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Archive => RPG Theory => Topic started by: Seth L. Blumberg on November 13, 2002, 11:09:59 AM



Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Seth L. Blumberg on November 13, 2002, 11:09:59 AM
Ron wants this taken to a separate thread; I comply. (Might could be that some splitting needs to be done on the parent thread.)

In this thread (http://indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4217), Ralph (Valamir) said:
Quote
I think you are continueing to confound Narrativism with three fold Dramatism. They are completely different concepts. I don't think its even possible to use Illusionism in a Narrativist environment.

Based on my own Actual Play, I have to disagree. Illusionism can be a highly functional technique for a Narrativist GM to accommodate players with differing GNS priorities.

I tend toward Narrativist play, while the players in the campaign I am currently GMing are mainly Simulationist (some focused on Character, some on Situation). In order to make the play experience satisfying for all of us, I routinely employ Illusionist techniques. Thus, I manipulate the players' decisions to cause them to address a theme, while the players are comfortable in the supposed purity of their Exploration.


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Valamir on November 13, 2002, 11:21:18 AM
Well, I'd have to say that what you are doing isn't Narrativist (note thats not saying that what you're doing isn't good/valid/fun/etc).

Narrativism is about player decision focusing on the narrativist premise.  If the player decisions are focusing on exploration of character and you're using slieght of hand to slip in a narrativist premise on them...by definition that can't be Narrativist.  This is similiar to the case where pure simulationist play just by sheer coincidence happens in the end to address a narrativist style premise.  

Now what you're describing may be an effective technique for enhancing what Walt has called Congruence...the ability for a single decision to meet more than one GNS goal at the same time and thus be accepted as a legitimate (i.e. non disruptive) decision by players focused on different GNS modes.  

But the overall "narrativist" / "simulationist" bent of the "instance of play" is not mixed.  At some point a decision will occur that is not and cannot be made to be congruent...at at that point, somebody's preference is being realized and somebody's isn't.


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: jburneko on November 13, 2002, 11:43:01 AM
This question interests me because I consider my own play to be a functional hybridization of Narrativism [Character-Premise] & Simulationism [Character & Situation Exploration].  So, I often think about what seperates these four cases.

1) Premise is addressed by accident.  NO ONE is conciously or actively addressing Premise but in hindsight clearly a Premise WAS adressed just not deliberately.

2) Premise is being conciously addressed but only on one side of the table.  I think if that addressing is on the Players' side, you get dysfunction.  However, if the GM, is consistently insuring that the presentation of Situation and NPC-Character interactions all essencially raise permutations of the question stated in a Premise but the players are ONLY actually addressing the Situation and Characters (not conciously acknowledging the Premise they embody) then I think this quite functional.  But what is it?  

Note: In ths style fo play the GM is only rasing questions (the Premise) via presentation of Situation and choice Character interactions.  He is NOT predetermining the PCs reactions to them.  Therefore, because the Situation/Character interactions present Premise the players MUST address the Premise because they must make a decision regarding the given state of game affairs even if they are not conciously thinking of it in terms of Premise but only as a Situation to be resolved/dealt with.

3) Partial two sidded addressing of Premise.  That is the GM and SOME of the players are adressing Premise.  I think this is where my group is.  This is effectively, a subset of #2 and is included only for completeness.

4) Full on Narrativist play.  EVERYONE at the table is conciously addressing and discussing Premise in and out of game and so on.

Just wondering.

Jesse


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 13, 2002, 01:04:30 PM
Yes, Jesse, that's it. Number 2 is exactly the important question. The Conventional answer is that it's Simulationist play that ends up addressing a premise. Which isn't Narrativism as Narrativism requires intentional adressing of the premise.

But this is as close to the "Impossible Thing" as one can get, and the exact sort of play I espouse. Essesntially where one cannot tell if the players are intentionally or unintentionally addressing the premise, but theme is created anyhow.

#1 is not Narrativism either. This is the classic "accidental story". Surreptitious, but not satisfactory to a player looking for Narrativism per se.

In any case, I've tried to demonstrate how one can use Illusionism to promote a Narrativist response in players. One uses it to maneuver naturalistically to introduce interesting Bangs. This is very much what Ron advocates but with a slight difference. He actually advocates a much more Overt use in most cases. That is, the way that Ron leads players to Bangs is more Participationist. Narrativist players accept things like radical scene framing so that they can get to the Narrativist decision. That's the point where both he and I turn down the "Force" dial to near zero, and let the player author the plot.

Does that make sense? It's useful precisely because you can transition your Illusionist dials as quickly as a player can change Stance.

Mike


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Marco on November 13, 2002, 01:08:46 PM
I think it hinges on the definition of Illusionism.

If part of the definition is "taking away power from the players" and part of the definition of Narrativism is "not taking any of the power away from the players" then, hey, what do you know? The answer's clear.

If the definition of Illusionism is the GM chaning things behind the scenes to suit his idea of a story then it isn't necessiarly in conflict (note I didn't say "forcing his idea of a story" or "changing things to remove player empowerment").

If the Narrativist player *ever* asks the GM what's in a room--and the GM decides what's there based on what s/he thinks would be good for the story rather than a) what s/he had already decided was there or b) what s/he thinks would "logically" be there--then, IMO, it's Illusionism assuming that either of the other two possibilities would have produced a different answer.

Since the player, even in a Narrativist game, can't know that the GM is doing that, then it'll work.

NOTE: I see Illusionism as a practice of creating an illusion of perfectly logical non-story driven world, when, in fact, the reality is in flux as the GM makes decisions about the reality to fit his idea of the dramatic.  I don't see Ron's "GM-Oomph" as part of the deal.

But I really see this as boiling down to battling definitions (Note, I have to agree with Valamir about one thing: if the players aren't consciously engaged in Narrativist play then I don't think you can say it's Narrativist--the whole idea of Narrativist play is that the actions taken consciously address a Premise).

-Marco


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Walt Freitag on November 13, 2002, 01:28:43 PM
Put me down as another who's played extensively this way (Number 2, that is... uh, can we get another name for it before it becomes forever known as "Number 2" by default?) and advocates such play. I've written about it extensively before, so I'm not going to add any descriptive accounts here.

Narrativism is about player decision focusing on the Narrativist premise... but I believe in this statement, the usage of "player" must include the GM, so there's at least one player doing so. And Jesse has a good point about the GM using force to set up player decisions that "force" the players to address an intended Premise, so there you have players focusing on the Narrativist premise, at least occasionally.

To that I'll add that "The Phantom Premise" often discussed in various older threads is also likely to arise in these sorts of circumstance. If a GM is using force to set up situations in which the players must face "interesting" decisions, there's a darned good chance that a closer analysis of what makes those decisions "interesting" will reveal a Premise driving them, even if not even the GM was thinking in those terms. Might this describe, perhaps, the farthest "vanilla" extreme of vanilla Narr?

- Walt


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 13, 2002, 02:05:21 PM
Quote from: wfreitag
Might this describe, perhaps, the farthest "vanilla" extreme of vanilla Narr?


I'd say so, Walt.

Marco, I mostly agree; Illusionist technique ranges widely in use, IMO, and as such I can sorta see the application here. But I'd say that the question is not for what mode he made the decision to change the room, but whether he did so in a manner meant to be seen as though it were, in fact, objective fact. That is, if I say, "Hmm, you know what would be cool? If there were a magic box here. Hey, you see a magic box." That's not Illusionism particularly as it's pretty Overt. But, yes, this is an example of how Illusionist technique can be used in Narrativism.

Is anyone else feeling rather enlightened today? :-)

I'd be willing to accept as a clarification, the idea of separating the ideas of Illusionist Technique, and Illusionism. The former would indicate such techniques as used to support any sort of game, and the latter would be that form of GMing style that relies heavily on Illusionist Technique to specifically achieve the goal of creating story whilst giving the players the Illusion of freedom (Forceful, Covert, and mostly Consensual, but can be either Flexible or Inflexible). And fairly constant (oops, I think I'm trying to sneak a fifth one in).

This is a form that decidedly promotes Sim play, IMO. Illusionist Technique, however, applied here and there is not neccessarily a Sim thing.

Does that make sense?

Mike


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Seth L. Blumberg on November 13, 2002, 02:07:05 PM
Quote from: Ralph
Narrativism is about player decision focusing on the narrativist premise. If the player decisions are focusing on exploration of character and you're using slieght of hand to slip in a narrativist premise on them...by definition that can't be Narrativist.

The GNS theory treats GMs and players equally. Everyone at the table is a "player" and has a mode of play. If I am making decisions based on the desire to address the Premise, then I am playing in a Narrativist mode. The fact that the other players are in a Simulationist mode has no bearing.

Nothing says that all the players have to be in the same mode. In this case, Illusionism (and the System-privileged position of the GM) is the only thing that keeps the clash of modes from becoming dysfunctional.

Quote from: Jesse
Premise is being conciously addressed but only on one side of the table. I think if that addressing is on the Players' side, you get dysfunction. However, if the GM, is consistently insuring that the presentation of Situation and NPC-Character interactions all essencially raise permutations of the question stated in a Premise but the players are ONLY actually addressing the Situation and Characters (not conciously acknowledging the Premise they embody) then I think this quite functional.

That's what's going on in my game.

Suggested term for this: "Narrativist GMing."

Quote from: Marco
NOTE: I see Illusionism as a practice of creating an illusion of perfectly logical non-story driven world, when, in fact, the reality is in flux as the GM makes decisions about the reality to fit his idea of the dramatic. I don't see Ron's "GM-Oomph" as part of the deal.

That's a fascinating definition of the word "Illusionism." Alas, it is not the one we are using in this discussion.

Quote from: Walt
Narrativism is about player decision focusing on the Narrativist premise... but I believe in this statement, the usage of "player" must include the GM, so there's at least one player doing so.... Jesse has a good point about the GM using force to set up player decisions that "force" the players to address an intended Premise, so there you have players focusing on the Narrativist premise, at least occasionally.

With regard to the first part, that's precisely the interpretation of the theory that motivated my statement that I am playing in a Narrativist mode when I act as an Illusionist GM.

With regard to the second part...not really. What the Forceful GM can do is set up situations where the other players' decisions make a statement about the Premise. He can't force the players to make their decisions with that in mind--that would be deeply dysfunctional.


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 13, 2002, 02:37:22 PM
I think Marco's definition works fine as a goal of Illusionism. What it doesn't do is describe how you do it. But as an end result, I agree, that's the usual ideal.

Anyhow, Seth has some excellent points. I think there has long been a problem with the theory applying to the GM. That is, there is a notion that Narrativism implies that the GM cannot in any way prevent the other players from making Narrativist decisions. That makes the positions unequal. In fact, this seems true on the face of it. As GM's and players have different prerogatives, their methods must be different.

Hence I propose that we sever GMs from GNS. That is, GMs never make Narrativist decisions, but they can be said to make decisions designed to promote Narrativist response in the players. This would mean that Illusionism is play that intends to create story, but to also promote Simulationist play from the players. We could say that Narrativist is a shorthand for this sort of decision, but then there would have to be a notion that the term meant different things when referring to eithr players or GMs.

Certainly the GM becomes a player for all intents and purposes when he manipulates the decisions of an NPC, and for purposes of this discussion. Thus, a GM can make Narrativist decisions vis a vis NPCs for which he is making decisions.

Does that hold any water?

The other option is to go with Seth's definition. That any GM decision that addresses the Premise is Narrativist. That may be easier to understand, but may be confusing in that Ron's style of play would have to be redefined as one where the GM made decisions that promotes Narrativist play, and were, not therefore neccessarily Narrativst.

BTW, I've known that this problem has existed with the theory for a long while, and have just been waiting for it to come out. I think Ron's earlier dodge was to say that all "decisions by GMs that promote Narrativist response" and "Narrativist decisions" are the same thing. But I think we can see that they are not. :-)

Mike


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Walt Freitag on November 13, 2002, 03:14:02 PM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
Hence I propose that we sever GMs from GNS.


Hear, hear! OFF WITH ITS HEAD!!!!  :-)

Oh, but wait a minute... isn't that fatal? Uh, maybe we should think about this some more.

- Walt


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Seth L. Blumberg on November 15, 2002, 10:29:22 AM
Quote
Does that hold any water?

I think not.

As a GM, I have desires and priorities, and if the other players do not share those priorities, I may experience the game as dysfunctional. Thus, a set of play modes is needed to describe play activities carried on by the GM. Since GNS works perfectly well for this purpose, I see no reason to require a different set of modes to be invented.

Furthermore, Ron defines GNS modes in terms of player behavior, irrespective of in- or out-of-character actions. This is obviously just as applicable to the GM as to any other player.

Lastly, "degree of GM power" is a dial, not a switch. Different systems can spread the functions traditionally associated with one person labeled as "GM" to several people, or to the entire play group, in different ways. Thus, there is no obvious point at which to say "GNS stops here"--there's no neck to chop, as it were.


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 15, 2002, 01:45:34 PM
Seth is making a lot of sense.

If anybody hasn't noticed, if he's right, it contramands a lot of current theory.

Anybody want to challenge this?

Mike


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 15, 2002, 01:53:57 PM
Hi there,

Actually, I'm reading Seth's posts to confirm, support, and reinforce the (or rather, my) current theory. I'm not sure what you're talking about, Mike.

Best,
Ron


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 15, 2002, 02:34:18 PM
A GM playing Narrativist can support Sim play? That follows your current theory? Could you elaborate?

Mike


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 15, 2002, 03:08:02 PM
Hi Mike,

It's the atom thing again, as well as the Congruence thing, in a slightly different context.

Different participants in play can obviously be employing different GNS modes. As you know, I'm not especially impressed with most efforts in this direction, in terms of how well the play is sustained or enjoyed.

Illusionist techniques, it seems to me, are potentially used to increase Congruence (exactly as Walt described it), when the GM is more of a Narrativist than the other players, but must resort to keeping his metagame agenda covert to avoid annoying them.

While I think this is an observable and real group situation, I also think that it is rarely, if ever, stable. For the GM truly to play Narrativist, covertly, he or she must be making Premise-affecting decisions constantly, and coping with the input of all the other people, constantly. Very, very quickly, for simple cognitive survival, the GM begins to front-load plot events (i.e. Premise-resolving actions or events) or to assemble them post-play.

When that happens, he or she is no longer playing Narrativist either, but Exploring Situation, as far as actual play is concerned, and play has become wholly Simulationist, which, bluntly, is more reliable, and produces better stories than the Nar GM / Sim players / Congruent thing. I have observed this shift (in either direction) to occur in every instance of sustained Illusionist play I have participated in or seen, and that is one hell of a lot of play.

Best,
Ron


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 15, 2002, 03:33:23 PM
You've used that phrase that I've never been able to understand. "Assemble them post-play". What does that mean? Do you mean flexible influence? Or something else?

In any case, I would propose that Seth may be saying (I may misread him here) that front or end loading is Narrativist GMing. Because it is the GM addressing the premise. Do I read you incorrectly, Seth? He did say that Illusionism is what he's talking about (perhaps he meant Illusionist technique?). And Illusionism is one of the two, no? I thought that was the entire point of his original post above.

If we look at the style of play that you describe above, why do you think it's unstable. Is it only when the force being used is non-consensual? Or can there be a consensual form of this sort of play? And if so can it be stable?

I would ammend, now, that the style of play that sounds most interesting to me is that in which the GM plays in a Narrativist fashion using Illusion to obtain congruence such that players are encouraged to play equally in Sim or Nar mode, and where the participants are often unaware of which is being employed.

This is so close to El Dorado (AKA The Impossible Thing) that we might as well say that we were looking for the wrong El Dorado and make camp at this one.

As such I sure hope it can be made stable. Because I think that's how I'm playing my game with Josh.

Mike


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Christoffer Lernö on November 15, 2002, 11:40:10 PM
Mike, I totally agree with your division into illusionist techniques and illusionist games. I was keeping these "together" in my head which made it really hard to be able to express what I was talking about.

Ok further on...

At this point we seem to be discussing illusionist games where illusionist techniques are used to "glue together" participants of various types of GNS preferences (correct me if I'm wrong).

If I may chime in with an example, I played in a long campaign (Robotech) where the GM used this method.
As far as I can make out we had a singularily gamist player, one who was playing sim character. another into sim situation among others.
However, the way it was handled, everyone could game after game feel that their particular need were indeed fulfilled.

The GM, let's call him Robert, constantly found playing in others' games were disappointing. For him, GMing was the only time he could be sure he had fun. I seems obvious he was able to address a mode of play while GMing that he didn't get otherwise.

However, this play wasn't spontaneously effective and enjoyable for all.

Because Robert was rear-loading most of the story, the game worked best when it was "reacting" to player actions. If the players all sat down and waited "to be served" it started to tax the GM which had no direction on where the players "wanted to go" (and thus no clues from the players to insure that congruence was maintained).

I think there is a need for a certain basic congruence already present for it to really fly. It might simply be a technique to cement a congruence that is already present. If there is none present to begin with "it doesn't work".

In that sense it might be termed "unstable" since changing players might break down a successful play. Any player deciding to radically change mode of play might also destabilize things, especially in a small group.

Does that sound plausible?


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 16, 2002, 09:21:16 AM
Hi Mike,

There are a lot of interesting issues in this post.

ONE
Front-loading the story is not Narrativist play because GNS addresses actual play. Prep operates to reinforce different GNS modes and subsets, but it is not, itself, role-playing. If the GM front-loads the address-Premise decisions (which pre-fixes "the story" by any interpretation of the term), then by definition, play itself cannot address the Premise in a Narrativist fashion. The players will experience the GM's interpretation of the Premise, which prioritizes Exploration of Situation.

[I will debate with you about character generation and Director stance later. Wait for my Simulationism essay, please.]

TWO
By "assemble post-play," I am referring back to the original definition of Illusionism as described by Paul Elliott. A session occurs, and the GM sits down with everything that happened, and rearranges some of the details of the back-story, retroactively makes up some stuff that was happening behind the scenes during the session, and generally manages to make character decisions matter "after all." This is usually combined with in-play flexibility, but over time, I've observed that the post-play creativity tends to take over, such that whatever the characters do is pretty much going to "make sense" in story terms.

The usual reactions from players is to become very proud of the amazing story that they're generating, and for the GM to become quite proud of his Perfect Group. The only fly in the ointment is when someone who wants to play Narrativist shows up, and all of a sudden, you have (speaking in the local terms of this group) two GMs.

THREE
One point about Narrativist play that I think many people don't grasp easily (and to some extent applies to all GNS stuff) is that an "instance of play" can be a very long time. Corralling or moving or establishing stuff early in play can be pretty Sim or Illusionist looking, but if it's all setup among players and GM for the payoff Premise-addressing, then it's "timed Narrativism." It's a lot like what people have said about Stance - some of them are full Director and Author stance most of the time during play, and then they hit Actor full-barrel halfway through the confrontation scenes.

I think that your thoughts on your current Illusionism should take that larger-scale interpretation into account.

Best,
Ron


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Walt Freitag on November 16, 2002, 10:00:37 AM
Mike, I've never been able to understand the concept of "assemble plot events post-play" either.

I can guess at a meaning by process of elimination, though.

As I said in this post on the parallel thread (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4238), the only thing that a GM can change about play that's already taken place(1) is the meaning of events. This is done by revealing new information relevant to the events. Which can only be done in play.

So what might a GM do post-play that's relevant to plot that's already happened? Perhaps, front-load a plan for what new information to reveal about past events in upcoming sessions.

[Pre-posting edit: I was about to cross-post this over Ron's last post but I serendipitously used Preview instead. It looks like I got it roughly correct. But Paul Elliott's original Illusionist thread on GO is unavailable, so I can't confirm whether or not this really sounds like exactly what Paul was describing.]

----------

Christoffer, I agree that Ron's new definition of Illusionism covers a very wide range of play (as did previous definitions). But I don't understand the difference between "illusionist techniques" and "illusionist games." That is to say, I don't know if "illusionist games" is a useful concept at all. Exactly how much illusionism may one use without it being an illusionist game? Exactly how much illusionism must one use to make it an illusionist game? (The concept of an illusionist system -- that is, a game system designed to facilitate illusionism of some sort or another -- is another matter.)

Most games involve a hieararchy of narrative scales. Different techniques can be and often are used to create the story at different scales. For example:

Overall course of a campaign-scale quest is front-loaded, participationist
Large-scale subplots are intConned illusionist
Small-scale subplots are front-loaded illusionist
Individual scenes are pinball sim

or just as likely:

Overall course of a campaign is pinball sim
Large-scale subplots are retConned illusionist
Small-scale subplots are pinball sim
Individual scenes are front-loaded illusionist

There's one really important consequence of the breadth of illusionism, which comes about when you project illusionism back into the question of how the story is created. What all the forms of illusionism have in common is that they facilitate GM-controlled authorship at the expense of either player authorship or random (non) authorship.

When you say that different illusionist techniques are so different that "illusionism" becomes too general a concept to be useful, I think what you're really getting at is this: Assuming play with GM-controlled authorship, it still matters a great deal how the GM authors the story. (Clarification: it doesn't matter to those who will only be happy with player-controlled authorship. It does matter to everyone else.) Front-loading makes the players' decisions irrelevant. Reality-in-flux techniques (intCon or retCon or possibly others) requires the author to incorporate the player's decisions, which is why the effort required (as Ron describes) is so much greater.

Too much effort to sustain? Then what's needed are better tools.

----------

Now, about the congruence thing. I don't regard the main purpose of illusionism as a reconciliation of different players' different goals (e.g. a Narrativist GM and Simulationist players) via congruence. I see it as the main purpose of the congruence as reconciling the conflicting wishes of individual players.

What most of my players(2) want is no more and no less than what the box copy promised them. They want free will in making their decisions (usually constrained by a social contract between them to make those decisions in-character), and they want the outcome to be a good story (defined as "like the novels in that genre that they read").

Only the first of those two desires concerns how they want to make their decisions in play (generally, Simulationist) and therefore only the first relates to GNS. The second concerns the outcome, and is therefore not within GNS's radar. But that doesn't mean it's not important. [Pre-post edit: the players Ron speaks of as being very proud of the amazing story they're generating in retCon illusionist play would have no reason to feel this way if outcome weren't important to them.]

G: See you next week?

P: I don't think so. Thanks anyway.

G: But it looked like you were having fun.

P: Sure, it was a blast.

G: Then what's wrong?

P: Well, I really liked the character I made up. And he got killed, before he could even save the girl.

G: Would you rather I reroll when something like that's about to happen?

P: Are you nuts? Why would I want that? What fun is a game if you cheat?

Maintaining congruence means players (especially inexperienced players(2)) never have to regard exploration and narrative-outcome as incompatible separate priorities in the first place. Very likely the problem of the player in the dialog above would be just as well addressed by a more Narrativist game system that gave him the power to control his character's fate as by illusionistic GM control over the outcome. But if I chose such a system on his behalf, the player to his left would probably dislike it because something about it would conflict with his idea of in-character free will in a objective-appearing world (or, far more likely, he simply wants to play in the particular system already in use). I've opted instead to keep 'em all happy with a little Sim, a little intCon, a little retCon, a fudged GM die roll every now and then, a little soft shoe, and a bag of oreos. It always worked for me.

Better tools sure would be nice, though.

- Walt


(1) Short of making overt revisions, that is. Such as "when you searched that crime scene last week, you also found this." Which is so inelegant that it's almost universally avoided, and in any case cannot be done covertly.

(2) Historically, by happenstance (not, I believe, due to deliberate choices or preferences on my part), most of my players have been inexperienced role players coming in. This could certainly have had a strong impact on my experiences. The uncharitable interpretation would be that they liked my games because they didn't know any better. My belief is that few of them would have been happy with conventional rigid-consequences sim or hack-and-slash games. Many would probably be amenable to explicit Narratist play. Most of them have been exactly the kind of non-hobbyist mainstream individuals (albeit with some connection to gaming sufficient to pique their interest) who are the subject of such intense interest down in the Publishing threads.


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Christoffer Lernö on November 17, 2002, 08:25:08 AM
The "Illusionist Game"... well, ok maybe you have me there Walt. I'm not sure where the breakpoint lies.

Quote
What all the forms of illusionism have in common is that they facilitate GM-controlled authorship at the expense of either player authorship or random (non) authorship.

Where do we put the Call of Cthulhu adventures Mike brought up?

Wouldn't it be more proper to say "GM-mediated" or "GM-directed" authorship since the GM can use illusionist techniques to "stay on track" in a scenario? Or use player input to address a theme which the players want to explore without letting them in on the fact that they are really generating the story? Just a minor note.

Maybe we should take the "better tools for the trade" to a separate thread and start comparing methods?


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Walt Freitag on November 17, 2002, 10:04:14 AM
Hi Christoffer,

"GM-controlled" vs. "GM-mediated/directed authorship" -- hmm, I don't think that distinction is very useful. I was talking about the authorship of significant events in play. When front-loading is involved, the GM control is used to author an outcome that conforms to the front-loaded plan. Who wrote the plan is irrelevant.

I agree that "better tools" discussion of actual tools should be a different thread. But I'm not sure how much I'd be able to say about specific methods, except to repeat some of the unfortunately-still-vague notions I've already mentioned in other threads including some of the Ygg threads. My mention of tools here is in response to Ron's observations regarding some forms of play as rarely being stably sustainable.

- Walt


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: Seth L. Blumberg on November 19, 2002, 12:21:03 PM
Since when does playing in Mode X mean that every decision has to be made with X priorities in mind? I claim that I am playing (more specifically, GMing) in the Narrativist mode because the majority of my decisions are made with Premise in mind. 90% of the time I'm improvising like a mad bastard to bring in the issues raised by the other players. If I occasionally front-load some Situation or come to a key realization after everyone else has gone home, so what? I'm actually doing it less and less, not more and more, as the campaign goes on.

Anyway, if we allow "time-release Narrativism," then it becomes impossible to define the boundaries of an Instance of Play by observation.


Title: Illusionism and GNS
Post by: contracycle on November 19, 2002, 01:49:52 PM
Quote from: wfreitag
I've opted instead to keep 'em all happy with a little Sim, a little intCon, a little retCon, a fudged GM die roll every now and then, a little soft shoe, and a bag of oreos. It always worked for me.


Damnit I choked on my apple juice.

Quote

Better tools sure would be nice, though.


Right.  I have an idea bubbling about that I can;t quite get a grip on.  It seems we've built a lot of mechnaics to do specific things; can we build a game out of multiple sets of interelated mechanics such that there is, I dunno, the game governing family life and the game governing economic life and that sort of thing.  Or perhaps, mechanics addressing those aspects that are only built to produce consistent outputs into a central mechanic.  Like a procedure in a program - it doesn;t matter what you do with the numbers inside the procedure, you just have to feed them out in the right ranges and the right places.    But yes this is other-thread fodder.