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Referee's Lounge Discussion of how to (and not to) Referee Traveller and Cepheus Engine games. No edition warring allowed.

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Old February 25th, 2018, 10:46 AM
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Default What are the personal qualities/skills of a good referee?

As the title indicates, the question for this thread is what personal qualities and skills make for a good referee?
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Old February 25th, 2018, 02:47 PM
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face-to-face or play-by-post?
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Old February 25th, 2018, 04:47 PM
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I would say prep is key.

Not necessarily having every encounter mapped out and every NPC fully statted with backstory, but rather knowing the material, preparing for Plans B and C, and having your notes, etc well organized.

In my current face to face game the Ref is continually referring to rules and charts when caught off guard by our actions and it slows the pace. Sometimes he has to refer to his story notes to verify something before he provides an NPC response. Occasionally conversation drifts away from the game to outside topics while he's trying to decide how to handle the situation. It's mildly frustrating but nothing worth leaving the game over.

Having said that, we're having a blast because it's a great game and we're an easy-going group. I just keep thinking how much more we could be doing if he were better prepared.
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Old February 25th, 2018, 06:11 PM
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  1. Preparation, both in terms of knowing the rules and setting of play
  2. Flexibility within play, to be able to react to the unexpected actions of the players
  3. Knowing your players and giving each opportunities to engage with the game
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Old February 26th, 2018, 03:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flykiller View Post
face-to-face or play-by-post?
Neither.

Both.

Online videocam.

All.

Whatever way you play or ref, and if you think the medium affects which skills count, then by all means differentiate.
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Old February 26th, 2018, 12:59 PM
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Patience.
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Old February 26th, 2018, 03:12 PM
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The ability to improvise allows refs to react to players and go with their crazy ideas without railroading them.

Understanding of How Things Work gives the ref background knowledge on which to base decisions concerning skills and adjudicating skill checks. If you have no idea about, say, driving at 100 kph over rough terrain, you won't know how to judge a dice check (or decide if a dice check can be waived away) or how to describe what happens.

Social Intelligence allows a ref to read their table and know when someone is bored or checking out or upset, and address it. A good ref knows their audience.

Multitasking and time-management skill lets a ref hand off a decision to one or more players before jamming one's nose back into notes and books, so players aren't just sitting there bored and waiting.
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Old February 26th, 2018, 08:08 PM
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Understanding of How Things Work ... If you have no idea about, say, driving at 100 kph over rough terrain, you won't know how to judge a dice check (or decide if a dice check can be waived away) or how to describe what happens.
does anyone have any idea what wearing battle dress and firing a pgmp-13 inside an artificial habitat while taking similar fire is like?
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Old February 26th, 2018, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flykiller View Post
does anyone have any idea what wearing battle dress and firing a pgmp-13 inside an artificial habitat while taking similar fire is like?
I would say every Ref does, at least in their own universe.

When I was a kid playing Trav and D&D, things were in hindsight quite ridiculous. In one encounter I had a dwarf fighter using wine for molotov cocktails and the DM allowed it. We didn't know any better. But we created a precedent for that game and it became consistent. Turns out wine in that universe was REALLY strong. And probably tasted like crap but it was kobold wine, so whatever.

These days I have real life experiences which I can base game decisions upon. So while I've never fired a PGMP I have fired a few weapons (non-combat environments) and I feel I can extrapolate and make the baseline reality for a game with magical weapons. I could go on (high speed air maneuvers, third world countries, aquatic operations) but I'm sure you take my point.

To me that falls under prepping the material. YTU works your way, another's TU works their way. Prepping and knowing your material can allow for or even define Understanding of How Things Work.

I would like to add the ability to improvise to my initial list above. Plans B & C are prep; improvisation is knowing when to implement them.
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Old February 27th, 2018, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
does anyone have any idea what wearing battle dress and firing a pgmp-13 inside an artificial habitat while taking similar fire is like?
I would say every Ref does, at least in their own universe.
(blink)

well, avoiding a direct confrontation with THAT issue, one notes that the players also must share whatever view the ref has, or the game doesn't work.
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