thread: 2009-05-13 : Now where WAS I...

On 2009-05-14, valamir wrote:

Not buying it.

Everything in the game world is made up.
Everything in the game world is "inserted into the fiction".
Everything that is inserted into the fiction has to first be suggested by someone.
Everything that is suggested by someone has to be accepted by everyone else.

That's all basic system stuff.

Who does the suggesting, who does the accepting, that's all just design choice.  It doesn't change the direction of "arrows".  It doesn't even make sense that it would.

The only distinction one could make is to recognize that at any given time some of the people doing the suggesting will have a vested interest in what they are suggesting while others have a vested interest in something else, and others have no particular interest one way or the other and (at least for this instance) are thus said to be "objective".  However to postulate that once we designate some individual as "The GM" that we can rest assured that this person will now always be that "objective" party strikes me as a whole lot of wishful thinking.

No matter who is wearing the GM hat, 1 person or noone, you're going to have a distribution of people with a vested interest in seeing the suggestion get accepted. a vested interested in seeing in not get accepted, or no particular preference one way or the other.

One can try to set up the GM as the impartial aribiter who never has a preference (although for my money I'd just as soon put a down payment on some prime Florida real estate than rely on that) but even so all you're doing is creating a mechanism for vetting what gets suggested before it becomes accepted.

Even in a game with a GM I'm going to be all like "is there a hill here so I can get a +2" and the GM is either going to say "sure" or "I don't think there is".

This is in no way functionally different from my saying "I'm going to use this hill to get a +2" and the GM then saying "sounds good" or "no, there isn't a hill here"

At which point it becomes pretty clear that all you have to do is come up with some other mechanism for saying "sure" or "no" and you have the exact same effect with no GM.

Universalis uses Challenge mechanics to accomplish that.  But whether the game vets suggestions through a GM or through a group based Challenge mechanic doesn't change the direction of the arrows.  Its all just fiction being made up.


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