On Partial Success

Hi there, and welcome to Partial Success!

This blog will serve as a place for me to write down my experiences and thoughts on Dungeon World, but it will probably contain an occasional rant or comment on other related subjects, such as RPG’s in general, and especially my thoughts on being a GM. Mostly it will be about my efforts as a GM though.

Why did I start this blog? Well, because I find gaming to be incredibly hard. Hard because I’m a RPG-enthusiast that have a very clear idea about what I’m looking for in a game, and can’t seem to coax it forth when I’m being a GM. Also, it happens to be very hard for me to find groups that want to play the same “game” as me.

Why is it called Partial Success? The name is derived from the popular name that is given to the “Success with Complications” outcome in Dungeon World. For those who doesn’t know about DW, it’s one of the key features; success is not measured on a binary scale. You don’t either win or lose. You often win, and more often at a cost.

To me it’s the same being a GM. It’s rarely a success, but it’s never really a failure. It’s exactly that; a partial success. You don’t do everything right, but you surely don’t do everything wrong. If the players had fun, it’s great, but I rarely leave a gaming table without regrets about how I handled some things.

This blog will therefore most often be about my regrets. This might sound a little dramatic, but it’s really just a way for me to show the mistakes I’ve made, and how I would have done it different after thinking hard about it, with a hope that someone else can learn from it.

My background in gaming might not be as deep as a lot of other bloggers’. I started playing RPG’s back in 2004, where I played a home brew system created mainly by my GM at the time. Since then, I have played a lot of different systems, including World of Darkness, old and new, D&D 3.5 and 4th edition, as well as Shadowrun 3rd edition, a lot of indie systems and my latest love, Dungeon World.

It isn’t what I have played that makes this blog relevant though, it’s what I like. By large, the gaming system doesn’t really matter, unless it coaxes play that I dislike. So what do I like? It’s more a matter of what I hate. I deeply resent…

  • … when GM’s doesn’t allow meaningful interaction. I’ve wasted too much of my life playing games where all the action was focused around the “awesome NPC’s”, while the PC’s just stood there and watched.
  • … railroading. It really follows the same idea as above. I am not sitting down at a table to play the GM’s carefully planned out story, I’m sitting down to play our story. Roleplaying is a collaborative effort, treat it as such, damnit!
  • … the thought that it’s “the GM’s game”. If you invite someone to play at your table, it’s their game as well. Everyone should have equal say.
  • … focus on arbitrarily defined “realism”, when it hurts the story or fun of the game. I believe realism to deeply be overrated, since we are not playing a physics simulator. Ironically, for that matter, it also seems to be very subjective.

If you do not agree with the above, I can respect that. Gaming is a lot of different things, to a lot of different people. This blog will most likely not be for you though.

This said, I hope you will enjoy reading my blog!

– Undreren

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About Undreren

I'm a university student from Denmark, currently taking my candidate degree in Mathematical-Economics. I have played pen & paper RPG's since 2004, but my interest for the phenomenon sparked about 3 years prior to that. I'm an amateur programmer and knows Java and Haskell as well as some rudimentary HTML, CSS, PHP and Javascript.

2 responses to “On Partial Success”

  1. Nifelhein says :

    Let our journeys make us better! I am with you in everything.

  2. Maarten Roex says :

    You nailed it. Especially the last bit about the railroading gm’s game is EXACTLY what I’ve come to loath about “RPG 1.0” if you will.

    DW was a massive eyeopener how tabletop games work (both in playing and dm’in)., and I’ve been active for over 18 years now.

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