Tabletop Roleplaying: Game Master and Player Co-operation

How compromising should a Player/Game Master be for one another in a situation of OOC conflict?

  • The Player should compromise more for the Game Master

  • The Game Master should compromise more for the Players

  • It should be 50/50

  • If you are doing compromises, you are doing something wrong


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Rain of the Night

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So, on to ANOTHER topic about Tabletop Gaming that many, many people have various opinions about:

Game Master and Player co-operation.
What does this mean, you might ask? Well, in most Tabletop Roleplaying Games, there will be a gathering of players to play. There are typically two distinct roles: the Game Master and the Players.

The Game Master, for lack of better terms, is the one that grants the players a ‘game’ to play in, rather it be a module, a campaign, a world, a universe, etc. He is the one that runs the events, characters, plots that will make the game go forward (or backwards) and will be the judge for rules and how things play out.

The Players, for themselves, are the people who create characters/monsters/things to which will walk into this game, experiencing what the Game Master has to offer.

These games are usually prepared in advance for both the Players and the Game Master. Both have things to think about and prepare for the upcoming gathering. So, there will come times were things contradict or conflict arises between Players and Game Masters. In most cases, there will be a disagreement on rules, on events, on stupid shit… On many things. In the end, the question remains:

Should the players be compromising for the sake of the Game Master? Or should the Game Master Compromise for the players?
 
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Uneasy Goat

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Alrighty, here goes: Anthro/Furry (not a genre, but something I might join an unfamiliar genre for), Slice of Life, Romance, Horror (Gorefest = <3), Sci-Fi (Enjoy the world, but I'm not going to play something where the story is so airtight that I've got no freedom), Medieval Fantasy (Something akin to Song of Ice and FIre), Dungeons & Dragons-esque Fantasy
I'm not good at writing lengthy opinions, but as a DM who focuses on telling a story rather than just combat...

I think the players need to take it easy. I can give them all the answers, I can make the enemies suddenly get killed by "God" if something goes horribly awry, but that just leads to spoiling. I've seen more players take advantage of a sappy DM because they knew he wouldn't kill their characters, and I hate that. I think the DM's job is to create the world, but not every single facet of it is going to be 100% perfect. If you want to go on a path that is completely off of what the plan was, the DM has the choice to bullshit a new plotline or just say no.

Saying no is the reason I'm voting on the side of players compromising for the DM, there should be a level of respect for the story that the DM is trying to create. Not to say that they should bow their heads and accept whatever comes their way, but it's important to take into consideration that your DM is just a person who is trying to play too. I like to think of myself as a Bethesda DM, the world I've made is going to be gorgeous and interesting, but you take a wrong step and you'll fall straight through the floor.
 
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Windsong

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It all really depends on the situation and relationships. If it's an established group of friends who know one another pretty well? Probably 50/50. New group and experienced DM? He might need to compromise more. Inexperienced/New DM and veteran players (of that particular system), probably the players.

Way too many variables to give a single answer.

As far as personal experience goes..

 

Jorick

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Fantasy is my #1; I will give almost anything a chance if it has strong fantasy elements. Post apocalyptic, superhero, alternate history, science fantasy, some supernatural, romance, and a few fandoms (especially Game of Thrones) are also likely to catch my eye.
Eh, this really comes down to how play styles mesh together in the group. There's no one defined answer that should be applied to all tabletop groups because people have different interests and goals when they play. This sort of thing should be brought up before your group starts playing, so you're all on the same page about how hard the GM ought to railroad the players into staying on the main story path or conversely how free and open the world should be for players to explore.

That said, I answered GM should compromise for players just because that's my preference. I feel that players should be able to just fuck off and do whatever they like and part of the GM's job is to enable that and to adapt to it. I've found that some of the best roleplaying moments come from players throwing a curveball at the GM and forcing improvisation, plus being the GM and making things up on the fly is just plain fun. It might not work for everyone, but that's how I roll.
 
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Kestrel

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Be it PbP or tabletop, as a GM you are not telling a story, you are facilitating a story. The actions of the characters determine the outcome of a scene and therefore the story. Failing that you are railroading. You may have a plot and story in mind, but it's the players who ultimately tell it. That's not to say you have to suck their figurative dicks. I mean if a characters wanders away from the overall narrative you don't have to reward that, you just have to lay out the consequences. These could be bad. Totally. They could lead to situations said character can't handle on their own and consequently that character's death. However it's not your job to determine players their choices for them. You may encourage or discourage certain actions, you may make challenges easier/harder depending on player choices. But whatever the case, ultimately you are adapting to your players.
 
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Shiri

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I've seen more problems with players compromising with other players than with the DM. In the groups I'm involved with its pretty much accepted the the DM gets final say. DM says there's only humans than we are all humans, DM says take the quests so we take the quests, etc. Its trickier to get player characters to actually agree with each other with their different personalities, alignments, moralities, etc. That's just my experience though.
 
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Spaceguitar

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It all really depends on the situation and relationships. If it's an established group of friends who know one another pretty well? Probably 50/50. New group and experienced DM? He might need to compromise more. Inexperienced/New DM and veteran players (of that particular system), probably the players.

Way too many variables to give a single answer.

As far as personal experience goes..

I was going to say 50/50, but this... This sealed the deal.
 
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Gwazi Magnum

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Should the players be compromising for the sake of the Game Master? Or should the Game Master Compromise for the players?
Before having read any of the replies:

I think it's a balance of both.
GM's have strong sets and weak sets, and they also have a campaign and story to run, so players need to try to be mindful of that when they can.
But at the same time, said Campaign and Story is being told for the players, with the players being main protagonists (usually), and it is all fun and games for the group as a whole, so the GM should also be willing to compromise with players when needed, or you quite simply will find your group losing engagement.
 
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