fireflights
 member, 336 posts
 playing with Fire
 always burns
Sat 7 Jan 2017
at 19:30
So much freeform!
I run games, they are and have always been freeform and I have never run into the case where someone tries to derail or sabotage my game. Mainly though, most of my games include friends, but they are game of throne games where like if I put a GM character designed to move the game forward, I tell them, they can engage but can't do certain things to derail most as I said who play in my games are my friends so they tend to listen. However at times I get people who like to try to tell me how to run my game or that my game should follow their way of thinking and then cause trouble, it's rare, but it's happened to me and I have removed said person from my game if they can't accept the GM word and continues to argue it out.

That being said, games like DnD and pathfinder and such, I know nothing about them and so I stay away from them. It's more about the writers and their ability to work together to tell the story fully.
drewalt
 member, 52 posts
Sat 7 Jan 2017
at 19:40
So much freeform!
I think it's a spectrum.  On one side, you have things like Pathfinder, Deadlands Classic, Traveller, and other various "crunchy" systems with a lot of widgets and rolls and systems and charts and tables and minutiae.  These games are very simulationist, in other words, if your character attempts to do anything, these rules attempt to resolve what happens coherently, and they take into account your character's condition, health, the relative humidity, lighting penalties, etc.

In a system like this, if Charlie and a genie are in a room and about to battle, we can probably calculate from the onset who will win by the laws of probability because the system assigns a rating to everything and we can always calculate the mathematically best thing to do or the most probable result.  In addition, a system like this is so deep and nuanced, we can give the genie or Charlie specific modifiers which greatly impact their ability to harm the other, meaning if this is a world where genies reign supreme, the modifiers and superior mathematical abilities of the genie will probably spell Charlie's doom.

On the upside these systems feel very satisfying because the nuance gives you a sense of control and mastery, and it adds a certain element of challenge when you have to do things like manage hit points, spell slots, etc.  But, this game is probably pretty hard to run because there's a lot of book keeping PLUS the fiction elements of the game like character personalities and the description of the world Charlie and the genie live in all still have to be made.

Now if you slide down toward the other side of the spectrum, you get things like Savage Worlds or some of the simpler editions of Dungeons and Dragons type games where you have a pretty comprehensive ruleset but it's only an 85% solution, i.e. the rules will cover who goes first in combat and critical things like that, but they don't have a lot of nuance or try to compensate for every possible thing.  They might include some modifiers but not all by any means.

Here, Charlie and the Genie both have statistical values, but not quite as many.  Generally we have ratings for the general kinds of things they might try to do to each other in a fight, but we don't get into how much damage a cutlass might do vs. say a scimitar, we just call both of those things swords and go on.  We can still make a lot of meaningful mathematical predictions and analyze the results (in fact it's easier because there are fewer mathematical permutations), but we lost of the nuance from the previous systems.

So you still have a lot of that element of having to manage resources, but there's fewer specific things to track.  We might not have 100 hitpoints and dozens of specific conditions to track, we might only have 3 wounds and a few specific conditions to track.  The upshot is, this game is probably a lot easier to play and a lot easier to run from the book keeping perspective, which frees up the GM more time and mental RAM to do more of the fluffy stuff.

Then further along, you have things like FATE, Apocalypse World, The Window where the rules are really more about the probability of something happening in the fiction.  Systems like this take the approach of "Your character is really good at making fishnets, so your ability to make a fishnet successfully is quite high, but your ability to make a nuclear submarine is probably quite bad because that's not your character concept."  The other systems do this too, but they do it by adding in all kinds of modifiers, making you pay for the resources, etc. and there's a lot of calculation that goes into just exactly how valuable is the fishnet you make, how much does it weight, does it add to fishing rolls, etc.  Here it's just... "You're pretty good at that so BAM it happens.  Next."

At this point, there's usually only a few rolls but they tend to be very meaningful ones, and something happens as suddenly the "fluffy stuff" starts to dominate how those rolls resolve things.  The challenge shifts less from mathematically optimizing your character Charlie to be really good at swinging a sword or whatever to thinking about things like "Does the genie have a long beard Charlie can pull on?"  Also it's a bit harder to mathematically optimize and analyze things because the situation and the assumptions made radically change what you might roll and how.

The upshot is, the skill of the game shifts from how well you choose to build your character's attributes, skills, feats, etc. to how well you play the game and get dug into the moment.  It's not necessarily good or bad in some universal objective sense, it's just a different kind of fun.  On the downside it can feel "floaty", like the characters are all too abstract and interchangeable, and the resolution can feel like it's more of a question of how persuasive the player is versus how tactical the player is.  Also, at this point the rules are so simple the GM is focused nearly entirely on story elements, making the game easier to run and play.

Freeform is the total opposite end of the spectrum.  Here it's just "Charlie is in the room with the genie."  We agree, tacitly, there's a room, there's a Charlie and there's a genie, but we have no idea can Charlie defeat the genie in a battle in terms of probability and statistics.

How this situation resolves is all a matter of satisfying the whims of the players and Gamemaster.  It doesn't matter what kind of sword Charlie has or what powers the genie has, what matters is, what's interesting in this situation, or what seems like it would be likely to happen in this situation?  It's purely subjective and honestly there's no telling.  The challenge now has nothing to do with stacking modifiers or flanking opponents on a battle mat, it has to do with conceiving what would most likely happen or deciding what kind of permutations have to happen to achieve a desired end, i.e. if you want Charlie to defeat this immortal magical being, how does he do that exactly?

The upshot here is that to a lot of people, it's more fun to just make that stuff up rather than have to reference 3 books worth of rules and statistical values and go through a lot of rigamarole to figure out what happens.  Something to point out here is that on the other side of the spectrum where systems are crunchy and deep, the math dictates the fight before it ever begins, for the most part.  Here, anything can happen.  Also, this game is much easier to facilitate and to play because, well, the actions are all arbitrary, there's no rules to consider at all.  The downside is, this is too abstract and meaningless for a lot of people to be any fun.  A lot of people can't suspend disbelief without an underlying set of assumptions about how a fictional world works that's pretty robust.

The point being, it's all a series of trade offs.  I'm a little closer to the "crunchy" side myself, but the thing I've discovered is, as I get older, it's a lot easier to stay into this hobby by swimming in the mechanically shallower end of the pool.  And some of those games are pretty neat and do things the more mechanically driven games just can't.

For example I have played a character right now who has an evil artifact that gives the character a steady stream of unpredictable powers and curses; basically it's literally a godmode item with purely self imposed drawbacks that I make up.  You could NEVER make this character work as conceived in a highly detailed system like Pathfinder because the abilities are not balanced or fair and are way too random.  But will a character like this work a treat in say FATE or a freeform game?  Oh yes.

There's also the practical considerations to make: freeform games are the lowest barrier to entry type of game you can make since no one has to own any books or other resources which cost money, etc.
gladiusdei
 member, 497 posts
Sat 7 Jan 2017
at 19:47
So much freeform!
I guess, as a long time player and gm/dm of crunchy games, and possible potential free form player, the freedom is something that actually scares me a bit.  having faced so many various situations of players abusing rules, system, and trying to hijack games, taking the rules almost entirely away seems like a recipe for disaster.

for instance, if it is a freeform fantasy game and I want to make a knight who excels in certain areas, I would almost expect another player to come along and state their player was slightly better than mine in those same areas.  How do you resolve who is better?  like in a dual, who wins?  Does the gm arbitrate, or do the players have to find some sort of agreement ooc?

It may have something to do with the communities you play in.  If you have run a lot of freeform games, I am guessing you've weeded through a lot of problem players and don't have them in your games anymore.

This message was last edited by the user at 19:58, Sat 07 Jan 2017.

fireflights
 member, 337 posts
 playing with Fire
 always burns
Sat 7 Jan 2017
at 19:53
So much freeform!
I don't go to many other free form games, but all my games have no god moding, no using outside knowledge of events in the game if your character hasn't been informed and no openly arguing with the GM or another player, and so I guess it depends on the people in the free form game, most tend to follow my rules.
Lord_Johnny
 member, 186 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 00:35
So much freeform!
On the other hand, Gladiusei has a very good point. There is a point to rules. It helps arbitrate the outcomes of things. Sure, some players may or may not agree with the GM, and sometimes the GM is just wrong, sometimes the player is just wrong. We're all human after all. This isn't something that I think really has anything to do with a "better" system.
So, to pull the conversation back into what the thread is about, what's the appeal? The answer, so far, seems to be the "little to no rules" concept. Is this correct?

Assuming that that is correct, I don't get this idea at all. Sometimes, you just need a way to figure things out. Player 1 wants to build a house, or go explore the universe, or whatever it is that they want to do (I'm just pull idea's out of my 5th point of contact), rules help them. Sorry, no, you can't build the house, you don't even have a hammer. Or, as was brought up earlier, two people trying to contest for the position of best fighter, archer, craftsman, tank driver, etc. That can easily be part of a story, but in Free-form you're not really going to be able to establish that dynamic in actual feasibility, and the GM can't really arbitrate that without violating the neutrality concept behind the fact that they are the GM.

Or at least, so it seems to me.
nuric
 member, 2919 posts
 Love D&D,superhero games
 Not very computer savvy
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 05:45
So much freeform!
In reply to Lord_Johnny (msg # 11):

I disagree that the GM can be neutral to arbitrate a free form game.
I think the problem here, Lord_Johnny,is that you're thinking Freeform games are just dice games minus the dice.
It's a whole different dynamic.

Basically,  the players and the GM all get together to tell the story.  You, as a gm, don't get bogged down with small details like if someone's arrow hits a specific target, you look more at the big picture,  like what strategy do you use to start the battle,  or what alliances do you make before hand?
You have an idea about what everyone can do as their character, then you set them loose.    You have a plot, and consequences for certain elements being ignored or handles badly,  like in real life, but you let the players tell the story of how they deal.with them

There is also a casual agreement between gm and players that the ayers will trust the gm to be able to handle disputes and interactions fairly for everyone.
It can be a lot of work, but the pay off is being able to play in more detail and depth than normal hack and slash games
gladiusdei
 member, 498 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 06:03
So much freeform!
that still doesn't really answer my question, though, which Lord Johnny picked up.  If two players directly oppose one another on how they want the story to go, how is it handled?  Do you simply devise stories that normally keep players from opposing each other?  or do the players have to come to an agreement?

also, I'd love to hear an answer to my previous question about free form games having, or needing, a lot more ooc conversation as well.
Skald
 moderator, 752 posts
 Whatever it is,
 I'm against it
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 06:21
So much freeform!
I have the same problem ...

I see games that use rule systems being played as either strategically or as an interactive story or both, but in either case, the players and GM have agreed in advance (by the selection of the rule system) what they can and cannot do, whereas in freeform that has to be continually negotiated.
nuric
 member, 2920 posts
 Love D&D,superhero games
 Not very computer savvy
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 06:31
So much freeform!
In my experience, Freeform games should be done so that direct combat and conflict between players should be avoided.  Sometimes outlawed specifically (which means it's good to have more going on for them to do), but the better freeform game is one where there are plenty of reasons to work together, and stay aligned.
Freeform games are one of trust, where the players and gm try to write a story together, and trust each other to do so.
Freeform isn't about competition, it's about making sure everyone gets to tell their story, and enjoy themselves.
If you want to have a game where you backstab your friends, then unless that's the point of the game, freeform isn't for you.

Most freeform games have rules about checking with the GM before doing anything that affects other players.   It's just a part of the pace of the game.
The same way you shouldn't say as a D&D player that your five points of damage automatically kills the goblin, a freeform player wouldn't say that their psychic blast automatically stuns another player's character.
nuric
 member, 2921 posts
 Love D&D,superhero games
 Not very computer savvy
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 06:33
So much freeform!
As far as derailing the story or trying to dominate the game as a player, that's something that must be dealt with by the GM.
A story is usually vague enough that it's harder to derail, but there should also be an understanding that players won't try to ruin the game for other players.

Freeform games are more work for the GM, so the GM has a right to expect more from the players.
You're there to tell a story, to explore a character and a game world, not to beat up other players.
gladiusdei
 member, 499 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 06:39
So much freeform!
I guess I understand, but it is still an aspect of freeform I would be wary of.  In a less direct sense, I would be bothered I think if I couldn't tell the story I wanted to tell.  Which sort of makes cooperative creative writing a challenge.  If I designed a character to tell a specific type of story, and that type of story become impossible because the gm or the other players went in a different direction, that would be really frustrating.  It seems like this is the type of conflict which is more likely to happen in a free form game, not necessarily direct player fighting, but a conflict on where to take the story.

I think that's a possible problem in any type of game, honestly, and probably more so for myself since I have become accustomed to being a gm and not a player.  Free form just feels, to me at least, like a type of game where the odds are better for that type of thing to happen.  I suppose it would require a lot of prior planning and discussion between the players and the gm, to understand where the game might go.
nuric
 member, 2922 posts
 Love D&D,superhero games
 Not very computer savvy
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 06:43
So much freeform!
Freeform games are about the story, not who's better.
In answer to the question about "another player making a knight who's better than mine", I'd answer that the game should be designed so that isn't an issue.

Most capabilities should be detailed specifically before the game starts, but the GM is the final arbitrator of who's better.

If you want to make a freeform game about knights, say a Knights of the Round Table game, then you would design the game with certain specific characters as options (someone plays Lancelot, someone plays Bors, etc), or you'd have the game where everyone is mostly even and there's only a clear winner based on other factors (if someone cheats, or was drinking the night before, etc), or you'd make it a game with very little combat (all politics or personal drama) so it's not an issue who's better.


One thing about freeform games, you can't just take a D&D party and make them freeform.  They're not designed for it.  The goals and mechanics aren't right.
Freeform games are like a bunch of people going around the room telling different parts of the same book.  If you work together, it's a great story.  If you want to fight each other, then play a game with dice.



As far as the question about "telling a specific story", it's important to remember that a freeform game, like other games, is about cooperation, not writing a novel.  You have your part, either as GM or a player, but you would have to talk about your needs or limits before hand.  There's usually a good vetting process before any freeform game, and certainly none of them are perfect.
If you want to have a character who's story is that he wants to be rich, then the GM should be able to fit that in, and not have the entire game in a dimension where they don't use money.
It's all about the GM understanding the characters being used, and what each player wants.
I've not always done this perfectly, but I try
nuric
 member, 2923 posts
 Love D&D,superhero games
 Not very computer savvy
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 06:46
Re: So much freeform!
Skald:
I have the same problem ...

I see games that use rule systems being played as either strategically or as an interactive story or both, but in either case, the players and GM have agreed in advance (by the selection of the rule system) what they can and cannot do, whereas in freeform that has to be continually negotiated.



In a good game, "continually negotiated" just means the GM is on their toes for new ideas.  The players should all have characters that are well defined and described, so that no one has powers that are too vague.
And if anyone has "generic magic or alchemy", then it's up to the GM to say no, and the players need to respect that.
That's part of the cooperation. The GM tries to be as fair, firm, and consistent as possible, and the players have to let the GM be the final word on the matter.
Alex Vriairu
 member, 375 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 12:09
Re: So much freeform!
For me, I have horrible luck with dice, I mean for whatever reason, I can never get the rolls I want or need unless it's something that is really not important, this makes playing my character who should be skilled, pratically impossible to play.  That's why I play free form games, I know what my character can do, and what they can't.  Also it allows for a far more interesting game.

Take combat for example, in a system game two people roll dice, and things happen.  In a free form game, combat becomes a chess match or a dance, in the best of games.  Player one makes an attack, player two, has to think of some way to either, dodge, defend or counter.  If he can't the attack must go through, if he can, depending on HOW he does it, the other player reacts.

Now if your playing a Dragonball Z game... I can't help you the stuff they pull is truly Insane.  But for the most part a free form game, depends more on strategic thinking and descriptive prowess than blind luck.  That's what I like about it, because systems just boil down to luck, and I as a player never seem to have any.

Edit: Anyway, that's how I would answer your question gladiusdei, As a gm I'd have you both fight it out, and see who would win, could you think of a way to counter the other guy, or could the other guy out counter you?

This message was last edited by the user at 12:17, Sun 08 Jan 2017.

Vane66
 member, 761 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 12:28
Re: So much freeform!
For me freeform has been ruined by the 'look at me, I'm so awesome' type of players. Their characters always hit and always dodge. That's why I stay away from it. When there are dice involved you take that power out of the hands of players like that.

Not to say that all system players are better, there are bad players on either side I just prefer having a concrete way of settling disputes and resolving actions.
Alex Vriairu
 member, 376 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 12:30
Re: So much freeform!
True Vane, you have to have players that agree to play fair, I'm not saying dodging is bad but it should be based on if they can find a way to dodge or not, based on the skill set of the characters.
Vane66
 member, 762 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 12:38
Re: So much freeform!
Dodging isn't bad, I've had characters that dodge and enemies that dodge as well. That's a part of combat. I'm talking about the 1/4th vampire, 1/4th werewolf, 1/4th demon, 1/4th angel characters that are so beautiful and intimidating that no one can touch them or talk back or even avoid their attacks.

^^ That was an exaggeration but I actually was in a game with characters like that. It got so bad with the ridiculous characters that the GM allowed, I asked to be removed.

I have friends that are in long running freeform games and they love it, they tell the stories that they want to tell with great partners. That's just not for me. I have had too many bad experiences with terrible players and in some cases GMs showing favoritism. It boiled down to a 'Tag you're it, No I'm not' situation.
Alex Vriairu
 member, 377 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 12:41
Re: So much freeform!
In reply to Vane66 (msg # 23):

Oh god, been there, and I am sorry for you.  For me I've been in the opposite position highly skilled character who couldn't do ANYTHING she was supposed to be good at, because the dice never rolled her way.

So I started leaving system games.
Vane66
 member, 763 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 12:47
Re: So much freeform!
I've had bad rolls and that's sometimes part of the fun when you have a good GM that can roll with it.

Regardless of the system, or lack there of, it really boils down to quality of players and GM. My personal experience was that players and GMs are more invested in system games because the time it takes to build and craft the characters. Freeform is great for new players to jump right in with their uber character and get a feel for the game.
Mrrshann618
 member, 105 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 13:21
Re: So much freeform!
Alex Vriairu:
Oh god, been there, and I am sorry for you.  For me I've been in the opposite position highly skilled character who couldn't do ANYTHING she was supposed to be good at, because the dice never rolled her way.

So I started leaving system games.



I am a "Ruleset" gm. Heck the system that I prefer looks extremely intimidating to anyone who is not familiar with it (BRP). As a GM, the above situation is ample opportunity for the unknown old man/woman to appear and reveal to the character that they have acquired a curse. "Low and behold. For the sins of your ancestors you have been judged. All of the evils that your bloodline has spawned is now in you. It is up to you to cleanse your family." Thus starting a wonderful side adventure that would result in the GM helping to fudge your rolls later as you overcome your own personal demon.

Actually I have that somewhat happening right now in the game I'm running. More than once the character in question has absolutely flubbed a roll at the worst possible time. Has it been infuriating? yes, but the end result was a manor house blazing in an inferno as two "elementals" battled in the courtyard as a rebellion wages around the party. The character in question now has a nifty trinket that allows me to do GM'y things "legally".

Free-form or Ruleset and their like/dislike, I think, stems from the ability of the gm to make the game fun. For me I like the dice randomness and their ability to add in events/results that I now have to "overcome", as well as, sometimes add unintentional comic relief.

Me, like many here, who came to find out really had no "idea" what a freeform is really like, thus have stayed away. Thank you Lord_Johnny for asking the question.

This message was last edited by the user at 15:16, Sun 08 Jan 2017.

Skald
 moderator, 753 posts
 Whatever it is,
 I'm against it
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 13:41
Re: So much freeform!
Oh absolutely - it was a good question indeed !  :>

Convinced me it's not for me, but at least now it's more of an educated decision.

If I was playing freeform ... then I'm absolutely sure I'd be rolling dice anyway.  I like the spontaneity that dice rolls provide ... sure sometimes you're really, really hoping for an epic result and you find yourself staring at a natural 1 as your best laid plans come crashing down but that's the will of the gods or the fates or whatever afflicts characters ... and I've been on the other side of that coin too, character dying on his feet, down to 1 HP when a critical hit saved his bacon.

I still can't shake the feeling that freeform basically boils down to collaborative story writing more than gaming ... but then freeformers might believe that system based gaming is just a strategical exercise (like chess).   And perhaps for some on both sides of the gaming fence it is that way.

Not knocking it - story, strategy, freeform or system we're all here to have fun and each to their own.  :>
willvr
 member, 1016 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 14:52
Re: So much freeform!
I usually play systemed games. But one thing that freeform I think does better than a system game, is putting the emphasis on character interaction. I don't think they handle 'quest' games very well - eg, save the princess, find the treasure etc.

Years ago now; I was on another community, though this was chatroom-based rather than forum-based, where everything was freeform. No real GM, though everyone stepped forward from time to time because it was about one of their characters. When it came to fights, we usually did it err... well not realistically, as not everyone had any kind of combat trainining, but fairly. We usually acknowledged who would win in a fight between two characters. We all had an insanely powerful character or two; though they rarely got involved directly.

But well, it worked because we were friends. No, most of us never met IRL (though some of us did), but we were still friends. So when someone said "I'm sorry; but this character has done this training, had this heritage, and you expect to beat him in a pure sword fight?" it was usually acknowledged. But we were all about character interactions. Sure, some fights did crop up; but that was never the heart of the game. There were jokes made by the hard-core gamers amongst us (some were more writers or artists than gamers) that it was more like a daytime soap than an RP. Be that as it may; I still think the best character interactions I've ever had have been in freeform games.

DnD and Pathfinder, which are often my go-to games, suck at it. Others are quite good, but usually, that's when the system is somewhat... vague. It may have detailed rules, but it lives it up to GM interpretation a lot.
Briel
 member, 23 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 15:09
Re: So much freeform!
I've played a lot of "crunchy" games in real life, but I find the crunchier the system, the worse the experience online (especially in forums).  What would be a mildly annoying 10 minute rules discussion at the table can turn into a multiple day PM exchange that slows everything down on a forum.

Also, if it's a game system that is new to me, given the average life of a forum game, I've got to be pretty sold on the game's longevity to go read a 300 - 700 page (hello Exalted) rulebook.  Without knowing the players or even the GM necessarily, that's hard for me to justify investing the time in, much as the game might be interesting.

Freeform doesn't always mean no stats.  A lot of freeform games include some basic stats for your character, but they're guidelines and not dice to roll.  For example, if I have a combat score of four and you have a five, you will probably beat me in a fight, but we could justify it to have me beat you if I responded particularly well, if your character wasn't feeling great, etc...  If I had a combat score of one, however, then it'd take pretty close to a miracle to justify my beating you in a fight.

Freeform is, at the heart of it, about cooperation.  If you have a bad group of players, then that's going to be a bad game.  It's just that in freeform you have fewer rules to reign in bad players, so the train wrecks tend to be just that much larger.
Mad Mick
 member, 883 posts
 Ain't sayin nothin
 Got nothin to say
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 15:22
Re: So much freeform!
I'm definitely a systems player, and I far and away prefer GURPS, but I find myself playing a lot of freeform with my kids.  When we're on the train or bus, we usually play some kind of variation of a Pokemon RPG.  Right now we're doing a mash-up of Star Wars and Pokemon (with Team Rocket playing the role of the Sith).  The kids love it, but it's frustrating for me when it comes to refereeing battles, especially when they battle each other.  We've done paper-rock-scissors, or used dice-rolling apps, but we generally just make it up as we go along.  I would much prefer some kind of rules-light system to arbitrate fights (PTU is too involved for our purposes).

I haven't had much success in freeform games on RPOL.  The games with the most compelling stories and character interactions, be they on RPOL, PBEM, or face to face, have all been GURPS games.  The freeform games I've joined have seemed to be about pairing up romantically, which isn't what I'm looking for.
Lord_Johnny
 member, 187 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 17:20
Re: So much freeform!
nuric:
Freeform games are about the story, not who's better.
In answer to the question about "another player making a knight who's better than mine", I'd answer that the game should be designed so that isn't an issue.

Most capabilities should be detailed specifically before the game starts, but the GM is the final arbitrator of who's better. </qoute>

So I think this is part of the problem. You're not really listening to what Gladius or I are talking about. Sometimes, "who's better" is integral to the story. Maybe you think it shouldn't be, and of course you get to have your opinion, but that doesn't mean it won't ever be part of the story. Simply saying it shouldn't be really just kind of avoids the question. How do you resolve it when it happens?


<quote nuric>
If you want to make a freeform game about knights, say a Knights of the Round Table game, then you would design the game with certain specific characters as options (someone plays Lancelot, someone plays Bors, etc), or you'd have the game where everyone is mostly even and there's only a clear winner based on other factors (if someone cheats, or was drinking the night before, etc), or you'd make it a game with very little combat (all politics or personal drama) so it's not an issue who's better.


I like this idea, but it fails to really get to the heart of the problem. There are going to be people who go "well I didn't drink last night, or go sleep with the tavern wench. So I am at tip top form. Always." How does a freeform handle this? In my experience, the GM glosses over it because they either can't/won't make a logical call, or the player in question throws a hissy fit because pointing out that they aren't as strong or skilled (based on their background information) means that you're trying to play their character or God Mod.

nuric:
One thing about freeform games, you can't just take a D&D party and make them freeform.  They're not designed for it.  The goals and mechanics aren't right.
Freeform games are like a bunch of people going around the room telling different parts of the same book.  If you work together, it's a great story.  If you want to fight each other, then play a game with dice.


Sorry, you lost me on this one. No one is trying to say that other systems should be made free-form. I asked "what is the appeal of Freeform?"

And, so far, it seems that the answer has grown to also include "Good Story." I don't really buy that, because that's a Player and GM issue, not a game form issue. I've had a couple of free form games where a player was all PO'd that something was played realistically. "Oh your magic rifle can shoot that far huh?" in response to a "Look through a scope and see them". Which is silly because quite frankly, yeah some rifles can shoot for over a mile, and simply looking through a scope (or binoculars or whatever) can easily see things over a mile away. On the reverse, I've seen good Pathfinder games where the entire game session was about character building (in character) and roleplay that was truly spectacular. So, I have to disagree that Free-form is simply better than "dice systems" because of the roleplay aspect. After all, every system is about roleplay. Some systems just have ways to help arbitrate some aspects of game play that I, personally, don't see in Free-Form. So again, what is the Appeal?


nuric:
As far as the question about "telling a specific story", it's important to remember that a freeform game, like other games, is about cooperation, not writing a novel.  You have your part, either as GM or a player, but you would have to talk about your needs or limits before hand.  There's usually a good vetting process before any freeform game, and certainly none of them are perfect.


I agree completely with this. However, as much as I agree, this is just reiterating my, and it seems a few others as well, confusion about Free-Form. You repeated, in probably a better way, our questions. But you didn't answer it friend. How do you solve issues between players. I ask because, frankly, you're right. It isn't a novel, there is going to be differeing opinions and suchlike. How do you resolve it?

nuric:
If you want to have a character who's story is that he wants to be rich, then the GM should be able to fit that in, and not have the entire game in a dimension where they don't use money.
It's all about the GM understanding the characters being used, and what each player wants.
I've not always done this perfectly, but I try


On the other hand, what about two people who are striving to be the richest guy in town? "Let's make some business deals!" Okay, now, who's business deals are more profitable? Still no way to resolve this issue.


I admire you're dedication to the gaming style, and by all means, if you enjoy it, play it! But there isn't any conversation on what the appeal for free-form is, that other systems don't have just as well.


willvr:
But one thing that freeform I think does better than a system game, is putting the emphasis on character interaction.


Okay, I kind of see this, but I'm not sure that that is exclusive to Free-form. What I mean is, take Birthright for example. That system has a HUGE amount of emphasis on gameplay. All the way from Lord Bubble Blower being a jerk to Lady Bubble Guppie as the Regent of the realm, to how Lord Bubble Blower acts to the peasantry on adventures. It can all tie together. So, again, while I definitely agree that Free-Form has an almost exclusive emphasis on character interaction, I wouldn't say that Free-Form is the only style that has a large emphasis on character interaction.

So I ask the question again. What does Free-Form have in appeal that other systems don't also have?

Skald:
Not knocking it - story, strategy, freeform or system we're all here to have fun and each to their own.


Agreed with this 100%. I feel like I should clarify (to everyone) that I'm not here to bash on Free-Form. I'm trying to understand it, because in every case I've tried it, it frustrates me for various reasons, some of which is inter-player conflict, and some of which is GM conflict.


Mrrshann618:
Thank you Lord_Johnny for asking the question.


You're quite welcome. I have to admit, for honesty's sake, that I asked as much for my own edification as anything else. I see so many games that the premise looks great, then look at the system, see "free-form" and mentally think, "too many bugs in the system, too much hassle, not worth the effort". I'd really like to understand what it is that I'm missing, because the sheer number of free-form games indicates to me that I'm clearly missing something that other people enjoy.

Edit to add: Sorry, I can't seem to figure out what the BB code is going all haywire. I haven't done anything different to the first part of the quote that I haven't done to the rest of the quotes, but it won't fix itself. Not sure what I'm doing wrong.

This message was last edited by the user at 17:32, Sun 08 Jan 2017.