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Gaming by "Mutual Consent" / Gaming by "Assertion"

Two of the most common techniques when attempting role-play in on-line gaming environments are "gaming by mutual consent" and "gaming by assertion." These two methods are frequently found juxtaposed within a on-line world environment, mutually supporting each other in order to create a certain approach to role-playing while on-line.

"Gaming by mutual consent" is defined as a campaign or environment where nothing may happen to a character without the player's permission. Usually there is no GM per se but rather a large collection of players, all of who are theoretically contributing plot lines for others to play in and are solely responsible for managing their own character's story.

"Gaming by Assertion" is defined as an environment where there are few (if any) specified rules; character backgrounds, skills, capabilities, and provisioning are created in a literary and loosely defined fashion, specifically without recourse (during creation or during play) to a structured system. In such a gaming environment, things happen simply because they are asserted to have happened, not because a plot is being put forward by a GM.

Neither of these two practices are inherently wrong. However, they are both predicated on the players always behaving in a positive, rational, and cooperative fashion. This is never the case in real life. In games like these the players optimistically (but unrealistically) believe that assertion without guidelines and consent without consensus are achievable. Inevitably, when theory meets practice, two problems occur.




Last modified: 2002-Mar-17 18:06:03

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