A return to a welcoming summer residence (this blog)

I certainly managed to resist the extreme urge to blog for an entire year of blog asceticism. Props to me.

I had a moment of clarity and introspection just now while using the shower and assorted other bathroom appliances, I thought a bit about a thing I stole from Wyatt Salazar’s Expedition RPG; there’s separate attacks for actual damaging, causing buffs and debuffs, and for creating “edge”, a resource you can spend on things. I’ll be honest, I have only glanced (this is a pun, I’ll explain soon) the entire thing, but I love Wyatt, no homo, and his non-stuck-up attitude towards game design. The main thing that he’s a proponent of is that

“no turn should be wasted”

and I wholeheartedly agree, as should be clear to anyone who read my about my adventures with 3.5 D&D. I was considering changing my stripped-down ill-remembered version of this and also I thought of one article that the guy who writes Tao of D&D that was sort of a rant by Rob Kuntz about how D&D “lost it’s way” and was not about creative making-shit-up anymore, since it got standardized and canned up in little modules which I feel might be somewhat alarmist.

What my thoughts ultimately came down to was this; I think maybe every somewhat experienced GM creates his own system, or several systems.

I base this idea on the fact that published systems are made to offer a “mainstream” playable out-of-the-box games, perhaps even with optional rules for fine-tuning one’s sesh, and that’s fine; it would be stupid to add things that only do it for you, just because you’re writing the RPG. You can and should add it as a note or something, but it doesn’t make too much sense as a vanilla, regular rule.
This is because the published RPG should work well for as many people as possible, which is a goal on the fine line between compassion and thirst for profit and I’m okay with it. But once the game is bought and unwrapped and put to use in a group, it organically adds, removes and changes rules, intentionally or by mistake something that sometimes makes a lot of sense, in retrospect. A rule ignored because it was better to not interrupt a good flow, rather than wait to look at the rules, is a rule that served it’s purpose. Some of the best parts of my first games of AFMBE had jaw-dropping moments based solely on a horrendous/awesome mis-interpretation of the critical hit rules, rulings I insist on not changing because I believe critical hits should be rewarded instantly and massively.

I think that this changing is not a “sign of a good GM” because it’s a thing the GM does; it is something the entire group does, collectively. You obviously can’t make a rule that doesn’t sit well with your group. But the fact that you’re consciously working your way towards a more optimal system is a sign of a good GM, and I’ll go ahead and make the presumptuous hypothesis that: after playing a bunch of settings and systems, most GM’s will have experimented with light and heavy hacks on systems they didn’t like (since I’m being presumptuous, I’ll go ahead and say I think a system that a GM would consider “really really good” and possibly “not improvable” is the one that he/she started out with). They will also probably have had their experiments with a universal system, maybe. They will have settled on certain systems for certain tasks.

What I am saying is absolutely nothing new (it is 3am, I am sort of losing track and realizing I am writing horrible long sentences with subsentences inside them, like I’m writing in german, oh look at me, i can make meta bullshit inside a sentence ugh I hate myself) but I wanted to get it out there to present my big houserules to 0e D&D, which I think push it reasonably far enough from source material to sort-of qualify as a separate, new, MY, system. Thus making me a good GM. This entire article is me self-validating myself.

Happy birthday to me.

P.S: I think I will write something about my houserules (and where i stole them from) on here. I like them a lot and they will never be exposed to an actual gaming group, so why not.

P.P.S: I should clean this article up when I am not fatigue-high, i bet there is a good idea somewhere in here

P.P.P.S: I think I will rewrite this as the opening to a miniseries about stuff I draw inspiration from i.e. steal from, hell yeah I’m good, ok sleep

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~ by fatrpgdongs on 19/08/2011.

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