Maxims, the Sequel

WISH 8: Maxims, Redux

Pick three gaming maxims that other people wrote about and discuss how you think they have applied, or not, in your experience as a gamer. Do they make sense? Are they true or false? Maxims that simply never occurred to you are also eligible for discussion.

Arref said: So much for Plan A.
Plans are fine and good things, but I’ve seen so many game sessions bog down in the planning stages of some huge project that the frustration would start to mount before anything even happened.
From a GM’s point of view, I think preparation is important (more or less so, depending on the game that your running — I would rarely bring prepatory notes to an Amber session, since it was enough that I had thought about the game during the week — conversely, I find preparation is important for my d20 games so that the game doesn’t flounder. I have some theories as to why that is, which I’ll expound on later.
Michael said: Whatever you do, don’t say ‘Whatever you do, don’t roll a one’.
My wife, whom I love and introduced to gaming, somehow picked up from another player the idea that GM’s shouldn’t touch your dice. Everyone else can and that’s fine — she frequently lends her dice to other players — but woe to any GM that touches her dice.
Forget about rolling them: when I’m GMing, I’m not even allowed to shove them back across the table to her. If I do, I get a severe chastising, and the ‘tainted’ dice go back in her bag for the night.
If I’m playing, I can use her dice all I like.
I’d make fun of this, but I have my own quirk: I use a laptop when running my games, and of course I have several dice rollers on there. My rule is this: I do all my GM rolling on the laptop — my personal dice only come out of the bag when I’m playing. If I use them for both jobs, their karma gets all mixed up and they don’t roll well for either task.
So there. 😛
Julia: It’s not the GM’s game, it’s everyone’s.
In the best game, I am barely more than just another player in the group. I don’t like being the pivot that everything hinges on.
This kind of goes back to the level of preparation for the GM: with Amber (or some other high-powered games), I could play it light with the game prep because the players themselves would carry a great deal of story simply by working on their private projects.
I think other, lower-powered games require more GM prep because there is simply less player-driven action.
That’s not to say character-driven — I hope a great deal of it is that, but player driven, not so much — the reason is simply that people expect to be functioning as a group in such games, and the mindset of ‘working on my own stuff’ isn’t there.
I want to break myself of this habit — allowing or encouraging it, whatever it is. With some games it’s easier — I think that BESM it would be pretty simple; some games makes it more difficult, since the group-mentality is built into the premise of everything (d20). Also, I’ve got a lot of ‘traditional’ players in my DnD game, which doesn’t help.
Participating player: “Am I hungry? What restaurants do I see?”
Contributing player: “I’m hungry, I’m going to that little chinese bistro I found.”
I think I’m making progress with my Star Wars game… my players are helping with that of course.
It’s understandable — I know lots of games where THE rule is NSTFP: “Never Split the Fucking Party”, and it’s a GOOD rule. I just like it when people break the rule and head off on their own thing. It’s exciting.


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