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Archive => RPG Theory => Topic started by: Jonathan Walton on November 08, 2002, 03:55:16 PM



Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on November 08, 2002, 03:55:16 PM
Okay, let me go ahead and answer my own question:

"Nothing, if it's what you want."

My point is that I think Pawn Stance has gotten a bad rap.  First of all, it has a slightly demeaning name, and one that is out of synch with the terminology of the other Stances.  Actor, Author, and Director all describe what the player becomes when they take a specific Stance, but Pawn describes what the character becomes: a tool for the player's will.  What is Pawn Stance but the character becoming an avatar of the player?

I was thinking recently of games where the player plays his/herself (specifically, Storypunk & The GM is Dead, my two current projects) and how they fit into the whole stance scheme.  This would seem to be a specific kind of Pawn Stance except there's not even the layer of removal of having the PCs be other people.  Then again, there's a fine line dividing that kind brand of Pawn Stance and Director Stance, depending on how much control the avatar is given over the game itself.  

For instance, at certain points in The GM is Dead, the players play themselves in a kind of real-life LARP, interacting and discussing what's going on in the game (this OOC discussion is absolutely essential and can still be considered part of the game).  However, the conversation simply improves their understanding and has no real effect on in-game events.

On the other hand, Storypunk gives the avatars massive control over the game world.  Imagine Universalis, except the manipulating forces are not the players but their avatars within the game world.  So, Jill's character (who's named Jill, acts like Jill, and even looks like Jill) walks through the countryside to find a good place for a castle, and then creates one, along with all the characters, objects, intrigue, and ramifications that entails.

Is this just constantly switching back and forth between Pawn and Director Stance?  I suppose it could be, but that seems a messy way of describing it.  Any better thoughts?

Later.
Jonathan


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: MK Snyder on November 08, 2002, 05:48:05 PM
You're right; Pawn Stance doesn't have parallel terminology.

What about Puppeteer Stance?


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: MK Snyder on November 08, 2002, 05:49:25 PM
"On the other hand, Storypunk gives the avatars massive control over the game world. Imagine Universalis, except the manipulating forces are not the players but their avatars within the game world. So, Jill's character (who's named Jill, acts like Jill, and even looks like Jill) walks through the countryside to find a good place for a castle, and then creates one, along with all the characters, objects, intrigue, and ramifications that entails. "

Suggestion: God Stance


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on November 08, 2002, 06:27:42 PM
Quote from: MK Snyder
You're right; Pawn Stance doesn't have parallel terminology.

What about Puppeteer Stance?


That certainly has better connotations, i.e. that the player is taking on the role of a removed puppeteer and not becoming the pawn of his/her character (which is what "Pawn Stance" sounds like, when placed alongside the rest).

I also think it needs to be recognised that Author Stance isn't necessarily the "default."  In Ron's GNS essay, it makes it sound like Pawn Stance is a secondary, lesser part of Author Stance, when really they're just two sides of the same coin.  In fact, in many cases, I might prefer the "honesty" of Pawn Stance rather than the "retconn-the-character's-motivations" of Author Stance.  Why would you necessarily want to pretend that the character is not an avatar of the player if that's what's obviously going on?  In many cases, that illusion is desirable, but, in just as many cases, it's superfluous.

Quote
Suggestion: God Stance


Hmm... Nice suggestion, but I don't think we necessarily need to come up with a new Stance for every single permutation that exists.  I think Pawn/Puppeteer Stance is different enough from Author Stance that it deserves seperate classification, but "God Stance" is basically just an embodied form of Director Stance.  And there's nothing about Author/Puppeteer or Director Stance, I suppose, that says that the player can't have an avatar in the game.  In fact, Author/Puppeteer Stance requires an avatar.

The difference here, though, is that Director Stance has historically been used seperately from characters or avatars.  There are a few games (though I can't think of any specific ones right now, except Agone) that have had the GM take on a semi-IC role as "god" or "all-powerful ruler" of the game world, but this has mostly been underempasized.  I guess I would just be pushing this further by using this kind of IC-GM structure as the default player role.

Thoughts?

Later.
Jonathan


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on November 08, 2002, 08:55:58 PM
I'm continuing with these ideas in a new thread in "GNS Discussion."

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4199

Come join the fun.

Later.
Jonathan


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on November 09, 2002, 09:30:43 AM
I suppose that Pawn Stance get a bad rap because it does not require a certain anount of limitation on what can be done in it usually in justifying character actions with the confines of how the character has already been defined, including actions and/or personal breakthroughs that redefine the character.

For a character who normally wouldn't to, say, kill someone in Author stance, just to use an admittedly lame example, this action must somehow be justified, usually through a series of events where it becomes believable that the character would go against their nature to take a life. In Pawn stance, the character can simply kill someone without ever having a reason. This feels more artificial and it probably why Pawn Stance is looked down on in a way.

But, this is a poor example because it's using Pawn Stance in a situation that clearly is better suited to Author Stance (possibly even Actor Stance)

Also, it seems that for Pawn Stance to work, attention to who the character is is barely touched upon because it is not important. The character is a vehicle for the player to experience and interact with the game. Nothing more. We don't care what they had for breakfast or if they love their mothers. So to make Pawn Stance really shine, you need a game that takes full advantage of this and brings it forward while not bothering with the other stuff that really isn't important.

Or such is my take on it.


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Christoffer Lernö on November 09, 2002, 09:41:35 AM
Hmm... pawn stance immediately makes me think of those guys who were playing to win. You know the typical GNS conflict thingie with people prioritizing different things. The people more into winning the game usually played pawn stance to optimize their advantages in the game, which made it difficult for others to use Actor Stance.

However in a functional group then Pawn stance doesn't really have a problem. It's just that a lot of people associate Pawn stance with dysfunctional play since it came natural to those players prioritizing Gamist play that always were unable and/or unwilling to shift into other stances or priorities to accomodate the needs of other players. :)

My take anyway.


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on November 09, 2002, 10:52:35 AM
Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
Also, it seems that for Pawn Stance to work, attention to who the character is is barely touched upon because it is not important. The character is a vehicle for the player to experience and interact with the game. Nothing more.
Quote from: Pale Fire
...it came natural to those players prioritizing Gamist play...


Exactly.  But this needn't necessarily be associated with particular kinds of play.  Sure, Pawn Stance may seem ready-made for Gamist play, but that's not the full extent of what you could do with it.

Narrative Pawn Stance -- the players' avatars build themes in the game world, based on their own personalities and desires, while careful to keep within the boundaries of the social contract, making sure not to alow resentment to build up between players.

Simulationist Pawn Stance -- the player's avatars explore the artificial world around them, doing whatever they feel like, not limited by the restraints of "keeping IC."  They could even play themselves, trapped within this fantastic setting.

Later.
Jonathan


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Christoffer Lernö on November 09, 2002, 11:12:54 AM
Certainly Jonathan, I'm not disagreeing with you.
And the game you're working on is certainly a good canidate for pawn stance play.


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 09, 2002, 02:46:28 PM
Hi Jonathan,

Three points ...

1) I didn't originate the term Pawn stance; it came from the original Stance discussions.

2 I like your idea of S-Pawn and N-Pawn. It works for me as something that can apply to all three stances, just as the concept of "vanilla" can apply to all three modes.

3) I guess I always find thread titles and topics like this very difficult to deal with. Since there isn't any text in my essay or (as I recall) any whatsoever on the forums that state, "Pawn stance is flawed or limited or retarded," I dunno what to say to a claim that "Pawn stance gets a bad rap."

Best,
Ron


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on November 09, 2002, 03:04:03 PM
Hey Ron,

Despite all the flak you've been getting recently, this thread wasn't really aimed at you in particular.  I already guessed that the term "Pawn Stance" was something that developed later (seeing how it's inserted into the GNS Essay), and I didn't mean that you had anything personally against it.

My point was that Pawn Stance seems to have gotten a bad rap in the minds of many of game designers here.  I was reacting to comments like "well, if you did that, it would basically be Pawn Stance, so let's try something else."  I apologize if that message got lost.  Please don't take it personally.  I'm just busy working on two games that heavily utilize Pawn Stance and am discovering how cool it is.  I wanted to share the fun.

To prempt any other bad feelings, my thread "The Case for 4 Stances" on the GNS Forum isn't aimed at you either.  It's not "Ron's GNS Theory is flawed" but "here's a cool way of looking at stances that gives you 4 possibilities."

Later.
Jonathan


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 10, 2002, 06:27:31 PM
Hi Jonathan,

Bad feelings, schmad feelings. Nothing of the sort, dude. None of this is rooted in a sense of injury.

My only concern is finding some documentation for your observation. Can you point to a thread or two?

Best,
Ron


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on November 11, 2002, 09:05:07 AM
Sure,

Part of my feelings, I guess, came from the first page of this thread, which seemed to associate Pawn Stance with a Gamist-style mindset.  Basically, there isn't really much literal "role-playing" going on with Pawn Stance (or Director Stance or Author Stance, for that matter), because the player is acting completely divorced from the character that they are supposedly playing.  But I balked at the idea that player desires were necessarily selfish or involved the use of special OOC-knowledge, which seemed to be what the examples were implying.  Sure, I suppose the people involved in that discussion weren't saying, I don't think, that Pawn Stance was bad, but the type of play that they were attaching it to doesn't seem to be the type that gets supported much in Forge-designed games.

I am also basically objecting to the whole Author/Pawn distinction as rather artificial.  In my mind, Pawn Stance is basically a nicer term for what has been historically dubbed "acting OOC" and Author Stance is merely "acting OOC but covering it up well."  Again, historically, Author Stance has been preferred to Pawn Stance because it keeps up the illusion that there is real "role-playing" going on, instead of players simply doing whatever they want.  But, these days, when "roleplaying" has come to mean a great deal more than "playing roles," is the illusion of Author Stance really more desirable?  Really, the only "playing roles" that gets done is in Actor Stance or God Stance (basically, Director Stance with a character), and God Stance is currently very, very rare.

Why is Author Stance, then, one of the Big 3, and Pawn Stance a secondary thing? (this is more philosophical, I know that the concept of Pawn Stance developed later).  I suppose I feel that Author Stance should mean what "Pawn Stance" currently does, and that we need a new term for pretending to act IC when using Author Stance.

So that's where this is coming from.  Does that help any?

Later.
Jonathan


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 11, 2002, 09:34:52 AM
Hi there,

Yes, I see where you're coming from, although I think you're confounding a theoretical question ("How does Pawn relate to all three 'main' stances") with a feelings/values one, and a very squishy one at that ("Why does Pawn stance get a bad rap"). We'd do well to abandon the latter entirely, I think, aside from quickly and easily saying, "Comments which imply a wrongness to Pawn stance are not of interest," except when they pertain to explicit game-design or play goals that would rule it out.

You wrote,
"In my mind, Pawn Stance is basically a nicer term for what has been historically dubbed 'acting OOC' and Author Stance is merely 'acting OOC but covering it up well.'"

I don't see why this is controversial or even especially interesting. It seems like a perfectly reasonable summary to me, with two exceptions.

1) The term "merely" is (as usual, like "just") playing a huge judgmental role in the sentence.

2) "Covering it up well" is perhaps more of a central artistic aim than you are giving it credit for - it is, essentially, how any author manages to draw in and engage any audience member, rather than see his or her work rejected as contrived.

Given that Pawn stance clearly exists as a graded extreme of Author stance (and vice versa), and given that Author stance (again, with its partner Pawn) can be turned to any metagame goal whatsoever, I'm still not sure that I'm seeing your question.

Best,
Ron

P.S. For purposes of this thread, I'm putting aside the "four stances" quesion.


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Paul Czege on November 11, 2002, 09:48:16 AM
Hey Jonathan,

Really, the only "playing roles" that gets done is in Actor Stance or God Stance (basically, Director Stance with a character), and God Stance is currently very, very rare.

I think I disagree. A player brings just as much subjectivity, bias, advocacy, and investment in personal character to Author stance as he does Actor stance. Real people "Author" themselves all the time without dissolving into dissociative personality disorder. "The problem isn't that I'm a poor judge of character. The problem is that I love too much!"  Any guy who's ever hung around the known stomping grounds of an attractive woman, hoping to have a "chance" meeting, is authoring himself. Anyone who's ever rehearsed a conversation with an authority figure, reworking and revising arguments in response to the other person's imagined retorts is authoring himself. The only difference is that in-game Author Stance features a higher degree of control over circumstance.

Paul


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on November 11, 2002, 10:02:05 AM
Quote
"Covering it up well" is perhaps more of a central artistic aim than you are giving it credit for - it is, essentially, how any author manages to draw in and engage any audience member, rather than see his or her work rejected as contrived.


I guess that's my real question then: why is there the continuing need to "cover up" Pawn Stance, turning it into Author Stance?

(You're right in that I was compounding various questions, but perhaps this is the thing that was really bothering me.)

I see your point about Author/Pawn being two extremes, but I guess I'm having trouble seeing the real artistic value in Author Stance.  Couldn't you get the same results by having players switch between Actor and Pawn Stance?  Author just seems to be the product of, excuse my value judgment here, decades of "bad role-playing."  By this, I don't mean the players were acting inappropriately, but that they were trying to do things that weren't supported by the old definition of role-playing and invented the Pawn-Actor hybrid called Author Stance to allow them to keep playing that way.

For example, most published games verbally encourage players to stick to Actor Stance as much as possible, while the system (along with fairly standard GM tendencies) actually encourages them to take Pawn Stance, figuring out how to obtain the best rewards.  Author stance, then, developed as a way for players to take Pawn Stance while looking like they were still in Actor Stance.

It's this deception, which is at the core of what Author Stance is, that I have doubts about.  I'm not claiming that it has no purpose, but that I doubt it's essential to the vocabulary of modern game design.  I suppose that the illusion of Author Stance allows more Gamist players to play alongside more Narrativist or Simulationist players (including many GMs), but is that the only concrete use?

These questions are asked not because I think there're no answers, but because I'm truly interested in how other people view Author Stance, since I, myself, am at a loss.

Later.
Jonathan


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 11, 2002, 10:42:16 AM
Hi there,

Jonathan, I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that Author Stance is deceptive. Do you consider a novel's author deceptive because he contrives to have a character right on the other side of the wall as the conspirators conspire? Or that he contrives to have a fictional character fictionally born at all?

Perhaps it might be more helpful if you were to consider an example.

Bob is the player and Bartholemew is his character; Sam is another player and Sebastian is his character.

Sebastian and Bartholemew are sloshing knee-deep in the sewers below Paris. Bartholemew has a ring in his pocket, which happens to be Sebastian's ancestral Ring of Something; Bartholemew doesn't know the ring's identity (or that Sebastian is looking for it), and Sebastian doesn't know that Bartholemew has any ring at all. Sam and Bob are both fully aware of the situation.

The in-game events
Their lantern goes out.

Sebastian curses and digs in his pockets for a light source, finding nothing.
Bartholemew curses and digs in his pocket for a light source, finding ... a ring. He says, hold this for a second, and continues to rummage.

Sebastian holds the ring and feels it carefully, and struck by a horrible suspicion, slips it onto his finger.

The role-playing
Minor side issue? Who says the lights go out, the GM or one of the players? What passes among them, verbally or non-verbally, at that point? That's some Director stance to check out.

But back to Author stance. In this case, Sam says, "Hey Bob, I think it's time." They both grin.

Sam: "I look through my pockets and of course find nothing. [in-character] Merde!"

Bob: "I look through my pockets and pull out ... the ring! [in-character] Mon ami, hold this trifle so I don't drop it. Where did I put those matches ..."

Sam: "I'm holding the ring ... hey ... OK, this is really weirding Sebastian out. In a state of half-"no way" and half-"omiGod," he slips it on.

Greatly pleased with one another, they look at the GM.

Note #1: Do you see that in-character vs. out-of-character presentation is completely irrelevant? Both players are in Author stance throughout this scene.

Note #2: Do you see that player-to-character creativity regarding the characters' surprise is a major source of enjoying play, during this scene? That's the benefit of Author (non-Pawn) vs. Author (Pawn), which may be irrelevant to some, but can mean a world of difference to others.

Best,
Ron


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 11, 2002, 11:16:29 AM
Quote from: Jonathan Walton
I guess that's my real question then: why is there the continuing need to "cover up" Pawn Stance, turning it into Author Stance?


This is why every time I mention the definition of Author Stance, I also elucidate what Pawn Stance is. Not to say that it's a bastard child, but to say that it exists separately, and distinctly, and may be worth considering in, say, a design.

I've always thought that it should just be considered it's own separate thing, but have stuck with the original theory out of pure convention.

My use of the term "fails" in my definition in the one thread could be construed as being pejorative. This is probably my subconcious bias coming out (I even drift Gamist games by playing in Actor or at least Author stance; this includes wargames, BTW). But there is nothing a priori wrong with the mode, I suppose.

And as for the term, I think it's very apt. The player is moving the character with exactly the sorts of considerations as they would moving a pawn in a boardgame. The problem with Avatarism is that this can indicate Actor mode just as well. Perviously, however, someone sugested Token mode, though this would probably have the same negative connotations.

But this seems like a circular argument.
1. Pawn is a bad term because it describes the activity in a way that's not complimentary.
2. But the description is accurate. And it's not a negative thing to do.
3. So therefore the term is bad.

Well, either playing your character like a Pawn is good, in which case the term is good, or it's bad to play that way. Which is it?

Mike


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on November 11, 2002, 12:03:31 PM
Ron,

Your example helped me in several ways, but I still have a couple questions:

How is this clearly Author (non-Pawn) and not possibly Author (Pawn)?  I always thought the distiction between them was whether or not the motivation for the actions appeared to come from the characters.  Obviously, Sebation "accidentally" discovering the ring is something the players want to happen, but is the "accidental" nature of the incident what makes it Author Stance and not Pawn?  If it was Pawn Stance, would Bob's character just say something like, "Hey, Sebastian, check out this ring I found" without waiting for the appropriate circumstances?  What's the distinction here?

Mike,

I guess my main concern is not that the term is bad, but that it doesn't fit with the other terms.  What you want is a term that means "one-who-moves-pawns," because the stances are all action-oriented: "one-who-acts," "one-who-authors," "one-who-directs."  What it sounds like now is that the term means "one-who-is-a-pawn," as if the player gives up all control (i.e. Audience Stance).

Later.
Jonathan


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 11, 2002, 01:15:05 PM
Hi Jonathan,

With your permission, I'll break it down by your questions. I hope this is recognizable as not the typical/horrible line-by-line thing.

How is this clearly Author (non-Pawn) and not possibly Author (Pawn)? I always thought the distiction between them was whether or not the motivation for the actions appeared to come from the characters. Obviously, Sebation "accidentally" discovering the ring is something the players want to happen, but is the "accidental" nature of the incident what makes it Author Stance and not Pawn?

The character-motives in question strictly concern the characters looking for something to light their way in the darkness. Yes, these are used as a foil or circumstance in order to bring up the "ring thing" that both players are looking forward to. The characters are looking for a light source; their actions result in bringing the ring "into play." Since that set of motivations results in that action, that's the "motivation" step. You are confounding "motivation X" with "motivation for outcome/action X," when the two X's may be very different things.

If it was Pawn Stance, would Bob's character just say something like, "Hey, Sebastian, check out this ring I found" without waiting for the appropriate circumstances? What's the distinction here?

That's it. That's it exactly. The players and GM have effectively colluded (and in practice, often without much planning) to bring the maximally emotionally significant moment possible for Sebastian, as a character. There's an element of Character Exploration present which Pawn stance, by definition, is not concerned with.

[Big important point! You will notice that this phenomenon is independent of GNS mode. If they did so such that a Narrative Premise is thrown into high relief, then they are playing in a Narrativist/Character fashion; if they did so such that a "deep character moment" may be experienced by Sam, then they are playing in a Simulationist/Character fashion; and if they did so such that they are now empowered to cope with the threat which everyone knows is about to spring on them in the sewers (as a GM-driven challenge, as primary goal of play), then they are playing in a Gamist/Character fashion.]

Best,
Ron


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on November 11, 2002, 01:33:29 PM
Okay, I think I see where you're coming from, but one thing still remains:

If your example is Author (non-Pawn) because the players waited for the "right moment" instead of just using the ring whenever they felt like it, what does that say about the possibilities for using Pawn Stance in non-Gamist ways?  Is non-Gamist Pawn Stance still Pawn Stance?

For instance, if Bob wants his character to say "Hey Sebastian, check out this ring I found," but that doesn't fit with the Tone of the narrative, can't he wait for the proper time?  Is that Narrativist Pawn Stance or just Author Stance?  Likewise, if the players are wanting to explore the strange environment and Sebastian's discovery of the ring might make the character go somewhere else, couldn't Bob refrain from using the ring to support that Simulationist goal?

I guess I'm having trouble seeing the distiction between non-Gamist Pawn Stance and Author Stance.  Is there one?

Maybe the distiction is just:
-- waiting for a dramatic moment where Bob's character can say "hold this trinket for me" = Author Stance (non-Pawn)
-- waiting for a dramatic moment where Bob's character can say "take a look at this ring I found" = Pawn Stance (Nar/Sim)

Still, that doesn't seem exactly right to me.  Any help?

Later.
Jonathan


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 11, 2002, 02:38:51 PM
Hi Jonathan,

I'm kind of wondering why you're so wedded to the idea that Pawn = Gamism. It don't say that anywhere, except as a historical observation. Using Pawn Stance in non-Gamist ways is fine. Perfectly fine. I've said, over and over, that Stance shifts all over the place in normal play of any kind. I wouldn't be surprised if it were quite prevalent, proportionally speaking, in many sub-modes of Gamist play, but again, that's no reason to associate the two things as one-is-the-other or some such deal.

For instance, if Bob wants his character to say "Hey Sebastian, check out this ring I found," but that doesn't fit with the Tone of the narrative, can't he wait for the proper time? Is that Narrativist Pawn Stance or just Author Stance?

Plain old Author stance, if by "that" you are referring to Bob's decision not to initiate the Ring Scene yet.

Likewise, if the players are wanting to explore the strange environment and Sebastian's discovery of the ring might make the character go somewhere else, couldn't Bob refrain from using the ring to support that Simulationist goal?

(Wincing) "Wanting to explore the strange environment" is not necessarily a Simulationist goal. People often confound the term Exploration (which means "imagination") with "characters wandering about poking their snoots into stuff," but that's not correct at all. I could deal with this question a bit better if you were to pose a more definitional example of Simulationist play, but for now, I'll say, sure, that would be Author stance during Simulationist play. I can't seem to repeat it enough: any Stance may be found in any GNS mode of play. The connection between the two concepts seems to be a matter of proportion and timing.

I guess I'm having trouble seeing the distiction between non-Gamist Pawn Stance and Author Stance. Is there one?

Narrativist Pawn stance: Sam and Bob agree that Sebastian and Bartholemew hit the Rat-Lord Sewer Guy high and low, respectively, during the combat scene. Let's bear in mind that this combat scene is just stinking-full of Premise significance, and everyone at the table is into it as such. The two players don't bother to role-play (in or out of character) that the two characters are communicating to coordinate their attacks in an organized way. They just announce that that's what's happening, in an "I said so" way.

(Personal self-check opportunity for everyone! If you say, "But it's combat, so it's Gamist," you fail. You are condemned to read my essay. The horror!)

Your final distinction doesn't seem to be much of a distinction to me. My example above provides the distinction that makes the most sense to me: that in Pawn stance, no in-game justification is provided for the character's actions, which are manifestly expressing a player priority.

Best,
Ron


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on November 11, 2002, 04:50:45 PM
Hey Ron,

Don't worry, you can stop repeating that :)  I know that the Stances are independent of GNS, but you example was confusing me.  I think my problem was that I keep trying to determine whether specific actions are Gamist, Narrativist, or Simulationist and it's almost impossible to determine that out of context.

Still, I think I'm finally starting to understand the Author/Pawn distinction, which is good.  Give me a while to mull this all over and I'll see if I have any other questions.  Thanks a bunch for helping me out, though.

Later.
Jonathan


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Tim C Koppang on November 11, 2002, 08:48:31 PM
This may be a bit off topic, but I’ve always considered pawn stance to be some sort of deficient version of author stance.  Now I’m thinking that I may be wrong.  Why not, as Mike says above, just separate pawn stance from author stance and be done with it?  I’ve been talking to Jonathan about adding a 4th stance over in the GNS forum.  Should the fourth be pawn stance?


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 12, 2002, 07:51:03 AM
Hi Tim,

I think you're experiencing the same confoundment that Jonathan might have earlier, between these two things:

1) Pawn stance is (a) bad or (b) good.

2) Pawn stance is (a) a type of Author stance or (b) not a type of Author stance.

For some reason, people are having a personal epiphany about #1 ("Hey! Pawn stance isn't a sin!") and then trying to apply it to #2, which is not valid.

To be absolutely clear, my position is #1 (b) and #2 (a). Why do I take the #2 position? It goes to the definition - Author stance is basing character actions on decisions made by the player for metagame purposes (as opposed to Explorative ones). People are having a hard time seeing that the "in-game justification" is a form of including an Explorative element into the process, which is optional.

If you'd like, think of Pawn as the real or whole stance, and "Author" as an add-on. Either way makes no difference. Again, because people have been projecting #1 (a) into their reading of the essay, they are blinding themselves to what's really being said there.

Best,
Ron


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 12, 2002, 07:56:07 AM
Hi Tim,

I think you're experiencing the same confoundment that Jonathan might have earlier, between these two things:

1) Pawn stance is (a) bad or (b) good.

2) Pawn stance is (a) a type of Author stance or (b) not a type of Author stance.

For some reason, people are having a personal epiphany about #1 ("Hey! Pawn stance isn't a sin!") and then trying to apply it to #2, which is not valid.

To be absolutely clear, my position is #1 (b) and #2 (a). Why do I take the #2 position? It goes to the definition - Author stance is basing character actions on decisions made by the player for metagame purposes (as opposed to Explorative ones). People are having a hard time seeing that the "in-game justification" is a form of including an Explorative element into the process, which is optional.

If you'd like, think of Pawn as the real or whole stance, and "Author" as an add-on. Either way makes no difference. Again, because people have been projecting #1 (a) into their reading of the essay, they are blinding themselves to what's really being said there.

Best,
Ron


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: lumpley on November 12, 2002, 08:22:44 AM
Hey.

How come Pawn and Author have to be one a subset of the other?  Can't we just say:

2 possible rationales: in-game and metagame.

Pawn = metagame exclusively.

Actor = in-game exclusively.

Author = both.

I don't see why, in Author stance, one of the in-game or the metagame must "come first," and the other be retrofitted.

-Vincent


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 12, 2002, 08:53:28 AM
Vincent,

Head banging wall.

It's just like "species," OK? You don't have one kind of Homo sapiens, and then these "other" sub-sets which are some kind of lower forms. Once you have one subspecies, everything in the category is a subspecies, e.g. H. sapiens sapiens, H. sapiens neanderthalensis, H. sapiens heidelbergensis, and so on. There is no "plain" Homo sapiens, without a subspecies designator.

[To bio enthusiasts: Yes, I know controversy exists about this particular issue; get over it or contact me privately.]

Therefore the uber-category of Author is wholly composed of sub-category Author and sub-category Pawn, and nothing else. This is basic hierarchical thinking, including the duplication of terms; I never expected anyone to have trouble with it at this level.

Best,
Ron


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: lumpley on November 12, 2002, 08:55:49 AM
Oh.

Okay.

-Vincent


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Tim C Koppang on November 12, 2002, 09:06:52 AM
Ron,

Don’t interpret this as being difficult.  Sometimes I just like to summarize in my own words to make sure I understand the concept.

Author Stance – making decisions based on meta-game motivations

Author-Pawn Stance – making author stance decisions without concern for an explorative consistency

Author-Author Stance – making author stance decisions and then adding an explorative element (in-game justification for the action)

If this is correct (geez I hope so) then I must say that yes, your bio hierarchy explanation helped a bunch.  Thanks.


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: xiombarg on November 12, 2002, 09:13:23 AM
Quote from: fleetingGlow
Don’t interpret this as being difficult.  Sometimes I just like to summarize in my own words to make sure I understand the concept.

You know, it's days like this that I sometimes think we should just make up words to represent these concepts. To heck with "Author stance" or "Pawn stance" -- how about "Zigfurt stance"?

(yes, I'm kidding)


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 12, 2002, 09:18:49 AM
Hi Tim,

You got it.

Kirt, I hate to tell ya this, but this kind of terminology-construction and dialogue is the only way it's done clearly.

Best,
Ron


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on November 12, 2002, 09:28:27 AM
I understand how you use the terms, but I think there's oftentimes some confusion that comes up during regular discussion.

If I say "Author Stance" does that mean the meta-category "Author Stance" or the specific subset "Author-Author Stance"?  This is what reinforces the misconception of 1(a), that Pawn Stance is Author-Author Stance's inbred hick cousin (as opposed to being "Author-Pawn Stance").

I think part of the reason people want 2(b) is because that, at least, puts Author-Author and Author-Pawn on equal footing, even though it makes them two seperate stances.

So people's misconceptions are really arising just from the terminology and their natural insticts to rectify matters.  As Metallica says, sad but true.

Later.
Jonathan


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: xiombarg on November 12, 2002, 01:23:14 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Kirt, I hate to tell ya this, but this kind of terminology-construction and dialogue is the only way it's done clearly.

I know. That doesn't mean I can't poke fun at it. :)

Anyway, to try to add to this discussion, instead of talking about "substances", what about calling them "views" or "perspectives"? Then you could have "Author stance -- Pawn view" and "Author stance -- pure view" or somesuch.


Title: What's Wrong with Pawn Stance?
Post by: Tim C Koppang on November 12, 2002, 03:04:24 PM
Kirt,

You wrote, "Then you could have 'Author stance -- Pawn view' and 'Author stance -- pure view' or some such."

I'm not trying to start something, but calling something a pure view will run you into all sorts of connotation problems.  You'll have people thinking that the pure view is better, and it's not.

As to calling them sub-stances or perspectives or whatever—I think you are adding extra vocabulary that doesn't really clarify meaning.  To me at least, Author-Pawn stance and Author-Author stance is clear enough if I want to differentiate between the two.