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General Forge Forums => Actual Play => Topic started by: Rob Alexander on November 01, 2005, 01:33:50 AM



Title: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Rob Alexander on November 01, 2005, 01:33:50 AM
Hi all,

I'm posting this in response to a request in http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=17449.0.

I'm currently playing in a D&D game and actually enjoying it. Outside of boffer LARP, this is the first time I can remember playing a rolegame *as a player* and really enjoying it.

(In my previous post, I noted that I've had five years out before this, so this may be as much changes in me as a difference in the game.)

The game is D&D 3.5, notionally in the Ravenloft setting but I don't think this has entered into play much. We've had about five sessions so far.

It started when the GM posted on a (UK-specific) web forum asking for players in the local area. Three players signed up from that, and he already had a fourth player who was a longtime friend of his and lived (reasonably) close.

We play in the DM's house, so far on a Saturday but we're moving to Sundays. It's a comfortable environment, nice chairs etc. In contrast the location used by the club in my previous thread, there's only us there (so far) so no outside observers, members of the public etc. In the other setting, you were more-or-less in a public place so you had to keep your social guard up.

Playing at the weekend gives us plenty of time (I don't think anyone has children or other dependents), and the game sessions stretch from four to six hours. Intensity during this time is pretty high, there isn't much non-game talk once we're into it. I do, though, find this duration fairly demanding and I'm not sure how sustainable it will be.

The other players are all enthusiatic players (rather than drag-alongs), we have a rulebook each and are all happy to look up and understand the rules, which makes the complex D&D system more viable. It's worth noting that one player has been interested in D&D since he was a kid (he's now in his twenties) but never  got around to playing until this game.

In terms of in-game activity, there's lots of fights, more than in any rpg I've played before, and I think this is great. The games I used to GM (in my teens), involved a lot of fighting, and I suspect pretty tedious fighting at that, because the games we played tended to be Simulationist-oriented stuff like RuneQuest that was more concerned with 'realistic' outcomes than fun. RuneQuest was the first 'proper' rolegame I bought, and I tended to take a cue from there when deciding what rules to use in other games.

The fights in this game are quite good. We're not using a battleboard, unfortunately, but there still feels like enough tactical options to keep me engrossed, and of course if we fail we die, or don't get the treasure and XP, or whatever. The tactical choices come mainly from my choice of spells, use of feats or different weapons, etc, and how those coordinate with the actions of other players. We're also going up levels quite fast and so getting a regular supply of new toys.

That said, we've not had a PC death yet and I don't know how the GM will handle that. I may talk to him about it - I don't see any easy solutions. (I'll also have a search through the archives here).

(I also have a kind of metagame objective that makes my actions interesting. In my youth, nobody wanted to play a spellcaster because in the games we played they were always perceived as helpless (from a challenge-gamist viewpoint, I suppose). I've also seen lots of comments that D&D spellcasters become grossly dominant at high levels. So my self-imposed goal is to play a spellcaster who (a) is powerful and effective yet (b) supports the rest of the party rather than eclipsing them. To this end, I'm concentrating on learning to use all the non-blasting spells, and I'm enjoying this aspect.)

By contrast, the games I played in college seemed incredibly dull and talky. Much of it was a kind of verbal 'dressing up' (particularly for the women involved) - I think someone has mentioned this elsewere on the boards as a symptom of 'zilchplay'. That said, I was a pretty miserable person at that time and I probably didn't enjoy *anything* much.

As far as I can tell we're mostly on rails between dungeons, and talking with NPCs is mostly functional info exchange and mission assignment. But I'm fine with that at the moment because once we're in the dungeon we have a choice of which door to go through, etc.

(I should note that, so far, the dungeons have been contained enough that we can explore (and often clear) every room. I'd rather be in situations where we can't do this, and have to do the best we can, i.e. try to judge what the best path to take and then go with the results of that. I.e. as Eric said above, *meaningful decisions*.)

Actually, there was one point where we got a choice of where to go next. We had two missions underway. One was to investigate a plague in a small mining town, the other was to recover an important item from a ruined monastery. We came to a fork in the path, where we had to the choice of going to the monastery first or the village first (each would later turn into a full-session dungeon adventure). We chose to go to the village first, but I think we could have gone either way.

This doesn't sound like much, but it's the first choice of this nature that I can remember as a rolegame player ever! And I don't think that the games I ran were much better in this, alas. Linear routes were king.

There's not much roleplaying *required*, i.e. little need for social step on up, but there's room for my character to spout off in his flowery idiom. This amuses the other players....I think; once again, I'm not as alert as I'd like to be. I'll have to keep an eye on that - I've been in games with a louder, more eloquent roleplayer before and it's a bit intimidating.

The accessible world area is not Raveloft as a whole but a small sealed area of the DM's own creation. It's a low-power setting (so, at 3-4th level now we are getting respect and status) and it's small enough that it won't be long before we've been to all the areas on the top level map. (There is a map, it's hand-drawn by the DM and he hands it round sometimes. I like that map.)

This `world' feels unique and special even though (in the abstract) it's quite a generic fantasy setting. This is probably the best thing about the game - playing in a published setting (especially an actively developed one) just  seems so 'dead' to me. I suppose I don't feel the players or GM can affect the setting much without breaking the 'metaplot' or continuity with the published supplements that players or GM want to use.

One small problem is that the last two sessions have had just two players including me, which isn't really enough for a good intra-party dynamic, but hopefully we'll sort this out and get back to strength.

I'm going to get a 'guest DM' slot soon and put the DM plus other players through a 'non-plot' adventure. I'm actually feeling quite intimidated about the difficulty of achieving adequate challenge while avoiding both fudging and TPK risk.

I don't think I'd ever run this a campaign like this, tho. I wouldn't want to put the players on rails at all, and (as other people on the Forge have commented) the prep work required for effective D&D gamist play is heavy and difficult. Hence the need for rails and dungeons (or dungeon-like adventures).

I also don't think I'd want the commitment of running a session of that length week-on-week for an indefinite period. Kudos to the DM for trying but I think he'll find it pretty demanding over time.

So, what do people think? I'm of the mind that I'm enjoying this for good, straightforward challenge gamism, with clearly defined rails and areas where there are none.


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Rob Carriere on November 01, 2005, 08:53:27 AM
Rob,
I've read both your threads and the word that keeps ringing through my mind is "freedom". I think at this point it is more important for you to experience that freedom than to try and decide what kind of freedom you like most. Don't worry, that kind of choice will come of its own natural accord. For now, enjoy the wind in your face.

As for prepping a dungeon with real choices, one way is indeed to put some kind of clock on play so that it is not possible to reconnoiter the entire dungeon. Another one (that is rather kinder on the amount of prep required) is to make the dungeon stateful. That is, build it so it makes a real difference whether you visit room 13 or room 14 first and what you do there.

A classical example of this type of design is some kind of patrolling guard that goes on high alert if/when they detect intrusion. As long as the players are clever enough not to leave evidence for the guard, they'll have a fairly easy time of it. When the guard goes on alert, things get progressively harder and harder... (maybe the guards are there to protect the Big Treasure, maybe this is a "rescue the princess" type set-up, maybe the guards are there to protect the statue of Saint Bushwhacker the Kind and you want the stuff that buried underneath his temple, whatever)

Now, in such prep you shouldn't try to avoid both fudging and TPK risk. There are systems out there that can do that, but they're not intended for this kind of play. You can have the deal that the GM fudges and the challenge is to force the GM to fudge the least number of times, or you can have the deal that dumb actions and/or dumb dice means dead characters. That said, you can play non-fudging and try to minimize TPK risk. Doing that means reducing the challenges you put to the players, so there's a trade-off between safety of the characters and excitement. You (plural) should figure out where the optimum trade-off lies for you--it's very different for different people.

If you do want to avoid both fudging and TPK, yet have challenging play, there's really only one thing you can do: change the type of challenge to something the characters cannot die of. You can do that by changing the "genre conventions" (for example, nobody believes the A-team might get killed, but they could fail a mission), or you can do that by shifting the type of challenge entirely. You could build a game around political machinations, or around romance, or a legal battle, etc.

Hmmm...I seem to be rambling quite a bit. Hope it's useful anyway.
SR
--


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: ScottM on November 01, 2005, 08:57:29 AM
I think you're having fun, which certainly sounds like success to me.  It sounds like you found a game that gives you what you've been looking for and you're enjoying it.  The way everyone has a rulebook and is committed to the fun sounds like an important component of the enjoyment you and your group are having.

Is your guest GMing spot going to be a part of the main game's continuity, or is it a one-shot adventure without ties to the rest of the campaign?

Scott

[Cross posted with Rob, who seems to have more practical advice for your adventure design.]





Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Bankuei on November 01, 2005, 09:03:08 AM
Hi,

Sounds like some good old fashioned D&D gamism to me.  And done fairly well- the DM may have rails between dungeons- but that means no wasted time between the action, which apparently is the part you guys like.  This is very much how I run my Iron Heroes games- cut to the encounters and the action happens.  As you mentioned though- D&D characters are built to be a part of a party- missing players quickly leads to problems in play.

Chris


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: ffilz on November 01, 2005, 12:43:02 PM
Sounds like good gamist fun. I'm interested to hear how your self chosen challenge to avoid the spotlight stealing spells actually plays out since that is the fundamental thing that eventually turns me off from D&D play somewhere between 7th and 10th level.

Frank


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: John Harper on November 01, 2005, 01:52:54 PM
Sounds like a pretty solid game. I think I would enjoy it too.

A note about meaningful choices in dungeons:

I realized recently that wandering monster rolls and tables are a big factor in good dungeon-crawl play. They represent what Special Warfare theorists call "friction" -- i.e. bad stuff tends to happen if you hang about a place for too long. Put a clock (or round-counter) on wandering monster checks, and make sure the players know when you make them, and when they're coming up. This puts all sorts of choices back in their hands.

"You want to thoroughly search this room and take 20? Okay. I'll make two wandering monster checks during that time, you know."

"We could go back to the second room to get that weird carpet we found, but it's pretty far back there. Probably 3 wandering checks, at least, and Bill's guy is still hurt from before."

You might also give players tools to control the checks, somewhat. Like spiking doors to cut off routes that wandering monsters could take to get to them. Of course, spiking the door takes 2 minutes, and the DM gets a monster roll during that time. You can also let them use dungeoneering skills (like Knowledge: Dungeons, which is vastly under-used, IMO) to determine safer paths through the dungeon:

"If we take the left fork, we should encounter less resistance. Even the Barrow Orcs don't like to go down here. They say it's cursed." (wandering monsters rolls are reduced to one per 20 minutes)

A problem develops when you get lots of wandering monster encounters in a game with a slow combat system (like D&D 3.5). There are a few fixes. One is to put a cap on the number of actual wandering encounters per real-world hour. I think classic D&D does this. Another is to do wandering monsters as a "three roll" encounter, to abstract the fight with the monster. Everyone makes a saving roll, an attack roll (or spell substitute), and a skill check vs. various DCs. Failure on each carries certain consequences, most likely damage. This keeps the pace up, and still creates the spectre of a resource-depleting problem if the characters dawdle too much.

Hope that helps.


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Rob Alexander on November 01, 2005, 02:15:36 PM
Hi all,

Thanks for the hints, I'll try to put some of them into play. In particular, I notice that two of you talked about wandering monsters, and Rob Carriere suggested about escalating defences over time. These were things I was already considering, so I'll give them a try. The players will meet the last survivor of a previous expedition, who'll warn them about the escalation.

Some stuff though, like the three-roll encounter, is interesting but I don't think I'll try it because it's not my campaign. (In answer to someone's questions - yes, I think this game will be part of the main campaign).

Regarding fudging and challenge: okay, point taken. I'll just do my best to pitch it so that I don't have to fudge that much.

Frank:
Quote
I'm interested to hear how your self chosen challenge to avoid the spotlight stealing spells actually plays out since that is the fundamental thing that eventually turns me off from D&D play somewhere between 7th and 10th level.

I'll report back on how it goes. Funnily enough, I only started with this idea because I remember that when I was younger I had no interest in non-blasting spells...they just didn't seem to be any use. Of course, now I'm older and have a grasp of basic math I appreciate how they can be very effective if used well.

The "not stealing the spotlight" goal came later, when I read some posts on here.


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Callan S. on November 01, 2005, 09:45:21 PM
Just a quick GM'ing tips post (I'm mulling over my game analysis).

- Beware escalating defences: This is largely the same as a death spiral...the more you lose, the tougher things get, which means you lose more, etc.

Quote
I'm actually feeling quite intimidated about the difficulty of achieving adequate challenge while avoiding both fudging and TPK risk.
- I fully agree. One way around is to shift the lose status to something other than PC death. For example, they get into a fight with some goblins. The PC's wont die, of course. BUT, there is a gobo at the back who has grabbed and is running away with the tastiest piece of treasure. If you don't figure out some tactic to stop him, you LOSE that treasure.

- Wandering monsters: Just thinking about this, here's an idea: Make it a roll every round (use percentile and choose a low percentage) so as to make every round/choice count even more. And instead of monsters, make it TRAPS. Traps usually only require one roll, so are damn quick. Further, you might like to (randomly?) pick just three or so trap types that are in the dungeon and tell the players there are only three types. This lets them learn the trap types and try and engineer defences/resources against them, rather than just suffer random pain and anguish with no way to respond.

You might like to have a sub roll that determines if the trap goes off straight away, or whether a PC has noticed a trap and has to freeze and figure out what to do, since any move might set it off. That way they become more than just a dice roll and something to explore. But it would take up more time.


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Halzebier on November 02, 2005, 01:30:03 AM
Quote
I'm actually feeling quite intimidated about the difficulty of achieving adequate challenge while avoiding both fudging and TPK risk.
- I fully agree. One way around is to shift the lose status to something other than PC death.

My group abolished PC death some time ago, ruling that a PC who would technically be dead just wakes up from a coma later or miraculously shakes off the petrifaction or whatever. He is then considered "shaken" (-2 to most rolls) for the next encounter.

It's a weenie approach, but we've found that we just don't enjoy it when experience levels are at risk (and are lost, sooner or later, of course).

The other week, we've decided to do away with the "shaken" thing, too. Basically, the only drawback of going beyond -9 or failing against a "Save or Die" effect is that you are out of the fight (and have to play familiars and such or, in a pinch, a monster).

This mostly focusses the competetion on the GM-vs.-Players level. I'm already exclusively using what the rules call "overpowering" encounters (Encounter Level = Party Level +4) which should be a fifty-fifty affair, but isn't. Due to action points (we play in Eberron) and 4 brains matching wits with 1 brain, the PCs win about 90% of the time.

Regards,

Hal


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: ffilz on November 02, 2005, 09:43:35 AM
Hal,

I don't think that's a "weenie" approach. As you mention, you run EL=APL+4 encounters frequently. So do I. I think Chris Chinn (bankuei) does similar with Iron Heroes. I think running EL=APL+4 makes for a better gamist challenge. Of course a good gamist challenge has real risk. All you (and I) have done is made losing a single game (one encounter) not mean losing the series. If you play in a chess tournament where everyone plays in every round (so you wind up with complete ranked list), they don't dock you a pawn in the second round if you lost the first round (and similarly, they don't promote a pawn to a bishop for the next round for the winners). Of course in D&D (as I play it), everyone rises with the tide.

And it doesn't make people not care about their defenses. It's clear that players still feel a loss when they "die".

In my campaign, I would make them spend the resource to get unpetrified though. If I played to a level where they could cast raise dead, I'd probably make them spend the spell on that also (even though Arcana Evolved doesn't do raise dead the same way D&D does - I'd just make them burn one slot of the appropriate level, not the 7 required by the rules).

Frank


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Halzebier on November 02, 2005, 01:28:40 PM
I don't think that's a "weenie" approach. As you mention, you run EL=APL+4 encounters frequently. So do I. I think Chris Chinn (bankuei) does similar with Iron Heroes. I think running EL=APL+4 makes for a better gamist challenge. Of course a good gamist challenge has real risk. All you (and I) have done is made losing a single game (one encounter) not mean losing the series.

You're right, Frank. This just shows that I feel kinda defensive about the approach, but there's really no reason to. It's fully functional and when it's met with incredulity the next time ("But where's the thrill in that?"), I'll explain (probably using your chess example).

Best Regards,

Hal


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: ffilz on November 02, 2005, 02:21:13 PM
You could also point people to my blog, where I discuss this idea in more depth: Challenging the assumption that death of character must be at stake in D&D (http://welcometofranksworld.blogspot.com/2005/09/challenging-assumption-that-death-of_28.html).

It took my players a little while to accept the idea.

Frank


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Callan S. on November 02, 2005, 10:02:53 PM
It's a weenie approach, but we've found that we just don't enjoy it when experience levels are at risk (and are lost, sooner or later, of course).
I think you may mean "we don't enjoy it when were forced to put experience levels at risk", which I fully agree with.

However, you can always let that gobo with the treasure, just get away. Sure, it's a loss, but hey, you can just take that on the chin. The thing is, if a player says "I will choose to risk my experience levels on plan X, because I'm THAT confident of its success" it's quite a statement. The 'no death' thing removes the opportunity to say (along with the GM force - which you do want to get rid of).


Title: On the Myth of Mortality in D&D
Post by: b_bankhead on November 03, 2005, 03:10:49 AM
You could also point people to my blog, where I discuss this idea in more depth: Challenging the assumption that death of character must be at stake in D&D (http://welcometofranksworld.blogspot.com/2005/09/challenging-assumption-that-death-of_28.html).

It took my players a little while to accept the idea.

Frank


I find that interesting. One of the things that made me give up D&D permanentlty (since 1982) was the endless cycle of character mortality. I never got a character out of 5 level without metagaming because of it. One bad roll and the product of months of play goes down the drain.

It's interesting to note however that almost all long term D&D games eventually develop into defacto no-mortality, or redically reduced mortality games.  D&D in fact has many in game mechanisms for this.

1/ Healing spells:  These are in a sense a kind of 'mini-resurection' in that they regenerate the character's capacity to avoid mortality and thuse removal from the game. Another mechanism is making healing potions easily available.

2/ Out and out resurrection
a/The  Clerical healing spell is another mechnism for mortality avoidance. Characters who save enough money can simply have their friends carry them to the local good temple and pay for a resurrection, sometimes group members loan each other money for this task, I have seen groups where each player sets aside part of their loot into a kind of group reserrection insurance fund specifically for this purpose.
 
b/ Magic items that perform resurrection
In addition to the above a number of magic items duplicate the resurrect spell. Many GMs are sure to make such items available in the treasure hoards they stock because of the need for more and more resurrections as characters face deadlier monsters.

c/ The 'party' cleric
Once the 'party' cleric gains enough levels to perform resurrection, the whole death thing can go pretty much out the window. I have seen groups where they 'donate' experience points to the party cleric to increase his

In fact If a 'good' D&D game needs player death why are there so many mechanisms to avoid it?  I have seen plenty of D&D games where players get resurrected almost as much as video game characters.

This of course is mostly long term games where the players achieve high levels.  With all of the above working for them , I like to compare high level D&D charaters  to crocodiles, when they are hatchlings (low level) they are prey to all but the smallest animals, but once they pass a certain critical size they lack any natural predators, with the exception of each other!

Indeed there are reasons why this happens:

Basically they all fall down to the  It's too late to start over.
Lets say a group has played for a while and gotten up to an average of 10th level. A character, In spite of the above factors manages to get killed, now what do you do?
You can't start him over at first level, he can't game effectively in a group of tenth levels.
Ejecting someone from a long term group can be socially impossible! Not to mention what if iit's the party cleric himself?

So what do you do if this happens? Create a new 10th level character?  What's the point then? Of course doing so could be quite a bit of work even with OD&D, with 3E I understand the paperwork can take well over an hour.....

Given than not killing a character in a long term game can be a matter of social survival for a GM.  Given that doing so is disruptive in so many ways,many GMs simply play 'roll the dice and ignore result' rather than D&D (this is a specialized form of black curtain gaming). which is why they love those GM shields.

I have become increasingly antagonistic to the idea of character mortality as something created by a random mechanic. I have come to think of it as a holdover from wargames, a kind like the veriform appendix, an evolutionary holdover  whose primary function seems to be to kill you....

I don't see much value for it myself. It seems to me a wierd kind of self-defeating sim priority that checkmates, Exporation of Color, Exloration of Character, Exploration of setting and Exploration of every damn thing, which you's think would be important to sim players.

In short I think the insistence on the value of character mortality in D&D , is the result of willful blindness to what actually goes on in most games.

.(by the way you can post this to your blog if you wish)


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Andrew Cooper on November 03, 2005, 09:56:21 AM
After reading Frank's blog article, I think think that it is misnamed.  It should be "Challenging the assumtion that permanent death of character must be at stake in D&D".  There's still death within a scene at stake in Frank's examples and that is what maintains the proper atmosphere for good Gamist play.  Who cares if at the end of the scene all the "dead" characters are "resurrected"?  The social context for Stepping Up and being able to say, "I rock because I didn't go down during this encounter!" is still intact. 

This would not be the case if the DM fudged the dice rolls to keep the player from dying.  In that case, the player's skill is irrelevant and Step On Up is impossible.  There is a whole heap of difference between "You died but it isn't permanent." and "You can't die because I won't let the dice kill you."  As a Gamist, I'd be happy playing in the first case but I'd find the second completely unfun.



Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: ffilz on November 03, 2005, 10:11:35 AM
Good point Andrew. I've re-titled the post. And excellent summary of the point of the article.

Frank


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: John Harper on November 03, 2005, 12:32:29 PM
Yes! Andrew, that's it exactly. Well said.


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Callan S. on November 04, 2005, 05:23:09 PM
Heya again Rob,

Do you give a nod of interest to the railroady bits between dungeons, to acknowledge the work of the GM/what he was interested enough to provide?

If not you, does anyone else?

Or do you/would you have the feeling that if you show appreciation of these bits, they will get lengthier?

Does the GM seem likely to 'fall in love' with certain story elements at any point and make these bits more lengthy, so as to show them off more?


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Rob Alexander on November 05, 2005, 01:17:25 PM
Hi Callan,

Hmmm...I'm not aware that anyone's giving the between-dungeon bits a particular response. I'll keep a look out though in future.

The DM has shown no sign so far of getting carried away with elaborate descriptions, so I suppose this isn't something I've worried about yet. They've all been admirably short and to the point.

I've certainly run into this problem before, with one GM in particular who really liked the sound of his own voice. Surprisingly, I remember that game as being somewhat enjoyable, although the sessions seemed to go on forever (8PM to 2AM or so) and quite often very little would happen.


rob



Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Callan S. on November 05, 2005, 06:50:09 PM
Well, I'm stuffed as for anything extra to say: It's gamist and it's rolickingly functional!

I'd really recommend trying to note how the game is presented and stuff and posting it somewhere, so others might learn from it. It might help someone else who is like your shadowrun GM, in the future, or me or many other people. The cargo cults thing with roleplay means that when a group gets a really good play style going, they often don't share it with the world, which is a real shame. I think you've got a little goldmine of functionality you could exploit a little and share around, if you wanted. :)


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Simon Marks on November 07, 2005, 06:53:30 AM
Good point Andrew. I've re-titled the post. And excellent summary of the point of the article.

Frank


Which means your link to the post no longer works

May want to post a new link.


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: ffilz on November 07, 2005, 09:01:54 AM
Quote
Which means your link to the post no longer works
Oops...

Challenging the assumption that permanent death of character must be at stake in D&D (http://welcometofranksworld.blogspot.com/2005/09/challenging-assumption-that-permanent.html)

Followup post:
Followup on my post about permanent death - changing expectations on players  (http://welcometofranksworld.blogspot.com/2005/11/followup-on-my-post-about-permanent.html)

Frank


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Eric J. on November 12, 2005, 11:22:30 PM
I think that eliminating character death is too gamist.  Contrary to popular belief at the Forge, D&D isn't just about getting the most treature or hit points.

It's about showing off with that treasure and hit points.  There's something to be said for "I survived Jon, the meanest SOB gamemaster since Sony Online."  On some occasions for some games eliminating player death is a very good idea.  With WotC's take on the game, it's become a kind of class-ability combination that has served them as a winning strategy with Magic: The Gathering.  Playing it like that makes perfect sense then.  However, D&D is also a roleplaying game which means that the consequences should have meaning in game as well.

I'll talk a little bit about dealing with character death in D&D without eliminating it (that seems to be the focus of this thread right now so I'll go with it). One thing that I do is start the characters off at at least level 4.  This is in keeping with 3rd ed's style of customizability.  It sets the stage for getting pretigue classes and makes each character powerful enough to have one on one duels.

I also anticipate changing the incapacitation to equal the player's hit points.  This means that it becomes a lot harder to die.  It helps against most effects but instant kill effects are still dangerous.  It also sets the stage for the next suggestion.

Running away is usually a viable option in my games.  It also makes treasure and XP more protagonising since they chose which fights they enter into.

Weaker monsters are also useful because they give more tactical emphasis to the DM's role and something for the players to kill (and show off).  Weaker monsters also can be used to fulfill a simulationist agenda by making it appear that the world is consistant.  A realistic and consistant world is cool because it lets the players show off.

This has been said many times before but- People shouldn't always be trying to kill the characters.  Unless there is strong resistance mix up your gamism with political intruigue, competing motivations, and meaningfull decisions.  You'll be fulfilling at least two agendas at once.

Using these techniques I've kept my players' PCs alive in great great numbers while keeping my reputation as a SOB difficult GM.

May the wind be always at your back,
-Empyrealmortal


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Halzebier on November 13, 2005, 12:54:46 AM
On some occasions for some games eliminating player death is a very good idea.  With WotC's take on the game, it's become a kind of class-ability combination that has served them as a winning strategy with Magic: The Gathering.  Playing it like that makes perfect sense then.  However, D&D is also a roleplaying game which means that the consequences should have meaning in game as well.

Which is more realistic: saying that the Elven ranger only looked as if he had his head bashed in (and is now groggily coming to his senses) or meeting another adventurer from the surface in the depths of the Underdark (and who is happy to join you, too)?

I'm not saying one option is better than the other, but merely that the claim that PC death is automatically more realistic than fiating away death just doesn't wash.

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I'll talk a little bit about dealing with character death in D&D without eliminating it (that seems to be the focus of this thread right now so I'll go with it). One thing that I do is start the characters off at at least level 4.  This is in keeping with 3rd ed's style of customizability.  It sets the stage for getting pretigue classes and makes each character powerful enough to have one on one duels.

Could you elaborate a bit on this? To which level have you played and plan to play to? What's the biggest difference in levels between player characters that your game has seen? How many player characters have died and stayed dead in the last twenty sessions?

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Running away is usually a viable option in my games.  It also makes treasure and XP more protagonising since they chose which fights they enter into.

This sounds prefectly viable, though it has the potential drawback of wasted prep work. For instance, I like to draw up very elaborate battlemaps in advance (e.g. a Robo-Rally inspired factory map with conveyor belts etc.) and that prep is wasted if the player characters can avoid combat there.

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Weaker monsters are also useful because they give more tactical emphasis to the DM's role and something for the players to kill (and show off).  Weaker monsters also can be used to fulfill a simulationist agenda by making it appear that the world is consistant.  A realistic and consistant world is cool because it lets the players show off.

I agree only insofar as I see the occasional push-over fight as satisfying (particularly against monsters you fought and were afraid of just two levels ago). I don't see how realism and consistency feed into showing off, though.

As for weaker monsters, I'll grant that their presence is realistic - though most encounter tables and especially encounter frequencies are not, but that's another topic -, but actually fighting them just bores me out of my skull, so I prefer the DM to gloss over that ("You run into another 2d6+4 goblins and slay them all. Do you want a captive?").

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This has been said many times before but- People shouldn't always be trying to kill the characters.  Unless there is strong resistance mix up your gamism with political intruigue, competing motivations, and meaningfull decisions. You'll be fulfilling at least two agendas at once.

Could you elaborate a bit more on this, perhaps in Actual Play? I'm particularly interested in hearing about the presence or absence of illusionist techniques and the ratio of improvisation to prep work.

Regards,

Hal


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Eric J. on November 13, 2005, 11:10:55 AM
I'll certainly elaborate.

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Which is more realistic: saying that the Elven ranger only looked as if he had his head bashed in (and is now groggily coming to his senses) or meeting another adventurer from the surface in the depths of the Underdark (and who is happy to join you, too)?

I'm not saying one option is better than the other, but merely that the claim that PC death is automatically more realistic than fiating away death just doesn't wash.

I guess what I meant by realism in my post wasn't really the world-physics kind of realism but the type that the players live in.  Saying that the elven ranger had his head bashed in when he was knocked out (ala Final Fantasy) may be realistic for the world but if the characters never die do to metagame reasons it's really hard to justify their characters reactions in-game.  Players and characters live in a semi-riskless universe.  This can still be roleplayed but in some ways it's more difficult.  I'm not against eliminating player death but since most people had talked about that I decided to take another stance to supose other options.

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Could you elaborate a bit on this? To which level have you played and plan to play to? What's the biggest difference in levels between player characters that your game has seen? How many player characters have died and stayed dead in the last twenty sessions?

My personal experience probably wouldn't be very helpful.  I greatly enjoy gamist play but my players really don't.  Because of that my games' PCs hardly ever die because I tend to focus on enemies that aren't trying to kill the PCs (at least not at first) and I give them enough options that die roll or two won't end in death.  When a character does die, I usually let her/him make a character that's about two levels below the rest of the party.  If (s)he wanted to make a character as high as the party I'd probably let her/him provided that my other players wouldn't mind (they probably wouldn't).  So the highest difference I've encountered is probably about 4 levels but the gap was pretty quickly closed (do to D&D's square mechanism).

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This sounds prefectly viable, though it has the potential drawback of wasted prep work. For instance, I like to draw up very elaborate battlemaps in advance (e.g. a Robo-Rally inspired factory map with conveyor belts etc.) and that prep is wasted if the player characters can avoid combat there.

I can understand problems with wasted prep.  I tend to overprepare so when they skip something I can either try to work it into the game later (this almost always happens) or I just throw up my arms curse my players (which makes them feel good) and go on.  This method probably isn't the best for a tactically centered game but then again why would they skip combats if that's what it's about?

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I agree only insofar as I see the occasional push-over fight as satisfying (particularly against monsters you fought and were afraid of just two levels ago). I don't see how realism and consistency feed into showing off, though.

As for weaker monsters, I'll grant that their presence is realistic - though most encounter tables and especially encounter frequencies are not, but that's another topic -, but actually fighting them just bores me out of my skull, so I prefer the DM to gloss over that ("You run into another 2d6+4 goblins and slay them all. Do you want a captive?").

I like weaker creatures because it gives you some leeway for tactical preperation.  With smaller monsters the focus isn't on defeating the players directly.  As suggested earlier with random encounters, it's about the war.  You're trying to bring down their resources or one of the creatures is stealing things from them or killing prisoners or whatever while they're trying to fight them off.

I agree that if there isn't any risk it really isn't satisfying.

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Could you elaborate a bit more on this, perhaps in Actual Play? I'm particularly interested in hearing about the presence or absence of illusionist techniques and the ratio of improvisation to prep work.

I can elaborate on this because it's probably what I do the most.  I tend to make a few cunning NPCs with specific objectives (get another NPC (or PC if they'll go along with it) to fall in love with him; stop the PCs from discovering some terrible truth about a dungeon; humiliate one of the characters; etc.) that are contrary to the PCs.  This isn't narrativist in the slightest especially if taken in a gamist manner. 

Suddenly they have to sneak through a tower without alerting anyone that they were there so they use invisibility spells.  This sets a timelimit to the task and the rogue is overconfident so they don't search for traps and one dispels their invisibility.  Suddenly they're in the middle of a tower with tons of powerful guards that they have to overcome in some way while having to accomplish whatever set them there in the first place.  This is still a dungeon but they have many options: Leave immidiatly (through a window or something), start digging into their resources (Wands, potions, whatever) which will make the next adventure harder, or do somthing clever.

It's still strict gamism but involves more meaningful decisions and has a bigger win-loss factor.  Most of my suggestions may not be useful for the game that you're in.  That's fine.  I have no idea what kind of game you're in or what conventions that you use.  It's really up to you.

May the wind be always at your back,
-Empyrealmortal


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 14, 2005, 07:54:12 AM
What I think everyone's trying to agree on here is that Character Death often provides the "loss" provision for measuring gamism success. That is, if your character dies, you know you've lost, and the power of that makes the win all the more potent. And I don't disagree. It's good to have negative or loss conditions to create risk.

It's just that it's only one way to do it. That is, you can have just as powerful loss conditions - perhaps more powerful conditions - without putting the player out of the game. Consider board-game design. Yes, some of them elminate players as play proceeds. But the best designs (and you can go to www.boardgamegeek.com and ask them if you don't believe me), are considered to be those in which every player has a chance to come back at the end, and nobody is ever eliminated. It can be done, and done well.

Elimination from play is not the only risk available. Reduction of position is just as valid, and superior in that players don't have to "start over" (in which case you have the problems of handicapping) or not get to play the game. Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn't played enough games, or is stating a personal preference.


Now, what's interesting is the "trailblazing" style mentioned earlier with the GM "railroading" between "dungeons. There is no railroading going on here. That is, for the term "railroading" to have any meaning it must mean, "To make choices for a player who would like to have made them." That is, if the player isn't actually interested in making these decisions, perhaps because of the presentation of play, then that's not railroading. Otherwise GMs are constantly railroading when they say things like, "Bob can't see who your character is because he's wearing wet weather gear, given that it's raining." Simply put, the GM has the authority to control certain things about the game world, including making assumptions about how the character acts. Oh, game texts say that the GM doesn't have such authority, but they do. "After you've finished eating, somebody comes over." Well, did the player say that their character finished eating? The player could say, "I haven't finished eating yet, I'm going to take all night long to finish." But if the GM had to ask, "Your character feels the urge to urinate, does he do so?" for every small detail of a character's existence, then it would be a dull, dull, game. "Do you walk the next ten feet? The next ten feet? The next ten feet?" It's abusurd. At some point, the GM is authorized to say, "You get to the end of the corridor, which way do you want to turn?"

Because this is precisely the job of the GM. To get the players to a point where they want to make a decision. Where the decision to be made is interesting in some way. Which way to go at a split in the corridor is, for certain styles of game, crucially interesting. Whereas asking if they want to walk every ten feet is not. And wheras for another style of play, the GM would say, "You wander about the castle for a bit, and eventually end up in the throne room before the evil overlord." Or even "You wander about the castle for a bit, slaying several creatures in the process, and eventually end up in the throne room."

What makes an interesting decision for a player, varies tremendously from game to game. For gamism, the key is to get the player from one arena of conflict to the next. Where the choices are about what tactics to use to succeed against player challenges. Step on Up. As such, the play between "dungeons," if there are few such challenges, are exactly what the GM should be abbreviating.

In fact, the "problem" of incoherence in RPGs stems precisely from the moment that Gygax told us that we had to play out the world between the dungeons in as much detail as the dungeons. That is, the simulationism comes in where the GM asks constantly "What is your character going to do now?" Understanding that the character can do "anything." Well, for gamism, this isn't good play. If there's no Step On Up presented, no decision interesting to the player, then the GM isn't providing good information. Sure the player can go off and find something, create his own Step On Up moment, but then what good is the GM?

For gamism, I always refer to "Arenas of Conflict." Meaning the place where the conflict will occur, and the type of conflict that's expected. In gamism, it's largely the GM's job to shuffle players from arena to arena. Now, dungeons aren't the only possible arena in D&D play - in theory the player could have moments where gamism applies to things like buying a new sword. But then these should be presented as contests in the method that is intended for the type of contest. For example, is it just a die roll? Or will the player be allowed to use player ability to haggle or something? Will that have an actual effect? Basically don't present the player with choices that they don't have the power to make.

This is why "What do you want to do?" is a tragically wrong question to ask for gamism play in most cases. Because, in truth, you probably only have certain arenas set up for conflict, and getting to them is the key. Only ask "What do you do?" in this style if there is some actual interesting choice for the player to make at that moment. If he's standing in the market, and you have some buying contests ready, then ask "What do you try to buy?" Etc. If you don't have anything ready, then instead say, "The next morning, after a good night's rest, you make your way to the dungeon entrance. Now, "What do you want to do?" is proper.

Mike


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Eric J. on November 14, 2005, 12:35:13 PM
Um... yeah but for this case why are we assuming that they're playing strictly gamist?  Hell I'll do you one right.  I'll take your example to the furthest extreme in addressing your question.

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For gamism, I always refer to "Arenas of Conflict." Meaning the place where the conflict will occur, and the type of conflict that's expected. In gamism, it's largely the GM's job to shuffle players from arena to arena.

Well why NOT eliminate the shuffle time entirely now that we've identified it as a simulationist priority?  Well that would make it little more than a strategy game, which is fine if that's what your into.

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Elimination from play is not the only risk available. Reduction of position is just as valid, and superior in that players don't have to "start over" (in which case you have the problems of handicapping) or not get to play the game. Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn't played enough games, or is stating a personal preference.

Right, but we're talking about what a reasonable replacement loss condition would be.  I think that to discuss that we have to put the victory conditions on the table too.  This means that we have to go into the whole 'competition between players' and 'competition between GM'.  With no death it all becomes a sortof implicit social thing which is sortof like a lot of games but it's still something that's assumed.


In any case, I feel that this discussion may have gotten away from the thread.  Rob, I hope that your game goes well.

May the wind be always at your back,
-Empyrealmortal


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 14, 2005, 02:00:25 PM
Um... yeah but for this case why are we assuming that they're playing strictly gamist? 
Eric, look at the title of the thread. So far everyone has agreed that what the sought after mode here is good gamist play.

The rest of your post seems to be dodging the discussion, as far as I can tell.

Mike


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: John Harper on November 14, 2005, 04:13:54 PM
Excellent post, Mike. I'm blogging that one.


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Eric J. on November 14, 2005, 04:48:14 PM
I appologise if I dodged your post.  I thought that it illistrated a solid point on gamist play.  However, as I thought about it and examined my reasoning I realised that we're really talking about actual play (first and foremost even if it's used as a context for theory) and as I said a purely theoretical approach isn't always usefull.

RPGs tend to use more than one agenda.  I don't think that the kind of play that Rob was talking about would be facilitated from only a pure gamist agenda (or mode or whatever we're calling it).  My point about the game outside of the dungeons was addressing this.

You may have interpreted my post as having dodged yours because I didn't address many of your points.  Well I mostly agreed and felt that your post stood on its own.  I want to address more thisgamecentric issues or at least address the issues in a more thisgamecentric kind of way.

May the wind be always at your back,
-Pyron


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: ffilz on November 15, 2005, 08:45:10 AM
Except there isn't really much play between the dungeons. Between dungeons, the game is an express train on railroad tracks straight to the next dungeon (with one opportunity for a choice of which dungeon next). The play during this period is almost purely color and is not a non-gamist CA. Even the choice of which dungeon to go to next doesn't diverge from gamist play (it would be perfectly fine in gamist play to ask the players if they want to fight a bad-ass dragon or a clan of giants next).

I strongly suspect this game is so successefull because it DOESN'T mix agendas.

Frank


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Halzebier on November 15, 2005, 09:04:59 AM
I guess what I meant by realism in my post wasn't really the world-physics kind of realism but the type that the players live in.  Saying that the elven ranger had his head bashed in when he was knocked out (ala Final Fantasy) may be realistic for the world but if the characters never die do to metagame reasons it's really hard to justify their characters reactions in-game.  Players and characters live in a semi-riskless universe.  This can still be roleplayed but in some ways it's more difficult.

This disconnect - the character's life is at stake, the player's isn't - cannot be avoided, but it can - arguably - be lessened by tying negative consequences for the player to character death. For instance, having to sit out the rest of the session is a major deterrent to a player who wants his character to attack his king just for the heck of it.

(That said, a game where such a suicidal action is desired by some, but unacceptable to others has a deeper problem.)

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When a character does die, I usually let her/him make a character that's about two levels below the rest of the party.  If (s)he wanted to make a character as high as the party I'd probably let her/him provided that my other players wouldn't mind (they probably wouldn't).  So the highest difference I've encountered is probably about 4 levels but the gap was pretty quickly closed (do to D&D's square mechanism).

That's certainly an advantage of exponentional experience awards/requirements (though the concept was abandoned for D&D 3e and 3.5e due to its disadvantages).

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I like weaker creatures because it gives you some leeway for tactical preperation.  With smaller monsters the focus isn't on defeating the players directly.  As suggested earlier with random encounters, it's about the war.  You're trying to bring down their resources or one of the creatures is stealing things from them or killing prisoners or whatever while they're trying to fight them off.

My problem is that this approach often lacks iron-clad victory conditions. I.e. if the characters needlessly blow their potions and one-shot items on random encounters to the dungeon, will the DM really go ahead as planned and hose them? If I trust the DM on this matter, all is well. If I suspect that he's pulling his punches, using monsters weaker than the ones planned, providing a few much needed potions by way of a monster's loot etc., all the fun goes out of the game for me.

[examples of non-combat challenges snipped]

These sound pretty good and, as Mike pointed out, even haggling for a sword can be an arena for conflict if done right.

Speaking of Mike's excellent post, I'd like to add a point about risk:

Generally speaking, the more there is at risk, the higher the level of excitement is. As a recipe for a successful game, this works only up to a certain point, though. At some point - which varies from person to person -, excitement turns into anxiety and the frustration of the losers disspells any joy they have had before or could have after the loss.

For instance, few people would really enjoy a game of Russian Roulette. Similarly, having to sit out the rest of the evening or being saddled with an ineffective character for the next ten sessions is a price most, if not all players consider too high - and yet, many play in games where noone knows that there are alternatives (with their own drawbacks, mind you).

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Well why NOT eliminate the shuffle time entirely now that we've identified it as a simulationist priority?  Well that would make it little more than a strategy game, which is fine if that's what your into.

This question reminds me of Ron's 'hard question' for gamists (from his essay in the articles section)

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/21/

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Why is role-playing your chosen venue as a social hobby? There are lots and lots of them that unequivocally fit Step On Up with far less potential for encountering conflicting priorities: volleyball, chess, or pool, if you like the Crunch; horse races or Las Vegas if you like the Gamble; hell, even organized amateur sports like competitive martial arts or sport fishing.

Food for thought.

(I'd elaborate, but unfortunately I don't have time for a longer post right now.)

Regards,

Hal


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 15, 2005, 10:31:07 AM
Ron's why question is pretty easily answered...why play volleyball, when you can play basketball? Because they're different forms of competition, each with their own skills that are challenged. RPGs challenge you to use your imagination as a tool to solve problems in addition to all sorts of logistical analyses, etc, etc. They test abilities that no other sort of activity tests. The real question is whether the overhead is worth it.

In any case, Eric, yes, in this case, the agenda in question is being supported by moving along as quickly as possible from arena to arena. I thought I was clear about that. Any decision-making offered in between is going to distract from that.

GM: "Which cult do you join?"
Player: "Which makes my character more powerful?"
GM: "They're equal."
Player: "Then why did you bother to ask me? Who cares! I take the cult on the left. Now can we move on?"

Eric, play where more than one agenda is going on is what we call incoherent, and often leads to dysfunctional play - like almost all play that you've ever described in Actual Play. By avoiding having more than one agenda, we fix that. Not by trying to pander to all of them. You've been on this site for how long now, and this idea still hasn't sunk in?

Mike


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Rob Alexander on November 15, 2005, 10:34:54 AM
Hmmm...

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In gamism, it's largely the GM's job to shuffle players from arena to arena.

Mike, maybe I'm reading your post in an overly absolute way, but I don't think I like the idea of a game that's all gamist challenge and no filler. For starters, you need 'slack time' if you're going to have tension. Unrelenting excitement soon palls; in a typical horror film, there's a lot of breathing space between the shocks.

A large part of play, for me, is 'immersion'. Not in the 'immersion in character' sense but in terms of the feeling of really being in a dark scary dungeon and fighting horrrible monsters. I want that, indeed need that, about up to the point where it would become physically painful.

Hell, if I could feel a very muted version of my characters physical pain.... I might even sign up for that too :).   

On reflection, I think I'm really an "adventure gamer", rather than a "roleplayer" - I wouldn't say I don't give a toss about 'roleplaying' per se, but that's not far off the mark. What I want to do (as a player) is have immersive, vicarious experiences, and all my good gaming experiences (as a player) have been of this nature, I think.

I think I'm interested in creating worlds and stories as well, but as for 'playing a role'.... that can go hang as far as I'm concerned.

Maybe I'm exagerrating a little here, but after years of worrying about 'roleplaying' it's quite a relief to realise that I don't care much, and that I was wasting my time looking for it. It's the other bits that I'm actually interested in.

What vicarious experiences do I want to have? I want to experience fighting monsters and seizing treasure in hostile, complex, maze-like dungeon environments. Always did, still do. There's nothing quite like being underground, and I spend most of my real life topside.

Part of this is greatly helped by a certain consistent realism in space and time portrayal. This can be gamist, yes, in terms of "how fast to we move, how cautious do we go, do we search for traps, etc.", but it's also necessary for providing 'reality' in the setting.

For example, returning to an adventure site is quite attractive to me, although I don't think I've *ever* done it as such in a rolegame. This current campaign comes close in that the (out-of-dungeon) playing area is tiny and we visit the same towns again and again. That's cool, it helps to make the world real and believable.

On Sunday, I ran a session in this campaign as a guest DM. I'll start a new thread about that soon. My emotional response to that illustrates the above pretty well, I think.

Looking back over the above, in CA terms I'm saying that I need some Sim with my Gam or I get wind. Reasonable? Or likely to lead to dysfunction sooner or later?


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: ffilz on November 15, 2005, 10:59:12 AM
Rob - you're right, those interludes are necessary. Indeed, I think they are part of what defines an RPG as opposed to a pure war game. The color is important, but it doesn't hold the same importance that the challenge holds. I think one important part of the interludes is that they give time to savor the success (for gamism, for narativism or simulationism, interludes are also important, but to savor the particulars of those agendas, though for simulationism, the interludes may not seem so much different than the rest of the action).

What is key though is that the interludes allow reflection and focus on the agenda at hand. Being turned loose in the city to haggle with merchants over dying armor green (sorry - borrowing a specific example from a related off-board thread) most likely has nothing to do with a gamist agenda (though obviously you could construct a scenario where that would be important, and getting the best price is also important). Spending an hour poring over the list of magic items and deciding what to buy with one's treasure that will maximize character effectiveness (and prepare for any known challenges) most definitely is.

Frank


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 15, 2005, 11:12:57 AM
Note: crossposted with Frank.

Mike, maybe I'm reading your post in an overly absolute way, but I don't think I like the idea of a game that's all gamist challenge and no filler.
You're talking about a particular sub-agenda of gamism (or, potentially, gam-sim incoherence). Which is not problematic with what I've said, really. That is, suspense is built up by giving players input that's of an indeterminate nature in terms of danger. They hear a noise? Was that just some water dripping, or the approach of goblins? This, actually, is part of the arena. That is, in some play, identification of danger from amidst "noise" descriptions is, in fact, a form of challenge. Wondering whether or not to respond to such potential dangers is what makes for the suspense.

Basically "Arena of Conflict" is a pretty broad thing, and doesn't mean shuffling players from fight to fight. "Downtime" between adventures and looking for new equipment and such, again, can also be a gamism challenge. So pacing on the intensity of dangers faced is a technique that forms subsets of this sort of play. I still posit that putting a character in a situation in which he can only make a thematic or sim decision is pretty dull for a player who wants gamism from play.

Which is not to say that occasional forays into play that supports other modes isn't potentially a good thing. Shifting is fine, if it actually does occur coherently. So, overall the statement is more like "The job of the GM is to shuffle players to decisions where they understand what sort of interest there is in the decision to be made." For gamism, this is merely most often gamism conflicts. Which, again, can be pretty much anything.

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Maybe I'm exagerrating a little here, but after years of worrying about 'roleplaying' it's quite a relief to realise that I don't care much, and that I was wasting my time looking for it. It's the other bits that I'm actually interested in.
Cool. You may, by turns, find out that you come back to other forms later. But if by "roleplaying" you mean first person portrayal and dialog, I'm with you. That is, that stuff is fine, but not the end-all of play.

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Part of this is greatly helped by a certain consistent realism in space and time portrayal. This can be gamist, yes, in terms of "how fast to we move, how cautious do we go, do we search for traps, etc.", but it's also necessary for providing 'reality' in the setting.
This is another subset of gamism, what I call pinball gamism (contrast pinball sim or Open Sim), where the arena is, well, very much a physical space with rules that represent physics. I find this very fun myself. Same effect you get from playing a First Person Shooter, right? Just done in the mind.

I'm not saying that gamism requires any throwing out of any simulative elements at all. The question is only to what extent you want to represent the simulative elements. As I said before, I'm betting you don't want to have to deal with trips to the bathroom, whether or not you finish eating what you start, or whether you go to the end of corridors that you state you're walking down. Right? All RPG play is abstracted to some extent. You're just looking for less abstraced arenas of conflict. Like, The Whole World.

Some people like that, some people don't. It does have a tendency to drift over to a sim agenda, from what I've seen, but not automatically by any means. Anyhow it's still about getting from arena to arena. Even if that arena is the whole world by parts.

Mike


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Rob Alexander on November 15, 2005, 11:40:19 AM
Halzebier said:
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This sounds prefectly viable, though it has the potential drawback of wasted prep work. For instance, I like to draw up very elaborate battlemaps in advance (e.g. a Robo-Rally inspired factory map with conveyor belts etc.) and that prep is wasted if the player characters can avoid combat there

This kind of prep is something I'm really keen to avoid. A big attraction of RPGs is the flexibility (compared to, say, a board game like HeroQuest (no relation)), in that a GM can create a huge dungeon with just a few ideas and a scribbled map.

In the game I DM'd on Sunday (will post about that soon, if I find something coherent to say about it), I had rough topological map for the above-ground area, then maps for the first few rooms of the three accessible underground areas. Given that the party didn't need to go underground, and were going to be warned not to, I thought that this would be enough. If I needed more, I could ad-lib from that point onwards. When asked for distances, I just looked at my sketch and guessed. Then that guess was canonical. Likewise with the type of stone or most of the room fittings.

Of course the players did go underground, and it was great, but that's for another post.

For that game, we didn't use a battleboard, but if we had I'd have just used my guesses to draw it on the fly. A blank battleboard that I can scribble on with coloured pens is my favourite kind. I think I'd find a pre-printed map actually off-putting.


rob


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: John Harper on November 15, 2005, 02:06:14 PM
Mike said it in a 'round-about way, but let's remember this:

ALL agendas have the five elements of exploration in common: Character, Situation, System, Setting, and Color.

So, when Mike says, "move them from arena to arena" of course he's not saying "but have no color or setting." Those things are a given. He's talking about an issue of productive focus for the game, not trying to enumerate every single event that should transpire in the game, ever.


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Eric J. on November 15, 2005, 02:48:09 PM
Glad the game went well Rob.  I'd appreciate a more detailed follow up post.

There are a few things I want to tackle and I can't think of any neccecary order so I won't address them that way.

Moving between dungeons is important.  It isn't as simple as having setting and color in most games.  In most D&D games this time serves as downtime for characters and gives them the chance to change direction.  From a purely gamist standpoint it's not logical to speed up the downtime because it could be ELIMINATED altogether.

Why not just say: Okay, you gain full HP, level up and spend up to one half of your treasure.  Now you're in THIS dungeon.

That would be fine but it would eleminate other parts of D&D.  This brings us to my next point.

There is no such thing as a game totally oriented towards a creative agenda.  An RPG is practically defined as something having all three.  Even other game types have aspects that some would consider oriented towards a specific agenda.  Chess is partly simulating a battle.  Why aren't you trying to protect your pawns (your weakest and most numerous piece)?  If communism had been the only form of economy when Chess was being invented maybe it would have.

Okay, bad example.  But I think that it's obvious that most games have aspects of all three agendas.  This brings me to my next point (addressing one of Mike's points).  Differing agendas are fine if they aren't conflicting, that is if they don't mix priorities.  Usually, and especially in game design, this is difficult because mechanics usually favor one agenda but there aren't any rules that say that you can't change agendas frequently and focus on them when you do.

This is one of the things that really helped me to have great games, Mike.  For a couple years we had this Star Wars game going (I think you posted in the original thread) and it was a blast because I met everyone's different CAs at different times.  Some sessions would be nothing but character exploration but other sessions were romps through dungeons.  When I would do this I would say: Okay, next session is going to be a romp through a dungeon.  One time they found that one person had been kidnapped and they wanted to go rescue her.  I constructed a city for them to go through, gave them 12 Jedi with different abilities to help them and one of the players who hadn't had much leading role promptly divided them into squads and we had a couple sessions of that.  Two sessions later they were arguing with the main villain about his motives and the meaning of fate.

The same thing works here.  I spotted it and Rob basically confirmed it.

Yes Rob, you have have two different agendas as long as their priorities don't get in the way.  That's when it's incoherent.  If your god uses a lance and you want to use a lance for that reason but lances only deal half damage as swords (which the rest of the party use) then you have conflicting priorities.  That's when it becomes incoherent.  Otherwise it's fine.

May the wind be always at your back,
-Pyron


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 16, 2005, 02:05:57 PM
Eric, from what I can see from your post, all you've done is to put forward your own preferences, and display an ignorance of the theory under discussion. Compounded by the incorporation of several logical fallacies. I'll try to correct the bewildering array of mistakes.


Moving between dungeons is important.  It isn't as simple as having setting and color in most games.  In most D&D games this time serves as downtime for characters and gives them the chance to change direction. 
First, this is just your own personal preference. People do play without any time between dungeons. In fact, in the earliest editions of D&D there was no concept of anything outside of dungeons. You made a character, you selected equipment from a list, and then you were in the dungeon. If you leveled up, it happened right then and there. And people had lots of fun with it. In any case, you admit that it's only in "most" cases that this is true.

Second, I never said that you shouldn't have time between dungeons. This is a straw man fallacy. When I said move between arenas of conflict, I even gave an example of having buying a sword be an arena. So I have no idea where you get the idea that I'm saying not to do between dungeons. For all I care, do nothing but stuff outside of dungeons. Just be sure, if it's a gamism agenda, to get to the gamism choices in the arenas. Whatever those arenas might be.

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From a purely gamist standpoint it's not logical to speed up the downtime because it could be ELIMINATED altogether.
Good thing I never made this illogical argument either. Straw man again.

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There is no such thing as a game totally oriented towards a creative agenda.
Well, GNS is about play, to be technical. Games don't have creative agendas, though they can support them potentially. In any case, there is a lot of play that has only one agenda. It's largely an accepted design principle here at the Forge that creating a game that supports more than one mode is a bad idea.

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An RPG is practically defined as something having all three. 
Actually there's very little consensus on what defines a RPG. But in any case, no, RPGs are in no way defined by the Creative Agendas by which they're played.

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Even other game types have aspects that some would consider oriented towards a specific agenda.
Nope, Creative Agenda only applies to RPGs. That is, as a theory nobody has seriously looked at it's application beyond RPGs. To do so cavalierly is reckless and doesn't help your case at all.

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Chess is partly simulating a battle. 
Are you implying that this simulation is simulationism? Confounding these two things like this is one of the oldest and most classic misidentifications of the simulationism CA. If chess were presented as a RPG, it's rules would be decidedly supportive of gamism.

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Why aren't you trying to protect your pawns (your weakest and most numerous piece)?  If communism had been the only form of economy when Chess was being invented maybe it would have.
You're arguing that it's a simulation because pawns are a representation of some historical structure? Fortunately because of the last point I don't have to correct this absurd notion (I could go on all day...).

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But I think that it's obvious that most games have aspects of all three agendas.
About as obvious as dogs being cats. I think I know what you're trying to say, it's something that people have called the Atomic Model of GNS. But that's not the model as it stands. In any case it's not a competing model and doesn't obviate the original model in any way.

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Differing agendas are fine if they aren't conflicting, that is if they don't mix priorities. 
The definition of a mode is that it has a mutually exclusive set of priorities from another. So this is a contradictory statement on the face of it.

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Usually, and especially in game design, this is difficult because mechanics usually favor one agenda but there aren't any rules that say that you can't change agendas frequently and focus on them when you do.
Actually, the problem with RPGs is that the rules usually are presented to support more than one CA, which leads to incoherence, which tends to be dysfunctional (meaning not fun). What's difficult, and beneficial is to create games that support only one agenda so that play doesn't break down this way. We spend lots of time here tying to achieve just that./

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For a couple years we had this Star Wars game going (I think you posted in the original thread) and it was a blast because I met everyone's different CAs at different times.
All I can say is that it sounds like your romanticizing. That is, all I remember from those posts about that game is how it was constantly blowing up, players including yourself weren't having fun, and it was a general train-wreck of a game. The threads are still there if you want to dredge them back up.

Further, all of us told you what the problem was in GNS terms, and apparently you still haven't got the message.

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When I would do this I would say: Okay, next session is going to be a romp through a dungeon. 
Note that it is entirely possible to shift modes of play. That is, if/when you did prepare your players to play gamism, and they got what they expected and enjoyed it, well, that's just proof of the theory.

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The same thing works here.  I spotted it and Rob basically confirmed it.
I don't even know to what you are refering here. All I see is a game that is working as long as it's focused on gamism. Where the only problems are when it drifts into something else momentarily.

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If your god uses a lance and you want to use a lance for that reason but lances only deal half damage as swords (which the rest of the party use) then you have conflicting priorities.  That's when it becomes incoherent.  Otherwise it's fine.
You're pointing out how the system is promoting incoherence, and then saying that if it doesn't cause problems it's fine. That's some odd logic you have there.

Yes, system can be overcome to come up with a coherent agenda. But that doesn't make the system good. Same with techniques like how you as GM move players from arena to arena.

You really need to re-read the essays (if you've ever read them, which is hard to imagine).

Mike


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: John Harper on November 16, 2005, 02:17:29 PM
Yes. Well said, Mike.


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Eric J. on November 16, 2005, 05:23:48 PM
:p

Alright, I know that forgiquette doesn't include emoticons but I think that my little bit of silliness there was needed to balance the rest of my post which is in fact going to be written seriously (at least as serious as I can).

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Moving between dungeons is important.  It isn't as simple as having setting and color in most games.  In most D&D games this time serves as downtime for characters and gives them the chance to change direction.
First, this is just your own personal preference. People do play without any time between dungeons. In fact, in the earliest editions of D&D there was no concept of anything outside of dungeons. You made a character, you selected equipment from a list, and then you were in the dungeon. If you leveled up, it happened right then and there. And people had lots of fun with it. In any case, you admit that it's only in "most" cases that this is true.

I'm not explaining this from a personal standpoint at all.  I meant that most D&D games are played this way (I highly suspect) and I'm trying to apply what I say to actual play and this thread's game in general so most of what I say can be considered from that standpoint.  I'm not saying that it couldn't be played that way or anything like that but from what Rob has said it isn't being played that way in his game.  I was suggestion some reasons for that.

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From a purely gamist standpoint it's not logical to speed up the downtime because it could be ELIMINATED altogether.
Good thing I never made this illogical argument either. Straw man again.
But didn't you?  You said that to facilitate purely gamist play that the time between dungeons should be kept to a minimum.  Well the true minimum is no time.  I'm suggesting that if you suggest that there should be some out-of-dungeon time that you aren't really doing the best that you can to facilitate a purely gamist agenda.
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There is no such thing as a game totally oriented towards a creative agenda.
Well, GNS is about play, to be technical. Games don't have creative agendas, though they can support them potentially. In any case, there is a lot of play that has only one agenda. It's largely an accepted design principle here at the Forge that creating a game that supports more than one mode is a bad idea.

Really?  Well if that is the accepted notion I dissagree.

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An RPG is practically defined as something having all three.
Actually there's very little consensus on what defines a RPG. But in any case, no, RPGs are in no way defined by the Creative Agendas by which they're played.

I guess I shouldn't have made such a blanketing statement like that in the middle of what I said  without elaborating.  What I meant is probably too divergent and difficult to defend that I will withdraw it for now.

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Even other game types have aspects that some would consider oriented towards a specific agenda.
Nope, Creative Agenda only applies to RPGs. That is, as a theory nobody has seriously looked at it's application beyond RPGs. To do so cavalierly is reckless and doesn't help your case at all.

I have a case of overzealousness.  It has endured 13 years of public education.  It cannot be cured.  I guess what I meant was that other games could be looked at as using specific agendas.  I've explored this in other threads and gotten mixed responses.  Are you saying that it isn't worth entertaining the notion long enough to explore it?

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Chess is partly simulating a battle.
Are you implying that this simulation is simulationism? Confounding these two things like this is one of the oldest and most classic misidentifications of the simulationism CA. If chess were presented as a RPG, it's rules would be decidedly supportive of gamism.

No, I'm not implying that and I'm surprised that you're scrutinizing an example of mine that I already admitted was bad.  Chess can be looked at in different ways, fulfilling different functions.  Multiple elements were considered when creating chess and multiple elements are considered when playing chess.  It would not be the same if it were not a simulation of something.

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But I think that it's obvious that most games have aspects of all three agendas.
About as obvious as dogs being cats. I think I know what you're trying to say, it's something that people have called the Atomic Model of GNS. But that's not the model as it stands. In any case it's not a competing model and doesn't obviate the original model in any way.
Dog's aren't cats?  What?  (Okay, not entirely serious)  I've never heard of the atomic model of GNS so I won't address that.  I'm surprised that you commented in this way.  Most games that I read about are addressed from one or two different agendas.  When players play a game they tend to bring different agendas to the game (I believe that this tendancy was one of the big inspirers of GNS in the first place).  Between differing design goals and player goals it doesn't figure that most games will contain aspects of the three?

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Differing agendas are fine if they aren't conflicting, that is if they don't mix priorities.
The definition of a mode is that it has a mutually exclusive set of priorities from another. So this is a contradictory statement on the face of it.

Really?  I don't think so.  I think that it's reasonable to say that their priorities tend to interfere with eachother but I don't think that their specific priorities neccecarilly conflict.  For instance: In many RPG books characters start off with the same resources which is typically a gamist priority.  A group could be narrativist oriented but still keep starting off with the same resources.  If this didn't get in the way of their narrativist agenda in play they would not be conflicting priorities.
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Usually, and especially in game design, this is difficult because mechanics usually favor one agenda but there aren't any rules that say that you can't change agendas frequently and focus on them when you do.
Actually, the problem with RPGs is that the rules usually are presented to support more than one CA, which leads to incoherence, which tends to be dysfunctional (meaning not fun). What's difficult, and beneficial is to create games that support only one agenda so that play doesn't break down this way. We spend lots of time here tying to achieve just that.

Right.  What's your point?
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For a couple years we had this Star Wars game going (I think you posted in the original thread) and it was a blast because I met everyone's different CAs at different times.
All I can say is that it sounds like your romanticizing. That is, all I remember from those posts about that game is how it was constantly blowing up, players including yourself weren't having fun, and it was a general train-wreck of a game. The threads are still there if you want to dredge them back up.

Further, all of us told you what the problem was in GNS terms, and apparently you still haven't got the message.

Um... no.  There's a thread called the end of Pyron's Woes or something like that.  A couple of years ago I started having great games and I hardly posted about them here.  I think I got the message regarding GNS because my games improved as my understanding of GNS did.  As I said I eased the problem by changing the agenda at different times.  As for the old threads, I have no need to dredge them up.  You can do that if you want though.

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The same thing works here.  I spotted it and Rob basically confirmed it.
I don't even know to what you are refering here. All I see is a game that is working as long as it's focused on gamism. Where the only problems are when it drifts into something else momentarily.

I should have been more specific.  I meant that the game is encountering a mix of sim/narr priorities. 

Rob said:
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Looking back over the above, in CA terms I'm saying that I need some Sim with my Gam or I get wind. Reasonable? Or likely to lead to dysfunction sooner or later?

I think it is reasonable as long as you do it right and keep a solid focus on gamism.

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If your god uses a lance and you want to use a lance for that reason but lances only deal half damage as swords (which the rest of the party use) then you have conflicting priorities.  That's when it becomes incoherent.  Otherwise it's fine.
You're pointing out how the system is promoting incoherence, and then saying that if it doesn't cause problems it's fine. That's some odd logic you have there.

I'm pointing out how a system can be incoherent.  If it avoides incoherency like this it doesn't cause a problem.

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Yes, system can be overcome to come up with a coherent agenda. But that doesn't make the system good. Same with techniques like how you as GM move players from arena to arena.

I don't understand why you're saying here.  Could you please clarify?  Anyway, I think that this thread is moving off course.  It's kindof devolved into a purely theoretical discussion which isn't why I posted in this thread to begin with.

I'll clarify my (sadly) only real point that belongs in this thread: I think that a game can be a good one even if it doesn't meet only one agenda.

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You really need to re-read the essays (if you've ever read them, which is hard to imagine)

I dunno.  I can imagine quite a bit.  (  =) Okay I lied.)

May the wind be always at your back,
-Empyrealmortal


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Callan S. on November 16, 2005, 07:11:30 PM
Toooo....much...quoting! Please stop!

Okay, on the removal of death:
Player "I'm really invested in the fighting in dungeons game"
GM pulls out a space pirate game.
"What are you doing? I'm not at all interested in space pirates!"
GM "Well, the dungeon game doesn't work properly. And mechanically both games are much the same, so I think you are actually interested in playing this game"

Many people are invested in the possibility of PC death. It's just as much part of a game for them as having dragons or dungeons in play. Dungeons, dragons & death!

That player investment is pretty problematic in terms of continued play, there is no doubt. But if your players are invested in it, then your pretty much stuck.


On investment:
Liking stuff between dungeons isn't automatically simulationism. It's easily a renewal process of investment, getting jazzed up about the game world and pumped to play. What you do when you play, shows your prefered agenda. What you do to get pumped up tells us nothing about agenda.


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Eric J. on November 16, 2005, 09:54:08 PM
Alright, I'll stop.

I agree what your post, Callan.  Though I agree that outside of the dungeon isn't nearly automatically simulationism.  I would stipulate, however, that in many D&D games there is a sim. mindset (just take a look at 3.5.  You have sim. in a lot of places) and it occasinally finds its outlet in the realm of inbetween dungeons.

May the wind be always at your back,
-Pyron


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Rob Alexander on November 17, 2005, 01:25:22 AM
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Liking stuff between dungeons isn't automatically simulationism. It's easily a renewal process of investment, getting jazzed up about the game world and pumped to play. What you do when you play, shows your prefered agenda. What you do to get pumped up tells us nothing about agenda.

That makes sense. Kind of like the cut scenes in a computer game; you're not really playing (since you're basically on rails) but you still enjoy it, and it "renews you investment" as you describe. The actual play resumes when you start the next level / enter the dungeons.

I've experienced this in computer games before, most recently Warcraft III (although in that case I didn't much care the actual gameplay, so I lost interest as soon as the levels became even slightly difficult).

So, if this isn't sim... what would a sim-oriented player want here? If I was a sim-oriented player who'd just been dragged through a dungeon crawl, what would I want to do once I got out? (Assume I've never heard the word 'incoherence' and don't have much ability to observe the responses of the other players.)


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 17, 2005, 05:22:22 AM
Eric, you're interpreting the shared language here at The Forge by your own personal definitions. So this is what the conversation looks like to me.

Mike: Dogs have four legs.
Eric: But dogs are birds, so therefore they have two legs.
Mike: Dogs are not birds by any definition I know of.
Eric: Well I disagree.

Until we're speaking the same language, we're not going to get anywhere. The point is that you only disagree with me where your own personal definitions of things vary from that used by everyone else here.


Rob, cut-scening itself can support just about any agenda if done right. Or sometimes it's "zilchplay," which is activity in a RPG that doesn't support any mode, and perhaps storytelling. By which I mean that it ceases to be role-playing at all for a moment, and becomes a typical passive (for the player) entertainment activity. You don't participate in those cut-scenes in FFX, right? It's like watching a cartoon or movie. An interlude of this sort of activity into the otherwise interactive activity.

Nothing wrong with that at all, it's just not "play" itself in any way that needs CA analysis.

Mike


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: contracycle on November 17, 2005, 06:15:38 AM
So, if this isn't sim... what would a sim-oriented player want here? If I was a sim-oriented player who'd just been dragged through a dungeon crawl, what would I want to do once I got out? (Assume I've never heard the word 'incoherence' and don't have much ability to observe the responses of the other players.)

To see whats there.


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Eric J. on November 17, 2005, 02:31:55 PM
Mike, this is what it looks like to me:

Eric: A dog can be many things.  It is a pet but it can also be other things as well.
Mike: A dog is only a pet.  The best way to raise a dog is to treat it like a pet.  You're thinking of a bird.
Eric: I didn't even mention birds.  I'm not talking about birds or even about raising dogs for that matter.  I suspect that this specific dog is a pet but acts like a bird.  How should we deal with that?
Mike: You're wrong and you know nothing about raising dogs.

I'm not trying to make any points about Creative Agenda or RPG theory.  I don't even care.  I can't dissagree with you about matters of theory since I'm not making points about that.  I don't even think I'm dissagreeing with you in general.  I made the assumption that most games (particuarly this game) involve more than one mode.  I still believe that but I'm not going to argue that here.

The only thing I'm talking about is how to have better actual play.  Some people commented on the reasons to eliminate character death.  You made some good points.  I countered with some reasons why not to have character death.  That's it.  I'm pulling out of any discussions of creative agenda for this thread.

May the wind be always at your back,
-Pyron


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 18, 2005, 01:36:26 PM
Mike, this is what it looks like to me:
Yes, now you understand. Different languages. I suggest you learn ours. Because we're not learning yours. This is a community, and we can't learn the new language of evrybody who comes along and wants us all to speak like they do.

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I'm not trying to make any points about Creative Agenda or RPG theory.
Yes you are. Or, well, it sure seems like it when you use the terms and make claims that all three CAs are in every game. I made some assertions, in fact, and you came in and refuted them on GNS grounds. Or, at least using what are GNS terms in our language.

In any case, since the topic of the post is a GNS one, (again, see the title), it's certainly on topic to be addressing that.

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I'm pulling out of any discussions of creative agenda for this thread.
That solves the problem then, I guess...

Mike


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Callan S. on November 18, 2005, 02:43:54 PM
Hi Rob,

Yes, cut scenes are an excellent example of an investment inspiring technique! It's probably anti roleplay to many traditional players though "If I can't do anything, then it's not roleplay and I simply must not invest in anything there". It's probably a battered gamer syndrome thing...cut scenes are supposed to tease the players (like the principles behind a strip tease), but many poor GM's drag them out as much as they like, excluding any actual play. To put it crudely, that's blueballing rather than a tease.

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So, if this isn't sim... what would a sim-oriented player want here? If I was a sim-oriented player who'd just been dragged through a dungeon crawl, what would I want to do once I got out? (Assume I've never heard the word 'incoherence' and don't have much ability to observe the responses of the other players.)
It'd need to be more than a cut scene for the simulationist, because they are actively probing for the causal linkages of the game world. They are figuring out how things work, or even don't work. I remember a game fiction sample from blue planet, where a character describes standing on a beach of an alien water world for the first time and thinking "You expect to hear sea gulls". I think it's an example of figuring out how things work and how much things work differently that shows the quite poignant power of sim play. Note: My poor description might have ruined that a bit.


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 20, 2005, 05:26:37 PM
Rob,

How're you doing with this thread? Is the discussion serving your purpose in starting it? If so, continue with great joy.

Best,
Ron


Title: Re: [D&D] Good solid gamism?
Post by: Rob Alexander on November 21, 2005, 01:38:42 AM
Hi Ron,

Yeah, it's been interesting so far, and people have made insightful comments about the game and my preferences.

I suspect that it will probably go quiet now, though, unless anyone has any more specific comments to make.....


yours,
rob