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1

Role-playing is not supposed to be an adversarial game, so the question of right is not about rules. Nor is fighting about rules good for the game. The GM is the facilitator of a story. The story is told by everyone next to the table, but the GM has a special role. It is the GM's job to make the world work and keep it in balance. It is also the GM's job to ...


3

I've been on both sides of this question. As a GM, sometimes you have to make decisions that don't fit the rules, to maintain the "feel" of the game. Likewise, sometimes you have to throw out the rules entirely to maintain peace - for instance if a guest player is a jerk and decides to betray and kill the party intentionally (in an otherwise friendly game). ...


2

I believe this depends on what you mean by "right". There are multiple ways in which the DM can be right, but only one way in which the DM is almost always right. The DM is the final arbiter of the rules. (DMG page 5, Part 3: Master of the Rules) In this way, the DM is always right as long as there is an acceptable amount of consistency.(DMG page 4, ...


2

Yes, No, and But: Yes: The GM is the ultimate authority in a game. That is his or her job-- to determine and interpret the rules, to change the rules when necessary, to make new rules where there are non existing applicable rules, to determine the setting and how everything in it acts. This applies at every level: I have run straight D&D games ...


2

The DM has the right to change any and all rules, but s/he has the responsibility to keep the players' worldviews appropriately up to date. For example, if she makes the decision that all gnolls are female, that may not be common knowledge for the PCs' races , and she doesn't have to tell you, the players, anything. If she decides that dispel magic only ...


11

There's two ways to look at this, and they are very different. The Traditional Outlook Traditionally, the DM can change the rules. The DM can make rulings, and that's what stands at the table. The DM can decide some rules don't apply, some of the time, or all of the time, etc. The benefit to this is when you have games that have few rules, you simply ...


3

RPGs are social games, and the DM/GM is only as right as his players let him be. If he abuses his "power" or arbitration duties too much, his players will make sure he is no longer the GM. Being a player in an RPG game is perhaps like being an employee. You might not have the fine grained decision making that you would like, but you certainly have the ...


36

The DM is charged with making rulings on a huge variety of things that go on in the course of playing the game. You can make your case for why you think it should be a given way, and then await a ruling. Once the ruling has been made at the table, the DM is right.(1) During play, accept that and then press on as the other players wish to play for fun ...


3

The DM certainly does have the authority to change the rules. That is not to say the DM has the right to be a jerk, but at the DM's table the game tends to run a lot more smoothly when it is agreed that the DM is the final arbiter of all disputes and rules. As Gary Gygax said about the DM he is "the creator and ultimate authority in your respective ...


6

Yes, the DM is always right. The DM by definition has the authority to change or interpret the rules of the game in any way that he or she sees fit. The Player's Handbook even says so on page 6. Ultimately, the Dungeon Master is the authority on the campaign and its setting, even if the setting is a published world. With great power comes great ...


0

I tried doing a rotating-DM thing once, but I didn't like it. The biggest problem seemed to be that there was no overarching plot, and everyone knew it, so people didn't pay much attention to plot and instead focused on personal character wealth. We also kept having incidents where inexperienced DMs accidentally generated battles that were too difficult ...


1

I tend to allow the players to make whatever characters they want. I then try to find ties (with the players help) within the group to make them somehow know each other or make their backgrounds intertwined. I must admit the system I play makes this fairly easy (edge of the empire). Once the game starts the best thing you can do to tie everyone together is ...


3

Exploring the past, literally One thing I like to do, and that work in all systems (but not in all settings) is to have the group be stuck in a "mystic/magic/virtual" space where they have to explore each other background. For example, in my current MHR game, the characters got stuck in the Psychic plane, and had to explore each other's mind. Each scene ...


2

Incorporate elements of a characters backstory into the backstory of other characters. This is a good way to get the characters interested in the overall backstory of characters other than their own. When you have a person create a character, normally you'd ask them to write a paragraph or two including a few NPCs which they've met or that have influenced ...


1

Tell the players that you are going to have to stretch plausibility to get them in a group, by having some kind of crazy prophecy or something else that pulls them together - then do that. That kind of thing can fit the fantasy setting, after all. If they aren't worried about how it all fits together, you probably shouldn't sweat it that much either. Not ...


8

I do several things to keep the player characters interested and invested in each other. At the start of the game, I insist that players coordinate backgrounds (subject to my approval) such that each character know at least one, and preferably two or more, of the other characters. In general, I prefer these connections be positive; the most negative I ...


12

Make Sure Your Players Want To Be Interested Check with your players - are they really all that concerned about being invested in each others' characters? It could well be that your players want to play a pure hack 'n slash game, where characters aren't much more than a collection of stats. If so, then let them do it! If you personally want a more ...


4

Since this is a system-agnostic question I will pretend you're not tied to whatever game system you're playing now. Of course, some of the things I will talk about can be ingrained in other games as well, but be a ware that I'm talking aout mechanics that interact with other parts of these gaming systems, as opposed to psychological tricks that can be used ...


7

It sounds like your two players are having fun with this rivalry of theirs. It sounds like they aren't trying to be unreasonable. Given those circumstances, I wouldn't suggest that you try to defuse their rivalry in-game at all. On the contrary, why not see if you can bring the other players into it somehow and make it, at least temporarily, the focus of the ...


2

Sounds like the big challenge is that your audience is expecting you to adhere to a presentation formula that your chosen game style doesn't fit into neatly. So let's see what we can do to cram a player-created campaign into a pitch mould that assumes GM control. You've already got a solid general notion of the sort of game you're pitching, so build on ...


2

It doesn't sound like your idea is vague; It sounds like you have a pretty strong idea of what you want the game to be like. I would pitch the concept "Game of Throne courtly intrigue" with as much detail as you can manage without making up world details. THEN pitch the idea of collaborative worldbuilding, once again, with as much detail as you can ...


0

I'd suggest: If, at the time, everyone agrees an action is OOC, it shouldn't happen (even if one player is mainly playing the absent PC) If, at the time, everyone agrees an action is unfairly dangerous for the PC, it shouldn't happen. In compensation, the GM should have monsters pay less attention to the PC (and tone down encounter difficultly a little if ...


3

During the absence Start with this pretty simple equation: character without a player = non-player character Any non-player character who is a party member should be placed under the provisional control of a player but the GM should veto any actions that in the GM's opinion are in conflict with the NPC's personality or morality. I can see no reason why I ...


9

The best way I use to resolve this is utilizing a set of principles when characters are going to be trading hands occasionally. This set of principles is a type of contract in which a player running a character who belongs to somebody else has to adhere to, no exceptions. Ultimately, it's not a matter of the person running the character making the decision, ...


14

I've used or seen several approaches: At the table: Resolve the Conflict Is the source of their conflict something that can be resolved? For example, competing claims to a barony could be resolved by giving the barony to one character. Resolve the Conflict Permanently If (1) is too mild, let one of the characters kill the other. It ought to be fair to ...


6

Has anyone else managed to deal with this effectively? We had a rather mischievous GM in a Cyberpunk game in school that talked with the two players once and after they would not stop their infighting, had two NPCs hire each of the characters in secret to kill the other PC with a timed device (an explosive cyberware part and poisoned food). Both ...



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