2005-03-09 : Traditional vs. Commie Roleplaying
What, exactly is the benefit of freeform roleplaying vs. a more traditional structured roleplaying. ...your games have little in the tradition of a few players and a gm... is this because you are sick of it, because commie-storytelling is better, or because of something else entirely (such as, it just happens to fit your games better, as a coincidence).
Let's say that "traditional structured roleplaying" means that the GM is the final arbiter of everything. The players say what their characters try to do; their input is subject to the rules; the rules are subject to GM fiat.
Let's say that "freeform roleplaying" drops the rules out of the hierarchy and replaces "the GM" with "fellow players," thusly: the players say what their characters do; their input is subject to the fiat of their fellow players. That's certainly how I'd understand "commie-storytelling" and, as usual, I've played that game quite a bit.
Commie-storytelling is better than traditional because it's more transparent. The biggest personality still wins all the time, but in commie-storytelling everyone can see it happen, it's not disguised by a smokescreen of we-manipulate-dice and the-GM-is-impartial.
Both kinds will suck without functional rules.
Functional rules: the magic of Universalis isn't that it's co-GMed and all the players have equal power. Nope, it's that the rules of the game make the players active and enthusiastic fans of one another's contributions. You can't play Universalis and ignore what other people are doing. If you have the biggest personality, your stuff doesn't win. Instead, the rules make you throw your big personality into very constructive criticism of your fellow players' stuff.
It's hot. If you've never seen it before, it's startling. And there's no reason you have to be co-GMing to get it. A GM can treat your contributions just as well as a fellow player can.
So: no GM, or a GM and a few players - I could care. All I care about is how the people treat one another's contributions. I like "constructive criticism" as a name for it quite a bit, by the way. Dynamic, positive, aggressive, fruitful criticism.
1. On 2005-03-09, TonyLB said:
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