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Theater of the Mind Magazine - Issue #5 Pay What You Want
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Theater of the Mind Magazine - Issue #5
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Theater of the Mind Magazine - Issue #5
Publisher: Critical Hit Publishing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/08/2014 08:59:14

If you like to think about what happens around your gaming table, if you are interested in creating a vivid shared alternate reality, this magazine is worth a look...

This issue is centred on the concept of 'Parlay' - the discussions that can take place before or during a game, in it or out of it. Articles cover Player Agency: letting players determine details for themselves within certain boundaries determined by common sense. One example used is a bar room brawl - a player could determine that there are bottles behind the bar to be grabbed as improvised weapons without checking with the GM, but it wouldn't be reasonable to assume they could find a large mace or an assault rifle there.

There's a long article on the social contract that exists - even if you haven't realised it - within a gaming group, and in particular governing the relationship between the GM and all the other players. Round here, all of us play and all of us GM, and these lines are pretty blurred... but in the groups I play with online, particularly the ones I GM, the other players defer to their GM, treat him or her as someone apart, in a manner I find a bit surprising. This article explores the roles and responsibilities of all parties and is quite fascinating.

To balance this fairly GM-centric article there's another one called The Player's Role. This reverts to the idea in the first article, of players having agency, and develops it further in light of the social contract already discussed to look at ways of getting players more involved and making the game a truly SHARED storytelling experience, rather than one narrated by the GM with minimal player input. A follow-up article looks more closely at the overlap between player and GM roles in two areas: narrative and system. Again, plenty of food for thought here.

There are a few other bits and bobs: fiction, a couple of reviews, and even a short piece about involving youngsters in role-playing by the use of online games when you cannot find children of a similar age to your own who want to play face to face.

Thoughtful, philosophical yet directly applicable to your gaming experience - definitely worth a read.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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