Alex Vriairu
 member, 381 posts
Tue 10 Jan 2017
at 20:56
Re: So much freeform!
the sad thing Gladiusdei, is there really is no way to Know, if you have good or experienced players, till the game is played.. but that's true-ish for any game.  Even in a system game, you can have people who know the rules like the back of their own hand, but not be good in a group.

This message was last edited by the user at 21:00, Tue 10 Jan.

Lord_Johnny
 member, 196 posts
Tue 10 Jan 2017
at 21:43
Re: So much freeform!
Hmmmm. I'm seeing a tendency of those who are explaining the Free form side to assume that systems with dice are all about conflict with each other, which while may be possible, is definitely not the focus. That said, conflict with each other is part of life. It's not necessarily a bad thing, and can absolutely be part of the story. Should conflict necessarily be the focus? No, not necessarily, but it shouldn't be a game stopper either. Conflict happens, people disagree, it's part of the natural order of the world. Implying that there shouldn't be any conflict really isn't natural, and definitely breaks the suspension of disbelief.

Additionally, I see a lot of assumption that those who are in systems (as opposed to free form) can't get into roleplay. Can we not do that? That is is pretty insulting to several people, myself included, who absolutely love to get in character, and play games. And, frankly, I who have no understanding of Free-Form at all (but played in a few free-form games for a few weeks) have had a far easier time getting into the setting and character than dedicated Free-former's and even the Free-Former GM in several instances.

So, rather than making digs on either side, I'd like to ask that we stick to discussing the appeal of Free-Form.

That said, let's move on to the real body of this post.

Ico, I see what you're saying, but disagree with almost every facet of your premise's.

First of all, every character, whether in a free-form or not, is going to be the "pet character" of the player in that game. After all, they are the character they are playing. If you're saying that the player, in Systems, are only looking out for themselves, I'm sorry you've had that experience, but I can assure you that isn't "normal".

Second, in my experiences with Free-Form, it wasn't me as the newbie who suddenly blew up and went rage monster on others. It was the person who was being quite unreasonable and unrealistic about things that, in reality, work the way another character (not even me, but someone else entirely) was saying they wanted to use something. Again, not the rank newbie, but experienced person. Now, obviously, this type of behavior doesn't reflect on experienced players in general, but my point isn't that it does. My point is that as long as players, in free-form or systems, are human, then we're going to have to put up with players who act that way. Both in and out of Free-Form.

Third, once again, it's very easy to get away from the banana measuring and get in the game in systems. Free-form in no way shape or fashion has anything close to resembling a monopoly on desiring and ability to get in character and work together. Role Play is, literally, in the title of Tabletop Roleplaying Game. Yeah, systems also concentrate on roleplay. They just have ways of dealing with specific things that I just don't see in Free-Form.

Fourth, You do have a bit of something here with the paragraph about the ways of dealing with something, but you kind of violate your own premise. ( Paraphrase: It's not about taking over people's things, it's about getting together with other player's and divvying up someone else's things.) Okay, so you really just said that it wasn't about the thing that you just said it was about. Whether it's two players doing it (and there are some games where that IS the story) or to an NPC, it's the same thing. You took over someone else's stuff. Additionally, I find this idea to be possibly unrealistic. If (to use *your* example) say I was a warlord with 400 well armed troops, and two people with, say 100 moderately armed troops each, sorry, no, you'd not beat me. It doesn't matter that there are two of you, you'd still mostly likely loose. But, in your example, Free-Form has no way of handling that type of situation, because there were two of you, so you won. That premise is whack. On the other hand, system games have a definite way to handle that.


A few other instances came up here, but in the interests of making a point vs belaboring you into the ground, I won't mention them.

Once again, it really boils down to a "lack of rules" as the appeal. You (general) don't want to learn all the rules, and so you don't with that system. That's fine, there isn't anything wrong with that, and by no means am I bashing anyone who has that motivation. But that is what things boil down to.
Alex Vriairu
 member, 382 posts
Tue 10 Jan 2017
at 23:08
Re: So much freeform!
Then if you think that's what it boils down to perhaps we could consider the question answered.
fireflights
 member, 340 posts
 playing with Fire
 always burns
Tue 10 Jan 2017
at 23:13
Re: So much freeform!
Lord_Johnny, I absolutely disagree that there's in no way shape or fashion has anything close to resembling a monopoly on desiring and ability to get in character and work together. I play Freeform ONLY and I ALWAYS get into my character as well as work with others. If you have had that problem in freeforms, maybe it's the people you have played with in those games. Because I know in my games, and in the games I play in, I have never once experienced the things you talk about in this thread. We all work together, we work out how a battle can be fought, what damage your character takes on, YOU choose and you're not forced to kill your character unless YOU want to. That's the lure of freeform, plus freeform isn't just for battle games, you can have games where you're just about romance and drama, I don't see how you can play a system game based on that type of game setting, but maybe you can, who knows. The truth of it is, you may never get your answer fully on why people like Freeform, perhaps you should just accept that they do and move on?
icosahedron152
 member, 712 posts
Tue 10 Jan 2017
at 23:23
Re: So much freeform!
gladiusdei:
that's not really what I meant.  I meant if you entered a freeform game with a character concept along the lines of 'I want to play a court jester and explore the nuances of courtly life from an outsiders perspective,' and the rest of the group proceeded to move the story in a direction where court activities were never present, then the story you wanted to tell is impossible.  Which may be an inappropriate way to enter a freeform game.  Kind of hard for me to know for sure, if I haven't ever played one.


Sorry if I misunderstood. In the example you give here, a court jester with that goal might be appropriate if the rest of the game as agreed by the players and GM in advance was about characters interacting in a court, but might not be appropriate if the game had other goals. What I'm saying is that in a freeform game you would spend more time up front discussing the game along the lines of 'I'm thinking of playing a court jester and exploring the nuances of courtly life from an outsiders perspective. Can we fit that into the game? How would my character interact with yours? Where do you all want to go with the game?'
Furthermore, these discussions take place throughout the game at significant points when further decisions become necessary. That way there is much less chance of the game sidelining your character and the GM will make sure that you get the chance to play your character.

Of course, there is no accounting for jerks, including jerk GMS. As someone said up thread, freeform games don't have a monopoly on them.

Try a freeform game. Try several - as you say, it's the only way to be sure. What's to lose? A few hours of your time? You lose that every month when a dice game dries up and you don't get to play your character out. Where's the difference? :)
gladiusdei
 member, 502 posts
Tue 10 Jan 2017
at 23:31
Re: So much freeform!
I've tried, I've found it hard to find a game to fit into.  Guess time will tell.
icosahedron152
 member, 713 posts
Wed 11 Jan 2017
at 00:02
Re: So much freeform!
Lord_Johnny:
First of all, every character, whether in a free-form or not, is going to be the "pet character" of the player in that game. After all, they are the character they are playing. If you're saying that the player, in Systems, are only looking out for themselves, I'm sorry you've had that experience, but I can assure you that isn't "normal".

I'm not saying that at all, I was responding to a specific point that I believed another contributor was making, but apparently I was mistaken.

Lord_Johnny:
Second, in my experiences with Free-Form, it wasn't me as the newbie who suddenly blew up and went rage monster on others. It was the person who was being quite unreasonable and unrealistic about things that, in reality, work the way another character (not even me, but someone else entirely) was saying they wanted to use something. Again, not the rank newbie, but experienced person. Now, obviously, this type of behavior doesn't reflect on experienced players in general, but my point isn't that it does. My point is that as long as players, in free-form or systems, are human, then we're going to have to put up with players who act that way. Both in and out of Free-Form.


Are you sure the other guy was experienced?
And in any case, all games attract jerks, using dice doesn't stop someone from picking a fight with another player. I've seen many arguments in dice games (which I've played for years) around whether a particular dice modifier was 'valid' At the end of the day, the players and GM either accept that behaviour or they don't.

Lord_Johnny:
Third, once again, it's very easy to get away from the banana measuring and get in the game in systems. Free-form in no way shape or fashion has anything close to resembling a monopoly on desiring and ability to get in character and work together. Role Play is, literally, in the title of Tabletop Roleplaying Game. Yeah, systems also concentrate on roleplay. They just have ways of dealing with specific things that I just don't see in Free-Form.

I agree with you, and agreed with you above. Dice games definitely include role play, and are certainly better at resolving the mechanics of combat - but often they take such an inordinately long time over it (particularly in PbP) that you lose the flow of the scene. Smoother flow is one of the attractions of freeform.

Lord_Johnny:
Fourth, You do have a bit of something here with the paragraph about the ways of dealing with something, but you kind of violate your own premise. ( Paraphrase: It's not about taking over people's things, it's about getting together with other player's and divvying up someone else's things.) Okay, so you really just said that it wasn't about the thing that you just said it was about. Whether it's two players doing it (and there are some games where that IS the story) or to an NPC, it's the same thing. You took over someone else's stuff. Additionally, I find this idea to be possibly unrealistic.

Sorry, you lost me here. I'll take another look at it tomorrow.

Lord_Johnny:
If (to use *your* example) say I was a warlord with 400 well armed troops, and two people with, say 100 moderately armed troops each, sorry, no, you'd not beat me. It doesn't matter that there are two of you, you'd still mostly likely loose. But, in your example, Free-Form has no way of handling that type of situation, because there were two of you, so you won. That premise is whack. On the other hand, system games have a definite way to handle that.

That's not what I was saying. In a sensible Freeform game, like a dice game, if one side is outnumbered and outclassed it will probably lose, no matter the distribution of players. Dice games don't have a monopoly on realism. What I was saying was that instead of concentrating on buying, equipping and marshalling troops (which works well in a numbers game) you'd concentrate on the stories behind the conquest. What happened to make those leaders go to war? Can an outnumbered leader persuade a (well armed and numerous) ally to help him turn the tables? If so, how?

Lord_Johnny:
A few other instances came up here, but in the interests of making a point vs belaboring you into the ground, I won't mention them.

Once again, it really boils down to a "lack of rules" as the appeal. You (general) don't want to learn all the rules, and so you don't with that system. That's fine, there isn't anything wrong with that, and by no means am I bashing anyone who has that motivation. But that is what things boil down to.

I'm happy to chat, provided it's in the spirit of mutual enlightenment rather than argument, and we're doing ok so far. :)
I don't think the attraction is necessarily the lack of rules (though for some it is), it's just that if you have a hammer, there is a tendency to treat every problem as a nail. Some games try to deal with every issue, whether it's combat, intrigue or romance, as a set of numbers to be resolved with a roll of the dice. Not having the dice forces you to explore other ways of tackling things, and it can be refreshing to think outside the box sometimes.

I think that there is an underlying assumption by some game creators (and game players) that people are innately untrustworthy, and unless they are constrained by dice and rules, they won't play fair or realistically. The popularity and ongoing success of freeform games proves otherwise, IMO. If they didn't work, they wouldn't exist, and Rpol's statistics show that they not only exist, they are vastly more popular than dice games.
Low Key
 member, 223 posts
Wed 11 Jan 2017
at 00:12
Re: So much freeform!
For me, it's not rules vs not. It's not roleplay vs realism. It's not random vs player arguments.

It comes down to what facemaker said earlier:

quote:
So, even before you get into the question of how to play one versus the other, the simplicity factor is a big aspect of the appeal.


All the problems mentioned (except possibly cursed dice) I've seen in both freeform and system games.
But, in PbP (the place I play freeform) freeform games are quicker to set up, quicker to play, and problems can be resolved as quickly or quicker. In a format where a short slow down can kill a game this gives freeform a huge advantage. To me, at least.

This message was last edited by the user at 00:13, Wed 11 Jan.

Mrrshann618
 member, 107 posts
Wed 11 Jan 2017
at 13:21
Re: So much freeform!
As stated earlier I run a System game.

I'm going to think of this in my own context of a world I'm running. The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock. From what I have read this would not last long as a free-form game. Far to often brother kills brother, Allies turn in a heartbeat, even the main characters sword decides when to do what it wants sometimes. On the political side, yes it would work. On ANY confrontational side, from what I've read, it would fall flat.

I would think that combat in either system would slow it down. With a dice game you have the few posts of dice generation and desired actions listed.

IF I understand this right you would have something similar in a Free-form game. However instead of dice rolls it would be deliberation. Depending on the base system this may be just as "confining".


When I first started running my game I handled combat differently that most others as was evident by the reaction of my players. I knew that PbP would slow down traditional combat and quickly become boring. Luckily the system I favor is fast and deadly in the PnP version. After everyone had posted/PM'd me the actions I crafted a "combat scene" where I transitioned everything together into a cinematic sequence. The posts were usually quite long and designed for each player to enjoy reading, as if they were watching a movie. It would take into account all the hidden rolls, "Secret" actions that would easily be overlooked in a combat situation, and generally any significant information (obvious or otherwise).


I see posts about not want to learn a new system, I get that, I don't either. I hardly have enough time to run my own game. I see comments on simplicity being an appeal. I also get that, while I have always run/played a system game I've always been the more RP centered of most groups that I've ever played.

Now what I am seeing however is there are several system players here doing research on what it is like before possibly attempting a free-form game. Sadly I've seen more "No way am I playing a system game." yet as champions of both sides have put it "It really depends on the GM/players over the system/style."

Personally I'm not trying to convince anyone that "my" system is better. I'm trying to get a deeper understanding of what "Freeform" really is. Partially due to a game rattling in my head that may work better based on what I "thought" was the definition.


Low Key:
All the problems mentioned (except possibly cursed dice) I've seen in both freeform and system games.
But, in PbP (the place I play freeform) freeform games are quicker to set up, quicker to play, and problems can be resolved as quickly or quicker. In a format where a short slow down can kill a game this gives freeform a huge advantage. To me, at least.


YES, this last part I would have to figure to be true. In my own game I helped craft the characters with several back and forth sessions. Thanks to the setting (Moorcock Multiverse) I helped hone their character by answering basic setting questions. I did what I did so I could make sure that I could "get" each player into the game with a character that did not invalidate their character (you can only have so many Drizzt Do'Urden before someone feels left out)

I do have to contest the "slowdown" part. The game I run it was clear from the getgo that it was going to be a slow post game. I'm only able to post 2-3 times a week. Thanks to that basic understanding my game is well over 3k posts and has lasted over 2 years.
Lord_Johnny
 member, 197 posts
Wed 11 Jan 2017
at 14:49
Re: So much freeform!
In reply to fireflights (msg # 59):

You didn't listen. I said Free form doesn't have a monopoly on Dearing to get in character. I have already pointed out that it didn't, and used myself as an example.
Maybe you should accept that you're not correct and, in your own words, "move on".
Lord_Johnny
 member, 198 posts
Wed 11 Jan 2017
at 15:05
Re: So much freeform!
In reply to Low Key (msg # 63):

That makes a lot of sense. On the other hand, I would think that it's the rules (or lack therein) that can put a slow down on the game.

And by that I mean, as others rightly pointed out, that it can slow a game down to have to go back and relook up rules. I absolutely agree that it can, no qualms about that statement. So, if Free-form has a "quickness" to it, I find a credible arguement to be made on at least part of that being a lack of rules to have to go over.
Lord_Johnny
 member, 199 posts
Wed 11 Jan 2017
at 15:21
Re: So much freeform!
In reply to Mrrshann618 (msg # 64):

That makes a lot of sense. I'd ask what the game was (sounds fun!) but obviously this isn't the forum for that, so I won't ask.

That said, I think you hit the nail on the head for seeing both sides of this (divide? Question?) Topic.
Brianna
 member, 2107 posts
Wed 11 Jan 2017
at 20:46
Re: So much freeform!
Good games depend on the magical right combination of GM, players, scenario, and most of all timing, as in no one has to drop because of a RL crisis or the like, and everyone is up (at least most of the time) to giving their best, etc.  FF or rules can contribute, but that's just personal preference.
Lord_Johnny
 member, 200 posts
Wed 11 Jan 2017
at 21:11
Re: So much freeform!
In reply to Brianna (msg # 68):

Agreed.
facemaker329
 member, 6880 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Thu 12 Jan 2017
at 07:14
Re: So much freeform!
Mrrshann618:
I'm going to think of this in my own context of a world I'm running. The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock. From what I have read this would not last long as a free-form game. Far to often brother kills brother, Allies turn in a heartbeat, even the main characters sword decides when to do what it wants sometimes. On the political side, yes it would work. On ANY confrontational side, from what I've read, it would fall flat.


Well...yes, and no.  It would depend on how well the GM vetted players, and how well he presented the game up front.  If you post in the game information for a freeform game, "You MUST be willing to let your character die to fit the nature of this game," and you get players who are familiar with Moorcock's setting, you might have some bickering over who dies...but in many of the freeform groups I've been in, you'd actually have people arguing that the other guy should survive and they'll take the hit, because it will make a cool twist to the story.  It would also require a GM who's willing to be cut-throat and say exactly when Stormbringer is gonna steal an ally's soul whether the Champion wants it to or not.

It would, I'd say, be akin to the Aliens game I played back in college...where the GM instructed each of us to make at least two and maybe three characters, because characters WERE GOING TO DIE.  It was known up front, it was part of the setting and we were all familiar with it.  So, we were more interested in trying to accomplish the mission and have each character death be a memorable event than we were in trying to make sure our character survived.  If we'd gone into the game expecting something different, we'd have been somewhere way beyond peeved when characters started melting in sprays of molecular acid alien blood...

So, speaking as someone who's done a fair bit of freeform...if it's an interesting setting and I'm told up front that there's a good chance that my character will die, I go into the game with a different expectation and approach and as long as my character doesn't drown in the castle moat because someone left a banana peel on the drawbridge or something pointless like that, I'm good with it.  If that expectation is NOT made plain going into the game (which has happened to me...had a GM kill my character less than a week into a Firefly game because, apparently, my waiting more than a day to post a response was just too much for him), I'm gonna walk away disgusted and not interested in ever playing with that GM again.

But the same would hold true if it was a system game and the death happened because the dice failed me, rather than because it made for a good story point.  In fact, I might even be more disgusted, at that point, unless the dice failed me at a cool dramatic point.

The point being, really, that anything you can play in freeform, you can play in a system game, and vice versa...it's all a question of how you set up the game and how much preparation you make in rounding up players who understand the scenario and setting and even genre, in some cases.

And I'll admit it...the first time I tried a freeform game, I was extremely skeptical going into it.  But the GM did a good job of screening all the players and making sure everyone understood what the game was--and was not.  And, yeah, it didn't last long, for one reason or another...but I had a whole lot of fun and decided to try it again.  Two of the freeform games I'm in have been around for years (looked at the RTJ messages last night...one started in October of 2010 and the other in February of 2011).  And it's due in large part to having GMs that communicate clearly what the game is going to be, and players who are willing to roll with the GM decision.  One of them has a very rudimentary character sheet for each character, with some very basic stats and skills...but that game can go months without anyone rolling dice (and it's pretty active...coming up on 57k posts...)  The other doesn't have anything of the sort...just a GM and a few players who are dedicated to the setting and willing to sacrifice player ego to make for a better story.

By the same token...one of the system games I'm in started even earlier, and it's still going.  And a lot of the time, the GM will just go ahead and roll dice for the players, if they're doing something that warrants a dice check but don't offer to make it, themselves.  There are HUGE portions of that game which read like a freeform game, if you look back at the IC threads.  We're all having so much fun, as players, that I suspect the GM could probably skip the dice rolls and just rule on successes based on how dramatically appropriate they would be and nobody would care...but he wanted a system and we all like it.  But, again...it's an established setting (Star Wars), so we all had pretty clear notions of what would likely happen, going into it, and it's continued on in pretty much the vein we expected (or, at least, the one I expected).
Novocrane
 member, 303 posts
Thu 12 Jan 2017
at 09:17
Re: So much freeform!
I find it interesting to see character death brought up here as something that might prove difficult in freeform.

I've personally seen system games' goalposts shift from expected high lethality to "well, it's only really going to be a death or so per month, even with constant posting", to "yeah, I toned down the enemy damage, but it'll increase as you get better stuff", to eventual realisation that it's not what was described on the tin. One most OOC verbalised instance seemed to have more characters disappearing as players left than dying, but it's not the only time its felt like the PCs are bubble-wrapped.

quote:
the same would hold true if it was a system game and the death happened because the dice failed me, rather than because it made for a good story point.  In fact, I might even be more disgusted, at that point, unless the dice failed me at a cool dramatic point.
Can it not be cool to have your next PC carry the day for the last one (particularly if they're brought in because they have a connection to the last PC), or try to pick up the pieces? Blood & Honour interests me along those lines, though I've yet to play it - the group takes the parts of individual PCs, but they can die in a single strike and the focus seems more on the clan, province, and how you advance your family than any individual.
icosahedron152
 member, 714 posts
Thu 12 Jan 2017
at 10:04
Re: So much freeform!
Facemaker:
The point being, really, that anything you can play in freeform, you can play in a system game, and vice versa...it's all a question of how you set up the game and how much preparation you make in rounding up players who understand the scenario and setting and even genre, in some cases.

This sums it up. Of course, some things are easier (less work/preparation) in a dice game, and some things are easier (less work/preparation) in a freeform game, but if you can avoid the ‘Bang you’re dead! No I’m not you missed!’ on the one hand, and the ‘What do I have to roll to successfully seduce Jane’s character?’ on the other, you can make anything work in any game.
Alex Vriairu
 member, 384 posts
Thu 12 Jan 2017
at 10:58
Re: So much freeform!
In reply to Novocrane (msg # 71):

While this is getting off topic a bit, I find I am much more accepting of "mechanical death" than "character death" such as to say I will willingly accept that something happens to remove a character from play/the game itself, but I will never under any circumstance let my character actually die.  Nor would I let a gm take over my character if I for some reason have to leave the game.
icosahedron152
 member, 715 posts
Thu 12 Jan 2017
at 13:10
Re: So much freeform!
In reply to Alex Vriairu (msg # 73):

Unfortunately, you don't have a lot of choice about what happens to your character. A GM has absolute control over what happens in his/her game.

You might not like your character to die, but you can't prevent it, any more than you can prevent your own death in RL. You may be able to negotiate a mutually agreeable solution with your GM (which you can't do in RL, alas) but if not, tough luck. If a GM says your character is dead, your character is dead - at least in that GM's game reality.

Furthermore, what happens to your character in that game after you leave is also entirely at the GM's discretion. You may create a 'parallel reality' for your character with another GM in another game, but in the original game you have no control over your character once you leave. In that way, game continuity is not compromised by players leaving in the middle of a story arc. The GM will simply run that character as a NPC until s/he sees fit to delete it - and that will be at a time when it is convenient to the game.

Not wishing to be confrontational about this, I'm simply stating the fact that, the way Rpol is set up, the GM has absolute control over every aspect of the game - including all the characters.

Unless you're the GM, the fate of your character is out of your hands, like it or not.
Alex Vriairu
 member, 386 posts
Thu 12 Jan 2017
at 13:17
Re: So much freeform!
I agree with you that all that can happen, but your leaving out one possibility, I just don't join a game where the gm would not respect those conditions. ^_^
icosahedron152
 member, 716 posts
Thu 12 Jan 2017
at 13:21
Re: So much freeform!
I commend you on your telepathy/precognition. :)

I also wish you luck with your search. I can't imagine there are many GMs who would even say they would risk their game continuity in that way.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15255 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Thu 12 Jan 2017
at 18:21
Re: So much freeform!
quote:
Nor would I let a gm take over my character if I for some reason have to leave the game.

Actually if the GM decides to take over your character, in spite of any conditions that you may have agreed upon before hand (whether you voluntarily leave, or are ejected from the game), then I'm afraid there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop him.

There is nothing on this site which forces a GM to comply with any agreement with his players, other than his own conscience.
Novocrane
 member, 304 posts
Thu 12 Jan 2017
at 20:19
Re: So much freeform!
By the same token, in most games you are not restricted from emptying your character sheet and description before you're removed. I've yet to feel that need, and it does nothing for anything you wrote in your rtj, but it's not nothing.

In reply to icosahedron152 (msg # 74):

I can think of at least one game (Tenra Bansho Zero), in which player character death is entirely under the control of the player. As in the GM could blow up the planet, bring about the early heat death of the universe, etc. and the player would still be able to say, "How long does it take for my PC to recover?", and then continue from there. The rulebook example is falling out of a plane mid flight, iirc.
Alex Vriairu
 member, 388 posts
Thu 12 Jan 2017
at 20:32
Re: So much freeform!
I am quite aware the gm my choose to dishonor the agreement, but I would hope most are better than that Bigbadron, dear I did not mean to derail so much with a simple comment.
icosahedron152
 member, 717 posts
Thu 12 Jan 2017
at 21:04
Re: So much freeform!
In reply to Novocrane (msg # 78):
Most experienced GMs will copy all character information and store it off site, precisely to guard against one of those players from attempting to sabotage the game if they leave in a hissy fit.

Rule Zero allows a GM to house rule any eventuality into any game, regardless of what it says in the rule book. Of course, you are under no obligation to join a game if you don't like the house rules.