!
That, of course, means that I'm not going to play favourites with NPCs. There are no NPCs that enjoy immunity where player characters don't. Any NPC can suffer a terrible fate... unless you protect them. They'd be grateful, you know?

*That said, if anything strikes you as odd, better take it as a hint! You can always ask OOC, too, just to make sure we're not operating under different assumptions for the setting. But there are good odds that someone who suddenly developed unexpected skills either had them all along** for some reason, or has been learning with a good teacher.

**And I do mean "all along" as in "has them in my notes for the game concerning this particular NPC", not as some bullshit adding them on because I wanted the NPC to be successful.

Impact on the setting:
I'm not going to railroad you, nor go illusionist on you. I'm into character-driven games, sandbox-style. There's no plot you have to participate in. Refusing might have consequences, but then accepting to join in might as well.
However, since in sandbox games there are preciously few "quest-giving NPCs", you're expected to have goals, both long-term and short-term. Be driven in chasing them! But, can you achieve them, or is the GM going to block you?
I said it in another thread, but let me repeat.
Play smart, and you can get your own millions, your private jets and the opportunity to go to Hollywood when you need some hookers.
Don't, and the only thing I promise is that your PC's demise wouldn't remain unnoticed! Protagonists always make some impact even when dying - although said impact might be positive or negative. (Although for a game like this, the line between antagonists and protagonists is thin and definitely reddish...occasionally dark reddish, going towards brown after contact with the air... you get the idea >:)).
But still, the bottom line is, you're not going to get blocked "because the GM doesn't like it". Some goals would be easier to achieve than others, and all actions and inactions have consequences - but the PCs always stand a chance, if they play smart. Some goals might require you to prepare and/or gather more info. That is well and good, and I like players that do it. There will be no

And the most important rule (after the variant of Rule 0 that I stated before :P)?
Just play your characters, and have fun!
That's what I'm planning to do, myself ;D.
Of course, the part about protagonists doesn't apply all the time - not all games assume you're going to play the protagonist. Not all games assume the characters can die, either, but if the mechanics allow it, it can happen in the game I'm running as well.
The rest of the points apply pretty much all the time, though.
If that counts as a vow, consider me having taken it ;D!

Offline MasterMischief

Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2014, 02:17:16 PM »
In my opinion, rule number one of a GM is to try and make the game fun for everyone.  I believe players have a responsibility to, at the very least, not ruin someone else's fun but the GM is primarily responsible.  The GM should remember that they are included in the 'everyone'.  An unhappy GM spells a short campaign.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2014, 07:42:09 AM »
And while I agree with the general feeling, I very much disagree with the stated principle, as the phrasing of my pre-campaign speech above probably shows.
Everyone has the same responsibility on my table, whether player or GM. Yes, I love GMless games, why are you asking ;D?
"Play to the hilt, whether it's benefitting your PC or GMC, or harming him/her".
"Make it fun for everyone."
In case of doubt, these are listed in order of importance >:).

Offline alextaylor

Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2014, 10:25:30 AM »
Ah, found something nice from an AW variant! I'll change it a bit to be more system agnostic.

Always do:
1. Make the PCs lives not boring.
2. Keep the PCs out of their comfort zone.
3. Don't take control of the story. Don't plan exactly what happens next, roll with the game and improvise. When any one person, including the GM, takes control of the story, the magic is gone.
4. Be honest. Don't lie to the players. You know what's going on in the world and they're relying on you to tell them.

Best practices:
1. Let the players make up NPCs and other parts of the game world as well, as long as it doesn't give them a mechanical advantage.
2. Set the tone. The tone determines how the game starts off, how the characters react, and the player's passion. Don't make the intro post so long that they won't read it.
3. Address the characters, not the players.
4. Make your move, but misdirect. If you plan on doing something, make it sound like a consequence of the players' actions.
5. Make your move, but don't speak its name. Just because you're being honest, it doesn't mean you have to announce all your moves. Foreshadowing plays a good role in easing these moves into the game.
6. Give everyone a life. The NPCs should not be there just to serve their mechanical roles. They should be people - the scared goblin, the barkeeper who's struggling to pay rent, the palace guard who has an affair with one of the cooks. These don't have to be on screen all the time, but surprise the players sometimes and set a tone that the world is alive.
7. Happiness comes at someone's expense. All too often (especially in adult themed roleplays), the characters get what they want. The witch/dragon is dead. The girl wins the guy. But this hurts someone. Maybe the bandits were keeping other players out of the zone and their death leaves a power vacuum. Maybe someone gets jealous of the heroine's new boyfriend.
8. Be a fan of the PCs. You're not trying to thwart them. Your job is to make their lives not boring. This is a little harder with some kinds of adult roleplays. But even if they expect to be thwarted, tease them with it. Once you give them what they expect, they'll lose interest. Keep teasing them with something more.
9. Treat your NPCs as stolen cars. Joyride them, have fun with them, even wreck them to make things interesting. But be ready to throw them away when the time comes.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 09:40:40 PM by alextaylor »

Offline Ebb

Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2014, 11:16:09 AM »
That's a really good set of GMing advice, alextaylor. Can you tell me which AW hack it's from?

I'd like to offer, though, that some of the posts in this thread seem to be more about good GMing advice than they are about things that Lord Drake might want in a prospective "Oath of the Drake" for GMs. My understanding from his original post here is that he's looking for something parallel to the player oath, as shown here:

http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=54576.0

There are a lot of different GM styles and lots of them can be fun, whether you're playing as an impartial and neutral referee, or an active antagonist (Hmm. Need to run a Paranoia game on here sometime.), or a co-writer, or what have you.  Railroading, illusionism, fudging die rolls -- all of these could be acceptable in some groups but not others. If you're looking for an Oath that covers everything, it seems to me that you want to focus on the practical real-world stuff and the social interaction stuff, but not so much the in-game stuff.

Thufir's Rule Zero certainly fits the bill, I think. Don't be a dick. In fact, in much nicer language, that seems to me to be the root of Drake's original Oath.

So without the nice language, I'd propose the following for a GM Oath:

- Don't be a dick.
- Keep the game moving at the pace you'd advertised at the start.
- Don't play favorites.
- Be clear about what the rules are, especially house rules, and communicate in advance if they change.
- If you have a problem with a player, handle it privately and OOC, not publicly and in-game.
- Listen and respond to the players' concerns.
- Don't bitch about one player to the other players, even privately.
- If you're not having fun, either close the game or work with the players to change it so that you're having fun again. Don't run the game out of a sense of responsibility.


Offline alextaylor

Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2014, 09:48:37 PM »
It's from Monsterhearts. Would make a great group game here. Yeah, putting these bits into an oath form is a lot harder. Just trying to collect what good advice I could get and see if anyone can get inspiration from it.

I do like Ebb's proposal. Not being a dick is implied in every social encounter, but oaths get people to commit to it.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 09:50:59 PM by alextaylor »

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2014, 03:07:08 AM »
It's from Monsterhearts. Would make a great group game here.
I knew it sounded like MH! But then thought it might be from MotW, and was too lazy to check :P.
And I agree, it might be a great group game, last I checked MH leads to threesomes and jealousy even on sites devoted to non-erotic roleplay ;D!

Offline Ebb

Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2014, 08:12:08 AM »
I knew it sounded like MH! But then thought it might be from MotW, and was too lazy to check :P.
And I agree, it might be a great group game, last I checked MH leads to threesomes and jealousy even on sites devoted to non-erotic roleplay ;D!

writersmelody ran a fun game of Monsterhearts on here a little while back. Honestly we didn't get too far into the play of it, but the character creation phase was a lot of fun.

http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=169319.0

I think the setting and theme are well-suited to E, but the degree of back-and-forth interaction required by the mechanics makes it a little bit of a rough fit for forum play unless everyone is very active and responsive.

Offline Amelita

Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2014, 06:36:09 PM »
- Don't be a dick.
- Keep the game moving at the pace you'd advertised at the start.
- Don't play favorites.
- Be clear about what the rules are, especially house rules, and communicate in advance if they change.
- If you have a problem with a player, handle it privately and OOC, not publicly and in-game.
- Listen and respond to the players' concerns.
- Don't bitch about one player to the other players, even privately.
- If you're not having fun, either close the game or work with the players to change it so that you're having fun again. Don't run the game out of a sense of responsibility.

I like this.

I'd add:

- Be clear about what you expect from the players, from the very start. This includes anything from character creation to plot development that applies.
- Be prepared to play matchmaker. Some people have more trouble finding partners for scenes than others, and may need some help. Help them.
- Recognize your strengths and weaknesses as a GM, and if your weaknesses include vital aspects of running a game, be honest about it and get help.
- Don't let one player ruin the game for everyone.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: The Oath of the Drake GM version (Help requested)
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2014, 02:07:41 AM »
writersmelody ran a fun game of Monsterhearts on here a little while back. Honestly we didn't get too far into the play of it, but the character creation phase was a lot of fun.

http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=169319.0

I think the setting and theme are well-suited to E, but the degree of back-and-forth interaction required by the mechanics makes it a little bit of a rough fit for forum play unless everyone is very active and responsive.

The point about back-and-forth is true. And yeah, it would require people that are active and responsive, or at least a group that's comfotable with going slow.
Nonetheless, I've seen it working in forum games, so it's clearly doable.