[Runequest] Runequest Digest, Vol 30, Issue 25

Andrew bgecko at bigpond.com
Thu Nov 18 13:57:21 EST 2010

> Yes, but that's a species of the more general problem, where the GM is
> ignorant of any particular area in which a player is expert. Military
> tactics tend to come up more often in RPGs than other areas of
> expertise, but all sorts of areas can lead to this kind of frustration.
> For example, I have a law degree. I've been at quite a few LARP events
> where some sort of trial or tribunal or other legal proceeding took
> place. (They come up in tabletop RPGs too, fairly often). The game
> organizers and fellow players often tend to rely on what bits and
> pieces of courtroom procedure they (mis)remember from My Cousin Vinnie
> or episodes of Law and Order. Most of the time I'm not playing a lawyer
> at these events, but I have inwardly cringed at many of the things I've
> seen done. (Of course, to be fair, I've also cringed at some of the
> actual rulings made by real judges in real courts, so take that for
> what it's worth.)
> On the other hand, there's also a danger if the GM defers too readily
> to the expertise of the players. That can drain all the challenge from
> the game, if players can always just tell the GM that their plan will
> work and that's that. I guess the lesson here is that it takes brains
> to be a good GM. Not necessarily to be an expert in everything, but to
> be able to understand the arguments of her players and not be bluffed
> into acquiescence.
> On 17-Nov-10, at 4:57 AM, Phil Hibbs wrote:
>> The real problem comes when someone who *does* know military tactics,
>> playing a character who *does* know military tactics, is in a game
>> where the GM does *not* know military tactics. Player makes a smart
>> decision, GM rules that it doesn't work because of his ignorance, and
>> he may not even know that the player is military-smart.
>> Phil.
>> -- 
>> Don't you just hate self-referential sigs?

Interesting, but when it is all said and done, RQ (or mine anyway) is set in 
a fantasy world where RL knowledge and skills often are meaningless and 
irrelevant. I have an ex-Military person in my gaming group but his infantry 
tactics skills don't really relate to RQ as he can't cast spells, summon 
help or do all the other things his PC's can. He can use this knowledge in 
generalised ways, but there is no need for me to be a military tactics 
expert to effectively run a scenario and campaign. Likewise court rooms in 
RL Western society have little relevance to RQ. Weregilds and honor oaths 
have no relevance in todays courtrooms (although in some cultures they do) 
generally speaking.

There is little need for the GM to an expert or indeed even smarter than his 
players. He just needs a good smattering of common sense, a love of the 
dramaatic and be a good story teller really. 

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