Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?
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Thread: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

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    Question Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    Per the Thread-Title, when you are organizing a roleplay, and you've already decided on the theme and direction of your project, do you feel comfortable compromising that "vision" for the sake of attracting a broader audience?

    Or does your "artistic integrity" demand that maintain that vision, even if that means suffering a decline in membership?

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    Default Re: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    *Nods* I don't GM much on Bulbagarden, but I do it all the time IRL with my friends, and I feel that it's always about the players. A GM's art is one of sacrifice: The players always come first. A good GM always does what gives the most happiness for the longest time to the most players, while being fair. However, I find it's best to solve issues in character. If the players don't like that the evil overlord took their favorite town, it's preferable to have the player's depose than the GM simply say that he didn't. Thusly, they feel like their characters are actually part of the game world, while the latter would set a precedent for them attempting to manipulate the GM.
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    Default Re: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    Well, I'm not so much referring to particular events that take place in an RP, rather I'm referring to the general tones, themes, settings, moods, and direction of the story.

    And, call me a tempermental artist, but I'll be honest: I don't think the RP is "about" anyone, the members, the GM, etc. Rather, the focus should be on the story itself. Yes, it is important that the GM ensure that the RP is enjoyable for everyone involved (otherwise they aren't likely to stay involved), but it is absolutely essential that the GM maintain the quality and consistency of the tone of the storytelling.

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    Default Re: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    I think story falls under the overall "fun" factor. Some people enjoy story more in their RPs. And as far as I'm concerned, RPs are about enjoyment people get from them. If they like themes and ideas in their games, hey, good for them. And if they're players in an RP I'm running, then it would be my responsibility as GM to make sure they have as much fun as possible, and thus try my best to put Eva level symbolism in it. I mean, fundamentally, the point of a writer putting themes in their work is to increase the enjoyment the reader gets from analyzing them, right? And I don't think readers usually enjoy a work less if they disagree with the ideas present. For example, I don't agree with many of the ideas present in The Screwtape Letters, but it's still one of my favorites, because even if I don't believe in sine of the ideas, it is very well written. Of course, I dislike putting ideas into my works, just because that would imply that I think I'm significantly wiser than the players. I do sometimes enjoy making them make tough choices.
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    Default Re: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    I agree with the majority of your post. However, to be technical, I do not agree with this:
    Quote Originally Posted by Mouthful of Pi View Post
    I mean, fundamentally, the point of a writer putting themes in their work is to increase the enjoyment the reader gets from analyzing them, right?
    Most serious authors of fiction view writing as an art-form, a method of artistic self-expression. They write to evoke their own feelings and innermost thoughts, not to please readers. This is why the majority of the greatest works of fiction of all time will never be seen on store shelves; because the author wrote the story for themselves, not anyone else. It is a rare occasion that their masterpiece of self-expression is found pleasing to the greater readership.

    Only "get-rich-quick" authors write for the purpose of pleasing their readers, and the results are often self-evident in their hollow narratives.

    But yes, more the point (roleplays), it follows logically that the story should be pleasing to all those involved, as they are all writers and thus - ideally, writing for themselves.

    The reason I think GM guidance is important to the narrative is to maintain a congruous story. If you're roleplaying with your real-life friends, fun is the most important goal of all. But in a forum environment where you have a massive pool of roleplayers to pull from for your roleplay, I think it is important to pull together a group of writers who are all "on the same page" as to the goal of the narrative.

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    Default Re: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    Naw. If nobody derived enjoyment from great works, then nobody would consider them great. The reason Romeo and Juliet and The Odyssey are considered classics is because they're good, or at least were considered such. Even though I don't like either, they have a large following. Catcher in the Rye is like my second or third favorite book, and it has a ton of awesome ideas, even if it is controversial. It's not that works should appeal to everyone, but they should appeal to their chosen demographic at least to some extent.
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    Default Re: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mouthful of Pi View Post
    Naw. If nobody derived enjoyment from great works, then nobody would consider them great. The reason Romeo and Juliet and The Odyssey are considered classics is because they're good, or at least were considered such. Even though I don't like either, they have a large following. Catcher in the Rye is like my second or third favorite book, and it has a ton of awesome ideas, even if it is controversial. It's not that works should appeal to everyone, but they should appeal to their chosen demographic at least to some extent.
    Well, now we're skirting off subject, nevertheless, I will vehemently defend to the bitter end that truly great art (which literature is) is measured by the creator's authenticity, honesty, and vibrance - regardless of its reception.

    This is why it is often said that the greatest artists are never appreciated why they still live - the true worth of their art is not immediately recognized by the "demographic" (in many cases, there was no demographic to begin with, as art is independent self-expression anyway) but eventually discovered decades, or even centuries, later - and who knows? Maybe some of the "greats" from centuries past were never discovered at all.

    As an artist (not referring to literature now), I frankly don't care if anyone likes my art - that's not what determines its worth.

    EDIT: On a side-note, I absolutely hated Catcher in the Rye - it's one of my least favorite works of literature of all time. Possibly THE least favorite. I will admit it was well-written, however.

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    Default Re: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    It is a very divisive work. It made me a nihilist. Anyways, I guess it really depends on the creator's intent. If they want to make people happy, a work that does that for a ton of people is great. If it was to express themselves, it's great too. And since the point of RPs is mostly so the people involved can have fun, then success at that is usually what determines if an RP is great.
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    Default Re: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mouthful of Pi View Post
    It is a very divisive work. It made me a nihilist. Anyways, I guess it really depends on the creator's intent. If they want to make people happy, a work that does that for a ton of people is great. If it was to express themselves, it's great too. And since the point of RPs is mostly so the people involved can have fun, then success at that is usually what determines if an RP is great.
    If I can stretch that statement a bit further, I would point out that your suggestion is only as absolute as its premise: Not all RPs are designed with the primary intent of entertainment. Most, but not all.

    I, for instance, will on occasion arrange a private rp with someone with the intent of achieving a certain goal, expressing a certain quality, or exploring a particular concept - or even just stretching ourselves by exploring the usage of characters and plot devices we would usually avoid (because we don't typically enjoy employing them).

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    Default Re: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    I just enjoy RPs because manipulating/killing/making friends with made-up people using other made-up people makes me feel smarter and more socially adept than I am. And I like making things.
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    Default Re: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    So, in order to facilitate further discussion, we all (I assume) have on occasion made changes to our roleplays to reflect the wishes of the players, but at the same time it might be in poor taste to make drastic changes to appease only one member when everyone else likes things the way they are.

    At what point do you, as a GM, determine that the demand for a change is great enough to necessitate instituting the requested changes of your players?

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    Default Re: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    *cautiously looks around*

    If the heated debate is over, I'd like to put in my opinion on MM's most recent inquiry.

    Honestly, the only time I facilitate change is if the majority or entirety of the participants agree on it. If one person demands change, but the other members disagree with said change, I won't go through with it. Even though I respect their opinions, changing a mechanic simply due to one person's complaint would most likely cause an uproar. And that's the last thing I want.

    Also, I've had a bit of a track record of strict rule-enforcing. Once again, it's nothing personal on the individuals I crack down on, but I simply cannot let rule-breaking go down in front of my face without doing something about it. Same with the sign-ups. Sometimes I can detect members that have the potential for causing discord, and keep a close eye on them. However, that isn't to say I become prejudiced against them. In all honesty, I really don't know why I adhere to the rules so strictly. Maybe it's some behavioral quirk of mine. I wouldn't be surprised.

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    Default Re: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oblivion View Post
    *cautiously looks around*

    If the heated debate is over, I'd like to put in my opinion on MM's most recent inquiry.
    Was it that heated? *reads through thread* Oh, I guess it was.

    Sorry...
    Honestly, the only time I facilitate change is if the majority or entirety of the participants agree on it. If one person demands change, but the other members disagree with said change, I won't go through with it. Even though I respect their opinions, changing a mechanic simply due to one person's complaint would most likely cause an uproar. And that's the last thing I want.
    Majority rules? Democracy, I have found, is a common and popular mechanic in such scenarios.
    Also, I've had a bit of a track record of strict rule-enforcing. Once again, it's nothing personal on the individuals I crack down on, but I simply cannot let rule-breaking go down in front of my face without doing something about it. Same with the sign-ups. Sometimes I can detect members that have the potential for causing discord, and keep a close eye on them. However, that isn't to say I become prejudiced against them. In all honesty, I really don't know why I adhere to the rules so strictly. Maybe it's some behavioral quirk of mine. I wouldn't be surprised.
    Stating your rules clearly and standing behind them is a good thing, in my opinion. Which is ironic, as I myself am notoriously laid back when it comes to enforcing my own rules.

    A common misconception is that if I don't enforce my rules, they must not be very important to me - they actually are quite important to me, and I cause myself an enormous amount of undue stress by standing by as they are disregarded. I was just born without a spine, apparently, so altering my apparent apathy is a serious challenge for me.

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    I love you BMGf friends Milo†icgirl McQüeen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    I've enjoyed reading these posts, and I could make a massive post about what I feel but I just need to state one thing....I can't GM for toffee!

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    Default Re: Game-Masters: Should You Compromise Your "Vision?" Do You?

    Quote Originally Posted by Milo†icgirl McQüeen View Post
    I've enjoyed reading these posts, and I could make a massive post about what I feel but I just need to state one thing....I can't GM for toffee!


    That aside, I'd like to know what you think - massive post away!

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