Rules are Strange

Rules are strange. Some people want more rules and some people want less rules.

I have been thinking about this lately and it seems to me that some gamers want the game rules to be like the Constitution of the USA, that is a set if rules that limit the power of the government or in this case limit the power of the GM.

This kind of thinking comes from an adversarial viewpoint where the game is the GM vs the players, this adversarial approach seems in my opinion, to be too common in the table-top gaming hobby. I personally favour a collaborative approach where the GM and the players are working together to create a shared experience for everyone to enjoy. All of the games I work on are predicated on this philosophy, the rules leave a lot of room for adjudication by the GM and allow the players and the GM to work together to decide on actions that might not be covered by specific rules. Since it would be impossible to cover every conceivable situation then we try to provide guidelines so that the GM has the tools to adjudicate when the players want to do something crazy that we haven’t thought of.

Perhaps players that want the powers of the GM to be limited have had bad experiences with being railroaded by a GM or by a GM that is adversarial and wants to “Win” the game against his players. I don’t know if that is the case but for me personally, if I had a GM like that, I just wouldn’t play the game that they run. The whole point of the game is for everyone involved to enjoy the experience, to try out playing the role of a hero in another world and create epic stories together. That means it has to be fun for the GM and fun for the players and in my experience the best way to achieve that is to make the GM and the players co-conspirators in a conspiracy of fun.

While Dark Stars seems like a “crunchy” rules heavy system at first glance, all the rules are merely in place to provide a framework for the GM to weave a world for his players to live in, with stories where they are the protagonists. The world we created in the books is just the beginning, it is up to the GM and their players to tell the story, so that each groups experience is their own.

In the Beginning
Simulation. Adjudication and Resolution of Asymmetrical warfare in Dark Stars With reference to the gameplay pillar of player agency


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