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Archive => RPG Theory => Topic started by: lumpley on October 17, 2001, 09:55:00 AM



Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 17, 2001, 09:55:00 AM
Hey, is there a reason to have Director Stance instead of talking about Actor / Author / Pawn Stance with regard to?  When I do Director Stance, I do it as an Actor or an Author or a (um) Pawner, adopting the stance relative to whatever I'm doing, instead of to my character.  Right?

Most of us are GMs.  Is it not true that when we GM, we just wander from stance to stance and from object-of-stance to object-of-stance?  "It starts raining," I say, and doesn't that mean I'm Actoring, Authoring or Pawning the weather?

-lumpley


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: hardcoremoose on October 17, 2001, 10:15:00 AM
I'm not sure, but I think some of your confusion arises from the use of the word "author".  Taken out of a gaming context, the concept of author implies total control over whatever story is being authored, which is much more significant than the control a director has over a play or film.  In the context of GNS, however, the words mean something very different.  

My understanding of Author Stance (and I'm sure I'm screwing this up), is that it is always in regard to your character, only in a non-actor or immersive way (for instance, doing things that make good story-sense but do not necessarily jive with your character's goals and/or motivations).  It requires a sort of reverse thinking, in which you ask yourself "what would be cool here?" and then retrofitting it - contriving coincidences or circumstances to make it plausible if needed - to your character.  Director's Stance is more powerful, allowing players to engineer the game world to their own satisfaction, in ways that are often totally disconnected from their character.

- Scott  



[ This Message was edited by: hardcoremoose on 2001-10-17 14:23 ]


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 17, 2001, 10:33:00 AM
No, I know.  I think that saying that Author Stance is only in regard to your character might probably be bogus.  What if you have two characters?

When a game gives its players Directorial Power, doesn't it do so by allowing them to Act, Author, or treat as Pawns elements of the game-world other than their characters?

-lumpley



Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: jburneko on October 17, 2001, 10:38:00 AM
I think what your doing is breaking the definition of what a Stance is.

If Stance where simply a decision making process relative to the object of that decision, you'd be completely correct.

However, Stance is DEFINED as being relative to the character in question.

It's like saying 1 + 1 = 2 but couldn't we say that it equal zeros if + meant subtraction?

Jesse


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 17, 2001, 11:29:00 AM
So wait.

Jesse, I think that what you're saying implies that we have these stances:

Actor;

Author;

Pawn;

Director where you base your decisions about (say) the weather only on in-game factors;

Director where you base your decisions about (say) the weather on what would be cool, and then retrofit an explanation in terms of (or otherwise mitigate your decision by) in-game factors; and

Director where you base your decisions about (say) the weather on what would be cool, and who cares whether it's in character for the weather.

Is there a reason to define the stances this way?  I think it makes more sense to apply Actor, Author, and Pawn stances to things other than characters than to have redundant Actor-type Director, Author-type Director, and Pawn-type Director stances.

Seriously, what if you have two characters?  Which is "the character in question"?  You first Author one, and then Actor the other, and then Author the second, and then treat the first as a Pawn, and then on and on as suits you and the game, right?  You don't choose one of them to Author, Actor, and Pawn, and the other to only Director, right?  (How would you even go about making a character the object of your Director Stance?)  Why should the weather be different?

(The advantage of what I'm suggesting is that it makes it clear that GMs and non-GMs do the exact same things.  They just do them to different elements of the game, in different proportions, at different times.)

-lumpley



[ This Message was edited by: lumpley on 2001-10-17 15:52 ]

[ This Message was edited by: lumpley on 2001-10-17 15:54 ]


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 17, 2001, 12:32:00 PM
In the case of two characters, you are in actor stance when you make a decision for one of the characters based on what that charcter would do. You are in Author stance if you are making either character do something based on what you as the player want to happen (which may, and probably does, coincide with what the character wants). You are in director stance if you are making up something that is not directly related to either character.

Does that work? I don't know how you got from what Jesse said to what you have above. He's just saying that he thinks that you aren't using the definition of Stance that we are.

Mike


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 17, 2001, 02:06:00 PM
Hey Vincent,

It also helps to consider the basic example of Director Stance in plain old me-and-my-character role-playing. Here's an example from the game that brought it front-and-center during play.

I'm playing Extreme Vengeance, and my character, Bert Tootie, is facing off against Ugly Pig Bob, the scarred and evil lieutenant of the villain. It's late in the movie and Bertie is pretty pissed off. (His dog! His wife! His trailer! His country! All [sob] dead!)

Well, they're on a loading dock. Bert just got clocked badly by Bob and has, like, awful penalties and stuff for his next move. But wait! On my sheet, there's a Coincidence score. I scratch off a point and roll Coincidence, to see if the huge crate of bat guano, suspended above Bob, snaps off its hook and squashes him!

That's Director Stance. It's pretty "close the vest," as it's all about Bertie and his fight. It's about the environment, though; Bertie actually does nothing but stare as the crate comes crashing down.

Hope that helps,
Ron


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Jared A. Sorensen on October 17, 2001, 02:16:00 PM
I recently played a D&D game. Not so good. The beginning of the second game took place in a castle bedroom. Fight scene.

I told the GM my character was going to grab the wash basin full of water and throw it at the bad guy. The GM told me there wasn't a wash basin -- but there was a chamber pot. I told him I would throw that -- he said it was too heavy.

I tried to assert some power by adding a perfectly reasonable item to the barely-described environment. It was nixed. That's lame, that's why I stopped playing...that's Director stance and Narrativist play being cut down by the GM...


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 17, 2001, 02:49:00 PM
I know what Director Stance is.  I know how you're using it.  I know how I've used it, as I've used it, here on the Forge.

My position is that what you're calling Director Stance is, in fact, no more nor less than taking one of the other stances toward something other than your character.

As y'all define it, Director Stance = Making [effective] decisions about something other than your character, right?

Well it seems to me that there are three ways you might make decisions about things other than your character:

1. Relying only on in-game factors.  It's raining because raining is what would happen, no matter what the metagame calls for.

2. Relying only on metagame factors.  It's raining because raining would be cool.

3. Making your decision based on metagame factors, but taking care to find in-game explanations too.  It's raining because raining would be cool, plus it's been cloudy all morning.

These correspond to Actor, Pawn, and Author Stances, as I understand them.  Yes?  Why not call them Actor, Pawn and Author Stance, With Regard To the weather?

As it is, we have three consistent stances, and one inconsistent one:

Actor Stance is a way of making decisions;
Author Stance is a way of making decisions;
Pawn Stance is a way of making decisions;
Director Stance is what you make decisions about.

I'm not confused.  I'm asking why it is this way, since I can't see a reason and maybe there is one, and I'm suggesting a (possibly) better way to do it.

I'm not questioning the validity of sharing Directorial Power.  Far from it.  That's the good stuff, as far as I'm concerned.  I'm suggesting a more complete way of looking at it.  And my agenda, just to be upfront, is to eventually be able to talk about the apparent differences between GMs and non-GMs.

-lumpley


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 17, 2001, 02:54:00 PM
Okay, so Ron, it's Director Stance because it's really about Bertie, not about the environment?

Isn't that Pawn Stance Re: the crate of bat guano, and the metagame (which is to say, out-of-character for the crate) concern is Bertie?

-lumpley


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 17, 2001, 04:53:00 PM
H'mmmmm. You are giving me much food for thought. My li'l brain often takes a while to mull, though.

Anyone else want to weigh in on this one? I am finding myself shockingly open-minded regarding Vincent's suggestion. Save me from my folly or push me the rest of the way, I guess.

Best,
Ron


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 17, 2001, 05:08:00 PM
Hey All.

On reflection, if Director Stance is there to contrast not so much with Actor, Author and Pawn, but with GM-power more broadly, I can see the value.  As a shorthand term.  "Oh no, it's not a co-GMed game," one might say, "it just allows Director Stance."

It's not really a Stance stance then, though.

I'd go so far as to say that when some of you talk about Director Stance, you're talking specifically about Pawn Stance wrt the environment, which -- get this -- is why you have the impression that Director Stance and Simulationism don't mesh well.  When Simulationists do Director Stance, in my experience, we tend to do Actor Stance wrt the environment.  Deprioritizing metagame concerns, right?

-lumpley / Vincent

(There, Ron, you got me.  :smile:)


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Paul Czege on October 17, 2001, 06:25:00 PM
Somebody stop me.
.
.
.
What Vincent says makes an awful lot of sense.
.
.
.
You could end up with Audience Role, Player Role, and Director Role, each with stances in them.

I'll go back to Actual Play now.

Paul


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Valamir on October 18, 2001, 07:34:00 AM
Let me take a stab at summarizing what you're saying here Lumpley.

Instead of specifically defining each element of a given stance, you're peeling one of the elements (that regarding the "target" of the stance) out of the definition and setting up what amounts to a matrix.

So instead of having Actor defined as player manipulating his character without the influence of metagame, you have Actor defined as player manipulating [X] without the influence of metagame.

[X] then could be Manipulating character, or Manipulating environment, or Manipulating something else.  Which if these choices were tabulated would form the afore mentioned Matrix.

I happen to be a big fan of this sort of flexible definition and recombining of factors (Jester used combinations like this alot in his GEN work, and I enjoyed them there).

The catch is this:  Speaking in terms of the Matrix, there would be a cell for each Stance-Target intersection.  Question:  can each Stance be matched with each Target in a way that makes sense...if so this might work.  However, if not (if there would be too many cells labeled N/A) then this would really just be an organizational change without much added utility.

For example one such cell would be Actor Stance targeting an NPC.  This would indicate that a player could manipulate the NPC without resorting to Metagame influence.  This would obviously be possible as the player would simply be controling the NPC as he would his own character for a time taking care to do only what that NPC would really do.  Thus manipulating an NPC isn't "Director Stance" its merely "Actor Stance" (or Pawn or Author) with regards to the NPC.

This could make an awful lot of sense, though it would take some time to shake down all of the implications.

If such a model is found to have more utility than the current line of thinking then, it would also render the Audience as a stance question rather moot.

In the current fashion where Stance is basically a list of definitions I've been debating the utility of having two seperate lists of definitions for what amounts to a set of behaviors. However, using the above model, there would be no debate, because it would be clear that Audience doesn't fit the Matrix, precisely because it has no target.



[ This Message was edited by: Valamir on 2001-10-18 11:35 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Valamir on 2001-10-18 11:42 ]


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 18, 2001, 07:36:00 AM
So, in this model Role refers to what you are affecting (nothing in the case of audience), and Stance is how come to the decision in question? Yep, that would pretty much include my thoughts on the subject.

This sets well with my need for object orientation, too.

It does seem odd, however to say Director Role with Actor stance which would be what I would be doing if I created some weather because it seemed "realistic" that such weather would occur. We'd have to rename the stances something like: Object, Story, Mixed. Wouldn't there also have to be some other stances then, though? Like Challenge stance. Where you make something happen because it increases the challenge of the game while not increasing the value of the story or being realistic particularly. So, if I use director power to create a buncha orcs just because I think that the game is stale and needs a fight, then I'd be in Director Role, and Challenge Stance.

Worms.

There are all sorts of motivations for making a particular decision that may have nothing to do with any of the above. Hate Stance would be where a player makes a decision about something because he does not like it. I shouldn't be arguing against it, because this is exactly where I've been going with all my behavior and motivation stuff. But I think that even Fang might be willing to go with this model (nah, he'd find something about it to pull apart :smile: ).

Mike


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Le Joueur on October 18, 2001, 11:05:00 AM
Quote
Ron Edwards wrote:

Anyone else want to weigh in on this one? I am finding myself shockingly open-minded regarding Vincent's suggestion. Save me from my folly or push me the rest of the way, I guess.

[Onto the soapbox again...]

I guess I’ve been waiting patiently for someone to make this case.  (I believe I am known as the ‘lurking disagreement person’ with most of the GNS/Stances/Modes/Immersive-Pawns divisions and terminology.)  But I think the time has come for me to make my point.

All of this has gone around and around before, but has always been tied up by adherence to tradition in the end.  The reason I never got around to my problem with the division between Author and Director Stances this clearly is because of the bad reception I receive each time I suggest that it is not the model but the terms that are causing the problem.

Again and again, Ron has asserted that the original four Stances in the old GNS 101 FAQ (I couldn’t find the link, but have a copy if anyone needs a reference) had nothing whatsoever to do with film or theatre, even though they are the sum of the major roles in these productions (Audience, Actor, Author, and Director).  I have argued at length that the apparent conspiracy of the cluster of terms is proof enough that they have inherent problems, but to no avail.  Let me try one more time.

Ultimately I think the point brought up here is that Author and Director Stance only differ by the fields of influence they work with.  As posited earlier, one is about the player’s character; the other has no such limits.  The reason I have never seen any difference is because every tool and technique is the same for both.  The ‘how’ is no different, only the ‘on what.’  Discarding Audience Stance for a moment, this means there remain two Stances, Actor and ‘Manipulator.’  They clearly differ in that one works with devices available only to the character, the alternative works with every other.

Why ‘Manipulator’ Stance?  While the definitions of Actor and Author Stance in the new lexicon (Ron’s current essay (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/gns/gns_chapter3.html)) seem grown from the same root, I have to say that Author Stance bears more in common with Director Stance because of how both are about manipulating things.  "Retroactively ‘motivating’" something and "determining the aspects" of something are clearly synonyms of manipulating them.

In this new essay (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/gns/gns_chapter3.html), Ron goes quite far characterizing immersive play as just the extreme form of In-Character Mode.  He also identifies immersion as "highly associated" with Actor Stance.  In outright fashion he clearly defines Pawn play (even though he makes the mistake of calling it a stance) as a subset of Author Stance.  There is also strong implication that Pawn play is an application of the Out-of-Character approach to play.  And yet Ron seems unsure when Nobilis uses In-Character and Out-of-Character to refer to Actor and ‘Manipulator’ (Author) Stances respectively.

It should be clear, if the In-Character approach contains immersion that is "highly associated" with Actor Stance, and if the Out-of-Character approach implies an inclusion of Pawn play that is a subset of Author Stance, there is an obvious correlation.

What about the ‘loose sides,’ the places without complete one-to-one correlation?  What about the parts of In-Character approach that are not included in immersion?  I can’t think of anything but a few exceptions where the In-Character approach exceeds the boundaries of Actor Stance, and you know what they say about exceptions1.  How about where Actor Stance is not "highly associated" with the In-Character approach?  You got me, are there even any exceptions1 there?

Okay, what about where Author Stance excludes Pawn play?  Well, since things are either In-Character or Out-of-Character (I don’t think there is a middle ground), and Author stance is about "retroactively ‘motivating’" a character, obviously from the ‘outside,’ I would have to say that there aren’t even exceptions1 to non-Pawn play Author Stance being Out-of-Character.  Right, how about Out-of-Character approaches that do not include Pawn play?  As few as these examples are, I think they all fall neatly into Author Stance too.

Does this correlate Author Stance to the Out-of-Character approach?  Well, if you are "determining a character’s decisions" based on something other than the "knowledge and perceptions [of] that character" it is defined as not being Actor Stance.  The inverse is also clearly true.  The only really obvious disparity between using In-Character and Out-of-Character terminology is the presence of Directorial Stance in this set.  Director Stance is clearly exclusive of the In-Character approach and if we recognize the only difference between it and Author Stance is scope, then it too collapses easily into Out-of-Character terminology.

Ultimately this breaks down to In-Character Stance (Actor Stance without the histrionic, communicative confusion2), Out-of-Character Stance with a focus on a specific character (Author Stance), and Out-of-Character Stance without said focus (Director Stance).  The difference between normal usage of In-Character and Out-of-Character is the use of the term ‘Stance’ (which can be taken to mean the ‘about decisions’ part if you like).

In a world where we are willing to separate the fine hairs of gamemaster style ‘Manipulator’ Stance from the ‘specific character only’ player style of ‘Manipulator’ Stance because of their slightly different scope, it only makes sense to separate the In-Character approach from Actor Stance and the Out-of-Character approach from ‘Manipulator’ Stance.  But then it would also make sense to bring back Audience Stance as a reflection of deciding ‘not to decide’ (which is making a decision) anything that affects play while still participating.

They way I see it, you can either have a long list in keeping with the division of Author and Director Stances or a short list in keeping with having no Audience Stance, but it is awkward and confusing to do both.

Having said all this, I would like to suggest an alternative.  Going for the minimalist approach, I think all of these Stances can be collapsed as Stances into Manipulator Stance and Character Stance.  And then Stance would be about what perspective of "how a person arrives at decisions" in a game, right?  But that just collapses into In-Character Stance and Out-of-Character Stance, anyway.  (Unless someone can make a case for not using a one-to-one correlation,) Forget I said anything.

Fang Langford

1 As they say, "the exception that proves the rule."

2 Wasn’t the whole Stances/Modes/Roles thing for communication?  I’ve said it before (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?topic=612&forum=3&start=15) and I’ll say it again, if the terminology impedes communication, replace it.

[ This Message was edited by: Le Joueur on 2001-10-18 15:11 ]


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 18, 2001, 11:13:00 AM
Hey All.

Valamir -- precisely.  [X] is any element of the game about which one might make (effective) decisions.  Characters are in a lot of ways the most interesting [X]s, of course.

I may be jumping the gun a teeny bit, but since both Paul and Mike mentioned roles, I'll go ahead.  When the time comes to talk about Player vs. Director, I hope we can start with what Event Resolution methods are available to whom.

Frinstance,  in a conventional game, PC's actions are resolved relatively often by Fortune, and the arbiter / interpreter is another player (specifically, the GM).  NPC's actions are resolved relatively often by Drama -- especially when they happen offscreen -- and the arbiter is the player herself (specifically, still the GM).

I think it'll be especially useful to talk about the (rarely explicit) rules for who arbitrates what.  The choices as I see them are 1. the player herself, 2. some random or arbitrary other player, 3. a particular other player like a GM, or 4. the whole group.  Conventional games use 1. and 3. almost exclusively (as I'm sure you see).

So player mode and director mode, it seems to me, are preset combinations of factors:

Conventional Player mode = Stance relative to only my character + GM arbitration of event resolution + no doubt other things.

Conventional Director mode = Stance relative to everything but players' characters + self arbitration of event resolution + other things too.

But anyway.

-lumpley Vincent

(There, how about if lumpley is an adjective?)


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 18, 2001, 11:27:00 AM
Well, that was a lumpley response, all right.

Fang, Vincent..uh..I don't get it..

Can we try again? Just summaries.

Mike


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 18, 2001, 11:29:00 AM
Fang,
Quote
Director Stance is clearly exclusive of the In-Character approach and if we recognize the only difference between it and Author Stance is scope, then it too collapses easily into Out-of-Character terminology.


I think that you can play the weather in character.  I'm not certain, but I think you can.  I can play a dog in character, for sure.  I can probably play an organization or a mob in character.  I admit that the weather is a little iffier.

I'm comfortable replacing Actor/Author/Pawn with In-character/Out-of-character.  That's how I talk about it casually anyway.  But I don't think Director Stance is part of OOC -- I think that Director Stance is a way of talking about what you're IC/OOC about.  Your character, your characters, your part of the game world, the whole game world, whatever.

-lumpley Vincent


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: gentrification on October 18, 2001, 11:50:00 AM
I know this isn't really on-topic, but...

Quote

On 2001-10-17 18:16, Jared A. Sorensen wrote:
I told the GM my character was going to grab the wash basin full of water and throw it at the bad guy. The GM told me there wasn't a wash basin -- but there was a chamber pot. I told him I would throw that -- he said it was too heavy.


I think your GM doesn't know what a chamber pot is. I can't imagine one being "too heavy" unless your character is, like, 12 inches high.



Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Paul Czege on October 18, 2001, 11:59:00 AM
I can't imagine one being "too heavy" unless your character is, like, 12 inches high.

I think that because of excessive theft, the castle administration had been forced to bolt the remaining chamber pots to large stone blocks.


;)


Paul


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 18, 2001, 12:17:00 PM
Mike,

Uh oh.  Do you mean a summary of my actual point, or a summary of the post where I like go off and play with my toys all by myself, but you can watch?

I think you got my actual point, that instead of Director Stance what you really do is adopt one of the other stances toward something other than your character.  Your comment "Worms" seemed right on the money.

As to the latter, the jumping the gun post, all I really mean is that one of the biggest differences between being a GM and being a non-GM is who decides how your characters' actions turn out.  (Specifically, whether another player decides or you decide yourself.)  My goal, again, is to talk about players and GMs, and what the real differences between them are (if there are any).

-lumpley Vincent


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 18, 2001, 12:22:00 PM
Mike said,
Quote
Wouldn't there also have to be some other stances then, though? ... Worms.


I'm not so interested in how you decide what your characters or other game elements do.  There might be two stances, as Fang suggests (I think), there might be a hundred, depending on which parts of the decision are interesting to you.  I'm more interested in which characters and other game elements you gets to make decisions about.

-lumpley Vincent


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Laurel on October 18, 2001, 12:43:00 PM
There's a lot in this thread that just leaves me sitting in the mud watching the horses gallop by :smile:  Here's what I think was Lumpley's thesis.  If I'm on or off the mark, let me know.

Why would the Director stance be classified as a stance if it is not really a distinct way for a person to determine how the character in question is going to act?  The Director stance relies on the same determining factor (their own personal, non-character priorities) as Author/Pawn. The only difference is that the player is manipulating the gaming environment in some way, adding in people/places/things that allow them to achieve their meta-game goal rather than them using their character directly as the tool for achievement?



Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on October 18, 2001, 01:04:00 PM
IIUC the key to the Stances is the character.  Director may be an outgrowth of AUthor stance, but the reason they are two separate stances is how they relate to the PC.

Author Stance:

Player:  "I look at the ceiling.  Is there a chandlier?"

GM:  "Yes, there is."

Player:  "I jump and swing from the chandlier."




Director Stance:

Player:  "I jump and swing from the chandlier."


In the second instance the player in author mode has decided that it would be cool to swing from the chandlier, regardless of what the character wants but they didn't not want it so we can set aside the Pawn mode for the purpose of this discussion.  The difference between the first instance and the second is the player was able to put a chandlier in the room without consulting the GM.  It's there because the player says so because he wants his character to swing from it.  If the GM had said there was no chandlier, the player would have to rethink his action.  But in director stance, this is an unnecessary step.  He can create the chandlier out of thin air and necessity.

On the surface, it looks like director stance is more effecient.  It probably is in some instances but it probably isn't in other instances so that it balances out.

BTW, I'll die of shock if I spelled "chandlier" correctly.  I should use my unabridged dictionary, shouldn't I?


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 18, 2001, 01:29:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-10-18 15:59, Paul Czege wrote:
I can't imagine one being "too heavy" unless your character is, like, 12 inches high.

I think that because of excessive theft, the castle administration had been forced to bolt the remaining chamber pots to large stone blocks.


:wink:


Paul


This was a fantasy game. What if the chamber occupant were an ogre? One that had relieved himself recently.

:smile:


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 18, 2001, 01:32:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-10-18 17:04, pblock wrote:

Author Stance:
Player:  "I look at the ceiling.  Is there a chandlier?"

GM:  "Yes, there is."

Player:  "I jump and swing from the chandlier."


Director Stance:

Player:  "I jump and swing from the chandlier."


Player: There is a chandelier in the room.

What is that? Just creating something not at all in relation to the character.

I gotta know, because the players in Universalis do that as much as anything else.

Mike


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Le Joueur on October 18, 2001, 02:05:00 PM
Quote
Lumpley wrote:

Quote
Fang wrote:

Director Stance is clearly exclusive of the In-Character approach and if we recognize the only difference between it and Author Stance is scope, then it too collapses easily into Out-of-Character terminology.

I think that you can play the weather in character.  I'm not certain, but I think you can.  I can play a dog in character, for sure.  I can probably play an organization or a mob in character.  I admit that the weather is a little iffier.

And just as I pointed out in my footnotes, these seem rare enough for them to the exceptions that rather enforce the sense of there being some structure to it, right?  I mean, if you are playing the weather or the mob, as a character, aren’t you doing something kinda unconventional for a role-playing game?

Fang Langford

[ This Message was edited by: Le Joueur on 2001-10-18 18:24 ]


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 18, 2001, 02:12:00 PM
Quote

I mean, if you are playing the weather or the mob, as a character, aren’t you doing something kinda unconventional for a role-playing game?


Warning: Plug follows.

Happens in Universalis all the time. We even have a rule for making mobs and the like. OTOH, Universalis is not the typical game; you're right there Fang.

Mike


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Le Joueur on October 18, 2001, 02:21:00 PM
Quote
pblock wrote:

IIUC the key to the Stances is the character.  Director may be an outgrowth of Author Stance, but the reason they are two separate stances is how they relate to the PC.

Author Stance:

Player:  "I look at the ceiling.  Is there a chandelier?"

GM:  "Yes, there is."

Player:  "I jump and swing from the chandelier."




Director Stance:

Player:  "I jump and swing from the chandelier."

Now I might be a bit off here, but as memory serves, you’ve gone completely beyond the definitions.

Let me try it with your examples, as I understand it.

Actor Stance:

Player:  "I look at the ceiling.  Is there a chandelier?"

GM:  "Yes, there is."

Player:  "I jump and swing from the chandelier."




Author Stance:

Player:  "I jump and swing from the chandelier."



Director Stance:

Player:  "Absothra (an heroic non-player character) jumps up and swings from the chandelier; in a stroke, by the display of his heroism, the tide of the battle is turned."

GM:  "What does
your character do?"

Player:  "My character remains unmoving under the table, cowardice is not such a bad thing when you’re winning."


That sounds a bit more like what I understand.

Quote
In the second instance the player in author mode has decided that it would be cool to swing from the chandelier, regardless of what the character wants but they didn't not want it so we can set aside the Pawn mode for the purpose of this discussion.  The difference between the first instance and the second is the player was able to put a chandelier in the room without consulting the GM.

Which, if I am not mistaken is the difference between Actor Stance and Author Stance.

Quote
It's there because the player says so because he wants his character to swing from it.  If the GM had said there was no chandelier, the player would have to rethink his action.  But in director stance, this is an unnecessary step.  He can create the chandelier out of thin air and necessity.

As has been explained to me, in Author Stance the chandelier is created to accentuate whom the character is.  In Director Stance, its creation reflects the control the player exerts over the narrative beyond their character and their character’s presence in the game.

Fang Langford

[ This Message was edited by: Le Joueur on 2001-10-18 18:30 ]


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 18, 2001, 03:44:00 PM
Fang,
Quote
I mean, if you are playing the weather or the mob, as a character, aren’t you doing something kinda unconventional for a role-playing game?

Not if you're the GM.

-lumpley Vincent


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 18, 2001, 04:11:00 PM
pblock,
Quote
IIUC the key to the Stances is the character. Director may be an outgrowth of AUthor stance, but the reason they are two separate stances is how they relate to the PC.

That is how it is currently defined, IIUC too.

I think.  Your example isn't quite clear, becuase you do two things in the same step: create a chandelier, and take an action.  In Ron's example, Bertie just stands there with his mouth open while the crate (which Ron didn't create) falls.  Ron uses "Director Stance" to have the crate take an action.

I'm proposing that "Director Stance" isn't a stance at all.  It doesn't say what basis you use to make decisions.  It describes what you make decisions about, unlike the three other stances.  I think it would be better to make that explicit, rather than leaving it invisible in an illusory stance.

It doesn't change the way you play.  It definitely doesn't change the way, say, Elfs works.  The difference is that instead of saying "in Elfs, the players may take Director Stance," you say, "in Elfs, the players may take Actor, Author and Pawn Stance toward things outside of their characters."

-lumpley Vincent


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 18, 2001, 04:14:00 PM
Mike,
Quote
Player: There is a chandelier in the room.

What is that? Just creating something not at all in relation to the character.


Dunno.  What is it when you create your character?  Same thing, probably.  Exercising creative (as opposed to editorial or something) control on the game world.

-lumpley Vincent


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Paul Czege on October 18, 2001, 04:22:00 PM
Last one, I promise.

What if the chamber occupant were an ogre? One that had relieved himself recently.

GM: The high priest's iron golem took a piss about a week ago in this room's five gallon chamber pot. It's now cooled to a very heavy slag.

Player: Curse you again, gamemaster!





Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 18, 2001, 05:40:00 PM
Hey All.

I'm going to summarize and restate my position.  Bear with me.

As they are currently defined, the stances apply pretty much only to the non-GM players of traditional games.  I think that it would be a. profitable and b. extremely easy to expand the definitons so that they apply to every roleplayer.

Here are the old definitions:

Actor Stance - making decisions about your character based only on in-game considerations.

Pawn Stance - making decisions about your character based only on metagame considerations.

Author Stance - making decisions about your character based on metagame considerations, but in such a way that they are justified by in-game considerations.

Director Stance - making decisions about other things in the game world than your character.

All good, so far?

Here are my proposed new definitions:

Actor Stance - making decisions about [X] based only on in-game considerations.

Pawn Stance - making decisions about [X] based only on metagame considerations.

Author Stance - making decisions about [X] based on metagame considerations, but in such a way that they are justified by in-game considerations.

Where [X] is whatever element of the game world you're making decisions about.  [X] is usually your character, but it might also be the weather, the thieves' guild, your character's horsie, God, or anything else that exists in the game*.

Expanding the existing definitions in this way makes Director Stance simply disappear.  It's covered.

So yes, it's b. easy, but is it a. profitable?

Right now we have a rich, fun, contested, powerful way to talk about what players do in a one-player-one-character limited-power-sharing game.  If we adopt my definitions, we'll have a rich, fun, contested, powerful way to talk about what every player does in every game.  Sounds good to me.

*(Not that you automatically have the right to make decisions about God or your character's horsie.  Who gets to make decisions about what is a different issue.)

-lumpley Vincent

Thanks to Valamir for introducing [X].


[ This Message was edited by: lumpley on 2001-10-18 21:53 ]


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 18, 2001, 05:50:00 PM
Oh and Laurel, I think you've got it, except that it's about making decisions about things, not just creating them.  The decision might be that it exists, it might also be that it moves or anything else.

-lumpley Vincent

One day I'll remember to write one post addressing everyone instead of every post addressing one one.  Sorry, All.


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Paul Czege on October 18, 2001, 07:04:00 PM
Hey Vincent,

Actor Stance - making decisions about [X] based only on in-game considerations.

Pawn Stance - making decisions about [X] based only on metagame considerations.

Author Stance - making decisions about [X] based on metagame considerations, but in such a way that they are justified by in-game considerations.


I like these definitions quite a bit. They're lean and clean.

But there's something that was part of my personal understanding of stances that I think I lose with your new definitions. Stances to me were always a resource that the player had for demonstrating character significance. The stances a game permitted to a player were delimiters of what he could do on behalf of his character's significance. So a player, whether game-limited or self-limited to Actor stance, would demonstrate character significance only through in-character considerations. And a player, whether game-limited or self-limited to Actor+Author stances, would demonstrate character significance only through in-character considerations and through out-of-character considerations that could be justified as in-character considerations. And in the context of a Narrativist game, where significance equals protagonism, the player using Director stance has far-ranging power that extends well beyond in-character considerations, but it is still limited. The limit of his Director power is the protagonism of the other player characters. He absolutely cannot kill other player characters, or ruin or deprotagonize them in some way, by killing their significant foils or whatever.

Stances to me were always less about what they allow the player to do than about where they draw the line. And that Director stance limit at margin of other characters' protagonism was way significant to my thinking.

Paul


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 19, 2001, 02:43:00 AM
Paul,

Awesome.  That's cool stuff.

I don't think -- that is, I don't think -- that my definitions will cost you that.  [X] can specifically include or exclude the other characters' protagonism.

My observations in support of my definitions are almost entirely from GM-shared games.  The GM of your game, if you follow me, also limits her directoral power, drawing the line at the characters' protagonism just as the non-GMs do.

My definitions don't automatically include that limit, no, and if Stance needs to, then they fail.  But they include a place for that limit and a way to talk about it, and recognize that that limit may not be universal across roleplaying.

Again, the issue of who actually gets to make decisions about what -- which [X]s are available to which players -- is a separate one.  The next one in line, I hope.  My goal with this thread is to establish a framework for talking about how Getting To Make Decisions gets shared out and exercised from game to game.

-lumpley Vincent



[ This Message was edited by: lumpley on 2001-10-19 06:58 ]


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Le Joueur on October 19, 2001, 05:02:00 AM
Quote
lumpley wrote:

Quote
Fang wrote:

I mean, if you are playing the weather or the mob, as a character, aren’t you doing something kinda unconventional for a role-playing game?

Not if you're the GM.

Before we continue, I think I should point out that clearly you and I define ‘playing In-Character’ very differently.  Do you identify with the storm?  Do you worry about its feelings?  Does you ‘mob character’ worry its not pretty enough for other mobs?

When I play a non-human In-Character, I anthropomorphize them.  Winds and barometric pressure are merely a propagation of circumstance.  The mafia as a unit moves in no more a self-aware fashion than any corporation has (and from my perspective they behave like unicellular life forms).

Normally I see these things happening as a function of what I call ‘active background elements.’  The mob might be pursuing a group agenda, but it does so as a collection of individuals that I play.  The weather is oblivious to all.  Neither of these lends themselves to In-Character techniques the way I use them.  As a matter of fact, I usually see weather used exclusively as ‘flavor’ dependent upon the tone of the narrative, neither coherent nor consistent with meteorology.

I do not count playing these things as such out though, considering some of the unusual forms I have played in.  (Perhaps in a Greek gods campaign the wind might take a lover....)  So I will not categorically say it cannot be done, merely that, in my experience, according to how I measure In-Character use, these types of things rarely happen.

Fang Langford


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 19, 2001, 06:37:00 AM
I think Fang, that you may be right in a way. This is why I want to move to something like roles or behaviors. What I think everyone wants is a model that looks at all sorts of things that go on in RPGs. For example I can identify the following behaviors.

Audience - observing, but otherwise not-participating
Actor - making decisions for any character, IC.
Author - making decisions for any character, OOC.
Director - creating or motivating things other than characters.

The thing is that, as Vincent points out, there are actually two things going on. What is being affected and the perspective that it is being affected from. This should be specified.

Also, There is no particular reason to fight with the Stance model. We'll call these "Behaviors" and change the terms for clarity.

So:

Audience* Behavior - soley observing, not making in-game changes.
Character Behavior - making decisions regarding any character.
Object Behavior - making decisions regarding anything other than a character.

Then there is the Perspective from which the Behavior is occuing.

Audience Behavior has no special Perspectives as it is passive.

Character Behavior can have IC or OOC or Non-Charater (Pawn) Perspective.

Object Behavior can have OOC or Non-Character Perspective.

Howzat? This should cover traditional GM behaviors as well.

BTW, then Power is defined by this model as mechanics or metagame that empower a player (including GMs) to employ a particular behavior from a certain perspective.

Mike

*Since there is no Audience Stance as stance is defined, we can use it for this purpose.

[ This Message was edited by: Mike Holmes on 2001-10-19 10:39 ]


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 19, 2001, 01:12:00 PM
Fang,

Ah.  You're saying that there are only two things on which you can base your decisions about things in a game: 1. your identification with the thing as a character, or 2. metagame concerns.  Right?  If you don't identify with something, you can't make decisions about it based on only in-game considerations?

I think I agree with you, when it comes to it.  That's certainly how I talk about it casually with my friends.  But -- let me think a little.

-lumpley Vincent


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Le Joueur on October 19, 2001, 03:22:00 PM
To simplify:

Quote
Mike Holmes wrote:

I want to move to something like roles or behaviors.

Audience Behavior, Character Behavior, Object Behavior...can have IC or OOC or Non-Character Perspective.

"Maestro, I say, right on!"Critic Intro by They Might Be Giants.

Fang Langford

But then haven’t I always argued against the former model of ‘stances?’


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on October 19, 2001, 11:23:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-10-19 10:37, Mike Holmes wrote:

The thing is that, as Vincent points out, there are actually two things going on. What is being affected and the perspective that it is being affected from. This should be specified.



To play Devil's advocate here, why should this be specified?  We can have a definition for the term and then use that term regardless of the symmetry of the terms.  The alternative is to have clunky terms like "In-Character Specific Motivation" or the like.

The reason the Stances were looked at and defined because they are Stances people actually take when they sit at a gaming table.  The currently debated Audience Stance being the oddball of the lot.  It's got it's own thread but I don't think simply observing is a worthwhile Stance to name.  That's bringing more meaning to the term "Audience" from the original word that the other three stances bring from their respective root words.

One key element to the Stances as they're defined is the character, or more specificly, your player character as we describe a Stances you can assume.

The first stance, and most obvious, is to player from the perspective of your character.  The tools you have at hand to interact with the environment are whatever your character has.  You see what your character sees.  You are able to do what your character is able to do.  But the important thing is you are pretending to be your character.  This is role-playing in the strictest sense of the word.  It is called Actor Stance since you must "act" like your character, or rather to act as your character would act.

An outgrowth from this Stance has the same interactive toolbox at hand as Actor Stance.  You are only able to see and do things your character is able to do but less focus is placed on the "let's pretend" game of acting like your character.  Instead, the motivation comes from the player.  The player's desires for what they wish their character to do take the forefront.  A player using this stance can justify their actions by figuring out why their character is taking the actions they desire, but not always.  This Stance is called Author Stance to show a level of control that is in a way above the Actor Stance, or that the control is not in-character but out-of-character.  Pawn Stance is used to describe this stance when the retroactive step of justifying the actions to the character is not taken.

The progression here appears to be moving away from the character.  Going from in-character decision making in Actor to out-of character decisions in Actor and Pawn.  The next step is control over the environment.  This Stance has a whole range of effectiveness from only being able to effect the environment in relation to tyour own player character to effecting the environment in scenes your character is not present in.

GM's traditionally tend to have the furthest extreme of power in what is known as Director Stance.  This is because the players may be using Actor Stance and they may not have a player character to use Actor, Author, or Pawn Stance with themselves.

Non-player characters are part of the environment and are subject to control in Director Stance.

Audience Stance has been suggested and continues to be debated.  The problem is it is either described as a form of "non-stance" or any properties  it can have attributed to it can easily be attributed to one of the other stances, usually Author or Director.    

The real question seems to be as-to whether it actually exists or not.  A valid question.  No sense naming and defining something that is never done.

Yet it is possible.  All it really needs is a good game or two to make use of it.  Once it starts to become a bit more common, acceptance will follow  (if it exists, of course)

That's all well and good, but what is it?  

I suggest it may have a relationship with Actor Stance similar to the relationship between Author and Pawn and Director Stance.  Director Stance can be sen as Author or Pawn Stance without the player character.  In all three, the player is enacting their desires on the game.  Director Stance does this to the environment, and does not require the player character.  It is possible to be in Director Stance without a player character, but impossible to be in Author or Pawn Stance without one.

Actor Stance without the player character is tricky since Actor Stance is so focused on the player character.  Mainly it would mean a lack of the ability to actively effect the environment as you could in Director Stance and interaction with the environment is limited since most the tools for interaction are with the now absent player character.  Essentially you'd have a floating camera observing the scene, listening and , yes, smelling, feeling and tasting even though there is no camera in the world that does this (that I know of).

But simple passive observing isn't worth a Stance.  An active passive observance is needed.  Imagine that camera is able to look around and focus on whatever the player wishes, although they still view the entire scene.  It is the only thing the player has control over in this stance.  The player can focus the camera the same way a player in Actor Stance can focus his character's attention.  The player asks the GM, or whichever player is in control of the scene.

The unique feature of both Actor and Audience Stance is how this passive obvservation cal have a profound effect on the scene.  Untill the player asks what color the carpet is, there may not have been a carpet.  Usually this is just filling in details but details can add color to an otherwise flat scene.

This should not be confused with shared Stances, like Shared Author or Pawn Stance where another player can ask you to have your player character check for traps or a similar action.  Sharing Stances hasn't been fully discussed but it should not be confused with Audience Stance.

But I'm rambling.  This is how I'm seeing the Stances at this time and how I understand Ron's article.  TBH I don't see any reason to tamper with it.  What works, works.

This is also the best description and bid for an Audience Stance yet.  Most rebuttals of this Stance usually points out that anything done in Audience Stance can actually be done in another stance.  To this I say, perhaps, but it is also possible to lump all three Stances together using that same kind thinking.  It's not the similarities that make the Stances, but the differences.  The question is what unique perspective or limitations are placed on the player (voluntarily place, mind you) defines a Stance.  Audience Stance could be confused with shared Director Stance, and someone using Audience Stance can drift back and forth, but the unique collection of attributes, (and frequency of occurance) is what makes it a separate Stance.

Homer sleep now.

[ This Message was edited by: pblock on 2001-10-20 03:26 ]


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 20, 2001, 04:10:00 AM
pblock,
The current definitions do work, as I said, when you're describing the player side of a conventional one-player-one-character limited-power-sharing game.  That's what they were invented to describe.  That's cool.  That's not the kind of game we all play.  Expanding the definitions gives them much broader power for relatively little effort(*).
Quote
Non-player characters are part of the environment and are subject to control in Director Stance.

Ah, wait.  I think you're conjoining two things here.  a. On what basis you make decisions about your characters, and b. Who adjudicates / interprets / makes real the decisions you make.  (At least, that's how I can make sense of your statement.  I'm no doubt completely wrong.)

When I play NPCs, I spend most to all my time in Actor or Author stance, undeniably, except that I decide when and whether to roll dice for them, or if they simply succeed, or whatever.

If your definitions of the Stances include issues of adjudication -- and I think they might, unexamined -- best to make them explicit.

-lumpley Vincent


(*And I think there's one answer for you, Fang, Mike.  I agree with you, and I do this little process when I'm writing where I translate what I actually think into Stance-speak, which is dumb.  But expanding the current definitions gives them more power for little effort, and switching to better definitions, while even more powerful, would take much much more effort.  I think I'd rather move forward than start over.)

[ This Message was edited by: lumpley on 2001-10-20 08:28 ]


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Ampersand on October 20, 2001, 12:55:00 PM
lumpley wrote: I'm proposing that "Director Stance" isn't a stance at all.  It doesn't say what basis you use to make decisions.  It describes what you make decisions about, unlike the three other stances.  I think it would be better to make that explicit, rather than leaving it invisible in an illusory stance.

I don't exactly disagree, Lumpley, but I'm curious about this.  Why do all stances have to be "what you make decisions about?" to qualify as stances?  Until you establish this (and maybe you already did and I missed it), your argument doesn't hang together.

If I pre-heat the stove, chop up food, place food in the pan, and then put the pan-with-food in the oven, someone could say "well, it doesn't make sense to say all those things are cooking, because they all involve handling food except for pre-heating.  QED, pre-heating is not a part of cooking."

Even if I do agree with you that all distinctions between stances must be distinctions in "what basis is used to make decisions," that doesn't leave you with a clear case.  You keep on calling "Pawn" and "author" separate stances, but there is no difference in "what basis" is used to make these decisions - only in how the decision, which has an identical basis in pawn and author, is justified.  This contradicts your claim that the only valid stances are those distinguished by "what basis."

And nice to see you again, Vince. :wink:

Amp


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 20, 2001, 01:31:00 PM
Hey Barry!  Good to see you too!

I'm just using Ron's definitions here.  I'm not particularly invested in them, they just seem to be the going rate.

As to Pawn Stance, I think that it more accurately describes Ron's relationship with the crate of bat guano back on the first page of this thread than Author Stance does.  Some people see Pawn Stance as Author Stance gone terribly awry; I think it's kind of funny to think of Author Stance as Pawn Stance in its sunday best.  Either way you have a good point.

In any case, Director Stance is a different kind than the others in Ron's essay, and there really is no need for it if you can use the other stances on things other than your character.  How a gaming group or game designer decides who gets to make decisions, about what, is really the question that interests me.

-lumpley Vincent


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 21, 2001, 03:35:00 PM
Hey,

I have a couple of clarifications about the way that I've approached stances and some points that have been made on this thread. Just little things, though.

THING ONE
I consider Pawn to BE a brand of Author stance (or vice versa). The only difference is that Author requires the player or someone to "in-world-justify" the stated action, AFTER reaching the decision as to what it will be.

Sam announces that Sebastian will take the left turn in the sewers. Sam (the player) is perfectly aware that Bartholemew's unconscious body is slowly being pulled deeper into the sewers by the intelligent rats. Sebastian (the character) knows no such thing. So Sam announces the action, in full acknowledgment that he is merely getting Sebastian into a position where he can save Bartholemew. He ALSO provides some reason, perhaps a very plausible but perhaps a very amusing one, whichever, that Sebastian "uses" to make his in-world decision to turn left. (Note: in my favored style of play, all of this is above-board. Other groups may prefer that it be covert.)

In Pawn stance, Sam would not have provided that retroactive justification; in some games, this is perfectly appropriate and avoids the time and effort spent on "coloring in" what the characters are doing. Therefore the two stances are functionally identical, differing only in "coloring in" as a second step.

THING TWO
In reference to the Extreme Vengeance situation I described earlier, and in reference to one of Vincent's posts that referred to IT ... (all caught up? Good, I confused my own self there)

Bertie (the character) has just benefited from having a crate of bat guano crash down on Ugly Pig Bob. In game mechanics terms, this was the famous Coincidence roll of the Extreme Vengeance system.

I believe there is some confusion around as the origin of the crate of bat guano. Here's how it goes.

a) Say the GM had already established the crate's presence. Thus Bertie's player exercised Director stance in making the cable snap.
b) Alternately, say it was Bertie's player who brought the crate into existence by announcing it as the subject of the Coincidence roll.

Both of these are Director stance, the second one being more extreme than the first. Someone seemed to have the idea that (b) was not possible or involved, and I want to clarify that, in my example, either (a) or (b) could be going on, and that it does not matter very much which (for purposes of defining this stance).

Best,
Ron


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 22, 2001, 03:04:00 AM
Thanks, Ron.  I'm right there.

In another thread I was reading yesterday, you said something that made me think: is it part of Director Stance that the things you're doing directly impact the character?  In other words, could you have used Director Stance to announce that at that moment, in an airplane somewhere over New Jersey, the president of the Teamsters Union pinches the bridge of his nose and orders a martini, even though what he really wants is a bloody mary?  (Set aside that it'd be a waste of the Coincidence Point, would it be Director Stance?)

-lumpley Vincent


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Le Joueur on October 22, 2001, 04:42:00 AM
Quote
pblock wrote:

We can have a definition for the term and then use that term regardless of the symmetry of the terms.  The alternative is to have clunky terms


So what you are saying is we can either have "clunky terms" or confusion?  I think my choice is clear.

Fang Langford


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 22, 2001, 06:28:00 AM
Quote
pblock wrote:
We can have a definition for the term and then use that term regardless of the symmetry of the terms.  The alternative is to have clunky terms


Note that my method really has no symetry either. That was not my intent. Some combinations would be non-functional. Like In-Character Audience. That would be absurd as defined.

I have no attachment to the terms that I proposed. If you can come up with better, then by all means, suggest them.

The point is that there were, what, six or seven different combinations? You could simplify this by giving them each a unique name. But that's still lot to remember. If you just cross a few terms, yes, its more bulky. But it's hopefully more intuitive. The problem with much of the terminology of other models is that people come to the table with preconcieved notions of what those shorthands mean, and then confusion ensues. That is what I was trying to avoid.

The other advantage of crossed terms is that you can speak of just one portion without referencing the other.

Mike


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 22, 2001, 06:34:00 AM
Vincent,

It seems to me that all Stances involve active agents in play, who for the most part are characters (I can see a case for various other agents, so I guess I'm inventing a new jargon term, aren't I?). The announcement of the president's martini is, as far as I can tell, Exploring Color and would not even impact the story. But who knows? It's an interesting point.

For example, in the Mystery Meat game we played last week, my zombie-dude character forwent his chance to escape the situation and went to help a babe-zombie who'd showed some niceness to him previously. She gets riddled by bullets and expires (for good) in his arms as they stand there. Fine so far. Now, I made a big deal during play - insisting on what was essentially an MoV - to have the out-of-control helicopter (previously itself riddled by bullets by yet another zombie) do a 360 around and above the two standing, tragic, in-love, doomed zombies.

Director Stance? Yes. It was ABOUT the character, even if it didn't affect or harm or help him. The same might go if a player announces that clouds stream past in the sky behind a character in a scary fashion during a climactic battle scene.

But the president's martini doesn't do much - it might be seen as Director Stance, I suppose, but only in the sense that an ill-placed shot in a movie happens to get past the editing. Shall we call it, "Director Stance, sub-set stupid?"

I suggest a better solution - Stances be considered, as I state in the essay, to be ABOUT the agents in the story. When a "president's martini" announcement is made - and with the proviso that the act is NOT significant in ANY way - it is arguably not even an act of role-playing.

Best,
Ron


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 22, 2001, 10:29:00 AM
Hey All.

Well, I think I'm content with this.  Distinguishing between active agents in the game on one hand and mere setting on the other is cool with me, especially if we can say that active agents aren't always characters.  Director Stance is for controlling the mere setting around your active agent, which may or may not be the same thing as making the mere setting around your active agent temporarily and in a limited way into an active agent, but who cares if it is.  Either way it's just mere setting.

Can you take Director Stance toward another player's character (taking into account, of course, Paul's thing about respecting that character's protagonism)?  Ron, if you had introduced the helicopter into someone else's tragic climactic scene, for example, would that have been Director Stance toward the other character?

If yes, I suggest that GMs do an awful lot of just that.  If no, I suggest that GMs do an awful lot of something that looks pretty much exactly like just that, and maybe we should name it.

Anyway, I think that if I start talking about GMs taking Stances, people mostly won't ask me what the hell.  I hope.  Anybody?

-lumpley Vincent


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 22, 2001, 02:13:00 PM
Vincent asked,

"Can you take Director Stance toward another player's character (taking into account, of course, Paul's thing about respecting that character's protagonism)? Ron, if you had introduced the helicopter into someone else's tragic climactic scene, for example, would that have been Director Stance toward the other character?"

My answer is yes, of course, for ANY stance. If you squint at the definitions, you'll see that I never say "your character" or "one's character" or introduce any element of proprietorship at all. Co-Authoring, Co-Directing, and Co-Acting are certainly all possible. I imagine that the latter is likely to be most rare or problematic, but I can also think of some instances in which it has occurred.

This is a very important point, because it permits taking a Stance EVEN WHEN ONE'S CHARACTER IS NOT PRESENT - you may take a Stance toward a character who IS present, hopping into co-pilot seat with the other player.

In my Hero Wars game, this happens a lot, although we have essentially a "final cut" privilege established for the owner of the PC (owner = player) or the NPC (owner = GM).

Best,
Ron


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: lumpley on October 22, 2001, 05:47:00 PM
Ron,

Nice.

In fact now that you mention it I've co-actored characters.  Usually minor ones, but still.

-lumpley Vincent



Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on October 23, 2001, 04:06:00 AM
I think what we're finding as we shake this out is that director stance has a plethora of subvarients that can be distinct and readily identified, unlike actor and author, which are somehow less varied.

I don't think we are served by simply lumping this things together into the broad category of director stance and simply calling it that.  As games come out that acknowledge directoral power and place unique strictures on it for whatever effect, it behooves us to be able to recognise the various strictures that can be applied to directoral power and coining a term to identify a particular set that is truely unique.  Otherwise, saying a game that uses director stance becomes as meaningless as saying a game uses dice.  What sort of dice?  and how many?

Using this same sort of logic used to lump these subsets together simply as "director stance" can be used to make actor stance a part of author stance.

Actor stance is defined as "a person determines a character’s decisions and actions using only knowledge and perceptions that the character would have. "

Author stance is "a person determines a character’s decisions and actions based on the real person’s priorities, then retroactively “motivates” the character to perform them."

If the real person's priorities are to use only knowledge and perceptions that the character would have, then it can be seen that actor stance is merely a part of director stance.

This is thin, damned thin.  You can see right through it.  But so it is with the subsets of director stance lumped together.  

This is an awful lot like biology.  The illustrations in a textbook made the organs of the frog or fetal pig look deceptively distinct.  When it can time to disect the buggers, it looked like a big ol' mess.  Everything is connected.  From one angle it looks distinct, but from the other end it just kind of blends into the rest of it. (Didn't help that I got the last pig in the bucket, either.  I think it was a tad underdeveloped)  All of this stuff is part of the larger creature called a role-playing game and we're just naming the parts.  This is an important thing to always keep in mind.  


Title: Is Director Stance Real?
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 23, 2001, 06:07:00 AM
Hi Jack

I disagree, mainly because I see both Author and Actor Stances as being highly nuanced as well, independently.

I also suggest we start a new thread to discuss it, because this one has served its purpose of dealing with Vincent's question.

Best,
Ron