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Protocol Fantasy Omnibus, A Guide to GMless Gaming
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Protocol Fantasy Omnibus, A Guide to GMless Gaming

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This book is many things. It is a toolbox for better gaming. It is an introductory document for people who’ve never played a GMless game before. Or who are having trouble making the transition into GMless games. What it cannot be is a replacement for you and your imagination.

GMless ‘story’ gaming is sometimes referred to as gaming for gamemasters. As ironic as this statement is, understanding how to be a good story gamer or GMless gamer is about knowing that you aren’t gaming for just yourself anymore, but that you are putting yourself into the roles of author, storyteller, AND roleplayer at the same time — skills most gamemasters have had to develop over time.

this book is the first of its kind, walking gamers through the logic of gmless play and teaching them how to be good at it.

This book contains the following protocol games, focused on fantasy storytelling: Back to the Grave*, Black Dragon Inn, Clockwork Girl, Damascus, Deep Country*, The Desperation of Atlantis*, The Doom King, Drown the Pig*, Five Broken Swords, The Goblin, Highland Clearances, Home, Home II: March of the Damned*, House of Keys*, Lady Winter, The Oxbow*, Scions of the Last Age*, Svázany Rukojemníkov, and Valpurgis Night*.
Games marked with an asterisk (*) are only presently available in this book, but will eventually be released separately.

All Protocol Games are 100% GMless, require almost no preperation time, and use the same game system. There are over 50 games in the series, which means there HAS to be something here for you.

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Reviews (1)
Discussions (6)
Customer avatar
John N July 26, 2020 1:03 pm UTC
I do love the game system and the idea of this, but how is combat figured? Do you just decide? One of the things I like about rpgs is the unknown of success. So far this tells me that it is up to the players to decide. That's a lot of faith to put into some players. As this game is written you would have to have a good group of players that were not crunchy, power or meta gamers. Do you know how rare that is?
Customer avatar
jim P July 29, 2020 4:36 pm UTC
Sorry for the late response. Here is my attempt to address your concern.

This question presumes a great deal, so let me do my best to answer it and the questions NOT being asked.

First. Protocol isn't designed for adventure as much as drama. It's not about killing orcs (or whomever the adversaries are), but dealing with the aftermath of encountering the orcs, so to speak. This means the orcs are dealt with in the margins, and between the scenes.

Second. A fight generally ends a scene on a cliffhanger, unless someone spends a drama point to deal with the fight now. Most of the time, players don't want to spend points on this and leave it to the next director to deal with.

Third. The entire game system puts faith into the hands of the players. It seems counter-intuitive to me take that away simply because combat is involved. The director of a given scene is the final arbiter of these situations anyway.

I'll provide an example. The players are playing...See more
Customer avatar
Andrew B April 17, 2020 1:27 pm UTC
I wish the preview was a lot longer than one page. Id like to know a bit on how it runs.
Customer avatar
jim P April 17, 2020 5:07 pm UTC
one. i have no idea why it wasn't showing the proper preview. nor do i know how long that has been going on.

two. this link is a 90 minute example of a game session, albeit the vignette scenes are wrong.

i hope that helps
Customer avatar
Paul B August 15, 2019 6:55 am UTC
This description is part of Protocol Primer. How does this book relate to that one? Does it replace the primer as an update with added content?
Customer avatar
jim P August 15, 2019 7:14 am UTC
essentially. yes. but the primer only has one game inside it. this has 320 pages filled with games, including an in-depth look at a new game (only available here) and fully fleshed-out rules.
Customer avatar
Mamading C August 14, 2019 2:25 pm UTC
Is there a print option available somewhere for this book?
Customer avatar
jim P August 14, 2019 2:28 pm UTC
there should be. it looks like it'll be in two weeks… dtrpg is making me order a proof before it goes live.

not sure what happened there. there was a print option.

check back in two weeks.

did i mention two weeks?
Customer avatar
Mamading C August 14, 2019 2:33 pm UTC
I have a notion something might be happening in two weeks.
Customer avatar
jim P August 14, 2019 2:35 pm UTC
whoa whoa whoa. where are you getting that?
Customer avatar
Mamading C August 14, 2019 4:42 pm UTC
I have sources on the inside!
Customer avatar
jim P August 14, 2019 6:32 pm UTC
*shakes fist*
Customer avatar
Raphael P November 10, 2018 6:44 pm UTC
Loving the Protocol series as always. Would it be possible to add bookmarks to the pdf? I would add my own but I notice that sees to be disabled for some reason.
Customer avatar
jim P November 10, 2018 7:26 pm UTC
hey raphael. i'm not sure why they are disabled. that's probably a dtrpg watermark thing. but i can see about uploading a bookmarked pdf. give me a couple of days.
Customer avatar
Raphael P November 10, 2018 7:57 pm UTC
That's alright. I'm probably going to run a few some time soon. At some point I might even tackle trying to run The Offspring and Born of Hate simultaneously as intended.

You might be interested in listening to the two sessions I uploaded to a few years ago. I should probably record some more some time soon.


Five Broken Swords

I can't wait to run the Damascus scenario :).
Customer avatar
jim P November 10, 2018 10:17 pm UTC
awesome. i will listen soon. almost done with the bookmarks, btw. just outputting the file now.
Customer avatar
Raphael P November 17, 2018 4:09 am UTC
Cool. The 1 page bookmarked file has no bookmarks. The 2 page bookmarked one does have them.
Customer avatar
jim P November 17, 2018 6:50 pm UTC
yep. one of them has hyperlinks on the table of contents. one has bookmarks. unfortunately, indesign isn't cooperating and i can't get the document to output with both on a single page. sorry.
Customer avatar
Jeffrey R August 02, 2018 5:29 pm UTC
Hi, how does this product and system work for 'solo' gaming--as in no GM, no other players? Does the product and system address this or provide advice and/or mechanics and ideas for true solo play? Thanks in advance.
Customer avatar
jim P August 02, 2018 10:41 pm UTC
It does not deal with solo play. GMless, in this context, is shared-authority over the story and environment. Four to five people gather and take turns as the director and get the game moving. Scenes butt into one another and the game unfolds over 16 to 20 scenes (in most cases). The book also gives advice on running other people's GMless games. But sorry. No solo play advice.
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File Last Updated:
June 29, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on July 31, 2018.