Suspension of Disbelief

That’s actually nothing like the GM of a real person to person roll playing game. A real GM will give an evocative description of the scene tailored to both the players and their characters. Knowing your players is all part of being a good GM and putting in little twists and bits of humour that no computer game would ever include.
For instance…

The team (the player characters) need to capture a minor boss (a senior level organiser for a drug cartel) hanging out at a hacienda…
Describe the peripheral double fence (one of the PCs realises this my mean guard dogs), the open grass grazing rolling down to the wall surrounding the villa, the vineyard off to the left, the cars parked outside the house, the paddock & the horses, the olive trees and the garden with the jacaranda trees in full bloom, providing shade (there’s a slight sense of the scent drifting up on the breeze), the watch towers (but don’t tell them they’re unoccupied), etc, etc. They know that a rival team are also interested, but believe they have the drop on their rivals. They pull a couple of nice moves and get past the first layer of security too quickly, but also alert the defenders to their presence, risking a potentially lethal counter attack. So the GM has to up the ante in complexity without increasing risk (and preferably decreasing it without seeming to ‘help’ the team). So…

Looking in from a concealed vantage point they seen another group of obviously military trained people moving in on the other side of the compound (distraction for the local defenders, but also rivals, adding to time pressure).
One of the PC’s asks another “Who are they”
GM: They’re obviously mercs (game / military slang for mercenaries)
Player (out of character wanting clarification… “How do I know that?”
GM: Look on the back of the jackets they’re wearing… a three pointed star in a circle! :rofl:

1 Like

Oh I also forgot a 'Star Trek" game where one of the players made what he described as “an administrative error”.

Due to a viral plague (which turned out to be a bio engineered virus) causing a planetary emergency, they quarantined a trading planet on the edge of the alpha quadrant. However, they realised they’d acted a little too late and had to quarantine another three planets and quickly find all the refugees in ships. Realising then couldn’t stop them all on their own they got other Federation starships to intercept the ones going longer distances, but themselves picked up the two travelling to nearer star systems. One of these was a Rigelian ship, the other was a local ship. Impounding the Rigelian ship would cause a political incident so he let it go.

The crew had become infected. The Rigelians are one of the major trading centres of the alpha quadrant, so I made him roll for the number of fatalities by the time the plague had played out…
98 billion fatalities!

True, the descriptions are not tailored for the player, nor as full as you describe, but they were OK, and the same sort of things in principle. “You are in a wooded glade, sun shining through the leaves. You hear birdsong from your left. You are standing on a path winding north/south through the woods, and in the distance to the north you see a small cottage. To the west you see a pile of leaves” etc. You couldn’t ask questions, only give directions to travel, or pick things up, or eat or drink things and so on. It was great fun.

Being dyslexic, the pure text ones just didn’t work for me.
The map based ones on a text screen worked better, the one I encountered was ‘Hack’.

The other BIG difference is that the plot wasn’t adaptive, this is particularly noticeable in the text based games - it’s also a weakness in many of the pre-written games for GMs to be use.

For instance I gave one DM in a D&D game, a problem as my character worked out a completely legitimate and high probability way (>99%!) to kill the leader of an opposing raiding party (an NPC) even though he was supposed to be completely out of range, protected by distance and darkness. The DM had to fudge the plot with NPC acting in very odd ways because that NPC had an important part to play later in the game! This is why, as a GM I like to run my own scenarios … then even I don’t know where they’re going to go!

@Graeme @Beachcomber

Someone recently asked a couple of interesting questions that so far remains unanswered…

Since our DID has fragmented again, if we get back to playing, will the same headmate turn up to play each session?
Are we going to need to play a character with DID?

One thing we have answered is “Can all my headmates play RPGs?”
Yes, but at least one of our headmates (Darcy - she’s a trauma holder) isn’t interested in doing so, and another (Hayleigh - they’re a protector) doesn’t think they’d be good at it, and they wouldn’t be fun for the other players.

Goodness know what would happen if we tried GMing!

But there again there are a lot of people who disbelieve the existence of DID!

I can understand that would be difficult!
A map is certainly useful - you had to build your own map, of course, with Zork. Which was slightly tricky until you worked out that the routes were not straight - you could be in a room with three doors - N, E and W and go N into another room, and from that go N and end back up in the first room.
But you are right - Zork etc. were not truly adaptive. The appearance of other characters was semi-random (each character was located in a restricted range of locations, but would not pop up in other locations). The most famous bit, I think, is the “maze of twisty little passages, all look the same” (it may have been in Adventure - my memory is not clear on which is which). It is very difficult to get through until you make a map of it. To do that you have to pick up a number of objects, take them to the maze, and drop one in each location within the maze. That way, when you enter a location, it might be one where you had dropped a particular object. The problem was that, randomly, a thief would be heard in the distance saying, for instance “Ooh, a lovely sword - I’’ have that” and it’s gone.

One of my favourite things in terms of mapping was creating a map of Arcadia in a non-Euclidean spatial system for the Aardvark Avenue Adventure… after all why would the Fey bother about using a regular geometric system.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.