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March 18, 2011


Andrzej Lipski

Very interesting. I like the concept. I've always looked at eliminating GMs but going the other direction never even crossed my mind.

Abstracting the concepts this system would be similar to democracy where majority rules while a single GM would represent centralized planning or totalitarianism.

The problem is that both systems can end up being abused. What if several players end up colluding with each other to establish a power block and use all their votes and vetos to move the game in a direction that favors them?
Maybe a hybrid system where there is one central GM but the players collectively have GM powers when combined = GM power. GM can add to the game but players can't prevent it. Player GMs can add to the game collectively as long as there is no vocal outcry which then puts it to an official vote but can be refused by the GM.

When I have more time I'll add my 2 party system, a Judicial body and Campaign elections. ;-P


Hey great article, I’ve never really thought of playing a ‘masterless’ game. I wasn’t familiar with any of the games mentioned, but Geiger counter sounds like a lot of fun. In theory I think it would be great to eliminate the GM/DM [I’m a fairly avid DnD-er and I have dabbled in other table top games] but I don’t think that works for everyone’s groups. Just from playing with my group I find the DM serves 3 main roles.
Firstly as the enforcer and librarian of the rules, our DM is fairly strict which helps us in the long run, and makes sure that the players play to the rules. Which brings in its own meta-game of trying to sneak stuff pass the DM [I know people say that the DM isn’t your opponent but sometimes you need a bad guy =P].
Secondly the DM keeps us playing the game, my friends and I find it all too easy to ad lib character interaction and go off on both in and out game tangents, our DM enjoys this but has to kindly nudge us towards playing the game again sometimes.
Finally I don’t know if everyone has the potential to be a DM even if they are doing it co-currently. It sounds too unrestricted, sure you implement all your own settings etc but some people’s imaginations are to mundane, and others are to over the top. I don’t know but it feels like there would be some form of creative lag, or an imbalance of contribution, which would defeat the point of the DM-less game wouldn’t it?
All this being said these are purely hypothetical extractions from my experience with my personal DnD group. So I may just have to try it before I go shooting my mouth off. Once again thanks for the interesting read and keep up the good work.

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