Sunday, 23 August 2015

[Story - Untitled] Big Long Text plot Synopsis

I don't normally do this, Posting a plot Synopsis, but since I got the Idea from Observations of the Fox in his Worldbuilding, and I'm unlikely to have the time to run this at any time soon. I leave it up to you, Gamesmasters to do with it what you will. I think it would make for a nice Adventure, If I have the time in the future I'll write it up a little cleaner.. but I'd rather someone use it than it sit on a dusty harddrive.

The Town over the Mines of a Metal that's Stronger than anything, destroyed by...  

(p.s. I have not edited this, When an Idea pops into my brain, I write it fast & furious, so its messy, I'm not going to edit it as is, I'd rather edit it into a larger document later)

Its not fully understood how or why it exists, but an ancient buried castle was discovered in a wilderness, the soil was poor, plants didn't really grow, a desertous wasteland.

But that didn;t stop some adventurers from exploring the burined castle.

The first thing they noticed was the castle was not flat. The windows had hard glass in them, so it was obvious this was a rich castle.

Weapons didn't make much of a dent to the walls, and only through some powerful magics were they able to break in and access the castle.

Unfortunately there was not much to claim, the rooms were for the most part empty. Strange monuments were bolted to the walls, alot of the caste was empty. But two things stood out. A Large Sword, later known as the Blade of White Lightning, and a small round runic device, correctly guessed by the mage as a runic fireball.

The Adventurers left, and for years afterwards no-one known, came across it.

The Adventurers became pretty famous in their time, Sir Lious for his combat skills and the foes he vanquished with white lightning, and the Mage Eldus who used the runic fireball to defeat the demon gate.

Eldus, had read the runes on the device and found 10 small notches, and determined (incorrectly) that this was the radius, but 1 metres was a tad small for a powerful runic device, so setting it for 1 made no sense, instead he thought possibly each notch was 10 steps/ 3 metres (feet).. making the full radius 30 metres. But given the power of the White Lightning blade, he also was quoted as saying, jokingly, it could be 10 x 100 metres! no one believe him, but he must has thought it a possibility.

The Demon Gate was opened by Sd'ohy Udhi of the Half Orc Clan, in an attempt to bring power to the Half Orcs, Sd'ohy gathered as many books on the subject and studied hard the ancient demonology, and using a large ancient stone gate, runes he copied from those books, he managed to create a Demon gate.. allowing demons to enter the world, at will. It was horrendous to say the least, Within hours, hundreds of demons had merely walked through, slaughtered the half Orcs and began their relentlous feast on all souls that lived near.

The Adventurers heard of the Demons, like mostly anyone else within weeks of travel to the Gate, as Demon begun to pour into the world and reak havok as quickly as they discovered it.

So, They headed for the gate, After a battle like none they had faced before, they defeated demon after demon, some mere beasts with extra horns, some a mixture of an elephant and a bicycle, neither of which they knew the look of, and nearing the end, with a telescope, theymanaged to locate the Gate.

Eldus, seeing the sheer bulk of demonic entities entering the world summised that they could not hope to approach, let alone close the gate easily.. he would need to study the runes, determine the counter spells and close it, all while his friends held back wave after wave of demonic creatures..

as it was, at this distance, The party was fighting back large numbers of weird things.

It was then, that Eldus remembered he had the runic fireball!

He took out his rare scroll of group flight, he had hoped to make a copy before using it, but now was no time to think of lost items.

Casting the spell, the group flew over the land, fighting off the few winged demons that existed, and Eldus Magically engaged the Runic Device, and dropped it to the gate.

Being a overly cautios fellow, he had timed it, so they could fly at least 500m away from the gate before it would explode.. they turned on his cue to watch the explosion.. but after the initial wave of blue light, shredding all the creatures on the land, Eldus screamed at his companions to fly, fly as fast as they could.

The blast ripped through them as they flew.. Eldus quickly cast feater fall on his companions as they flew, and so as they pased out from pain, they glided down to merely crash with a few scrapes and bruises.

Sir Lious the sword weilder had not passed unconcous, instead he landed with his now sleeping friends, and fought off the few demons that survived the blast.

After the carnage, a 750 metre crater existed in place of the cavern.. and interestingly revealed several underground cryots and tunnels.. The team managed to raid these places for weeks afterwards, until the rains filled them and today the lake it home to a fresh water merfolk city.

The Original Castle

The Adventurers had mentioned the place they claimed their items from, which of course prompted others to travel to the site and raid it..

The Opening of the Castle had somehow leaked some moulds and plant life had begun to grow up around the entrance to the castle.. Some of which proved to be not only edible, but highly nutritious. People could come and live near the castle, use its now open door (blast hole) as a means of access, and traders tents began to appear around the entrance, selling goods to adventuerers who sought the riches of the castle.

Once such dwarf, known as Werthstone, found that when lightning was cast at the walls of the castle at the same time that he hit it with his Eldritch Hammer, the Stone would break away in shattered chucks.. He returned with some of the chunks to his home, and they fashioned the metal with ancient techniques, into a dagger now known as Eldritch Werthblade. The Metal renamed as Eldritch WerthStone.

Werthstone, returned with a small group of Dwarven Metalsmiths and Priests, and found a small town had sprung up around the castle. Importing food, goods, wood and the like, and Exporting the Lode Stone (as they called it) As they had taken the idea of Werthstone, and had priests bless the stone before striking it.
This of course became a tiff with locals, they instead had to live outside the towns borders.. . At first they were livid, , at first they decided to build a mineshaft more than five hundred metres from the castle, They knew that within the time it took them to build the shaft. The Townsfolk would somehow lay claim to the castle, and prevent them from taking any of the precious stone.

After a feast, getting drunk and a few fights, they eventually gave in, and So they dug quickly.

Within a few months, the Town had summoned the sherrif and a small regiment, to protect the kings interest in the castle.. the sherrif stated, that according to the laws (and the treaty with the dwarven king), the Dwarves could claim a chunk of land and pay tax on that land and claim anything beneath that land..

The Town was happy with that arrangement, at first the dwarves felt like they would dig deep, then an illegal side shaft to the underside of the castle, and claim the lowest levels of stone first.. illegally mine the stone, deeper than anyone had travelled, so by the time anyone reached their tunnels, they'd have claimed a large chunk anyway..

but within a few days the dwarves came to the surface, and signed the document. begrudingly.

A month later, the Dwarves bought some extra land, behind their own, and further away from the town, then later still,    They brough in a few hundred new dwarves to work their mines, and build their end of town. Stone from beneath the surface, gold, some Jewels.. They bought another 'chunk' of land behind theirs again.. still further from the town. The town was happy, they had claimed this castle and its possible source of income for years. The dwarves had obviously struck stone & gold independantly, and so peace settled in the town.

The Dwarves were supplying stone to the townsfolk, who traded for it with Lodestone, the dwarved turned lodestone into werthstone and sold it back as picks, shovels, swords, anything that someone wanted. The Metal was harder than many types of metal, cut deep and true with almost every strike, resisted damage, lasting longer than Mithril and Deamonite, and with dwarven craftsmanship, was some of the most balanced and therefore sought after weapons in the world. So the dwarves could, and did, make a far larger profit being the smelters of the stone, than the miners.

Two things happened that shattered this bergeoning city.. The Kings of the Dwarves and the Humans, struck a deal to deal with the Half Orc incursions and their enslaved demons, and asked the Dwarves of Cyrstylwerth? to fashion helms and breastplates of Werthstone, to aid the armies. The Humans would supply metals for the chainmail, the Dwarves the Werthstone (Dwarves, when asked by their king to supply them do so as an honorable task. to refuse your king is to refuse your kind, so it was done without payment)

But The Werthstone Mines & Forges started cranking out far more armour and weapons than the town thought possible.. 100 crates of Lodestone would go in, and 500 suits of Armour would come out. Ok the dwarves were good, but surely not that good?

Then the Dwarven city came under panic, Crazed, purple eyed Dwarves came screaming out of the mines, ravaging anyone in their site before being chopped down. over 400 dwarves and 100 humans were killed in the slaughter. A scouting team was sent down to investigate. The mines closed until their return. They did not.

Some townsfolk packed up and left,

The King of the Dwarves sent a small army, with a Miners detail, they dug a side chamber down the mineshaft to find the source of the problem, Days went by, digging, preparation, priests in prayer, until the day came to break through into the mine. They did so,.. The horn blew to let everyone know they had entered.. Within minutes, the horn blew again.. one and a half times.. Not a good sign.. The Priests threw up protection barriers against evil, undead, demons, dark elves, dark dwarves.. but the purple eyed Dwarves walked straight up the shaft and with the echo of a few hundred screams, slaughtered everyone in sight.

The Townsfolk waiting on edge for news, hearing the screams, fled as fast as they could.. yet none have been heard of since.

The Townsfolk that left before the dwarven army told folk of this:

The Dwarves had mined a shaft down when they first arrived, and sooner than expected, hit the Castle of Lodestone.. but It was somehow pearched on a rocky mountain years before the great mudslide. and the dwarved had found its western most buildings. So it became obvious this was why they signed the land deal, they were sitting directly above a large deposit of lodestone in its raw form. So all this time they were digging out rock and gold, they were also digging up lodestone, but converting it to werthstone before bringing it to the surface, then when folks came with lodestone to trade, theyd gladly buy it, because it gave them legitimacy as to how they got lodestone.

But the Dwarves had dug too deep. The story is, the Lodestone is the shell of an egg of a great creature, not evil, not dwarven, not undead not demonic, nor elven, nor human in any nature, and its very breath drove the soldiers mad, insane and so no priestly barrier had been erected against madness.. (this is the reasoning of the survivors) So the mad soldiers emerged from the caverns and slaugtered the town.


As it stands, As its rumoured, The Town lies in ruins, covered in vines, trees, strange plants that move too much for just wind.. There are no living humans in the city, and supposedly a few Mad Dwarves in Werthstone Armour guard the abandoned streets, purple glow to their eyes..

Green Adventurers do not seek out this place, only those who favour their skills and might against mad, gibbering dwarves who run like cheetas and fight like monkeys, dressed in armour tougher than dragon scale, yet light enough to be barely noticed. Yet this armour is what those who travel there seek out.


3 months back, 3 Adventurers returned from the Shid'he deserts, wearing Werthstone Armour, and Weilding a Werthstone Glave, They fought back some Dwarves, entered the Dwarven city, took one set each of the armour set aside for the human king, and a single Glave, found in the hands of a long dead soldier.. They claimed the city seems to be far emptier of Mad Dwarves than previously claimed. Possibly the Dwarves have died of old age? or so many of them fell at the hands of Adventuring parties? Its unknown..

The King has asked the kingdom, for adventurers to travel to the falled city, find out if indeed the rumour is true, is the city now empty? He'll pay a princes ransom for this information, one tenth to be paid in cash upon the return of the adventurers, the remainder to be paid when his own scouts have returned with confirmation.

TL;DR Two Races vie for control of a new metal, mining it, unleashes a new horror, killing the town, and creating an adventure: 

Monday, 17 August 2015

Coins Part Two:, Currencies and Culture

In Part One, I wrote about How Coins should affect your pickpocketing, Less common for many campaigns is the travel aspect of currency, crossing borders, finding that the shop keepers will look suspiciously at your coins, bite them, probably refuse them even, or in some cases, recognizing that you are a foreigner, take advantage of the fact and give you far less worth for them.

$18.50 for a cup of coffee, seems a bit steep? 
Yes but sir, this is New York, Starbucks New York 
Welcome to America!

Currencies & Culture

The second part of my post/blog is about different cultures & currencies. Quite frankly, I don't think the average GM is going to go to the lengths needed to get something realistic. So I'll chop this into two parts, Casual gaming, and Hard Gore GMing.

Standard RPG start location: Corner Tavern
Art by Duran3d
The Idea here is to give players a bit more understanding that they're not in Kansas anymore, having players go to a shop, buy gear, stay in a tavern/Inn, hear about the latest quest by the fire, after buying an old man a drink is ok for your starting shtick, but if you cross the border into another country, teleport into other continents, or different worlds, then it should only be used as a joke that the players walk into a bazaar, buy some gear, stay in a motel and hear about the latest quest by the cooler, after buying the old lizardwoman a drink.

To get the players to feel like they are in strange lands, its the little things that really get under their skin, and make it seem like they have traveled.

Currency is the first thing they should notice when trying to do anything. Different currencies, different rates of exchange, different ways of buying, selling, stacking.

In China, I went to the museum of Currency, the reason why the Chinese coin looks the way it does, is because its not the whole coin, its the handle of a small blade of metal.

The Little Ring on the end? Became the Coin you know.
So whats to say this practice isn't more widespread? Why does a coin need to be the standard? In a fantasy world, where a knife is probably something everyone has, and possibly two or three of, maybe the common dagger becomes the 'standard' by which all wealth is measured?

For my own players, I tried out the idea of metal rings, players noticed the locals wore a large number of rings, smaller bronze looking metals on their pinkies, and larger flatter engraved rings on their indexes, soon enough when they went to buy something, the shop keeper wouldn't sell them anything, kept treating them like lower class citizens, why? because they obviously had no money to spend, their hands were bare. Sure they may be dressed in some nice gear, but if they don't have coin to spend, their just there to waste time.

Exchange rates, and I don't mean between the players own currency, and the new country, but the rate of coinage in the new country. Sure its a little easier to just 10:1 exchange all coins, but its also very stale. Historically, most counties had far different rates, 12:1, 15:1 or 24:1 were common enough, Look at our own coins, 10p, American 25c, Australian 50c, Dollars and Pounds? Names are different, coinage is different, that's just the generic English speaking ones, Why are fantasy coins always 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 copper? And if your in some kind of place where the race is different enough, lizardmen don't necessarily have 4 fingers and a thumb, so why would they even count in sets of 5 and 10? surely their entire culture would count in 4 and 8, make them much better programmers.

Historically, The English Traded with Florence, who manufactured the gold coin then known as the British florin, but prior to that, they still used all the Egyptian, Greek and Roman coins that were still floating around. So Shouldn't the coins from your worlds be a mixture of previous cultures, other cities who manufacture coins, and the like?

Have a look at this: Medieval Money document for a better understanding.

Also, Crypts and Dungeons that are hundreds of years old, shouldn't have a currency that matches modern currency. In some of the better 'published dungeons' I've read, have larger than normal coins (1.5 times size, but lower grade, so possibly worth less to the average person, but maybe more to collectors (mages who might perform magics on old coins for information). Old coins might have wording on who they belonged to, leading to the discovery of an ancient king, and hopefully his tomb.

Ok, so I did point out that I'd dabble in some Hard Core WorldBuilding, This isn't for the feint of heart, but this is what I did for my own game world:  
An Early Gamesmaster Screenshot, depicts the territory of 6 players

Firstly, I designed and ran an 80+ player game of fantasy/civ that I wrote, to get an idea of what kinds of places would exist, what metals they mined and how much trade existed between players to get a proper set of stats to work with. I Asked players to nominate their coins from the metals that they mined, and as the game progressed they added a second and third coinage.

If a player was trading with another, they were given the choice to 'exchange at the border' or 'allow the use of other currency', the former had a more strict control over internal wealth, but also travel and spies.

The Image shows the 'route' of spies from the Necromancers Caravan to the town just south of the capital.

So, with several different metals, useful as coinage, several different countries, some trading and some not, I ended up with over 300 different coins, names and exchange rates. The Games setting duration was over 120 years, so this also left me with some awesome interest pieces.

The Above map, gave me 2 major Crypts, 4 adventure hooks, 6 races, 36 cultural issues amongst 4 races, encounter maps for each hex, and basic stats of 13 large towns/cities.

Apparently, these guys at Fantasy Coin can make your worlds
coins for you, might consider an investment.
As time went on, The Mining Races obviously became the producers of coinage, if not the raw materials, So their coin ratios become more common for the bulk of the kingdoms to whom they dealt with. My Main 'homebase' for my current roleplay team, deal with the rare Hearth Elven Platinum Brindir, High Dwarven Gold BeardClips (rings that can be worn on the pinky by humans), North Human Golden Crowns, Forest Elven Zircon Rounds, North Human Pewter Guilders, Deep Dwarven Silver Curls, Coastal Lizardmens Silver Claws (thimbles, that stack), The High Kings Silver Coin and His Brothers, High Lords Silver coin, (Interchangeable to other races, but illegal to own in opposite countries) Copper and Bronze coins, seem to be interchangeable at this point between most cultures, as long as they weigh the right amount, peasants and locals will trade in weight of copper coins, because its too easy to re-mint your own, and each local lord re-mints them with his own face on one side, and the kings face on the other side.

For Simplicity, Beards and Crowns, Rounds and Guilders, Kings Silver or Lords Silver, and Copper Coins are the currencies most players dealt with in this region. Yet, only 100km to the south east, They deal in Crowns, Guilders, Florins, Pennies and Bitz.

So whiles the Dwarven Crowns and Curls can be used interchangeably between the two major cultures, none of the other coins are legit currencies, requiring traders to visit 'merchant banks' or jewelers to make exchanges, often losing a percentage of the real worth, or resorting to barter, if they don't intend on staying and value their own currency.
Real gold you say? Hmm, lemme just bite it

My players have attempted to thwart the system, finding the right exchanger and making a small profit on the exchange, using their high charisma character for the deal, but after getting their high intelligence guy to do the maths first. With the lack of real travelers, the real worth wont be found out, and likely the exchanger will pass on the cost to 'collectors' at a later point.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Coins Part One: Currency, Weight and Stealth.

While travelling across Europe, as it changed from local currency to the Euro, I was constantly thinking about how currencies would work if players crossed from one culture to another. Forget language, we've got that covered with "comprehend languages" but Coinage? Exchange rates? that doesn't convert with a spell.

How do you work your coins & currency in your game?

In France, I managed to pick up a few of their tourist coins, large heavy things, matched the size I thought of as my 'gold coin' until I checked how much gold would be needed for such a coin. 
34mm diameter & approx 21grams for these ones. (not gold)

Such a coin would be 34grams of gold, priced around $2,100 vs the 2 Euro I paid for my French coins. so at 21 grams each, I just 'counted' the weight as 30% less for my quick calculations.

much smaller 16mm & 8 grams
I bought around 20 of them myself, put them in a leather bag I got from a medieval fair, and threw in some Estonian Crowns (Kroon) because they looked cool (and I figured matched the more common copper or silver coins of my world) and noticed now that I had a fair weight hanging from my belt. almost 2 kilos. ok sure, I had over 100 Kroons (there were so cheap when I bought them) and the leather bag itself is 300grams. 

So how in the world, would I not notice this being stolen from me?

Stealth & Weight

I have been pick pocketed thrice in my life, the first time was so fast, and unnoticed, I wouldn't have known had the man not realised that he'd stolen a tourists hand book (the same size as the wallet) and returned to give it back. I was in Mongolia and went to the bank with a fellow traveller, we exchanged cash for local currency, put away our wallets, took out the guide, took a look at where to go, and as we left, the guide went away into the front pocket of my jacket. A local, bumped into my friend, raised his hands in apology, patted my shoulder as a re-assuring, I'm sorry, please don't have me arrested, and walked away.. within seconds he returned, handed back the travel guide he'd taken, and walked away again.. we looked at it, first thought was.. did we drop it? checked the pocket, and viola, .. empty.. impressive skills..

The second time was so skillfully done, I practically applauded the man, before I gave chase in a taxi. I had (stupidly) taken out my wallet in the evening, as I exited a Moscow supermarket, took out the cash I was about to use to pay for a taxi, and put the wallet back in my front pocket, tucked my jumper down over it, adjusted my bag on my shoulder and walked to the main street. The spotter had obviously seen me, somehow tipped off his friend, who approached me as a 'out of towner' looking for a bar. My helpful Australian attitude was to point out where it was, he asked (in poor Russian, but hey, mine was worse) where was my accent from.. I replied, and he started talking about his favourite boxer.. Kosta Zu (Russian emigrated to Australia).. even offered to show me how Kosta would win.. I declined, he shook my hand, and walked away.. then it struck me.. my pocket was empty.. my wallet had ended up in the hands of this man, in such a way that I could not, even now, fathom. Somehow, he'd knocked the wallet up from my pocket, down my jumper and into his hand, without me knowing til seconds (or even more) later.. I think he might have even managed to hand it off to a guy behind him, so I could not accuse him (because his hands were empty when we backed away and walked off)

The Third Time, I had a thicker wallet (I learnt to keep more receipts for other reasons, and this helped in this third instance) The man and his girlfriend approached me on the street, asked about cigarettes or something, I refused, it was cold, I wanted to get home quickly. she asked about my accent, and when told, they were amazed that an Australian would be here in -31.c Moscow.
He patted my shoulder, like a friendly person does, then my wallet, and my wallet moved in my pocket, 20/20 hindsight, seemed he could see the outline in the pocket, somehow grabbed the shoulder and lifted it with a tug (as he patted the same shoulder?) and my wallet would rise up with it.. No longer being oblivious as to what was about to happen, I pushed him away and yelled, and some other very choice words I had learnt since. He understood quickly that he had the wrong kind of foreigner, the look of a scared man entered his eyes, and he backed away, I gave enough of a chase to ensure they would not follow me, and went home via a different path..

But for years afterwards, I always thought about this.. A heavier wallet is always on your mind, bumps your leg, its annoying.. but also, harder to pick pocket. (but also more noticeable to thugs).

So, lets say you have a coin purse, larger gold coins are going to jingle a certain tone, while smaller less valuable coins have higher pitch. So a half decent theif will know if you're carrying a purse of 10-20 gold coins vs 10-20 copper. Also the difference between 5-10 coins and 50-100 coins based on weight & noise.

So my first conclusion is, When characters are traveling through a city, if they are carrying anything above 10 coins and the currency is gold or platinum, I make stealth checks for local thieves to attempt a pick pocket.. above 50 coins, the pickpockets will notice, but the likely hood of their success in stealing drops considerably, the mark is likely to notice. While a Thief might abandon a low chance of success, they might alert some thugs (and get a coin for the info).. typically a thug is going to ask.. whats the risk vs reward.. How dangerous does the mark look, vs how many coins they're carrying. In some of my larger cities, My Thugs might be 4th level, I'll set the chance at 25% +/- 10% @ 5 platinum / per level of the heroes, i.e. if you're a 4th level hero and look it, and you're carrying 9-12 platinum worth of coins, I'll put a 45% chance of encounter, same circumstances with 7th level heroes, drops down to 15%, but triple the cash, and 55% those thugs might try anyway, and makes for a quick little city encounter.
A lot harder to cut this kind of purse, send in the thugs, he's obviously got some wealth in there!

Monday, 10 August 2015

[Thoughts] Roleplay Gamers, World Simulation Vs / And Story

I wrote this topic several moths back, after discussion online about Simulation vs Story, then recently someone pointed me in the direction of the GNS Theory from Ron Edwards and Aaron Hoffmans opinion of it. Yes, it seemed to match up with my Simulation vs Story theories, but introduced the third Gamist (which I always thought of as a immature board gamer who disrupts the real RPGers)  to the table.. So now I've had to re-write this blog notes:
Arguments of World-Simulation vs Story-Roleplayer, now add Board Game Geek and maybe a Gamificator for good measure! 

Are you a board gamer, a war gamer or a listener?

My Initial foray into the psychology of roleplay was about the two. Simulationist vs Storyteller. This was aimed more at GMs, I felt that often a Storyteller was more railroady. The Players make some choices that follow the story that the GM (or for World of Darkness, the actually storyteller) has in mind, and provided the GM is the wolf and the players are sheep, they all get to have their own kind of fun.

Can you tell that I'm a Simulationist?

I have/had/will have again players who care not for their character sheet, level progression, bonuses, etc, they want to act out their part, partake in the story and enjoy themselves. They ask the rules lawyers what would be the best choice in their character progression. My own system was designed to guide these players to make it easier for them, the player is a fighter? he fights? he gets experience as a fighter and his fighting skills get better. He knows he's a fighter and feels like a fighter, so there is no need for him to care about min/maxing his skill set with a stealth attack or a spell, and besides, he's probably forget to use them, because when a creature walks into the dungeon, the fighter grabs his weapon and fights.
Then there are the rules lawyers, they study their own numbers with meticulous care, and make sure that they have their stats just perfect, balanced in the best way possible. and I'm covered there, because I think that way myself. (I think that to be a half decent game designer, you sorta need to be a rules lawyer to GM)

But when I encountered board gamers, I was always under the impression, they had just not yet learnt how to roleplay, and like a child in school who just doesn't get the lesson, they lash out in ways to 'make the game fun' or 'amp up the excitement' I never once thought that this was a sub-group unto itself.

GNS Theory

Firstly, While a long time reader of Psychology profiling, Personality Bartle Tests, GNS is new to me, so forgive me for the errors in interpretations, this is my own take on what 've read so far.

So Gamism is when you make the decisions based on extrinsic motivators. You form a party, and you are instantly friends, because that's the way the game is played. You go to the tavern and talk with the old man, to get the quest and then you complete the quest and get the gold and the girl/boy/victim and save the day. Because its a game, man! Meta Gaming could be considered gamism, checking on your friend in another room because you know that he just fell in a pit of acid, but you state.. "I haven't seen GunThar in a bit, I might just go check on him. "

Board Games that mimic roleplay (Descent, Heroquest, Talisman) are very Gamist, its practically the definition of a Gamist Game. So Often when I was balking at D&D and Pathfinder, It wasn't that those games suck, it was because they cater to the Gamism mentality, which I like some of, but as a Simulationist, I can't cope with. [I re-wrote the rules to Heroquest just months after I got it for my 14th Christmas to include XP]

Narrativism is roleplaying. Special voices, being angry or sad at appropriate moments, making sure you make choices, not based on if its the smartest thing to do, or the most efficient, but because its what my character would do. Well, maybe that's the simulationists perspective on Narrativism.

I've noticed alot of games are pushing towards Narrativism recently, which I applaud when done well, but they seem to be pulling away from the other end of the spectrum(s) Games coming out with little to no rules, arbitrary decision making, the GM is more like, telling a story, and the players are like, following along.. like Vampire, but without a character-sheet and experience points.

Simulationism is a Virtual world, Immersion by the players is achieved by making sure nothing outside of the parameters of the world, and rules, is broken (except the occasional 4th wall for humour). The game rules ensure that the world and its 'defined bubble of physics' is kept whole, so the players can make decisions quickly to create a fun experience.

Now, its pretty true that not many games can achieve this, and the ones that do are sometimes so grey/bland across their system, that takes away from the game play itself. I've read from some posts, players quoting how little fun it is to create a character and then get killed in the first session, because of realism. GMs are expected to fudge the dice to keep players alive long enough for the plot to become apparent, then if the player makes a stupid move, its his own fault after that.. Not every tavern would have an old man, and not every quest should be tailored for the players level.

Now, while I tend to lean towards the Simulation, I am trying as hard as possible to find the middle ground in all three. Or.. possibly, if I was to follow other theories.. all four: