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Archive => RPG Theory => Topic started by: lumpley on October 04, 2002, 07:50:28 AM



Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: lumpley on October 04, 2002, 07:50:28 AM
I call the power in a roleplaying game Credibility.  As in, whose statements about what happens are Credible?  If I say that I shoot you, and you say the gun jams, whose word do we take for it?

1. Fundamentally, we evaluate each assertion that each player makes, giving and withholding Credibility on a case-by-case, moment-by-moment basis.  The power rests exclusively with the listener, never the speaker - no one can claim Credibility; Credibility is only given or withheld.  A roleplaying game is, thus, based on negotiation.  Usually it's streamlined and invisible, but negotiation underlies every game-significant statement.

2. I'm not offering a way to play.  I'm saying that this is how all of us play, every single time.  I'm also not defining roleplaying, cuz lots of things work the same way and aren't roleplaying.  (Saying, "Vince, dude, every conversation works like that" is agreeing with me, not disagreeing.  Roleplaying is a kind of conversation.)

3. It's practical to divvy Credibility up in advance.  One common arrangement is to have one player be the final authority on all matters.  Another is to play by preset rules, usually again with one player as the final arbiter.  Let me emphasize that these are social arrangements, subject to change at the will of the group, and that even so, every statement about "what happens" must be negotiated.  (It just makes the negotiations easy: "I shoot you." "The gun jams [because you gave final authority to me]." "Dang.")

4. All roleplaying game systems apportion Credibility, and that's all they do.  There is nothing else for them to do.  The crunchiest, sprawlingest, simmest game is a contract between the players about whose word to take for what.

5. It is possible to play a fully cooperative roleplaying game with no formal system, including no final authorities on any matter.  You do this by overtly negotiating controversial statements as they come up.  (Like the man says, System Matters.  Playing this way won't necessarily help you meet your goals for your game.)

6. Compare:

"I shoot you." "The gun jams [because you gave final authority to me]." "Dang."

"I shoot you." "The gun jams." "It does? Look at my character sheet, which has 'Gun Maintenance and Repair: 85%' on it.  I think I'd'a noticed any problems.  [We agreed to play by preset rules, so I'd like you to retract your statement.]" "Hm, okay, roll for it [and I agree with you to abide by the results of the roll]."

"I shoot you." "The gun jams." "Dude, that sucks, you're robbing me." "Well, okay, I see your point. But I don't want to die. Let's compromise."

"I shoot you, but [as I don't think you want to die] the gun jams! Dang!"

---

This may be a total nothingburger, noncontroversial, but I kind of doubt it.  I'm interested to see.

-Vincent


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Walt Freitag on October 04, 2002, 08:27:15 AM
One caution here. I think it's somewhat misleading to interpret the apportioning of credibility as always being between different players:

Quote

...whose statements about what happens are Credible?

...whose word do we take for it?

... a contract between the players about whose word to take for what

(emphases added)

Consider the following examples:

- All resolution in Zak Arntson's Shadows. The same player narrates two possibilities and fortune determines which is chosen.

- A typical stated player-character action with a fortune outcome. The player declares an action, and a mechanical process determines which of the range of possible outcomes implied by the stated action occurs.

- A typical fortune in the middle resolution event, in which a player declares an intention, uses a mechanism to make the fortune determination, then narrates the event including concessions and outcome.

In all these cases, the system has determined that a specific player has Credibility, and that player retains sole credibility throughout the described events. But determining who has credibility doesn't determine the outcome. In all these cases, the system determines not just who has credibility, but which of that person's statements or possible statements have credibility. In the first example, credibility is apportioned to one of two specific statements. In the second, credibility is apportioned to one of a range of possible outcomes ("I hit" "I miss" "My gun jams") implied by the action. In the third, a framework is established that the player's statements must adhere to to be credible.

So: "All roleplaying game system apportion Credibility." Yes they do. "And that's all they do." No it isn't, unless the apportioning of credibility is considered to extend to specific statements rather than just specific players at specific times. Apportioning credibility between specific statements or possible statements all originating from the same player's decisions, to determine which become fact, is where most crunchiness applies.

- Walt


Title: How Does That Compare?
Post by: Le Joueur on October 04, 2002, 08:29:11 AM
Quote from: lumpley
I call the power in a role-playing game Credibility.  As in, whose statements about what happens are Credible?  If I say that I shoot you, and you say the gun jams, whose word do we take for it?

In my work on Scattershot, I've spent a lot of time trying to code this into the Mechanix.  We divide your Credibility into differing levels based on how much they 'move around.'  (More later.)

As for your points:
    1. Agreed.  I just feel that some games could do this more 'visibly.'

    Points 2-5, I agree with too (with Walt's Caveat about "nothing else").[/list:u]
Quote from: lumpley
6. Compare:[list=a]
  • "I shoot you." "The gun jams [because you gave final authority to me]." "Dang."
  • "I shoot you." "The gun jams." "It does? Look at my character sheet, which has 'Gun Maintenance and Repair: 85%' on it.  I think I'd'a noticed any problems.  [We agreed to play by preset rules, so I'd like you to retract your statement.]" "Hm, okay, roll for it [and I agree with you to abide by the results of the roll]."
  • "I shoot you." "The gun jams." "Dude, that sucks, you're robbing me." "Well, okay, I see your point. But I don't want to die. Let's compromise."
  • "I shoot you, but [as I don't think you want to die] the gun jams! Dang!"[/list:o]
I'd like to compare these with what we've worked up for Scattershot to see if we're on the same page.  I agree with much of what you wrote and have been struggling with how to take this to a slightly different application than the traditional.  For example, all of these start with "I shoot you," this isn't allowed at all in Scattershot.  Because of the Proprietorship Mechanix (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339), the best you could do is "I shoot at you."

The dice can say that a shot should hit you.  The common agreement of using the Mechanix is that you accept what the dice say (as opposed to what the other player says).  However, most 'dice only' pronouncements aren't that significant; as a matter of fact, there is a 'cut off,' called the Critical Threshold (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339), which designates significant results.  This compells the recipient (the Proprietor (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339) of the victim) to narrate detail regarding the significant result.

Here's how the rest of it matches up:[list=a]
  • There is no "final authority."  The gun is your Proprietorship (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339) so you have final say on what happens to it.  (The same way you can't simply say you shot me.)  Now I could throw an Experience Die (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339) into it, formally requesting the alteration, the jam; this is called Challenge (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2803).  You can either accept it or decline it (if you accept, you keep the Experience Die (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339)), you are the final authority for the gun.  If I want to be petulant and press the issue, it goes to Solomon's Auction (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2803) and one of us gets Credibility and the other gets the bid Experience Dice (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339).

  • This looks like how "invisible" systems did it in the past.  Scattershot doesn't require the statement of Persona justification because Proprietorship (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339) defines this as the natural 'ownership.'

  • Another variation based more on social contract.  Do you think I have adequately described Challenge (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2803) and Solomon's Auction (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2803) as working this way explicitly?

  • One thing I haven't seen anywhere else is anything similar to how you get rewarded for this in Scattershot's Genre Expectations Mechanix (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3572).  We assume the survival of the 'shot at' character is in the Genre Expectations (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3572) (like Script Immunity) and your use of a Plot Device to save them nets you a reward.  This was meant to encourage the game going as expected rather than at the whim of the dice (or of Credibility arguments).[/list:o]One thing not mentioned in this exchange is that the 'shooter' is the Speaker (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339) (kinda like, it's his turn to talk; all others respect that).

    Another is a 'layer' in between gamemaster (Proprietor (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339) of much of the setting traditionally) and the Speaker (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339); we call that the Leader (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2801).  A Leader (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2801) crops up a lot when scenes are started.  Often the Leader (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2801) starts the Precipitating Event that gets the scene going and often moderates the pace somewhat by 'Cutting to the Chase' and et cetera.  The Leader (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2801) was a necessary addition when it turned out that not having the gamemaster as final arbiter lead to confusion over the relevance and importance (and goals) of differing scenes (especially in Gamemasterful sharing (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1662)).

    That's how we explicitly apportion Credibility in Scattershot.  You seem to have a fine grasp of the concept so would you mind helping us out a little and letting me know if we've missed anything obvious?  (In Private Messages is fine.)

    Fang Langford

    p. s. Links coming later.

    [Edit] Links established.  Many significant corrections.  Added Critical Threshold (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339) stuff.  Please reread the whole post carefully. [/Edit]


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Valamir on October 04, 2002, 08:55:14 AM
Could I paraphrase you Walt by saying sometimes the system isn't apportioning Credibility between two players...sometimes it is withholding Credibility for itself?

In otherwords:

Player:  "I shoot him"

System: "no...you mean you TRY to shoot him, I'll decide whether it happens or not"

In a sense all of the various props we use have "Credibility" attached to them.

For instance the System could apportion the Credibility to the dice as in "the dice will decide whether you hit" with a fortune mechanic.  Or it could apportion the Credibility to the character sheet (so to speak) with a Karma mechanic.  Or it could apportion the Credibility to the GM with a drama mechanic.  Or it could apportion the Credibility to the player (or a different player) with a director stance mechanic.

If we lump all of the "non individual person" stuff...like tables, dice, cards, etc. into "system", than the system itself becomes another "player" at the table in terms of who has the "Credibility".


Although I must say, I like the term Authority better than Credibility.  It seems to me we're talking about whose statement we chose to give power to not whose statement we choose to believe.


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 04, 2002, 09:35:47 AM
Quote from: Valamir
Although I must say, I like the term Authority better than Credibility.  It seems to me we're talking about whose statement we chose to give power to not whose statement we choose to believe.


Heh, I would say that the system has or gives Authority. The extent to which a player accepts that Authority in use is the Credibility of the agent making the call.

IOW, a system might give a player Authority to do something, but the extent to which it is accepted by the other participants would be the action's Credibility.

Mike


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: lumpley on October 04, 2002, 09:39:46 AM
Quote from: Walt
...the apportioning of credibility is considered to extend to specific statements rather than just specific players at specific times.

Yes.
Quote from: Walt
Apportioning credibility between specific statements or possible statements all originating from the same player's decisions, to determine which become fact, is where most crunchiness applies.

Yes.

Valamir,

I don't believe that systems can have crediblity, because they can't ever really make assertions.  Even Rolemaster's crits depend on the GM saying them out loud, if you see what I mean.

"Let's play Rolemaster!  I'll be the GM." = "Let's play Rolemaster!  I'll be the final authority on all matters, but I'll limit my game-significant assertions to ones supported by Rolemaster's mechanics."

"Okay!" = "I'll readily assent to whatever you assert, provided that indeed your assertions are consistent with the rules."

If the GM asserts something inconsistent with the system, the negotiation stops being invisible and easy, and maybe the players assent and maybe they don't.  But if they assent, the GM hasn't wrested credibility away from the system or anything.

Shadows works the same way, I think: "Here's what I want, here's what my Shadow wants -- dang! My Shadow die won.  Well, what I want happens anyway."  If the other players agree to it, it's fine, I mean it happens anyway, just as I say.  It just means that we aren't actually apportioning credibility by the game rules, we're using some other system.

If we gave credibility to game mechanics, we'd be sitting there in silence staring at a book.

What Mike said.  I think.

-Vincent


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: lumpley on October 04, 2002, 09:55:09 AM
To run with Mike's Authority a bit:

The system isn't the only source of Authority.  Genre conventions, story considerations, character integrity are -- anything you can appeal to for support of your assertion.

Seems to me that Narrativism as a game design philosophy is all about bringing system-based Authority and story consideration-based Authority into line with one another.  But that's not really here nor there.

Fang,

Yeah.  I've thought we were on the same page for a while about this stuff, just hadn't said so.

-Vincent


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Walt Freitag on October 04, 2002, 10:26:50 AM
Quote from: Valamir
If we lump all of the "non individual person" stuff...like tables, dice, cards, etc. into "system", than the system itself becomes another "player" at the table in terms of who has the "Credibility".


I could accept that characterization, and I think it's a useful way of looking at designs sometimes. But doing so here would rather undercut Vincent's philosophical point, to wit:

"All a system does is apportion credibility... oh, and is a player that sometimes has and uses credibility."

So I've chosen instead to regard the system as sometimes withholding or apportioning credibility to statements not actually made by players but extrapolated through the system as potential outcomes. I guess that doesn't help much, because now extrapolating such potential outcomes becomes something else besides apportioning credibility that some systems do.

- Walt


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Emily Care on October 04, 2002, 11:08:09 AM
Valamir wrote:
Quote from: Valamir
Player:  "I shoot him"

System: "no...you mean you TRY to shoot him, I'll decide whether it happens or not"


The system requires human agency and is granted authority by the participants to confer credibility.  This credibility requires human concensus. Being able to come to concensus is often enhanced by the use of system elements.

So it becomes:

Player: "I shoot him."

Someone else: "You have to roll for that." Which translates into:  "That action will significantly affect another game element which does not fall within your proprietorship. So although you may attempt said action, the outcome will only be credible--ie acknowledged to have happened in the game world by concensus--based on certain pre-agreed upon quantified aspects of your character or other game elements as they interact within this system of rules we are using."

The system is conferring credibility because thats what folks agreed to do, it doesn't hold any authority to do so that is not given by the players.  The system is an operation performed, it can't take part in concensus.  

--Emily Care

Walter: thank you for not undercutting the philosophical point. :) Your response helped me remember that there's no "truth" here, its just different ways of ordering experience that are hoped to be helpful in discussing and designing games.

edited at 3:11


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Valamir on October 04, 2002, 11:44:47 AM
Well, I agree 100% with the concept Vincent proposed, and I definitely hear where your coming from regarding the people thing.

But I would say that it sounds to me like a distinction that is made primarily as part of a philosophical platform rather than one with practical application.

To me your translation of the "shoot him" line is nothing more than the players granting credibility back to the system.  Obviously the system has no credibility without the players acquiessance...but then it also has no ability to apportion credibility amongst the players without their acquiessance so that point seems rather moot.

So "I shoot him" "no you have to roll for that" is the players granting the first player credibility only if the first player's action is filtered through the game mechanics.  Something to me which is functionally identical to the players apportioning a particular aspect of Credibility back to the System...or more precisely yet, acquiessing to the system (i.e. the rule book) reserving that aspect for itself.

At this point I'll hit a tangent and mention that I work in a bank with Trust accounts for a living.  A trust is a document (more or less a contractural arrangement between a grantor and a beneficiary).  As trustee for a trust...the trust is our client.  The grantor is not the client (they are usually dead) the beneficiary is not the client.  The trust itself is its own entity (with its own tax id number) and its own legal existance.

I mention this as a way of shedding light on the idea that considering the game book as another "player" i.e. interested party is a natural thing to me.  The distinction between the living people involved and the book of rules is not a distinct one for me...because I treat a book of rules (a trust document) as a person every day.

So from my perspective, it doesn't violate the essential truth that is at the heart of Vincent's discussion that role playing systems are nothing more than methods of apportioning credibility.  I am perfectly able to ascribe having some credibility apportioned to what you are obviously viewing as an inanimate object.  To me that inanimate object carries just as much wieght as a living breathing person because thats the field I'm in.  

Actually it usually carries more weight than a living breathing person which possibly also accounts for my willingness to design rules where the rule book says "THIS is the right way to do it and you shall obey me because I am the rule book".

Anyway...just a little background to put things in perspective.


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Zak Arntson on October 04, 2002, 12:55:27 PM
Quote from: lumpley
Shadows works the same way, I think: "Here's what I want, here's what my Shadow wants -- dang! My Shadow die won.  Well, what I want happens anyway."  If the other players agree to it, it's fine, I mean it happens anyway, just as I say.  It just means that we aren't actually apportioning credibility by the game rules, we're using some other system.


Not to derail the discussion, but this is one of the most important aspects of game design: Recognizing that, as designer, your control of play is solely based upon your presentation. It's up to your design to act as a guideline for the group with the intent that the group plays the game as you intend it to be played.

Your design assigns credibility as well as you can, and the actual participants take over after that.


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Emily Care on October 04, 2002, 12:55:53 PM
Valamir,

Interesting perspective on non-human entitities holding power.  Thanks for the insight!  Yes, inanimate entities in the form of trusts, corporations and game systems do end up holding more power than the human agents.  In society this is supported by rule of law (and force of arms); in gaming, by social agreement (and pressure).  

Quote from: Valamir
To me your translation of the "shoot him" line is nothing more than the players granting credibility back to the system.


Yes, it is circular.  What's important to me is that although the participants are the final arbiters of what is credible, since they are using a system, their power of granting credibility is projected onto the system.  This creates the illusion that the mechanics make some thing "true" in game.

 Due to the nature of roleplaying, nothing in the game exists if participants don't grant it credibility. The power that system itself holds is to shape the outcomes that are held to be credible.  In using a game system, we choose the flavour of our experience.

A practical applications of this is to empower gamers to give themselves and eachother the power to confer credibility, directly, instead of requiring the intermediary of system.  I'm starting to feel like Martin Luther. :) It points to a broader pallete of mechanics available than is in current usage.

Running out of time, or I'd think up some examples.  Hope that clarifies my interest better. Thanks!

--Emily Care


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Valamir on October 04, 2002, 01:46:34 PM
Good stuff Emily.

Yeah...It sounds to me like what we're talking about is the basic theory of government that power ultimately comes from the people who consent to be governed.

Only in this case its the players consenting to be governed by the game rules.

That consent vests the government / game rules with real power.  Through the mechanisms of legistlation / social contract we can alter the parameters of that government, but otherwise we are agreeing to abide by its dictates...including who or what has the Credibility to make a declared action stick.

So we have:

Power of the Players ---->  being handed over to the game rules ----> being reallocated by said rules back to the players.

That reallocation may (often) include unequal allocation to the player granted the title of Game Master.  Further it usually involves reserving some (often much) of the Credibility for itself in the sense of requireing players to filter their statements through mechanics before receiving the Credibility they seek.


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Andrew Martin on October 04, 2002, 03:09:05 PM
I agree with Vincent.


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Paganini on October 04, 2002, 06:42:54 PM
It seems to me that the system should be placed a level higher in the hierarchy of this discussion. The agreement to abide by a particular system is a prerequisite to play, and a major part of the social contract. IMO, a theoretical discussion of credibility or authority can only take place with this structure firmly in place.

The claim that a system has no inherent credibility looks false to me. Game systems are not static or passive. They don't rely on humans to make them real on a moment-by-moment basis. I like to compare them to executable computer code. The players make the decision to run the program (use the game system) during the initial stages of negotiation. ("Hey, you wanna come over and play D&D? I got a new dungeon!" "Yeah! Sure! Sounds like a blast!") Once the program is started, it runs by itself.

This isn't to say that the execution is always seemless. There can be bugs in the data ("What? Who says this sword weighs 60 pounds?") or errors in the algorithms ("So, I can keep buying this stat up, then back down, and get as may creation points as a want. Hehehehe....). The players can interrupt the process ("No, you don't really die here!") or kill it ("This sucks! Let's go play playstation!").

So, IOW, the decision to use a particular game system is implicitly awarding default Credibility to that system. That the system has Credibility is a given whenever you're talking about instances of play. It was given Authority way back when you first decided that you were going to use it instead of Vampire.


Title: Credibility versus Authority
Post by: M. J. Young on October 04, 2002, 09:02:36 PM
I'm wondering if these concepts should be split.

My thinking is that the game system has authority, but not credibility; meanwhile, it may be that participants have levels of credibility but not authority.

This is what I mean: when we agreed to play This Game(TM), we agreed to abide by the rules of This Game(TM), including all that are in the book and any inherent in the setting or system which are not clearly stated. This gives the rules Authority, in that the rules are the final arbiter of the game.

But when we pick a referee and invest him with the power to run the game, we are in essence establishing him as the most Credible interpreter of what those rules are and mean when applied to play. The rules may instead give Credibility to one of the other players; indeed, all of the players are given some measure of Credibility, as all are able to define at least what actions their characters will attempt. Thus what is happening in the game world is determined by the contributions of whoever has the Credibility to state it; but is based on the Authority of the rules/system/setting/game.

The best example of this to my mind would be the function of the court system as Finder of Law. In essence, the Law exists, in statutes, ordinances, and regulations; but frequently when we end up in court, the question is What does the Law Mean? At trial, the judge is the Finder of Law. When that question is raised, he looks at the law first. (He also looks at precedent, which I'll get to in a moment.) He then says, "This is what I think the Law means, and this is how we will continue." The judge is granted the power to make that decision; at that point, everyone must proceed on the basis that this is what the law means.

If the judge's decision is appealed, the appelate court looks at the law (and precedent), looks at what the trial judge decided, and determines whether or not he was correct; but they don't have the authority to say "This is what the Law Is"; they can only say "This is what the Law Means". If the appeal goes all the way to the Supreme Court (in the U.S.; Queen's Court in Great Britain), you've essentially come to the Most Credible statement of what the Law Means; but the court cannot decide what the Law is--it cannot legally make law, only interpret it.

The place of precedent lies here: whatever decisions have been made in the past concerning what the Law means, the current decision should be consistent with them. In essence, the exercise of interpretation defines the meaning of the law itself, and future interpretation must remain within those definitions. In that sense, the exercise of credibility "creates law".

Bringing it back to the game, it is the referee who determines what he thinks must be happening, based on his understanding of the rules. Once he has decided how the rules (and setting, et cetera) apply, he is as locked into that as everyone else.

But we might say that the rules have Authority because they define how the game is played, and the referee and players have Credibility because they interpret that definition and apply it to the details.

Or maybe I should just go to bed and not get so esoteric at this hour of the morning.

--M. J. Young


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: lumpley on October 05, 2002, 03:16:50 AM
Valamir, Pag, maybe Walt,

I'd love for y'all to give examples of game mechanics doing what you're saying they do, cuz I'm drawing a blank.

Or maybe we should focus on my point 1 (credibility is given or whithheld on a case-by-case basis by the listener, never held by the speaker) instead of my point 4.  I think that's where the disagreement actually lies.  A system cannot hold credibility if all credibility is always contingent.

At any moment, in any game, the players can agree to ignore or override or simply not enact the system, and the system gets no vote.  

-Vincent


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Paganini on October 05, 2002, 06:24:57 AM
You've nailed my exact point of divergence, Vince. I agree with the principle of credibility you outline, just not the specifics. Since credibility is always given or witheld by the listener, it doesn't make sense to me to say that a system has no credibility - It has whatever credibility we give it. IMV, credibility is given to a system when a group decides to use it. So, credibility *is* given by the "listeners," but not always on a case by case basis. It can be given in a lump before the game starts.

Once the system has been given credibility in this way, an individual player can't simply ignore it; doing so is a major breach of social contract. The players *as a group* can "vote down the system," but IMO this isn't an example of instant in-Credibility, it's a poorly defined social contract.

Frex: Mike, Bob, and I are talking about what to play in the next indie-netgaming Monday night IRC game. We decide to play D&D. This decision is a single-cell social contract: an agreement to abide by the rules of D&D. If I decide that my character can carry as much as he wants, regardless of encumberance, then the other players can call me out; I've infringed on the credibility given to the system by the social contract. But suppose Bob and Mike agree with me, as a group we "vote down" the encumberance rules. You might see this as the system having no credibility, but I see it as a poorly defined social contract. We think we've agreed to play D&D, but what we've really done is agree to play D&D without the encumberance rules. We've still given the system credibility by agreeing to use it. We've just added a clause that part of the system gets thrown out. The part we agree to use still has credibility.


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Bob McNamee on October 05, 2002, 06:48:31 PM
Well, I wouldn't say that the system has no credibility...it just has less credibilty after the encumberance decision.  Perhaps it does mean that our initial social contract has less credibility.

Or perhaps that we've refined the contract to be clearer about our intent.

OT: What are we doing for the Monday Indie Netgame, continuing Universalis (my vote)? or did someone want tostart something else? (...and if no one shows Mike I'd be up for continuing that Synthesis demo)  {reply to e-mail please}


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: lumpley on October 07, 2002, 07:56:39 AM
Sometimes a flexible approach to system is a feature of the social contract, not a failure or a vagary.  The long-term game I'm playing right now started with: "We have a strong setting, strong situation, characters with potential, and compatible approaches to color.  What shall we do for system?" "Dunno, let's start playing and see what happens."  It's worked just fine.

I'm cool with "systems have credibility," as long as it's understood that it's shorthand for "players' assertions in accordance with system have credibility."

-Vincent


Title: Re: Credibility versus Authority
Post by: Emily Care on October 07, 2002, 09:04:33 AM
Quote from: M. J. Young
At trial, the judge is the Finder of Law. When that question is raised, he looks at the law first. (He also looks at precedent, which I'll get to in a moment.) He then says, "This is what I think the Law means, and this is how we will continue." The judge is granted the power to make that decision; at that point, everyone must proceed on the basis that this is what the law means.


Good analogy.  The traditional gm seems most similar to the judge in this case--given the greatest power to interpret and apply the system.  Each instance that system is invoke is a use of someone's power to "judge" an event in game, and the rules and their application to action is constantly subject to human interpretation.

Quote from: lumpley
I'm cool with "systems have credibility," as long as it's understood that it's shorthand for "players' assertions in accordance with system have credibility."


Hmmm....let's see, try this:
System is an explicit agreement among players about what kinds of statements about game elements will be given credibility, and about who holds directorial power.

Directorial power is granted authority to make statements that are held to be credible by all participants, or invoke pre-agreed upon system elements to affect the statements made by others.

Credibility is in the eye of the beholder.  As I see it, the base point Vincent is making is that role-playing comes down to an agreement among the participants that what is said to have happened, happened.  There is group-concensus underlying all roleplaying. It's simply not recognized, most of the time. That's why he said it might be a no-brainer. It's really quite simple--but it can have profound effects on playing, and game design, if consciously taken into account.  

Here, I'll go out on a limb:  

Systems--in all their myriad forms--exist  in order to empower individuals to create and interact in a world.  However, no system is required for any statement made to be credible to all participants.

Systems exist to create a group of statements about world elements that are likely to be credible to the given group. They do so by explicitly limiting each individual's ability to make credible statements. For example, in D&D a gm is allotted nearly all the power to invoke system and create world; so much so that of course players are much more likely to become min-maxers and rules-lawyers out of self-defense. In Shadow, a player makes two equally credible statements, and agrees to limit themselves to not making the final choice on which statement comes to be accepted as credible.  
 This is part of the fun. That's why we use systems--to give ourselves a certain experience that is (it is to be hoped) enjoyable.  

Here's the crux: We don't use systems to "make things happen in the world", we're the ones doing that! We just give up all our power, and limit ourselves to only certain options.  For fun! Or so that we can play with others, since often folks can't come to easy concensus about what happens in game.  And, as I said, to empower people to be able to interact in a game.  Not everyone would flourish in structureless gaming.
   
To get kind of freakish, it's like we are gods in our own little world, and we limit ourselves to only a fraction of the powers available to us.  I think we do it to make it more believable to ourselves.  It's harder to believe in a story you tell yourself, than one someone else tells to you. That explains the traditional apportionment of directorial power (ie giving most directorial power to gm or storyteller).

--Emily Care


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 07, 2002, 10:20:46 AM
Interesting that Nathan brings up computers. Assuming that CRPGs are RPGs for purposes of this discussion, then the system is either a non-human entity with credibility as I cannot play outside of the framwork presented (if I go out of the way to reprogram the game, then I'm just playing with myself), or it's a human. I don't think that this is an argument for non-human sentience or anything, so I'll go with the first, and support Ralph in this case. At best a computer system is a proxy for the designer.

OTOH, this could simply be proof that CRPGs are not RPGs.  :-)

Mike


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: lumpley on October 08, 2002, 05:30:58 AM
This is easy and not very nuanced.

You've got some players at a table.  Player A says: "Mitch picks up the can of peaches."

Two things can happen.  

a. All the players agree that Mitch indeed picks up the can of peaches.  They all update the situation in their imaginations so that their imaginary Mitch has picked up the imaginary peaches.  The game goes on from there.

or b.  At least one of the players can disagree that Mitch picks up the can of peaches.  Player B might say: "No way!  I get to say what Mitch does."  Or she might say: "Are you mad, mad?  Mitch has already met his Encumberance Threshhold!  You'll give him a hernia!"  Or she might say: "Augh!  You're breaking my SoD!  You've never played Mitch as a can-picker-upper before!"  Or she might raise any of a bazillion other objections, doesn't matter.  What happens is, the game pauses.  Does Mitch pick up the peaches?  Nobody knows!  Everybody's imaginations are stuck in an unresolved place.

So the players need some way to come to consensus and move on.  They might decide to use a GM, they might decide to use mechanics with numbers, mechanics without numbers, proprietorship a la Scattershot, bribes, bullying, rock-scissors-paper, who's whose lovers, who bought the pizza, or plain old everyday discussion, negotiation and compromise.  All serve the same purpose, which is to make sure that everybody agrees that what happens, happens.

Because until every single player agrees whether or not Mitch has picked up the damn peaches, the game is hanging.

-Vincent


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Valamir on October 08, 2002, 06:09:04 AM
That is, of course, absolutely true, and well said.

My only caveat/addition to it would be that the players (in whom the ultimate credibility rests) elect to cede some portion of their credibility to a mutually agreed upon system of arbitration.  That system of arbitration's primary purpose is to decide whose credibility "wins" when there is a dispute over the state of a can of peaches.

That system of arbitration may involve any or all of the following:  Gamemasters, written rules, unwritten social contracts, any of an infinite variety of "mechanicss" often embedded within written rules.

This choice imbues these things with a Credibility of their own (borrowed from the players) greater than they would have without the player's willing acquiessance.  In the case of a gamemaster, it imbues that player with more Credibility than he would otherwise have as an "ordinary" player.  In the case of a rule book and mechanics, it imbues those things with Credibility that otherwise they wouldn't have at all.

However, once so imbued, the Credibility can only be revoked from these things in one of three ways.  1) Cooperatively and full cooperation of the other players to reach a new standard of agreement on the cedeing of Credibility.  2) Disruptively through arguement, force of will, or other techniques designed to reassert a portion of a player's Credibility that he'd previously ceded (Cheating would be one form of this).  3) By walking away and refusing to participate, one can ultimately always get ones Credibility back.

My points above about rules having their own Credibility, is really nothing more than saying that once players have agreed to cede some of their Credibility to a set of rules (and even the Game Master cedes some Credibility to those rules) those rules have and enforce that Credibility on their own.  By this I mean to say that the players, once they have agreed to follow the rules, cannot choose later to NOT follow the rules unless they use one of the 3 methods above.  The degree to which option 1 can be used to quickly and easily alter the players relationship to a set of "endowed" rules depends on the circumstances under which the initial endowment was made.  Some groups will initially plan to "play by the letter", others will take a more liberal approach towards winging it, others will cede to the player elected as Game Master the ability to decide.  But once those parameters are established, changing them is often not an easy thing.  

Further, the actual act of cedeing Credibility and endowing a rules set with Credibility is most often nothing more complicated than sitting down at the table and agreeing to play.  Much dysfunctional play can easily be seen as players differing after the fact on how much or how little Credibility they ceded at the beginning.  Similiarly discussion about Social Contracts can really be seen as a more formalized attempt to identify this process.


That leads me to two final points.  One:  Seen in this light Universalis can be seen as nothing more than a system for overtly regulating Credibility, where Credibility is NOT ceded to a Game Master, or even much in the way of rules, but rather is measured and spent directly in the form of Coins.  Coins in Universalis are simply unites of Credibility.  Not surprising that I immediately took to your comments on Credibility Vincent.

Two.  This entire discussion really addresses one of the Larger Role Playing Boxes that Ron often refers to.  It really screams for being written up and posted as a formal article on the site as perhaps the first rigorous definition of that larger box we've had here.  Given the tie in to Universalis I mentioned above...I'm strongly tempted to make this an Essay for our web site.


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 08, 2002, 06:13:59 AM
Quote from: lumpley
Because until every single player agrees whether or not Mitch has picked up the damn peaches, the game is hanging.
Hmmm.  Just to be clear, sometimes a particular person will not agree, but a general consensus forms and the game proceeds. At which point that player has two options, accept the consensus, essentially, or refuse to play. Actually, I've seen yet another thing occur, a definite dysfunction, where a player will continue playing but will only respond to his version of the events.

For example, Bob says that his character picks up a can of peaches. The GM rolls for it and says that Bob's character has failed. Bob says that this is absurd, and rejects the GMs  result. The players all say that their characters look for another way of retrieving the sacred peaches, accepting the GMs credibility. Bob, OTOH, declares that his character opens the can of peaches and eats them, rejecting the GMs credibility, and accepting only his own.

This, of course, leads to a sort of split universe, wherin Bob is the only authority in his version of the world, and the other participants are authorities in another world. At this point, I suppose that it could be said that Bob is no longer participating in the same game as the other players.

This seems less than ideal, of course. So I assume that your description, Vincent, only pertains to ideal play? Or at least play in which a single authoritative set of events is maintained?

Mike

P.S. thnking about it, in Primeval, each player tells his own version of the events, and it's a contest to see which the GM selects as being accepted as a story through the ages. Doesn't mean that this is a consensual reality, however.


Title: Um, Wouldn't That be Authority?
Post by: Le Joueur on October 08, 2002, 06:40:51 AM
Quote from: Valamir
...the players (in whom the ultimate credibility rests) elect to cede some portion of their credibility to a mutually agreed upon system of arbitration.

It's just a quibble, but (while I really like and agree with the concepts in your post) I think you've mangled Vincent's Terminology.

Way back at the beginning, Vincent defined 'Credibility' as concerning "whose statements about what, happens."  As far as I'm aware, systems make no 'statements.'  They may pronounce a truth value (which is what I think you were getting at), but have no interjection of their own.  In that case, we'd be talking about the body that grants Authority to a person whose statements then have Credibility.

Universalis is therefore a system for granting Authority based on payments for Credibility.  Players cede the Authority to the system to decide whose statements have Credibility.  The system makes no statements on its own, therefore these cannot be given Credibility.

Really, not a big deal; I was worried about confusion between Credible statements and the Authority to grant Credibility.

Fang Langford


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Valamir on October 08, 2002, 06:59:14 AM
I would agree with you Fang in that I think it is a quibble, although for these purposes I have no problem seperating Credibility from from authority to grant Credibility (I think MJ suggested this earlier) if that makes the concept easier to understand...it doesn't really to me but YMMV.

I wouldn't agree with the logic you use to support that, however.  I believe that systems DO make statements...quite frequently.

Player:  I shoot the bad guy
GM:  Roll to see if you hit
 <roll> "nope you missed"

The question becomes:  who said "nope you missed".

Well obviously, the physical act of speech not being possible for a bound pile of wood pulp, the GM actually vocalized the words...but I would contend that in this the GM was merely translateing a statement being made by the rules.

This is not a case of the following, as your interpretation of Credibility (and Vincents initial thoughts in the first post would imply) of.

Player says "I shoot him"
GM says "No you miss"
System decides whose version happens.

The GM in this example (and indeed one would argue for all cases in which the GM's role is as impartial referee) has no particular desire for the PC to either miss or hit.  The GM is merely reporting the results as determined by the system.

In other words, the system most definitely made a statement.  That statement was "you missed".  The GM merely translated that statement from numbers/charts/etc. into speech and vocalized the effects to the other player...but it was the system making the decision.


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Walt Freitag on October 08, 2002, 07:12:39 AM
Quote
As far as I'm aware, systems make no 'statements.'


Ah, but they do.

[Pulls out 1e AD&D Players Handbook, opens a page at random...]

"A score in excess of the adjusted base chance indicates the thief has slipped and fallen. (Your referee will inform you of what amount of damage has been done from the fall.)"

When this event transpires, the player, presumably, made the credible statement that the character was attempting to climb the wall. The GM is explicitly ceded credibility by the system to make a statement concerning what amount of damage has been done. But who made the statement that the character slips and falls?

One could answer, "the participants collectively, by virtue of having ceded a portion of credibility to the system via their social contract at the outset of play." My alternative answer, earlier in this thread, was "the individual player, by means of projection of his statement (of intention to climb the wall) through the outcome-selection filter of the system."

And the gamemaster? It's certainly traditional for the GM to be ceded credibility to override the statement "the thief slips and falls" or replace it with a different statement. But if the GM does not do so, does it make any sense to regard "the thief slips and falls" as originating from the GM or resting on the GMs credibility, just because he could have done so? I'm not convinced.

In the end it might just be easier and more meaningful to say, "the system did it."

- Walt

[edit: cross-posted with Valamir, and we seem to have made extremely similar points. Sorry about the redundancy.]


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: lumpley on October 08, 2002, 07:19:09 AM
Valamir, I especially agree with your point about dysfunctional play.  

I kept meaning to mention Universalis specifically, but never quite managed to.  My (partial) game Before the Flood (http://www.septemberquestion.org/lumpley/flood.html) is another game that specifically and overtly apportions Credibility.

But I think my terminology might have come pre-mangled.  I mean I've been pretty sloppy about it.

I'd like to adopt Fang's use of Authority and Credibility.

Mike, I think your split game is an interesting case of "the game is hanging."  Play proceeds without consensus, sort of; eventually, it'll be resolved or the game will crash, right?

Or I suppose that as future events make the can-of-peaches issue less relevant, parallel histories might develop.  The game goes on, moves on to next week's crisis, eventually the game group just laughs about it without ever resolving the difference.  Bob always maintains that Mitch ate the peaches, others always maintain that he didn't, and ultimately, so what?

Interesting.

Valamir again, and Walt (as it happens),

Player: I shoot the bad guy.
GM: Roll to see if you hit.  [Roll indicates a hit.]  Nope, you miss.
Player: Dude!  I saw the roll.  Are we playing by the rules or not?

The GM makes the statement.  The game mechanics are an Authority that any player can use to support or refute statements.

Another:
Player: I shoot the bad guy.
GM: Roll to see if you hit.  [Roll indicates a miss.]
Player:  I hit anyway.  That cool with y'all?
GM and Other Players: Sure.  We hate that guy.

The reason that "Roll indicates a miss" isn't an assertion is that the system has no real vote in whether the shot hits or misses.  In my example 2, the system isn't a holdout player who needs to be convinced, it's an Authority the players agree to ignore.  You can't treat a real player that way.

Edited in: Although, outvoting one player and going on over her protests, leaving her to mutter and gripe and finally give in because it's not worth blocking the game for, is a perfectly valid and pretty common consensus-building technique.

-Vincent


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Valamir on October 08, 2002, 07:57:11 AM
I see what you're saying Vincent, and as I mentioned to Fang, I have no real issue with labeling it that way...but I would caution you in the presentation of your examples.

I suspect you're embedding a bias towards willingness to over ride rules as written into your thesis.  I'm thinking that this natural tendency in your own gameing (caveat: conjecture by me based on my sense of your play from various posts) to prioritize player desire over rules dictates might be leading you to demphasize the importance of the rules ability to make statements.

I know of and have played with groups who would not only disagree with your assertion that the rules don't get to vote, but vehemently declare that ONLY the rules get to vote.  That once you decide to play, you agree to abide by the rules and at that point players have ceded almost ALL of their Credibility to the Rules and GM, with players no longer making statements but rather asking permission.

Just a note of caution that would be careful how much you overtly demphasize the importance of rules.  From my perspective the rules have exactly as much Credibility (or Authority if you prefer, my initial reaction was to replace the term Credibility with Authority anyway) as the players imbue them with, but once so endowed, the rules can be their own entity to be abided by as sacred writ.

In other words an initial rather than ongoing transfer of power.


Title: The Trouble with Quibbles
Post by: Le Joueur on October 08, 2002, 08:56:56 AM
Hi Walt, Ralph,

Just to quibble again.

I stand by my statement:
Quote from: Le Joueur
As far as I'm aware, systems make no 'statements.'

Quote from: Valamir
I wouldn't agree with the logic you use to support that, however.  I believe that systems DO make statements...quite frequently.

Player:  I shoot the bad guy
GM:  Roll to see if you hit
<roll> "nope you missed"

The question becomes: who said, "nope, you missed."?

Except that's not a statement.  That's the invalidation of the player's statement; the system acting with it's Authority to deprive the player of Credibility in his statement.  The system here doesn't state anything.  By depriving the player of Credibility in his statement, it actually makes the player 'not say anything.'

Quote from: Valamir
In other words, the system most definitely made a statement.  That statement was "you missed".  The GM merely translated that statement from numbers/charts/etc. into speech and vocalized the effects to the other player...but it was the system making the decision.

I argue that the actual 'statement,' "The player's statement has no Credibility," is not actually a statement but a determination.  Heck the player himself, could make that roll and determination; "I shoot the bad guy," <rolls>, "Or not."

Quote from: About systems making statements wfreitag
Ah, but they do.

[Pulls out 1e AD&D Players Handbook, opens a page at random...]

"A score in excess of the adjusted base chance indicates the thief has slipped and fallen. (Your referee will inform you of what amount of damage has been done from the fall.)"

When this event transpires, the player, presumably, made the credible statement that the character was attempting to climb the wall. The GM is explicitly ceded credibility by the system to make a statement concerning what amount of damage has been done. But who made the statement that the character slips and falls?

I'd honestly have to say the player implies that he 'climbs without falling,' and the system denies that claim.  That the book gives explicit details only means that it 'puts words in the mouth of the player.'  This is very much an epistemological quibble!  The player says, "I climb the wall..." <rolls dice>, "...and slip and fall."  It doesn't rise to the point of the 'system saying something' until you define that the system is recounting the events, only ceding credibility to speakers according to its system.  I have not seen a game that explicitly says this.

I wrote Scattershot explicitly the other way around with the Proprietorship Mechanix; your Persona does whatever you want, you employ the system to create detail in your Speakership by common agreement (also explicitly described).  You say that your character climbs the wall, you decide whether dice should be thrown (Solo/General going to Specific/Mechanical play (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339)), those dice suggest failure, you create the specifics (slipped and fell).

I always saw this as the implicit fashion that people played.  (Obviously, this is a somewhat unique perspective)

Quote from: wfreitag
One could answer, "the participants collectively, by virtue of having ceded a portion of credibility to the system via their social contract at the outset of play." My alternative answer, earlier in this thread, was "the individual player, by means of projection of his statement (of intention to climb the wall) through the outcome-selection filter of the system."

Which I read to mean that the player makes the statement as modified by the system.  It's still only the player making the statement.

Quote from: wfreitag
And the gamemaster? It's certainly traditional for the GM to be ceded credibility to override the statement "the thief slips and falls" or replace it with a different statement. But if the GM does not do so, does it make any sense to regard "the thief slips and falls" as originating from the GM or resting on the GMs credibility, just because he could have done so? I'm not convinced.

In the end it might just be easier and more meaningful to say, "the system did it."

And that rings of player deprotagonisation or dis-empowerment to me.  I prefer "the system modifies your statements (at your complicity)."  I don't think it is necessary to imagine that 'counter-statements' are issued by the gamemaster when you accept that there are no 'counter-statements,' simply modifications.

You see, my perspective (and my quibble) is that statements are spontaneous initiatives.  Mitigating things is not originating any information, but altering what is already there.  If you can lose the idea of 'counter indications' being actual statements in and of themselves, this becomes easier to understand.  And it doesn't mar the 'power of the rules' at all; if anything it strengthens them.

However, there is no reason to agree with me, these are merely my high-falutin' ideas.  If you choose to see 'counter indications' as statements, then you'll have to account for their author and 'the system' is as good as answer as any; I don't see it that way.

Fang Langford


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 08, 2002, 09:52:28 AM
Computer systems do speak. Actual words sometimes, but usually just non-verbal statements about success and failure, and location and such. But they are never violable statements. If you miss in a game of Everquest, you miss, and the players have no say at all. They cannot coutermand the system in any way. If one were to do that one would be playing in just as dysfunctional a manner as I described above.

Mike


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Emily Care on October 08, 2002, 01:01:11 PM
Quote from: Le Jouer
"the system modifies your statements (at your complicity)."

Nails it.

Quote from: wfreitag

"A score in excess of the adjusted base chance indicates the thief has slipped and fallen. (Your referee will inform you of what amount of damage has been done from the fall.)"

Is there a description like this for every instance of play?
:) If so, Lady bless those D&D writers, they earned their cakes and ale...  
Is this a statement contained in the rules set or just an example to illustrate adjudication with the system? If an example, then it is the writer of the description who made that statement.  Which is easy and meaningful :)

When the system returns a numerical result, a human has to translate it into a narrative of events. That's where/when the statement happens.  It is leant credibility by virtue of the fact that the interpretation is based on shared understanding among the participants of what the numbers mean.

Few systems give results in descriptive form rather than numeric.  The gaming possible within a system would have to be very limited for a paper system to provide narrative results for every combination of circumstances.

In computer games, the computer makes all the statements and the human playing chooses among them. All possible actions and outcomes are predetermined, and you can only take part in a CRPG within a scripted set of circumstances.  This is quite unlike rpg.

--Emily Care

(Tangential aside about limitations: There's a game a friend thought of, or showed me once: it consists of a game board with one square and two counters.  Whoever goes first wins.)


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Jonathan Walton on October 08, 2002, 01:31:23 PM
I was going to stay out of this, but...

Ultimately, the game itself amounts for jack.  All the guidelines that govern the way the game is played (whether they are written down or not) help form the social contract that provides guidelines for play.  Just because D&D lists how to resolve specific actions doesn't make those rules any more real than the basic politeness that keeps players (okay, most players) from throwing cheese doodles at the GM.  It's all a bunch of social norms.

Therefor, the social contract only has the power that the players give it.  Someone has to be the executor of the contract and make sure everyone abides by the rules (this person is usually the GM).  If the gamebook says the thief falls and takes x damage, the player might go:

"That's BS.  I think the thief should fly away and become a hippogriff."

Now, this wouldn't normally be allowed by the social contract (since all the players have agreed to abide by certain norms while playing the game), but if the player can build a consensus or majority on this issue, he can push this idea through and CHANGE THE SOCIAL CONTRACT.  The thief suddenly flies off and becomes a hippogriff, and there's nothing wrong with that.

News flash: THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME!  Social contracts are constantly changing.  Maybe not as dramatically as having theives suddenly able to fly, but, fairly often, the GM and players negotiate their way through sticky situations that aren't completely covered by the rules.

<Example>

GM: "Okay, Sampson rolls down the mountainside and takes N damage."

PLAYER: "No way!  Sampson's wearing padded armor, which would reduce the damage by X!"

GM: "Armor doesn't protect against falling damage.  You know that."

PLAYER: "Yeah, but he's not really falling.  He's rolling.  It would definitely protect him some, right?"

GM: "Well, okay... some.  Subtract half of X."

</Example>

Ultimately, what this means is that the rules are, at most, suggestions of social norms that players should abide by during the game.  They're certainly not written into the fabric of the universe, and don't mean jack without people supporting them.  They certainly can't resolve actions on their own, like some automated scoring device.  This is make-believe, after all, so all that matters is what you believe happened, not what the rules spit out.

YOU have to make it real.

Later.
Jonathan

P.S.  YMMV, of course.  This is just my personal rant :)  The game-as-social-contract POV has been heavily on my mind lately.


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 08, 2002, 02:03:47 PM
Quote from: Emily Care
[When the system returns a numerical result, a human has to translate it into a narrative of events. That's where/when the statement happens.
Or it doesn't. Lot's of games I've played in go like this:

Bob: I'm going to attempt to pick up the can of Peaches.

-Bob rolls, examines the dice, sees that he's succeeded.

Bob: Now I go to the table and open the peaches.

Note, that Bob did not say he "was" picking up the peaches, and nobody ever said that he had done so, the dice said that he had, and everybody understood. And accepted the systems credibility, tacitly.

Quote
In computer games, the computer makes all the statements and the human playing chooses among them. All possible actions and outcomes are predetermined, and you can only take part in a CRPG within a scripted set of circumstances.  This is quite unlike rpg.
And thus it is not RPG? That has yet to be established.

I think that people are again applying their norms to play in coming up with these definitions. Just because you wouldn't call it role-playing doesn't mean that's a definition we have to work with. The subjects of Authority and Credibility, etc have to consider all forms of play in order to be useful, or at least state which forms of play do not count in the discussion. But nobody has done so to date (not to mention that in doing so you have to define CRPG).

And in addition, there are other examples, as in Ralph's examples where rules are treated as an operating system. In these cases the system may truely be said to be communicating on it's own. This has yet to be addressed either. Again, it's norms like Jonathans where allowing rules to be thrown out that are being presented. Our own personal preferences are too small a subset of play to count as the set of experiences from which a theory like this must be derived.

I truely feel that there is a bit of Frankenstien complex going on here. That people are responding negatively to the idea of being controlled by a machine or mechanic (I keep expecting someone to quote the beginning of The Prisoner, "I'm not a slave to a game mechanic, I'm a free man!"). I think that thinking of the system as a participant after a fashion is useful, and can't see the downside of thinking of it as such. Sure, it's inanimate text and concepts. But that doesn't mean I can't decide to follow it's dictates. It's the same as deciding to follow the dictates of another player. The question of animation seems moot to me.

Mike


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Valamir on October 08, 2002, 02:05:40 PM
Hey Jonathan.  For the record, I agree with you.  But there is a sizeable portion of the gaming world for whom your dismissal of the importance of the rules is complete heresy.  They may decide to change a rule they don't like with a house rule, but that's merely replaceing one rule with another.  The idea of actually ignoring a rule in game is detestable.

In other words, while its perfectly natural for us "players drive the game" types to view rules with the simple knowledge that we have the power and the rules are just so many words unless we choose to enforce them, that that is a bias that far from universal.

I think Vincent has hit on a great way to describe the interaction of players and GMs and the game system in a way that can be applied to all roleplaying games (based on how much Credibility/Authority is ceded to who and when, etc.

Therefor I recommend against building too much personal bias towards the role of rules into the concept.  There are many for whom the rules are more important than the opinion of any of the players.

And Fang...not to belabour our quibbling to much, but I would say that game systems (i.e. the sum of the contents of a book between two covers) make proactive as opposed to reactive statements as well.

"Elves are good with bows and swords" is a proactive statement that comes directly from the D&D PHB.  "Druids are always Neutral" is another.  

So I still believe that what is going on with regards to system is players endowing the system with a portion of their "ability-to-make-game-related decision-power-whatever-you-want-to-call-it".  Until player revoke all or some of that power via one of the 3 methods I outlined above, the rules DO have real power and legitimacy as a sovereign entity in the game.

Jonathan, I absolutely concur with your comments on changing social contracts and believe it occurs 1) within the 3 methods I outlined above, and 2) to an extent and frequency and timing completely dependent on how the rules were endowed to begin with.

By number 2, I mean some groups will negotiate through the instance with interaction between GM and players.  Some will handle it through GM fiat with no player consultation.  Some will handle it by spending an hour pouring through the rule book looking for an obscure rule.

All of these possiblities (and more) are 100% describable in terms of the amount of their own Credibility/Authority that the player have ceded to the GM and to the rules when they first sat down to play.


Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
Post by: Walt Freitag on October 08, 2002, 02:10:04 PM
Quote from: Fang

Quote from: wfreitag

<snip> My alternative answer [to the question: whose credibility underlies the statement "the thief slips and falls"?], earlier in this thread, was "the individual player, by means of projection of his statement (of intention to climb the wall) through the outcome-selection filter of the system."


Which I read to mean that the player makes the statement as modified by the system. It's still only the player making the statement.


Yes, that's roughly the sense I meant it. And I could end up agreeing with the idea (it was where I started in this thread, after all). But I have a quibble. "Modification" has a broader range than "selection" or "filtering." In order to accept the system as an entirely passive agent in the process of play, I have to believe that the outcome generated was implicit in the player's initial statement.

Which is no problem for "I climb the wall." Any player, even one who doesn't know the rules, is probably aware that climbing walls is dangerous because one might fall.

How about this:

PLAYER: I search the entire north wall for secret doors.
GM (consults rule book): "That takes thirty minutes total." (Rolls some dice) "Midway through your search, a wandering..." (rolls more dice) "...rust monster enters the room."

Pretty much the same, right? The GM is following the rules and tables as a passive referee, so the statement that "a wandering rust monster enters the room" didn't come from the GM except in the trivial sense of the GM being the one to articulate it out loud after the system determined it. By the theory under consideration, it must have been implicit in the player's statement that he would search for secret doors.

But... what if the player was a newbie who had no idea that searching for secret doors takes ten minutes per square, didn't know that wandering monsters have a certain chance of appearing during every ten-minute interval, and has never heard of a rust monster? If the player didn't know, he couldn't have made an implicit statement to that effect. A filter can only take things out; if it's putting stuff in, it's no longer a filter. Those are the conditions in which I lean toward seeing 'counter indications' as statements in themselves.

Not very common conditions in tabletop RPG, to be sure. (In games with small enough domains to have a lot of outcomes expressed as specific described events, players usually learn the outcome sets quickly.) But it's more common in computer RPGs (and also in tabletop RPGs during strict "module" play).

Emily, the quoted D&D rule was not an example. It is a rule of the system, stated in the section governing the climbing ability of the thief class.

I don't agree that the act of interpreting a numerical result into a narrated event, within the framework of a set of rules governing exactly that process, makes the GM the originator of the resulting statement. Even if the GM adds a little color to it. (Wouldn't that be just another case of 'modifying' an already established statement? If going from "I search for secret doors" to "a rust monster shows up" is a mere "modification" rather than "the system saying something," then surely going from "the die rolled a two" to "you take two points of damage" doesn't measure up as "saying something" either.)

- Quibblin' Walt


Title: The Quibble Takes to the Road
Post by: Le Joueur on October 08, 2002, 03:32:51 PM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote from: Emily Care
When the system returns a numerical result, a human has to translate it into a narrative of events. That's where/when the statement happens.

Or it doesn't. Lot's of games I've played in go like this:

Bob: I'm going to attempt to pick up the can of Peaches.

-Bob rolls, examines the dice, sees that he's succeeded.

Bob: Now I go to the table and open the peaches.

Note, that Bob did not say he "was" picking up the peaches, and nobody ever said that he had done so, the dice said that he had, and everybody understood. And accepted the systems credibility, tacitly.

To carry on the last quibble, no one said Bob picked up the peaches; the dice merely affirmed his attempt.  The result of his attempt is implied by the attempt, not by the dice.  Had he not stated his attempt the dice would not have 'out of the blue' delivered the peaches into his hands; the statement is his.  This is really only a semantic variation on previous examples.

I'd be happy to see an example where 'the dice' gave a spontaneous initiative, not merely affirmation or denial of overt or implied actions.  Can you come up with one?

Quote from: Mike Holmes
I think that people are again applying their norms to play in coming up with these definitions....

I truely feel that there is a bit of Frankenstien complex going on here.

That was something I was trying to imply earlier.  We are at the 'tree falls in the forest' point in the argument.  You say that affirmations and denials are statements in their own right.  I don't.  All that's left is to simply agree to disagree.

Fang Langford


Title: The Twelve Belabors of Quibbules
Post by: Le Joueur on October 08, 2002, 03:47:42 PM
Quote from: Valamir
And Fang...not to belabor our quibbling to much, but I would say that game systems (i.e. the sum of the contents of a book between two covers) make proactive as opposed to reactive statements as well.

"Elves are good with bows and swords" is a proactive statement that comes directly from the D&D PHB.  "Druids are always Neutral" is another.

Notice I didn't say "proactive," I said "spontaneous initiative."  Furthermore, I've never seen an Elf 'gooding with a bow' or a Druid 'neutralling.'  These are standards or limits, neither spontaneous, proactive, nor showing initiative.

However, I like to think that 'speechless' rules are quite proactive; I mean they're there before anything else is, that's pretty proactive.  They proactively assign Credibility using the Authority vested in them by the group playing.  That still doesn't show any spontaneity or initiative during play.

Quote from: Valamir
So I still believe that what is going on with regards to system is players endowing the system with a portion of their "ability-to-make-game-related decision-power-whatever-you-want-to-call-it".  ...the rules DO have real power and legitimacy as a sovereign entity in the game.

I complete agree with this (I don't have time to double check the 'three ways' so I clipped them).  Rules are completely vested with power, legitimacy, and proactivity.  I couldn't agree more.  Rules, dice, and game mechanics are not spontaneous nor take the initiative and that's how I define 'statements.'

Like I said to Mike, we've reached the 'tree in the forest' point.  You believe that the affect that rules have on player statement amount to statements in and of themselves.  I disagree.  Can we leave it that way?

Quote from: Valamir
Therefore I recommend against building too much personal bias towards the role of rules into the concept.  There are many for whom the rules are more important than the opinion of any of the players.

Agreed.  Likewise about 'tree in the forest' arguments.  Let's just say that we don't have to agree.

Fang Langford


Title: More Troubles, More Quibbles
Post by: Le Joueur on October 08, 2002, 04:44:25 PM
Quote from: wfreitag
Quote from: Fang
Quote from: wfreitag
<snip> My alternative answer [to the question: whose credibility underlies the statement "the thief slips and falls"?], earlier in this thread, was "the individual player, by means of projection of his statement (of intention to climb the wall) through the outcome-selection filter of the system."

Which I read to mean that the player makes the statement as modified by the system. It's still only the player making the statement.

Yes, that's roughly the sense I meant it. And I could end up agreeing with the idea (it was where I started in this thread, after all). But I have a quibble. "Modification" has a broader range than "selection" or "filtering." In order to accept the system as an entirely passive agent in the process of play, I have to believe that the outcome generated was implicit in the player's initial statement.

Which is no problem for "I climb the wall." Any player, even one who doesn't know the rules, is probably aware that climbing walls is dangerous because one might fall.

How about this:

PLAYER: "I search the entire north wall for secret doors."
GM (consults rule book): "That takes thirty minutes total." (Rolls some dice) "Midway through your search, a wandering..." (rolls more dice) "...rust monster enters the room."

Pretty much the same, right? The GM is following the rules and tables as a passive referee, so the statement that "a wandering rust monster enters the room" didn't come from the GM except in the trivial sense of the GM being the one to articulate it out loud after the system determined it. By the theory under consideration, it must have been implicit in the player's statement that he would search for secret doors.

...I don't agree that the act of interpreting a numerical result into a narrated event, within the framework of a set of rules governing exactly that process, makes the GM the originator of the resulting statement. Even if the GM adds a little color to it. (Wouldn't that be just another case of 'modifying' an already established statement? If going from "I search for secret doors" to "a rust monster shows up" is a mere "modification" rather than "the system saying something," then surely going from "the die rolled a two" to "you take two points of damage" doesn't measure up as "saying something" either.)

Very intriguing.  Actually, I never said that rules weren't proactive.  But this example is "pretty much not the same."  Still, you have provided a very thought-provoking example.

Contrary to what you've suggested, I don't think the rust monster is in any way related to the statement of the player.  And that's where it gets interesting.  It may be the gamemaster's statement.

In Scattershot (which isn't Advanced Dungeons & Dragons), a wandering monster, as a feature of the dungeon, would be the Proprietorship of the gamemaster.  In Scattershot, it's appearance would therefore be detail on the 'atmosphere' of the dungeon, which is made up of statements by the gamemaster.  Except this isn't Scattershot; it's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.  Scattershot doesn't employ 'wandering monster tables.'

Forgive me if I take a moment to parse the interchange:
    "I search the entire north wall for secret doors."
      Clearly a player statement; it implies time and attention and potential success.[/list:u]
    "That takes thirty minutes total."
      This is the gamemaster, or the rules, acknowledging one of the implications.  No statement here.[/list:u]
    "...a wandering...rust monster enters the room."
      This is definitely not implied by the player's statement, but it is a consequence of the implication.  I'm still inclined to rate it as a separate statement of its own.

      But who makes it?[/list:u][/list:u]Under the idea of Proprietorship, it's the gamemaster's dungeon, therefore it's the statement of the gamemaster, but I don't think it's that simple.

    Advanced Dungeons & Dragons has many clear-cut compulsory rules (with the caveat that the gamemaster is supposed to ignore them as needed).  So is the gamemaster 'channeling' the rules, being their mouthpiece?  If that were the case, then yes, the rules are making a statement.  Even 'the golden rule' merely affords this 'channeling' gamemaster only the ability, himself, to modify the statement of the rules.

    What about situations when a player is compelled to do something?  You take enough damage, the rules say you fall down, dead.  The 'kill' is not implied by your opponent's blow, only the damage is.  Now I know how Scattershot handles this; to steal the vernacular being proposed here, in Scattershot, the rules can't kill you, no amount of damage kills unless the Proprietor says it does.  (Oh, the player has to account for the damage somehow, it's just that the rules don't compel how.)  But that is misleading in this case.

    I'm really not sure.  Both the death and the rust monster are compelled by the rules as a result of other statements, but not as a part of them.  I know this is going to sound like a cop out (but we've gotten into a definite grey area), I think these statements count as those of the person who's responsible for the 'source material,' compelled by the rules.  I say this only because I 'know' the 'tree makes a sound even when no one hears it.'

    We've basically gotten back to that 'chicken and egg' paradox.  If you believe that the rules are lord over all, imbued with an intrinsic (as opposed to vested) Authority all their own, then you'll likely see compelled statements as those 'spoken' by the rules.  (I don't.)  If you believe that all Authority springs from the participants and is vested in the rules by them, then the statement is likely a result of acquiescing to the rules and therefore springing directly from the participant (like I do).

    Two different points of view, equally valid.  Personally, since it's the dungeonmaster's dungeon, and therefore his rust monster, I feel it was a statement of his and not the rules (much like 'I block' happens because 'you hit,' but not otherwise).

    Not much of an answer, but I offer the agreement to disagree.

    Fang Langford


    Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
    Post by: Walt Freitag on October 08, 2002, 06:44:18 PM
    Quote
    I offer the agreement to disagree.


    No! I'm bound and determined to convince you that my point of view is the only correct and reasonable one. But first I have to decide what it is...

    How's this? There are two kinds of system content.

    Reactive and prescriptive.

    (Let's see, at five bucks a syllable, that comes to...)

    Reactive "system statements" are player statements ceded credibility during play (with modification or filtering) by the system.

    Prescriptive "system statements" are author/designer statements encoded in the system, ceded credibility in play by the GM.

    Let's make the above definitional for "reactive" and "prescriptive." (At least, those are the only definitions I'm going to try to give them).

    Both types of statement are conventionally subject to override by the GM. But prescriptive elements are traditionally where the GM has the most authority to override (and the players the least) -- to the point where the GM often is (or appears to be) required to restate them to give them credibility. Setting sourcebooks, modules, lists of weapons and vehicles and items, random event charts -- all primarily prescriptive.

    Reactive system elements are, in the old-school "Knights of the Dinner Table" GM-player turf war scenario, 'the players' turf.' Char gen, resolution systems, spell lists, skill lists -- all primarily reactive. GMs who override these elements often do so by means of illusionism.

    Some things may be on the cusp, and perhaps become points of contention for that reason. Critical hit tables. Encumbrance rules.

    A reasonably clear distinction between prescriptive and reactive mechanisms remains in many modern focused indie-style designs, even while these designs shift the dynamic in interesting ways. Donjon makes setting reactive. Shadows makes the reactive filtering process explicit. InSpectres pares down the prescriptive content -- but what remains has even higher authority than traditional reactive rules (perhaps a necessity when ceding them credibility during play is no longer the GM's job). Universalis (and to a less clear extent, Scattershot) make everything reactive to player actions in the metagame. A clearly conveyed Premise can substitute for any amount of explicit prescriptive content, allowing some very rich systems with very lean rulebooks. But even a limited amount of prescriptive content can make a very strong authorial statement (Nicotine Girls).

    Oh, and reactive vs. prescriptive system elements appear to align neatly with the two sides of the Impossible Thing and of the Interactive Storytelling Problem.

    When concepts align this neatly, it often means that all you've really got is some kind of big tautology that you haven't recognized as such yet. So I'm going to stop here.

    - Walt


    Title: All Quibbles Aside
    Post by: Le Joueur on October 08, 2002, 07:39:27 PM
    Quote from: wfreitag
    Reactive and Prescriptive.

    Sound right and tight to me.

    Of course it doesn't touch on who is making the statements or where the 'true Authority' comes from; ultimately not answering the question of whether the rules can make statements or not (for the aforementioned 'chicken and egg' problem).

    Otherwise, I'm really pleased with what we have.

    Fang Langford


    Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
    Post by: lumpley on October 08, 2002, 07:43:31 PM
    Mike,

    I don't really have any basis for an opinion on crpgs.  But it seems to me that the program in a crpg isn't a player; rather it replaces the imaginations of the players.

    The rule for imaginations is that the players have to agree.  The rule for computer programs is that the programmer has to have provided for it (or its component parts).

    -Vincent


    Title: Authority versus Credibility Revisited
    Post by: M. J. Young on October 09, 2002, 12:48:36 AM
    Oh, boy, this thread has gotten too long; I shall endeavor not to overdo this addition.

    I should like to clarify my use of the word Authority. It would be clearer to say that, in my view, the rules are an authority than that they have authority; or said slightly differently, the rules are authoritative. At the beginning of play, the players agree, "We are going to play Little Fears." In doing so, they recognize the Little Fears rule book as the authority that defines how to play the game. They also recognize one individual as being the primary interpreter of that book; I would thus say that this individual is granted credibility, in that whatever he says the rules mean, that is what they mean. Other members of the group are also granted credibility, to a lesser degree, to determine events by applying the rules as they understand them--that is, playing the game.

    Quote from: Valamir
    I wouldn't agree with the logic you use to support that, however. I believe that systems DO make statements...quite frequently.

    Player: I shoot the bad guy
    GM: Roll to see if you hit
    <roll> "nope you missed"

    The question becomes: who said "nope you missed".

    Well obviously, the physical act of speech not being possible for a bound pile of wood pulp, the GM actually vocalized the words...but I would contend that in this the GM was merely translateing a statement being made by the rules.

    I would contend that the issue here is one step further back. Let us suppose, for argument, that the player's character is a high level sniper and assassin, and the bad guy is an unconscious victim in a chair within arm's reach. Now when the player says, "I shoot him", do we even roll? Sure, sometimes we do--but often we decide that a roll is not necessary at this point. That is an interpretation of the rules made by someone with the credibility to decide how they apply in the game. But this means that any time a roll is made to determine a hit, the person with the credibility to make that decision has (if only by default) determined that the rules require a roll. But let us assume that in my example the player says, "I shoot him; do I have to roll for that?" and the referee says, "Yes", it is clear in this case again that the referee is interpreting the rules, and the roll is made because he is the most credible interpreter of the rules under the social contract. The most likely outcome is that the referee will decide that a roll is necessary, but that it is heavily bonused such that there is very little chance of failure; again, this is his interpretation of the rules. The rules remain the authority for "how do we play this game"; the referee is the most credible interpreter, and the players similarly are credible interpreters of a lower credibility.

    In the end, when the roll is made, the outcome is based on the authority of the rules, but through the credibility of whoever determined it to be success or failure.
    Quote from: Valamir later
    I know of and have played with groups who would not only disagree with your assertion that the rules don't get to vote, but vehemently declare that ONLY the rules get to vote. That once you decide to play, you agree to abide by the rules and at that point players have ceded almost ALL of their Credibility to the Rules and GM, with players no longer making statements but rather asking permission.

    Because the rules are authoritative, anyone can appeal to them to settle an outcome; in some groups, only the referee is allowed to appeal to the rules, and only his interpretation of the rules is credible. In other groups, players are free to state that the referee is mistaken because the rules say thus-and-such; in appealing to the authority, the player is challenging the credibility of the referee on that point, and asserting his own credibility. However, what happens then is very much a matter of group dynamics. In most groups, it is still up to the referee to determine whether the player's interpretation of the rules is more credible; in a few groups, the players collectively will override the referee in the name of the authority of the rules.
    Quote from: Vincent a.k.a. Lumpley
    Player: I shoot the bad guy.
    GM: Roll to see if you hit. [Roll indicates a hit.] Nope, you miss.
    Player: Dude! I saw the roll. Are we playing by the rules or not?

    The GM makes the statement. The game mechanics are an Authority that any player can use to support or refute statements.

    This is consistent with my use of authority. At this point the question is whether the referee's credibility to interpret and apply the rules overrides that of the players; that is, if the referee declares it a miss and the players have reason to believe it was a hit, they appeal to the rules as authoritative to determine the outcome.
    Quote from: Jonathan Walton
    <Example>

    GM: "Okay, Sampson rolls down the mountainside and takes N damage."

    PLAYER: "No way! Sampson's wearing padded armor, which would reduce the damage by X!"

    GM: "Armor doesn't protect against falling damage. You know that."

    PLAYER: "Yeah, but he's not really falling. He's rolling. It would definitely protect him some, right?"

    GM: "Well, okay... some. Subtract half of X."

    </Example>

    Ultimately, what this means is that the rules are, at most, suggestions of social norms that players should abide by during the game.

    What this illustrates is that the credibility of the referee may be challenged successfully, and that his interpretation of the application of the rules may be modified in response to a credible statement by one of the players. The referee initially understood falling down the mountain as a fall; the player responded that it was not a fall, and that his armor should under the rules protect him from the kind of damage which would be taken by this event. The referee reconsidered the application of the rules, and reinterpreted them to take into account the application of armor to a situation which was not entirely like falling.
    Quote from: Mike Holmes
    Lot's of games I've played in go like this:

    Bob: I'm going to attempt to pick up the can of Peaches.

    -Bob rolls, examines the dice, sees that he's succeeded.

    Bob: Now I go to the table and open the peaches.

    Note, that Bob did not say he "was" picking up the peaches, and nobody ever said that he had done so, the dice said that he had, and everybody understood. And accepted the systems credibility, tacitly.

    In this case, the player who rolled the dice made the interpretation of the rules and implicitly in his actions stated that he was successful. How do I justify this perception? It happens as often, that it goes like this:
    Quote from: When I modified what Mike Holmes
    Lot's of games I've played in go like this:

    Bob: I'm going to attempt to pick up the can of Peaches.

    -Bob rolls, examines the dice, decides that he's succeeded.

    Bob: Now I go to the table and open the peaches.

    Joe: Dude, what are you doing? You botched, man--you didn't pick up the peaches!

    Thus we see that Bob has implicitly used his credibility to state implicitly that he picked up the peaches when he made his next statement. In Mike's example, everyone accepted that interpretation based on Bob's credibility (and perhaps their recognition that the dice did appear to them to indicate success under the authority of the rules, which is in essence their own credibility); in my counter example, Joe challenges Bob's credibility.
    Quote from: Walt a.k.a. WFrietag
    PLAYER: I search the entire north wall for secret doors.
    GM (consults rule book): "That takes thirty minutes total." (Rolls some dice) "Midway through your search, a wandering..." (rolls more dice) "...rust monster enters the room."

    Pretty much the same, right? The GM is following the rules and tables as a passive referee, so the statement that "a wandering rust monster enters the room" didn't come from the GM except in the trivial sense of the GM being the one to articulate it out loud after the system determined it. By the theory under consideration, it must have been implicit in the player's statement that he would search for secret doors.

    No, once again the referee is interpreting the rules and applying them. The fact that he is interpreting them very strictly does not negate the fact that he is interpreting and applying them. He might (very strictly) have recognized that every point in space is also a point in both the ethereal and astral planes, and so rolled for random encounters on both of those tables as well; he might (very strictly) have decided that since the players closed and locked the doors behind them, no monster can enter the room. The fact that we can imagine him doing it differently than he did demonstrates that he is interpreting and applying the rules. It is based on his credibility that this is what the rules mean that play proceeds; he rests on the authority of the rules, but is still running the game according to the rules as he understands them, and his understanding and application are regarded as credible by the other players, and hence governing because they are the most credible interpretation (by agreement, if not in fact) of the authoritative rules on which the game is based.

    I have been at this so long, there's probably more posted; but I hope I've clarified my understanding of authority versus credibility.

    --M. J. Young


    Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
    Post by: Mike Holmes on October 09, 2002, 06:08:04 AM
    Fang we are at an apparent semantic impasse, and I do not see it as a "chicken/egg" thing.

    You say that the system can "affirm" or "deny". How is that not authority? Who cares about who makes the statement? The power in this case derives from the groups decision to abide by the rules. Just as the group can decide to abide by a GM or player's decisions, so too can they decide to abide in the results produced by the system (no matter who pronounces them).

    So you can continue to argue about statements if you like. And you'll be right as it is a semantic thing. The question is not, "Can we look at it that way?" We certainly can look at it that way. The question is, "Does it make for a more useful theory to look at it that way?" To which I would answer, no, not at all. It makes complete sense and is very useful to look at the rules as another entity which the players can place credibility in.

    People keep saying that the rules are something that people derive their credibility from. But isn't that the case with all credibility. It is all derived from the participants supporting each other. How is this different substantively from any other participant in the game?

    Mike


    Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
    Post by: Emily Care on October 09, 2002, 06:16:07 AM
    Quote from: wfreitag

    Reactive "system statements" are player statements ceded credibility during play (with modification or filtering) by the system.

    Prescriptive "system statements" are author/designer statements encoded in the system, ceded credibility in play by the GM.

    This is an excellent and useful description of what's being discussed.

    My only remaining quibble is that credibility is ceded by all game participants to the statements or modifications/filtering done by gm or system, respectively.  GM and system authority rest on acceptance and compliance of players and gm.  

    If that doesn't fit or sit well, then I very much agree to disagree. No problem.

    Added at 10:27am:

    Quote from: Mike Holmes
    I truely feel that there is a bit of Frankenstein complex going on here. That people are responding negatively to the idea of being controlled by a machine or mechanic...(snipped)


    Game must eat BRAINS!!!!

    No, but seriously, maybe I've been overstating it, but the most important distinction being made is simply that when we use system, it is always by choice and the only reason it "works" so to speak is that we choose to accept the effects it gives us. We're actually more limited by social pressure than the system.  

    The issue is that the common "rules are law" contracts of play end up "enslaving" people to system, when a looser approach could allow for a broader apportionment of power.  

    I'll move on now, really....

    --Emily Care


    Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
    Post by: Valamir on October 09, 2002, 06:41:48 AM
    I was thinking about this last night, and a quirky little example occured to me.  Bear with me a moment, it will all make sense in the end (I hope).

    Take a kingdom.  In this kingdom there is a noble.  The noble has a tremendous amount of power and authority.  The noble appoints a Sheriff (a Shire Reeve).  He vests this sheriff with the authority to collect taxes and round up people who break the Nobles laws.  The sheriff himself is not the source of his own power.  He holds power only because he is acting in the name of the noble, who is the source of his power.  But once appointed he is free to do pretty much whatever he wants.

    He can squeeze the people for additional taxes (because what ever he collects in excess of what is expected he gets to keep) he can knock heads, and pretty much do as he likes.  

    Until the noble decides he doesn't like what the sheriff is doing, at which point the sheriff might amend his behavior to keep the noble happy or risk being given the boot and replaced with a new sheriff.  But until that happens the sheriff is the man and all the people of the shire go out of their way to do what he says and avoid crossing him.
    [/metaphor]

    For those waiting for a translation:

    The Noble represents the players, the source of all power.
    The Sheriff is the game rules.
    The Sheriffs behavior is the game rules telling the players what is and isn't allowed.
    The Shire people are the players in another form, the form they agree to submit to when they (as the Noble) put the sheriff in charge.

    Point of this being to illustrate my view that the rules actually do have real power and real authority until such time as the players (as nobles) revoke it.  Its not an illusionary semantic the rules are just a filter with no actual importance thing.  The rules have real power and real authority and (I would say) real credibility, because the player have vested those things in the rules until such time as they take them back.  The rules are "acting in the players name" so to speak just as the sheriff acts in the nobles name, and because the players have credibility...so does the system.

    One thing I like about this illustration is that is also illustrates a common source of discontent in play groups.  That being when 1 (or a few) players act as the noble and choose the system while the rest of the players get to only be the shire folk who are expected to submitt to the system.  

    Anyway...kind of silly, but I thought I'd share it.


    Title: The Quibble and I
    Post by: Le Joueur on October 09, 2002, 07:07:28 AM
    Thanks for the reply Mike,

    Quote from: Mike Holmes
    Fang we are at an apparent semantic impasse, and I do not see it as a "chicken/egg" thing.

    You say that the system can "affirm" or "deny". How is that not authority?

    That is Authority, but not a 'statement' from my perspective.  That's why I separated Authority from Credibility in the first place.  The system has the Authority to grant Credibility to a statement made by any person.  Its Authority does not actually becomes statements in and of themselves.  (Thumbs up and thumbs down are not statements but authorization of other statements.)

    Quote from: Mike Holmes
    So you can continue to argue about statements if you like. And you'll be right as it is a semantic thing. The question is not, "Can we look at it that way?" We certainly can look at it that way. The question is, "Does it make for a more useful theory to look at it that way?" To which I would answer, no, not at all. It makes complete sense and is very useful to look at the rules as another entity which the players can place credibility in.

    When I read through this discussion it seems to break down into people who believe systems make their own statements and people who only see people making statements.  The whole argument is about the details of whether a system can make Credible statements of its own.

    When it comes to looking at whether it make useful theory, I look at it in two potential cases:
      Only the Participants Make Statements
        The system is employed either by its Authority or by the Authority vested in it by the participants to determine whose statements are valid (Credible) and therefore 'actually happen' in the game.

        [/list:u]
      The System Makes Statements Unique to It
        There's this other thing, the system, in there making statements all its own.  The inherent problem I see is defining who the system is, how it makes statements, when those statement are Credible and how, and what 'rights' it has as a member of the narrative.[/list:u][/list:u]Between the two, one adds an extra 'speaker' whose identity will never be accepted uniformly and is thus nebulous; I believe having this 'extra body' at the table is more complicated and this kind of complication, to me, opposes elegance in design and theory, making it 'less useful.'

        Hence the offer to agree to disagree.  You appear to be saying that 'statements made by the system' are actually collectively made by the group consensus.  While that isn't as complicated as 'the system makes its own statements,' I still choose the less complicated theory.

        (The chicken is 'system over all' and the egg is 'participant empower the system.'  Which came first?  Social contract?  Society?  Civilization?  Mankind?  It's all a matter of opinion.)

        Fang Langford


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: Valamir on October 09, 2002, 07:17:59 AM
      Interesting Fang.  I actually view the version that has fewer terms, less need for explicit differentiation, and merely treats the system as another participant (albiet a non human one) at the table, as being the simpler of the two.

      Its probably not surprising that you select the other...after all you're the guy who introduces latin into your gaming jargon ;) <big grin>


      Title: To Quibble or Not to Quibble
      Post by: Le Joueur on October 09, 2002, 07:34:02 AM
      Thanks Ralph,

      A analogy is very helpful.

      Quote from: Valamir
      For those waiting for a translation:
        The Noble represents the players, the source of all power.
        The Sheriff is the game rules.
        The Sheriff's behavior is the game rules telling the players what is and isn't allowed.
        The Shire People are the players in another form, the form they agree to submit to when they (as the Noble) put the sheriff in charge.[/list:u]

      The problem I have with your analogy is that you apply it assuming that the "game rules" make statements.

      If I might apply it in the alternative?
        The Noble represents the rules, the source of all Authority.
        The Sheriff is the person making a statement; the Noble has granted him Credibility.
        The Sheriff's behavior is considered sacrosanct until the Noble steps in; when the game rules deny the statement.
        The Sheriff is required to perform certain actions (collect taxes, punish criminals); the game rules compel some statements.
        The Shire Population is the remaining players, the Noble represents them by heritage.[/list:u]This shows what I have been trying to illustrate as the 'other side' of the agreement to disagree.  The Noble isn't present (he doesn't make any statements), but his Authority is felt in varying measures.

      Quote from: Valamir
      Point of this being to illustrate my view that the rules actually do have real power and real authority until such time as the players (as nobles) revoke it.

      I never countered this idea.  In fact, saying that the rules have Authority was my idea in the first place (even though I waited to clarify it).  The alternative analogy I present demonstrates how the rules (the Noble) exercise that Authority without making any statements in the realm of the Shire Population.

      Quote from: Valamir
      It's not an illusionary semantic the rules are just a filter with no actual importance thing.  The rules have real power and real authority and (I would say) real credibility, because the player have vested those things in the rules until such time as they take them back.  The rules are "acting in the players name" so to speak just as the sheriff acts in the Noble's name, and because the players have credibility...so does the system.

      And my point is that the rules are not "acting" at all in the latter analogy.  I don't see how this straw man that 'the rules have no authority' came up.  That has never been said nor stood by.  The whole point with my original post was to separate the power, importance, and Authority of the rules from the acts, behaviors, statements, and Credibility of the participants.

      Simply, there are these rules, granted Authority by whomever (I don't really care).  It is the Authority to make any statement made by a participant 'real' in the game world.  Things made real are given Vincent's Credibility.  Only Credible things are 'real' in the shared game world.  What I am also saying is that I do not think that passage or veto of participant statements counts as statements unto themselves (and this is the point of semantic disagreement I am offering to agree upon).  Even when the rules indicate that additional material is added to the game, I don't think that this is the rules 'talking,' I believe it is the gamemaster compelled to.

      Thus we reach a point to disagree on, agreed?

      Fang Langford


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: lumpley on October 09, 2002, 08:13:13 AM
      Fewer terms?  Chicken and egg?  Simpler model?  Practical utility?  Agree to disagree?

      Guys, it's about what happens at the gaming table.  I'm not theorizing.  I'm describing.

      Nobody's put forward an example of a system making a statement.  Walt and Valamir have put forward examples of players making the statements that the system recommends, and Mike has put forward an example of the system supporting an implication of a player's statement.

      There might be good reasons to "think of it as though" the system is a fifth player at the table.  Dunno.  There are certainly good reasons not to, the first being that it's not true.

      If the new topic is "is Vincent's descriptive level useful to game designers?", then let's take it to another topic.  If it's "are there good reasons to think of the rules as an additional player, even though they aren't?", then ditto.  The topic here is, to paraphrase my original points:

      - Nothing's true in the game until a. a player says it and b. all the players agree that it's true.
      - System, mechanics, GMs and so on are all just ways to get the players to all agree that things are true.

      If you want to refute those, stick around, and come up with some good examples.

      -Vincent


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: Mike Holmes on October 09, 2002, 08:49:39 AM
      Quote from: Le Joueur
      That is Authority, but not a 'statement' from my perspective.  That's why I separated Authority from Credibility in the first place.  
      You mean why I separated them in the first place. Your one and only thread before I came up with that division says nothing about authority (other than to mention how it's not applicable in relation to something about proprietorship).

      In fact I was laboring under the idea that you did not accept the distinction at all. I cannot see in that original post where you do any such thing as talk about authority. You merely say how you apportion credibility in Scattershot. Which is just an example of what all rules systems do. Looking at any post prior to this, I cannot see any point at which you even jumped on this bandwagon.

      You say at one point that we are mangling Vincents original meaning. And you are right, we are. That's the whole point. We do not agree that his model is complete. Which is why I suggested the Authority/Credibility split. Authority being what agent has power derived from the participants, and Credibility being the willingness of the participants to accept a particular decision made by any agent at the moment it's made.

      And that is the model that I think works best. Because it does simplify things. Otherwise we have to make all these other rather artificial distinctions about what constitutes a "statement", etc. The model that I refer to says that communications occur as part of creating a shared imaginative experience, and the extent to which any agent has teh ability to alter it is the extent to which it's communication is accepted or Credible. And that statements tend to be more Credible when they are made by an agent that's been invested with authority.

      In such a model, the players can give authority to the system ("Hey, let's play D&D") and the system can give autority to the players ("The DM is the final arbiter"). The system can make Credible communication to the players ("Druids are Neutral") and players can make Credible statments ("Johan walks to the door"). Note there is no effective difference in this model between system and human participants. Which makes it simple.

      Otherwise you have to constuct that the system is not making "statements" and that as such it is not Credible, all of which gets me nowhere. Because in addition to being more complicated, it means that I am now not allowed to speak about how the system affects play directly. I cannot using your model say that the system informs the players that they should be about killing things. I have to say that they system has authority to give credibility to players only such certain things that they are thereby informed that the game is about killing things. Which seems like a long way to go to say the same thing, and is confusing.

      How is my model confusing? Do you think that people are going to mistake systems for humans? ;-)

      Mike


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: Mark D. Eddy on October 09, 2002, 09:19:52 AM
      Quote from: lumpley
      The topic here is, to paraphrase my original points:

      - Nothing's true in the game until a. a player says it and b. all the players agree that it's true.
      - System, mechanics, GMs and so on are all just ways to get the players to all agree that things are true.

      If you want to refute those, stick around, and come up with some good examples.

      -Vincent


      OK... Here's a refute for the 'a' portion of your first point. And it will hold, unless you claim that the system is a player. In a game of GURPS Traveler, the rules say that a Vargr is a canid of a height of roughly 5'6". So Vargr exist in a game of GURPS Traveller, whether the players talk about it or not. A similar premise holds true for  "Grandfather" in the same setting. All the players (especially in my game) know that "Grandfather" is out there, doing whatever project has caught his attention, but it's never come up in my game.

      I suppose I'm arguing that setting has its own credibility. Genre Expectations (a la Scattershot) have their own credibility as well.


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: Mike Holmes on October 09, 2002, 09:31:12 AM
      Mark,

      My bet is that the other side will claim that there is an implicit statement amongst the players that agreeing to playing Traveller means agreeing that all the information in the sourcebooks is true. And that as such only upon utterance of said statement implicit in the agreement to play Traveller, that this is where the "player said" comes in.

      But I'm on you're side. That seems a long way to go just so that we can say that the text is not an agent in determining in-game truth. Good example.

      Mike


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: contracycle on October 09, 2002, 09:32:56 AM
      Quote from: Mark D. Eddy
      In a game of GURPS Traveler, the rules say that a Vargr is a canid of a height of roughly 5'6". So Vargr exist in a game of GURPS Traveller, whether the players talk about it or not.


      I disagree.  The players may choose to talk about it and agree that Vargr do not in fact exist.  This would not alter their independant existance in a physical product - but it would alter their existance in an actual game.

      I think the as-writ rules have a "default" credibility; but it can easily be overuled by the participants.  at may be that such a decision by one group would lower their credibility in the eyes of other Traveler players, though.


      Title: Whoops
      Post by: Le Joueur on October 09, 2002, 10:05:09 AM
      Quote from: Mike Holmes
      Quote from: Le Joueur
      That is Authority, but not a 'statement' from my perspective.  That's why I separated Authority from Credibility in the first place.

      You mean why I separated them in the first place.

      That's absolutely right.  My poorly phrased comment was supposed to be read as "That's why I separated Authority from Credibility, for myself, originally."  I had no intention of claiming ownership of the act of separation, in fact I originally posted "mangled Vincent's terminology" in support of your idea of the separation (which seemed to be getting lost).

      Later when Vincent posted, "I'd like to adopt Fang's use of Authority and Credibility." I felt that I needed to make a clear statement about what that was.  You'll note any differences between your and my splits have only become obvious recently.

      Quote from: Mike Holmes
      I suggested the Authority/Credibility split. Authority being what agent has power derived from the participants, and Credibility being the willingness of the participants to accept a particular decision made by any agent at the moment it's made.

      And I took up the banner (I thought) but later came to express it differently.  Authority is the power (derived from wherever), not the agent, that grants Credibility to the statements of the players.  Credibility is the 'truth value' of these statements in the game world.

      I can see how you believe that Authority is held by an agent, but I don't think that distinction is even necessary.  I agree that ultimately Authority 'goes from' the participants, but the only 'destination' that seems important is the Credibility of the statements.  Introducing an agent to wield this power only complicates matters because there doesn't seem to be a way to agree on what form that agent takes; I say, 'skip the middle.'  It starts at the players and (by mutual agreement) ends at their statements.

      I don't think Credibility is the willingness, but [/i]the result[/i] of the willingness of the participants.  Because you're willing to believe, I have Credibility.  Like I said, power from the participants to their statements; no agent needs be conceptualized.  Otherwise an agent must be invoked for each statement, if only tacitly; "I get up," rules consulted, "okay."  I say the agent is the maker of the statement and the Authority passes Credibility to them implicitly, without interference.

      You consider the rules a 'fifth player' at the table.  That's just two ways to consider the same terminology.  A perfect place to have our disagreement, non?

      Fang Langford


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: lumpley on October 09, 2002, 10:13:12 AM
      Mark,

      Nice.  Excellent example.

      So that leaves us, as far as I'm concerned, with:

      - Nothing's true in the game until all the players agree that it's true.
      - System, mechanics, GMs and so on are all just ways to get the players to all agree that things are true.

      In removing a. from my first point I've implicitly added:
      - The game (meaning System, Setting, Situation, Color, Character) can make assertions, which the players then may or may not make true by their assent.

      Cool with everybody?

      Some of you have been saying this all along.  I wasn't convinced until Mark's example.

      -Vincent


      Title: Re: Whoops
      Post by: Mike Holmes on October 09, 2002, 11:10:44 AM
      Quote from: Le Joueur
      I don't think Credibility is the willingness, but [/i]the result[/i] of the willingness of the participants.  Because you're willing to believe, I have Credibility.  Like I said, power from the participants to their statements; no agent needs be conceptualized.  Otherwise an agent must be invoked for each statement, if only tacitly; "I get up," rules consulted, "okay."  I say the agent is the maker of the statement and the Authority passes Credibility to them implicitly, without interference.

      Yep.

      Right after I wrote that, I realized that it is the fact that is created consensually that's important.

      Anyhow, I think that an important idea is that these things are a sort of currency of transaction in RPGs. That is, if I violate my authority and make a statement about something that oversteps those bounds somehow, then the Credibility of the statment can be nil. For example, as a player in a game in which there exists the "traditional" GM/Player power split as authority, and I say something like, "I find a +10 Sword of Death!" That statement may have no credibility at all. As I have not been given authority to give my character such an item. Further, I can make statements of such abuse of authority that I lose authority. For example, if I am reading my dice close up, and cheat, and I am discovered, I may then be reqired to roll where all can see. My authority to roll and interperet said roll away from the table has been lost.

      A lot of dysfunction can be described using this theory, I think. Railroading comes to mind as a case where the GM may be abusing his authority to make decisions for the PCs either openly or using poor Illusionism technique, etc. The GM is still being given authority despite the fact that the players resent having their authority taken from them.

      Classic example, player, "I run for it!"
      GM, "If you do you'll probably die from getting shot by crossbowmen that suddenly pop up all over; they look high level."
      Player, "OK, I submit."

      The player's credibility here to make the first statement has been challenged by the GM who has used his authority to create in director stance (as it were), abusively to make a reduction in that credibility.

      There, is that the sort of analysis that this model is desingend for? I hope so, because it seems a powerful tool here. In the example, one could speak to solutions that reapportioned authority, etc. Cool?

      Mike


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: Mark D. Eddy on October 09, 2002, 11:31:09 AM
      Note: Quote edited for relevance to my next point.
      Quote from: lumpley


      - Nothing's true in the game until all the players agree that it's true.
      - System, mechanics, GMs and so on are all just ways to get the players to all agree that things are true.

      In removing a. from my first point I've implicitly added:
      - The game (meaning System, Setting, Situation, Color, Character) can make assertions, which the players then may or may not make true by their assent.

      Cool with everybody?


      -Vincent


      I'm unable to put a finger on it, but it feels like there may be an implicit statement that "the GM is not a Player" in your two premises. Is this your intent? If so, then I may have more problems with your thesis. Otherwise, I'm happy.

      If you are claiming that the game master is *not* also a player, it leads, by reductio ad absurdum, to the argument that something in a game exists if the players all agree, even if the GM does not, and I don't believe you have argued this point.


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: lumpley on October 09, 2002, 11:32:59 AM
      Oh no.  The GM is most definitely a player.

      -Vincent


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: Valamir on October 09, 2002, 11:38:33 AM
      Quote from: Mark D. Eddy
      Note: Quote edited for relevance to my next point.
      Quote from: lumpley


      - System, mechanics, GMs and so on


      I'm unable to put a finger on it, but it feels like there may be an implicit statement that "the GM is not a Player" in your two premises.


      I believe that "GMs" in the above quote is short for "special powers awarded to the player who's selected at the GM"


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: Mark D. Eddy on October 09, 2002, 11:41:47 AM
      Quote from: contracycle
      Quote from: Mark D. Eddy
      In a game of GURPS Traveler, the rules say that a Vargr is a canid of a height of roughly 5'6". So Vargr exist in a game of GURPS Traveller, whether the players talk about it or not.


      I disagree.  The players may choose to talk about it and agree that Vargr do not in fact exist.  This would not alter their independant existance in a physical product - but it would alter their existance in an actual game.

      I think the as-writ rules have a "default" credibility; but it can easily be overuled by the participants.  at may be that such a decision by one group would lower their credibility in the eyes of other Traveler players, though.


      This is an argumentative fallacy. I was refuting the statement "Nothing exists in a game unless a player says it." I was not making any speculation on the rest of Vincent's argument. I concede that "whether the players talk about it or not" is somewhat confusing -- I should have been more clear that the talk I was thinking of was not a deliberate choice to leave something out.


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: Mark D. Eddy on October 09, 2002, 11:49:33 AM
      Quote from: lumpley
      Oh no.  The GM is most definitely a player.

      -Vincent


      Thank you. I was hoping as much, but I wanted to point out a potential flaw and have it stomped on quickly. Might I suggest, as a less confusing phraseology:

      - System, mechanics, GM powers, and so on, are all just ways to get the players to all agree that things are true.

      This will quell the only remaining concern I had about your premise.


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: lumpley on October 09, 2002, 12:11:19 PM
      "Having a GM" is my preference.

      - System, mechanics, having a GM, and so on, are all just ways to get the players to all agree that things are true.

      But WHOO!  Are we there?

      -Vincent


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: Valamir on October 09, 2002, 12:19:30 PM
      So are you going to write this up as an article now?


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: Mike Holmes on October 09, 2002, 12:46:05 PM
      BTW, in order to avoid confusion I adopt Ron's phraseology when it comes to defining some of hese terms. Namely I say that an RPG has participants some of whom may be GMs and some of whom may be players. This also just happens to work with the Finnish paper's intrerperetation.

      I highly suggestadopting said terminology when discussing things on this level.

      I included agent to mean any thing that affects the game in any way. Might be useful; not sure yet.

      Mike


      Title: Vincent's Standard Rant: Power, Credibility and Assent
      Post by: Mark D. Eddy on October 09, 2002, 01:19:55 PM
      I'm happy.

         --Mark Eddy