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GM Expectations

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 6 months ago

GM’s Expectations:

 

(What you should know about a game of Zamani run by Joseph Teller)

 

Your character needs to be a lot more than just some numbers, skills, and ability notes upon the page. The mechanics define your character mechanically, but should not be the only means by which I can understand your character. I want to know some of the character’s back story, and something about their personality as you will portray it, and what their goals are in life.

 

It would be good if you could create a drawing, painting or other visual tool (or find one that someone else has done) to use for other people to get some idea of what your character looks like. Even a photo of someone who looks and dresses like your character as you see them in your minds eye would help (but avoid photos of famous celebrities or actors/actresses unless there is no other choice).

 

As GM I will retain editorial control over characters. This means that I will work with you to rewrite your character until it fits within the world setting and within the sort of direction I expect the storylines the group will be involved in will go. Additionally it is my goal that most characters should have a niche that they fit into that the other player characters do not, so that no one is completely upstaged or find themselves sitting too long outside the spotlight. Everyone should have their chance to be important along the events.

 

There is no one main character. Although a character might become the focus of a specific session, or even a specific storyline in a campaign, it does not mean that their player gets to dominate the center stage all the time, all the GM's attention or will necessarily like where their choices and dice take them.

 

Folks should discuss character ideas before we get deep into creation, so that there is a good idea of the niches being filled and the kind of characters people want to play. They should also read over the handout or the wiki (yes, I know it’s really big) as it gives both specialized mechanics and setting info.

 

Loner characters, psychopathic killers, undead, gods, talking mules, absolute passivists, are all characters that don’t fit in to the setting and are undesired. So too are folks who want to make themselves into a one-man team or who must always be on stage and the center of attention. Some versatility is useful, and over specialization is problematic, but the character that does everything is also unrealistic in this setting as is the character that can only do one thing really well.

 

This is not a strategic/tactics combat game, although combat may occur within a storyline based upon your actions. Many aspects of combat have been purposely abstracted in the Zamani mechanic, so that it does not dominate entire game sessions. There will be many sessions and even complete story lines where combat may not even occur, if that is where player choices take us.

 

If the game degrades to the point that all it is one fight after another, session after session, then I will withdraw and shut it down. I don’t find such a game interesting. I want a mixture of mystery, puzzle solving, romance, action, ethical/moral challenges, adventure, exploration, group interaction, dialogue and occasional horror or humor, and hopefully so do you. Killing things is NOT the goal here, and you generally won’t gain experience from specifically doing such.

 

This is an Semi-abstract system. That means not everything is going to match the rigors of science. Many things have been tweaked and streamlined for interesting pulp-style play. It assumes the importance of the individual in changing events, and that there are no absolutes. It also uses a certain amount of randomness to keep things interesting. If you want asbolute realism, or a mechanic that lets you drastically over-calculate probabilities, then you're probably in the wrong place. The same is true with folks that want to avoid basic math, or folks who want to throw handfuls of dice whenever they take an action.

 

This is a Pulp Setting. This means that elements will be borrowed from fictional sources and other games and settings that fit into the concepts. You may recognize variations on a theme, classic pulp tropes in play or non-player characters that bear some semblance to characters found in such fiction. Nothing will be identical to any specific source, and there will be unusual twists, false fronts and deceptions in play as suits the genre.

 

This is Not A Mission Style Game. A lot of roleplaying games have a tendency towards a 'mission' style of play, where there is a gm controlled plot that cannot be deviated from drastically and only a limited amount of territory that has been developed that you are expected to keep your character within the bounds of. This can get to the point of a feeling of being 'railroaded' towards a destination. I have a different style in play than such, and it requires both an active and reactive choices by players and their characters in the game. If you wander off into uncharted territory I will design it as needed (sometimes with improvisation involved or random decisions on my part) and let you keep going - I like to enpower players a bit more than most people do in my games. There will be hooks, plots, details, and use of whatever story elements you have built into your character yourself via traits and in-game actions.

 

There is No Script Immunity. Characters can die, thru accident, deliberate action, choice, combat, or the actions of other players or support characters. I won't be deliberately trying to kill off characters, but if you have yours jump out of an airplane without a parachute, flight spell or other safety plan then they will probably end up fairly dead when they hit the ground. I don't like killing characters (when a character dies their story ends and it's a lot of work have a new one introduced then it was to bring one in at the start that fit with the events and other characters involved).

 

Fun is important. If you are not having fun, tell me, and tell me why. I am open to suggestions and ideas to improve the story, your character, the system, the setting or group interaction. (Exception : If you tell me "Can't we use D20 3.5 rules instead" or something similar then I will not be sympathetic, understanding or helpful, I will tell you in simple terms that such is not an option.) I also expect that I should have fun - if the players decide to simply turn the game into a slaughterfest, then I will not be having fun and will simply shut the game down.

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