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Umael
2010-08-19, 03:41 PM
Q: Is the GM automatically in charge of what happens out-of-game in regards to the gaming group?


One of the unspoken conventions of gaming is that the GM calls the shots in- AND out-of-game. The first part makes perfect sense - in a PvP game, if you have a problem with Lord Henrich, you just tell the GM (privately) that you are slipping poison into his tea. The second part is more implied, because usually, if you have a problem with Lord Henrich's player, one of the usual courses of actions is to approach the GM to act as either mediator or go-between.

But the GM's ability to influence things out-of-game is not so easy sometimes. In-game, if the GM says, "You're dead," Baroness Barrelwind is dead, buried, and gone. But out-of-game, there is a lot more give-and-take, even though the GM has the right to say, "You! Out!"

The two biggest exceptions that I know are when one of the players is actually hosting the physical location or where the game is clearly split between out-of-game and in-game issues. The Lanky Bugger (I think that was his name) had a particular infamous story where he, as a player, threw the GM out of his home due to differences in opinion. The Camarilla LARP organization has officer positions of Storyteller (for in-game) and Coordinator (for out-of-game).

So in reply, I would say, no, not automatically. Just usually.

kamikasei
2010-08-19, 03:44 PM
Of course not. It's a social event and who if anyone is "in charge" depends on the social dynamic of the group.

arguskos
2010-08-19, 03:44 PM
Q: Is the GM automatically in charge of what happens out-of-game in regards to the gaming group?
No. I would say the DM, by dint of their position, is automatically the guy you should turn to in disputes to serve as an arbiter of sorts, assuming this is something that a third-party is even required for. The position, in my experience anyways, is half gameplay engine and half social mediator.

Greenish
2010-08-19, 03:47 PM
You compare the sizes of your Leadership modifier and the one with the biggest is the leader.

Umael
2010-08-19, 03:49 PM
I should add that I'm asking this because I notice a trend that assumes the GM is automatically in charge. If you read certain printed gaming material (some of it canon, like DMG II, I believe), when it talks about the various players (hack-n-slasher, rules lawyer, wall flower, etc.) and how to handle them, this advice is geared towards the GM. This implicitly says that it is assumed the GM is in charge.

So on noticing the trend, I have to wonder how true that trend is. I know how much that is so from my own experience, but I'm just one person.

Yorrin
2010-08-19, 03:52 PM
Thing is, it's just that: a trend. And a natural way for things to work. A DM has a responsibility to the players to make the game run as smoothly as possible. Things out of game can be just as destructive as things in game, and thus the DM defaults to the authority figure. There are exceptions, such as the example you give in the first post, but the trend makes sense in most situations.

Tyndmyr
2010-08-19, 03:55 PM
I should add that I'm asking this because I notice a trend that assumes the GM is automatically in charge. If you read certain printed gaming material (some of it canon, like DMG II, I believe), when it talks about the various players (hack-n-slasher, rules lawyer, wall flower, etc.) and how to handle them, this advice is geared towards the GM. This implicitly says that it is assumed the GM is in charge.


It's a trend, yeah. Basically, you have the kind of people who like running things...or just run things because they're good at it, and nobody else will. They tend to end up running a lot.

So, the campaign Im currently DMing meets at my place, since I have a nice room and setup to do so, with nearly every D&D 3.x book printed, dedicated tables, painted models, custom terrain, etc. And I end up coordinating snacks because otherwise, nobody thinks about it till an hour after the session starts, and then there's a break to sort out munchies.

It's certainly not explicit, nor does it have to be that way at all...but frankly, a lotta gamers are lazy SOBs, so it works out like that in practice.

Knaight
2010-08-19, 03:55 PM
The DMG II descriptions really stick to changing the game to appeal to the players, in my experience and based upon anecdotes I've seen the social dynamic outside the game is almost exactly as normal. The only place the GM matters is whether or not someone is allowed into the game, which while technically out of game still relates to it in an extreme case.

Aroka
2010-08-19, 03:56 PM
The GM often assumes a certain responsibility for coordination by default, because it's easier for a group when someone takes care of that stuff. The GM's authority over the game also easily translates into authority over the group.

Generally, though, I think the person whose place the game is played at is the ultimate authority. And among adults, the GM shouldn't have to take any special responsibility or authority, especially over anyone's behavior. I game with friends I've known for more than 15 years, and I don't need to act the grade-school teacher; we all agree on when to play, we decide together what to play, and most of the time I GM it for us. If we're not playing a game at my place, I have no authority to kick anyone out of the game itself - it's not my game, it's our game. Decisions like that would have to be made by our group together.

There may be a conflict of sorts inherent in two "authorities" in a group, though; people tend to get a bit confused. It's why in most social situations, some specific person is in charge (although some claim this is mostly only true of mixed gender or all-male groups, but I'm not convinced there's a real gender difference - I've met as many women who'll take charge of a group regardless of composition as I've met men who will). So if there's one person who organizes the games and generally "runs" the out-of-game side, if he/she and the GM end up in a "face-off" over an in-game matter, it may confuse the group about who to support, and if they side with the other person, it will weaken the GM's authority in the game.

Umael
2010-08-19, 04:02 PM
Here's another set of questions for all interested:

How do you get new blood into your gaming group? Assuming you do it as my gaming group does it (i.e., we vote), does the GM get more say in the matter than the rest of the group?

(For the record, I believe that one trait of a good GM is that said GM is a leader, not a ruler.)

Yorrin
2010-08-19, 04:09 PM
Here's another set of questions for all interested:

How do you get new blood into your gaming group? Assuming you do it as my gaming group does it (i.e., we vote), does the GM get more say in the matter than the rest of the group?

(For the record, I believe that one trait of a good GM is that said GM is a leader, not a ruler.)

Heh, at my group somebody just shows up and we (well, I, as the GM) teach them the game on the spot and start them rolling a character. We're very open.

Starbuck_II
2010-08-19, 04:37 PM
Q: Is the GM automatically in charge of what happens out-of-game in regards to the gaming group?


One of the unspoken conventions of gaming is that the GM calls the shots in- AND out-of-game. The first part makes perfect sense - in a PvP game, if you have a problem with Lord Henrich, you just tell the GM (privately) that you are slipping poison into his tea. The second part is more implied, because usually, if you have a problem with Lord Henrich's player, one of the usual courses of actions is to approach the GM to act as either mediator or go-between.

But the GM's ability to influence things out-of-game is not so easy sometimes. In-game, if the GM says, "You're dead," Baroness Barrelwind is dead, buried, and gone. But out-of-game, there is a lot more give-and-take, even though the GM has the right to say, "You! Out!"

The two biggest exceptions that I know are when one of the players is actually hosting the physical location or where the game is clearly split between out-of-game and in-game issues. The Lanky Bugger (I think that was his name) had a particular infamous story where he, as a player, threw the GM out of his home due to differences in opinion. The Camarilla LARP organization has officer positions of Storyteller (for in-game) and Coordinator (for out-of-game).

So in reply, I would say, no, not automatically. Just usually.

No, you don't get to mistreat your players in the game and assume you can keep playing after doing so if you are in that player's house.

A neutral hosting area is key if you are to mistreat them. Although, you shouldn't be mistreating them.

arrowhen
2010-08-19, 05:08 PM
I just refuse to play with any group that can't handle something as simple as hanging out and playing a game without an authority figure to tell them what to do.

IdleMuse
2010-08-19, 05:22 PM
As part of a university rpg society, it's the tabletop rep's job to book rooms for the in-society games, and any major OOC problems players have can be brought to the exec to sort out. Although I can think of very few circumstances where this has ever happened.

Coidzor
2010-08-19, 05:25 PM
It depends very much on who's hosting and the group's social dynamics anyway.

I mean, if you're at someone's house, you should be respecting their wishes vis a vis not messing up the place or refraining from aggravating their grandma or using foul language loud enough for any rampaging children to hear.

That's just one of those social wossnames.

I mean, if it's out of character but still revolving around the game, well, that's still pretty obvious in that it is part of the sphere of the game, not part of the sphere of hanging out in Marcus's Basement. Where out of character disagreement reaches the point where an altercation breaks out, the game is effectively dissolved/tabled until such time as Brian and Jeff can agree that they can be in the same room without cursing so loudly the cops get called due to the neighbours complaining about the volume.

Mark Hall
2010-08-19, 05:28 PM
As said, it depends upon the group dynamic, and also where the game is taking place.

For example, my current C&C game. I'm the GM, and could theoretically ban any players we have, if for some reason I took a dislike to them (and I've done it, with the sad collateral loss of his wife; dude was pushing the creepy button pretty hard, and at the 1st game). However, we're playing at the house of some friends of mine, and they could also ban people, if they wanted. If that happened, we (the rest of the group) would have to decide if we wanted to keep playing elsewhere, or to play without whoever was banned.

PId6
2010-08-19, 05:41 PM
You compare the sizes of your Leadership modifier and the one with the biggest is the leader.
But my GM doesn't have a Leadership modifier! :smallmad:

arguskos
2010-08-19, 05:45 PM
But my GM doesn't have a Leadership modifier! :smallmad:
He needs to retrain. Use the Dark Chaos Shuffle. :smallamused:

Raum
2010-08-19, 06:06 PM
One of the unspoken conventions of my gaming is that the GM calls the shots in- AND out-of-game. Fixed that for you.

Seriously. GMs who worry more about 'precedence' than fun or seek some nebulous 'authority' over their friends may work for some groups. My friends would laugh and, if necessary, toss me in the nearest body of water.

As for trends, it's worth pointing out that many of the newer systems explicitly limit GM control of the game.

Umael
2010-08-19, 06:07 PM
I just refuse to play with any group that can't handle something as simple as hanging out and playing a game without an authority figure to tell them what to do.

1) Wow. Third negatives in one sentence (well, two negatives and a reversal).

2) Hey, that's fine, as long as you can avoid the:

"So... what do you want to do?"
"I don't know. What do you want to do?"
"I dinna. What do you want to do?"
"Well, what do you want to do?"
...

Umael
2010-08-19, 06:12 PM
Fixed that for you.

No. You didn't.



Seriously. GMs who worry more about 'precedence' than fun or seek some nebulous 'authority' over their friends may work for some groups. My friends would laugh and, if necessary, toss me in the nearest body of water.

Who say anything about worrying about precedence or seeking authority?

Some groups simply lack direction and need someone to take charge. Apparently, your group of friends don't, and that's perfectly fine.



As for trends, it's worth pointing out that many of the newer systems explicitly limit GM control of the game.

Cool.

(No, seriously. Cool.)

WarKitty
2010-08-19, 06:15 PM
Depends on the group. If it's like my group where it's a bunch of people who were already who get together to play D&D, then anything that doesn't strictly relate to the game is handled the way you'd normally handle a social conflict within a friend group. Although it still seems the DM always ends up being the scheduling person.

If it's a more formal gaming group, then it probably goes more to the DM who is and isn't allowed to play, setting ground rules, etc. Although it behooves the group to set ground rules before any new people come in.