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RPR Archive The Game Masters Guild

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource Archive' started by PRENNTACULAR, Oct 9, 2006.

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  1. PRENNTACULAR VIP

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2005
    star 6
    Sith-I-5- Welcome! We are glad to have you here! Please feel free to take part in any of the discussion, and ask any questions!

    Alright! Here we go for our first GM Caseload!

    Topic:

    How do you best GM a Superhero RPG? How do you prevent God-modding? What is the best style, lose or tight GMing? What power should the GM allow and not allow? Should the GM also play a character in this game? Why/Why not?
  2. Pheonix_Rising Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 17, 2005
    star 3
    Tis is all I have to offer right now, I'm devoting most of my time on this project in the GDG for the actual gameplay, hope you gus work something good out in here.

    A.)How do you best GM a Superhero RPG? How do you prevent God-modding?

    Preventing God-Moding in a game like this would be hard. Everyone is going to be able to pull off superhuman feats. I think that having multiple GM's would do a good job at patrolling for God-Moding though. Having a single GM devoting their time(while playing a character perhaps) to reading the posts and watching for God-Moding, although a team of two or three would probably do better.

    B.)What is the best style, lose or tight GMing?

    For this game I'm going to have to go with a medium style of GMing, but leaning more towards a tighter style. This would prove to reduce the amount of God-Moding in the game. The downside to this is the fact that this has the potential to scare some folks away.

    C.)What power should the GM allow and not allow?

    I don't believe this can be discussed at the moment, we at the GDG haven't even set the story in place yet, and I believe that powers should depend on the story(at least a little).

    D.)Should the GM also play a character in this game? Why/Why not?

    I beleive he should, this would limit 'Divine Intervention.'
  3. Darth_Meerkat Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2006
    star 3
    A.) How do you best GM a Superhero RPG? How do you prevent God-modding?
    I think that the GM should take a position of various NPCs needed to answer TAGs, spend more time planning ahead for later plots in the game, as well as looking out for godmodding. To prevent godmodding, GMs should enforce a strict turn-based battle system, as well as a level-based power system. Such as powers getting better with training and experience, and put some restrictions on daily training times, as well as them not being allowed to stop a crime every two blocks.

    B.) What is the best style, lose or tight GMing?
    A GM in this game should be on the high end of medium, and be tight on not allowing players to use powers to godmod. Common Assuption of Life: If someone else does something, and nothing is done as a result, they'll try it too.

    C.)What power should the GM allow and not allow?
    Well, starting with basics, no "godmodding powers" (mind-reading, one-hit KOs, the like.) The GM should also have a player pick powers by guess a number, to avoid everyone building Superman.

    D.)Should the GM also play a character in this game? Why/Why not?
    No, because in a game like this, I think the GM position would be a very demanding job...watching for godmodding, moderating battles maybe, plot building, the like.
  4. Obi-Wan21 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2002
    star 4

    To best GM a Hero RPG, you need a story, you need the passion, and you seriously need the time. The feel of a Superhero RPG should always remain epic, and the players need to know they are in good hands. Let them know where everything stands. Of course, you must also know when too much GM intervention is enough, this isn't a game that has to rely on mysterious characters pulling everyone together in awkward moments, it makes the game feel it doesn't have a sense of purpose.

    A GM seriously should know where the point of the game will go, and allow for as much player induced interaction as possible. Let the players decide who they tell that they have abilities, yeah, a GM can push a couple of characters together, but let THEM make the ultimate decisions and build relationships of trust and such, so that it can feel REAL.

    Preventing God-Modding isn't as hard as it sounds in one of these games. Limit a characters power to like two abilities, and as they progress, allow them to unlock a third slot. And they of course have to learn to use their powers, all of which can be handled easily, as long as the players are intent on making this a realistic example of a Hero RPG.

    Though the RULES are also where it stands, NO GOD-MODDING, needs to be enforced, and I would have to say that the ability for a character to not die would have to be removed, unless handled correctly. Such as, you could say they have a healing ability, but being stabbed in the neck or heart would kill them.

    It has a balancing effect while still allowing said player to choose that ability. And of course, not all powers are super powerful, very few cross the god-modding line, as each hero is limited.

    The best style of Game Mastering in an RPG like this is a mix of both tight and loose. The GM needs to be loose enough to allow players their own time for interaction and using their ability, but the GM needs a tight leash on where this story stands and making sure the rules of the abilities stay fair.

    An RPG isn't fun if everything is single-handily controlled by some force, the players feel like they have no real destiny to apply with, and it loses its human element.

    And finally, I think a GM should have a central player in the game, it's only fair that the GM be allowed to play in the RPG. It's not like that central character will be the star anyway. And then said GM would control the NPC's that play pivotal roles in pulling the strings of the story and overall arc of the game.

    Of course, a co-Game Master would further the help of the game, and allow for a more balanced control of NPC's and who uses them.
  5. Rainbow Knight Star Game Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2005
    star 5
    May I please join this guild? I need all the advice and encouragement I can get.
  6. PRENNTACULAR VIP

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2005
    star 6
    PRJ, feel free to join! We welcome you to our ranks! Just be sure to mention the GMG in your sig or bio...

    On to discussion...

    It seems that there is a consensus about the correct style of GMing. A middle ground, moving towards tightness. We think this is nesecarry to patrol the obvious trend toward God-Modding, yet still not scare people away.

    It is also agreed upon that there should be a co-GM. How many will be enough? 1? 3? Why?

    AAANNNNNDDDDD now, we get to play my favourite game!!!

    What if...?

    What should a GM do if there is no player/player intereaction? How can the GM make the players interact? What kind of situations can superheroes be put in, to encourage intereaction?

    What if...a player does God-Mod? What should punishment be?

    It seems that everybody agrees that playes should have a lot of choices...But how can a GM acomplish this in a superhero game? What kind of specific situations do you have in mind?
  7. Sith-I-5 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 6
    There doesn't have to be a co-GM. Flagship-level games will need one eventually, but if one GM can sort it without a psychotic episode, so be it.
  8. Darth_Meerkat Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2006
    star 3
    Hmm...that "favorite game" line got me thinking of Drew Carey on Whose Line...scary.

    What should a GM do if there is no player/player intereaction? How can the GM make the players interact? What kind of situations can superheroes be put in, to encourage intereaction?

    Well, it seems like the GM should start with a "situation" (read: super weapon-weilding manic bent on world domination) that requires players to work with at least one other person to take it down. Like The Human Freeze Ray slows it down while Torcher melts supports to collapse it's legs, perhaps. Or you could have a union meeting at the largest Starbucks on Earth. Depends on the heros' personalities.

    What if...a player does God-Mod? What should punishment be?
    Probably a few warnings, then notify the mods.

    Specific situations? Hmm...start off with a few "easy" storyline robberies or muggings, then progress to bigger and badder dudes. Maybe have players stop muggers on the side if they want a bit of action for their character...or a sophisticated bump.
  9. Obi-Wan21 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2002
    star 4
    A player god-mods, it's simple, three strikes and you're out. The player MUST be held accountable, the rules are there for a reason. God-modding once will result in a temp ban from the game.

    If there is no player-player interaction, the GM just has to pull a few strings to interact the characters. Such as stopping some attack, and pulling a small amount of characters together, and bring them out in tough situations.

    Major robberies, terrorist attacks, players can be brought together in a number of ways if the need is necessary, and these scenarios will also bring out multiple choices on how a specific character will handle the situation, and would then affect the entire world, allowing the players to know they are responsible for their actions.

    As I've already stated, there are a number of game choices that a GM can set out for players and allow them multiple choices in the situation. And, while on the subject, I believe at least One MAIN Game Master and two Co-Game Masters are necessary for a game of this size. It would allow for better freedom, and that way the three could also play along if need be. The Central GM would move the story forward, and the Co-GM's could take the load off and play NPC's and enforce the rules where needed.

    As for situations, the players need a large playing field, New York is the prime choice for this. Or, even better, have two separate areas for players, LA, California, and New York, it could be spread out and players balanced into one of the specific areas. Or play fields. But ONLY those two.

    We can't have players all over the country, and those two spots would prove for the most interesting engagements between characters and make it not feel like such a small world. And, better yet, one of the Co-GM's could even watch over a specific city, another could watch over the New York centered posts, and the main GM could watch over the entire game.
  10. Zedd-Vega Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 13, 2003
    star 5
    But do be wary about what you make the heroes face, especially if you set it in modern day where everyone has powers or suddenly develops them. Things like terrorist attacks and the like need to be handled carefully, as not to offend anyone who may have lost someone due to an attack of that calibur. Trust me, I've lost a cousin to 9/11 and have an uncle and cousin in Iraq as we speak. Please, handle these carefully, not for my sake, because I can handle it, but for anyone else who may have the same sentiments.

    Another thing to avoid is prissing off special interest groups (homosexuals, feminists, White Conservatives for America, Ralph Nader, etc). These can be handled with a bit of satirical freedom, but keep in mind that if the TOS applies to this game (and why wouldn't it :p) we'd have to refrain from things such as these.

    Just my $0.02
  11. Obi-Wan21 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2002
    star 4
    I don't see a Superhero RPG touching on homosexuality. And terrorist attacks happen all the time in TV, look at 24. There's not much you can do with that. It's just a game. People need to realize that first of all. If they don't like the idea of it, then they don't have to play. You can't please everyone, and it's not like having an in-game terrorist attack is politically incorrect.
  12. PRENNTACULAR VIP

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2005
    star 6
    I think there is a happy medium between not pissing off everyone, and not pleasing everyone.;)

    If you have a terrorist attack a city (A likely scenario), don't make it "Those damn Arabs" or "Those stupid gays." (Sorry if I offended anybody, but this is complelty hypothetical, and does not refelct my views on the subject).

    Instead, make it "A group of terrorists are planning on bombing a harbour." And then have your heroes go protect that harbor. There are always fun mob situations as well. What are some other scanarios that you guys can think of? I think that brainstorming will help any perspective GM run a creative game. What do you guys think?
  13. Zedd-Vega Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 13, 2003
    star 5
    I agree with you whole-heartedly on the terrorist issue, but the last thing anyone would want to repeat (game-wise or not) is another 9/11. We can fight terrorists, we can mention terrorists, we can defeat terrorists. I don't know if that solves anything, but I know by reading comics for almost my entire life, that terroism is something heroes deal with.

    I was just saying that if the game is based in the "real world", that these issues might become more sensitive to deal with and we wouldn't need to worry about dealing with people who think that issue is bad, but worrying more about the mods interfering.

    And what I meant by including aspects of homosexuality was like those sexually ambiguous superheroes (Early Batman and Robin for an example). Humorous wisecracks along those lines.

    Again, another penny or two to toss in the pool. I'm not trying to rile you guys up, but to touch on some points that could alert our friendly mods.
  14. LightWarden Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Did you see the first two X-men movies ("Have you tried... *not* being a mutant?" Heeeelllllooooo Subtext. Though I suppose you could make a case for it being one of many other forms of pointless discrimination)?

    As to feminism... well, it totally *sucks* to be a female in most comic series. You're usually used as a plot device (and often killed off to promote the hero to new levels of angst), your powers are often derivative (or appropriately feminine: healing, precision fighting and seduction powers... yay!), and to top it off, your costumes and poses are usually designed to be as sexy as possible (complete with the artist emphasizing your anatomy in most of the panels. I mean, how many times do you get male superheroes doing pelvic thrusts that could kill a rhino?). So, I think they might just have a point...

    And no, terrorist attacks are not necessary. It entirely depends on just how much grit you want to put into your game. You can move the slider to whatever fits your ideal game world. Less grittier games would tend to cover plots that are often outlandish (such as shrinking the Eifel Tower), feature theme villains ("Oh no, Pogo the Clown and his army of Springy Soldiers are holding up the patrons of the Chuckling Duckling Comedy Club, while Pogo shows off his true comic genius!"), tend to be relatively non-lethal (with no maiming or murder or dramatic changes) and other such Golden Age tropes. Basically, a lot of different ways to steal things, as well as generally menace the public. Moving along into the grittier areas, and you start getting crimes such as organized crime, smuggling, gang violence, murder, slavery, domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse, etc. You can even make distinctions between various crimes such by being explicit, or mixing grittier elements by having things such as a gang who maims and mutilates its victims in order to maintain power (as opposed to a gang who just sort of appears out of no where for the sole purpose of looking somewhat intimidating and recieving a beating). It entirely depends on what mood you're going for (and what the TOS will allow. Check with your local Mod Squad, ladies and gentlemen).

    Regarding the God-moding... You might want to be specific about what constitutes it. One of the things about superheroes is that they tend to be pretty super. Thus it's not unlikely that they could vastly overpower someone (even if it's another PC) given the right situation. There's also the potential for players to come up with tactics/novel uses for their powers that can completely turn the tables on their opponents. I'm not sure if the fights should always be equal, or when if it should be called "God Mode" when one player absolutely whups another.

    I'd recommend that you make sure your players have some sense as to the scale of their powers (how fast they can move, how much they can lift, how much destructive force their eye rays possess, how high they can jump) and then decide how realistic you're going to make it (since your average can be knocked out with just one punch by either Batman or Superman, even though Superman's fist is a heck of a lot more damaging in theory. While you may argue "pulling the punches", you might get a similar situation when a superpowered villain does something that would normally kill a civilian, but the civilian survives. Again, this is part of the mood). Finally, I'd suggest having an independent arbiter (or more than one if you don't trust him) for deciding when players are getting out of hand. And if you're going that route, I'd recommend the GM not play any one particular character to the same extent as the players (to maintain fairness). Then you can have the government or some other organization grow wary of a character that's pushing your buttons and whack him.

    If you want organization: Well, there are definitely benefits. As a loner, you're limited to your own resources and information. If the game is somewhat balanced, those
  15. Obi-Wan21 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2002
    star 4
    I understand the sub-text of the X-Men movies, but this isn't X-Men. A game focusing on a whole sub-plot about gays though, really unlikely, as it is for females to not get the fair play they deserve. Yes, major attacks on cities aren't needed if you have a villain of the week, but that isn't exactly the best formula for an RPG, I say realistic and gritty, the attacks could be central to plot or used to move characters together if the interaction wasn't high enough. As I said, there are many other holes to fill when dealing with crime and robberies.

    All of which could be done within the makings of the TOS. I'd also frown upon someone having super computers and bases to detect crime. This isn't Marvel or DC, as the story progresses things could move forward, some heroes become organized, but throw the Government in there and you have a logical explanation for an organized group of heroes with the equipment to get it done.

    Dealing with characters having a rough time excepting their abilities, and how if/when they openly reveal their powers to the public and are treated, that's up to said PC. I also believe fairness can be obtained if the GM is playing a character, as such, three GM's could control the NPC's and be allowed to play along.

    It's not like any one PC will be central to the plot anyway. As such, NPC's would be what the game used to move forward with.
  16. LightWarden Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    I think it would help if we had some tenative idea as to who the GM was (I'm not campaigning, I'm just confused) and what sort of vision the GM had regarding the game. Right now, the best we can do is make a case regarding what we think will work, or how you could go about things. While I like democracy, I think a leader (specifically the people running the game) would help us find something to work for.

    Right now, I really have no idea as to what the heck we're doing.

    I may not be reading this correctly, but I think the idea many people seem to be pushing for is that of beginnings. The PCs recently find their abilities, and now have to decide what they're doing with them. It also seems like the public is unaware of abilities. If this means that superfolks are pretty much non-existant, then you're going to probably need some sort of origin, trigger, or other catalyst for change. Things like energy bombardments, next generation of mutants, parents involved in something which caused them to pass on defective genes, big chemical explosion, whatever. It might be good to figure that one out. Anyways, if powers are a new thing, that means that both the heroes and the villains are going to be on training wheels. They're just picking up their costumes and identities; no established patrol routes or hidden bases with secret technology. You probably won't have a supervillain of the week with serious threat potential until the villain has had time to adjust to the new powers. This means that your first opposition will likely be in the form of established crime, mob organizations, crooks with weapons, maybe humans trained to the peak of ability or tech villains.

    On the other hand, if powers are something that's existed before, then you already have structure in place. If the public is unaware of supers, then there's like a code of invisible war in place, and people who will stop at nothing to keep the existance of the players and everyone else involved as a secret. Either way (public ignorant or public informed), you will have role models, organizations to join or fight, government groups to keep the balance, power blocs, and pre-established threats at the upper levels. In this sort of world, it becomes less about discovery and more about adjustment, I think.

    Anyone have any ideas as to which way the game will be going? And while I'm at it: If the players are starting out, with evolving powers, will they be able to decide where they go, or will the GM do that?
  17. Obi-Wan21 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2002
    star 4
    It is in my opinion that the evolution of a player's character will be up to them specifically. While the GM has the central device of moving the plot forward. It is also in my interest that we set this in a Present Day real world where people are just learning their powers, the characters that is. Any of the plot centralizing around other main villains, or some government plot will be handled accordingly by said Game Master.

    Beginnings are where I stand on the matter, let us show how these people are coming to be, and then the world WILL certainly come to know them, and invoke a whole 'nother intrigue of gaming. Allow the characters to learn what they're capable of and decide how they want to serve the world, as hero or villain, it will allow for a more open game and just feel more personalized.

    While on the matter, I've composed a list of abilities that we may either expand on, or move to NOT being allowed.

    ____________________________________________

    I believe a list of ALLOWED abilities should be in the opening post, so the Player knows what they're dealing with and what specific abilities can do. And with such a long list, players won't be repeating many abilities and will allow for more individuality.

    here's the list:

    List of ALLOWED Abilities-

    Flight-
    The ability to soar through the air, either by wings or a self induced ability.

    Shape-shifting-
    The ability to alter one's appearance to that of another human being.

    Anamorphic-
    The ability to change into an Animal.

    Elasticity-
    Ability to stretch, deform, expand and contract one's body into any form they can imagine.

    Liquification-
    Ability to turn partially or completely into a liquid.

    Size shifting-
    Ability to increase or decrease one's size.

    Sublimation-
    Ability to transform into a gaseous or mist form.

    Illusion-
    Ability to alter or deceive the perceptions of another. Usually visual, it may be a light-based effect, a sound-based effect, a mind-affecting effect, or any other effect that causes one to perceive things that are not necessarily real.

    Psionic blast-
    Ability to overload another's mind causing pain, memory loss, loss of consciousness, vegetative state or death after having created a psionic link into that person's mind.

    Psychic weapons-
    Ability to create a weapon, like a knife or grenade, of psionic energy that can harm mentally and not physically.

    Mind control-
    Power to control the actions or reasoning of another.

    Telepathy-
    Ability to read the thoughts of, or to mentally communicate with others.

    Psychometry-
    Ability to relate details about the past or future condition of an object, person or location, usually by being in close contact with it.

    Precognition-
    Ability to perceive the future. Sometimes it is only expressed in vague dreams while asleep, other times it is clear and occurs at will and when awake.

    Mediumship-
    Ability to see and communicate with the dead (ghosts).

    Empathy-
    Ability to read or sense the emotions or feelings of others.

    Danger sense-
    Ability to sense personal danger. A limited form of clairvoyance.

    Omni-lingual-
    Ability to decipher any language.

    Wallcrawling-
    Ability to cling to objects or surfaces by a variety of means.

    Superhuman Strength-
    Above normal physical strength.

    Superhuman reflexes-
    Ability to react faster than a normal human.

    Sonic scream-
    Ability to use one's voice in a manner of offensive or defensive ways.

    Separation-
    Ability to separate parts of your body and have them act of their own accord.

    Self-detonation or explosion-
    Ability to explode ones body mass and (presumably) reform.

    Reactive Adaptation/Evolution-
    Ability to develop a resistance or immunity to whatever they were injured by or exposed to. This effect can be permanent or temporary.

    Poison-
    Ability to assault others with one or more varieties of tox
  18. PRENNTACULAR VIP

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2005
    star 6
    I gotta run, but I wanted to say this one thing. There is alot of great conversation going on here. I love it!

    Obi- That is a great list, very extensive...and I don't want to see that list go to waste, but it is more of the GDG's territory. I suggest posting it there...They deal with first posts, we deal with what happens after. Thaks!
  19. Obi-Wan21 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2002
    star 4
    Oh, I had a feeling it would belong there. I just know that there's alot of discussion on God-modding and powers, so I thought I'd post it here to see what points of abilities should be allowed and such, and what moves into god-modding.

    Though I will post it there as well.
  20. LightWarden Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
  21. Sith-I-5 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 6
    Games Masters encounter stresses and problems that players aren't even aware off, and if we have a guild for GMs, I think this should be a place for them to blow off steam and share experiences, so you know you are not alone in any hassles you have been having.

    Obviously try to be general with recollections, rather than identifying any particular player.
  22. PRENNTACULAR VIP

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2005
    star 6
    Sorry for lack of updates, all. I'm hoping to beat RL into control after this weekend, and then be able to devote a lot more attention to the Guild of Game Masters.

    Sithy, this will be a community for GM's...but we don't want to spam or flame...I have no problem with venting here...as long as it doesn't turn into trash talking...or talking bad about a particular player...I would rather GM's come here to share expereince and ideas and tips, and ask questions...

    So...it's looking like this superhero game is going to happen. They are discussing the starting conflict over there in the GDG...so here we'll discuss in game conflicts. Should it be one group of bad guys throughout the whole game? Should it be diferent groups? How many threats should there be? Just one?
  23. Darth_Meerkat Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2006
    star 3
    Well, I think it should be maybe 5 major villains, and you run into various thugs...maybe keep one group of thugs around who sign on with different baddies to get a shot in at you. Something random and insignificant to keep people laughing. And things should be kept random...first a comp virus, maybe, then superweapon, then nanovirus, etc.
  24. The Great No One Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2005
    star 8
    i'd also like to join as well, and i must admit it's been some interesting discussion going on. i'll just have to get completely caught up.
  25. SephyCloneNo15 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2005
    star 5
    I made the silly decision just weeks before launching a new Game that I didn't need any advice at GMing for the time-being, despite the improvements the GDG and CDG has helped me make in their respective domains. I'd like to join the GMG, and I'll be adding it to my sig ASAP.
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