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Fnord
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20 Feb 2013, 2:22 pm

RPG Rules - Things I've Learned While Being an RPG Referee.

  • An ideal adventuring team usually numbers four character types - Leader, Healer, Destroyer, and Scout. Each must have some cross-training in each other's skills.
  • Characters can be added to the ideal adventuring team to fill in any skill gaps if each is a "Jack of All Trades / Master of None".
  • Characters should always have the means to survive an "impossible" situation, without resorting to "Deus Ex Machina" solutions.
  • Every player will eventually come to believe that he or she would make a better referee than you.
  • Have a back-up adventure for every planned adventure, just in case the players get lucky on every dice roll.
  • Mazes are boring; there should be some reason to even the most randomly-constructed dungeon.
  • Meta-gaming sucks; the player's characters should have no knowledge of the rules of the game, and should not be played as if they do.
  • Mixing genres works only in anime productions - magic and technology simply do not mix.
  • Monsters should be smarter than the average player, or at least more cunning.
  • Monsters and villains shouldn't always be the "bad guys" in every situation.
  • No single character should be able to overcome all obstacles.
  • Not all NPC henchmen and hirelings are expendable, nor should they be mindlessly loyal, either.
  • Players should earn their experience points with their characters' blood, sweat, toil, and tears; and not merely by showing up for the game.
  • Plots should be character-driven, and never the other way around.
  • Psionic characters are trouble, unless there is a known or implied threat to their psionic abilities.
  • The coolest firearm has not yet been invented; they're all about imparting kinetic (or photonic) energy on a target from a distance, no matter how many fancy doo-dads may be attached.
  • The coolest melee weapon is still the sword, in all of its variations.
  • The death of a character must be in accordance with the way it was played - heroes die heroically, fools die foolishly, and boring characters simply fade away.
  • The referee's "significant other" can ruin a game more effectively and efficiently than any other force known to humanity, whether or not he or she is actually involved in the game.
  • There can never be too many sub-plots.
I'm sure that there other RPG referees will have more to say, so please feel free to post what you've learned whil;e running an RPG.


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mercifullyfree
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20 Feb 2013, 3:01 pm

Quote:
Mixing genres works only in anime productions - magic and technology simply do not mix.


I'm curious why you think this! I know a lot of people like Shadowrun, as one example of a game with both magic and technology. Arcanum was also a good cRPG.



Fnord
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20 Feb 2013, 3:12 pm

mercifullyfree wrote:
Quote:
Mixing genres works only in anime productions - magic and technology simply do not mix.
I'm curious why you think this! I know a lot of people like Shadowrun, as one example of a game with both magic and technology. Arcanum was also a good cRPG.

Good point! Those gaming systems are carefully thought out, and with emphasis on balance. I should have remembered them.

However, most other gaming systems are either magic- or tech-based, with little or no overlap between, and those are the ones I was referring to.

Recently, I was involved in a free-wheeling (sans referee) on-line RPG that had no fixed genre. Each player seemed to assume that his or her favorite genre was the dominant one, and tried to play accordingly. The result was a muddled and confusing mess that no one could sort out, and the game came to a complete stop in less than a week.

It was an anime, time-travel, superhero, space-opera disaster with mages, monsters, Norse gods, and six-guns.

It deserved to die.


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purpose of diplomacy is to prolong a crisis.”

— Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, in the Star Trek
episode "The Mark of Gideon" (ep. 3.16, 1969)


mercifullyfree
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20 Feb 2013, 4:18 pm

Fnord wrote:
It was an anime, time-travel, superhero, space-opera disaster with mages, monsters, Norse gods, and six-guns.


Having a bad day and the very thought of this made me laugh, so thanks. :lol:



SabbraCadabra
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20 Feb 2013, 4:29 pm

Fnord wrote:
Good point! Those gaming systems are carefully thought out, and with emphasis on balance. I should have remembered them.


We've had some really successful gaming sessions with one campaign that was AD&D 3rd in a steampunk setting (though more like oldschool steampunk, with heavy Fritz Lang's Metropolis inspirations, and less like Internet girls wearing goggles with typewriters with pipes glued to them).

Although the setting was more for story purposes than anything else.


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