This campaign is an experiment.
The thesis: a GM can satisfy the needs of a hardcore battlegamer and a serious roleplayer without risking his own sanity and most of his life.
A good roleplaying game isn’t just about a grand, spanning plot. It’s not just about consistent characters. It’s definitely not about spending hours bookkeeping items, currency, and skill points.
A good roleplaying game is-or should be-mainly fun.
Now, a lot of roleplayers might disagree because they find enjoyment exploring a fully-detailed world, where each tree and blade of grass has a name. Heck, there’s an entire section in the DnD Player’s Handbook about the different types of roleplayers.
Anyway, this is an experiment in achieving balance between those two warring personas, Role and Player. Role would rather have no rules at all and just interact with the world. Player would rather fight. All the time.
There’s an sadly-mistreated person in this clash: the GM. He who runs the game needs to address his players’ desires, lest he be a tyrant. Nevertheless, each player’s desires differ, and the GM is left with the daunting task of stimulating that G-spot of balance that would send his players, regardless of their inclinations, into convulsions of gaming pleasure.
It CAN be done, really, but the task is extraordinarily hard.
The aim of Lazy GM-ing is simple: make sure that everyone has fun, even the GM.
The Principles of Lazy GM-ing
Players are given freedom with their characters as long as their character fits within the mechanical bounds of character creation. That is, they can have backgrounds that would be absurd in the context of the campaign’s setting, but if they can guide the background to fit a starting character, it’s fine. For example, if a player has the background of a normal contemporary boy who got sucked into a portal which spewed him onto the DnD world, that’s fine. He’ll just need to justify how he became a level 1 wizard or something.
Characters have unlimited cosmetic freedom. That is, they look any way they want, BUT it will not give them bonuses unless these bonuses are justified by some in-game mechanic. For example, a cleric can wear chainmail in her character sheet, but her character appears to be wearing a cotton habit. The game world will interact with the character as though she was wearing chainmail, but at least she can have a character sketch with her looking however she wants.
Players can rework their characters in the middle of game sessions. This means that they can test whatever powers they would want without fear of picking something screwy. Also, this gives leeway to new players who wonder why the experienced characters actually hit the enemies.
The GM can use published adventures and ask the players how they would want to be drawn into the adventure, then roleplay accordingly.
The world is a vast soup of potential. Places exist when the player characters go there, or when an NPC mentions it. When the players come across a map, the place that map describes will seamlessly snuggle in with the rest of the existing topography.
Combat is handled strictly by the book, and any classes and special abilities as well. This principle operates under the assumption that whatever flavorful effects a player can think up, a functional power within the bounds of the book already exists.
Characters need not be ‘disposed of’ in-game whenever their players aren’t around for a session. And the GM won’t get to control them either. They just disappear, much like your extra characters in a console RPG. When the player arrives, causality will simply wrap itself around the sudden reappearance.
Moar principles when I come across them.