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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Moldvay Musings II

The next bit in Part 4 that I find amusing is that of the Caller. 

"One player should be chosen to tell the DM about the plans and actions of the party."

I don't know about the rest of you, but I've rarely played or run using this method. I can see its appeal on a certain level; the DM remains distanced from the debating between players as they figure out their next move, and then he gets a single voice telling him what they do.

On the flip side, it seems it would hurt the social aspect of the game, and I would be leery of letting one player dominate the table talk to such a degree. 

The Mapper:

I like the implication of this section; basically that it is the player's responsibility to make a map of the dungeon. The DM provides the description and detail, the player gets it down on paper. After years of using Chessex mats with hex and square grids, I found this sentence particularly interesting:

"It is most important to record proper directions, shape, and approximate size, rather than spending a lot of time determining exact distances and filling in minute details."

This would indicate to me that a player's map shouldn't be some perfect reproduction of the DM's, rather a "working diagram" that would let the PCs find their way around inside –and back out– of the dungeon. 


  1. According to my experience, Callers are usually (not always) despised by those DMs who ask players to play without revealing their PC sheets each other.

    I mean, DMs often see in it a sort of meta-game or a way to act out of character: IMHO it's just a way to pull gameplay towards a gamist direction (like 4E actually does with a continuous DM/players challenge).

  2. I can see your and Hamel's points about the Caller. In my experience though using a Caller really helps to get the party to co-operate and act as a unified force instead of several individuals. I guess it depends on how often and how much it gets used.

  3. Oh, I'm not arguing its merits, just pondering how often its used.

  4. I've never used the caller rule, but I'm thinking about giving it a go. I can see how it would be useful to get everyone's actions sorted out before the caller announces them, and then shift to a one-on-one model to resolve the announced actions. I've always had a terrible time keeping track of game time when each player is free to declare actions separately - which ones are happening simultaneously, and which ones sequentially? Using the caller might help to delineate game turns more clearly.

    1. Not to pimp my own stuff, but you might check out Faster Monkey's Turntracker. Its focus is more on using up resources, but it can help with the timekeeping a bit.

  5. Although we never had a 'caller' as such, we did used to choose a spokesman from the party who we shoved forward to deal with NPCs. And I love being the designated mapper, even when we don't need one :)