Saturday, December 25, 2010

There are Two Games

Before getting into game design mumbo jumbo - A Merry Christmas to all readers. I hope today's as you would like it to be. We actually got snow during the night, so we're having a white one.

I ended yesterday's post with for a Game Master, there are two games. Meaning, IMO, that there is the game that exists when everyone's over and playing and the dice are a' rolling, but there is also the game that exists when the GM is alone and exploring the world, prepping it for the players to come later and follow in the GMs footsteps.

I think this is so because the nice thing about rpgs is that they're all based upon the idea of wide-open creativity. The game isn't just the rules, isn't just the success or failure of objectives - there's no one way to "win" and more importantly, there's no one way to play. IMO, this wide-open creativity extends to the discovery of the world and if the GM views this process as one of be an explorer of the world, not a creator and not in terms of X is here, Y is here, it is possible to actually play the game alone. Especially if one uses dice to throw in that randomness that makes exploration so much fun.

I think that most of us blogging about the game GM the game. We play also, of course, but I suspect that most of us first consider ourselves GMs and then players. I think GMs have fallen in love with being explorers of worlds that no one has ever seen before. I think this process of exploring our own personal worlds is one of the main reasons why we talk and think and write about the game when we're not at the table. We're actually playing the game in this process.

I believe that it is this love of exploration that separates GMs from players. A GM is forever desiring to be down in the dungeons, lantern in hand, peering into the darkness, excited by what lurks just outside of vision. Forever enjoying the experience of "Wait til the group sees this!"

As a publisher, when I'm reading a manuscript under consideration for publication, one of the things I'm looking for is that "Golly Gee Willikers! This is an awesome exploration!" feel. I want to feel that the author's as excited at his discovery as the players are going to be at theirs. It's an important consideration in my evaluation of a module, and it's something I try like hell to make sure is in the modules I write.

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