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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default The Three Laws of RPGs - PEACH

    Hi, Playground.

    I read the Roleplaying Games general forum, mostly and I read it a lot. I see the same question with different titles a lot. "I want to do this, but my [GM or Players] are that." Ultimately, the answer can be distilled down to "talk with your [DM or Players] and come up with a compromise." That got me thinking some more. I wanted something concise and catchy that would make an interesting discussion, so here you go. Please let me know what you think.

    The Three Laws of RPGs

    ​1) Always seek to add to the fun of the cooperative narrative ​being told by the​ GM and other players.

    2) Always strive to cooperate with the GM and other players, except when to do so would violate the first law.

    3) Always actively pursue your character's or campaign's goals, except when to do so would violate the first two laws.

    Spoiler: Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics for reference
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    A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.


    Thoughts? Useful? Useless?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Honest Tiefling's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Three Laws of RPGs - PEACH

    I don't like the wording of the first one. You don't always seek to add to the fun, you're often there to relax and have fun without being a jerk to others. You shouldn't be striving to constant add to the game, that's far too much pressure. I don't sit at an RPG table and expect everyone to do this, I just want to play.

    The latter one makes no sense as well. I've played bums, drifters, and mooks. These characters don't have campaign goals, they want someone to sleep, some food and booze and maybe some other stuff. It feels very oddly worded and restrictive. And if someone really wants to pursue a campaign goal, they'll freaking do it, that's usually not an issue. I personally think that one is just superfluous.
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    Default Re: The Three Laws of RPGs - PEACH

    Useless, as they are too vague.

    1. Ok, but ''what is fun''? See that is a problem. The robot law is ''don't harm humans'' and that is easy to do. One would need to be more ''do not disrupt the game''.

    2.So ''corporate'', whatever that means, unless your having ''fun''? For the ''obey all orders''? This should be ''obey everything the DM says''.

    3.Is um, ''do whatever you want"? For the protect yourself one? Should be more like ''protect yourself from bad people''.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: The Three Laws of RPGs - PEACH

    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    I don't like the wording of the first one. You don't always seek to add to the fun, you're often there to relax and have fun without being a jerk to others. You shouldn't be striving to constant add to the game, that's far too much pressure. I don't sit at an RPG table and expect everyone to do this, I just want to play.
    While I agree with the general approach of what you say, if you see actions as either adding fun or not adding fun, if you are there to have fun, you should opt for actions that add fun. I don't think it's about constantly striving to add something utterly fun that will be remembered through the ages, but rather "behave in a way that makes fun for everyone possible."

    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    The latter one makes no sense as well. I've played bums, drifters, and mooks. These characters don't have campaign goals, they want someone to sleep, some food and booze and maybe some other stuff. It feels very oddly worded and restrictive. And if someone really wants to pursue a campaign goal, they'll freaking do it, that's usually not an issue. I personally think that one is just superfluous.
    Isn't having sleep, food and booze a goal in itself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    1. Ok, but ''what is fun''? See that is a problem. The robot law is ''don't harm humans'' and that is easy to do. One would need to be more ''do not disrupt the game''.
    "Fun" is pleasure, enjoyment or entertainment. Basically, if people are not enjoying the game they aren't having fun. "Seek to add fun" means "make the game entertaining and enjoyable."

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    2.So ''corporate'', whatever that means, unless your having ''fun''? For the ''obey all orders''? This should be ''obey everything the DM says''.
    "Cooperative" not "corporate." It's not about obeying the game master but about realising that you are playing with other people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    3.Is um, ''do whatever you want"? For the protect yourself one? Should be more like ''protect yourself from bad people''.
    He is using Asimov's laws as an inspiration, not a blueprint.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Jul 2010

    Default Re: The Three Laws of RPGs - PEACH

    I kind of like the idea you are going for here.
    In a sense you are ordering what is important to play by the rules.

    So

    Fun
    Cooperation
    Finally character goals.

    As you said its a list of rules that if you step down and ask am I doing this at the table I am in might solve a lot of problems or answer questions raised on the boards.


    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    Useless, as they are too vague.

    1. Ok, but ''what is fun''? See that is a problem. The robot law is ''don't harm humans'' and that is easy to do. One would need to be more ''do not disrupt the game''.

    2.So ''corporate'', whatever that means, unless your having ''fun''? For the ''obey all orders''? This should be ''obey everything the DM says''.

    3.Is um, ''do whatever you want"? For the protect yourself one? Should be more like ''protect yourself from bad people''.
    Thank you this did amuse me a lot.

    Onethly they need to be vague. What is fun for one group is not fun for another. Learning what the group and indeed yourself find fun is part of the first rule. Its the first rule as fun should be the goal of the activity.

    Twothly there is no need to focus on word and get a definition. It does not help. Saying "Don't harm humans" is easy to understand but then picking on the word fun as difficult to understand. Let me try that the other way around... What do you mean Harm ? Do you mean emotional harm ? Physical ? Mental ? Oh the word harm is so difficult to understand....

    Threethly there is something funny on the meta level about not being able to understand the word fun. Surly you can understand fun and surly you want to both have fun and increase the fun for the people around you.
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    Milo - I know what you are thinking Ork, has he fired 5 shots or 6, well as this is a wand of scorching ray, the most powerful second level wand in the world. What you have to ask your self is "Do I feel Lucky", well do you, Punk.
    Galkin - Erm Milo, wands have 50 charges not 6.
    Milo - NEATO !!
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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Anonymouswizard's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Three Laws of RPGs - PEACH

    Okay, here's may take on the three laws. In this case 'player' includes the GM.

    1) A player shall not make the game unenjoyable to others, or through inaction allow the game to become unenjoyable.
    2) A player shall compromise on plot threads or ideas presented by others, except where doing so would violate the first law.
    3) A player's actions shall remain in character, except where doing so would violate the first or second laws.

    In simple terms, don't make it so others aren't having fun, don't dominate the story, and don't act nonsensical, all linked back to the idea that other people should be enjoying themselves. I'm not happy with the wording of the second law, ideally it would bind the GM less to plot threads presented by players but not support railroading.

    The problem with these laws is that they require a kind of group that is, in my experience, relatively rare (as in, I've played in one group where players can suggest plot threads to the GM), although the first should remain consistent. I dub them 'AnonymousWizard's three laws for serious narrative-driven games', and I'd expect dungeon crawlers to violate the third for ' I want this character to last more than one room' reasons, and for comedic games to use a simplified version of the second law ignoring plot threads.

    I should notice that the one I see broken the most is my second law, but I put it second because I think the party working together is more important than everyone staying in character (it normally is in the groups I play with anyway).
    Snazzy avatar (now back! ) by Honest Tiefling.

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    Spoiler: playground quotes
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
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    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Honest Tiefling's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Three Laws of RPGs - PEACH

    Quote Originally Posted by Takewo View Post
    Isn't having sleep, food and booze a goal in itself?
    Technically yes. I don't know about others, but when I play that sort of character I often do so to LIMIT campaign goals to focus on other's campaign goals. I suppose you could say that is a goal in of itself, but I think the law needs to be written a little better. Also, I've been in many campaigns where the goals kept changing arc to arc.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oko and Qailee View Post
    Man, I like this tiefling.
    For all of your completely and utterly honest needs. Zaydos made, Tiefling approved.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Three Laws of RPGs - PEACH

    OK, I'm a little confused. Are different people's lists supposed to be equivalent / refinements on the original, or are people presenting substantively different lists?

    Either way, I don't think I get most people's #2.

    Here's my 2c: I won't compromise properly roleplaying a character. But I will pick a new character if their personality obviously won't work with the campaign / with the party. So "Fun" and "RP" are both inviolate.

    There's also issues related to sticking to the same character when a character is over/under powered, to keep the cohesion of the story. Similar to changing characters or rules when it makes things a cakewalk or makes things impossible.

    IME, most people aren't good at observing whether other people are having fun. Some don't seem to care even when it is brought to their attention. Sometimes, certain vectors of fun are... impossible in a given group. And I'm sure there are other similar issues to consider when creating such laws.

    And, IIRC, "3 laws safe" could produce vastly different responses in different robots. Is this our intended result here?

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Three Laws of RPGs - PEACH

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    Useless, as they are too vague.

    1. Ok, but ''what is fun''? See that is a problem. The robot law is ''don't harm humans'' and that is easy to do.
    Tangent, but !!!!
    The various robot stories show that the the seemingly short and simple laws are anything but easy. Especially when you throw in the last half of the first law "or, through inaction, allow a human to come to harm." Should a robot lie to a human to not hurt their feelings or does that set them up for more harm later? What if actions to save one human harm another? What if saving them from low risk situations sets up a long term higher risk situation? There's also the Solaria example of "what is a human?" Don't harm humans isn't and simpler to deconstruct that what is fun.

    Of the options, I like the OP the best.
    It could basically be boiled down to "Have fun but remember that it's a social game that won't last unless everyone is having fun."
    I think most of us have seen many violations of this. Like the only player who thinks it's a pvp game. Or the lone wolf ninja who is constantly hiding and not interacting with the rest of the group. Or the player who thinks they're playing GTA and is constantly stealing from and/or assaulting NPCs and forces the GM to bring game reality down on them.
    Last edited by Stan; 2016-06-13 at 02:44 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    RogueGirl

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    Default Re: The Three Laws of RPGs - PEACH

    4) Never ever bring biscuits to a session as your only food source unless you are willing to share.

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