Saturday, 6 November 2010

Cleaning up my act on The Oghmanomicon Campaign

I think the game started off on the right foot, soared a few times but then got a bit muddled up by my experimentation and different expectations. Here's the social contract that works for me, does it work for everyone else?

EDIT: Assume all these statements are preceded by "IN THIS GAME...". These are not absolute judgements of value. What constitutes a "good player" in this game, might be a bad player in another. Yeah?

When (if) we play The Oghmanomicon the next time:
  • We skip a little forward in time. Everyone levels up and starts at the same XP (level 5, I think). We will establish a new situation, with new NPCs, map and all. Lay down the basics of rules and setting. Then...
  • You're playing to win. You're trying to locate the mystical Codex Chultianum, an encyclopedia by a lost civilisation.
  • Player characters are expected to work together, conflicts between them are mostly for show. Don't screw with each other and don't follow personal, incompatible goals.
  • I will prepare a map with locations, NPCs and monsters. You can travel anywhere on the map according to your goals and abilities. I have no plot or plan. There might be events in the game world, but independent of story and player action.
  • The players are expected to follow their set goal(s) and face challenges. Don't wait around for hints or plot. Don't be reactive. I (the world) am reacting to you, not the other way around. Do whatever makes sense to you (as long as it fits with the rest of the contract). Don't do what you think "the DM expects you to do".
  • Doing the smartest thing for your character's survival is what a good player does. Unless character death ensures victory, maybe. You can get your character killed if you think it's fun, but don't do so at the expense of others.
  • If a player sides with an enemy, he's being a jerk.
  • Doing stupid stuff will get you killed. Seriously. The dice don't care. I respect the dice.
  • I will follow the rules, as will you. But I will houserule as necessary (we will discuss each houserule implemented).
  • Comedy is great, as long as it serves everything else.
  • I am a fan of your characters, I want them to succeed. I have no tricks, no plans, no twists or betrayals up my sleeve. I'm not trying to screw you over. I roll the dice in the open. I am merely a referee.
  • There are no right or wrong ways to handle a problem, as long as it fits the situation.
  • It's a sandbox. Dangers aren't tailored to fit your characters. Be ready to run.
  • No random screw-you traps or cursed items.
  • No magic shops. No generic magic items.
  • Feel free to create a new character and retire your old any time, as long as you fit him or her into the situation.
  • Don't expect your character to get to the end of the adventure "just because". I will be gentle, but if he falls into the lava pit, I'm not going to pull him out.
1st Amendment:
  • Doing awesome stuff will result in awesome.

I think some of this is similar to what our agenda for Burning Wheel: Mittelburg should be. A lot of it is (or should be) completely different, even opposite. Different games, different agendas.

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