Wednesday June 1 2011–Mary Sue Players (part two)

Most indie RPGs set up their games into either two aspects, they purposely pivot the players against the GM or they create a more group-story, coe-GMing, system.  Burning Empires and My Life with Master, builds on the antagonism of the GM; while Fiasco and The Shab-al-Hiri Roach completely removes the GM from the game.  I like the fact that they push one way or another, because the Mary Sue player is marginalized.

If the GM’s role is to beat the players, they will not cater to Mary Sue Players (let’s call them MSP for the rest of the blog.)  MSPs have a habit of smooth talking GMs, they are willing to use any manipulative trick in the book; but the easiest is blowing hot air up a GMs butt, they support, flatter, or understand the GM’s goals, story, or setting better than anyone else that plays.  If the GM wants to win, then they will not give license from flattery (including the MSP.)  Additionally, the GM wants to ruin every players goals; which means that the MSP will become a greater threat as they betray and stomp out every other player that they are playing with—instead of gaining power, they gain greater challenges.   Mary Sue Players wants to amass power; so, as the game continues, it becomes easier to dominate the other players.  They want to enforce a status-quo favoring individuals and that challenges the group, not on them.  Most old school RPGs do this, however, the antagonistic RPGs forces the GM to focus on defeating the player who is ahead.

Coe or no-GMs games are just as frustrating to MSPs.  Because the GM has less control over the game or isn’t there at all, each player gains more influence over the game.  To the MSPs this means they have multiple GMs to deal with AND NO PLAYERS to defeat.  They don’t see themselves as GMs; a GM is just a hurdle to overcome to beat other players- like in the race.  Furthermore, less GMing frequently means more concrete dice mechanics or random system which they cannot influence.  If another player wants friendly Nazis’ or Cylons and makes their roll or draws a card; “poof,” there are some without any other players say so.  These types of systems are too flexible for the MSP, the status-quo is once again in jeopardy.  So, they move away from them.

I am not saying that all bad gamers avoid indie RPGs, nor am I saying that a Mary Sue Player might not try to win at an indie game.  Bad gamers are everywhere, I know what I like and why; so, I can weed out the bad games/players—FOR ME.


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