Dogma 99, Part 5

Last two!  I’ll have to think of something else to talk about next week.

9. Game mechanics are forbidden.

I like it, I like it a lot, but the quote from the follow on in the manifesto is “(rules for the simulation of for instance the use of violence or supernatural abilities are not permitted)”.  It’s expressly aimed at not allowing for the kind of games I run, so we can guess the predictable answer.  I get why it’s there, I get the manifesto’s intent, but this particular rule has no wider application I can consider other than “run a different kind of game”.

10. The playwrights are to be held accountable for the whole of their work.

Ooh, I hate that term.  I don’t like the alternative “larpwright” much more.  Call me a faciliator, or a ref or something like that, because that’s most of what I do.  The creativity belongs to the players as much as the ref, and terms ending in “-wright” feel awfully centralising and self-important.

With that said: the idea here is obviously that the ref should be open to critique.  They should not be on the special creative pedastal, to which the only response is “thanks” (which according to the manifesto, sounds like used to be the case?).  They should seek out feedback about what worked and what didn’t, and they should always strive to do better next time.

This honestly doesn’t sound like anything but obvious common sense to me, and was obvious to me in the LARPs I was running over 15 years ago, before this was written.  I can’t fathom not asking for feedback, not holding oneself accountable for ensuring that the maximum number of players have as much fun as possible.  That’s kind of the reason I run these games, and it kills me when I think players aren’t having fun.

Basically, I don’t need this rule to make me hold myself accountable, but I do think it’s a very good rule to have.

Key ideas to consider for the next game:

  • Another “not very much”.  One inapplicable, one already part of my process.  Still, 3 out of 5 of these posts have definitely given me things to consider directly, and all of them have made me think about the kinds of games I might run in future, looking beyond the toolset I’m currently planning to use.  It’s really only the tenth one that I can completely ignore, and that’s only because I do it anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *