Typhoid Mary

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Revision as of 09:51, 3 May 2012 by Sorcerer (talk | contribs)
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This is what people are complaining about when they say, "I don't want to violate my character to make a story."

Taken at face value, that sentence is nonsensical; a plot resulted specifically from the actions of characters. But in the context of dysfunctional Story Now play, it makes more sense - because one person is making it impossible for anyone at the table to play according to that agenda except for him or her. Armed with a variety of Force techniques, as well as any number of misconceptions about The GM, this person tries to

This is not a case of Agenda Clash, nor of Techniques Preferences (although both may compound the problem), but simply a dysfunctional, self-defeating failure of technique that reaches all the way up to the crucial "Let's play this game together" component of Social Contract. This person is trying to play Story Now, but they don't know how and think the only way to do that is to make sure the other people at the table don't screw it up.

Typically, one or more players become tend to become a Prima Donna, which leads either to the player being labeled "bad" and leaving the group, or to a coup and the expulsion of the old GM, unfortunately all too often resulting in the ascendance of a new Typhoid Mary.

Also typically, the people who continue playing with a Typhoid Mary GM cope as follows. First, with Participationism: "He makes the story, we go along." Which tends to break down in this case, because the GM harbors the (vanishing) expectation that the players will become Story Now go-getters. Therefore he wants exciting and emergent themes, but since he always wants players to go the way he wants, he continually shuts them down, so he enters a spiral of dissatisfaction. The group then tends toward Zilchplay: "He seems to like it, I get to say stuff for my guy once in a while, it reminds me a little bit of how much fun I had when I starting role-playing, and "game night" is a good excuse for a low-pressure hang-out friends."

Related terms


Glossary term

A GM who employs Force in the interests of "a better story," usually identifiable as addressing Premise; however, in doing so, the GM automatically de-protagonizes Narrativist players and therefore undercuts his or her own priorities of play, as well as being perceived as a railroader by the players. An extremely dysfunctional subset of Narrativist play.