- -----Original Message-----
From: owner-birthright@lists.imagiconline.com
[mailto:owner-birthright@lists.imagiconline.com]On Behalf Of Tommy Ashton
Sent: Monday, July 19, 1999 12:45 PM
To: birthright@lists.imagiconline.com
Subject: Re: [BIRTHRIGHT] - Their is no "Sanity Clause": DMing in

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Memnoch
>>James, you remember that "hive mind" comment you made earlier? Well, I
>>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
>>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
Okay, I kept quiet but this last little line was a little too snotty.
Yeah, I have played with DM's who had the players road plotted out like the
pattern does to Rand al'Thor in the Robert Jordan novels, every excruiating
detail, with periodic hand slapping if you stray from their plot. It
really sucks. You don't want to know that the only thing that you are
doing is being an actor for anothers script. You as a player need to be
innovative and if he or she is a good DM then most of the direction of the
campaign needs to come from the player.

But then, there is the other side. I have had too many "innovative
thinkers" in my games who wanted to be the biggest, baddest guy on the
block the fastest. Especially in Birthright. If you put any obstacles to
their quest for power they screamed rape and threatened to leave the game.
"I am going to kill XXXXXXX on this mission or die trying." "What, I can't
build a city with just one action (i.e. one month)?" "Why is Ghoere
invading I haven't done anything to him!?" "Why is the Gorgon invading the
Brecht League headquarters, we haven't declared war on him yet." "I want
XXXXXXX holdings removed in my kingdom in one move." A lot of players
don't want even obstacles, they cry if a daisy drops on their foot on
their way to invade Avanil, they just want the treasure hold and thats it.
I call them powergamers, not innovative thinkers.

Fortunately, the difference between the way I play and what you describe is
that I am a stickler for the rules. I have played characters that were
ambitious and tyrants as well as those who were far too weak to be called
such. I'll give you an example of the type of DM that James and Myself do
not like. I was playing Isaelie in WNF (and this in no way is intended to
slam that game or it's current DMs). I had just invaded the Rohrmarch.
Now, just as James is describing, I was taunted, ridiculed and questioned
about my motives. Then, because of some grand good vs. evil story arc that
one of the DMs was planning and issuing rewards to those players that
followed along, I was deemed one of the "bad" guys. Now, things started to
go wrong with the game (personality disputes that James describes) and I
posted an OOC comment basically stating that I was not going along with the
storyline because I had my own ideas and ambitions when it came to my
character. The "storyline" DM in question replied with what basically
amounted to a veiled threat... I believe the actual words "bite you in the
ass" were used. I paid it no mind and proceeded to play the game as I chose
for good or bad.
You may think it is snotty, however, considering my dislike for that style
of Dming, I know that avoiding the situation is much better than getting
into a game, getting attached to a character and then having to deal with a
lot of anger because of personality conflicts and differences in style of
play. Like I said, I have been around long enough to know who the
"storyline" DMs are and what games not to get into. Just personal choice.
This is one of the reasons why I rarely get into a game just as it starts
up. Like the current game I I am in... LOHS - Lands of The Holy Sun... I
talked with Muaadeeb (personal friend of mine) for what it took to do about
2 years of game time before I considered even joining the game. Then I
contacted Solmyr, and not knowing him, I took him through a bit of a quiz or
test to ferret out whether he was a storyline DM... as a matter of fact, I
watched his Mystara game from the sidelines (which was hilarious, watching
Muaa and James go at it) for the entire campaign. Just my little way of
doing conflict avoidance. I prefer not to go through the anger of having to
deal with such situations if I can avoid them. Another little DM tactic
that I personally can't stand is changing the rules mid-game to deal with
those players that get "too powerful"... which basically means they have
been able to use a little innovative thinking and gain some sort of
advantage that other players don't have.

A good campaign is 40%DM/60%PC. The PC's should direct a campaigns flow.
If the players want to be in the central of the Imperial City politics and
the Dm wants to run the Keep in the Borderlands Adv, he should have them
outlawed to force them that way. NOT! If the PC's want to politic in the
Imperial City then at least 70% of all advs and motives should be here. As
a DM its your job to keep the players at least mildly content. At the same
time if the DM can setup up intrigue that allows the players to solve his
adventure and give them something to take back to the Imperial City why
not. A DM should play their characters fairly and evenly. I am sorry to
rant like this but I have seen too many players rant at DM's for hours just
cause they hadn't become supreme ruler in two turns.

Yes, I agree with you. The players should be masters of their own destiny,
not some bit part in a grand book the DM is writing...

>DM's should not plot the elevation or demise of their PC's with storylines,
>they should develope external events which will be obstacles for their
>players. Players must always have their own success or failure in their
>hands. The game world should not be an automated wax museum whereby when
>the players enter a room the automotons all speak and move about according
>to a script and then stay silent when the players move away. Stuff happens
>elsewhere, and sometimes this stuff impacts the players.

I agree with Kenneth 100%, and that doesn't happen very often :), usually I
agree with Memnoch. A DM shouldn't make plots he should create obstacles
for the journey. To think like this, it wasn't what made Odessius famous
was that he made it home, but his journey getting there.


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