These two axes are the only ones that really deal with in-play decision-making.
Natural |-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-| Directed 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
This is an important one. It measures the degree to which the GM takes a hand to maintain the levels of parameters established during campaign design. In a Directed game, the GM makes a conscious attempt to keep things Dramatic, to keep the Script on track, to make sure the Conflict level stays high, etc., perhaps giving up some setting consistency in order to do so. In a Naturally GMed campaign, the GM will interpret and respond to PC actions in the way that seems most likely and consistent, given the particular setting, even if some Drama is lost or the Script is derailed.
"0" - Any way the campaign goes is fine.
"10" - Complete railroading
Note on Terminology: A Natural GMing style is the primary component of what's known as "simulationism".
Freeform |-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-| Mechanical 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
This is a measure of how willing the GM is to bend or break the rules in favor of game considerations. It's sort of a game-mechanically-oriented form of the Direction axis.
"0" - "Dice? What dice? And did you say something about a rule book?"
"10" - The GM will beat rules lawyers to the punch. "The dice are always right."
Note on Terminology: "Mechanical" is a terrible term.
Note on Terminology: "Freeform" has been used to describe rules-light game systems, which is not quite the same usage as this. That is, a Freeform GM could use a rules-intensive system and just not pay much attention to the rules, or a Mechanical GM could go by the letter in a rules-light system. If "Freeform" as applied to game systems is commonly used, this may cause some confusion. I'm considering replacing "Freeform" with "Descriptive".
Outline | Preparation | Diagesis | Improvisation | Metagame
Last updated: 4 November 1995
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Copyright © 1995 Leon von Stauber. All rights reserved.