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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 April 16th, 2019, 10:25 AM
Flattened Sphere Flattened Sphere is offline
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I never really managed to find a way to get my brother (18 months older than me) be a facilitative referee when we were teenagers; and ultimately it resulted in a situation where I no longer wanted to referee games where he was playing.

He never understood that as a player he should share his plans with the referee, so that the referee could give any useful hints or guidance on what does and doesn't work in his Traveller universe (you know ... the sort of things which a 5-term Marine veteran WOULD know about dealing with Zero-G problems, but a scientifically naive humanities major might not). Instead, he'd just tell me what he wanted his character to do at each stage without giving me any insights into what he was trying to achieve and his underlying assumptions, and then got upset with me if I didn't give him the exact outcome he wanted (which he hadn't bothered to share with me).

I'd put no end of effort into preparing an adventure scenario for him and his friends; but he'd either miss or ignore the clues or prompts I gave him as to the direction in which the adventure lay, and try to go off in a completely different direction, forcing me to improvise the storyline. Then he'd complain that I was always under-prepared as a referee!!! But if I tried to steer him back into the prepared lines of adventure, by e.g. interposing an inflexible customs official who would not let him bring his laser carbine onto a Law Level 9 world, and couldn't be bribed to look the other way, he'd whinge "I hate your inflexibly bureaucratic NPCs - they always ruin the game and take all the fun out of it".

Yeah, right!

Perhaps it was just sibling rivalry (we'd agreed in the club - made up mostly of his friends - that we'd rotate refereeing duties: but he liked to be in control and didn't seem able to accept that when he was a player rather than GM, it might mean that his rule interpretations didn't always prevail). Either way, though, I never did learn how to control him, and eventually gave up playing with him and his friends because we never got a fun game, just constant whingeing that he didn't like the scenarios I'd put so much effort into preparing, but which he never made any effort to play in the spirit in which they were intended.
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