More Principles

DeReel's picture

The Czege Principle states that it's not much fun to play the adversity and the one that fights it at the same time (or something to that extent).
What else could be not so fun ? or, put another simpler way, what could be fun ? I'll throw some examples to prime the pump.
The only rule is you don't get to say, for your own creation, if it's supposed to be fun or un-fun.

Framing a scene and deciding how it goes. (Fiasco Principle)
Writing a character up and playing it. (the Character part Principle)
Inflicting harm and narrating it. (the Pick your pain Principle)

Tod's picture

If your Players don't move toward the thing you want them to move toward, just keep telling them "Nothing happens for a very long time."

DeReel's picture

The mechanics always tell the truth. It means if you won that hearing check, the DM has to tell you what you hear behind the door, otherwise, they're not fun anymore.
The reverse is not always true. The Truth is in the mechanics means until you invoke a mechanical effect, you only have access to phenomena. Fun or not, you decide, bu it's a basic conversation principle that should be made explicit before starting the game.

Game rules are tools, toys, toolboxes and activity mats. They are also menus : they can’t tell what you want to eat, only ensure you pick something coherent. Going a la carte could not be so much fun, unless you have a good taste.

Paul T.'s picture

"Let it ride" is a principle from Burning Wheel. The idea is that, once a die roll is made, it's not useful or fruitful to repeat the roll until the situation has changed in some meaningful way.

Very useful for many/most types of resolution techniques, and sometimes 'fixes' important probability issues in games.

For instance, the thief crawling through an enemy camp and trying not to be heard. If you demand a "Stealth check" every few minutes of play, you lose clarity: how many times will we roll? How often? What does each roll mean? It's annoying and confusing. Worse yet, over time, failure is practically guaranteed (if you roll often enough), regardless of the luck or skill of the player/character.

Instead, "Let it Ride" directs you to make one roll, and then use its result to adjudicate the entire situation (at least until the player makes some notably different decision or a new threat appears), which is easier, simpler, and respects the math of the game.

Mansfeld's picture

"Fail forward" is both an imperative and principle, that resolution must lead to change of the situation, regardless of success/fail or "current player/other participant of the session describes" conditions.

Tod's picture

I prefer to say "Fail Interestingly" but it's actually "Roll Interestingly." What I mean by that is...
Any die roll causes a break in immersion and I perceive it as a loss that must be offset. What offsets it? The narrative potential generated by the result.
That potential may be good or bad (subjectively, from the PC's POV), but it should be interesting from a hypothetical reader/viewer's POV, no matter which way it goes.
If there's not enough narrative potential in a situation to give you at least 2 interesting ways out of this scene (whether good or bad), you shouldn't even bother rolling.

DeReel's picture

Frame tight, it is reassuring and when people grow out of it, they'll find the frame size that's right for them.
This is true for scenarios, scope or game system

Tod's picture

This may not really be a GM Principle (it comes from writing, and especially screenwriting), but it was suggested by DeReel's comment above and may be worth considering in some playstyles...
A rule of thumb for writers and editors in certain genres, "Cut to the Beat" means "start your scene/chapter as close as you can to the Beat it is going to resolve, and end your scene/chapter as soon as possible after the Beat is resolved."
The assumption - as you find in DramaSystem and some other Narrativist games - is that a scene/chapter has a purpose, and that purpose is the Beat. Everything that doesn't directly pay into, or fall out of, that Beat is considered "fat" to be trimmed off.

DeReel's picture

Rather than giving a prompt or a trait to start improvising a character, scene, or any thing, give 2 different prompts.
The human mind is good at making links, filling the void.
That's a rule I learned from Paul_T who uses it to make interesting characters. I recently lived it through a storygame playtest that works solely on this. The effect was mind blowing.

DeReel's picture

"the magic trick is that when a bad outcome happens, or even when a terrible outcome happens, you get to make it the bad or terrible outcome you can live with." The magic trick in Anyway by lumpley.
Recipe :
take a terrible outcome, put it in full sight
give players favorable yet obscure odds (otherkind) and braking tools obvious (fate tokens) or less obvious (pick your outcome)
you get "consent through mechanics"

DeReel's picture

"Players should always make an informed choice in the alternative : (a) victory or death and (b) defeat and survival."