Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A few of the mechanics I use to encourage a good social dynamic

Following on the heels of my last post, I thought I would post a few of the mechanics I use to help maintain the smooth flow of a group.

The first is the MVP award. At the end of each session, everyone must vote for another player they thought was what they consider "the most important" for the session and declare why. They cannot vote for themselves (very important and shouldn't need stressing but it does). Whomever wins gains +5 awesomeness for the session (another mechanic) and gains an extra fate point (re-roll). I do not consider the GM a player in this case (ie, the GM doesn't vote).

I really enjoy this for a couple of reasons: first it makes players think about how their team mates will view their behaviour, when a good awesomeness score at the end of a session is 7 or 8, a free fate and +5 is a high incentive. Even if the incentive doesn't motivate, the mere act of making players pause to think of how they are impacting the enjoyment of others is a good thing. Secondly it makes players go over the events of the game at the end of the game to justify how awesome someone else is. Having other people comment on how awesome you were is a lot nicer than everyone muttering to themselves about how awesome they were themselves. And finally, I like that it takes the GM out of the equation and lets the group settle things for themselves without forcing the GM to act as judge and jury between two of his friends.

The second rule I use is the relationship tag rule: this is really a quick variant of the group template concept. By forcing a character to tag two other characters in the group with a past relationship (and gain benefits) it forces a character to act like a team and less like someone with a floating PC sign over their head. Originally I had set it so if you could no longer tag at least one other player in the group with a meaningful tag your PC became an NPC and you rolled a new one (ie, the game is about the party: if your lone wolf alienates them he wanders off for his own adventures and you create a new PC). I never really needed to bring this up so I have left it out of piecemeal as "punitive", though I always wonder if it should be mentioned.

There are other smaller rules, but those are the big two that help the most.

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