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This morning, I had the chance to read the excellent article over at the Gnome Stew called The Real Issues With Encounter Balance. One part really stuck me was the following.


There is also a more recent trend, and one that I will attribute to the influence of d20, which is in the absence of rules, players often don’t think they can perform certain actions.

This really got me to thinking. At first, I sort of tried to dismiss the it. After all, as gamers do we not try to think outside the box? Then It struck me as very true.

When I first started playing D&D back in the 80's, the rules were not that thick or complex. There were no skills or feats. Instead there were only a few rules for surprise, combat, magic, and a few other things. Want to jump and grab a rope? There were no rules to do that, instead it was pretty much left up to the Game Master to determine that. Want to swing on chandelier on top of table and attack a few enemies, not in the rules. Even systems that had skills like Traveller had pretty bare bone rules on what you could do with those skills. It was up to the player think of something and the Game Master to come up with way to handle it.

That of course lead people to want to codify things just a little bit more. They wanted more rules on how to handle things. And sometimes they just got way to complex, yes I'm looking at you AD&D Pummel and Grappling.

As thing started to get codified more and more, I think there was a trend to think that the Game Master shouldn't make any one off rules. Without these one off ruling, people started to think if there wasn't a consistent rule in a rulebook, then it just can't be done.

That said, I do think that people are starting to swing back the other way on things. A lot of the rule lite systems have help in this matter. I think people are once again thinking that it's ok to think outside the game rule box again. Personally I hope this trend to think outside the ruleset continues.

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Welcome to Season 6 Episode 24 of RPG Circus
Episode Topics

  • Converting Your Favorite IP to Your Favorite RPG
  • How to help your game survive the holidays

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As many of you may be aware, I recently been running quite a few Savage World Sessions via Roll20.net. Roll20 has limitations, but for the most part is close enough for me to run some sessions on it. One thing that has come up from playing via Roll20.net is what I'm going to call "Sessions to Session Consistency".

First off what is Sessions to Session Consistency? I like to think of it as things remain the same from the end of the session to the start of the next session. Players are the same, characters are the same, the positions of things remain the same. Something that I find normally can't really be accomplished in the long run.

After all, we all have had sessions where players couldn't make it that week, or new players have been added. When I was younger, this was usually didn't happen much. As kids, we normally didn't have a lot fighting for our time. As an adult, I find that such things do tend to happen. People have to work when a game session was scheduled, they take vacations or trips, they have to do 101 other things during that time, and the list goes on.

All of that tends to make games session not be as consistent. Which leads to the question of what to do about it? Or if you should even bother to anything about it?

I tend to think that while one should try to do something about it, I don't find that it should eat up a bunch to time worrying about it. After all, it is just a game to have fun with. In face to face games, I know I tend try to fit the adventure in a single session. That way no matter which players show up or not, there doesn't need to be an explanation of where players came from or went to. In my roll20 games, I don't even bother with that, since my sessions are 2 hours in length and adventures tend to last 3 or 4 sessions. I just sort of let the players come and go as needed. I don't even bother to really explain it anymore. I really only worry about it if a player was required for some task or had a vital item needed for the adventure. For the most part, the players I've been playing with haven't seemed to mind it at all.

So what about you? Do you worry about having Sessions to Session Consistency? If so, what do you do about it? If not, why not? I look forward to hearing your replies.

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Welcome to Season 6 Episode 23 of RPG Circus
Episode Topics

  • Roll20 Review/Thoughts
  • Answer a few questions

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Welcome to Season 6 Episode 22 of RPG Circus
Episode Topics

  • Interview with Donald and Brett about failing in their Kickstarter
  • Alcohol and Gaming

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Welcome to Season 6 Episode 21 of RPG Circus
Episode Topics

  • Does the GM need to be a Player as Well?
  • A case for using Dokuwiki for your Campaign notes

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Welcome to Season 6 Episode 19 of RPG Circus
Episode Topics

  • How Much Campaign Prep Does One Do?

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Welcome to Season 6 Episode 18 of RPG Circus
Episode Topics

  • Interview with Caleb about Timeless RPG
  • Our view on the problems with Kickstarters

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