You really have to pick your desired audience for something like that. If you design for the abusive players, you'll potentially make the game safer, but at the same time, you might have to hold back some stuff that would be really fun or inspirational for the people who aren't going to hurt anyone in a million years. If you design for those latter players, you run the risk of empowering abuse. It's a tough decision, but you've already taken the biggest step, in that you've identified the issue.

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Jun 16, 2023Liked by Monte Cook

I've been running games for over 40 years now and it has been a learning process. I started when my mum bought me the red box D&D start set and we went through all the box sets and eventually 2nd ed. By the time the new rules were coming we had moved on to different games. Amber was a ray of light for us. Focusing so hard on narrative and leaving the rules as a kind of abstract construction that entered the play when necessary.

I had missed most of the start of the cypher system because I was caught hard by the WoD bug. Table tops to LARPS played and ran them all. From VtM 1st ed and The Masquerade box set right up to Requiem. Just as we were starting to create a new process to run a persistant game driven by players Invisible Sun came on my radar. It is an absolute love to run that game. Allows me to draw on a history of literary and film theory. Preparation is pretty much having fun writing up NPC descriptions and locations all with a surreal bent then using them when I need them for a game. Drawing inspiration from the Sooth deck or even if a player decides to place the Nightside Testament or the normal Testament (I bought an additional normal testmanet for this exact purpose) during table set up.

I have over the years come up with a very simple solution. I don't argue rules during play. We go with the interpretation during play that best suits the story and basic power level of the rule in question and what it may possibly be. Then after the game we have a discussion as a group on what we find acceptable.

I am aware that I am lucky to have a lot of mature gamers to play with who have been on a log journey to get where they are. I'm just jumping into Cypher know because I needed a setting that Rust and Redemption provides and the intermodularity of the system is something that I really like.

I guess that you could have offered a more suitable answer but my simple response is I don't run games for assholes either. So if a game is designed to focus on character stories and adaptable to player's lives (looking at you zero prep games) rather than filling a space where any asshole may creep in then I'm all for that.

OGoA will be my first use of the Cypher rule setting because, well horror is my jam. But Who the Devil Are You is already to starting to build in my head as a campaign style.

I originally came here to just say thank you Monte for taking the time to write this substack. It's very much appreciated and shared in AUSRPG Discord where we support all the 'other' less popular or known systems. Any new insight is an opportunity to both be a better GM and a better player. So thank you for everything you've added to the community over the years.

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Jan 25, 2023Liked by Monte Cook

Love all of this! Numenera renewed my love of RPGs by being about something other than min-max rules approach. It reminded me of my first RPG goodness that happened with AD&D in 1983 when we as players and DM 'figured it out' together as we created our collaborative AD&D experience.

I think you've done a phenomenal job offering a wealth of potential. I do think that with the current attention from the D&D crowd a focused, 'FUD" (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) addressed , fantasy expression, of the Cypher System would be beneficial. A good portion of people wanting to explore new systems simply want a way to play a defined fantasy archetype smiting foes, and navigating dungeons. Some of that is touched on in Gods of the Fall, Godforsaken, and the Ptolus (Cypher version) books, but a distilled/focused definition as a 'Quick Start: Fantasy' might do good getting people started on their journey of new adventures with familiar fantasy character types, trappings, and treasure bling.

Side note: I have Zork port for Windows that I occasionally visit, even though I was early 80s more of a Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord player.

You and the company do awesome goodness. Thank you.

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Jan 23, 2023Liked by Monte Cook

I caught the end of 1e, but 2e was our bread and butter. I think those spells were loose?

But it never mattered, I balanced our martial and spellcasters, even the fighter/mage using magic items, so everyone was equal and we just made reasonable decisions around what you could or couldn't do with a wish spell or teleport or fly. And damn we loved those college years, we played until 26th level believe it or not.

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I'm running into this moral quandary while designing for a romance guidebook. Ultimately we're concerned that some of our content may be used out of its intended purpose to abuse other players at the table with abusive relationships. We're trying to find the right balance.

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I love this. AT what point do we use our minds and at what point do we rules ourselves into an unplayable mass!

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