Judging the Game

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A very interesting article, and while there are some points I disagree with I must say that it was very well presented and argued its points beautifully. I will be thinking about this article for some time to come!

However, in regards to the rather uncompromising view of Agency, I have had several bad experiences with GMs who played it hardcore and followed rules to the bitter end. When a dramatic and exciting storyline is squished because the GM was not willing to let a few rules conveniently slide, or when the party unknowingly makes the "wrong" choice and ends up spending a five hour session with nothing to show for, it has been my experience that the campaign usually ends shortly thereafter.

For example, a short while ago me and my friends ended a Legend of the Five Rings campaign that was being run by a dedicated no-fudger. At one point in the adventure we were able to discover a number of clues that gave us the location of the secret hideout of a saboteur-sorcerer that we were trying to bring to justice. We were fairly low level characters, and we had reason to suspect that the saboteur was rather powerful, so we spent about an hour and a half planning how we would set up a cunning ambush and catch him unawares. I won't go into too many details, but suffice to say the plan was well thought out, imaginative, and creative. But when we went to go set up the ambush, as soon as we came within sight of the door to the hideout we were all called upon to make saving throws at an almost impossibly high difficulty. We all failed, and were forcibly put asleep. We woke up some time later to discover that the hideout was cleaned out and there were no clues for us to follow. We had basically wasted a whole session going up against someone who was way, waaay out of our league. The GM did not fudge any rolls, and everything he used technically did exist in the books, and apparently we failed several Intelligence type rolls when trying to plan the ambush. We could have passed on our findings to our superiors and let them deal with it, I suppose. But that would have been lame, not fun. The way it worked out was not fun, and we did not feel empowered. Quite the opposite, in fact.

At this point the usual argument is that such failures are simply the way things work out sometimes. You can't win 'em all. That's just how life is sometimes. That is what the GM said, too. But the whole reason we (or at least I) play games is to escape from cruel reality, to live through a story where things are fun and exciting. I don't always have to win, but if I lose I want the loss to be at least as interesting as the victory would have been. A glorious battle where we sell our lives dearly and, with our dying strength, make sure the world remembers who we were and what we did, is beautiful! I love it when my characters die, because the way I play usually means they will die in an entertaining way! But the very worst thing a game can be is boring and frustrating. I get enough boring, awkward frustration in my real life, thank you very much!

One of the golden rules I try to follow as a GM is this:
Before you make a player roll, figure out what will happen if they succeed and what will happen if they fail. Whether they succeed or fail something interesting should happen. If success or failure would result in something uninteresting happening, you should just go ahead with the interesting bit and not even both with the roll.

You shouldn't make it hard for players to find the fun in your game.

i don't know why i read these, they just make me want to try DnD that much more, its a shame i cant get a group together to start, anyway great article i really got what you mean about the agency thing

I respectfully disagree on some casual notes.

Storytelling is one of the few artistic moments that a GM may have for bringing an environment to life for their players. It creates immersion and overall better storylines.

"Fun," as it were, is central to the notion that one is playing a "game." I will not suppose to say that it is something the GM should take direct responsibility for - your commentary concerning the need to create an environment where fun could be had is essential.

The danger I would say is at the far side of 'meaningful decisions.' If the GM consistently judges the decisions of a party as being paltry in logic or rationality, he or she may succumb to a very poor habit I have seen among some GMs - "Punishing," players. If every decision leads to nothing but heart-ache and strife, no character will ever want to make a decision. I have watched players leave games for this very reason, the final adieu being followed by, "I'm just not having fun anymore."

I would say then, that your descriptions of meaningful decisions, agency, and the realistic potential to fail are all valid, however, the GM should recognize that a ratio of success is also necessary for players to have fun, regardless if the decisions were legitimate or not.

Captain Ninja:
i don't know why i read these, they just make me want to try DnD that much more, its a shame i cant get a group together to start, anyway great article i really got what you mean about the agency thing

Where are you located? There are often more resources available then one might think.

ItsAPaul:
Yes, you really are responsible for making sure people have fun. Any rpg player ever knows this, and its sad that you got this published with that statement in it.

Sad that he got it published with that statement in? He is the CEO of the company that publishes The Escapist, so I think he can pretty much publish whatever he wants!

Anyway the point he was really trying to make is that if a GM runs the game right he wont have to be 'making sure people have fun', people will actually just have fun of their own accord! In trying to make the game fun the chances are the plot will railroad and the bad dice rolls will be fudged for the players benefit which ultimately breaks the immersion; by letting the plot evolve and making sure the bad dice roll is not calamitous the immersion is maintained, even if some bad stuff happens along the way.

Its a classic case of the harder you hold something the more slips through your fingers!

I like the agency theory introduced in the article, but I disagree with the advice to always resist fudging the dice. GMs are human and sometimes make mistakes - perhaps an unusual combination of enemies whose special attacks are particularly deadly in combination with one another. Should the GM simply sit back and let their miscalculation lead to the annihilation of the player group? I would say no. That takes away the players' agency just as surely as never letting them suffer the consequences of their own bad decisions.

In short, fudge the dice when you (as GM) inevitably make a mistake. When the players make their inevitable mistakes, treat the dice rolls as sacrosanct.

I really liked the article (the agency part corresponds exactly to my personal experience, and it explains why I hate games where the DM sees their main job as being story tellers who ignore rules as it suits them).

A very nice article. I like the agency theory - it spells out some things that were always clear to me, but not verbalized. So that's the reason I never "got" Amber. A disagree a bit on the fudging thing with a very new player - unless you want to get rid of her/ him and show the rest of your group that you are serious business and not even the hot tears of a young girl/ boy will sway your resolve to adhere to the rules. Then go for it. But if your main objective is to keep a new player interested, then frustrating him is the wrong way. I think that's the main fallout of agency: While it is at the root for the enjoyment of the game in the medium and long term, in the short term (when the 1 stares the player in the face) it can be very frustrating. And the new player only knows the short term.

Regarding fudging the dice, in the article I said, "The agency theory says that you should never fudge a meaningful die roll." For space considerations I left out the corrollary of that, which is that it's perfectly acceptable for the GM to fudge meaningless die rolls.

For instance, if in the course of a fight, 19 of 20 orcs are killed and the last one is down to 4 hit points and a character hits him for 3, I may well fudge it to 4 to avoid having to run through the entire 10-minute initiative cycle again (we have a large player group). This is meaningless in that you're not changing the character intent (i.e. they want the orc dead) or the outcome (it's inevitable that the orc will die, given the entire mid-level party stacked against it). All you're doing is speeding up play.

But imagine that one player in the party was trying to capture the orc alive while another was a berserker trying to kill the orc. In that case, I'd not fudge the damage, and go into next round's initiative roll, because it will be meaningful as to whether the orc is captured or killed.

So by all means engage in meaningless fudges for the sake of convenience. Just don't fudge to make sure the game turns out your preferred way, as against the outcomes of the player's intent and actions.

Re: BlueinkAlchemist, you have figured out my writing style! Egad. I feel so understood.

Re: Story-telling, I'll make my next column about this, as it's clearly an area of huge interest and controversy!

Fleischwolke, that's an extremely well-considered response. I would argue that the appropriate solutions is to adjust the rules to protect the new player(s), however, rather than fudge the dice on the spot. Similar to how MMORPGs have tutorial levels or different rules for re-spawn for 1st level characters. For instance, you could make it an explicit rule of the campaign that 1st level characters of new players will be raised for free without loss of level/constitution, because the God of Heroes honors young people who sacrifice themselves (or whatever).

RagnorakTres:
May I ask if you've ever tried the GURPS system? I ask merely because it's my favorite system (both to play and to GM) and I'd like to hear an industry expert's opinion on it.

I own a few editions of GURPS and some of the supplements (GURPS Fantasy, Cyberpunk, Biotech, Space). I haven't played or run the game, but I did extensively play its predecessor, The Fantasy Trip, back in the 80s. My reasons for not running it are essentially that (1) I don't personally like point-based character building and (2) I don't personally like "roll under" game mechanics. But these are mere matters of taste. I admire the GURPS design very much as a whole, and I think it's one of the best systems available for open-ended simulation style play.

Captain Ninja:
i don't know why i read these, they just make me want to try DnD that much more, its a shame i cant get a group together to start, anyway great article i really got what you mean about the agency thing

Same here in regards to starting a group and wanting to play even more. I live in a small town (ten thousand people) and my group of friends is too spread out to regularly get together to start a game (if they would all even want to try it). To top it off, I don't think I'd want the responsibility of GMing, so I wouldn't be much help in that regard.

When i first read your premise i wanted to disagree, but as i continued to read i found that you had put your finger on something that i had noticed for a while. Your theory explains the reason why i hate D&D 4E. 4E was a consequence free environment, where any choice was pretty much as good as any other choice, because everything is so darned balanced. Heck lets be honest, the most creative part of 4E character generation is picking a name.

Your article illuminated a solid premise, well executed, with clear and simple language.

-M

When I DM my games I tend to have a fixed plot line that can be changed to fit what the PC'S want. By doing that I give them the illusion of choice, but in the end they end up where I want them to. If worst comes to worst and they *really* screw it up, I let 'em roam for a bit then knock them back on track next session. The time in between the sessions gives me time to refine. -F

my current Gm is awesome. He simply created the world and had just one question for us at the beginning."do you want to start out as a party or find eachother?" we chose find and had an excellent bar fight with the wizard accidentally silencing hte entire block. It was great fun and it had nothing to do with the GM. He gave the setting. He did his job.

he did make our first battle outside of town be against black slime things though... Which were annoying but then we fought spiders and all was well in the world.

and amazingly my bear is still alive!

I really like your articles they have really helped to shape my GMing a lot of the bad habits you mention I used to do all the time especially the railroading bit so thank you for the longest time I just never saw and alternative but now I'm officially a agency theorist of fun great stuff can't wait for the next article

Agree with the article wholeheartedly. I've been playing and running games for a long time, and i've seen more people choose their way out of fun than i can count. Even the best GM in the world can't manufacture fun at will.

I would go even farther and say that it's not just the GM's job to provide an environment where people can have fun - it's everyone's job. Everyone will have more fun if everyone puts a little effort into making the game fun for everyone.

There need to be more articles about being a good player. Think about it: there are way more players than GMs but there are way more articles giving GM advice. People think it's easy to be a good player - show up on time and play your role. I would argue that it's much easier to be a competent player than a competent GM, but it's just as hard to be a good player as it is to be a good GM.

Here's my rule #1 for a gaming group: Don't play with people you don't like. If you wouldn't enjoy just sitting around and talking with a group of people, you won't enjoy a game whose primary activity involves sitting around and talking to one another.

~ M

Of course external effects apply to wether someone is having fun - if your dad just died, you're not gonna have fun playing a game - but assuming a complete neutral demeanour on the players part, it is the gamemasters job to make the game fun. Wether the players actually have fun depends on a lot of external factors, but if we ignore external factors, then they should have fun while playing.

I agree with much of the essence of Archon's argument. The GM's role is to facilitate fun for all the players. My disagreement is from the Agency Theory (hypothesis). I often fudge rolls to increase the dramatic tension of actions, scenes, and plots. I see it as taking a movie that uses CGI (e.g. Batman Begins) opposed to more real-world FXs (e.g. Batman). The CGI dice fudging allows me to better control the effect I'm after. Where as the agency hypothesis may look more real, it rarely lends itself to bigger than life action (spectacular as it may be when it does happen). The trick is to make it look like that was how the dice landed. Just like CGI, the more real it looks the better and less is more. I do not interfere with a player character's decisions and choices, and I try not place any more bias (every GM shows their bias when assigning difficulty) than what I think will result in the most dramatic story that everyone will enjoy. That doesn't mean the players are completely safe from death. I'm considered the killer GM in my group with about 1 in 3 characters dying. A reputation I found some of the players liked my game because they knew my game was going to be a challenge. Refrain from controlling the player's choices and morals. If character wants to murder a hobo it the street while being in the publicly is the people's hero, and they had a good plan let them. Don't magically have a witness see them and blackmail them.

Archon's thoughts are a fine way to run and as well as many others. That is why in the video game world there are different styles of games from FPS to RTS to RPGs. Run a game the way that you believe will maximize the enjoyment of all the players (including the GM).

Really enjoyed this article. I used to RP and on some days think I'll go back to it one day.

I initially ended up as DM because no one else wanted to do it. It was an absolute baptism of fire, learning the rules (and often misinterpreted and misread them), players missing what I thought were obvious clues to further the story, miss judging the challenge presented by traps and monsters...

It took a few goes to iron out the kinks. I was DM from then on through 2nd edition, WOD, Paladium, 3rd edition. It eventually became something I enjoyed. Occasionally someone else would try but soon grumbles would start and I'd end up back in the chair.

So why did I quit? I think it was the fact that everyone wanted different things and thought it was my job to keep them happy.

When two players were trying to manipulate the antagonist or some official another would be complaining hes not hit anything in the last 15 minutes. One guy felt it was my job to keep him alive, he was a hero who would always over come, apparently stupid decisions shouldn't affect this. My vampire game had an unplanned player civil war, siding with rival factions. This almost doubled the real time needed to play and lots of swapping rooms and the losing side accused me of favouritism, despite choosing the weakerside and acting in a completely inept manner.

I could go on but it was enough to get me to hang up my dice, I attempted to swap sides of the table but no one else seemed to have the interest to replace me, except for a handful of epic level scuffles. Having missed out on the player time and believing the fun is in developing a charecter, this held no interest to me.

I'm a big believer in agency. I will throw players a lifeline but believe that in the end they stand or fall on their own decisions. Some of the most enjoyable moments in RP have been when the players completely derailed a story (My stories tend to be loose with the odd set piece and charecters with resources and motivation, I don't like end of the world epics) taking it in a direction I could never have imagined. Thats where the magic is.

Having said that, I no longer believe it is worth the headache

i fundamentally disagree with you that agency is the most important factor for fun in a tabletop rpg.
people play tabletop games for many different reasons. some may find the story most important, others may feel that a campaign is fun as long as they gain sacks of loot, or get to kill the bad guys

the point is this: while agency is certainly an important part of any campaign, the freedom of choice that a tabletop RPG offers may not be the most important factor to some. it's true you cant make everyone have fun, but you can't assume everyone will have fun as long as they are free to do what they want either.

sometimes these things conflict: i was once in a (admittedly inexperienced) group where one of the players decided that he would let his character go off on a ship away from the party. nobody liked this: the GM saw his campaign grinding to a halt as he was asked to facilitate this player, and the rest of the party was annoyed by his egotistical behaviour and the delay in the game this meant.
in the end, our DM told him to rejoin the party or abandon his character as he went off elsewhere. i don't think anyone can disagree this was the right decision.

in this instance, storytelling and the importance of the group as a whole (and deciding that we shouldn't indulge this person, even though this was less fun for him) became more important then the freedom to leave the tracks.

in the end, the most important measure for any style of DMing is how well they suit your group. there is no single golden formula, no ultimate, perfect way of running a game. you need to find a way that suits you and your group and provides the most fun for everyone. if you think that takes railroads, lay them, if you think that takes story, write it, if you think that takes freedom, provide it. in the end, it all depends on what you and the people you play with want the most.

Great article, good analysis.

I agree with most of your points, including the fact that you shouldn't worry about gamers having fun. Make sure to throw some challenges their way and let them figure it out for themselves. They will.

If you worry too much about "fun", you wind up dumbing down the risk and therewith thrill and ultimately the whole experience. On a bad day, I do sometimes do this.

We have done away with rules though. We stick to calling it "storytelling". The agency and causality is attained by "being true to the story". If you can explain why your character would be able to scale that steep rockface by recounting a quick backstory (e.g. "as a kid he went rock climbing with his dad"), it'll give you an extra modifier.

We do still use dice for the element of chance.

Great article, Alex. Interesting to see how your brain works after playing in your tabletop games for six years now. :P

To those concerned about storytelling and it's level of importance in tabletop, I think many of you are perhaps using the wrong parameters to judge, and therefore, disagree with Alex's statements. I remind you he is suggesting the four functions of a GM, not the four most important facets of tabletop RPGs.

I'd say, and I bet Alex would agree, that storytelling is one of the top three most important facets of RPGs, progression of character and fun (hey, there's the other point of contention!) being the other two. These are really un-rankable, as it varies from player to player, group to group. Each player has his own play style (see Bartle Test) and his own personal "most important aspect" of games (insert the endless graphics v. gameplay v. story debate here), and those individuals, of course, affect whole group dynamics. A GM has to be prepared to handle each of these players and groups, and Alex's very effective way of doing this is by giving players agency, or room to do the things that float their individual boats.

But what Alex is talking about in this article is the four functions of a GM. And of those, I'd agree that storytelling is last because as a GM, your players can (and will!) help you with story. The first three - judging, world builder, adversary are uniquely within the court of the GM and therefore logically rank higher as a function for a GM.

Andraste:
Great article, Alex. Interesting to see how your brain works after playing in your tabletop games for six years now. :P

I hope I haven't given away any secrets!

But what Alex is talking about in this article is the four functions of a GM. And of those, I'd agree that storytelling is last because as a GM, your players can (and will!) help you with story. The first three - judging, world builder, adversary are uniquely within the court of the GM and therefore logically rank higher as a function for a GM.

Thank you! I could not have said it better myself.

Very good point about creating an environment for fun vs. creating fun. It's a subtle but very useful distinction.

Many issues with railroading, fudging, and other cases where the DM runs interference for the players come down to taking too many cues from books, movies, and comics. In a book, an author can get away with putting the main character in a destroy-the world-or-save-it situation. After all, the author controls the final outcome. When a DM paints himself into such a corner, it's far too tempting to nudge the game in one direction or the other.

For an RPG, it's better to push both extreme results a little bit toward the middle. Find ways that both success and failure can branch the game out in new directions.

If the PCs toss the One Ring into Mount Doom, maybe the ancient, evil spirit trapped in the ring breaks free and promises to wreak havoc in the future. If the characters screw up and the ring ends up in Sauron's hands, it's time to rally the survivors and wage a guerrilla war against the dark lord.

When you avoid absolute outcomes, you dodge a lot of the situations where railroading and fudging start to look like good ideas.

dietpeachsnapple:

Captain Ninja:
i don't know why i read these, they just make me want to try DnD that much more, its a shame i cant get a group together to start, anyway great article i really got what you mean about the agency thing

Where are you located? There are often more resources available then one might think.

Cairns, Queensland Australia, as far as i know there is not even a comic book store here

>Judging the Game
>the Game

That's all I had to say.

bjj hero:
players missing what I thought were obvious clues to further the story, miss judging the challenge presented by traps and monsters...

This is one of the main problems with giving players full control of their choices. What seems completely obvious for one can easily be misjudged as a detail by others. Being able to swing with this is one of a DM's most important abilities if you ask me. It's also something I still struggle with.

bjj hero:

My vampire game had an unplanned player civil war, siding with rival factions. This almost doubled the real time needed to play and lots of swapping rooms and the losing side accused me of favouritism, despite choosing the weakerside and acting in a completely inept manner.

Somehow Vampire parties more easily break up into arguing players than most other rpg-systems. White Wolf just wants their players to take everything so serious I guess. And the system also revolves around making the player feel important, upping the stakes quite a bit. I can deal with a dnd character dying far more easily than a vampire character myself as well, its weird.

Anyway, I never think too hard on the theory behind DM-ing. I always make sure to have a general plot and a layout of the world in my head/drawn up and then set to it from session to session.

Vortigar:

Somehow Vampire parties more easily break up into arguing players than most other rpg-systems. White Wolf just wants their players to take everything so serious I guess. And the system also revolves around making the player feel important, upping the stakes quite a bit. I can deal with a dnd character dying far more easily than a vampire character myself as well, its weird.

Yet we always seemed to get through more vampires than fantasy hero charecters. I found Vampire far more draining than anything else I've DM'd. The players seemed to love it though, until everyone fell out and went to their seperate factions. Is it really that hard to stay on the same team? One of the players explained his reasoning for the split along the lines of:

"Im a Ventrue and antagonist X is a Ventrue so I'm backing him".

Even though he'd give the party the shaft in the past and X had not yet found out that it was the party who'd been steadily burning his businesses down. Only one other player would follow his lead and it all got messy.

He never said storytelling wasn't important. Read the article everybody. What he said was some people may not have fun with it. Try to design a game in which everyone CAN have fun, but don't screw with your game and story halfway through because Victor had a shitty day at the office and is pissed at everyone, or Chelsea keeps rolling fours. Design the game in a way where fun is very probable, but don't change the game in the middle to try and appease pissed-off people. Read the article before tearing him a new one, please.

I think the linking of Storytelling and that elusive Fun Factor is perhaps a bit misconstrued. The fun players and GM have out of a game grows out of all the four factors, Wold Builder, Judge, Adversary and Storyteller, and not just from the story iteself. This is why the most railroaded of plots can lead to brilliance (and frustration).

The GMs attention to fun can perhaps be said to stop when the game session starts. Before you begin play, during your preparation, you should bear this in mind in all you do: Game groups are very different, and even within a group, some may revel in social intrigue, while others just want to show off their ability to make things bleed. Ideally your group is in agreement on what aspect of the game they want to mostly do, and that is where the GM must consider fun. if the players prefer high court intrigue and skullduggery, an epic quest to kill an unnamed terror will not work, if you spend all your time trudging through swamps and caves to track the beastie down. The lesson for GMs is: talk to your players. I always like to hold a short debriefing after each session, and get some feedback on what worked and what didn't.

I'm a big proponent of always having player death (well, their characters anyway, though sometimes..... :) ) an option on any given fight, and to avoid fudging dice, I will typically always provide a way to flee any given fight. The players don't always consider this option, at least until the first character goes down. After that, they tend to learn.

My group and I tend to joke about obvious railroads by the GM as the exposure to naturally occuring Plott-DeVice radiation. A seasoned RPer can usually spot these a mile off, and I agree with the articlae that adherence to freedom of choice and consequence can go a long way towards maintaining suspension of disbelief in the face of this. The danger with consequence comes from the fact that the GM has absolute power, and what you, with your suprior knowledge, might consider a stupid and fatal mistake, might to the players be seen as maybe not the greatest plan in the world, but not something worthy of a Total Party Kill. If as GM you suspect you are in such a situation, the adherence to story can take precedence over your responsibilities as judge and adversary. You fudge the dice, to avoid spending the next session making 5 new characters.

Fun comes then when all four roles (and a few other probably) come to expression in a reasonable and balanced way. As a GM you must trust to your planning and understanding when the session starts, and do the fudging off-screen between sessions based on feedback (what I think the author calls "changing the rules"). Storytelling is the least of the GMs jobs, because it is the one least likely to sour the game and detract from the enjoyment of the group as a whole. A bad judgement, or an gamebreaking enemy can do a lot more harm in the short term (which is where a game session takes place), than starting each story in a tavern can ever do. Players are all masters of derailing plots anyway, never fear.

bjj hero:
The players seemed to love it though, until everyone fell out and went to their seperate factions. Is it really that hard to stay on the same team?

In Vampire? Sometimes, yeah.

Loneliness and betrayal are far more prominent components of the "personal horror" genre than teams are. Also, games that try to emphasize dramatic moral conflict kinda need to create disagreement and tension between the protagonists. It's almost natural to want to break up the team (or, at least, threaten to) in a game about that stuff.

The problem is that RPG players (and many writers as well, including some writing for White Wolf) just can't see any way to play that doesn't involve a "party" of PCs. Broken trust, bitterness, and complicated love/hate relationships are all quite in-theme for a "World of Darkness" game, but folks have trouble playing adversarial characters and their game systems tend to give them very little assistance.

-- Alex (not the one writing the articles)

GhostLad:
Storytelling is the least of the GMs jobs, because it is the one least likely to sour the game and detract from the enjoyment of the group as a whole. A bad judgement, or an gamebreaking enemy can do a lot more harm in the short term (which is where a game session takes place), than starting each story in a tavern can ever do.

So, here's another way to say that: "The game's system is more sensitive to a GM's mechanical missteps than the game's players are to the GM's crappy ideas."

I don't think that observation is incorrect or anything; but, to me, that's mostly a sign that you've got a fragile and fussy system on your hands.

-- Alex

Hey, I had a level 12 Rouge/Level 5 Sorcerer that died for a while but was brought back a ghost later when someone figured they could use "animate dead" but their roll was a ghost instead of a zombie. So I got to use some ghost template powers as well as some of my own. It made for an interesting adventure.

My GM was really inventive with the challenges after that. But we tended to fight a lot of astral style enemies...and wraiths....

Captain Ninja:

dietpeachsnapple:

Captain Ninja:
i don't know why i read these, they just make me want to try DnD that much more, its a shame i cant get a group together to start, anyway great article i really got what you mean about the agency thing

Where are you located? There are often more resources available then one might think.

Cairns, Queensland Australia, as far as i know there is not even a comic book store here

Becky B Collectibles‎ Cairns QLD 4870, Australia0418 828 123‎

or

http://www.phoenixhobbies.com.au/contact_us.htm

or

Exchange Bookshop‎ 78 Grafton St, Cairns QLD 4870, Australia

or

You could link up with the WOTC living forgotten realms administrator that lives IN carins...

http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=rpga/news/20071116a

Best of luck mate!

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