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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 70 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Questioning Deprotagonization and Railroading  (Read 2310 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2004, 01:05:24 PM »

It did make it into the glossaries? Well then, it's been "officialized" a lot more than I'd thought. :-)

Good thoughts, Walt.

Mike
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Jasper
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« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2004, 05:51:27 AM »

Quote from: Walt
In that case there might be a useful distinction between deprotagonization (was protagonized, ain't no more; or player attempted to protagonize but was thwarted) and nonprotagonism (never got played as a protagonist in the first place).


Although I'll say these are awkward words, I agree the distinction is useful.  After all, even if deprotagonizing a player's character is bad, an NPC was never "protagonized" in the first place.  A related issue with the definition of deprotagonization is whether it alway has a negative meaning by implying a breaking of the social contract.  For instance, what if we're playing in a troupe-style game and a player decides to give up a character: this character is no longer a protagonist, hence it's been deprotagonized, but this isn't bad since it was done with full permission of the player.

While deprotagonization nominally applies to character, can it -- or some other equivalent word -- be applied to players, to specifically describe the unwilling loss of a player's power through characters (to distinguish from the above case), or perhaps even loss of player power in general?
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Jasper McChesney
Primeval Games Press
contracycle
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« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2004, 04:35:16 AM »

Quote from: Jasper

While deprotagonization nominally applies to character, can it -- or some other equivalent word -- be applied to players, to specifically describe the unwilling loss of a player's power through characters (to distinguish from the above case), or perhaps even loss of player power in general?


It has been used to describe an affliction suffered by a character which frustrates player empowerement... although perhaps such incidents would better be described as antiprotagonistic.

Heh, is this thread Exploration of System?
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Callan S.
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« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2004, 10:13:18 PM »

Quote from: montag
AFAIK, deprotagonisation refers to the making _player_ input irrelevant.
*snip*


There seems to be a bit of drift on what is meant by deprotagonization , so I thought I'd quote this (as this is what I thought as I started reading this thread). It's because I can imagine a PC being a protagonist, even while his player is doing nothing and could be in another room playing on the play station.

What's the thought on this, is there deprotagonization and seperately something which just makes a players presence at the game redundant? What would you call the latter?
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Jasper
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« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2004, 03:42:54 AM »

I would say that the character in your example is still a protagonist in the game as a whole, albeit not at that exact moment -- so I wouldn't bother calling it deprotagonization since the player can walk back into the room and take control again.  It seems to be that the word would be more useful if we limit its use to changes in character definition: that is, a characters protagonist status arises from a collective agreement of it, not from the actual act of controlling it (though hopefully these two will be in tune more or less)
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Jasper McChesney
Primeval Games Press
Callan S.
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« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2004, 04:42:17 PM »

Thanks Jasper, I thought so.

I actually have to wonder though, if the 'we need you at the table' factor is more important than protagonism (well, perhaps just in gamist or sim games). I mean, weve all heard how illusionist games can be really fun if done right. I have to wonder if this 'done right' means the player is very much needed at the table.

This is a bit drifty and if I can hash up more on it I'll start a thread for it. But I just wanted to clear my thoughts on it here and perhaps seperate the idea of deprotagonisation and making players redundant, for others.
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Jasper
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« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2004, 04:32:07 AM »

Hmm, I think I'm not quite getting you, Callan.  It seems obvious to me that having a player be "at the table" is absolutely more critical than protagonism, and very much needed at all times.  I mean, having players be present is sort of the first aspect of Social Contract, and you can't play without someone who isn't there.... I also don't see how this would be more or less important in gam/sim games vs anything else.  

Sorry to prod you for answers if you're still just thinking about things, but your post really wasn't clear to me.
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Jasper McChesney
Primeval Games Press
Callan S.
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« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2004, 03:13:33 PM »

No, fair enough.

What I'm getting at are times where the player contributes so little they may as well be in another room. The easiest example is once their combat turn has passed and they wait around for the rest to have their turn. This is a simple example and off set by the fact that the player can still passively watch what's happening and figure out tactics. However, this option is very passive and most likely so little will change that they could leave and come back without issue.

Still, typically turns do or should come around often enough that this 'redundant time' is negligable.  (sp?)

However, other redundant times can be more expansive. I mean, it's actually a tradition in RP to literally send people out of the room if seperating information players know, is desired. That's an easy one to spot. The others tend to be where there is so little to influence that it only takes one or two players to do it, while the rest do nothing (setting up camp, traveling, scouting, etc). There are other examples, but their kind of fiddly to dredge up into an example as they are examples of non play, rather than play (the latter being easier to describe).

Essentially these redundant times can be reduced by a good GM. I'm wondering if the loss of protagonism in an illusionist session is far less important to players than feeling like they are really needed at the table. I may be wrong in this impression, but I read a lot around the forge about the protagonism being perhaps quite sacred. I'm suggesting that in traditional play players often go through periods of redundancy (I think this is true, anyway), and that being needed at the table is more important to them, as illustrated by illusionism being fun if 'done right'.
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FredGarber
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« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2004, 07:34:46 AM »

Drifting in from the Vampire LARP experience, my experience is that Railroading is a serious crime.  No one wants to be a puppet doing what somebody else tells them to do, and it's really tough to get immersion that way.
(note that there are exceptions: possessions, mistaken identities, and other things to help the suspension of disbelief and reduce the "You aren't Vampire X's player, so I will try to see through your 'Vampire X' illusion/disguise" cheat.)

But Deprotagonizing happens all the time.  LARP Players will do it to themselves, if a suggested plotline doesn't appeal to the character.  

That kind of behavior in a tabletop game (rejecting plotlines and letting the other players handle it, and expecting some plotlines tailored more to you) is considered really bad form in my gaming groups.  Of course, the numbers are different.  The odds are good that a LARP has three to four times or more people than a tabletop game, and a good ST can keep a player from being _permanantly_ deprotagonized by placing plot nuggets near several similar characters.

Of course, there's this one guy I know who gets enjoyment while playing from essentially permanently deprotagonizing himself.  If he gets "trapped" by plot, he seems considers it like a loss.
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