On 2009-04-14, Vincent wrote:
I decided to make this a comment here instead of a new front-pager:
It's a well-known fact that I didn't invent the way you GM when you GM Dogs in the Vineyard. A bunch of people, encountering the game, said "but ... this is just how you GM, right? Any game." Some of these people respect Dogs for the tools it provides, others think it's moronic, like "who on earth is Vincent writing to, who don't know this stuff alread?"
In fact, I happened to look through Jadeclaw recently, of all games. Read the GMing section between the lines, and it's perfectly clear that you're supposed to GM Jadeclaw the same way you GM Dogs in the Vineyard ... it just doesn't tell you nearly as well how. You were supposed to already know how, or figure out for yourself how. I'm sure that lots of people, sitting down to play Jadeclaw, DID already know or DID figure out how. It's not that hard, it's just a way to GM.
It's also a well-known fact that Dogs in the Vineyard is very, very good at teaching GMs how to GM that way, who didn't know before. A bunch of people, encountering the game, have said "I thought it was a magical group dynamic thing, that you could have roleplaying like that. But now Dogs in the Vineyard has shown me how to get it even with my group."
(Other groups ... it hasn't worked for. That's fine too, it's not every game for every group and I have no illusions about that. It remains, only, one of the best games available for teaching a GMing style to a group who want it but can't do it by themselves.)
And finally, while this isn't a well-known fact it's I think solidly grounded, if someone GMs Dogs in the Vineyard for a while, and then picks up Jadeclaw, they're going to have a much easier time GMing Jadeclaw than if they'd HAD to figure it out for themselves. I know that in my own pre-Dogs GMing, for instance, sometimes it worked great and sometimes it didn't, but I couldn't see clearly why. I knew I was doing things differently from one time to another, but I couldn't tell which differences were making THE difference. Know I know pretty well, and have much better odds.
So now. When you GM Storming the Wizard's Tower, you need to do it a particular way, same as you need to GM Dogs in the Vineyard a particular way. Also, same as Dogs, it's not a particular way I've invented; a bunch of people, encountering Storming the Wizard's Tower, are going to be like "but... this is just how you GM, right? Any game." It is, as it happens, a way to GM old-school D&D too.
(I hope to go on to impress a lot of these people with the quality of the game's tools, but we'll see, and I surely won't impress all of them.)
And some people are going to be like "I thought that this was wholly group-dependent, I didn't know that even my group could play like this." And they'll add a whole new way to play to their group's capabilities.
I could be wrong, but this is my big plan, and I'll be very surprised if Storming the Wizard's Tower isn't equal to Dogs as a teaching tool.