Saturday, January 12, 2013

More on GM-less RPG stuff

I have been reading a number of example RPGs that work without a GM, and for the most part I am afraid that I am under whelmed. There are a few ideas out there that have caught my attention but for the most part I am still floundering. Here is what I am thinking:

The dealer deals 3 cards to each "Player" then turns a card face up in front of himself. This is a random seed generator. It's meaning will be based on where the players are in the story. If it's the first scene of the night then the first table is used ... this table (of 52 possible outcomes) sets the initial scene.

The dealer reads the scene and then asks each player to add a detail to the scene.

The dealer then turns over a second card. This is a complication. The dealer presents the players with this complication.

The non-dealer players react to the complication by playing cards from their hands.

The cards represent things their "characters" are able to do.

Each player plays a card face up in front of them.

The referee starts with the player who played the card with the highest face value and moves through to the player who plays the card with the lowest face value.

The dealer asks ... "What do you do?"

(If values are the same, refer to the card's suit.

A suit whose name appears 'later' in the alphabet is of a higher value than a suit with a name that appears alphabetically before it.

For example: clubs appears first alphabetically and has the lowest value, diamonds appears next and is of lower value than hearts, and spades has the highest value.)

On a players turn:

A card's suit tells the player which aspect they should role-play.

If the card value is lower than the score on their character sheet for that aspect, they should describe a successful application of the aspect.

If the score on their character sheet is higher than the value of the card played for the aspect being described, then they need to describe a failed application of the aspect.

If the card value and the score on the character sheet are equal, the player should describe some spectacular failure related to the use of the aspect, unless this is the resolution round in which case the player should describe some spectacular success related to the use of the aspect.

It's important to note that everyone describes their own successes's and failures.

Note that since high cards resolve first, generally failures resolve before successes.

The dealer has an opportunity to respond to the descriptions made by each player. It is the dealer's job to make sure the scene isn't 'killed' by a specific player description and that the scene keeps moving around the table.

In extreme circumstances if a description seems to make continuing a scene impossible the dealer can ask a player to modify their description or create and entirely new one.

Finally, the dealer places another random card in front of him that can be referenced on a random table, this represents a complication or escalation.

The dealer can describe actions for his own character, but the dealer's character should take a back seat to the other players while the dealer is in control.

The dealer's focus should be on maintaining the conflict and complications of the scene, to keep things moving and stitch descriptions together when needed.

After the escalation the dealer plays a final card, this is the resolution card. It demonstrates some boost for the players that sets them on their way to victory.

Now each player plays their final card. The referee responds to the players descriptions. The ultimate goal here is to work together to bring the scene to a climactic resolution.

These are the ideas that I am struggling with.

Let me know what you think.


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