James, you remember that "hive mind" comment you made earlier? Well, I must
say, this is the longest screed where I have actually agreed with you.
Personally, It is my pet peeve to play in a "Storyline" type DM game...
Especially those who actively stifle innovative thinkers... Those that plot
and plan their fellow neighbors demise or plot a way for them to destroy
themselves. At least after about 3 years of gaming PBEMs, I know who to


- -----Original Message-----
From: owner-birthright@lists.imagiconline.com
[mailto:owner-birthright@lists.imagiconline.com]On Behalf Of James Ruhland
Sent: Monday, July 19, 1999 1:28 PM
To: birthright@lists.imagiconline.com
Subject: Re: [BIRTHRIGHT] - Their is no "Sanity Clause": DMing in Birthright

> > Well, I guess this is where you and I differ on the role of the DM.
> > I personally think the DM should provide the adventure hook,
> > outline and motivation and then guide the players through it.
Hook, line, and sinker.
Setting asside the degree to which that is appropriate in a "normal"
(party/adventure based) AD&D campaign, IMO DMing in a Birthright game
should be far different.

IMO, players should be given far more latitude to come up with their own
motivations, their own "hooks" (in the form of goals for their realm(s)),
and their own "outlines" (policies/timetables for how to achieve those
goals). The game should be more free-flowing, based upon that and not the
DM's "Grand Vision".
Now, certainly, NPCs should have their own goals, motivations, plots
schemes, just like the players do. And no doubt those will affect the
players, the players will respond/react to NPC initiated events. . .but
will also and importantly initiate and respond to plots & schemes of their
own devising. And this may not fit into any DM inspired "Grand Vision"
anymore than the NPC's activities will fit into the player character's
visions, and indeed may throw wrenches into those plans.
But IMO, the idea that players should be the passive receptical for
whatever plot the DM has in mind, and that they should be driven by the
motivations he devises for them rather than ones they come up with on their
own, is wrongheaded for Birthright (even if it is - and I'm far from saying
it is - appropriate for a regular AD&D game). This means the DM of a
Birthright game has to be on his toes. He doesn't know which path the
players might go down ("well, since the adventure involves the Fortress of
Silence, I'll detail the Fortress of Silence and I can ignore the Castle of
Solitude for now, since they won't be going there"). In Birthright the
players have a bit (I hope a lot) more discretion about what direction they
take, what "paths" they go down, which means the DM needs to be prepaired
for anything and everything. Some DMs respond to this challenge by
hammering down any player who goes down an unwelcomed, "inappropriate"
path. Others are better at adapting to unexpected situations (many of these
DMs have long been players themselves - players must often adapt to the
unexpected, because, unlike the DM, they don't know the "plotline" in
advance until the Directer. . .er, Storyteller. . .er, DM. . .lets them see
the script as it unfolds before them.)
IMO, BR games are better when dozens of people, rather than one or
overworked people, are busy comming up with schemes and plots which won't
be slapped down because they don't fit within the proscribed "Story Arc"
that someone has decided will govern the game. But that's just my opinion.
I could be wrong.
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