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Thursday, 19 September 2013

Reading Sorcerer RPG: does it work as a manual for simulationist GMs?

I purchased recently Sorcerer RPG by +Ron Edwards from Adept press. It was in a Bundle of Holding, or I might not have bothered.
Then I started reading and went "wow" (not as in the notorious MMORPG - it was more of "wow, that's what I'm trying to tell my friends - the ones I'm teaching GMing"). Because, well, that's what I call Simulationist play. As in, "pretend to be the character to the point that you only bother with what the character is thinking - no story arcs, no pre-planned plots, no nothing".
And that's almost word-for-word what +Ron Edwards is advising you to do as part of his "Narrativist" game. Even more, that's THE game for narrativist players - AFAICT, storygames started with it!
Still, so far, I only disagree with one sentence in his advice. "Don't play the setting". Well, no, you can't do that if you need to play the NPCs...because the setting is an NPC, too (just like any other organisation)! But that's ONE sentence.
I usually disagree with half the GMing chapter in "traditional" games. Seriously, guys... ONE sentence? That might as well be written by me (no, I'm NOT claiming credit-I discovered my current GMing style long after Sorcerer has been written. I just haven't read it, for various reasons that are kinda besides the point).
And then I remembered that the OSR advice has similar points, where I'm nodding my head in agreement.
The only other games where I agree with the GMing chapter to such an extent? Atomic Highway, Fates Worse Than Death, Crimson Exodus/Fantasy Dice RPG, Legends of the Wulin, Apocalypse World/Monsterhearts. Runequest 6 also comes close. But that's not even 10% of the games I own...
Still, all of these games are from wildly differing "schools". Seems like good GMing is good GMing, no matter who's doing it. (Well, if it's "open-ended" GMing, at least. I've run games that were going against this, and the players were still happy. So it might be called "good" GMing - although I'd consider my current style to be far superior both in terms of simulation and in terms of story - but it would be wildly different).
Just food for thought.

And in the meantime, I purchased the Sorcerer supplements, and I'm looking into other games by the same author, too. He's got a KS campaign for his "S/Lay w/ Me" game (which I discovered the day after buying the PDF). Of course, I'm now a backer.
The only other KS I'm currently backing is the one by +Levi Kornelsen for his zombie apocalypse game. But that's another story and should be told in another blog post.