Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I have altered the Deal. Pray I do not alter it further.

There are many iniquitous practices in the world of gaming. People pursue them out of all manner of sickening motivations. Some cheat. Some fuck over newbies. Some eat a gallon of chili before game time and wear shorts. Some offenses are egregious. Others you can live with. Those of you who read this blog have heard me rail about such things. The universe is unfair enough without such everyday perfidy

But such calumny is hardly confined to players. I was reminded of a particular practice this week. I won't go into specifics about what triggered the ugliness. But I will tell the tale of the first time I encountered it.

In brief: I saw a game master change the rules of a game, without consulting or even notifying the players of that game. He basically decided to get rid of the Vampire players in his larp. He decided that vampiric powers and disciplines didn't work at all during daylight hours. He didn't tell any of the Vampire players this, but somehow the word got out to the various people playing hunters. Imagine that.

Now, he had an excuse. He mentioned that since Vampires didn't hang around during daylight hours too much that they didn't really know. But I'd been playing a vampire in the game for 36 years of game time. I think it would have come up at some point. And if I know about it, then other vampires did.
But beyond the fact that his explanation had massive holes in it. It robbed me and many other players of the ability to make informed choices. My haven's security would have been markedly different from the set-up I'd had previously. The only reason a friend of mine survived when the hunters came for him, was that he was markedly more paranoid than I and a goodly portion of his haven was built around the fact that he was quite a bit stronger than a normal man.

Needless to say, it was a breach of trust. It was discovered on the same night that a bunch of other shit went down that was causing some bad-blood in the larp. And in truth, it wasn't the straw that broke the camels back. But it certainly added to the load.

I have mentioned in the past how important trust is to gaming. If you enjoy gaming,and wish to continue to do it. Do not do this. I am perhaps most charitable insofar as I simply left the game never to return, and in days afterward, chalked the whole thing up to a mid-life crisis and a crumbling marriage. Sure. Easy to have some temporary insanity during all that. But among my friends, the dissolution of that game is still, better than a decade later, a sore spot. And there are friends who still have significant, burning, vituperative, viscera-curdling hatred for the GM in question.

When a GM does this, he is essentially saying to you, "I have just wiped my ass with your trust."

In fact, the whole mess causes a failure of imagination in me. So, I had to enlist others in helping me to find a name for it. Suraya came up with the closest thing to what i wanted. Which was "Term Jerking"
To me, Gaming is a form of social contract. Trust is broken when someone changes the terms of that contract.

The other title was provided by the folks of RPG.Net along with the title of the article. "Bespin Gambit" Which makes sense if you know the context.

Sono Finito

8 Comments:

At 12:23 PM, Blogger tendrilsfor20 said...

It isn't really a gambit if you already rule the galaxy with an iron fist and are allowing the city to exist *explicitly* only because you allow it.
But I agree. We're having a similar situation with STs removing rules from the game with no opportunity for the playerbase to respond (these are administrative, rather than gaming, rules, but they are important - the main one is the HST removed the ability for an HST to be recalled by a 2/3rd majority player vote), and it is causing needless friction that simply "not changing the rules for no reason" could have prevented.

 
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At 11:58 AM, Blogger Craig said...

leave it to the children to get you in a nit. i am constantly victimized by their ilk; does Mark Zuckerberg set a good example of youthful exuberance and meth-like ambition? they make the games, too my dears, and some of them don't know any rules. or limits.

- old man who quits when they do that. fuck 'em.

 
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