Rinandien
 member, 70 posts
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Sat 27 Jun 2020
at 10:54
GMless D&D 5e
Did anyone try it?

If players know what they are in for, and they strive to drive tension and narrative over their own success, I think it might work.
Yes it makes true mystery an impossibility, but we could still have an overarching story that we drive. Focus could always be on character relationships and we'll certainly come up with some trouble for them.

Would someone be willing to give it a shot? Or at least brainstorm for now?
gorchek
 member, 36 posts
Sat 27 Jun 2020
at 16:36
GMless D&D 5e
I've done a lot of solo GMless games, but never really tried a group GMless. I would love to try it, and a chance to learn the 5e system would be a nice bonus.

Did you have a GME in mind? My usual go-to is Mythic, but I've been getting a lot of millage out of the GameMaster's Apprentice cards. And "The Collaborative Gamer" has a pretty good setup for everything from the regions of the world, down to the last minute adventure plot-twist. It's written for GURPS, but it's easy enough to adapt it.
Rinandien
 member, 71 posts
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Sun 28 Jun 2020
at 05:36
GMless D&D 5e
My initial take was for a collaborative storytelling with 5e to handle mechanics. While some randomness and uncertainty injected by GME are fine, I am more of a fan of building on existing story.

Example:
A player decides that shady gang from his character's past has caught up to the group. Depending on how they resolve the issue, they could end up with allies, committed to do a job, or enemies that will keep hunting them.
Down the road, that can resurface either as a way to complicate things (at a worse possible moment), or as a chance to resolve an existing issue.

That said, I do like the Collaborative gamer as a resource when you need something unexpected.
Nagatobimaru
 member, 26 posts
Sun 28 Jun 2020
at 07:48
GMless D&D 5e
It could work but I think it requires some Keywords, a way to pass the token to the other player.

For example, ending the post with something like BUT.. MAYBE.. ONLY IF.. AND.
gorchek
 member, 37 posts
Sun 28 Jun 2020
at 16:21
GMless D&D 5e
In reply to Rinandien (msg # 3):

Honestly, I feel the uncertainty of a GME is what helps building a story. To use your example, in Mythic, the shady gang would be listed among the Thread of the game. When asking a question, a 'random event' can occur, making one of those Thread (which ever makes sense) involved in the situation.

Out of curiosity, have you played GMless before? And did you play alone, or with others?
Rinandien
 member, 72 posts
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Mon 29 Jun 2020
at 08:46
GMless D&D 5e
I will certainly look into GMEs more.

As for playing GMless before, I had not. What I did:
- GM games
- Experienced player driven and handled scenes
- Played in games were GMs gave a lot of freedom and involvement to players (Dungeon World)

In your experience, how big of a shift is it to go GMless?
Some pitfalls that I foresee are (might be resolved by GMEs):
- alpha players pushing the storylines of their characters
- tendency to overpower PCs
- disagreements about the direction/format of the game
gorchek
 member, 38 posts
Mon 29 Jun 2020
at 16:04
GMless D&D 5e
I've only tried GMless with another player once, and I feel like I took over the game, even though I didn't plan to.

Having a dominant player control the game's flow is definitely going to be an issue, whether they try to push their story or not. On the other hand... that's an issue in regular game too, the only difference is that the GM can try to draw out the other players normally.
The best way around that would be along the lines of Nagatobimaru's suggestion: making post that other players can continue on. The keywords he suggest are one option, another would be to let others answer your questions. As in, you stop your post at the point where you would ask the GM what happens next.
For example: your group arrives at a door. You want to know what's behind it, but only after checking for traps, and if you can unlock it. So you make the relevant rolls to search for a trap, and ask what happens. The next player to post decides if there is a trap (by deciding how likely it is and rolling randomly, most of the time), then uses the game's guideline to see if you succeed in finding it. He then either describe the trap you find (or trigger, if you didn't spot it), then if you can pass, he asks what's beyond the door. The next player picks up the ball, and describe the room, and so on.

Overpowering PC isn't too likely an issue, I think. Sure, you'll be tempted to give yourself cool stuff, but at the same time you'll feel worried you're giving yourself too much. How to deal with that depends on the rules you want to use. Pathfinder, 3.5 and 4e had general reward tables based on character level.
5e on the other hand... seems pretty vague as far as I could tell. Except for Appendix A of Xanathar's Guide to Everything. It suggest giving player a fix amount of gold every time they level up, and a certain number of Item Points for them to purchase magical items on a list of approved rewards. It may take away from the dungeon looting experience, but since you want to focus more on character interaction, that could be a good work-around.

The biggest hurdle will be the direction and format. When you play solo, that's not an issue: you're the only one reading the prompt from the GME, so whatever happens will be what makes the most sense to you. If you're convinced your country's invaded, it won't turn into Mars Attack unless you want it to. In a group, there's no real way to insure the other players won't throw little green man in.
The only solution I can think of would be to push for a flavor that fits the rules. That means encouraging players to use the Monster Manual for opponents, sticking to classical medieval fantasy tropes, and so forth.

To look into GME, I'd recommend looking at the following:
http://www.evilgenius.org.nz/blackmagic.html
  A simple HTML version of Mythic. Mostly used to answer Yes/No questions, with the occasional Random Event thrown in. It's pretty basic, but workable. Just keep in mind that there is a bug where rolling exactly what is needed for a Yes gives an Ex No answer instead.

https://www.rpgsolo.com/
  A more complex GME, giving Yes/No answers, using occasional And/But rather than Ex answers. Doesn't give out Random Event on the usual questions, but it includes Mythic's normal Event table. It also includes a few other generators, including UNE for quick NPCs.

https://thecollaborativegamer.wordpress.com/worlds/
  Although it's not really a GME, the way it handles adventures is a must. Each dungeons (and world regions) has three main monster type that you are more likely to encounter, allowing for variety without turning into a full free-for-all. The actual exploration is slimmed down and abstracted, dealing more with 'what is in this part of the dungeon' than how many doors and empty rooms are in each corridors. And the use of Time Unit to track how long the adventure takes is a good way to avoid the "10 minute day" of older editions.