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Blond Gamer Girl

Group, GM or System

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Group, GM or System

I see a lot of posts about various systems and this has prompted some thoughts on my part and might provoke some questions on everyone else’s part. Which is most important: the group, game or system? How do you rank them?

Group (50%): This is the most important IMHO because if players don’t get along or simply the group doesn’t mesh well, everything else is moot. Face it – who wants to spend several hours with people they can’t stand? Also, you have to have agreement on style of play (role play vs. roll play). Case in point and on side note, when hiring a potential employee companies look for a good match once a skill requirement is met.

GM(35%): The reason I downplay the GM is because IMHO a strong group can influence a GM’s style. Constructive Criticism can go a long way to tweaking a good GM to a great one. If the GM is awful, not much can be done other than voting in a new one.

System (15%): To me a system is simply a background world with a set of rules. If you don’t like a certain system, choose another in that same genre or tweak those rules. For instance, I’ve played Cyberpunk and Shadowrun. I love SR because the world has magic and therefore more options. However, CP has some things I really like so I incorporated as an SR GM. That being said, I still have a short list of disagreements which I put forth to the group both written and verbally.

What does everyone else think? If anyone agrees, why do folks still shop for a system?

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  1. Q-man's Avatar
    I'd have to agree, the group is the biggest part of it. Without players that get along well and have play styles that work well together, the game is going to fall apart regardless of anything else.

    The GM is probably #2, while he can put a lot of influence into the game its really the players that steer things. That said we've all played for good GM's and bad GM's and know the different they can make in the game.

    The system is the least important in having a great game night. Like you said its a background world and rules. So long as the rules are balanced well enough, then the rest of the fluff and lore can be rewritten how ever fits you best.
  2. SDJThorin's Avatar
    yep... have to agree with you here... my % might be more along the lines of 80%/10%/10%

    I believe that the GM is a part of the group, however the GM's XP does count for something and so does the system.

    If you run a crappy system and still everyone had fun -- that's a good group!
  3. Giasrhen's Avatar
    I would say the GM is 45% of a Game and how the GM gets along with each member of the group, Knowledge of their own Game and skilled use of thier world/setting is the most important part. followe3d closely by group dynamic say 35% of the fun. but I will put up with 1 or 2 I can't stand if the GM is Good, the story interesting, and I get along with the rest of the players. In a Really good game I won't even try to kill the other players I can't stand. and finally the story/system is about 20% If you don't have a story that can draw you in and keep you involved the other flaws in your group will become all the more apparent. some may think I have over stated this last element but play a game with your friends without any dice see how well you like them afterwards.
  4. micalus's Avatar
    I would agree with the original post in terms of priority, but not sure of the percentages. The group or a good GM can make a cruddy system ok. If you don't have a good group, then the GM doesn't matter. Also a good GM can overcome a cruddy system but not a bad group. I played RIFTS with a great GM. I think RIFTs has Tons of flaws but she worked around them and made it fun.
    The reason my group plays different games is that different systems are inherent to the GM. Same as where a campaign is played. I played 1st and 2nd ed ADnD and each GM in the group had a different world that fit them. One liked forgotten realms, one liked greyhawk and another completely made up his own.
  5. templeorder's Avatar
    In my own experience its the GM that is typically the glue - easily tops out over 50%. IF they are not mature enough, smart enough, competent enough, and strong enough nothing goes right. Its their job to provide the guidance, pick a group that works, navigate friendships, and know when to lay down the law or let things slide to ensure everyone has a good time. Its a tough and often thankless job - but i do get some praise and when i do its pretty flattering and makes me feel like we're all working together. The group is essential - but a GM is the fulcrum of putting the group together. Rarely can you magically assemble a group and have everyone work together. Its the system that matters the least - if a GM is good players can envision and play their characters in any system - though some work better for a particular style, setting or flavor. I find my own system helps me tell the tale the easiest - allowing me to focus less on mechanics (i can rely on the system to resolve any situation without much effort from me) and more on immersion in the world and the story.