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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Where is the innovation in System?  (Read 5734 times)
Ian O'Rourke
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« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2001, 12:04:00 PM »

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On 2001-12-19 12:29, Mike Holmes wrote:
Um, interestingly, Ian, Sorcerer is a somewhat Narrativist game that is much less "out there" in terms of extremes of directorial control, etc. In fact few games actually include the ability to affect other characters "directorily".

Mike


I would agree, but then I have little problem with Sorcerer, The Whispering Vault - along with a few others.
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Ian O'Rourke
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2001, 12:57:00 PM »

Your question was...
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does a narrativist game, by definition, have to contain elements that allow one player to influence another guys character?

I was just providing an obvious counter-example. I thought you'd get what I meant, but since I was unclear...

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This is putting story as an entity in itself above and beyond any characters personal tale?

Well, as defined, Narrativism has story as a goal. These particular games put it above character, yes. Why not? For the record Universalis does this in spades. May be one of the reasons that people keep saying it's not an RPG. You might have an argument there (But people have fun doing it, so I'm not worried about it's definition too much).

As far as Narrativism, directorial power is certainly a Narrativist mechanic. Can't be the other two, and as you say promotes story. You don't like it? Well, I prefer Simulationism over Narrativism, but that doesn't mean that I think that the definition of Narrativism is invalid. At best, I'd say that what you've defined is a subset of Narrativism. Perhaps Character Propelled (or sacred), and Plot Propelled Narrativism respectively? Could be somma those subdivisions that Ron throws around all the time.

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Take the InSpectres Cops-like scenes. They are great, but to me they have nothing to do with defining character altering issues about other player characters. They are chance for the character to offer analysis or depth (essentially character development) on issues that have arisen.

Well, that's how you see it. How is this not a case of you changing the definition to meet your personal preferences?

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A character kills the murderer of his ex-wife - he should get a cops-like scene about that, giving him the player the opportunity to develop the characters feelings and reasoning behind that action. That's what it is about to me, not defining someone as clumsy just to get a humerous scene later.

Well, to be sure InSpectres is a humorous game designed to create humorous stories (or as Jared would put it Action). Says that's the goal in the first paragraph, IIRC. As such, it's designed to produce funny results, which it does really well. A similar mechanic for a more serious game might allow players to drop into confessional mode to discuss the character's inner feelings like you describe (maybe with a reward for doing it well and limits on number of uses or something if you need it to be more of a hard mechanic).

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In a way this is why I define such things as concepts rather than a rule - it's only a rule if it can effect other players, hence you need to list criteria for it to occurr. But to me its just an idea, a narrative construct, for character development.


Well, uh, OK. I still don't see how labeling these written guidelines on how to play as something other than rules makes any difference. Until you can show me why it's important, and since it's just easier to chuck them all together under one heading I think that I'll just keep calling them rules.

If you really want an argument, the most applicable Websters definitions for "rule" state: "An authoritative, prescribed direction for conduct, especially one of the regulations governing procedure in a legislative body or a regulation observed by the players in a game, sport, or contest." and "A usual, customary, or generalized course of action or behavior".

In what way aren't the mechanics that Jared describes in InSpectres not rules by those definitions? Or is there some other definition that I'm not aware of for "rules" as applies to RPGs? Or are you coming up with a new bit of Jargon here? If so, why?

Mike
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2001, 01:41:00 PM »

Let me use the example of the ex-wife "recovering from a breakdown" to illustrate something I've noticed to be important in Narrativist "systems" - leaving room for further tweaks to the resolution.  InSpectres, at least as we played it that night, was kinda over-the-top and soap opera-y, but I think the point carries over to more "serious" Narrativist endeavors.

The "breakdown" line was meant to be very general - it could have been she was in for recovery from some addiction.  Or the breakdown story was a cover for a liposuction operation.  Or . . . well, you get the idea.

This seems to me an important aspect of Narrativist systems (not required, but valuable): the "resolution" is often intended as an inspiration for further refinement of the situation, not as a final black/white "here's what happened".  I think this is what I was trying to get at in an old post about FitM at other "scales" - FitM takes the "Here's EXACTLY what you're trying to do-EXECUTE fortune to determine success/failure" resolution step and turns it into a "Here's the general goal-EXECUTE fortune to determine some details about what happens-now state in some kinda-EXACT manner what occured".

It seems to me that Narrative rules/ideas/systems like the InSpectres confessional are the same kind of thing - the "rule" isn't the final determiner of "what happens", it's a tool to support the ongoing creation of "what happens".  And that may be why they don't "look" like rules, but in many ways they still are.

At least, that's one train of thought.

Gordon
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2001, 03:42:00 PM »

Hey Ian, Mike, Gordon,

Regarding the InSpectres confessional, I think the assigning of traits to other player characters is intended to be played off as a very subjective, "in character" act on the part of the character who delivers the confessional. Interestingly, there's been an assertion by Ron that stances, Actor/Author/Director, don't have direct correspondences to IC/OOC, and that a player can do OOC Actor, and IC Director, and any of the combinations really. And it seems that he's right. The confessional is a great example of in character, first-person Author Stance.

Remember that the trait itself doesn't have to stick, that is, the player whose character receives the trait never has to use it.

The confessional is an opportunity for a player to create audience interest in his character, by revealing the way the character thinks, or something about how powerful, cool, or misguided the character is, or by hinting at a growing conflict with another character. If I've been roleplaying a character who considers himself quite insightful about women, and I assign another PC the trait of "she's so hot for me" during my confessional, what I've done is not changed her character but delivered a "watch for this" message to the audience. The other player may or may not use the "she's so hot for me" trait, but everyone playing will be paying attention to whether she does or not.

So the way the confessional plays out is almost a game within the game, or a game on top of the game. Traits get assigned, and the subsequent confirmation or rejection of the trait is an operation being conducted at the audience level of play, among the players, rather than among the characters.

Paul


[ This Message was edited by: Paul Czege on 2001-12-19 18:48 ]
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Ian O'Rourke
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« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2001, 01:52:00 AM »

Mike,

We seem to have gone off on the wrong track here, I don't really perceive this as me wanting to challenge the definition of narrativism - no problem with it.

I'm just querying a gap in my knowledge of what constitutes rules I think.

As for the story thing, I want above all else a good story in my games, hence I view myself as narrativist. It is the only goal in the game - but at the same time this comes out of the characters. We just differ slightly on how important other people interfearing with a players character is to narrativism. This is a personal thing and has nothing to do with me challenging GNS.


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Ian O'Rourke
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Ian O'Rourke
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« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2001, 02:00:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-12-19 18:42, Paul Czege wrote:
Hey Ian, Mike, Gordon,

Regarding the InSpectres confessional, I think the assigning of traits to other player characters is intended to be played off as a very subjective, "in character" act on the part of the character who delivers the confessional. Remember that the trait itself doesn't have to stick, that is, the player whose character receives the trait never has to use it.

The confessional is an opportunity for a player to create audience interest in his character, by revealing the way the character thinks, or something about how powerful, cool, or misguided the character is, or by hinting at a growing conflict with another character. If I've been roleplaying a character who considers himself quite insightful about women, and I assign another PC the trait of "she's so hot for me" during my confessional, what I've done is not changed her character but delivered a "watch for this" message to the audience. The other player may or may not use the "she's so hot for me" trait, but everyone playing will be paying attention to whether she does or not.


That is how I would see it, so may be we are discussing semantics! The confessional is a way for the character in question to reveal his heart/thoughts in a particularly revealing way independent of the way the game is going. That is great, as I said above I love that.

If the confessional is always just a personal view than any attributes placed on other characters are just an oppinion and are only options for the other character to take on board I can live with that also.

It's the idea of being able to 'force', should such a game allow it', attribues on others that I don't like - but this is a personal thing.

Interesting. As always.
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Ian O'Rourke
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James V. West
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« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2001, 07:38:00 AM »

Sorry I'm late to the party. Everyone has pretty much laid it out better than I could have done.

Ian O'Rourke wrote:

"I suppose I just have issue with the authorship/directorial stance intruding on someone elses character, which is a personal thing."

I believe this goes back to rpg roots. I know it does for me. It was always about "I am Thorthar the Barbarian". And you WERE Thorthar, in the game. You did things from his point of view and no other way.

Now I'm starting to see how that point of view can be broadened.

In The Questing Beast, there are rules that say you can't screw with someone else's Motifs. Cool. Ok, but if they put something in their story and don't make it a Motif...its fair game. If your Hero's story says he has a niece, but you don't make that character a Motif, I can use a Monologue of Victory to bring her into play in whatever form I want.

I think it puts an interesting twist into the game.

Damnit! I want to play InSpecres. I lost my new rpg group to conflicts of schedule, so now I have to start building it anew. Small town life...

James V. West
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