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[Discussion]Guardians of Order's Role-Playing Game Manifesto

poacher

Resident Eye
Validated User
A friend has this as his MSN Live image avatar. I posted this here, not as any kind of personal attack on GoO and their products, but because words like these sound, to my mind, a bit on the antiquated. They are as follows:

these rules are written on paper, not set in stone tablets
rules are suggested guidelines, not required edicts
if the rules don't say you can't do something, you can
there are no official answers, only official opinions
when dice conflict with the story, the story always win
min/maxing and munchkinism aren't problems with the game; they're problems with the player
the game master has full discretionary powers over the game
the game master always work with, not against, the players
a game that is not fun is no longer a game - it's a chore
this book contains the answers to all things
when the above doesn't apply, make it up
I have several problems with this, and the only thing I can agree with is the "chore" bit, all boilling down to: let's play freeform or the gm's own rules, including ignoring dice rolls, if the gm so wishes.

I strongly believe in tighter games, focused on setting and/or rules, so that there's no mistake by anyone on what can be done at the table, so that you don't feel the need to either ignore rules, dice rolls, or make things up. D&D 4e is an excelent example of a tighter and more focused game, and there's already a thread here to show what other games could learn from it, even if people feel it's not their cup of tea, myself included. Which means this Manifesto allows people to, instead of playing the game they bought, to turn it inside out and play whatever game they usually play all the while pointing at the rules book saying "this is what we're playing!"

I'd like to know people's opinion on this. But please, let's keep this civil. Notice that the thread name mentions [Discussion], not [Flames]. :)
 
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DrFaust

Roll away the dew.
Validated User
Which means this Manifesto allows people to, instead of playing the game they bought, to turn it inside out and play whatever game they usually play all the while pointing at the rules book saying "this is what we're playing!"
I've always thought that was one of the best things about the roleplaying hobby. It is exactly what you make of it.
 

LoneWolf23

Registered User
Validated User
Honestly, I like that manifesto. It boils down to "A Game is supposed to be fun to play. If it's not fun to play, you're doing it wrong."
 

Metallian

Geek Orthodox Patriarch
Validated User
I took it a bit more specifically, in that GoO tended towards really broad point-buy systems that were not very well "balanced." I don't think you can really balance a "point-buy system where you can model the imaginary physics of your abilities" system with so many options, but I think you can try so hard to balance it that you make everything difficult and overly-complicated. So I think they made a design decision to keep the character creation and resolution systems flexible and relatively simple, and price different abilities as fairly as they could, but explicitly state that balance is up to the GM. So when the GM says, "No, you can't play a character that can mind-control everyone on Earth," at least he or she can point to the book and say, "It's expected that I make judgments like that, the rules even say that just because they can be used to make a broken character doesn't mean you should."

The Metallian
 

infax

Registered User
Validated User
Your mention of D&D4e seems very elucidative. As it isn't many people's cup of tea, many of statements in that manifesto express what some think about the hobby.

Me, and I guess other people too, feel better with a game when they shape it to their needs, relying more on what they feel is appropriate to a given situation than on have an unshakable set of rules to refer to. Those are different styles.

I never encountered a set of rules I'd not rather mod. Having it stated in the book that those rules are intended to be adjusted to my needs can be useful in dealing with some players. It doesn't excuse poor rules though, or blattantly missing parts (which crop up surprisingly more often than I would expect).
 

Boco

Genderless entity
Validated User
I posted this here, not as any kind of personal attack on GoO and their products, but because words like these sound, to my mind, a bit on the antiquated.
Well, that could be because they were written in 1997...

Anyway, I don't really see the problem with making a game intended as a framework from which to deviate and tweak to get the game you want. Isn't that already what you do with every RPG you play? In BESM / TriStat they tell you why they did what they did and how to modify it to taste to make it easier to modify. Some other systems are a lot harder to pry apart in this way, and the consequences of changing the rules or costs or whatever aren't discussed in the product so you're working blind. (ironically, while you point to D&D 4th as a counterexample, WotC did the same thing in being up-front about all their decisions, and I will bet you they did it to make it easier on DMs to modify the game to taste!)
 

Obsidian

Registered User
Validated User
I agree with pretty much everything in that manifesto.

Which does not mean that I ignore rules willy-nilly... and if your players' expectations are that the rules will be followed to the letter, that's fine with me. As far as I'm concerned, game rules are fine up until the point they start interfering with the overall fun quotient of the game. At that point, I don't much care what the rulebook says.

An un-fun game is the one unpardonable sin of GMing.

- Obs.
 

Marius B

Euro-Trash
Validated User
Besides being perhaps a bit on the pompous side, here's how I feel about each element of it:

1: these rules are written on paper, not set in stone tablets
Comment: That's nice. 320 pages in stone tablets would probably be a bit hard on my back.

2: rules are suggested guidelines, not required edicts
Comment: Indeed.

3: if the rules don't say you can't do something, you can
Comment: Unless it's plainly ludicorus

4: there are no official answers, only official opinions
Comment: And the GM's answer counts as official

5: when dice conflict with the story, the story always win
Comment: The story is whatever the players' and GM's decisions and dice results say it is. Therefore the dice can't possibly conflict with the story.

6: min/maxing and munchkinism aren't problems with the game; they're problems with the player
Comment: They're problems with the player to a certain extent but not anywhere near as much as they're problems with the game.

7: the game master has full discretionary powers over the game
Comment: Within reason

8: the game master always work with, not against, the players
Comment: Well, yeah.

9: a game that is not fun is no longer a game - it's a chore
Comment: Amen

10: this book contains the answers to all things
Comment: For all intents and purposes, my houserules count as being a part of "this book"

11: when the above doesn't apply, make it up
Comment: Also when it does but the answer doesn't please me
 
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Redpill

New member
Banned
Antiquated? Really? This is nearly perfect.

The only one I take issue with is "if the rules don't say you can't do something, you can". That's how you end up with players who want to backstab Hunk with a ballista.
 
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