Friday, March 2, 2012

Favorite Quote

Here's one of my all-time favorite Referee/GM advice quotes:

"The purpose of a referee is to present obstacles for players to overcome as they go about seeking their goals, not to constantly make trouble for them. This is a very subtle distinction, and many beginners have trouble with it."

Book 0: An Introduction to Traveller (p.12) written by Loren K. Wiseman

Now, there's just a whole multitude of goodness in those two sentences. present obstacles for players to overcome...

Tricks and traps are obstacles. So are wandering monsters.

And the fact that the obstacles are for the players to overcome indicates that they should not be insurmountable.

(Although fighting may not be the way to overcome that particular obstacle...) they go about seeking their goals...

Note that their goals are not necessarily your goals. You can design an adventure, but what the players do with it is ultimately up to them.

...not to constantly make trouble for them.

I've known a few referees who didn't get this point. There seems to be a lot of material out there of the "Let's screw the players!" variety.

I mean, I'm no saint. I've done it myself. It was fun, but not in a long-term way (and that particular game went away a long, long time ago.) I think we'd all be better off to remember this advice.

So, for the comments, what's your favorite piece of Referee/GM advice? I particularly mean from a published game book, like mine above, but I'd also be willing to accept something an 'older, wiser' referee passed on to you.

Phone lines are open!