Sunday, March 17, 2013

GM Merit Badges

I've read about this neat idea where GMs can let people know about the sorts of campaign they run through selecting a number of badges.  That way players who are considering joining their game get an idea about what they will be getting themselves into.  You can read more about it over here.  New players about to join a GM's game should totally ask the GM to select their top six icons so that the player can either bow out or join with gusto.  Or at least be prepared.  The list is below.

Tactics are an important part of my games.
My games will tell an interesting Story.
My games will be Scary.
My games focuses on Exploration & Mystery.
There will be Player vs Player combat allowed in my games.
My games are Safe and you don't need to worry about content or character death.
I will Mirror back player ideas I think are interesting in the game.
My games use a pre-made Map and pre scripted content.
The GM is In Charge in my games and "rule-zero" is in effect.
My games rely on a lot of Improvisation rather than pre-scripted content.
My games are Gonzo and can include a lot of strangeness.
Characters in my games are Destined for greatness, not random death.
I roll Dice in the open and don't fudge the results in my games.
My games include Disturbing content.
My games focus on interesting Characters and Drama.
Players characters Death is a likely event in my games.
I play By-The-Book and "rule-zero" is not being used to alter existing rules.
My games are more of the Social, Fun and "Beer & Pretzels" style.
My game is primarily Non-Combat in nature.
Players in my game should be prepared to Run when the odds are against them.
My game has Shared GMing responsibility with the other players.
I frequently Tinker with the rules of the game.
My game focuses on Player Skill rather than character abilities.

 I'd say that I'm a Story, Scary, Exploration & Mystery, Disturbing, Destined, and Run Game Master.  I wonder what my players would say that I am.  I might go and ask them and get back to you,  much as John Arendt did in his blog.

What about you?  What would your badges be?


  1. I can't quite get down to six. I can do it in seven: Tactics; Story; Exploration; Player vs. Player; Mirror-back; Improvisation; Tinker. That's leaving out a couple that I really want to keep (like Run!, which is definitely part and parcel of Tactics as far as I'm concerned), but I suppose the object of doing this is restraint.

    1. I guess it's more about trying to figure out the defining elements of your game style. The sort of things players might talk about. I mean, some people tinker about with the occasional home rule and other people REALLY tinker and create their own set of house rules. Some games do have the occasional beastie that must be fled from, others have entire adventures based on it.

  2. I need to use eight. My style is: Story, Scary, Exploration & Mystery, Improvisation, Dice, Disturbing, By-the-Book, and Run, which is pretty similar to yours.

  3. I find some of these a bit difficult to get my head around, so a lot of my campaigns would come across as a bit contradictory. For example my D&D game would come across as something like: Map, Improvisation, In Charge, Mirror, Tinker, Social.

    For the Only War one-shot I'm planning to run this weekend it's likely to be Map, Dice, By-the-Book, Death, Social, Run.

    Most of my games will involve "social" at some point because I think RPGs are a social medium and I care more about making sure everybody enjoys themselves than making sure they experience my Beautiful Prewritten Story - on the other hand "beer and pretzels" isn't really what I'd call it, because that implies a specific *kind* of social interaction. Similarly both the games I'm intending to run soon include "Map" because, well, there's a map, but they don't include prescripted events.

    As is so often the case, I mostly find myself wondering if there isn't a better way to arrange the same system to make it a bit more informative. At the moment it feels a bit like a tarot reading, because one person's "Story, Scary, Exploration & Mystery, Improvisation, Dice, Disturbing, By-the-Book, and Run" game isn't going to be the same as another person's.