“I just like saying ‘overthrow the government'” (GMless RPGs, ECCC 2017)

Delving into the secrets of GMless role-playing games at Emerald City Comicon. No that recording is not speeded up, that’s just how fast I talk about these things. I’ve got just one hour and a lot of ground to cover!

(or download the file if you prefer)

There’s a natural tendency, when examining GMless games, to focus on how the functions performed by a Game Master are divided up and replaced. But I think that’s the wrong question to ask. The real question is, what entirely new ways could we be role-playing if we don’t start from the decades-old assumption that we need a GM at all?

    Ben Robbins | April 10th, 2017 | , , , | hide comments
  1. #2 Ben Robbins says:

    Not that I know of. But as you point out, if something is possible, there’s bound to be someone who’s tried it.

  2. #1 Lucian says:

    I liked the talk, but was struck by one thing: you said at one point that Downfall starts with a definition of what theme the players want to explore, ‘just like an author’. But while some authors do indeed write that way, many do not! And in fact, while you claimed that nobody writing a story starts with “OK, I have this awesome swordfight; why is it happening?” some authors actually do have their story seed as a particular image in their head, or scene where something awesome happens, and build out from there.

    Do you know if there has been any exploration of creating story games that map more or less directly to the different ways authors are known to create their stories? I’d say ‘Microscope’ maps fairly well to the ‘outliner’ method, and a lot of story games (and traditional games, at that) map relatively well to the ‘discovery writing’ process, but there have to be nuances (‘pick the theme first; pick the characters first; pick the world first’). Any studies/explorations of this that you know of?

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