Strange Mission: GM-less play for Axes and Anvils

Mike Nystul did not want to use the GM-less game style I designed for Axes and Anvils. He has his own ideas that he wants to share in the base system. That’s cool. That means this system is mine, and I can share it if I want to! And I want to. Here it is.

A Strange Mission AMS

Why is Axes and Anvils well suited to GM-less play?

  • The system assigns every monster a die code to determine what its behavior is. If a player wants to, the player can randomize any creature’s actions.
  • The focus of the game is on teamwork, and storytelling. It is not hard to extend that philosophy to telling a story as a team.
  • A simple framework of rules makes it easy for players with some familiarity with the system to improvise monsters and situations on the fly without having to dig into the rulebook a lot.

What if players abuse the power this structure gives them, and attack people they don’t like or give themselves lots of loot or whatever?

  • Don’t design a system trying to make the rules curb bad behavior on the part of players. There is a level of social contract at work here.
  • If a player gets out of hand, remember that everybody else gets a turn too… So really, you’re better off than if one player with bad behavior is the game master for the whole session.

What if people get nervous about how hard it is to come up with stuff on the fly?

  • That is where the randomized words come in. Just a couple words can help provide a starting place, and players might find it is easier and more fun than they expected to come up with what happens next.
  • Players do get a type of scene, and some random elements, and if they try to tie those together then the scene practically sets itself up.
  • If there are questions about rules or how to handle something, the players can ask each other for help or opinions. This is a team game, after all.

What is Mike thinking about doing for the official version of the GM-less play for Axes and Anvils?

  • I have no idea.

Enjoy this! If you use it, I would love to hear how it works out for you.

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