The Unexamined Life

The Death of Socrates, by Jacques-Louis David

Brand new year, brand new, well, not much. We’re puttering with things but it’s too early to say. At the very least, more videogames and more Youtube things. Also less posts from Ryan, on account of him being eaten by his phd and his fiancee, but I’ve got a few ideas around that too, mostly involving kidnapping and daring rescues. This isn’t a post about the new year though, not directly. It’s a time to reflect on what’s important, and what matters to me and to others in gaming. For me, it’s the unexamined life.

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Fairness Wrapup

So over the past few weeks I’ve addressed why I think fairness is an ethical concern for GMs in terms of the decisions they make, and given a few examples of how you can make the game more fair. Today I want to talk a bit more about fairness as an idea, and about what you can do when questions of fairness arise.  Read more

Fairness As Practice

New site! You should update your bookmarks, and there’s an rss button just to the right, so that’s cool. I’m still working out the design, so if you think there’s something which should be added, let me know. I’m definitely going to work on updating my blogroll, and work on a new About page, as well as an index for posts. I’d been holding off on it until my term was over, but now I can really put some time into it.

In the meantime though, I want to look at fairness as a practice. I hope I made a sufficient case last week for why fairness should be considered an ethical principle at the table, so I want to take the opportunity to talk about some ways in which you can ensure fairness as a practice . Read more

Gm Ethics: Fairness

Last week I laid out some terminology and some ideas that I want to use to explore the kinds of ethical obligations we have to each other around the gaming table. Specifically the relation between the GM and the players, but a lot of this is also applicable to the relations between players as well. I established how the players are stakeholders, and why they have a larger stake in the actions of the GM, because the GM can affect their interests in a more powerful way. This week I want to expand on that and talk about fairness, specifically fairness in principle. Why is it important to be fair, and what does it mean to talk about fairness? Read more

GM Ethics

As adjudicators of outcomes and interactions, GMs tend to be viewed as having more power than other players. Originally the GM was held to be the master of the game, as stated by E. Gary Gygax in a 2004 interview. I prefer to think of myself as a moderator rather than a master, working with the other players rather than being in charge in some kind of authoritative way, but regardless of what view you hold on the exact role of the GM, it seems reasonable to think that as an adjudicator, they incur certain ethical obligations to the other players. I want to spend some time on what I think these are, and provide some arguments not just for why honouring these obligations makes the game more fun, but why it is necessary to do so. Read more

Fudging Dice

Before we get started, a couple of announcements. First, you should head over to my MoSpace and support Movember if you haven’t already. Donate now, and decide what silly thing I do with my moustache for the last week of November. Details are here. Also, over the next month I’m going to be migrating the blog to a new domain, so there might be a bit of downtime. You’ll have to update your bookmarks and your rss, and I’ll be putting an automatic forward here just in case. I’ll keep you posted here, and you can find updates on my Twitter. Now, on to fudging dice. Read more