The GM is a character

edited September 2009 in Story Games
Ignoring the gamer stereotypes, are there any games that produce the type of play similar to this? What I mean is play where the GM is an actual character in the story.

All that I can think of is the hollywood blowhard producer variant of PTA, My life with Joker, and some Lacuna games I've heard of. If you can't think of any, how would you do it?

Comments

  • Paranoia. The GM has to move back and forth between being his usual omniscient self and acting the part of a deranged computer that obliterates player characters at will.

    And before you've asked, no, I've never GM-ed a game. Some friends of mine want me to, and I have no idea how to do this so that it's actually fun. Suggestions welcome.
  • Yeah, in Paranoia the GM takes on both his usual GM role and that of the computer.

    Also, like you said, the GM can sometimes take on the role of "Control" in lacuna, but that's not really a character anymore than any given NPC.

    I mean really, don't GM's play a whole lot of characters typically- I believe the C in NPC stands for "Character" after all.
  • edited September 2009
    The Master in Maid. He even awards the XP in character.

    The Hollyhock God in Nobilis, maybe?

    Posted By: whiteknifeI mean really, don't GM's play a whole lot of characters typically- I believe the C in NPC stands for "Character" after all.
    Funny, in my childhood group we called the gamemaster the "NPC" for years out of confusion of terms. I think we were being dyslexic about it and thinking of it as 'Non-character player." :)

    Peace,
    -Joel
  • The Master/Monster in "My Life with Master"?

    The whole idea of "I will treat you abominably and you will get to kill me (in the fiction) at the end" always struck me as cool - using GM vs Player in a very open, "you betcha" way built into rules.

    Rob
  • I tend to do this when I run 3:16. Character creation is done in-character referring to the players as "maggots" and giving them orders about what to write down, etc. "Another glorious day in the Corps!"

    It's fuzzy, though. The "GM voice" and the "Commanding Officer NPC" voice get blurred.
  • The French game Agone does this explicitly, as I recall, but I'm not sure it actually affects play that much. I feel like the role of the Mistaken in Polaris is probably the best case of this that I can think of, where the antagonist role is clearly associated with an in-game entity in a way that affects how the GM behaves, but that partially works because the friendlier GM duties are passed off to the Moons, allowing the Mistaken to be the Big Bad.
  • It's hard to say. I mean, in Misspent Youth, the GM-like role is all centered around a "character." If My Life with Master counts, I think MY does.
  • Posted By: Robert BohlI thinkMYdoes.
    For a second there I was like, "my what?" And then I was like, "oooooh, right."
  • Luckily for you, Joel, they have found a pretty good dyslexia for cure.
  • In Ninja Burger, a PDQ system game based on the web comic, the GM 'plays' the Dispatcher, who both gives out the initial mission briefing and acts as radio support / security system hacker for the PCs during the mission.
  • The french game Hurlements (Howlings), published in 1989. The game starts during the middle ages. The PCs are ordinary people coming from all spheres of society. They discover that they are in fact were-animals and are taken over by a mysterious Grand Veneur (the Hunt Master) who leads a gypsie caravan where, in fact, all people are like the PCs. The Grand Veneur is the GM character. The players don't even have a character sheet and know nothing of the rules. All is hidden behind the screen. The game was in fact a campaign through all french History where the PCs became more and more aware that the world was in fact a dream or a game until all players could become GM. The Grand Veneur was a mysterious character and I think he wasn't supposed to interfere much in the PCs story.


    In the japanese RPG Ryuutama, the GM has a character, the Ryuujin (dragon person). You choose your Ryuujin from 4 races of different color. Each race of dragon is more suited to a specific kind of campaign : red dragon is for war stories with lots of fights, black dragon is for dark stories with lots of sorcery and treasons, blue dragon are for regular adventures of discovery, travel, etc..., green dragons are for human drama. Each type of dragon has artifacts and breath powers that helps the kind of story you want as a GM... I think. Because I am still struggling with this chapter of the rules... The Ryuujin can interfere in the story to help the PCs or hinder them but there are advices against to much of that. In the end, the Ryuujin is there to help the PCs to live interesting travel tales, because the greater Season's Dragons that rule the world feed and prosper on good travel stories.
  • Man, I forgot about the dispatcher in Ninja Burger. That is some straight up fun right there. I always wanted to run a game where they had subcontracted the dispatch job out and it turned out that the dispatcher was good buddies with their other client, Pirate Pizza.
  • Posted By: Antoine F
    In the japanese RPG Ryuutama, the GM has a character, the Ryuujin (dragon person). You choose your Ryuujin from 4 races of different color. Each race of dragon is more suited to a specific kind of campaign : red dragon is for war stories with lots of fights, black dragon is for dark stories with lots of sorcery and treasons, blue dragon are for regular adventures of discovery, travel, etc..., green dragons are for human drama. Each type of dragon has artifacts and breath powers that helps the kind of story you want as a GM... I think. Because I am still struggling with this chapter of the rules... The Ryuujin can interfere in the story to help the PCs or hinder them but there are advices against to much of that. In the end, the Ryuujin is there to help the PCs to live interesting travel tales, because the greater Season's Dragons that rule the world feed and prosper on good travel stories.
    Awesome! I have this game and don't know a word of Japanese, but can see pictures, so I wondered what that's about.
  • Posted By: Antoine FIn the end, the Ryuujin is there to help the PCs to live interesting travel tales, because the greater Season's Dragons that rule the world feed and prosper on good travel stories.
    Yeah, there's 2 great pics that symbolize this:
    1 pic shows a page with each of the four types of Ryuujin, and the kind of stories they emphasize.
    2 pic shows the Ryuujin following the group around, but hiding just out of sight, watching them. Like the Dungeonmaster from the old D&D cartoon, but not as crusty.

    -Andy
  • edited September 2009
    Posted By: Antoine FIn the japanese RPG Ryuutama, the GM has a character, the Ryuujin (dragon person). You choose your Ryuujin from 4 races of different color. Each race of dragon is more suited to a specific kind of campaign : red dragon is for war stories with lots of fights, black dragon is for dark stories with lots of sorcery and treasons, blue dragon are for regular adventures of discovery, travel, etc..., green dragons are for human drama.
    Neat. How do they differentiate the roles? Are there different mechanics? Or differing suggestions for stories to run?
  • Posted By: Emily CareOr differing suggestions for stories to run?
    Pretty much this. The GM says, "Today I am a Black Dragon", and the players know it's going down with the backstabby, poison and twisted social conflicts. Or "In the next adventure I'm thinking Red Dragon", which will be about war and struggle. Kinda like an Oracle, but with no set results.

    -Andy
  • I'm running a PBEM Engle Matrix Game about a Cthulhu story in "Salem's Creek" Southern Indiana. I'm championing Klaus Schnelling (a cultist thug for the mayor/evil genius). Players say what actions happen next and the referee (me) decides how likely they are to happen. They may also make counter-arguments to each action. When I make an action I pick another player to be my referee. In face to face games the referee role can float around to any player so of course wveryone is playing characters.

    In the John Maddon example - he would say they were being attacked but another player would say how likely that was to be true. A dice roll would settle it. More fair but you have to admit the instant replay joke was funny.

    Chris Engle
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