Power Gaming, and control

From: mark groff (mg1160@messiah.edu)
Date: Sat 04 May 1996 - 01:18:15 EEST


I am not quite sure where the Onslaught thread started or why, but I do
have some ideas about the usually unfortunate set of charateristics that
are referred to as power gaming.
         In my experience there are two basic types of game master/game. The
first is the story teller, in these cases the GM provides a central plot
and the players are expected to play their roles in reference to the
plot. The other style is more permisive, in which the players set the
goals and determine the plot and the GM is more a world moderator than a
narrator. Now, most games fall somewhere in between simply because the
amount of preparation needed for a strict application the second type is
enormous, however, too many times games are run by what I call Plot
Monsters. In these cases the characters become pawns in the GM's largely
pre-determined story. In games like this, where players are not allowed to
substantialy influence the course of events, ie have power, they are more
likely to seek out the rewards that are permited, usually in the terms of
MORE FIREPOWER. The THOG Mighty Thews type character might be a type
inexperienced players will outgrow, but the GM created the conditions
for his development.
        One of the beauties of Glorantha is the wealth of published materials
that allow a more permissive style of play, per GM hour invested. The
thing to remember IMHO is that if people are presented situations that
are mainly soluable by firepower they will respond by using firepower.
Let them be PLAYERS in political intrigue, rather than pawns, and they
will probably respond accordingly. Players (and people in general) want a
sense of control at some level IMHO, and if the more subtle types are
denied, they will naturally seek out the types that remain. Timmy
the Trolkin is fun to play only because he is allowed to determine his own
rewards and ways of responding to the world around him.

                Mark Groff - Now donning NOMEX flame retardant suit.

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