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Thursday 11 May 2017

Classic Rant: Little Note on Player-GM Power Relations

Ok, so one more time! Someone has protested my recent arguments about GM authority by saying that a GM who just rejects all of his player's ideas is a bad GM.

My response to that is yes. A GM who always shoots down his players ideas is a bad GM, sure. but keep in mind:

1) It has nothing to do with "not giving the players power", nor is "let's give all the players the power so they can be a group of 4-6 Little Stalins and destroy Immersion" the right solution.


2) the reason he's a bad GM moreso than just seemingly being interested in frustrating the players, is that he's not really creating a Virtual World. If he just arbitrarily decides "no, there's no magic shop there specifically BECAUSE I want to fuck over my players", then he's failed at his job at making a Virtual World that exists outside of his own active consciousness.

Now for part 2: every time I make this argument someone inevitably rebuts by saying "Well I don't know what kind of people YOU are playing, but I'm only playing with my Best Friends Who Gave Me A Kidney And I'd Trust With My Kid". As if that makes them superior, or eliminates my point.

Well, to that I say:
a) Great for you, but so what? There's going to be lots of people who aren't in that situation, who are not playing as a way to keep the old gang of fuckheads you knew since elementary together, but are rather playing for the sake of gaming itself. Most groups I know and most groups I've been with have consisted of people who generally get along but aren't all Besties 4 Ever.

b) You seriously NEVER have a fight with your friends? My BEST, closest friends are people I argue with and bitch about constantly, and vice-versa. It's a feature of being friends at that close a level, the very same level of friendship which defines that intense trust also defines that you can feel safe to fight about stupid things. So don't give me this bullshit that "playing with your friends" means you don't need ONE GUY to be the ultimate deciding Authority. It probably means you need it MORE.

And seriously, if everyone at your table is your best friend, including your GM, what kind of an asshole are you to not trust your very best friend to have absolute authority over your life with respect to a game for a handful of hours a week? Some friend you are, you cunt.


(Originally posted February 21, 2015)

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