It’s not often that I get to listen to The D6 Generation podcast. It’s a great podcast about gaming, including wargames, roleplaying, and board games with a strong focus on minatures gaming. Unfortunately the episodes usually run 3 hours long, which is a bit much for my commute. But this week I did get a chance to listen to their recent episode on playing board games with children, and there was a small point in their intro segment that I want to pull on here. The hosts described a situation where two of the hosts made a gentleman’s agreement to play a miniatures game with only painted miniatures that were the exact mini for a particular unit. In a recent game one of them brought out a unpainted mini to use and the other player called shenanigans and brought the matter before the third host to arbitrate. In a fun segment, each of the players made an argument for their case and presented evidence and precedent before the third host made a ruling.
I think it would be great if there was a People’s Court for games, a Gamer’s Court, if you will. A system where players could bring disputes with other players or DMs and get a ruling. There are tons of situations where a DM makes a call in a gray area of the rules where you’d like to get a second opinion. Even more important are the times when a player has a greivance against another. For example let’s say a character gets seriously injured because another launched a fireball into melee. Was it duchebaggery, carelessness, or a calculated risk? The offended player can seek redress in the court and claim that the wizard’s player has a history of fireball negligence and owes damages (maybe the wizard has to give one of his magic items to the fighter as compensation).
My intention is that this Court be for players themselves to get a conflict or question resolved, but if an adventure has off week or between-sessions, it might be a nice RP opportunity to play out a character grievance in-game. The characters can take an argument (say the above-mentioned fireball incident) to the local magistrate or arcane guild for arbitration. For something in-game, the resolution should be light-hearted and acceptable to both players, lest the argument spiral into a bigger one instead of resolving. In the fireball case, if the wizard was found to be reckless, he could be asked to refrain from fireballs into melee or provide a fighter a cloak of fire resistance.
I’m offering my services to write a short brief on behalf of a player that finds himself in Gamer’s Court, provided I can use it as material for the blog.