Rules and Advice
Gaming - In General
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November 22, 2005, 8:00 pm

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Cheka Man

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Famous Gaming Laws Axioms and Principles


This is a list of laws, axioms, and strong recomendations from published and/or famous game designers/ writers I have recently collected. If you find them, add them. Please do not just add “any old” gamer’s axions, laws, etc.

The Stafford Principle: Maintain a sense of wonder in the campaign. Make sure there is always some surprise or something special that makes a session, an adventure, a campaign and your whole world unique. 
Perrin Principle: Be consistent. If you do something once, it becomes a precedent. The players will remember it, and count on it being the same next time. If it’s not the same later, have a darn, good, obvious reason for the players that it’s different. 

Petersen Principle: Make it fun. Don’t be afraid to change a plot to go with player enthusiasm. Try something crazy or goofy, even (or especially) in serious settings. Roll with the mood and make it happen. Be high energy! 
Sandy’s Axiom: Involve at least three senses in every scene. These can be described or experienced (e.g. props, incense, etc.). People have five senses, and adding details about weird sounds, the unusual smell or the texture of something adds to the gaming experience. 
Tucholka’s Law: Players will always do what they want, so know all the world background material well enough that they can never go places or do things that you are totally unprepared for. 
Aaron’s Principle I: Always listen to your players. They will constantly be analyzing, theorizing, and commenting on the adventures. Often, their discussions will give you even better ideas than those you have been implementing. 
S. Jackson’s Law—If a player has found an exploitable loophole in the rules, congratulate the player on their ingenuity and ruthlessly disallow it. 
Levekius’ Law: Make sure everybody understands that you need to give to get. Nobody can come here and just suck everything without giving back in creativity, time, politeness, money, transport, book, etc. Everybody should invest time and effort in this campaign in one way or another. Flush the people who do not. 
Robin’s Law: If you and your players are having fun, you are a good GM. 

Sandy’s paradox: Consider any rule absolutely inviolate, until you reach a point where you understand why you shouldn’t break it. At which point, you can break it when you feel you need to. 
Fitzpatrick’s Law: Pay attention to your players. Listen to them. Watch them. Don’t let them get bored. Give them what they think they want, but make them work for it. Let them go on their own paths. Just keep an eye on their responses and be ready to step in. 

Oh, yes.. One more…

MoonHunters law: Better games come from better gamers. All members of the troupe should strive together to make the best game possible.

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Comments ( 7 )
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Voted Pariah
December 23, 2005, 12:10
Here, here!! Good Job Moon.
Voted valadaar
November 27, 2007, 15:43
Hmm. Too bad I don't personnaly know anyone who qualifies, unless there are some hiding here somewhere.
November 28, 2007, 1:48
Usually you find these in various game books and suppliments, or on their personal websites. However, they tend to float out into the gamer community.

The Stafford Principle, Perrin Principle, Petersen Principle, Sandy's Axiom, and Sandy's paradox: all came from a seminar I attended at a game convention with the Chaosium folks going at it. I have heard they have given the same seminar several times and use the same principles. These have found their way onto the net in a couple of places. The principles have found their way into HeroQuest with different wording.

Tucholka's Law: In Fringeworthy (and I think FTL 2448)

Aaron's Principle I: In StrikeForce, a Hero system suppliment

S. Jackson's Law: I have found this in The Fantasy Trip, GURPs, and on the SJ game site.

Levekius' Law: Website

Robin's Law: On his website and his book Robin's Law.

Fitzpatrick's Law: In Seminar and on website.

So keep an eye out when you visit a game company's website or a major fan site for a system. These little gems are out there, they are just harder to find.
Voted Ancient Gamer
March 1, 2010, 6:21
A fine collection of advice every GM should remember. My personal favourite must be Sandy’s Axiom, which I absolutely try to live up to (but sometimes forget).
March 4, 2010, 23:18
This handy collection of advice will go into one of my "Philosophy" files, pages I print out and keep handy. When I'm trying to compose an adventure, thoughts like these guide my path.

May this sapling grow into a mighty oak!
Voted Ramhir
January 25, 2011, 13:09

I like it.

July 17, 2011, 14:43

A good list. I think Sandy's law is one I need to remember in particular. 

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