Dealing With Authority

I'm currently trying to design a Star Trek flavored RPG*. One fairly major issue that I have to deal with is the presence of authority. Starfleet tells the captain what to do, the captain tells the crew what to do, and this tends to take agency away from the players in proportion to how far down in the chain of command they are.

Both John Harper's Lasers And Feelings and the board game The Captain Is Dead address this by taking the captain out of play entirely, disconnecting the players from the highest concentration of authority. Some other military-oriented RPGs explicitly make conflicts in the chain of command part of the game -- but to my mind Trek leans pretty heavily towards teamwork, with it generally being assumed that reasonable orders are going to be issued and followed.

On the bright side, I can encourage a delegation model of command, where senior officers tell the juniors what to do, but not how to do it. This leaves a junior officer's player free to pick their tactics as long as they're reasonably sane.

I am toying with game mechanics to drive player character teamwork -- skill checks generally won't be passable without assistance from a second character (which assistance comes in five different forms, some more direct than others), and assistance dice are spent in a "pay it forward" fashion.

I think I do want to keep the captain as a PC without any particular special rules, rather than an NPC or GM avatar.

Are there any other mechanics or concepts that I should consider to minimize the weight of authority in the game?

* Mostly informed by TOS since that's what I imprinted on; played relatively straight, downplaying the camp potential; more about the themes and tone than about recreating the superficial aspects of the show. Boldly going, but not necessarily in brightly colored velour miniskirts.

Comments

  • I don't think this is something that can really be addressed by mechanics, or, maybe it *could* be, but it's much easier IME to just try to establish a strong social contract with your group about what authority means in this setting.
  • edited April 2015
    I think it depends on what sorts of player decisions are important in your game, and why they're important:
    - If this is a heavily tactical game, and the captain player takes away everyone else's strategic decisions, then that's a problem.
    - If this is a game about exploring worlds and pursuing interesting themes and personal narratives, and the captain player dictates every path the other players get to pursue, then that's a problem.
    - If this is an exploration game and the captain player chooses tactics just because somebody has to, then there's no problem at all.

    So, in this game, which decisions exactly would be bad for the captain player to take away from the other players?

    Once I know that, I might be able to brainstorm some mechanics.

    First ignorant thought is to give the captain some rewards for incorporating other characters' suggestions in the captain's orders.
  • I think I'd actually prefer exploring that role rather than minimizing it. Like David suggests:
    First ignorant thought is to give the captain some rewards for incorporating other characters' suggestions in the captain's orders.
    Or perhaps there's a stress mechanic that has the captain also shoulder the burden of bad calls, lost men, and so on.

    If you decide to stick with minimizing it, rather than a delegation model, I'd play it something closer to the new Star Trek model (it's freshest in my mind), where players would be basically responsible for offering suggestions and input, and the captain simply picks the best course in their mind, or follows the suggestion of the specialist.

    I kind of like the idea of a rule that states that all suggestions must come with a consequence, and the captain kind of has to be aware of what consequences their decisions will have so that they can mitigate them.

    So maybe problems are presented by the GM, the Captain asks players for suggestions, along with a possible consequence to that suggestion, and sometimes each player's suggestions are going to interact. I could see the captain having a playset of the ship in front of them, that shows the finite resources available to them. So a solution's consequence could be something simple, like X resource is required, so you'll have less of that now (time, warp power, shields, whatever), or you'll have to find a way to squeeze said resource out of a system, via a player's skills, etc.

    So I guess one way to do it would be to have it so that most solutions are going to require multiple players doing one of many possible things, and it'll just be the captain that is trying to coordinate them and manage their collective resources.
  • If you decide to stick with minimizing it, rather than a delegation model, I'd play it something closer to the new Star Trek model (it's freshest in my mind), where players would be basically responsible for offering suggestions and input, and the captain simply picks the best course in their mind, or follows the suggestion of the specialist.
    Yeah, while Star Trek:TNG was, at its core, more of a show about office workers than naval officers (the crew of the Enterprise are mostly people who go to a lot of meetings and very occasionally manage to fit in some space adventuring when there's nothing left to do around the conference table), that's not actually a bad model for a game. Having the captain's job be to listen to all of her staff's ideas, moderate the subsequent discussion, and be the deciding vote on what will be done will seem awfully familiar to the players: it's basically just formalizing the usual "let's make a plan" discussion and bringing it explicitly in-character. Being a Starfleet captain is less about giving orders and more about building a strong committee team.


    Anyway, a lot of games have handled in-character authority by essentially ignoring the chain-of-command aspect and instead giving the leader PC some kind of special ability to give assistance to the other characters. Some games do the "anyone who follows your plan gets a bonus" thing, others have done the "as leader, you can give X number of bonuses to Y number of characters" deal. I've played with both, and they work okay; the usual caveats about needing a fairly attentive, proactive, and charismatic player in the leader role apply, of course.
  • I think that one shouldn't half-ass conceptual development; if you have captains and chains of command and missions and so on, then deal with it, don't try to somehow softball it. Those Trek games with advice to make all the PCs junior lieutenants or pretend that the captain doesn't lead the operation seem cowardly to me more than anything else. People do manage to live with chains of command in real life, so I don't see why they wouldn't in a roleplaying game - or if they can't, then perhaps it's not the smartest thing in the world to play a game about naval officers at sea.

    ("But I want to play a space exploration game, I just don't want the chain of command!" - you need something else than Star Trek as your foundation, clearly. I recommend a setting about relatively anarchistic "privateer scouts" who vote on a temporary "crew commander" at the beginning of each mission, own shares in their own space ships and ventures, and sell their discoveries to buyers in the civilized world. That's how you do space exploration without an adult command authority.)

    I guess that the real problem in playing this stuff straight is in the way the game emphasizes different aspects of the fictional starship-running task; if, as in Star Trek, the only guy who we see doing their job is the captain, and the only challenges and difficulties that come up to deal with in an interesting way are those properly belonging to the captain, then one could argue that there is a content bottleneck where the captain is actually the only person with interesting stuff going on. I mean, as far as I can remember, Star Trek is all about command decisions and never does it go into the deep details of the choices and decisions that say the chief of engineering does - this being the case, how would you even expect play to be interesting for the chief of engineering? Either you need to give the game a seriously interesting subgame about engineering (something that is not Star Trek), or you need to accept that being the chief of engineering is a sideline role; you're there to say something clever-sounding when the engine is broken, basically.

    (So how come Star Trek is an ensemble cast show if the captain is the only one with real choices to do? Well, you can do ensembles without having the members of the ensemble actually be interesting protagonists. Seems to me that it's mostly some sort of Trek-related brain injury that makes people think that it'd be interesting to play the ship's doctor in a genre where the entirety of the doctor's on-screen job is to stand in the infirmary when the captain comes in and give a report on how long the recovery of this or that crew member is going to take after their latest escapade.)

    This being the case, my recommendation for how to "do Star Trek" would be to ruthlessly relegate the non-captain crew roles into supporting cast positions in the game system. One possible way to organize all this would be to arrange the game so that it has like one proper PC role at a time: there's one player playing the captain-protagonist, one player playing the cosmos (the GM, basically), and the rest of the players are there to play NPC roles, with stables of lightly detailed crew they use to participate in scenes, portraying the ship's doctor or communications officer or whoever as necessary. By making it so that the chief of engineering player gets to also play the civilian contractor and the ship mentalist as well you give them regular worthwhile things to do despite the fact that the game system and fiction don't really have a substantial engineering layer underpinning the action; in any given scene they shall have a character and perspective to portray as the captain discusses the currently on-going problem with this or that member of the crew.

    (Bonus idea: the crew players in this arrangement could track things like crew satisfaction, and they could also be responsible for playing the admiralty to whom the captain gives their after action reports. In fact, they could also make the strategic-level decisions as to what missions the ship will take. Ultimately they'll decide which captain the story will follow, so the players can in fact rotate between ships and captains and stories in between sessions if they want to, and the captain player has real creative responsibility and consequences when the other players stand to judge his work.)

    I don't want to refute that people do factually make the arrangement of playing the communications officer work in real play conditions with Star Trek games. It could be the case, though, that getting rid of the one player, one character paradigm would make it easier and more interesting, and require less inventive focus-shifting away from the bridge of the ship. After all, if your specific arrangement of player characters means that the characters you play do not actually get to decide whether to shoot at the new aliens, because you're all playing some schleps down in the engineering department, then what sort of Star Trek is that supposed to be, again?
  • edited April 2015
    Off the top of my head, there are three basic types of scenes in Star Trek, something like:

    Bridge scenes. Captain coordinates everyone, trying to keep the shit alive, using strategic maneuvers to take out the opponent and managing resources like shields and phasers. I think this could easily be a scene where the whole process is abstracted, like an extended traveling scene in D&D or a skill challenge. Each person kind of says one thing they're doing to make the process easier or something, we have a montage, we see the results. Further challenges may ensue, each character says what they're doing to mitigate it, and so on until the challenge is resolved.

    Everyday life/melodrama. In these scenes, positions don't matter at all, as it rarely comes down to matters of rank, it's more about people trying to get along with people. Maybe dealing with issues of what they do in downtime, when scarcity isn't an issue, when you'll always have to be around the same people, and so on.

    Scenes on other planets and exploring the culture. These scenes could work fine independent of rank as well, I think. Everyone has their own schtick. Everybody works to put together facts about the world, there are usually challenges that play to their specialties - science stuff for the science officer, culture and language for communications officer, captain as figurehead. Rank is there in that they do have final say I suppose, but you could have something like a mechanic where the Captain gets a bonus when following the expert advice of his officers to provide extra incentive, maybe?

    So I guess - skill challenges that cause complications and stress (bridge stuff), roleplaying with mechanics for mitigating stress (everyday melodrama, fixing the ship, etc), planet-side play-by-plays for interesting scenes (again, possibility of stress, other complications from interacting with alien world, challenged world-view, and so on).

    But I guess all I did was write a bunch to say that if you want everyone to be the same, then don't have a captain because their only role is to have authority and to shoulder responsibility. Just have one group of people that are the same...like everyone plays redshirts and this is their story. I'd sooner emphasize niches and key roles rather than impress on everyone that they're all the same though myself, at least, if you want to simulate something close to the show.

    Like Euro says though, troupe play of some kind would work really well, too.
  • edited April 2015
    I think having an authority figure could make for some interesting roleplaying, in two ways. First, when the PCs, as you say, get told what to do but not how to do it, forex while on a primitive planet undergoing some of civil war or insurrection, or subjugation by another planet. Should they follow the Prime Directive and not get involved (Starfleet's Monroe Doctrine), or should they intervene to help the 'good guys' defeat their opponents?

    Secondly, with several levels of command you have a lot of scope for resisting that authority, and zooming in and out, Microscope style, so you could have one session where a Picard-like character is faced with the choice of obeying the Admiral or doing what he knows to be right, or Worf faces a similar choice, etc., all the way down the chain of command. You could even have an authority sandwich, with Picard disobeying the Admiral but Worf choosing to side with the Admiral against Picard.
  • Wow, a lot of food for thought here. I appreciate all the input!

    I may have overstated my case a bit -- I don't want to eliminate the chain of command and authority aspects; they're part of the setting. I only want to make sure they don't become too dominant.

    David Berg:
    I think it depends on what sorts of player decisions are important in your game, and why they're important...
    A mix. Exploring strange new worlds is the biggest theme, certainly, but there are going to be tactical skirmishes with rebadged Klingons.
    So, in this game, which decisions exactly would be bad for the captain player to take away from the other players?
    I think my worst-case scenario would be a ship-to-ship battle where most of the PCs are on the bridge. Say, mechanically, the helmsman could either maneuver defensively or maneuver aggressively. The captain's player says "helmsman, try and keep our good shield facing him." In the fiction, (barring mind control, body-switching, alien virus induced erratic behavior, etc.) the helmsman should obey the captain's order without debate, so the helmsman loses the option of maneuvering aggressively; he basically becomes a mechanic by which the captain makes a move.

    The Assist mechanic I'm contemplating turns this around to some extent; when the helmsman makes a roll they choose another player to bring into it; this could be going to the captain for tactical guidance, or coordinating with the weapons officer and trusting them to fire at just the right moment.

    AccountingForTaste:
    Anyway, a lot of games have handled in-character authority by essentially ignoring the chain-of-command aspect and instead giving the leader PC some kind of special ability to give assistance to the other characters.
    I can do that very easily with the Assist mechanic I'm using; everyone assists everyone, but maybe the captain could be a source for the Assist currency while everyone else would be more of a sink.

    Eero_Tuovinen:
    I'm scaling the ship and crew down a bit from original series Enterprise, and each PC will generally have multiple roles on ship. There are 10 or so officer roles, plus some additional unusual-origin/special-ability roles, and the PCs take turns choosing them at character creation, so you might end up with e.g. a captain/medic/security officer, a XO/helmsman/communications officer, science officer/counselor/cyborg, engineer/alien/psionic. I think this will give each PC more to do besides wait around for the captain's orders, as well as reducing the captain's isolation.

    kksimons:
    But I guess all I did was write a bunch to say that if you want everyone to be the same, then don't have a captain because their only role is to have authority and to shoulder responsibility.
    To clarify, I don't want everyone to be the same, but I want the same basic mechanics in use for all the characters including the captain.
  • edited April 2015
    Ah, gotcha, those scenes where the ships are maneuvering around, and maybe you try to flee, or hide behind a nebula or other sensor-baffling natural phenomenon, or fire phaser or torpedoes, depending on the state of your shields. Yeah, in the show, the only one actually making decisions there is the captain.

    Everyone else is still contributing -- can the engineer soup up the ship to go faster, can navigation find sensor baffles out there in nearby space, can helm dodge enemy fire while this is all going down, etc. -- but they're not picking strategies.

    They're often offering strategies, though. It's common for the captain to say, "Give me options!" Then the engineer looks at the state of the warp drive, the navigator looks at the nearby space, helm looks at maneuverability vs enemy weapons accuracy, and then they all make recommendations. Often, the captain decides to involve everyone: "You dodge until we get to a hiding place; then you divert power to weapons while we hide; then you time our emergence so we catch them off guard."

    In these cases, the key factor is that the captain doesn't have the relevant info to make decisions until the crew gives it to them, and the crew doesn't give it passively -- instead, they give it with suggestions.

    So here's one way to handle things:
    - trouble arrives; captain asks for options
    - specialists make skill checks or decisions of what to look for or however info gets gathered in this game, eliciting relevant facts from the GM or random tables
    - info is not considered communicated to the captain until the players play it out; thus, if a player wants to give it with a suggestion, they can, or if they just want to let the captain decide, they can report the facts only
    - captain decides what they'd like to do, and asks specialists if that's possible (if not already established)
    - specialists consult established probabilities (e.g. their own relevant stats), or roll to establish new ones (more info-gathering if not already covered), and advise captain of likelihoods of success (and maybe GM or system establishes costs & risks)
    - captain makes final decision
    - specialists spring into action
    - game uses some mechanics or other procedures to coordinate what happens when, so we know whether we're getting shot at while we gather info, ponder plans, work on slow tasks, etc.
    - with that info available, captain can then change their mind in mid course if things don't go as planned; in the show, this often means using a specialist's earlier suggestion which was rejected at the time for being too risky

    What do you think? Does that sound good to you?
  • edited April 2015
    Two unrelated thoughts, just my own taste on this stuff:
    more about the themes and tone than about recreating the superficial aspects of the show.
    I'm not sure if ship to ship tactical combat has any place in that plan.
    skill checks generally won't be passable without assistance from a second character
    This is a tried and true approach to get more than one player involved in each character's endeavors. On the plus side, it works, and I see a partial fit with your crew of characters. On the down side, it's been done a million times already, it doesn't involve every player, and it's not a perfect fit with your crew of characters, many of whom simply do their thing unaided at crunch time on the show. If 5 PCs each have something interesting to do during a ship battle, the last thing I'd want is to slow it all down by figuring out how, before I do the thing I'm bent on doing, I help you with your thing. Such "assists" are often contrived and unconvincing in my experience, adding little to the fiction.

    Personally, I'd spend my design attention on focusing play toward (a) situations where everyone has something interesting to do, and (b) personal scenes where it's okay for one character to be doing something alone. That's what the show is, mostly, right? Either of those situation types could employ assist dice, but if you nail the situations, the dice may not be needed.
  • edited April 2015

    So here's one way to handle things...
    At a glance it seems like a lot of back-and-forth before getting to the crunch.
    I'm not sure if ship to ship tactical combat has any place in [a game pushing theme and tone over superficial resemblance to Star Trek]
    I would argue that it has a definite place, if not a huge one. TOS S1E08 "Balance of Terror" may be my favorite episode.
    [Requiring assistance for most skill checks] is a tried and true approach to get more than one player involved in each character's endeavors. On the plus side, it works, and I see a partial fit with your crew of characters. On the down side, it's been done a million times already
    I hadn't realized it was common. What system would you direct me to if I wanted to see that kind of thing?
    ...it doesn't involve every player, and it's not a perfect fit with your crew of characters, many of whom simply do their thing unaided at crunch time on the show.
    In my current draft there are 5 different types of Assists. One is called "Trust" and requires only that the assisting character demonstrate some sort of trust in the acting character through narration. Another is "Love". Either of those could look "to the camera" like the acting character "doing their thing unaided", but mechanically the assisting player has to spend from their dice pool.
  • Just out of curiosity, who else here has actually run a Star Trek or Trekalike game for more than a session or two? Cuz'... I have. It was probably around 20 sessions, back in '04-'05. It was Voyager, so authority got interesting because there was no real way to deal with things outside of the ship, no admiralty or Starfleet to fall back on to enforce, say, a court martial, plus we had the whole Starfleet and Maquis trying to get along thing (along with some Cardassians I threw in for the lulz). It worked... basically like it had on the show: people mostly listened to the Captain, sometimes people argued, they got things done in-game and had fun out-of-game.

    The point that a lot of Trek is about the characters' relationships to each other, things not really mediated by rank, cannot be overstated in my experience.

    I'm not saying any of the suggestions above regarding specific mechanics are bad ideas! And I agree with Eero that trying to avoid the issue entirely is a bad idea, not that you're doing that, @Borogove. But I disagree that the captain figure is the only one who is consistently protagonized. Most episodes (of the latter series, anyway; I don't know TOS very well) "spotlight" one or two people and either their relationships or their personal arcs or both. I'm thinking here of things like "The Sword of Kahless," which was really about Worf and Dax, or any of the various episodes in which Kira has to Deal With Her Terrorist Past. So PTA is not a bad starting place, and I've often lamented not using it for my Voyager game, had I known about it/had it existed at the time—it would have made a good and occasionally great game consistently great, I feel.

    Your Trust/Love/etc. thing makes me think of In A Wicked Age. We could call a Trek version In A Utopian Age, perhaps? Using that as a baseline would also address the idea of troupe play quite nicely.
  • Yeah, good catch -- I started out thinking this would be a straight Powered By The Apocalypse game, but the current mechanics owe a lot more to In A Wicked Age and Lady Blackbird than to AW. :)

    I have a copy of PTA around, I'll take another look at its mechanics.
  • edited April 2015
    Roger on your replies, Borogove; seems like our tastes differ.

    Re: systems with helping mechanics, I'm not sure which would be most useful to you; maybe someone else could provide a better suggestion. For starters I'll just say that help dice get used a lot in Burning Wheel, where the rule for helpers is "say how you're helping and hand the rolling player a die", but you're only allowed to help with certain skills.

    If you want to see a system with a variety of different ways characters can collaborate on a endeavor, Blades in the Dark deals out stress damage to different characters depending on whether they're in the lead or acting as back-up, and depending on whether it's a full-team endeavor or a lead + help endeavor.
  • For starters I'll just say that help dice get used a lot in Burning Wheel, where the rule for helpers is "say how you're helping and hand the rolling player a die", but you're only allowed to help with certain skills.
    Aha, Burning Wheel is, like, one of the biggest mindshare indies that I haven't looked into yet; this may put me over the edge into picking it up. Thanks!

  • Speaking of which: Over the Edge was the base I used for my Star Trek: Voyager system. LMK if you want to take a look at it.
  • edited April 2015
    Here is a thread on PC group with a powerful leader.
    Essentially, the feedback was that fictional power or authority is not a problem as long as each player gets enough spotlight.
  • So in my last Vampire game, the characters were members of a Vampire group that is absolutely goddamn obsessed with hierarchy and chain of command. It explicitly says that every member of a group of this faction of vampires has a title and everyone with a higher title can absolutely boss around everyone with a lower title. There literally would be a chain with one person at each level: the big boss, the second in command, the third in command, all the way down.

    There were 4 player characters and 2 NPCs in the group. And I told the group "this is not optional, you can't just be like "oh well, you know, we'll come to a consensus", there is someone in charge of this group. If you don't want it to be you, I will play the NPC. Using actual vampire powers on each other to enforce your authority is considered gauche/gross/a sign of weakness, of course."

    The players instantly decided they didn't want it to be a NPC. So they organized themselves into a chain. The NPCs had one in the middle and one near the bottom. I then pulled the lever and opened the sluice of shit pouring right down into the leaky lifeboat they had all put themselves in.

    It worked flawlessly. The chain strained when it should and broke when it should and was repaired when it should.

    I think just making it mandatory and sitting there with your arms crossed until the players stop complaining about it and do it is a technique that should be re-examined.
  • edited April 2015
    @JDCorley That sounds like a brilliant examination of power structures and chains of command. Why don't more WoD STs do stuff like this instead of falling back on the tired old tropes and mechanisms of tactical gaming?
  • Beats me. It's not a very tactically robust system and straight up tells you not to try to use it as a tactical system.
  • Here are a few thoughts:

    1.

    I think you could get a lot of leverage out of a system which makes the characters constantly decide whether they wish to work with each other or against each other. For instance, following the Captain's orders gives you a small bonus, but striking out independently gives you a much better bonus, with correspondingly worse consequences for failure. For the Captain, same applies: when he listens to his subordinates, he can minimize risks, but when he acts brashly and daredevil-like, striking out on his own, he faces greater risks and greater rewards, both.

    (Perhaps the characters can even wager on the Captain, deciding whether they have faith in his reckless decisions - trust his instincts! - or want to rescue him from his own madness - look on in horror as he does his thing. This earns them points or confidence or captain's favour or experience points, perhaps.)

    This all ties into interpersonal relations, which then cascade from those decisions. You can have interpersonal scenes/moments which deal with the fallout from the action/exploration scenes. On the Bridge, the Captain is in charge. If he didn't follow the Doctor's advice, or the Doctor didn't follow his orders, this has ramifications for their relationship.

    In the interpersonal scenes, of course, rank doesn't matter. Now the Captain works to repair the damage which has happened and the power dynamic is reversed. You can't fix a relationship with someone who no longer trusts you by ordering them around, after all.

    2.

    Inspired a bit by Eero:

    There are multiple starships out there, exploring the cosmos. Some will succeed and some will fail. (Or perhaps they all seek a certain destination, and only one will make it. Either way could be interesting.)

    Each player plays the Captain of one of these ships. When you are the Captain, the others play all the subordinate officers.

    Each player wants her Captain to be the one to succeed. (Maybe this means finally finding a world where humanity may survive, like in Interstellar; or maybe it means the Captain becomes the star of his own sci-fi show; or maybe it's about survival and retirement, simply enough.)

    When you are playing an officer in another Ship, you have to decide whether you will support the Captain or cause him trouble. This could take place in-fiction (the character actively rebels, makes awful decisions, or sabotages things) or simply by deciding that the subordinate officer fails in their job this time.

    If the players have incentives to do either roughly an equal amount of the time (they have limited resources for such "failures", or they benefit somehow from other Captains succeeding in missions), you'll get a mixed bag of success and failure, which could be exciting. The feeling while playing the Captain would be one of gambling with fate and desperately holding things together.

    Perhaps the GM (if there is one) could be a sort of referee, giving bonuses to effective Captains and effective plans, so your abilities as a Captain matter.
  • edited April 2015
    Beats me. It's not a very tactically robust system and straight up tells you not to try to use it as a tactical system.
    But at the same time, it gives you a bunch of stuff that's only useful if you use it as a tactical system. Ah WoD.

    I tend to agree that while some mechanics will help with the initial 'problem' as discussed in this thread, that at the end of the day the two important fixes are A) Making sure everyone has something important and interesting to do and B) Getting good social contract buy in for there being a chain of command. B in particular deserves some discussion in the rules, I think.
  • Beats me. It's not a very tactically robust system and straight up tells you not to try to use it as a tactical system.
    But at the same time, it gives you a bunch of stuff that's only useful if you use it as a tactical system. Ah WoD.
    That's because they anticipated the huge number of GMs who wouldn't be able to cope with the paradigm shift from wargaming to storytelling and didn't want them moaning on discussion forums about how WW had 'ruined their hobby'.

  • edited April 2015

    That's because they anticipated the huge number of GMs who wouldn't be able to cope with the paradigm shift from wargaming to storytelling and didn't want them moaning on discussion forums about how WW had 'ruined their hobby'.
    This explanation is new to me. Especially since "discussion forums" reached only the tiniest fraction of the gaming community when Vampire came out.
  • edited April 2015
    @Aird Sorry, bit of a joke there ;) Although... it's not inconceivable: a non-roleplayer linguistics lecturer buddy was using bulletin boards - such as usenet - in the late 80s.
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