The idea of a Gamer Contract.


Homebrew and House Rules

1 to 50 of 96 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

For a while I was disillusioned with gaming. I found that the structure of games was always too casual for me.

Recently I got a team together using what has now become my "Gamer Contract." It is the idea that a role-playing game should be respected just like sports. That discipline, teamwork, dedication, a desire to improve, and an obligation once signed-up are all fundamental parts of the experience.

Feel free to read it in Google Docs LINK to the Gamer Contract

Comments welcome, but understand that I already know this is not for everyone.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Dude seriously?

You either need to find another group of people to play with, or stop taking it so seriously. People have real lives, people might miss a game, people might not have the time to practice gaming.

This is a game not a job (for most). Unless you start paying your players to play a game, expect this to get thrown back in your face under the assumption that it's a joke.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So am I to assume the people who play pickup games of basketball are doing it wrong?


Sometimes things come up and you have to miss a game... "I dont feel like it" isn't a valid reason to me... but "My boss told me I have to work tonight" is... so is "My sister is in town for only two days" and other various things. Actually being SICK (not just a general "i dont feel like it") is also a valid reason. But, all of these are potential things that could come up hours before the game and break your contract. So, yeah nobody I play with would sign such a contract, not even those who are less understanding about missed games are THAT much not understanding.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

o_0

Have 'fun' with that.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Meh, people are only going to min max it anyway


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So far the response is what I expected.

It exactly the reason I used the sports metaphor to illustrate the common negative reaction of 'gamers' to personal behavior codes that billions of sports players take for granted.

Just think of a high-school basketball team? Those players are not paid, but players would understand that if they missed game day they would be in serious peril of loosing their spot or at least warming a bench for a while.

I want a commitment from my players. I have found players that feel the same way.

I already have a gaming group that is working within these rules for almost 6 months now. It is exactly the point they are taking this contract seriously that it is the best gaming session that any of them (and me) have experienced.

We get more done, have more fun, and get better at gaming. We do it all in just a 4-hour session once a month.

As I stated before, I don't expect this to be for everyone. Just like not everyone has the disciple, time, skill, desire, etc. to be a professional athlete.

I am also not saying that 'casual' players with family or 'higher-priorities' cannot be great gamers. If you read that, you read it wrong. Tt is not about skill, its about commitment.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Torlandril Morninglord wrote:

So far the response is what I expected...

I want a commitment from my players. I have found players that feel the same way.

I already have a gaming group that is working within these rules for almost 6 months now. It is exactly the point they are taking this contract seriously that it is the best gaming session that any of them (and me) have experienced.

What was the point of posting this then? You know it works for your group and expect the wider community to think that it wouldn't work for them.

Where are you going with this? I'm glad you're having fun, and the Hardcore Gamer merit badge really brings out the color of your eyes, but I wouldn't touch your contact with a ten-foot pole. Is this a win for you?

Torlandril Morninglord wrote:
We get more done, have more fun, and get better at gaming.

Than who, exactly?


aboniks wrote:

What was the point of posting this then? You know it works for your group and expect the wider community to think that it wouldn't work for them.

Where are you going with this? I'm glad you're having fun, and the Hardcore Gamer merit badge really brings out the color of your eyes, but I wouldn't touch your contact with a ten-foot pole. Is this a win for you

This is specifically the "Suggestions, House Rule, Homebrew" forum and you are giving me crap for taking the time to post something gaming related that I created and is working for my group?

Who stole your GI-Joe?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I prefer Barbie, but we'll set that aside for the moment.

I'm asking why you posted it. You already know it works for you. You opened the floor for comments, but it's a contract that's already in place at your table, so you're obviously not going to change it based on input from the forum.

You expected a negative response. When you got what you expected, you got defensive. What's the endgame?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

More power to ya...but as a full grown adult if anyone thought they could tell me when I am allowed to go pee or that I need to be excused from anything but paid employment...they can pound a whole metric f*ck ton of sand.

Grand Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is unquestionably the most absurd thing I've read today.

-Skeld

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The problem with it, at least for me, is that gaming is a hobby, not a profession or para-profession or even a competitive sport. I look at it as something fun for my free time, not something that is a codified facet of life like a job. Folks will miss, folks will be late at last notice, folks will vanish without a trace, its the nature of hobbies; they take back seat to real life.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I've often (tried) to use the same metaphor Torlandril, though I never elaborated upon it so formally. I view roleplaying/sports the same way as you do. However, also like you, I've found there's a lot of hostility to the idea. At best, I occasionally get on my soapbox when the laptop is out for the 3rd session in a row, and shame it away for a little bit. Always comes back though. *sigh*

I wish you all the luck and encouragement. (And, there isn't a chance you happen to game in the Seattle-area, is there? ;-))


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Give the guy a break! I mean, it's not for me, no way, but the whole reason for this board is to be able to throw things out there, even strange things, and see if there are like minded people, you know, a chance to reach out and find that there might be someone who has a good response. How else are we, any of us, going to learn about each other ?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Perhaps we can see this as a life lesson for social interaction.

Instead of presenting the players at the table a contract, perhaps you should be honest, confront them, and tell them how you feel and exactly what you want. Those of like mind will stay and those with a more lackadaisical play style will find another group or take it more seriously. Don't hide behind a contract when opening up to someone and being honest in your expectation is just as effective.

Who knows, you might make some friends out of your gaming group along the way.

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Torlandril Morninglord wrote:
I got a team together using what has now become my "Gamer Contract."

Did you ever consider or try the carrot instead of the stick?

How about this giving each player a set pool of "bonus points" or whatever you want to call them.

Show up 15 minutes early? 1 bonus point. Stay the whole game session? 1 more bonus point. Argue with the DM after a ruling is made? Minus 1 point. You get the idea.

Now players can spend those points for re-rolls during the game, or they can cash them in after the game for some kind of bonus. +10% gold or experience per point earned. If you don't want to unbalance your game too much, maybe it's bonus prestige points or reputation with some NPC faction.

You might find that people, ESPECIALLY gamers, react very positively when offered rewards.

Actually, that gets me thinking...

What if "Gamer" was a class? Not a class that a character could play, but one that each of your players themselves had.

Everyone starts out at Gamer level 1. Every so many bonus points, they level up and gain new abilities. At level 2, Gamers can re-roll one d20 per session. At level 3, their characters can roll for HP twice at each level and take the higher result. At level 4, they get one "get out of character death free" card.

This is my friend Steve, he's a 5th level gamer and he's playing a 3rd level elf wizard. Oh wow, Steve is 5th level? He must get here early every session! If I'm going to catch up to him, I'd better stop being an a@%#~!% at the table.

Suddenly your players aren't balking at your draconian gamer contract... they're climbing over each other to be the best gamer and earn those sweet, sweet bonus points!


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Dude, you better be the most prepped lore-anal continuity-expert GM in the history of table top gaming.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
BigDTBone wrote:

Dude, you better be the most prepped lore-anal continuity-expert GM in the history of table top gaming.

LOL.

Never thought about how much I appreciate the side tracking conversations at the table, if only to prep what is gonna happen next, before you said that.

If role playing games have taught me anything, it's the ability to talk and listen while thinking about something else at the same time.


BornofHate wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:

Dude, you better be the most prepped lore-anal continuity-expert GM in the history of table top gaming.

LOL.

Never thought about how much I appreciate the side tracking conversations at the table, if only to prep what is gonna happen next, before you said that.

If role playing games have taught me anything, it's the ability to talk and listen while thinking about something else at the same time.

Well I did notice one thing..he noted they play once a month for around 4 hours...maybe he feels so rushed and so put out because of how infrequently they meet and how short the sessions are. You really would have to hustle and buckle down to get anything done.

If you meet a little more often and for a little more time it might not feel like you have take such a surgical approach.


While I do understand the general sentiment of this contract, I can see it going very poorly for a number of reasons:

1) Intent: You seem to want people to take the game more seriously. As most people see TRPGs mainly as leisure (unlike sports, that are often treated as exercise as well as leisure) folks will be unwilling to deal with such constraints.

2) Vagueness/specificity: A lot of concepts that you specifically call out are hard to define like OOC, metagaming, "not hogging the spotlight". You will need to either better define this, or jettison it.

3) Always paying attention: While I have no problem banning electronics at the table, there will ALWAYS be moments where certain players arent involved (or arent supposed to be involved). How do you deal with those moments when paying attention is basically spreading OOC knowledge?

4) Timing constraints: Also, I have yet to see a single group where there wasnt SOMEONE absent one week or another. My general rule is 3 weeks in a row + absent without reason and you are out, but that's explicited in person.

I understand where you are coming from, but the rigidity of the contract is quite unappealing. I play TRPGs to PLAY (and have fun) and this does not seem conducive to that.


I assume the folks you play with all agreed to this cotract. And i Think it looks like a good thing. It wouldent fly with my group but it looks fine to me.


Whatever works for your group, I guess. I think you have a rather serious misunderstanding even of what a real sports contract looks like; for example, the guys who play sports professionally as well as the people who manage them recognize that people do get sick, and rather than just saying "don't get sick or we might cut you," actually negotiate in advance a set of clauses to establish how to handle contingencies and how to plan for interruptions.

But if this kind of draconic, one-sided tone works well with your group and it makes the game more fun for them, then more power to everyone.


While I understand the animosity for most "normal" gaming situations. I do see a place for this contract, albeit a very unique place. I will actually use a modified version of the contract, but, as I said, I have a unique situation.

I am the GM/Adviser for a high school RPG club. At first it was a club started by some students that knew I was a gamer, and had an interest in gaming themselves. That was 6 years ago. As the club progressed, it eventually became too big, and I had to have a process for weeding out the dross. Which, funnily enough, is much like cutting players for sports teams. I had to have a way to pick and choose who was worth it, and who wasn't. While I have an established application process in place, I'm going to add my modified version of the above contract as the very first step for next year's iteration of the club. Essentially, prospective members will need to sign the contract first in order to move on with the rest of the application process. Yes, there are several steps in the process. I'm only one man, and I'm the only GM, so I have the great luxury of finding those players that will be mature and dedicated.

Like I said, this is a unique situation where something like this can fit in. Most "normal" gaming groups would be abhorred by the very idea of a contract in regards to their free time. I know I would. That doesn't mean such a contract doesn't have any place at any gaming table though. Obviously, as I hope I've just proven, there is a time and place where this fits in.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
MendedWall12 wrote:
I'm only one man, and I'm the only GM, so I have the great luxury of finding those players that will be mature and dedicated.

6 years with a continually growing club, and you have never trained/encouraged a single DM? And now you are turning away potential members because there is only one DM? If your goal is simply "gaming", then ok, your situation is unique. But if your goal is "Adviser", it sounds like you are only introducing people to half the game, and only those you deem "worthy", which sounds not just exclusionary, but horribly so. Contract or no, I feel sorry for those that don't measure up to the standard and simply never try the game after that. Hopefully I'm just misunderstanding or lacking details of what you are describing.


I understand the reasoning, even if I don't agree with it. I get to game 1/month for about 4- 4 1/2 hours. I get annoyed when non-story advancing things chew up time (like the time we did all treasure selling/creation via email... and then spend 90 minutes IN PERSON rehashing what we emailed each other about. "Fuming" could describe me at that point.)

But imposing such restrictions? gaming comes, at best, 5th in importance (Wife, children, career and health all come before).

IMO, Such a contract can only work if your life allows you to upgrade the priority to at least #3. (If it's #1 and you're not paid for it/on some sort of disability, you should probably talk with some non-gamers...)

Good for the OP if it works for his environment.


I've begged veteran players and other teachers who've shown even a mild interest in gaming to take the mantle of GM for the up and comers, or even for a smaller group of veterans. Literally, I've begged. No player has ever accepted the challenge. The usual excuse is, "I just want to play." Believe me, I am sickened every single year at the number of people I'm probably turning away from gaming, because I have the necessity/luxury of being selective. Before I started the rigorous application process I, during the year where I decided enough was enough, was Game Master to a room of 23 students. That is unbearable, and exactly when I decided me being burned out was not conducive to continuing the existence of such a club.


MendedWall12 wrote:
I've begged veteran players and other teachers who've shown even a mild interest in gaming to take the mantle of GM for the up and comers, or even for a smaller group of veterans. Literally, I've begged. No player has ever accepted the challenge. The usual excuse is, "I just want to play." Believe me, I am sickened every single year at the number of people I'm probably turning away from gaming, because I have the necessity/luxury of being selective. Before I started the rigorous application process I, during the year where I decided enough was enough, was Game Master to a room of 23 students. That is unbearable, and exactly when I decided me being burned out was not conducive to continuing the existence of such a club.

That sounds unbearable. I know I cant run a table of more than 4 players myself. I'm part of a university club that is pretty fortunate; we have well over a dozen GMs, and nearly 100 players. It's quite dynamic.

I can understand the difficulty though.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
MendedWall12 wrote:
I've begged veteran players and other teachers who've shown even a mild interest in gaming to take the mantle of GM for the up and comers, or even for a smaller group of veterans. Literally, I've begged. No player has ever accepted the challenge. The usual excuse is, "I just want to play." Believe me, I am sickened every single year at the number of people I'm probably turning away from gaming, because I have the necessity/luxury of being selective. Before I started the rigorous application process I, during the year where I decided enough was enough, was Game Master to a room of 23 students. That is unbearable, and exactly when I decided me being burned out was not conducive to continuing the existence of such a club.

2cp: Would it not kill several birds with one stone if you simply put a limit on how long students can remain active in the club if they refuse to take a rotation as a GM? After one year you go into a GM pool. No coasting. Construct a framework where you're not begging, and the experienced players are expected to give back to the club. Then you can bring in more players. If the primary goal is to introduce more students to gaming, then your current situation sounds like you're letting the "I just want to play" crowd throw the goal of the program out the window.

If you're in a position where using a such a restrictive contract in the first place makes sense, at least use it to get more people involved, and teach new players, rather than letting a small group of players derail your program.

Otherwise you're basically turning away everyone who isn't willing to lick their plates clean, because all the people at the table refuse to take a turn doing the dishes.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

@aboniks

That! Is an excellent idea. Consider it stolen, and I will absolutely be instituting this for next year's iteration of the club. I feel shamed I never thought of such a thing earlier. Must be old age. :)


MendedWall12 wrote:

@aboniks

That! Is an excellent idea. Consider it stolen, and I will absolutely be instituting this for next year's iteration of the club. I feel shamed I never thought of such a thing earlier. Must be old age. :)

I hope it works out. You may lose some people who simply refuse to DM...but the odds are good that they won't stop being gamers. They'll just find a different venue where they can "only play" without inconveniencing anyone. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
aboniks wrote:
MendedWall12 wrote:

@aboniks

That! Is an excellent idea. Consider it stolen, and I will absolutely be instituting this for next year's iteration of the club. I feel shamed I never thought of such a thing earlier. Must be old age. :)

I hope it works out. You may lose some people who simply refuse to DM...but the odds are good that they won't stop being gamers. They'll just find a different venue where they can "only play" without inconveniencing anyone. :)

I also hope it works! I just boggle at the thought of 6 years worth of students and not a single one with DM interest. I must be an aberration in that I wanted to run the game almost immediately upon getting my first Basic Set. <shrug> Maybe we're ALL old? :(

You will of course create more work for yourself with this solution. You're going to have to spend some time getting those players into the DM chair. There are likely going to be multiple playstyles, and matching up DMs with players will give you fits and headaches, not to mention handling the inevitable arguments, power trips, and drama that will come from teenagers. Hopefully it will be worth it though, for yourself and the hobby.


I have added a disclaimer to the top of the Google document (linked in topic main post.)

- I appreciate the constructive comments. Understand that I fully expect people that would benefit from this material would almost certainly need to adjust the rules to suit their purposes and I said so in the original document. What I didn't mention was that those rules were not just my contributions, but the rule contributions of the two players I had at the time it was developed.

- People keep getting stuck about its attendance clause. This rule was exactly what me and my players wanted from everyone at our table. We wanted people who's situation was already compatible to a 'never be late or miss a session.' After looking for a while, we found two players that wanted what we want. The attendance clause was also designed for a once-a-month game session.


I guess I got stuck on the attendance clause because it is the one thing I have never seen respected. If they respect it, great! But people flake SOOO easily. And that's not even taking into account legitimately important things (IE work, family, health, etc.). I'm curious to see how long you guys will be able to make it last.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Darkbridger wrote:

I also hope it works! I just boggle at the thought of 6 years worth of students and not a single one with DM interest. I must be an aberration in that I wanted to run the game almost immediately upon getting my first Basic Set. <shrug> Maybe we're ALL old? :(

You will of course create more work for yourself with this solution. You're going to have to spend some time getting those players into the DM chair. There are likely going to be multiple playstyles, and matching up DMs with players will give you fits and headaches, not to mention handling the inevitable arguments, power trips, and drama that will come from teenagers. Hopefully it will be worth it though, for yourself and the hobby.

Oh greaaaat! Way to squash my new-found, unbridled enthusiasm with your pragmatism. Can't a guy just dream about a brave new world where the upper classmen are running tables for four to five freshman and sophomores, and he can just hand pick a table of thespian optimizers to GM for?! Huh?! Can't he?!! Nooooo, you've got to come in here with your wise words, and realism.

Also, just to be clear, in six years I've had two mediocre nibbles for GMing (and both were after heavy begging sessions as previously mentioned). One who talked a big game, but never made any effort to actually take the next step. Another, whom I actually started to sit down with and discuss the differences between the two sides of the table. Unfortunately, when he saw the amount of work I had to do to prepare for our gaming sessions, he got daunted and backed off. I've always tried to think about it optimistically, and have told myself that it's because I'm such a superb GM, that they don't feel like they could possibly live up to the high standard I've set. :) :P


lol!

Hopefully you'll be able to step back into a floating referee role to help the DM's out when they need it. Maybe get them up to speed running individual encounters (Combat and Non-Combat) rather than dropping an entire module on them at once? How are you pacing your sessions now?

It might be easier in the long run to come up with a short questionnaire that you can use to match student DM's with student players.

If you know what general areas of the game appeal to each of them, you may be able to match like minds and cut down on the potential friction.

Putting the upperclassfolk who really enjoy combat mechanics together with the players who also really enjoy combat. RP types with RP DM's. So on and so forth.

I'd already have lost my mind doing it the way you have been...managing proto-DM's is probably going to be just as much work, only as a coordinator rather than as a player. It gets you where you wan to go though.

By which I mean it's all milk and honey from here, of course. ;)

Shadow Lodge

ridiculous

also, amazingly nebulous language for a "contract"


1 person marked this as a favorite.
aboniks wrote:


...

If you know what general areas of the game appeal to each of them, you may be able to match like minds and cut down on the potential friction.

Putting the upperclassfolk who really enjoy combat mechanics together with the players who also really enjoy combat. RP types with RP DM's. So on and so forth.

...

I believe the suggestions toward conscripting new GMs is definately the way to go, MendedWall.

But I think you should be careful not to control the assignment process of different types of games/gameplay.

IMO one of the great things of being new (and old) to role-playing is trying new things.
For newer players, there is a good chance they've only encountered a single play style. And while they might enjoy (or love) the action-packed dungeon crawl (an example) they know, it shouldn't be the basis for lumping them into a box titled 'dungeon crawl'.

So what I am getting at, is that while it is necessary that you 'force' some of the players into being GMs, it might be important that you loosen the reins afterwards to let them develop with other newish players. Of course you can and should be availiable for good advice (as well as running your own game), but it is fundamental that they start to take charge of their own games and the club as a whole.


HaraldKlak wrote:
aboniks wrote:


...

If you know what general areas of the game appeal to each of them, you may be able to match like minds and cut down on the potential friction.

Putting the upperclassfolk who really enjoy combat mechanics together with the players who also really enjoy combat. RP types with RP DM's. So on and so forth.

...

I believe the suggestions toward conscripting new GMs is definately the way to go, MendedWall.

But I think you should be careful not to control the assignment process of different types of games/gameplay.

IMO one of the great things of being new (and old) to role-playing is trying new things.
For newer players, there is a good chance they've only encountered a single play style. And while they might enjoy (or love) the action-packed dungeon crawl (an example) they know, it shouldn't be the basis for lumping them into a box titled 'dungeon crawl'.

So what I am getting at, is that while it is necessary that you 'force' some of the players into being GMs, it might be important that you loosen the reins afterwards to let them develop with other newish players. Of course you can and should be availiable for good advice (as well as running your own game), but it is fundamental that they start to take charge of their own games and the club as a whole.

This is an excellent point. Hence my use of the qualifier *may* in my suggestion. Trying to shoebox kids permanently is a recipe for blowback, (at least it always was when people did it to me, and I wouldn't dare try it on my own son), but it may be a reasonable way to start them off. I'd definitely give them the opportunity to switch DM's regularly If I were using any method to group them by fiat.

Exposure to new players and play styles is a thing I'd want to encourage.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Can I haz a punitive damages lawsuit based on that contract? Arguing before the Supreme Court that my client should get 5m bucks because his halfling bard didn't get enough spotlight during tavern scenes is going to make me a global celebrity :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

MendedWall...
Might I suggest using the APs with your "conscripted" GMs?
It might help some if they use "canned" campaigns and do not have to do all the grunt work we "organic" GMs do.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Torlandril Morninglord wrote:


Comments welcome, but understand that I already know this is not for everyone.

To comment upon the contract, I'll start up with stating the obvious that respecting a social contract is very important in role-playing, as well as any meaningful social interaktion.

That said, most often this social contract is implied or verbal, and works very well that way. If it does not, stating it and committing to it through a written contract might be a useful tool. I've not had the need for it myself, but can respect that others might.

As for your contract, I have a few comments to make:

Group contract rather than player contract
Probably the most important change, I think you should make, is that it is a contract between the group, rather than something the players make with the GM (you).
This means that it should also include words on the GM commitment to the game. 'What do you promise to do, to make the game fun for all?'.
It also means that the commitment from the players should be towards the group as a whole, and IMO that any decision pertaining to dropping players, should be made by the group. Otherwise it is simply a formalized version of 'My game, my rules'.
As such the contract help support the common goal of creating a fun game, where all of you need to take responsability.

Expand upon the creative agenda
Since you have a written contract for the game, I think it is important to include more comments on 'what kind of game are we playing?'. If you play 'Player-vs-GM survive the dungeon of doom' or 'RP-drama exploring the existential dilemmas of being cats in a world of horses', then that should be stated as a guideline for all to follow, and adhered to (to some degree, as games of course can evolve).

You do have one clause toward to game style, which is 'no-PVP game'. This is very reasonable, and important if the group (or some players) commonly engage in PVP action.
That said, I personally don't care for some of the details you've included. Stating how the relationship between the characters must be, feels unnecessary, and a bit stifling to me. I would respect a no-PVP rule, but prefer to fit my character to it myself (whether common goal, debts, friendship, or something else).

Attendence
This is one of the major challenges to a rpg group. And while it is important to have players commit to the game (unless there is reasonable excuses), you should make sure that you contract work in that way.
Making it 'show up, or you might be thrown out' might take the responability away from the player, who might think "I face the consequence, so it is my choice".
Instead I'd return to the group contract, as a means to a common goal. Attendance is important because it affects the game of everyone in the group. People should understand that it has an impact if they don't show, and hopefully learn to take responsibility.
To reach that end, I think it is necessary to reach a point where everyone is 'stakeholders in our game' rather than 'consumers of the GMs game.'

Ultimately, I wish you all the luck, and hope your solution work for you and your players.


Torlandril Morninglord wrote:

For a while I was disillusioned with gaming. I found that the structure of games was always too casual for me.

Recently I got a team together using what has now become my "Gamer Contract." It is the idea that a role-playing game should be respected just like sports. That discipline, teamwork, dedication, a desire to improve, and an obligation once signed-up are all fundamental parts of the experience.

Feel free to read it in Google Docs LINK to the Gamer Contract

Comments welcome, but understand that I already know this is not for everyone.

I don't really see anything unreasonable there - assuming the GM has a similar commitment, of course (used to have a GM who'd flake out and cancel on the day! Eventually I replaced him as GM). I think you're right that a lot of trouble is caused by differing player/GM expectations, like the new player last time who texted me right before the game to cancel (not an emergency), apparently thinking attendance was optional. Maybe I should have run through stuff like that: "if you join a regular game, you're expected to show up for it, or have a good reason why not and give 24 hours notice - serious emergencies excepted".

I have another group playing 4e D&D where some of the players play on their smartphones during the game, not paying attention to the game. This really sucks the atmosphere from the table sometimes, and can slow things to a crawl when they haven't been paying attention in combat. I feel I should have set a rule about that early on. I've even been in games where players have laptop PCs plunked on the table and are playing on them during the game, which for me totally destroys the atmosphere/enjoyment. Good players don't do this, but maybe there do need to be table etiquette rules written out for the rest.

Edit: I GM/play in a Meetup/club environment. A player with a spot in my game usually means that some other would-be player doesn't get to play. So if someone who is going to not show up when they don't feel like it is taking away a place from someone who will show regularly, I'd rather replace the 'casual' player with a better player.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I for one think it is very defensive and veers close to passive-aggressive in places.

Not something I would hand out to players-to-be and expect anything positive. If it works for your particular group, great. Yet I think most groups I played with have solved these problems by having a private chat or two, if and when actual problems arose, instead of up-front legalese laden with threats.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Problems I see -

  • Requiring people to show up early to every session. Why not just say the start time is earlier? Start the game as soon as everyone shows up, but budget a half-hour window for prep time in case someone gets caught in traffic.

  • No excuses for being absent? Well, I guess I'll just lose my job over a game because I gotta tell my boss I can't work that overtime, or tell my wife "sorry, I can't go out on our anniversary. it's game night."

  • Not being allowed to share books. Seriously? Enough said right there.

  • Not allowed to actually use the books I'm required to purchase while I'm at the game, because the GM says so.

  • If I've got the squirts I have to crap my pants if they hit me before a scheduled break time. Because I'm not allowed to call off sick or else I'll get kicked out of the game.

  • Not being allowed to talk out-of-character at all? Well, there goes planning character movements furing fights, since 6 seconds is not enough time to go into more detail than "go over there!"

    I'm being hyperbolic, or at least I would hope you're not that crazy strict about it, but I still think it's a bit much all around. This contract seems like you're trying to be Walter Sobchak while everyone else is just trying to bowl and hang out a bit.

    In part, I understand where it's coming from. I had a local group that was a total crapshoot on when certain players would show up, and it is frustrating when people show up and aren't prepared. That group ended up falling apart because of those issues and interpersonal ones between two of the players who were husband and wife. But at the same time it's a game and it's meant to be a social event, not a second job. I've had times when I was GMing where I didn't get a chance to get a session ready, so we did one-offs. Or a couple players didn't show up, so we turned it into a night of playing video games/cards/boardgames instead. A good group tends to roll with the punches, and most people are in it for the social interaction as much as for the game itself.

    So put the gun away, and lighten up some. It's ok to step over the line once in a while without things turning into 'Nam.


  • TerraNova wrote:

    I for one think it is very defensive and veers close to passive-aggressive in places.

    Not something I would hand out to players-to-be and expect anything positive. If it works for your particular group, great. Yet I think most groups I played with have solved these problems by having a private chat or two, if and when actual problems arose, instead of up-front legalese laden with threats.

    This contract was used to filter potential players before they even got to us, not handed out to someone who sat at our table ready to play. Again, I must keep repeating myself, we are not trying to 'convert' people, we are trying to sort through the hypothetical 99 people to find the 1 that fits our table.

    It worked for the 2 players we found.

    unruly wrote:
    Problems I see - ...

    You proved it worked as intended. Not to offend you, but to make it obvious you were not the player we want, and we are not the team you want. That is the main purpose of the contract.


    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    In that sense, I agree.

    The contract gives me clear warning that this isn't a group I want anything to do with.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Well then, I guess it works. Have fun playing with a severely limited number of players, and I sure hope they don't try to turn your contract around on you the first time you show up late. Because I can see that attracting the worst kind of rules lawyer to your table. And I would not want to be involved in that situation.


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    I find this interesting, and if it works for you and your group then great. And I don't see any problem with presenting this down here in the Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew section.

    My major problem with this is the assumption that there is only a homogenous group of super-duper allies (the characters) that always work like a well-oiled machine, without dissent, or deviation from best practice/mechanical tactics. Where is the opportunity for roleplay within the group? Can a character consciously not use their best option and not fall foul of the "contract"? A party of adventurers need not be a sports team in mindset or approach. So this rubs me up the wrong way there.

    This "contract" reads like a sports team's manifesto or charter, for an adventuring party in PFS.

    1 to 50 of 96 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
    Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Homebrew and House Rules / The idea of a Gamer Contract. All Messageboards

    Want to post a reply? Sign in.