GM/DM Type Thing?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Kakumei, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. So, I've played a bit of Dungeons and Dragons. Its always fun no matter if I play a DM or a character along for the adventure.

    I hope not to confuse people, as I tend to use GM/DM interchangeably because they are essentially the same thing.

    Now, the question I want to pose and discuss is:

    Is it practical to have a structured role play where one person kind of GM/DM's the characters and have some sort of ultimate purpose for them to eventually reach? Is it practical to have evented story scenes for them to deal with? Or should it just be a general story for the characters to do stuff on their own and reach their own goals and such?

    I dunno, I would like to hear peoples thoughts on this. ;-;

  2. Are you talking about having a forum roleplay with the same structure as something like D&D, where someone does the GM thing without also having a player character? Because if so, yes, that is absolutely a possible thing that happens. In fact, both of the roleplays I'm currently in and the one I'm running are done that way, because that's my preferred style of GMing.

    As for having a structured story with set events for them to go through, yep, that is also a thing you can do in forum roleplay. The term most people use for it is 'railroading,' because you force the players along on a single track like a train. It can work well, especially if you allow a little bit of flexibility by using the magic of illusion of choice to present them with multiple options which will end up heading in the direction you want regardless of what they pick.
  3. Yes, that is partially what I am talking about. But at the same time, I want to keep it a bit sandboxy and open world as well. Let them run around town and do their own thing, and then BANG! toss some big bad guy in there to beat up on them a bit.

    I also kinda wanna DM while being able to play a party character as well.

    Currently, I am considering a roleplay that has both a bit of open world sandboxiness and a bit of "railroading" as you called it. I want it to sort of work along the likes of the Golden Sun series, taking the mechanics and lore of the game and make it practical for a roleplay here.
  4. I actually think this is how most roleplays are!

    At least, of the ones I've been in, the GM always has a specific goal in mind for the characters. They let the characters influence the plot, certainly (since it wouldn't be right to always tell them what things to do or how to do them), but generally the GM knows where the story needs to go and does what's necessary to get the story there.

    In my experience, open-world, sandboxy games that DON'T have some sort of guiding-hand from a GM tend to die very quickly because the players lack direction.
  5. Not only can this work, there are people on Iwaku who will swear by this working better than any other approach.
    Sometimes ignorantly only doing this style of RP's, seeing anything else as having "Lack of direction and thereby doomed to fail".

    So yes, this is more than do-able.
    This also works, and is in fact my own personal preference.

    Though admittedly this also requires more player dedication.
    You're more reliant on the Player's willingness and ability to get involved, motivated and creative.

    This is partly why people often swear on the earlier approach, because it's easier to simply rely on the DM and have them pull the 'Party' along than it is to get multiple people to that same level of involvement.
    Partially because it involves balancing 1 Life VS Multiple Lives, and 1 Personality VS Multiple.

    To explain a bit further.

    Say in a RP the group quite simply doesn't get along too well, or they're too occupied by real life, or they simply can't get that involved.

    If you're doing the Ultimate Purpose approach, it's easy enough to simply get new players instead and keep it going. Or to pick up some of the players slack because they aren't actually being asked to do too much.

    If you're doing the Everyone's Goal approach though, this would mean a lot more investment in making sure players are up to speed, able to contribute and making sure they get a long. Otherwise you're faced with RP death or hard resets as you find a group to players capable of carrying the RP.
    This can work.

    The issue is this is a High Risk/High Reward style roleplaying.
    The style gives (in my experience) the most openness and ability to players to forge whatever they want to make the RP amazing.

    But there's a number of potential pit-falls.
    1. Player Direction: If the DM and/or the Players don't establish some direction or goal, this can quickly turn into a "Lol what now?" scenario, and get the RP to die very quickly.
    2. Melting the Ice Cream: This is what I refer to what happened at the Star Wars RP site I used to run. Essentially you give your group so much power/ability that they go overboard. They make things that are either too broken to keep things going for long, or launch it to such a power level you don't have anything else to do afterwards. Now in the instance of my Site we did actually complete the RP, the issue was afterwards we had nothing to launch/continue into.
    Usually though in RP's #1 will become the death of the RP far before #2 can even raise it's head up.
    And it happens so often you'll commonly get people saying stuff like "Sandbox is just another way of saying it has no direction or purpose".
    Because what happens so often is these RP's are launched into play expecting everyone to pick up the ball and know what to do with it, but what kind of ball is it? Is the ball even inflated?
    Essentially they forget to implement a Plan B, or a "I'm coming in and giving you guys something now" alternative for when people don't know what to do.
    This can work too, but remember this is a tool of the RP, not the entire RP.
    However there are a few ways you can implement this tool.
    1. The Party Guide: You are a PC, but you're first/main purpose is to give the other PC's focus, direction and things to do. Only once they are covered does your PC start to get attention. This can help for situations where the party members may all be stuck, your PC can then suggest a route for the party to follow and does so without God's divine hand interrupting because it's coming from a fellow party member.
    2. The Equal: This often only works when there are Co-GM's, or you're running one of those RP's where there is no real DM but rather just a group system/consensus. In a nutshell it allows the DM to take a break from their DM position, and participate as another player while someone else focuses on the DM side of things, or at least shares in carrying the load.
    3. The Main Character: This one is the most rarely used, but essentially your PC is the Main Character. All the other characters are essentially side characters. Still characters with proper development and arcs, but side characters. This one is the most rare for a big reason, you relegate all your players to secondary roles which breaks the mold of RP's a lot. And a lot of players will look at that and go "Nope! I want to be a Main Character!". But you can still find RP's where it works... But if you do so remember one thing, INFORM YOUR PLAYERS AND HAVE THEM CONSENT TO THIS IN ADVANCE! Nothing stings more than putting a ton of effort into your character, playing them out and then being broadsided by the DM saying "Nope, my characters are priority". That lack of heads up/warning is where a ton of the "Bad DM was just writing/playing with themselves!" stories tend to originate from.
    I don't play Golden Sun so I can't speak in that respect.

    But one bit of advice here I can give is don't think of it as "Railroading" but as a "Plan B".
    Because optimally that's what you want, your players to be able to lead the story, but if that doesn't work you at least have something to fall back onto.
    #5 Gwazi Magnum, Oct 4, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
  6. This. This pretty much answered all of my questions. xD I thank you.