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© 1996-2008
æthereal FORGE ™

The MUD Slide

Iconoclast -- RPG -- Shared Administration

Shared administration means that every one of the actors plays more than one role in the shaping of the story. Not only are they responsible for their own primary character, but they also assist in the various tasks necessary to keeping the game flowing along. For example, each might assume the role of one or two Non-Player Cast members, or a particular gang that will play a major role during an upcoming scene. One of the actors might have designed a nightclub, along with staff and patrons, that the other icons wander into. Another actor might be responsible for the metro system, role-playing the passengers on every bus or subway the group wanders onto during the Act.

There are some obvious benefits to such a shared experience. First of all, there's no more need to argue about who's going to be the Gamemaster for the night--everyone can play, every night. Secondly, there's less overall preparation on the part of one person; since each player has different areas of the game that they specialize in, each player develops those areas individually, spreading out the "work." Third, spreading out administration brings a renewed sense of excitement and mystery to the gaming, since each player has secrets that only they know. Every Act brings new challenges from new people in new ways.

Of course, the system is not without its potential problems. Shared administration requires a certain degree of trust and cooperation, since each player can easily disrupt the night's events by doing something drastic. It's important to make sure that nobody's individual desires are placed before the needs of the other actors. If the group you're a member of contains people who are only in it to see how many credits and bits of equipment they can gather, then maybe the shared administration experience isn't for you. However, if your group understands that the point of gaming is to have fun, collectively, then sharing administrative duties might take your gaming to another level of enjoyment. It's at least worth a try.

An example of how to run an encounter with no administrator:

Bob: Suddenly, a gang wanders into the alley.
Sue: Oh boy, it's Sharks. They look upset.
Bob: The Sharks advance and pull out weapons. (taking Sue's lead)
Jon: Jon figures they're after him. He owes the leader 50,000 Yen.
Sue: One of the Sharks appears to recognize Jon. (taking Jon's lead)

NEVER force...
"The Shark hits Jon and kills him."

Always suggest...
"The Shark swings at Jon."

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