Friday, February 17, 2017

Interrupt Based GM

This tool will periodically pop up mythic style events (or generic meta-statements about the fiction) based on nothing more than random time intervals, ranging between 5 and 10 minutes. You're meant to just start writing and wait for the "GM" to interrupt your flow with some new information.

It might be a little hokey, but what had come to mind at the time (long time ago) was that oracle tools like the Mythic GME generally require you to engage them before they do anything (even in their electronic form). Real GMs, however, do all kinds of stuff without the need for you to 'poke' them first (to borrow a Facebook idiom). This might be integrated into a full blown oracle at some point.

Click this link for some advice on using this tool. I hope you enjoy using it!
Some Advice:
Play fast and loose with the interpretations, and  treat the keywords as optional inspiration. Give yourself no more than one or two minutes to interpret what the tool throws at you. Ignore input that you can't interpret in this time, or place it into a 'backlog' bucket to take care of it at a later time. You can look at the 'backlog' each time a new event comes up, and handle them together as you see fit.

Feedback in the form of impressions and suggestions on  making  this tool better is appreciated. Let me know what you like, what you don't like (e.g. are the random time intervals too long? Too short?), and what you would change (would you rewrite some of the directives? Some of the keywords?).

This is yet another take on the Mythic GME's idea of random events that throw the player twists that they must incorporate into their game. The Mythic GM works as usual, with the twist that now events will come up without any input from the player (i.e. no interaction with the fate chart, or whatever). 

The rest of this post will focus on the "Fictional Positioning GM" (boring name). This tool is based, obviously, on Mythic events, but also on my (mis-?) understanding of fictional positioning from posts I've read around the net. The tool is meant to create resistance or "pushback" by challenging a player’s fictional positioning. This tool attempts to approximate the feeling of resistance provided by another player that challenges what you are trying to insert into the fiction.

The way the tool attempts to do this is by interrupting the player’s flow with a set of directives that I unimaginatively call Fictional Alterations, along with a set of Random Keywords meant to help with inspiration. Your job then is to ask, “What is the tool trying to change, and how?” The “what” should generally be the last piece of fiction that was set down. Think of it as the tool saying, “Hold up one second. It’s not exactly like that.” The “how” depends on how you interpret the Alterations and Keywords.

A note on interpretation: Give yourself wide latitude in your interpretations, and also feel free to ignore any and all keywords if it speeds things up. However, do keep in mind that the tool is trying to provide resistance, so don’t shy away from interpretations that add wrinkles or obstacles.

Once you’ve made sense of the Alteration and Keywords, you have two options: Go along with the change (‘say yes’ to the ‘GM’, haha), or declare a conflict. How the conflict is played through depends on what type of conflict system the RPG you are playing has. If the conflict system handles narrative control, the conflict will likely be about what goes into the fiction. If the conflict system is less explicitly about narrative control, (say a system that only allows you to alter the fiction through attributes and skills), you might have to deal with the Alteration AFTER it enters the fiction. **

**Say, for example, that the tool seems to suggest that an enemy attacks you and wounds you. If the conflict system is more heavily about narrative control, you may be contesting the very fact that the enemy enters the picture. If the conflict system is less explicit about narrative control, you may not be able to contest that fact, but you may still be able to avoid the attack, via say a high “Charisma” attribute, or a high skill in combat.