Fredrik Carleson's

The Gamemasters Framework for Software

- An alternative to other frameworks on how to deliver great software


Adventurers - is a collective name of the persons working together to complete a scenario. Usually, a team of adventurers consists of persons with different careers such as a Warrior Developer, Automation wizard, and a UX wiz. They also have different character traits that align, making the team high performing. The team works together, embracing each other's skills and problem-solving skills to reach the scenario’s goals. Also called players, team members.

Alignment - Alignment is a word commonly used in roleplaying games. Your alignment guides how you act and respond to situations. Alignments are a helpful guide for how your fellow adventurers generally act and behave. Some people are more outgoing and do without thinking—others wish to think things through before talking. By knowing the alignment of the persons in your team, you can work better as a team. For example, there might be two outgoing persons in a team talking all the time, not letting the others have their say. As a GM, you might decide that before anyone talks, everyone must first think for a minute and then take a round-robin, one person at a time, to give everyone a chance to talk. Others might need to get the whole picture first, whereas others build the entire concept by having all the details first.

Career class - The professions of the adventurer. This booklet describes some possible career classes. The framework does not give complex rules on which career classes should exist or not. The framework assumes that roles and professions in your organization exist for a good reason. As a GM, please add your career classes that adventurers can take with their level titles.

Campaign - A band of adventurers should be able to complete a scenario within a reasonable time. The rule of thumb is that if the number of experience points exceeds a few thousand, you should probably break it up into more than one scenario. The scenario would then be part of a campaign. Imagine a typical fantasy book with many chapters. Each chapter is a scenario. There might be sub-plots and even different characters in the other chapters. In the end, all chapters nicely strive towards the end goal of the book, where it all comes together—the same thing with scenarios and campaigns.

A gamemaster (GM) -is a person who acts as an organizer and officiant regarding rules. The GM is an arbitrator and moderator for a team. They help the players work together towards common goals. The role of a GM is to create a “flow” for the players through a scenario. They do this preparing in advance before a scenario. They make a scenario the players will participate in with enough details to finish the scenario. The GM creates an environment where the players can interact, work together, and complete working solutions.

Experience points (XP) - XP, from a psychological perspective, are just a game mechanic used to incentivize and reward individual players’ behaviors. Before a scenario starts, the GM goes through the scenario to decide how many experience points players will get from actions and completed. A good Gamemaster gives XP for good behavior. Behavior that helps the team to improve themselves continually. A team receives XP when completing something useful, real that end-users see as valuable. 

As a GM, it is crucial to be consistent with XP and to think it through carefully. A common trap is for a new GM to do a Monty Haul campaign being too generous, creating inflation on player titles. If you have several adventure teams, it is a good idea for GMs to sit together and agree on XP in scenarios. It can be sensitive for players who have worked hard playing several scenarios, finally reaching level three. If another GM has been far too generous, letting players get to level three already after one scenario, there will be frustration. 

Non-player-characters (NPCs) - NPC’s are persons in the real world with whom the players in a scenario interact to complete the scenario. As a GM, it is essential to have completed a stakeholder analysis before the scenario starts. You do this to know who the important NPCs are and their importance for solving the scenario. NPC’s must be available in the scenario when needed. 

Think of it as in a movie. Let’s say the adventurers need a means of transport to get to point B in time to save the world. What happens if transportation is not available? In real life, this could be to ensure that a network wiz has a testing environment up and running, for example.

Plato’s cave - This is a phrase to express a management team taking (bad) decisions based upon too little information. The management is not where the action happens and does not have enough or accurate information to make informed decisions. To use the allegory with Plato’s cave, they sit chained to a wall, never seeing reality as it is. They only see shadows of the actual work that is going on. The management then takes decisions based upon what they believe the shadows represent. Had they released themselves from their chains (leaving their office) and been at the Gemba (crime scene), this phenomenon would probably not exist. 

Management should provide direction and vision but refrain from making decisions for teams. As soon as management starts making decisions for teams, they take away their decision-making and self-going abilities. Some GMs can also fall into this trap deriving the team their motivation. Think of it as a movie where you would hear a narrator voice in the background telling the heroes what to do all the time. From a career perspective, these managers are called necromancers. They control people like a necromancer controls a zombie. 

Scenario - In the framework, a scenario is task-oriented. A scenario consists of several goals the team of adventurers must complete to try a hypothesis. A scenario consists of the environment and non-player characters around the players. The environment limits the choices the adventurers can take and keeps the team on the right track. The adventurers act in the scenario, and the Gamemaster describes the setting.