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Archive => RPG Theory => Topic started by: Christopher Kubasik on January 15, 2003, 09:55:30 PM



Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Christopher Kubasik on January 15, 2003, 09:55:30 PM
Hi Everyone.

Out of the last thread I started I sort of surprised myself with the concept of Naive and Sophisticated.  It crystilized a great deal of many matters I've been thinking about for years.  Whether it has any applicibility to RPGs has yet to be seen; however, a few folks seem intrigued, so that's a good thing.

There have been a couple of posts about the choice of terms.

First, if I'm simply reinventing the wheel here and someone knows a better set of terms of lit theory or some such, please bring them on.

However, I like them for a very specific reason: irony.

The so called Sophisticated viewer assumes he can find an objective view on the world -- even though he'll always be looking at it with his subjective view.

The Naive viewer is always trying to cultivate a Naive view, which is, of course, likewise impossible, because you can't *try* to be naive.

I suspect that no set of terms will ever make everyone happy (see other discussions on Forge terms), and that there will always be a few folks who take one or more terms as a personal insult (cf. "Gamist").  But there's really nothing to be done about that.  I specifically gave the Sophisticates the more generous term and called myself Naive in an attempt to avoid this very debate -- and look what happened!

I suggest a kind of sense of humor about the terms.  As Jack pointed out, correctly I think, the Naive view is fragile (at least until you're in the middle of it).  I think this matter could be treated with a bit more whim.  We're attaching labels to things that can't actually be named with precision, so instead of worrying out the words, why don't we play with the concepts the words are labelling.  That's where the meat is.

Take care,
Christopher


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: greyorm on January 16, 2003, 10:51:53 AM
Works for me, Christopher, and though Jack asked, I haven't thought up any better terms. My main problem with the terms is really just a reaction on my part: I like sophistication, but I can't stand the kinds of people you're describing with the term Sophisticated.

So, well...this just popped into my head; the terms could be: Judgemental and Accepting. But I don't know that's necessarily accurate enough, and I know it would cause problems because it sounds judgemental.

Or how about Analytical and Suspensive (or Immersive)?
That is, the former analyzes the item and finds inconsistencies that break their disbelief; the latter suspends their analysis of the item to accept it on its own terms and maintain disbelief.

We're talking Reality Logic vs. Story Logic, here, after all -- at least that's where I'm seeing it applied most, to entertainment media such as movies and books. Either something will be coherent and consistent as a factual "if this really happened" sort of item, or it will be coherent and consistent as a "what if these events happened like this" sort of item -- and there are worlds apart between them.

Rather like a true story or historical tale versus a mythological story or morality play -- or a based-on-true-events drama pulled from the newspapers versus an action flick with exploding cars. They're not comparable by the same criteria because the "genre-logik" which governs their respective realities isn't even comparable.

Hrm, and one requires more suspension of disbelief than the other.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Walt Freitag on January 16, 2003, 12:29:02 PM
Quote from: Raven
We're talking Reality Logic vs. Story Logic, here, after all...


Perhaps not. Can't a player act sophisticated about story logic too? Except in parodies, Spock never said "Captain, I'm detecting a plot complication on our forward sensors." But Buffy characters do occasionally say such things. (And quite plausibly, too; our real world mass media entertainments also exist in their world, and do often parallel the characters' experiences, so they'd come across as rather oblivious if they didn't notice.) The point is, a Buffy mindset can be just as out of place as a modern scientific mindset in a mythic fantasy world.

In fact, I'm having trouble building anything so far from "naive vs. sophisticated" because there seem to be too many forms of naivete and sophistication to easily pin down. For example, the naivete of not searching for more magic beans seems related to, but not the same as, the naivete of not re-using solutions from earlier episodes. (Sure, Spock invented a mechanism that can home a torpedo in on cloaked ships, which can be assembled in minutes, but generations later the Federation is still being menaced by cloaked enemy ships...) I'm also wondering whether certain types of naivete have to imply a form of participationism. If you don't trade the cow for the magic beans, or if you don't plant the beans right away (or plant just one, to see what happens), are you faulted for acting insufficiently naive?

One truly realistic way to depict naivete (more irony there) would have a character making decisions based on an alternate world view subscribed to by the character, and just as important, interpreting the outcome of those decisions as always confirming that world view. But this can become absurd (or at least, distractingly self-conscious in a Candide sort of way) after a while if the game world consistently challenges that view. But if it doesn't, then in what sense is the character naive?

Sorry, I have no conclusion or focused point to make. Several days after Christopher's first suggestion of the naive-sophisticated distinction, I'm still rather struggling with it.

- Walt


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Marco on January 16, 2003, 02:02:44 PM
Again, Walt is brilliant.

I was having the same reaction but couldn't pin it down. In Signs the characters were faced with something they *knew* was more than a little weird (I won't put in spolilers) and sort of acknowledged it and drove on. But essentially the characters made more-or-less logical decisions based on what information they had.

A more traditional group of PC's might have loaded up on guns "just in case they work"--or spent time 'reasearching' (which the kids did) ... or gone into the house where they knew something was ... maybe ... but over all while Signs works as a fairy-tale on the whole, it relies on the characters to make logical, analytical choices at each turn.

The fact remains that in a fairy-tale the narrative is fixed--the story is in the book--and it isn't subject to co-creation by players. Thus logical paradoxes not-explored are unasked and unanswerable. But the protagonists in all cases behaves according to logic. Jack is curious about the bean-stalk (but, IIRC, doesn't Jack's wife complain quite logically/Sophisticatedly that he was taken by a con-artist?)

I don't know where to draw the lines (Jack doesn't call the local university and say "I have a giant botanical oddity--wanna come look?" but then again, a PC in that situation might not just climb the stalk in the first place--why would he think there was anything other than empty up at the top?).

-Marco
[ Another thought. Chris mused that no matter what terms you pick, someone will be offended. Possibly true--but that *can* be mitigated: as Greyorm pointed if one chooses terms and one has a bias, the terms will likely reflect that bias. ]


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: greyorm on January 16, 2003, 03:54:10 PM
Walt and Marco, I put forward that you are confusing two different levels of behavior. Yes, one's character can use logic or critical thinking...behaving logically and analytically in either mode, as given the structure of their world.

What I see as the main confusion is the lack of distinguishment between character and player behavior. That is, the terms we're discussing, whatever we end up choosing to use, are applicable ONLY TO THE PLAYER, not to the character.

Otherwise, it's rather like saying, "Oh, that's a Gamist character."
Characters and their decisions/actions cannot be interpreted as Naive or Sophisticated. The player either acts in accordance with the social contract imposed by the world or not.

For example, take a stereotypical action movie: cars blow up, guns never need to be reloaded in the middle of a firefight, the good guys are guaranteed to kill the mooks with some ease (to show off their butt-kickingness), and so forth.

The characters behave logically for their world.
The people in Signs are in a world that is eminently akin to this one...is, in fact, this one, with the minor detail of an alien invasion and a Premise to explore. So they behave as though we would in similar circumstances.

However, above their level of existance is the reality of the movie -- that it is a movie. If this were a game, a player would either be in on it -- the fairy-tale aspect and the Premise of the movie -- or not.

The fact that the players know this is a narrative created to explore a Premise would curtail their behaviors -- at least it would if they were Naive players, because they know it is a game meant to explore a particular situation with a given Premise.

The Sophisticate, however, ignores the fact that this is a story, ignores that it is a narrative and ignores the fact that it is a game. They want it to be a simulated reality, in all ways coherent with the real-world they, as a player, know and live in.

This is where the problem arises, the game breaks down because they've dropped out of story-telling/experiencing mode and into analysis/experience mode.

The fact is that in a story-telling fable, that fact is part of the world, even though the characters themselves don't (and can't (shouldn't?)) recognize it, and instead behave just the way we think they should. But the players in control have to maintain that seperation and strive for the Premise, even though their characters are clueless to the fact that there even IS a Premise.

EDIT
Quote from: Paul Czege
I'd say logically for their story.

Much better, thanks Paul.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Paul Czege on January 16, 2003, 04:51:01 PM
The characters behave logically for their world.

I'd say logically for their story. Where the hell is Fang? Experience Dice and Genre Expectations?

Paul


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Christopher Kubasik on January 16, 2003, 05:53:04 PM
Hi everyone,

While I was cleaning the apartment I thought... exactly what the good reverend has already posted.  Specifically, I thought of Ron's comments about Relationship Maps -- they're not there for the characters, they're there for the players.

Thoughts on the terms... I too am coming to like them, if only they tend to waddle off in too many directions.

Actually, one greyorm used the word "fable" there was a distinct "ah-ha" moment.  So, let me suggest the labels Fabulist to replace Naive.  I'm not sure how to replace Sophisticate (Realiststs?)  Note that a Sophisticate can use the most fantastical material imaginible -- as long as it's somehow roped into conventions that map onto standard assumptions about cause and effect and so on.

What I'm getting at here is an active use of the imagination that, in the context of the shared story between players, possesses a logic that defies physics and responds to poetic concerns.  Vague, you bet.  But recall, this was all spun off dung beetles and the sun's course across the sky.

To get concrete for a moment, Ron's combat rules for Sorcerer, which are driven by rewards for coming up for compelling description (for lack of a better word), lean toward Fabulist rules when compared to say Role Master, which doesn't ultimately give a lick which words are used by the players, but only the conditions of the imaginary environment.  If a player in Sorcerer game magically refernces an emotional moment in his description (a gesture repeated from when he last saw his wife alive, say), he's probably getting a bonus even though the physics of the action have little to do with kicking the snot out of a monster.

To get really specific: Puppetland is completely a Fabulist game.

Take care,
Christopher


Title: It'll be a Few; I Just Woke Up
Post by: Le Joueur on January 16, 2003, 06:42:35 PM
Quote from: Paul Czege
The characters behave logically for their world.

I'd say logically for their story. Where the hell is Fang? Experience Dice and Genre Expectations (http://indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=33956)?

You sure know a 'hell' of a way to invoke the Executive Regional Field Director of the Devil's Advocacy Department at Large, for the Midwestern United States.

Tell you what, in the spirit of my duties, I'll whip something up (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4848); keep your eyes peeled.  I'll be back as soon as I sketch something out.

And I think Paul has some plans that way...

Fang Langford


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: clehrich on January 16, 2003, 08:09:14 PM
Not to heave a pin-less grenade into the middle of this, but....

greyorm has very accurately and effectively described Naive and Sophisticated perspectives at the player level, and I think (with small tweaks here and there) we're all on the same page about that.

But are you sure these approaches do not have character analogues?

I'm thinking on web here, but it seems to me that such analogues do exist, and furthermore are worth considering with respect to identifying how players think, or want to think.

Suppose we're in a "classic mythic fantasy world," assuming we can more or less agree what that is --- I'm thinking the sort of place where we can talk seriously about dung beetles in the sky and whatnot.

Now I have a character who is in some way "investigative," and tries to find out how things really work.  This can go a couple of ways:

1. I can have a character who simply applies every bit of empiricism known to me, and tries to break the mythical structure of the world.  This is a very extreme example of what greyorm means by a Sophisticated Player, if I get his point.  Please note --- this is an extreme, not a norm.

2. I can have a character who tries to figure out the structure of the universe from within, which may nevertheless at times challenge the GM.

I'm sure there is a Naive variant of this distinction, but I think this is sufficient for my point.  Which is, I think, that the difficult and occasionally problematic behavior associated with Sophistication (not that Naivete doesn't have its own problems) can come from both a player and character perspective, and are not necessarily cognate.

Does that make any sense, or am I totally lost here?


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: contracycle on January 17, 2003, 01:25:20 AM
Quote

1. I can have a character who simply applies every bit of empiricism known to me, and tries to break the mythical structure of the world. This is a very extreme example of what greyorm means by a Sophisticated Player, if I get his point. Please note --- this is an extreme, not a norm.


I would not see this as correct; such a player is simply overriding the social contract to play in THIS world.  An empiricist in a fantasy world would try to empirically validate that fantasy world according to its own internal relationships of cause and effect.

What is here being described as the "sophisiticated" mindset is a player who rationalises that if the sun is being pushed by a dung beetle, and I need a sudden patch of darkeness so that I can break into the Pharoahs harem, then I can acheive this effect by doping the beetle and making its muscles weak.

I think in this specific case the distinction between character and player is being overblown unless, as Walt identified, the actual goal is participationism in which the player in no manner exerts any analysis threough the vehicle of their character, and it is that distance ebtween player cna character under discussion.

When we are discussing vanilla play with character identification and problem solving behaviour, it IS strongly overblown becuase the player is operating on inputs which are validated by the characters perceptions as their fictional persona in a fictional world.  If the player is unable to engage with a given world proposition becuase the character is not equipped to comprehend it, then I suggest that play will be unsatisfying.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: simon_hibbs on January 17, 2003, 06:08:09 AM
Quote from: contracycle

What is here being described as the "sophisiticated" mindset is a player who rationalises that if the sun is being pushed by a dung beetle, and I need a sudden patch of darkeness so that I can break into the Pharoahs harem, then I can acheive this effect by doping the beetle and making its muscles weak.


I believe such characters are commonly refered to as magicians.


Simon Hibbs


Title: Re: It'll be a Few; I Just Woke Up
Post by: Le Joueur on January 17, 2003, 06:54:43 AM
Quote from: Earlier I
I'll whip something up (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4848);

Okay, I got something in there; I need to go over it and see what I wrote (I was quite tired and sick, so who knows?)

The point in this example (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4848) is to emulate the light, 'only what supports the message,' kind of narrative.  At the extreme, you could do a Baron Munchausen style:
    But how could I get down from the clouds?  Just then I noticed a farmer threshing some wheat; I gathered up the chaff and formed, from it, a rope.  I tied this rope to the edge of the cloud and lowered myself down.  About half-way I discovered that my rope wasn't long enough; thinking quickly, I cut off the top half and tied it to where I hung.  Thus I was able to climb down from the sky.[/list:u]Because it serves the message (especially in that being 'trapped in the clouds' didn't), not only is the player allowed to do this, but rewarded for it.  None of such goings on make any rational or empirical sense, but are taken for granted in such a game.

    Upon reflection, I realize I did not capture this spirit very well in
what I wrote (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4848), but you can see the beginnings of it.  On the whole, it (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4848) needs to be much more fleshed out in the Sequences section, being what delivers the message elevated by the Central Concept in the Auteur Approach.

I realize that the conversation has gotten a bit farther than this point, but I'd just like to take a moment and weigh in on the whole 'sophisticated' versus 'na´ve' terminology.  Personally, I think you have it all backward.  I'd have to say that a game such as I have presented (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4848) would require a high degree of sophistication from it's players to prevent continued challenges on what the modern mind knows is impossible, standing in clouds, talking to wolves, and et cetera.  This sophistication grants the ability to put these challenges aside (as well as a concentration upon things like character sheets, die rolls, and rules in general) and just letting the wonderment flow.  I'd argue that you couldn't play such a role-playing game (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4848) in the absence of rules, but there needs to be this 'compartmentalization' of thought to keep the rational from overwhelming the notional.  That is what I would call 'sophisticated gaming.'

On the other hand, playing 'by the rules,' using our own experiences and thought processes is very simple and, I think, a na´ve way of playing.  Concentrating on when to roll dice, whose turn it is, and such is very superficial and rudimentary.  To me this speaks more of naivetÚ than sophistication; I do appreciate that a more sophisticated (or modern) audience in necessary to make the kinds of challenges I've described, but such an approach is still quite na´ve about gaming.

I really like the term 'Fabulist,' it really speaks to the 'letting go' of the (possibly mistaken) termed 'sophistication.'  Contrasting to 'sophisticated' will be both confusing and misleading for the reasons I have given.  There doesn't really seem to be an obvious replacement for what might be called 'vanilla gaming' except possibly 'superficial,' and I'm not so sure that that is terribly useful either.

Fang Langford


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: contracycle on January 17, 2003, 07:17:25 AM
Quote from: simon_hibbs

I believe such characters are commonly refered to as magicians.


Usually, yes.  Although they are employing a very rational mindset, just one based ona speciific set of givens.  Your magicians are not exhibiting the "naive mindest" IMO, but its very opposite.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on January 17, 2003, 07:33:48 AM
I think the terms need to be nailed down a biot or else it will get hopelessly confusing and any value they might have had will be lost as they become like terms like "realism" or "balance" where the simply term tells us nothing but we need to ask more questions to find out what the hell the speaker is talking about.

So do Sophisticated and Naive refer to:

  • A mindset taken on by the Players?
  • A mindset taken on by the characters?
  • A general style of playing that may or may not require a mindset from the players, characters or both at various time?
  • Something else all together?
  • [/list:u]


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Valamir on January 17, 2003, 07:34:09 AM
Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
Hi everyone,

 So, let me suggest the labels Fabulist to replace Naive.  I'm not sure how to replace Sophisticate (Realiststs?)  Christopher


What about Literalists.

In referencing the Dung Beetle/Sun example it was suggested that if it is actually a dung beetle, than one could create darkness by impeding the beetle in some way.  This seems to be a very literal interpretation of what the myth says.

SO one could have 3 designations actually:
The Fabulist who as a player does his best to accept the fantastic elements of the game world without cringing to much when they seem to conflict with our modern logical minds.  Such a player does (as pointed out above) share certain characteristics with Immersive RPers in that he is likely attempting to approach the mythology of the world the way an actual native of that world would approach it.

The Literalist who wishes to ensure that the fables of a game world can withstand empirical challenges.  Such a player could be seen as immersive too if he were playing a character who was supposed to be such a "philosopher/scientist" pondering the mysteries of the world.  

And the Figurativist.  The player who assumes that the fables of a game world aren't necessarily "true" in themselves but representative of another truth or cultural mindset (pretty much how most people would interpret our own mythology today).


Title: Re: It'll be a Few; I Just Woke Up
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on January 17, 2003, 07:38:31 AM
Quote from: Le Joueur
I'd argue that you couldn't play such a role-playing game (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4848) in the absence of rules, but there needs to be this 'compartmentalization' of thought to keep the rational from overwhelming the notional.


"Rational?" "Notional?" These sound like good terms to me. Do I here a second?


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: contracycle on January 17, 2003, 07:58:28 AM
Quote from: Valamir

In referencing the Dung Beetle/Sun example it was suggested that if it is actually a dung beetle, than one could create darkness by impeding the beetle in some way.  This seems to be a very literal interpretation of what the myth says.


I just wanted to point out that yes, it is a very literal approach to the myth, on the basis that the myth was intended to be taken literally.

If the myth were not intended to be taken literally, such behaviour would not have occurred.  So this seems to me to be rather circular; the behaviour is being labelled by the instruction it was given to portray.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Walt Freitag on January 17, 2003, 08:34:55 AM
To address Jack's question, the way Christopher has described Sophisticated and Naive so far, it appears to apply to play. Not to characters specifically nor players specifically, despite what others have read into it. (Thus, I agree with Gareth that the distinction between player and character is being overblown.)

In any case, following ths discussion with increasing discomfort, I've come to the following conclusion:

We seem to be looking for a set of rules or principles, either at the game mechanics level or the social contract level, that can distinguish between character decisions reflecting a player's engagement in an alternate world view or logic (Naive), and character decisions reflecting a player's desire to "test" or "challenge" or "exploit" that world view or logic (Sophisticated). I believe that no such rules or principles exist.

For example, much has been made of the fact that Jack doesn't go searching for more magic beans. But Jack does use an axe to cut down the beanstalk to prevent the giant's pursuit. How, pray tell, is that any different from seeking a way to prolong the daylight by slowing down the dung beetle, in a world where the dung beetle myth is literally true? How does a player express a character's engagement in a world view other than by acting on that world view? That's why I believe there can be no rules of game mechanics or of social contract that can discourage acts of "sophisticated" play from "challenging" or "exploiting" the literal truth of the dung beetle, without making it so that the dung beetle explanation of the sun's movement simply doesn't matter. Which, I believe, would defeat the original purpose.

Now, there may be some validity in separating Sophisticated from Naive play when director stance play is involved, because that case opens up avenues for players expressing engagement in an alternate world view or logic by means of director stance manipulations rather than character actions. So I have to ask, is "Sophisticated" decision-making really a problem in games emphasizing director stance? Or is this a solution in search of a problem?

In any case, as far as actor and author stance play are concerned, this Naive-Sophisticated split is a hopless quest to separate one side of a sheet of paper from the other. (And, unfortunately, an apparently too-tempting opportunity to do some bashing of play styles we don't like along the way.)

- Walt


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: clehrich on January 17, 2003, 09:07:12 AM
Walt raises some excellent points here, and in the process I think identifies a possible miscommunication within the discussion.
Quote
We seem to be looking for a set of rules or principles, either at the game mechanics level or the social contract level, that can distinguish between character decisions reflecting a player's engagement in an alternate world view or logic (Naive), and character decisions reflecting a player's desire to "test" or "challenge" or "exploit" that world view or logic (Sophisticated).

Because this is the focus,
Quote
...I have to ask, is "Sophisticated" decision-making really a problem in games emphasizing director stance? Or is this a solution in search of a problem?

I agree entirely, in the sense that I think trying to distinguish between these perspectives (whatever the terms) has two potential problems.

First, they cannot be distinguished absolutely: actual games, gamers, and characters rarely fixate on one side or another terribly consistently.

Second, there is no way to construct rules for forcing one type or the other to occur, although (as Fang points out with the Munchausen example) one can certainly encourage particular types of play.

So I think what we have here is a division which is only useful as a heuristic device, i.e. as a means for focusing in on particular issues and problems about RPG theory.  When we try to make it into a practical division, either in terms of classification (of games, people, etc.) or in terms of prescription (do it this way rather than that way), the division will break down.

If we recognize this as a heuristic division, that entails that neither side is more a problem than another.  As I said earlier in my example of extreme empiricism, there are just as many problems with extreme forms of "Naive" approaches, depending on the game, the group, and the players.  Consequently, Fang's criticism that "Sophisticated" seems a poor term, because the extremes of play now associated with the term are strikingly unhelpful and even destructive, can be taken with a grain of salt: to be sure, we can pick a new term, but the point is that what we've been calling Sophisticated play isn't bad play; at its extremes, of course it's a problem, but so is any kind of play taken to a radical extreme with respect to the game in question.

Let me conclude with an annoying extreme of Naive play:

1. GM drops a fairly large and obvious plot clue, in whatever sort of campaign; unfortunately, the only PC present is played by an extreme Naive player.  This player says, "Well, my guy isn't very bright, so he doesn't notice this."

2. A variant, in let's say a classic fantasy world, is when the GM has some sort of fairly obvious causal logic occur.  For example, the PC stumbles across a line of footprints under the window of someone who's been murdered in the night.  The PC decides to interpret this in terms of some grand myth about corpse-spirits or whatever, totally ignoring the obvious logical inference, and justifies this with, "Well, it's a mythic world, so that kind of causal logic just doesn't exist."

These aren't great examples, I freely admit.  The point is just that if extremes of both kinds are problematic.

Frankly, I'm more interested in the ways that Naive and Sophisticated perspectives can be used postively.  

I recall reading a set of mysteries about a character called something like Lord D'Arcy, who was a classic detective in a world of fairly consistent and mechanical magic.  Could we imagine the detective's Sophisticated perspective in less mechanical universes?  How would it work?  How might we encourage it?

On the Naive side, I think we can all see the advantage in such approaches at times, and Fang's Munchausen example is excellent here.  We want players in such a game to do what he proposes, not say, "Well, but clouds aren't solid, and you can't cut off the top of the rope because then you'll fall."  How does one encourage this sort of play?


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on January 17, 2003, 10:25:31 AM
Actually, it seems to me that the terms are about logic and the attention paid to it and it seems to tie very, very closely with the consistency issue, but it's more a matter of how finely the elements in the setting and situation are broken down.

Using the two examples above, namely the vampire with UV lamps and the Dragon blood artifact. In both case, using a mister or a UV lamp is taking a very sophisticated view of the world with a decidedly metagame bit of stragtegy involved coming from the players. Specifically:

"If I use a mister to spritz the dragon's blood then the blood we have will last longer and thus the artifact will work longer."

"If UV rays are the component in sunlight that are harmful to vampires, then I can go get so UV lamps and kill me some bloodsuckers."

Both of these are working in the Sophisticated mindset and the GM telling them "It just doesn't work that way," without further explanation like all that stuff you wrote about Vampires, is trying to get them in the Naive perspective. The artifact must be soaked in blood. Sunlight kills vampires. That's it. You can't break it down any further in the Naive mindset. Naive takes things in bigger chunks and doesn't make big leaps, or so it seems to me.

Sunlight is sunlight. If a vampire gets into it, it dies and that's it. Naivity doesn't try to find out anything past this, really.

The Artifact needs to be soaked in dragon's blood. Naivity does not fiddle with how much blood it needs to be soaked in or if using the bare minimum of blood is good enough.

A beanstalk grew up overnight. Naivity does not wonder if there are more magic beans but deals what is right in front, the beanstalk. Now, in the version I had heard of Jack and the Beanstalk, he chopped down the beanstalk with an axe because the giant was climbing down after him. This is also in the Naive mindset because Jack is dealing with the situation or problem right before him. The giant is coming down to kill him, so Jack kills the giant with the handiest tool he had available, cutting down the beanstak while the giant was still on it and having the giant plumet to his death.

The Naive mindset would also work with trying to slow the dung beetle rolling the sun. That is, if the players are faced with a problem where time is of the essence and they decide to try to slow down or stop the sun so they will have more time, then that is Sophisticated. If the problem before them is that they need to slow down the passage of the sun for some reason, then this is Naive.

Sophistication seems to contain a bit of thinking outside of the box while Naivity require thinking very much inside this box or maybe taking things in larger chunks (I just got this my head and I can't seem to get around it)

I would say that explanation is only for Sophisticated is incorrect. Naivity can also have explanations for whatever may require it. But in Naivity it is only logistics whereas in Sophisticated it is yet another tool for player action.

Example: Monster Inc. The monsters in Monster world believe that human children are deadly to the touch. Exactly why is never really explained although germs are mentioned.

In Naivity, this is just the logistics, an excuse for comic highjinx like the whole sushi restaurant scene or the scene immediately following where Mike & Sully are all afraid of this little girl.

Sophisticated could focus on this in numerable ways.
  • If children are so dangerous, why don't the scarers wear protective gear or why isn't there a decontamination chamber to get on and off the scare floor.
  • Boo turned out to not be dangerous after all. Why, then do the Monsters thing children are toxic? Is it germs after all? If Boo had a cold would she have been dangerous?
  • [/list:u]
    And so on.

    Naivity ignores all of this and just takes the concept of human children are dangerous and runs with it. Sophisticated breaks it down, and TBH may find some interesting details and to go with as well.

    It seems to be about how much is taken given and how much is dug into.


Title: An alternate view
Post by: John Kim on January 17, 2003, 02:00:10 PM
I'd like to take a different view on this.  This is to some degree being a Devil's Advocate, since I enjoy strong genre play, but I think there is some truth to it.  

The Sophisticated player is role-playing.  She thinks only in terms of what her character would know, regardless of whether or not it will fit the intended story.  If her character is analytical in nature (say a scientist), she will go ahead and question things like "why does sunlight hurt vampires".  Indeed, there are many vampire films where the protagonists do do things like fill up super-soaker waterguns full of holy water.  

The Naive player is storytelling.  He thinks in terms of what would make the best story or what would best fit the genre.  He analyzes the story on a dramatic level -- and if something seems like a "plot hole" or "genre convention" rather than a "clue", he makes his character ignore it.  


From this view, an example of an extreme Naive player is the one who constantly looks for cues from the GM for what the story is supposed to be, and steadfastly refuses to engage in any in-character logic.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: erithromycin on January 17, 2003, 02:08:22 PM
I think it might be better to go with the ancient Greeks on this one.

The 'Sophisticated' mindset seems closer to analytical skepticism.

The 'Naive' mindset seems closer to faith, or at least suspension of disbelief.

A 'Skeptical' Gamist character will question why things let them kill other things, while an 'Accepting' Gamist character will just use it.

A 'Skeptical' Narrativist character will, as in the Buffy example, be aware that there is a story going on - villains to be fought, and so on. An 'Accepting' Narrativist character will get on with it.

A 'Skeptical' Simulationist character is akin to an early anatomist - they know that some people are stronger than others, and can cut people apart to find out why. An 'Accepting' Simulationist character is much like us - they are aware that they are subject to physics, but don't worry about it.

Of course, that's only what I I think you're trying to get at. I must say that the 'Sophisticated' and 'Naive' labels, while relatively accurate, do have unfortunate connotations when they are applied to the player. Which is, of course, something that one has to be careful about.

That said, I'm not entirely convinced that this is worth worrying about. Yes, it's nice to have a term [or set of terms for it], but is it really anything more than an expansion upon the Exploratory desires of a variety of players?

- drew

[edit - oops. no name]


Title: Sophisticated genres
Post by: John Kim on January 17, 2003, 02:32:44 PM
I thought I should follow up on what I consider the split is here.  

I would say that fiction itself is split between "naive" and "sophisticate".  For example, in _Terminator 2_ Sarah Connor decides to leave the robot that her grown son sent back in time, and goes haring off to kill off the head researcher who develops the technology.  Frankly, if this happened in a game, I think there are many "Naive"-tending players or GMs who would complain loudly that Sarah's player was engaging in too much thinking and was ruining the story.  

A lot of fiction pushes the limits of and/or questions genre conventions.  The comic series "Astro City", for example, has a long sequence where two superheroes discuss over the ethics of their life-saving and whether they are playing God in who they save.  This is grossly breaking of the genre, and it is great (IMO).  By the same token, the modern "Miracleman" comic series can be seen as a Sophisticated take on the old comics.  

Basically, "Sophisticated" is good for sophisticated takes on genres (like the modern Miracleman series) whereas "Naive" is good for naive takes on genres (like the original four-color Miracleman series, say).


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: jburneko on January 17, 2003, 02:57:08 PM
Hello,

I've been following this discussion with some interest because it's an issue I deal with ALL the time.  I'm going to throw a big fat monkey wrench in here and if it's too far off topic, someone can split it off.

It seems to me that there's an awful lot of focus on explaining "How" a given player views a fantastic game world when I think the issue is much clearer when you look at "Why" the player looks at the game world the way he does.  And when viewed from that angle it all comes down to the same thing most RPG Theory (GNS, Stance) comes down to: Modes of Decision Making.

I once started a large discussion on RPG.net about 7th Sea's setting.  Frankly, I love it.  Its detractors bring up points like: If there's no New World, why are there large sailing ships?  How can Montaigne be funding so many different political actions all at once? and so on...  It all comes down to the fact that 7th Sea's setting is unstable and "irrational" when it comes to "real world" economics, politics and other social sciences.

Okay, I believe them and I agree.  After getting frustrated with going back and forth, back and forth, I finally got fed up and flat out asked them, "Why is it so god damn important that the setting be 'internally consistent' from a natural and social science point of view?"

The answer I got went something like this: Because if situation B does not logically arrise from action A then there is *NOTHING* I can base my character's actions on and everything just boils down to GM fiat.

I was floored.  Is the alternative really NOT as obvious as I think it is?  If you can't base your character's actions on internal causality of situation and setting, you can still base your character's decisions on Emotional Evocation.  That's what 7th Sea's Setting is about.  It's about being emotionally evocative.  It's designed for players who want to make emotionally evocative decisions and demonstrations.  No matter HOW illogical a setting is, you can ALWAYS take actions that evoke an emotional response in the audiance (i.e. the other players).  That is the BASIS of surrealism in art.

So, it isn't really about whether the Dung Beatle can or can not be slowed down or stopped.  It's about WHY either player cares.

The "Sophisticate" player cares right now, regardless of situation, because he wants to be able to file that fact away for possible decision making latter on.  "Ah, so the Sun is pulled by a Dung Beatle, which means if I ever need extended darkness or prolonged daylight I can choose to stop this creature."  It's about making intelligent choices (for whatever end).  Often, though not always, this is for long term planning purposes, such that if a player starts his character out as a farm boy and wants him to be king, he can plan out the route in advance.

The "Naive" player only cares about whether or not the Dung Beatle can or can not be slowed down or stopped if it's emotionally evocative.  If it doesn't have a right here and now emotional impact then it's irrelivant.  It simply doesn't matter.  If suddenly stopping the sun from rising by slaying the Dung Beatle or what have you suddenly becomes a powerfully charaged emotional moment only then and there does the fact that the Dung Beatle and all it's "logical" consequence of being physically real even begin to come into the picture, if still at all.  Often, though not always, the player simply doesn't care about the long term picture of his character.  If the player starts his character out as a farm boy the fun is in the emotional roller coaster along the way, not necessarily in the striving and planning for any given destination.

I'm not saying that the "Sophisticate" does not care about the emotional content of play, I'm only saying he does not base his decisions upon them the way the "Naive" player does.

I hope this was clear.

Jesse

Edited for minor typos and mistakes.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on January 17, 2003, 03:06:36 PM
Quote from: jburneko
So you it isn't really about whether the Dung Beatle can or can not be slowed down or stopped.  It's about WHY either player cares.

Agreed this far, Jesse. In fact, I was kind of hoping that was what I was saying with my last post.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Valamir on January 17, 2003, 05:43:49 PM
Quote from: jburneko
Okay, I believe them and I agree.  After getting frustrated with going back and forth, back and forth, I finally got fed up and flat out asked them, "Why is it so god damn important that the setting be 'internally consistent' from a natural and social science point of view?"



I don't want to throw this into a tangent, so if you'd like to discuss it further I'd love to do that by IM or in another thread.  But I'm going to strongly disagree with you specifically with regards to 7th Sea.

Why?  As JW himself pointed out several times, 7th Sea is not set in the Renaissance.  Its set in the *Age of Reason*.

So in answer to your question about WHY its important for 7th Sea to be internally consistent from a natural and social science point of view...its precisely because it is in this setting that the natural and social sciences (as we'd think of them today) got started.  

The Brotherhood of the Wolf gives an excellent example of the clash between naturalistic reason and raw spirituality and superstition.  These are elements of 7th Sea also and both core books go to some length to highlight the possibilities in this regard.  But for "Reason" to actually function properly, the world must be reasonable...which unfortuneately it isn't.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: John Kim on January 17, 2003, 06:21:28 PM
Valamir wrote:
Quote
So in answer to your question about WHY its important for 7th Sea to be internally consistent from a natural and social science point of view...its precisely because it is in this setting that the natural and social sciences (as we'd think of them today) got started.


I think that the time period is a red herring.  The Age of Reason was also the time period of pirate high adventure, swashbuckling musketeers, and more.  I don't think that inconsistency in a swashbuckling pirates game is any different in principle from a modern-day action movie game, or a Hercules/Xena game.  

I think elsewhere in the debate over religion, people have suggested that a problem is that "Sophisticated" players do not take the historical viewpoint.  However, I don't think that is accurate for describing the problem in examples like "Jack and the Beanstalk", "Signs", and others.  There have been analytical people in nearly all ages: like Archimedes,  Saint Augustine, or lots of others.  An Archimedes-like character would most certainly question and analyze the magic beans, say.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Christopher Kubasik on January 18, 2003, 01:57:58 AM
Hi all.

Okay, just 'cause I'm the one who started this nonsense, I'm going to try to herd it in a bit... And perhaps set a few ground rules.  This isn't meant as a slam to anyone.  But it is an attempt to keep the discussion moving forward rather than splitting off in eight million directions.

1) First order of business, and, I hope, the last time it has to be brought up: no one so far has been "slammed" on this thread.  I've seen people be defensive, I've seen people reacting to percieved slights for their "sophisticated" or "naive" point of view.  But I suggest that any re-reeading of the thread will not actually produce a single example anyone saying anything bad about anyone who seems to prefer one still of story over another.  So... Let's remember, this isn't a contest, nor is a judgement.  I'm talking about a style of story I'm looking to play with in RPGs.  That's all.  I ask you all to play along in the same spirit.
(And quickly, just like GNS, there are no "Sophisticated Players," nor "Naive players."  There are modes of play, and these are two of them.  One could play either way -- even in the same day!  But I suggest once you're pushing toward either end of the spectrum, it's tough to get them in the same game.)

2) This issue is not binary.  It is a contiuum.  I suggest as much when I referred to Sorcerer in a post above.  So please no more announcements that the issue isn't clear cut between two poles.  I know that.  Just like G and S and N, there's a lot of squishiness at hand here.  I think the nob can be pushed closer to Naive or Sophisticated, but it's still a scale.  (The fact that people discussing this seem to be able to take sides suggest there are "sides" but really, looking back to point one, let's not go there.)

3) I reference Puppetland and then realized a lot of folks might not be familiar with it.  Here's the link: http:// http://www.johntynes.com/rl_puppetland_www.html  .  Ron's got a review of it in the library, but you might want to read the rules.  In fact, I really recomend reading the rules, because you'll see the style of game I'm talking about is really different than lots of other games.

4) As an extension of point three, let me very clear here: the kind of game we're talking about will be very different than most other games.

(This touches on a fault of mine, actually.  Since bumping in the Forge, since playing Sorcerer, I've gotten closer to the kinds of games I've always wanted to play -- and sort of don't think in terms of the games I used to play anymore.  So, when someone writes about a GM leaving an "obvious clue" for the players I think, "Why would anyone do that?"  Not because it's a terrible thing to do, but because it's just so not the style of play I think of these days.  For anyone who doesn't know why I'd be so startled by such a tactic by a GM I suggest reading the GNS essay and spending some time going through the Forges extensive thread library.)

In brief, we're talking about a game with a LOT of shared authorship between everyone at the table; a game driven not by the GM's story/plot, but by some sort of Kicker or heavy PC protagonizer engine.

5) We *are* talking about the players desires and their agenda.  The PCs themselves might end up being a wide range of intelligence levels or POVs... But the *players* are all playing with a goal of creating some sort of fable-like logic.  Please, if you're having trouble wrapping your head around this, go check out Puppetland.

6) I don't know how to say this without making it sound like... Well, what the hell... Some folks keep making posts that PCs within a Naive story are below intelligence or whatnot.  This is not the case.  Their intelligence is fine within the "logic" of the world: which is fable-like, poetic, and built on the causality of the human heart and free-wheeling fantasy.  These can be bright people. Odysseus is a bright man.  He also lives in a world where you can return home after twenty years and with the simple disguise of beggar not be recognized by your wife or former comrades until your wife asks you a question about your marriage bed.  (Tthink about all the complication and die rolls involved in that process in a Sophisticated game.)

To discuss the PCs as being too thick to see clues or story points (or their players willfully ignoring these things), is to assume a Sophistacted story universe that the Naive story PCs have wandered into by accident. That is not the case at all.  Everyone is in on this from the start.  They're all working together, as shared-author storytellers.

7)  We are not discussing history.  We are talking about stories.  Please keep that in mind.  The moment we are trying to figure out how this mindset works in specific, real histories, we're playing the Sophisticates game, and of course the whole thing falls apart.

Examples of such stories are folk and fairy tales, Beowulf, the works of Homer, Malory, the writing of Borges, Italo Calvino, Mervyn Peake, and, I'd offer, a great deal of Bradburry's work.  (The "science" of The Martian Chronicles is just there to make the trip Mars plausable -- after that, we're in the territory of the heart laid out on the red planet's soil.)  

For contrast, The Lord of the Rings is sophisticated.  Anybook that reveals on the last page that the main characters had different names than the one you thought they had because the language of the Hobbits.... and so on, is playing a very different, wonderfully concrete game of reality building of *history* -- which, again, is not what we're after.

Freud was a Sophisticate; Jung, Naive.

8)  Finally, a repeat: We're not talking about the experience provided by most RPGs and the assumption of most RPG styles of play.  A game with XP as a goal just... It just wouldn't make any sense for the Navie playing group. There there to get their jollies making a story that gives you an ah-ha feeling when it's all making sense -- even as it makes no sense in a Sophisticated framework.

I suggest looking at Ron's essay about Authored gaming in Sorcerer and Sword, Puppetland, and the free rules available for Hero Wars.  There's stuff out there that's very different, and I'm looking, I think, for a V6 engine to install into the mode of play to crank up the power on these babies and get something really freaky.

*****

I think Jesse and I intuitively see eye to eye on a lot of matters, and this is one of them.  (Jack, too, actually.)  The problem is, the Naive viewpoint
is about intuition in many respects ("Does it feel right or not?" is the guiding compass rather than, "Yeah, but can you reproduce the results?") and so we all can go, "Yeah, I get it!" without nescesarily having explained it that clearly to somene who doesn't have it yet.  

But, to draw a larger result from his post, the idea of the emotions of the Naive story PCs are writ large across the universe, and actually alter it.   In a Sophisticated story world, the world keeps on working the exact same way whether the PCs are there or not.  In a Naive story world, if Oddyseus isn't there to be tempted from his journey home, there simpy are no nymphs on that island, no sirens along those rocky shores.  They are for his ears, his eyes, his cock alone, and if it was another set of PCs, each with their own personal agenda, the circumstances, creatures, whatnot would be conjured from the GM and players in all new material.

Okay.  I'm about to keel over at the keyboard from exhaustion.  See you all later,

Christopher


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: John Kim on January 18, 2003, 09:30:57 AM
Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
Some folks keep making posts that PCs within a Naive story are below intelligence or whatnot.  This is not the case.  Their intelligence is fine within the "logic" of the world: which is fable-like, poetic, and built on the causality of the human heart and free-wheeling fantasy.  

...

In a Naive story world, if Oddyseus isn't there to be tempted from his journey home, there simpy are no nymphs on that island, no sirens along those rocky shores.  They are for his ears, his eyes, his cock alone, and if it was another set of PCs, each with their own personal agenda, the circumstances, creatures, whatnot would be conjured from the GM and players in all new material.


I think it is can be misleading to talk about Naiveness as a property of the world.  Naiveness is really a property of the story, not of the world.  Thus, for example, "Beowulf" is a Naive story while "Grendel" is a Sophisticated story set in the same world.  Neither of them is wrong -- they are just different takes on it.  There isn't any definable qualities of the world which are different.  Instead, it is a more nebulous quality of two stories which differ.  

Like many debates, I think this can get sidetracked in advocacy of either Naive or Sophisticated views.  Some people may look down on Naive storytelling because it is associated with four-color comics, pulp adventure, and action movies.  I think this is true, but it is also true that fairy tales and myth are also Naive storytelling.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: clehrich on January 18, 2003, 09:43:16 AM
Thanks, Christopher, for that needed clarification of the issues.  I'm not sure I get it all, but I'm going to re-read it carefully.

You brought up an interesting point about Odysseus, correlating the Odyssey with a Naive perspective.  Actually, I think the Odyssey is a wonderful example of the two mindsets clashing and merging.  Given that this is one of the earliest Western "fantasies," it might be worth thinking about the origins of these mindsets here.

As I see it, Odysseus is really a classic Sophisticate in the middle of a Naive world.  Christopher brings up the example of his "simple disguise as a beggar", which he uses upon his return to Ithaka.  The text informs us that this disguise was created or at least enhanced by Athena, using her divine powers.  So it would appear that whichever way you look at such disguises, the Odyssey projects them Naively; that is, it demands that the reader say, "Oh OK, it's a perfect disguise, don't ask how it can work so well, go with it."

But look again at the disguises, such an essential part of the text.  Note Odysseus' awakening on the shore of Ithaka (I forget which Book, maybe 16).  He doesn't know where he is; Athena, in the guise of a shepherd boy, comes up and says, in effect, "Who are you, dude?"  Now when Odysseus lies, he tells stories; furthermore, he tends to "grade" these stories to his audience: he tells noble-sounding lies to kings, earthy soldier-stories to peasants.  He now tells the shepherd-boy the most complicated, intricate, and lengthy lie in the Odyssey.  Athena turns back into her own self, and laughs, "Odysseus, you're incorrigible.  Telling lies to me?"

Odysseus' says, "You gods are so powerful, and can look like anything.  How are we poor mortals to know when it's you guys and not people?  I mean, remember the contest on Phaiakia?  I barely recognized you there!"

But nothing in the text indicates that he could have or should have recognized her on Phaiakia.  In addition, why does he tell this huge lie to a mere shepherd-boy?  If you look through the lines, it's pretty clear: he knows it's Athena all along.

After this long and complex summary, what's my point?  In the Odyssey, the gods think that the world is made up of Naive people.  Mostly, they're right.  But Odysseus is a Sophisticate; in fact he's so Sophisticated that he can see through the gods' disguises and so forth.

As another very brief example of Odysseus and the Sophisticated mindset clashing with the Naive, remember that at some point O. went off to get poison for his arrow-heads.  This was refused him, because the local king thought it would offend against the gods.  The point is that within the Naive mindset that the gods approve of, you're supposed to use swords and spears, not arrows, and you sure as hell aren't supposed to use poison.  Typically, Odysseus thinks of a way to get the desired effect (dead enemies) that is entirely logical and rational, but offends directly against the gods.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on January 18, 2003, 09:52:29 AM
Quote from: John Kim
Naiveness is really a property of the story, not of the world.

I think that in Naivity, the world is a property of the story while in Sophistication the story is a property of the world.

Maybe. That's what it seems to be we're talking about right here. Like in Christopher's Oddyssey example. All of the stuff Ulysses finds on his journey home he finds only because he is there. If he wasn't on his journey, it would be more than he didn't find those those, those things wouldn't even exist.

Now with your Beowulf/Grendel example you're forgetting one very, very important and commonly forgotten or mistaken thing: That Gendel is not Beowulf and Beowulf is not Grendel. Oh sure, they are similar stories (Grendel is based on Beowulf after all) but they are not the same story. They share similarities, but are not the same, you see. There are plenty of "definable qualities of the world which are different."


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Christopher Kubasik on January 18, 2003, 09:57:41 AM
Hmmmm.  I think I'll have to think on this, because I think movies are almost by definition not Fabulist.  (I like Fabulist.  I going to stick with it.  I think it's fabulous.)

In fact, four color comics, pulp stories, and most movies have almost nothing at all to do with what I'm talking about... So clearly I'm going to have to work to come up with some better -- something.  

By the way, this has nothing to do, John, with you not "getting" what I'm talking about.  I'm groping toward something here that I've been moving toward since my days at NU when I said to my Fantasy Hero crew, "And we could do something with the style of Fairy Tales and the Arabian Nights!" and was met with a really apologetic "We're not sure exactly where to go with that."  No one got it.  Nothing happened.  No one got it because I couldn't set the boundries propperly.  I'm working on that now.

The pulp/comic/action movie has anything to do with what I'm talking about because a) there's usually no religious/cosmological underpinning b) one only needs to go to a comic con and listen to fans ironing out the discrepencies between Reed Richard's from one issue to the next to know people really want these things to make sense (like most RPGs, people have a *lot* invested into bringing these genres up to speed on how we know the world "really" works) c) they usually involve speed and action and a fetishistic investment into objects (costumes, guns, cool set pieces) at the expense of simply a guy interacting with a universe that is always stranger than he can imagine -- which he accepts without question.

Please believe me when I gave my list of stories and authors above that those are the kinds of tales I'm talking about... And Fantastic Four, Die Hard, and The Shadow have nothing to do with what I'm talking about.  (God bless them all, though.)

As for worlds and stories... Yes.  Kind of.  I don't know.  The musical Camelot is set in the same "world" as Le Mort D'Arthur?  Only in a way that ultimately doesn't matter.  In fact, this is crux in the discussion for me -- the worlds are very different depending on the story being told.  In a Fabulist tale, the world is *completely* different than the one told in a rationaly, historical manner.  I admit, I've yet to read Grendel -- though I've wanted to for a long time.  But I could come up with some prehistorice beasties that make perfect sense in some zoological sense, pay lip service to the religion and culture of the time, but completely miss out on the storytellers mix of the heart and struggle of faith that is considered real to the storyteller and the characters in the actual text of Beowulf.  

(My guess is that Gardner's book is Fabulist as well.  In fact, having read three of his other books, I'd add him to my list of Fabulists as well.  Cricthton or a Robert Heinlien would do something very different with the tale -- and the actual reality of the world would be different.)

If one doesn't grok this, then I'm still failing miserably to get this idea out there.  If so, I apologize.

Christopher

PS I can't speak for anyone else: I don't give a damn about being looked down upon by anyone else for something I'm passionate about.  I think, really, we can leave concerns about that at the Thread's door.)


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Christopher Kubasik on January 18, 2003, 10:01:34 AM
Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr

I think that in Naivity, the world is a property of the story while in Sophistication the story is a property of the world.


Damn.  I'm sure somebody's about to come in and take that apart, but I think that's brilliant.

Christopher

(Who cross posted with Jack.)


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: John Kim on January 18, 2003, 11:08:44 AM
Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
In fact, four color comics, pulp stories, and most movies have almost nothing at all to do with what I'm talking about... So clearly I'm going to have to work to come up with some better -- something.  


A brief note:  I certainly agree that there is a big distinction between fables and pulp action stories.  However, I don't think it makes sense to lump pulp action together with the "Sophisticated" fiction either.  We have been talking as though there were a dichotomy of "Naive" vs "Sophisticated" here, but there seems to be more than that.  

Thus, we have at least three views here: "Fabulist", "Action-Oriented", and "Sophisticated".  [/img]


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: erithromycin on January 18, 2003, 04:10:44 PM
Um, wouldn't it be easier to just make reference to the style of story that one wanted to tell?

Rather than attempt to map all stories onto axes [because it already seems that 'naive' and 'sophisticated' aren't quite enough] why not simply say:

"I want to play a game where it's like Greek legends. The specific features I have identified are..."

Followed by a list - to wit, the role of the character as a discrete entity with relation to their actions [are they aware that they're in a Greek myth], the role of the world in relation to the character [because this is a Greek myth, the gods get to do X to you], and then a list of conventions.

This sort of list could be created for most genres. The two key parts of the current naive/sophisticate oo fabulist debate seem to fit in the first, but they don't quite seem to be enough. To me, anyway.

If the issue is about how the stories are told then one should first identify how the stories are told. I mentioned earlier 'rewarding' or encouraging those within the game to adhere to this vision - I wasn't explicitly talking about experience points - this encouragement could take the form of an increased likelihood [if such a term is appropriate] for actions that are more fitting within the genre, and the intentions of the 'author'.

That's it! That's what I think you've been thinking! You're talking about players assuming the role of a gestalt author, whose style has been discussed beforehand, no? That's the reason for Camelot, Le Mort D'Arthur, and Excalibur being different - they've been written by different authors.

So what you have to do, I guess, is define your author, and then his characters [and possibly his relation to those characters, or his views of the genre in which he is writing]. So you're sort of looking at shared authorship, but within a defined 'voice'. Yeah?
 
At least, that's what I think you're saying. I may well be wrong.

- drew


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Christopher Kubasik on January 18, 2003, 10:21:13 PM
Hello clehrich and drew,

I'm going to take some time to ponder all this.  

clehrick, just so you know, when I posted, I ended up seeing Jack's post at the top of page 3, but missed yours on page 2 completely.  You've made good points. I'll add again that I think we're talking about that point of view of the Players, not the PCs. There are intelligent characters peppered throughout all the tales I've referenced.

Drew, I had the same thought earlier today, that the distinction I'm making isn't about these two poles, perhaps, but at least two poles, with sub-poles(?) or other poles or something.  At the least, I'm trying to gather certain storytelling assumptions of the kinds of stories I'm most drawn to -- and often its easy to define them in opposition to other types of stories.  That said, I know I'm dealing with an awful lot of smart people here, and there might be something in my thinking that's just wacky/illogical.

Again, I'm going to mull for a while. But thanks so much for the posts.

Christopher


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: contracycle on January 20, 2003, 02:03:04 AM
Quote from: erithromycin

So what you have to do, I guess, is define your author, and then his characters [and possibly his relation to those characters, or his views of the genre in which he is writing]. So you're sort of looking at shared authorship, but within a defined 'voice'. Yeah?


I submit we are reinventing the wheel.  A game structure as shared authorship, so that nobody engages with the world critically but rather constructively, naively, which locates World as a property of Story; and in which the conventions associated witgh the story selected are valid and existing part os of the world-as-property-of-story... have we not just described conscious Narrativism?

I start with a game world which is malleable by the needs of story, and we co-author an "emotionally meaningful" experience for the characters; it seems to me that the only innovation here is consciously stating that this applies to the set dressing as well as to the action.

I submit that thats doable, but as underlying analysis of a universal property it fails, IMO.  Anyone who engages in RPG in an Exploratory and not an Authorial mode is going to think analytically in the box in which they have been given to think.  The reason this it not apparent in Linear media is because the character thinks on command and is not actually reasoning; their reasoning is only portrayed by the author.  A singular author can impose such genre conventions with more subtlety than the Idiot Block, but in any mode other than either participationism or narratavism IMO you are facing critical intellects who must be persuaded and whose consent for play must be won.  Without being able to remote control their thoughts, they will engage analytically; and that would surely apply to all Simmers and Gamists.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: erithromycin on January 20, 2003, 02:34:54 AM
I used 'shared authorship' consciously. What I think Chris is trying to do is find a way to describe the kind of stories that he wants to see produced, and that seems to be something that we can explore.

Conscious narrativism is about telling a certain kind of story, but there's been a lot of focus [as far as I can see] on how to tell stories, not how to tell stories of a certain kind. Does that make sense?

I think that what we're looking for is a way to identify the tropes of a particular genre [or subgenre] of 'narrative' for use in the creation of said stories [and whether that use should take place as part of system/social contract/"other play" is, I guess, up to Chris.

- drew

[oops. no name. again.]


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: greyorm on January 20, 2003, 03:50:04 PM
Whew, you're gone at work for a few days, and look what happens.
And, BTW, welcome to the Forge, John!

Now to the meat: I find myself agreeing with Chris in the particulars of his posts as to "what its about" -- and with Jesse's statements about Emotional Engagement, illustrated by him with 7th Sea. This is what I think John is missing in the discourse and particularly in the nature of the term "opposed" to Naivety.

Considering that, I find the breakdown into role-playing and storytelling off-center for a number of reasons. In fact, it seems to me a shadow of that old RPG beast: role-playing versus roll-playing (except that now we have role-playing versus storytelling).

Based on his description, I think what John means by role-playing is that creature we call "Immersion" hereabouts; but Immersion doesn't have anything to do with the difference between the Naive and Sophisticate viewpoints...it doesn't matter whether you are "in-character" or "out" or whether you are addressing a "Premise" or not.

I think the point about people in all times thinking analytically is a miss -- how the character thinks isn't the issue at all, and, in fact, by examining the issue and the world in this light, John is displaying the self-same Sophisticated mindset which is directly contrary to the Naive one.

What is missing from the understanding of the terms, I think, (and this plays to anyone with similar tendencies, such as Jesse's fore-mentioned 7th Sea debate partners) is the difference between a world and a story.

To return to the sun-and-beetle example and mine and Gareth's continuing discussion of the issue: this is precisely where he and I part ways, stylistically. Gareth is looking for role-playing his character in a cohesive, self-contained universe -- not as a character in a story-situation.

This is why the whole issue of comics and action movies being or not being a part of the Naive mindset is another dead-end. Comics and action-movies can be made using either mindset, and interpreted with either. When the reader thinks to himself, "Wait, didn't Floss Mighty use the Whip of Doom in issue #38 and lose it?" he isn't thinking about the story, he isn't being Naive enough to enjoy the issue on its own merits, or to experience and understand the story contained within it.

On the same river, but a different barge, the same reason the characters in "Signs" don't ask themselves why the aliens aren't wearing wetsuits...it doesn't matter, the story is about their reaction to the given situation. As outside observers, we might ask that, we might even ask why they aren't asking it...but it misses the point for the character involved in the situation.

The wetsuit issue doesn't matter. The character's reaction to the situation -- which is a real situation to the character, regardless of any inconsistencies or illogic presented -- is what matters.
After all, if you were to find yourself in that same situation tomorrow, would you stop and question the universe about the alien's choice of body-wear?

"Oh, wait, the aliens aren't wearing wetsuits! Crap, I must be hallucinating, or the gamemaster screwed things up! I sure hope my player talks to him about that!"

Naivety involves a certain level of Suspension of Disbelief in order to function, more Immersion (ironically) and a greater level of maturity and understanding of the story-as-story.

Edit: I was thinking of the following example before the wife interrupted me. Horror movies. Most horror movies require that the protagonists do stupid, stupid, STUPID things...they go outside alone when they know a killer is lurking about, they crawl into airducts by themselves looking for alien creatures, they pick up the one object we all know they damn-well shouldn't (and they should know, too).

We all know this about horror movies...and yet they work. We still become afraid, we get scared, and that's precisely what horror movies are about.

When you stop to ask, "Well, why the heck did they do THAT?" you're missing the point (though a movie that gives you enough time to ask that question during the movie is doing it wrong).


Title: Validity remains
Post by: Harlequin on January 23, 2003, 10:11:39 AM
(Hi - I'm new.  'Nuff said.)

I think that some of the preceding posts are, if not missing the point, at least misunderstanding the analysis Chris is shooting for.  Even after we crack open the subject and find echoes of the "fundamental" roll/role dichotomy, or its cousins, validity remains in the original observation.

Good narratives do result from both naive and sophisticated modes, and they are definitely distinguishable modes of play (and literary modes as well).  By analyzing the differences, we can help play style mesh better with, *and* match better to, their desired literary exemplar.  Two examples spring to mind: Pendragon and Paranoia.

Pendragon characters who manage to properly (and naively) think inside the assigned box will almost always have a good session; part of the point of the game is recreation of a literary model, and that literary model is itself 'naive'.  Paranoia characters who manage to properly (sophisticatedly) come up with manipulations of the tools - and rules - they're given, tend to not only have a good session, but also tend to die less frequently to boot.  (Talk about your most fundamental reward system!).  In each case, unconscious attention has been paid to naivete/sophistication, in the construction of setting *and* mechanics, and the result is not only coherence but also appropriateness.  A sense of the appropriate may be exactly what we're striving for here...

I said above that attention to this axis can potentially cause a game to mesh better, and match better, with and to its literary source.  I made the distinction deliberately, because it feels like there are several levels on which to generate this feel.  These levels are, in our analysis, causing confusion... but in the design of the aforementioned games, they've been exploited instead.  

Pendragon encourages naive characters through its mechanics.  There is, for example, no Intelligence stat; it's not considered relevant, and the absence of it (in favour of, f'rex, the Chaste and Valourous characteristics) heavily steers character design, to good ends.  (Just as language shapes our thinking, the available statistics shape our characters... that in itself is worth a thread.)  It also, however, encourages naive play styles and stories, through its metagame mechanics, reward system, and examples of play.  Because it encourages both, there is no mismatch between them - the playstyle feels appropriate to the characters - and both reinforce our sense of the appropriate, in this case an appropriate match to the literary model.

Paranoia, in turn, encourages its characters just as heavily to be sophisticates, loading them down with secret motives and advantages whose effectiveness which can be maximized through manipulating the situation around them.  It also heavily encourages sophisticated gameplay, to the point where "naive play" in Paranoia - failing to question one's given directives, assignments, and so on - would either be very dull, rapidly fatal, or both.  Again we have agreement between levels, resulting in coherence and a fine sense of the appropriate.

Now, that being said, there are places where Paranoia could be considered "naive."  The game does not benefit from having either the characters or the players ask questions like, "So, if we're ALL members of secret societies, then where do the (apparently loyal) NPC ultraviolets come from?  Do they grow out of it, or are we just special?".  This, IMO, is actually a separate issue, and one which has contributed to the confusion in this thread.  All worlds, and all conceived-upon styles of gameplay, have givens, and unless "question everything" is one of the givens, there are issues which it simply does not benefit the game to have brought under the lens of scrutiny.  "Please do not tip the sacred cows" is, however, a separate issue from the subtler one of naivete/sophistication - it's just difficult to disassociate from the extreme sophisticate stance, and indeed it's possible to envision a game which chose its position on this axis such that even questioning the sacred cows was encouraged, even rewarded.  

Thus perhaps this thread is actually two; one is about the question, "how do you design a game so as to encourage gameplay which falls at a desired point on the naivete/sophistication axis?"  This issue focuses on how to identify the appropriate, and reward a sense of the appropriate in players and playstyle.  The other subthread is the question, "how do you clearly identify to players the *inappropriate*, and/or discourage them from tipping the sacred cattle?"  Because I'm sure that, problem players aside, much of the problem-end of the issue arises out of players who simply have not had the identity of the sacred cows communicated to them explicitly enough, and think they're just going to have a little fun tipping the temporal kine. :)

These two questions are linked, but definitely not equivalent.  But they both call for some conscious discussion of the naivete/sophistication axis.  There may be other axes which also relate to "what is appropriate behaviour in this context?", but we have identified one... and, it seems, have at best hit-or-miss tools to generate games which can communicate this to their audience.

So I'm with Chris... I'm excited about the thought of a little analysis providing us with the tools to look at a game and identify, "This game doesn't *feel* quite right, and I think it's because of a mismatch in X."  He then wants to turn that into a driving engine for fiercely Narrativist play... but I think the analysis will help with games elsewhere in the GNS spectrum, too.

- Harlequin


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Walt Freitag on January 23, 2003, 11:52:29 AM
Hi Harlequin, and welcome to the Forge!

Funny how every example of Sophisticated play seems to come to a point of "Of course, there are Naive aspects of it too." And vice versa.

Funny, but not surprising. It comes down to this: exploration (which, keep in mind, doesn't mean just passive sightseeing, it means making decisions about the elements being explored) implies sophistication about the things being explored. And since exploration is a common element in all role playing, it means every game and every instance of play is being sophisticated about something. In Pendragon the play is sophisticated about such things like chastity and valor or the allegorical meaning of a color appearing in a knight's coat of arms. Every game also has elements that are present but are not being explored. Those things, play is naive about. In Paranoia, play is normally naive about why the world is the way it is.

The problem arises when we try to define Naive or Sophisticated as a quality of an entire game system or the totality of game play or the entirety of a player's behavior. (Or, for that matter, to any entire story. Odysseus in his naive world behaves in a sophisticated way about the particular problems he wishes to solve. His solution to the sirens, for example, expresses a scientist's curiosity. He could much more easily have stopped up his own ears along with his crew's. But he wanted to hear the Sirens and figured out a way to do it without paying the price.) That dog won't hunt. It ends up chasing its tail instead, so we've now got at least half a dozen distinct and incompatible descriptions of what "Naive play" means.

What we have to do is talk about which specific elements of play are Naive or Sophisticated. For example, we can say that play expresses a Naive approach to magic, or to politics, or to mythology. Which just means that play is not exploring those things. A fairy-tale world in which all the main characters are beautiful princesses and handsome princes is naive about the aristoctratic exploitation of the lower classes because the behavior of royals with regard to their performing the social functions of royalty is not what's being explored. A player who says, "My character, Prince Charming, will go shake down some peasants for tax money now," is simply exploring off limits. As is that paragon of dysfunctional naivete-breaking player, the fantasy game player who tries to make gunpowder.

The opposite situation, a player taking a naive approach to something that's expected to be explored, is also possible. "Let's just march boldly into the dungeon at a smart pace, and accept whatever fate befalls us." But this appears to be far less common in practice.

The lesson: some understanding should exist about what's not being explored as well as what is. Being more explicit about non-exploration (which is equivalent to Naivete, as far as I'm concerned) expectations in play might be beneficial for at least some styles of play.

But sorting whole game systems along a single Naive/Sophisticated axis is doomed to failure. And treating a case of a player breaking Naivete expectations (e.g. trying to make gunpowder) as wrong thinking (not being in a sufficiently "Naive mind-set") is, in my opinion, potentially destructive. The problem isn't what the player is thinking, it's what the player is exploring (doing) that's going against the expectations of the other participants.

With that caution in mind, however, I agree fully with your last paragraph.

(And if you're wondering geez, how badly would he have ripped me apart if he didn't agree, I can only say again: Welcome to the Forge! Baptisms by fire our specialty.)

- Walt


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Valamir on January 23, 2003, 01:33:04 PM
I don't know.  When the concept was first presented I thought I had a pretty good grasp of what was being suggested.  But the more this gets hashed out the more I'm getting confused.

Perhaps I'm way oversimplifying, or perhaps I completely went down the wrong road...but it seems to me that the difference between Naive and Sophisticated comes down to 1 word..."why".

In a Naive world things happen because "that's the way they are".
In a Sophisticated world, things happen and one stops to question "why".

Take the Illiad.   A bunch of kings agree that if anyone should run off with Helen they'd all go to war with that person.  Why?  How much sense does that make.  A sophisticated approach would be to suggest that Menelaus was the brother of the most powerful king in Greece so in agreeing to this one was, in effect, sucking up to the major power.  But the Illiad to my recollection gives no such analysis.  Its just what happens.  And 10 years.  How is it possibly effective or efficient to war for 10 years over a chick.  A sophisticated approach would be to analyze the logistics nightmare of keeping the army supplied over seas for that long and the effect of the economies back home and likely conclude that 10 years was an exaggeration.  A naive approach simply doesn't ask.  It says 10 years...it was 10 years.

Similiarly in Arthurian literature Arthur summarily banishes Sir Balin for killing the lady of the Lake in violation of the laws of hospitality.  A sophisticated approach would have all sorts questions to this.  Balin had just proved himself the most worthy knight present in drawing the maiden's sword, the lady of the lake was an evil vicious witch who'd destroyed Balin's family and he was sworn to vengeance against her.  None of that mattered, the laws of hospitality had been broken...period.  In reality its likely that lords would frequently weigh the cons of gaining a reputation for violating hospitality vs conveniently doing away with a hated enemy...but in Arthurian myth it isn't an option.  There is no why, no analysis no in depth accounting of benefits and disadvantages...it simply is the way it is.  This is true throughout most of the myth cycle the knight are constantly DOING with very little thought to why.  The why isn't important...its just the way things are done.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Christopher Kubasik on January 23, 2003, 02:00:11 PM
Hello Harlequin,

Welcome to the Forge.

And all...

Just for the record, because honestly, if there's any sort of orginization to the thinking on these threads I've lost it long ago, my position is this:

*I'm not talking about the characters point of view, I'm talking about the creative view shared by the players at the table;

*Valamir's "That's the way things are"/"Why?" distincition is vital, and why I prefer these days the word Fabulist;

*It's not a binary system within the world so that there are smart people here, fools there -- Daedulus is an inventor after all, but anyone with redementary knowledge of aerodynamics knows his wax and feathered wings would never work -- that makes it Fabulist, even though there is a rational mind at work in the tale.

*It's not a binary system at all.  Let's say this: there is the city of Fabulist Story, and inside it's walls things are Fabulist.  And caravans of goods arrive every day through seven gates, bringing other tales of all the kinds the world possesses.

The tales are sorted at the seven gates, as GMs and players pick through the shiny baubles and decide which ones to carry into the city and weave into their tales.

This is not done in opposition to, say, Rationalist play.  It's just that this is the city of Fabulist Story, and around here, we like stories of "That's the way it is.

*It's not a mishmash of illogic.  Stories in the City of Fabulist Story make sense -- on an intuitive, fabulist and poetic level.  (Yes, it's subjective.)  I've been thinking about games that tried to be "mythic" -- like Everway for example, and I think one of the reasons the default setting struck me as so course is that by including EVERYTHING, it lacked all logic.  No choices had been made.  Faulist storytelling is nonsensical in intent, nor is it anything can happen, nor is everything and the kitchen sink, nor is self-contradictory, ridiculous or foolish.  Simply, it isn't interested in "Why?"

It is responsible to itself, however, for making sense of the world, the characters, through, perhaps, repeated metaphore, theme, images, cohesive *choices* -- the same kind of choices made in poetry or fables or fairy tales.  (The same kinds of choices made in other types of work, as well, by the way, but the Fabulist tale isn't responsible for "Why?")

In short, I'm groping toward a style of story telling that depends on us releasing certain contemporary modes of thinking. It's not as if this is *contradictory* to contemporary styles of story telling, since contemporary styles of storytelling. It's stripping away current trends of thought and seeing what we can do without them.  (Yeesh, I just called the Enlightenment a "trend".  Well, what the hell.)

So, that's where I am now.

Take care,
Christopher


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: jburneko on January 23, 2003, 02:39:36 PM
Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
Daedulus is an inventor after all, but anyone with redementary knowledge of aerodynamics knows his wax and feathered wings would never work --


Christopher,

In your last post you kept mentioning that the Fabulist does not concern themselves with "why" something is the way it is.  In my experience not asking "why" (in a backwards projection way) isn't necessarily how the Rationalist works.  It's the projection FOWARDS given the "fantastic" as fundamental assumption.

From you example above: The Rationalist has no problem accepting that Daedulus can fly with wax and feathers.  But ONCE that has been accepted the Rationalist expects two things to happen:

1) ANYONE can fly with wax and feathers and the application of Daedulus's technique.

2) Once Daedulus's technique becomes common knowledge it should have all the normal consequences on economics and politics.  Thus, nations with access to an abundance of chickens and bees SHOULD have avian armies and postal systems.

It has been my experience that Rationalist roleplayers need an ever increasingly complex or shifting situation to not become bored because they rapidly hone "problem solving" techniques.  Once daedulus has flown with wax and feathers there's no point in EVER including a prison tower in any scenario ever again because the Rationalist KNOWS how to deal with it regardless of the emotional content of the circumstances.

Fabulists can take the same abstract situation and spin a 1000 tales regardless of what has come before and been established to be fact within the world.

Jesse


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Valamir on January 23, 2003, 03:57:08 PM
Excellent point Jesse.  I think you were referring to my "why" post, but I would now definitely amend that to include "why not / why can't" as a telltale of the "sophisticate/non fabulist" player mindset.  As in "if Daedalus can fly, why can't I".  For a fabulist the answer of "because you're not Daedalus" is so obvious they wouldn't even ask the question.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: greyorm on January 23, 2003, 04:40:31 PM
Wow...sorry to do a "me too," but I Chris, Ralph and Jesse, you got it. That's right where I'm coming from, too...so, er, I can't really add anything else.


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: Christopher Kubasik on January 23, 2003, 06:31:02 PM
Hi Guys,

And just to clarify, the Plane of Stories isn't divided down the middle into the nations of "That's the way things are" and "Why not?/Why can't?"

Instead, I'm seeing differnt city states, each with their own tastes and specialties.

The City of Fabulist Stories I've described.  But there's also the steam-punk driven Citidel of Why not? Why Can't? which imports tales from the City of Fabulsit Stories and teases them into all sorts of implications that produces wonderful effects, but that the citizens of Fabulist simply don't have time for.

But upriver, there's also the City of Why not? Why Can't Up To A Point -- Where the four color comics and posters for Bruce Willis movies wave on banner poles.  In this city the implication of an invention of Reed Richards is examined through the decades, but not so much that someone might do something kind of "forgets about" it for a short while.

Again, I've backed way off the binary system.  And it's not even a spectrum.  It's unique modes of storytelling that share a great deal, but are different enough, in my view, to produce different effect in the minds of the audience and maker when these differences are respected.

(Okay.  "Effects in the minds of the makers"? Please don't ask me to explain this just yet.  It's bubbling still.  But, in brief, I think different kinds of stories rub our mental tastes different ways, as if our brains were tongues for a moment, checking out different spices or fruits.  Each of us has our own "tastes" -- just as some people love spicy foods, and others hate them.  And, more than that, there are different effects different kinds of stories produce.  (Puckering, woozy delight).  But this has led me down the strange path of "Why Play RPGs?" and "What do People Want from RPGs?"  Which is HUGE.  And so for later.)


Title: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms
Post by: clehrich on January 23, 2003, 10:30:14 PM
Quote
The Rationalist has no problem accepting that Daedulus can fly with wax and feathers. But ONCE that has been accepted the Rationalist expects two things to happen:

1) ANYONE can fly with wax and feathers and the application of Daedulus's technique.


Jesse's point reminds me of a Terry Pratchett footnote, in which he remarks that the universe is most resistant to things that haven't been done before.  Thus the first guy to go up Everest had a heck of a slog; in 100 years, little old ladies will wander up before tea, and then stop halfway down and go back because they dropped their glasses.

Just a thought --- an interesting way to think about a belief-constructed universe, too.