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Jason Durall

Summoning RuneQuest Gamemasters

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7 hours ago, Sean_RDP said:

Hillman's Lunacy Principle: Let them play Lunar characters. The best thing my first GM did for me is allow me to play a Lunar and let me define what that meant. It was political and it was dangerous and it was filled with ambitions. There were also more than a few tragedies. The point is, playing a Lunar character even among so-called enemies is a rewarding style of play. Something to be encouraged and embraced.

So true. I'm currently playing in a long-term Lunar campaign. IMHO Glorantha is at its coolest when the setting steps away from Orlanthi=Good, Lunar=Bad into actual culture clash and wars. Just because the setting privileges the Orlanthi as heroes doesn't mean the Lunars (even when fighting for standard Lunar things) can't be heroic.

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8 hours ago, Sean_RDP said:

Let them play Lunar characters.

For the 10 years I ran my RQ3 campaign, I always had Lunar characters - but then my campaign was based primarily in Imther, a good Lunar province at the time.  But there were "good" Lunars and "bad" Lunars, as one might expect.

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On 9/18/2018 at 5:11 PM, Richard S. said:

I don't know what to name it (the Stevenson principle? :P) but here's one of mine:

I think Jason's intention was that the principles should be named after us. I chose not to do so, and I got in with the first one, so I probably derailed that idea for a lot of people!

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15 hours ago, BWP said:

OK, my players can't cast spells, so no NPCs can cast spells.  Got it.  Although ... kind of gives the PCs a bit of an advantage, doesn't it?

Also kind of nerfs those NPCs planning to cast a major ritual to wreak destruction and havoc, since the players (and even the PCs) aren't (usually) able to do that.

Why the snark?  I think your confusion is in the meaning of the word "can"?  Presumably, your players CAN cast spells, they just don't have the knowledge of how to yet. 

Or, if you have a non-magical setting, you're correct: if there is no way in your setting for the players to ever cast spells, then no, IMO the NPCs shouldn't be able to either.

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FWIW Jason, this is a damned interesting and useful thread. 

I've been GMing for nearly 40 years and while a lot of these general principles have been floating around for a while, people are codifying them quite concisely here.

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35 minutes ago, styopa said:

Why the snark?  I think your confusion is in the meaning of the word "can"?  Presumably, your players CAN cast spells, they just don't have the knowledge of how to yet. 

Or, if you have a non-magical setting, you're correct: if there is no way in your setting for the players to ever cast spells, then no, IMO the NPCs shouldn't be able to either.

I think he was making a "players vs characters" joke, the PLAYERS can't cast spells, but the CHARACTERS can.

Edited by PhilHibbs

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The Scott Principles: Never underestimate ingenuity of your players, never roll dice against yourself, never have a conversation with yourself, never expect the adventure to follow the written path and when in doubt, always make it up.

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I think this is a GREAT idea. Even came up with one, only to find that someone beat me to it ( The ASL Corollary ).  I'm wondering if all of these could be added to the wiki

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35 minutes ago, Marc said:

I think this is a GREAT idea. Even came up with one, only to find that someone beat me to it ( The ASL Corollary ).  I'm wondering if all of these could be added to the wiki

That would be awesome if someone would add them to the wiki, especially since Jason said that only a few would make it into the rulebook.

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Joerg's history principle: Whatever opponent, prop or location you give to your players and their characters, be ready to provide a good reason why this happens to be there.

This may be hard with published scenarios written by someone else, but as soon as you start GMing, the scenario and its background are yours. If your Rainbow Mounds are presented as the Nightmist Barrows, so be it. There will always have been a clan or tribe long long ago who may have had a Robasart Poisonblade as their chief or king, if you need to name the resident ghost/revenant/mummy shambling at the PCs. Give a little concrete and a lot of vague, and there will be no severe break with the background information you have drawn from the scenario and from canon, at worst a minor alteration.

"The clan has been known by many names, but in his time it was known as the Amber Beads clan." Now you have a concrete name that still can be projected on whichever clan you want, possibly even the player characters' own.

Joerg's preparation permanence principle: So the characters decide to follow up the red herring and leave your prepared location alone? Go with it. There will be more chances for you to put characters through that experience, now give them a reasonably hard time for carving  their own path.

Corrolary: When offering a red herring or a wild rumor, have an idea about it, or at least what will happen on the way there.

 

On another notice, these Orlanthi maxims apply to GMing and roleplaying alike:

Violence Is Always An Option: a short action sequence may bridge a minor plot hole or a delay of inspiration.

There's Always Another Way: and even if the proposed way of the players isn't one of those, let them fail forward and enjoy the new complications.

Nobody Can Make You Do Anything: railroads may encounter unexpected branches, and it is fine to leave the moving train at low speeds.

 

 

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23 hours ago, simontvesper said:

Corollary: There's no such thing as too much information. Too little will produce paralysis in your players, or encourage them to take a wrong direction. More information will give them something to work with. Even if you lay out the villain's entire backstory and plan for world domination, the players still have to do something about it.

The Description Corollary Corollary: All that glitters is not gold - and make sure your players know it. Just because the GM waxes eloquent about the mythical backstory of something doesn't necessarily mean it is relevant to the current situation.

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5 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

I think he was making a "players vs characters" joke, the PLAYERS can't cast spells, but the CHARACTERS can.

Ah, I missed that.  My bad.

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8 hours ago, styopa said:

Why the snark?  I think your confusion is in the meaning of the word "can"? 

I think your confusion is in the meaning of the word "player".  (Man, it sucks when you have to explain the joke!)

8 hours ago, styopa said:

Presumably, your players CAN cast spells, they just don't have the knowledge of how to yet. 

I absolutely 100% guarantee you that no players I know, nor indeed any player that I don't know, can cast a spell (even if they personally believe otherwise).  At least, not one that will actually yield a magical effect.

However, player characters in many, many games cast magical spells on a regular basis.  Certainly NPCs in those games can be expected to do that too.  Not sure why that would need to be shouted out as a principle.

8 hours ago, styopa said:

Or, if you have a non-magical setting, you're correct: if there is no way in your setting for the players to ever cast spells, then no, IMO the NPCs shouldn't be able to either.

Magical or non-magical setting, no players are casting spells.

To bring this back somewhat on topic, I'd point out that if the NPCs are smarter than the players on a regular basis, you may need to deliberately "dumb them down", otherwise the players may end up feeling frustrated and bored.  There's not a lot of game fun in having the party agree that yes, the enemy's master plan is fool-proof, and I guess he's going to win, so we may as well just go home.

 

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The Do More With Small Principle: Large, strong creatures with decent weapons, such as Dark Trolls, can be extremely lethal when a Critical is rolled. For adventuring groups that have not yet accumulated potent healing abilities make more use of small foes with high skills as bosses instead of large creatures.

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The Wright Principle of Play (aka the Buddy System):

Play with your friends, and make friends with those whom you play.

When looking for people to play in your game, consider your friends, even if (perhaps especially if) they are not gamers or if they are not familiar with RQG. How better to improve your own game and the roleplaying game hobby in general than by recruiting new people? 

Your friends are people who you already enjoy spending time with, so will likely make for a good gaming colleague, and sharing RQG is a great thing to do for a friend.

Likewise, when you find yourself playing RQG with people - but perhaps not doing much else with those particular folks - endeavor to befriend them and socialize outside of the game. Building bonds like this can make a game better, and even lead to new friendships that outlast the game.

 

- Bud Wright

Edited by Bud
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Bud's Conduit of Character:

The player is the conduit to the character.

RQG is designed so that players and Gamemasters can succinctly grasp the essence of a character. Nevertheless, two players would tend to play a specific PC in different manners, just as two actors would portray a single role differently. When a GM is interested in having something in the game speak to a character, consider that the player must understand in order that the character understand. 

- Bud Wright

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Some GM Bon Mots would be good, how about

The Frank Lloyd Wright Principle The doctor can bury his mistakes, .. an architect can ...only plant vines. A GM turns their mistakes into campaign seeds.

Edited by Gryphaea

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On 9/18/2018 at 2:50 PM, Jason Durall said:

If curious about what the Gamemaster Sourcebook will cover, here's a list of the chapters (in order): 

Gameastering (includes all manner of GM advice from soup to nuts, GM tricks & tips, etc.) 

Will you be using or quoting the 5  Petersen Rules of Good Gaming?  Rule 4 and 5 are about bad things should only result from player choices and giving fair warning if they are about to do something stupid. I think of these as important principles in my games, and I have had feedback from players who appreciate this approach in contrast to arbitrary and fatal rule applications by GMs. But I would want to add a qualified statement or two to the rules as they stand. 

Also the literary genre of Wisdom Sayings and Proverbs dates back to the very dawn of writing and I think adds to the 'Keeping it Bronze age' feel stressed in the new edition of the game. Teaching and improving the play of the game by the use of short, pithy phrases is a fine idea.

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On 9/19/2018 at 6:55 PM, Sean_RDP said:

Hillman's Journey Principle: The journey IS the destination. Do not be in a rush to get from point A to point B in your campaign. Throw out the idea of random encounters and place encounters along the path to inform, challenge, and build tension for the main quest. These are not distractions; they are literal character building moments that will make their arrival have real gravitas. It will also make your world feel lived in.

While I don't want to deny you the credit for the idea by suggesting an alternative, can I suggest the following 

The Kermit Principle 'getting there is half the fun; come share it with me'.

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1 hour ago, Gryphaea said:

Rule 4 and 5 are about bad things should only result from player choices

Bouncing off of this, another idea...

  • The Conrad Principle: When the stakes are high, always give the player a roll. Even if the only way out is a 15% Divine Intervention, or they need an 01% Critical to grab that vine dangling from the cliff--let them roll! It helps players feel in control, and after those times they succeed everyone involved will remember it. Heroes always have a chance to be lucky.

Best example I've got of this is letting a bard (this was in Pathfinder) roll a d100 on his Charisma x1 to not get killed by a crit surprise attack from around a corner (the party wasn't being terribly stealthy...). His HP would have dropped to negative Constitution (the point of immediate death), but then his spirit managed to lasso himself back into his body with his whip. Horribly rules inappropriate, but a great moment at the table, which made that game one of my favorite campaigns I've GM'd.

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15 hours ago, BWP said:

I think your confusion is in the meaning of the word "player".  (Man, it sucks when you have to explain the joke!)

I absolutely 100% guarantee you that no players I know, nor indeed any player that I don't know, can cast a spell (even if they personally believe otherwise).  At least, not one that will actually yield a magical effect.

However, player characters in many, many games cast magical spells on a regular basis.  Certainly NPCs in those games can be expected to do that too.  Not sure why that would need to be shouted out as a principle.

Magical or non-magical setting, no players are casting spells.

Image result for pedantry

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On 9/20/2018 at 3:42 PM, BWP said:

Magical or non-magical setting, no players are casting spells.

I've seen some crazy mumbo-jumbo being practiced about dice.

(And in all seriousness, magical practices aren't actually all that out-there for gamers. I speak for myself and other people who dabble. RQ is interesting to myself and my friends in part because of this.)

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On 9/20/2018 at 3:42 PM, BWP said:

... Magical or non-magical setting, no players are casting spells ...

I don't believe in any of that stuff.

Nevertheless, I do not absolutely deny that it might exist.

🤡

Edited by g33k

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The Reinforcements Principle: when still learning the game system, stage encounters where the enemies are weaker than you estimate they should be, but where they can bring in reinforcements if more challenge is desired. It is usually easier to add enemies during a battle than to remove them.

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