06 June 2014
GMing and Compromise
How far do I go by way of compromise in what I run? Not very.
What I run is a Renaissance-tech fantasy world, very loosely based on Kenneth Bulmer's Scorpio series, using GURPS. I specialize in urban adventures and run a lot of nautical stuff. I don't do dungeons, and my plot arcs are a lot more about geopolitics than Good Kingdom vs. Evil Empire. I'm a realism bug. PvP is strictly forbidden in my campaign.
That's the deal. If you want to play D&D or Pathfinder, I'm not your guy. If you want lots of interparty conflict, I'm not your guy. If you want to do SF, well, I do a few months worth of Firefly every several years, but that aside, no, I don't do that. If you want high entropy dungeon fantasy where the PCs' goal is to be the lords of creation, no, I don't do that. If you can't handle that a single veteran soldier might be able to slap you around and that thirty orcs with spears definitely will slap you around, no, I'm not catering to you. If you don't like that we're a friendly lot who break for lunch and spend the first 15-20 minutes asking about everyone's fortnight, well, shucky darn.
I've been doing this for over three decades now, and I'm pretty set in my ways. I GM two groups who like my way of doing things just fine, and those players who couldn't handle one or more of the above elements find other groups in which to play. I've also long since made sure prospective new players know the score, in detail; sometimes they listen.
Sorry, but I’m not going to be one of those sadsack GMs who write to gaming forums complaining that they’ve been bullied into running a game system, a setting, a genre they didn’t like. Life’s too short.