SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 154 posts
Fri 27 Sep 2019
at 20:11
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
In reply to Egleris (msg # 14):

The problem is that games like that don't work. That's why it's a good thing that hidden GMPCs are possible. =)

Seriously though, I'm with you and I don't get it... yet I've seen it happen over and over and over ad infinitum. Most players (that I've dealt with) just don't give the same treatment to NPCs. Either they think the NPC partymember is there to act as a sacrificial lamb to die in their stead "because they're just NPCs" so they treat them like some kind of combat buffer, or they think there's no reason to bother cultivating a good working relationship with them "because they're just NPCs" so they're rampant jerks, or they don't think there's any reason to bother posting back-and-forth with them at all "because they're just NPCs" so game interaction is stilted.

It's like the NPCs are some kind of disposable commodity, to them - useless for anything until they need them to save them. I've watched people suddenly decide to up and ignore a character that they were posting up a storm with out of the blue, just because the player of that character had to leave the game for some reason or another, and they won't bother continuing an IC interaction with the character once they know it's run by the GM "because they're just an NPC now". It's like the GM is somehow not capable/competent to actually play a character in their own game <insert eyerolling here> as far as some people are concerned.
donsr
 member, 1713 posts
Fri 27 Sep 2019
at 20:26
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
one of my newer players  , gushed  about the reactions folks had   to  some MIA  NPCs   during  a battle.

 when the   actions  was  ended  and the NPCs   found, they happened to make it out alive....4 of the PCs  and   risked thier lives to try and 'get to them"

( yes..PCs  can die in my games, but you have to  be e either, very foolish, or very unlucky..or both!)

 Sometimes folks interact more with the NPCs  then they  do PCs, because they know they aren't  just 'extras'..they are   'reoccurring '  charcters, that can and will, influence the future  of the  game.

 If you can build a solid  NPC  base,  folks will enjoy the game, much  more.
Unavailable
 member, 8 posts
 I have a bag that can
 make random potions
Fri 27 Sep 2019
at 20:28
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
thanks this thread really helped.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15798 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Fri 27 Sep 2019
at 20:43
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
On a related note, I have introduced a new PC to a game, only to have the players treat him like dirt because they assumed he was an NPC filling in for the character of a player who had left.  No matter how often I (and the player) said "Nope, new PC.  Honest." the players weren't buying it.  The new player didn't stick around.  :(

I've seen players:
  • ignore NPCs while they (the PCs that is) flirted endlessly with each other - mind you, the love birds also ignored other PCs
  • automatically assume that they shouldn't trust NPC party members
  • assume that NPCs will drop what they're doing to help them (while simultaneously ignoring the issue that the NPC was dealing with - "Hey NPC!  Can you sell me some arrows!"  "Yes, but first I have to put out the fire that's burning down my workshop!"  "I need twenty arrows, as quickly as possible."  "Will you help me with the fire?"  "Are my arrows ready yet?")

This message was last edited by the user at 20:46, Fri 27 Sept.

donsr
 member, 1715 posts
Fri 27 Sep 2019
at 20:53
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
::chuckles::  BigBadron...we had this  guy in my space  game, maybe?  a year?  I was goign to be the   'surperhero'.. but?  there are limits  what you can do, based on  the CS ect ect.

  anyway, the NPCs  are Milling  around, some are talking to each other.. most are interacting with One or more   PCs...

  I never say " you can't do that"..unless  they  can't  as a character.. so?  this  guy   starts  to   take over the Op...

 He doesn't listen to the NPCs... he doesn't   worry about... ' the thing   making noise overthere"... he  rushes  in through the door and  gets  attacked  by  a Big Beastie...One of the    NPCs  in the lead of the Op wired out on him, " didn't  you  hear what they said? "

 he  answered in the OOC thread, " I thought that was  just fluff!"

 to which I answered  in OOC ".. some fluff is fluff..some   fluff is important, some is  for  flavor, some  is  for the plot..its   for your character  to  choose  what is  what"

 90% of the players  I have had/have, love this... some   get angry because they thought they were set up... but its like a Movie or TV  show.. yo can't  jusy  focus on the  guy  in the middle of the screen!
tibiotarsus
 member, 72 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Fri 27 Sep 2019
at 21:09
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
bigbadron:
I've seen players [...] assume that NPCs will drop what they're doing to help them (while simultaneously ignoring the issue that the NPC was dealing with - "Hey NPC!  Can you sell me some arrows!"  "Yes, but first I have to put out the fire that's burning down my workshop!"  "I need twenty arrows, as quickly as possible."  "Will you help me with the fire?"  "Are my arrows ready yet?")[/list]


This is when you set that PC on fire.


@Unavailable - yes, the GM is a player in the sense that they're more than just a facilitator, and if they need to put a GMPC in there to push the plot along sometimes, that's fine, so long as the GMPC isn't favoured over the others.
Unavailable
 member, 9 posts
 I have a bag that can
 make random potions
Fri 27 Sep 2019
at 21:10
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
He will not be.
tibiotarsus
 member, 73 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Fri 27 Sep 2019
at 21:23
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
In reply to Unavailable (msg # 21):

Sounds like a healthy party, then. [thumbs up]
Unavailable
 member, 10 posts
 I have a bag that can
 make random potions
Fri 27 Sep 2019
at 21:24
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
We haven't started yet but thanks.
evileeyore
 member, 241 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Sat 28 Sep 2019
at 01:18
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
Egleris:
And most certainly, in any game I'd be running, not treating the NPCs as living creatures with their own agenda and emotion can very quickly lead to death - for PCs and NPCs alike, depending on the situation.

Exactly.  Treat the NPCs like trash?  Expect them to take you out with the garbage.

Inversely, if the GM let's the PCs treat the world like it revolves around them, then they will quickly begin treating the game world, and everything in it, that way.




SunRuanEr:
The problem is that games like that don't work.

On this we agree.  The rest?  Not so much.  ;)




bigbadron:
On a related note, I have introduced a new PC to a game, only to have the players treat him like dirt because they assumed he was an NPC filling in for the character of a player who had left.  No matter how often I (and the player) said "Nope, new PC.  Honest." the players weren't buying it.  The new player didn't stick around.  :(

This is what happens when you develop a 'reputation' for GMPCing (even if unearned).  New PCs that can't be 100% verified won't be trusted to be actual Players.


This of course plays into one of my 'medium' dislikes about the site.  Not knowing who the other Players are (by their general board handle) without having to jump through some hoops.

This message was last edited by the user at 01:19, Sat 28 Sept.

facemaker329
 member, 7123 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Sat 28 Sep 2019
at 06:36
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
Honestly, I've never understood the fiery passion some people hold against GMPCs (unless it's an occasion where the GM is using the character to outdo everyone else in the game...every character should have a chance to excel at something, and I have seen GMPCs who were the best at everything, even if it didn't make any sense for them to be that good at whatever.)

I mean, the GM is there to have fun, just like the rest of us.  If they have a PC they want to run, why shouldn't they?  As long as the PC exists in the same realm of plausibility as the rest of the characters, it's just another character in the game, doesn't matter who's running it.  But, then again, I tend to steer away from GMs who play like they need to somehow 'beat' the players, whether that may be by running a character who outdoes them at every turn or if it's putting PCs in situations from which they have no way to escape or fight their way out (yes, I've seen both...I had a GM drop my brand-new character into a game with no introduction to any of the other characters, no connection to them, stranded him alone on a space ship and had the authorities capture him and charge him with mutiny--even though there is absolutely no plausible way he could have taken the ship by himself and his totally valid ID listed him as a preacher in a non-violent order--and summarily execute him, all in the same weekend.)  The GMs I play with are just telling a story, and the players are helping fill in the blanks and flesh out the tale.  If that story is told more effectively with the presence of a GMPC, great...more power to you.  I already treat all the NPCs as GMPCs anyway...
evileeyore
 member, 243 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Sat 28 Sep 2019
at 15:15
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
facemaker329:
Honestly, I've never understood the fiery passion some people hold against GMPCs

In my case it's less fiery passion and more this particular instance is pushing a number of buttons* at once, setting my post tone to "strongly against".


* The Buttons (in actual order of severity, greatest to least)

1 - If you don't trust me to uphold the social contract of the game, why am I in your game?

2 - The game is about the heroics of the PCs against/within the world.  We are not here to watch the DM's characters be mighty in our place (or to upstage us at a few key moments).  We have tv shows, books, and movies for that (or for you really old folks, like me, radio shows).

3 - I don't like railroads.  Any NPC whose job is to act as tour guide or strict navigator is actively working against my enjoyment of the game.


2a - Support NPCs are cool.  Emergency 'pull the PC's out of the fire' NPCs are cool, if used sparingly.  NPCs who are foils are cool.  And lastly, NPCs are who just along for the ride because the PCs like the NPC are cool (Inversely:  NPCs that the PCs are saddled with, and hate, but must keep in the group can also be cool).

2b - McGuffin NPCs are also okay.  Example:  Princess Nastypants has the magical power to heal the World Crystal, get her to the World Crystal deep in the heart of the Evil Emperor Wizard Elgrab's territory and she can heal it.  The PCs are not being 'upstaged' in the 'save the world' plot because without them, she could never get to the World Crystal, and likely the PCs will have to deal the Evil Wizard Elgrab and deal with her forces and all the evil hazards of the empire and Princess Nastypants will be useless outside of being used as glue to hold the World Crystal together.

3a - Having set goals and destinations are fine as long as "how we get there" is left to the PCs.  I'm perfectly happy agreeing to "There will be set pieces and plot moments and you agree to go there to deal with them and I'll alert you to them either subtly, at first, or with a clue-by-four to the head if necessary".



Some advice on GM/NPCs.  See... the GM has all the information in this war.  And information is key in war.  So they know that [ENEMY] type will feature heavily and can make a PC that is particularly well suited to fighting [ENEMY].  So while Smashy McGMPC is (on paper) no more potent that the other heros... every time the group faces [ENEMY] Smashy will '[be aggressively awesome]'.  And if [ENEMY] features heavily in the game, Smashy will be a constant superstar.  This is where well intentioned GMs who 'want to play' often go awry†.  The second, and worse manner in which they will go off a cliff into the rocks of "whoa there" is they will insert several different versions of Smashy.  So when Smashy can't rock out, Smushy will.  Or Swishy.  Or Casty McInsanelyOverpoweredFireballs.  Knowing the system (often better than the Players) and the terrain of the game means their GMPCs can always win every war.  And lastly, if the dice come up "Nope, your dead" on your favorite GMPC, let it happen.  Do not save them.  You'll be better for it in the long run.


† Yes, I, your esteemed author of this rant, lived in that house for awhile (I was young, and dumb, and full of [PROFANITY]).  Take my advice, move in there.

quote:
(unless it's an occasion where the GM is using the character to outdo everyone else in the game...)

9 times out of 10 that is what a GMPC is for (IME).  Now, an NPC run by the GM, tucked into the party (as a support or foil)?  They tend to be okay, and yes, there is a difference both subtle and vast between NPC and GMPC.  And like porn, I know it when I see it (the first clue?  The GM calls the character a GMPC).


In this case... because of the system at work here, I can't tell the difference.  And yes, I am the type to be slightly more forgiving of PCs making stupid mistakes that cost my Character rewards than I am NPCs.  I will always favor adding a PC to a party over an NPC (even if my Character doesn't treat their Character well).  So if we're hitting my arbitrary "too many PCs limit", yes I'll eye any additions warily, unless I can identify them as PCs right off (even then I might eye them warily).

And of course there have been times I've preferenced an NPC over a PC, usually because the Player or the Character were insufferable [PROFANITY]s, and a role needed to be filled.  Or, I just really enjoyed that NPC for whatever reason and the PC was, as above, insufferable.

This message was last edited by a moderator, as it was against the forum rules, at 17:50, Sat 28 Sept.

bigbadron
 moderator, 15799 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Sat 28 Sep 2019
at 18:14
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
evileeyore:
This of course plays into one of my 'medium' dislikes about the site.  Not knowing who the other Players are (by their general board handle) without having to simply ask them.

Fixed that for you.  You're welcome.

And, of course, asking them means that they can then decide for themselves whether or not they want to give you that information (as opposed to us deciding for them).
evileeyore
 member, 244 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Sat 28 Sep 2019
at 21:47
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
bigbadron:
Fixed that for you.  You're welcome.

That fixed nothing and supplied no information I did not already have.

I have had fellow Players be extremely reticent (in other words simply not answer)  and one outright lie about who they were.  Why?  I have no idea.

quote:
And, of course, asking them means that they can then decide for themselves whether or not they want to give you that information (as opposed to us deciding for them).

Yup.  I disagree with this policy, but eh, can't do nothin about it.  Except in games I run.
Gaffer
 member, 1580 posts
 Ocoee FL
 40 yrs of RPGs
Tue 1 Oct 2019
at 03:53
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
I have run quite a few games on Rpol. In some of them I have played a PC without informing the other players.

Some of these were abandoned by the original player but too plot-involved or interesting to remove or relegate to NPC status.

Others I have created to play from the start, either because I had a special purpose for them or, more often, because I wanted to play.

I never use these players as 'pets' or Mary Sues. I try to play them straight up and never put them in a leadership position, give them special breaks, or let them operate outside the information all characters share. They often fulfill a purpose that no other player has opted for.
Starchaser
 member, 658 posts
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 14:25
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
I am no longer gming any games because doing so seems to take the fun out of running characters for me.

My case is unique in that what is important to me is character relationships and romance. The sad fact is that players would much rather interact romantically with other characters than they would npcs period.

I also find that if Im a player in the game you can bet my character can never get romantically involved with an NPC becuase gms seem to also steer away from using npcs in this way.

Bottom line - Ive found that players do want a game to revolve around them and if you dont give them exactly what they want they lose interest. It is never ever a compromise where both parties get to have fun.
facemaker329
 member, 7125 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 16:28
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
I avoid GMing, in general, because for me, part of the fun of playing is seeing the story unfold...if I'm a GM, I generally have a pretty clear idea of where the story is going, even if I don't foresee the exact route taken to get there.

I do have to laugh a little bit about the romance angle...I've been in one game on here for years, now...and while there have been romantic elements to it throughout, for some reason, during the last year, romances have become major plot points for most of the PCs in the game...(about a third of those are with NPCs...)
tibiotarsus
 member, 76 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 17:47
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
Pretty much all my players across a couple of games currently have/potential NPC love interests...I think it comes down to whether the GM is good at running a diverse range of people, i.e. someone for everyone if the right circumstances arise. If your tiny milkmaid and your strapping lumberjack (and your ungendered heap of sentient alien ooze, for that matter) have the same depth and care gone into making them people, then there's the possibility of PCs treating them as more than NPscenery.

Otherwise it'd be kinda like romancing the GM, which is...not what any players want to be doing and definitely not what a public RPG site is for (it's what those phone numbers in telephone booths and public toilets are for, in fact).
bigbadron
 moderator, 15806 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 18:03
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
tibiotarsus:
Otherwise it'd be kinda like romancing the GM, which is...not what any players want to be doing

Funnily enough... about 16 years ago I met the woman who would later become my wife, when she applied to a game that I was running here on RPoL.  :D
donsr
 member, 1730 posts
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 18:15
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
 the main game I run has a close knit group, they talk about  OOC  stuff in OOC or PMs,  they get along   pretty well. I think that leands itself to the whole 'romance ' thing.

 For an Ensamble game game  that's important.. 'arena  dice rollers"  and  heavy stat  games  don't need it.. but   heavy RP  games  need  folsk to be able to   play off  each other's posts and the things  that happen... just like actors in a  good movie   or TV series.
tibiotarsus
 member, 77 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 18:49
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
In reply to bigbadron (msg # 33):

XD

 ...but presumably you built up a good player relationship before an actual one, right? I was actually going to go edit that post for being mean (old legbone posting hungry here) but the "I'm a romance GM but no-one likes the NPCs" kind of had an air of "I'm expecting players to want the NPCs I want to pair them with for story aesthetics that suit me"...all take and no give isn't what players go for. Plus if one wants a stranger that will do exactly the romance fantasy you want, there are professionals.

Now, that was definitely a bit hard on GMs who're actually just...bad at a range of NPCs, but it's practice that can fix that! Like real life, you've got to get good at liking people (or characters) for themselves and being buddies before you have the emotional know how to love someone.
donsr
 member, 1731 posts
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 19:09
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
 don't getv me wrong..folks  come  and go, my games  are darker, and  not everyone like it after a bit.

 the ones who stay form friendships through OOC banter  ect ect, and that, of  course leads to  the characters.

 in the end? Its part of the whole thing.. folks  facing danger , trying to save the universe,..the neat thing is  the  folks  who bail or get cut, can be  weaved into the tale , those who  quit honorably, get sent away.

 there  is somethimes  banter   in-game  of  Vet characters  talkign  about , those who died  or shipped out... in the end? its  all believable  with  folks under stress.
Starchaser
 member, 659 posts
Mon 21 Oct 2019
at 06:07
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
tibiotarsus:
I was actually going to go edit that post for being mean (old legbone posting hungry here) but the "I'm a romance GM but no-one likes the NPCs" kind of had an air of "I'm expecting players to want the NPCs I want to pair them with for story aesthetics that suit me"...all take and no give isn't what players go for.


I totally agree with you there. And after my post I kind of realised how it came across. One of the main problems with text is a lot of emotional context is lost that would otherwise be picked up in face to face conversation which makes textual communication much harder (If you understand what I mean). Im not the best with words at the best of times so yeah. Ive also discovered that one wrong word here and there, especially when taken out of context can loseyou friends fast.

I'm constantly learning.

There does come a point however (on the subject of give and take) when youhave to stop jumping through hoops to please people when you get nothing in return for your efforts. Im not pointing fingers at anyone here and I do have a good group of reliable friends but I think I must suck at roleplaying tbh because I seem to get on better with people here OOC than I do IC :->
tkolter
 member, 78 posts
Sun 27 Oct 2019
at 03:48
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
The best option for this and it should be a sandbox more game is to have a co-GM run that single character.
praguepride
 member, 1516 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Tue 5 Nov 2019
at 23:13
Re: Can GM also be a Player?
I would say Yes under four conditions

1) Players are aware that the GM is running the PC
2) You are completely transparent with the dice rolls for that PC. You can never ever fudge a dice roll up or down for your GM-PC.
3) You don't over optimize him so that he doesn't overshadow the others. He should fill a niche and I would recommend either a tank, healer, or support style. He should not be an encounter ending wizard or an untouchable multi-attacking fighter. He needs to ensure the other PCs are getting the spotlight.
4) You establish early on that he can be wrong.

This is a bit of advice from Matt Colville's vlogs where when he puts an NPC in the group and the party asks them for suggestions on what to do that it is abundantly clear the GM is not dispensing secret information through them.

For example in his setting dwarves are like mini-klingons so when the party asked the dwarf GM-NPC "What should we do to infiltrate this fortress" The dwarf said "We should scream at the top of our lungs and charge the front gate"
"Won't that result in us getting slaughtered?"
"Yep! And it will be a glorious way to die."

So the PCs all realized "Ohhh...this guy isn't always a great source of information". Sometimes he was useful like specifically with smithing or stonecunning or if they were looking for ways to die gloriously in battle but he isn't a replacement for the PCs to think critically about solutions.

The GM-PC needs to have a clearly established personality with clearly visible flaws that are the focus in interactions with the players.

I think if you tell everyone up front, if you make sure they don't overshadow the other PCs, that they have a very clear personality and can be just as flawed and wrong as anyone else and never ever ever ever fudge dice in their favor it can be just fine.