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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 75 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: El Dorado  (Read 18875 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2001, 08:14:00 AM »

You make some interesting points, Ryan.

I agree that Authorial power is not a panacea. We're looking for a specific type of game here, however, and so suggstions offered here are going to be tailored to that sort of game. We don't mean to say that El Dorado would be the answer to absolutely everyone's dreams. For those Simmies out there who can't stand Authorial power, El Dorado might remain a myth.

The problem with your idea of having systems try and cater to as many styles as possible is that a system that does this effectively hasn't been seen yet. And for some players, such a system may not be possible. This is because particular players experience a game as dysfunctional if it is played by any player in a manner which is outside of their preference. For example, a particular Narrativist player may become discenchanted with my Simulationist play because he sees my play time as not furthering the story in an appropriate fashion. If the game is sponsoring this, then it is the game's fault in this case.

This is not to say that such a game cannot be created (I think that Fang Langford's Scattershot attempts something sorta like this). And not to say that there aren't players who could enjoy playing their way whilst others played another. But I think that this theoretical game would only appeal to this theoretical group. Which means that there still is room for development of games with a specific GNS design goal.

IMO.

Mike
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Daredevil
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« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2001, 11:43:00 AM »

Just a quick thought for now, until I have time to think about this further.

"For those Simmies out there who can't stand Authorial power, El Dorado might remain a myth."

I think that's something important to consider. I fully agree. maybe it takes a certain kind of Simulationist (or role-player in general) to be a conquistador. :smile:

There seem to be a few of us, looking for the formula to make it happen. The ideas what people here say are similar to what I've been thinking, which put more faith in me about finding El Dorado (or at least a satisfactory stop on the way for a bunch of like-minded people).
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2001, 11:44:00 AM »

Hey Ryan,

However, unless one plays with people one is sure (or can trust that they) won't misuse authorial rules then, I think, there is a hesitency to even get involved in such games. This is perfectly natural for a Simulationist because the misaplication of such rules usually means that the Sim's suspension of disbelief (consistancy of the Sim) is blown.

I've heard this before, and I often think it's a shell game. I think the average game group is capable of establishing a social contract among participants that reinforces an adherence in using authorial and directorial power to the consistency of the sim. The discriminating appraisal of player peers in the context of shared ownership of the sim is really all it takes to keep an Amber player from bringing in from shadow a B-2 Stealth bomber carrying jeweler's rouge munitions to deal with an opposing cavalry. The vastly more common hesitation, which is not necessarily a Simulationist hesitation, is that delivering authorial/directorial power to the player blows the GM's ability to carefully guide game events toward a pre-conceived conclusion. And it does it consistently and thoroughly. The shell game transposes the GM's disinterest in this situation into something the player can relate to, the need to control an amok player who blows the sim, and thereby secures the buy-in of the game's participants, who for some reason don't appreciate just how powerful the social contract is at controlling sim-blowing behaviors. The player envisions blown games from their past, and mistakes cause for effect, mistakes annoying amok player behavior as the cause of a game's ending, rather than as a renegotiation of the social contract among the players in the face of the GM's careful but heavy guiding of events toward a specific outcome. And so the player accepts the shell game.

Paul
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Ryan Ary
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Posts: 26


« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2001, 01:26:00 PM »

Mike: I agree that I am blowing the underlying premise (i.e. El Dorado = Sim game with Narrativist tendencies) by arguing for a mega optional system. However, I agree with Daredevil that their may be only a handful of Simmers that can make it to El Dorado. Where I'd pick up my pro mega-optional arguement is that what we are boiling down to how many people on the margins can you get there. I would think that with one prescribed system the designer can only brig as many as can tolorate the Narrativist variation in that particular set of rules. OTOH, if one creates a system (I'll now state clearly a Sim based system designed to include as much Narrativist elements as possible to stay consistent with the thread.) with a small set of very core rules (basic chargen, task resolution) then adds optional sets of variation both between Sim. and Nar. and even slightly Nar. to Very Nar., one would maximize the subset of participants possible by allowing them (both GM and Player) to choose what they are comfortable with and see the range of possibility. Again I agree that your're only going to get a small subset of all Simmers that are interested in Narrative angles to the Sim but you'll gwet as many as you can. Of course the irony is that they will all be playing effectively different systems but Simmer do that everyday.

Case in point, I know of almost no other simmer that is a stickler for enforcing the weight of coins rules in D&D. In 3rd ed. they increased them to 50 to the pound. However, that means 100,000 coins weighs a TON! I HATE hearing  about a party toating around 2 million goals pieces and such so I enforce the rule. But the vast majority (in my experience) don't. They don't care that player are doing something outragously unrealistic because they just want to play.

OTOH, when I play my friend's game or run my game we have great latitude with players establishing their own plotlines. It is understood that that is fine but it is incumbent on the player to establish a hook to tie the sub- plot into the main plotline.  In essence there is a constant dance of action happening around the main plotline, which is really just a hub and anchor for the game. (I should mention we rarely go dungeon crawling. Since I can never be sure the characters will show up, I rarely take the time to prep them.)

Anyway I gotta run
Later
Ryan    
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contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2001, 03:15:00 PM »

Ryan, I think a better approach is to indentify where the Simmers are getting there goodies, and then embed them in a set of mechanics that are not necessarily trad sym and thus provoke narrativist or maybe pseudo-narrativist behaviour as well.

Interestingly, the issue about coin weight occurs because the sim is broken; D&D values GP at about the rate of the 1970's dollar, or did anyway IIRC, with a wide distribution of exchange values in its price list.  Thats a characteristic of easily portable, paper money; GP should have had a value like a thousand dollar bill or something which would make carrying a relatively few of them plausible.  On the other hand, they're also virtually useless in the peasant economy because no-one can give you change.  It appears to me that D&D decided that all of this looked too much like work and built an impossible economy as a result; if adventurers are having trouble moving their coin, imagine what kind of problems merchants and kings must be having.  Of course, writing a good economic model is hard, and what with the limits to possible mechanics we can write and stay playable, almost certainly impossible.  Thus one might consider diverging into less sim mechanics in order to get a better sim game description; instead of counting coins introduce a descriptor or rating based mechanic to handle an abstracted wealth value.  The coins themselves then become dramatic props which justify a shift in the value of the attribute or whatever; HeroWars takes a pretty good stab in this direction.
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Ryan Ary
Member

Posts: 26


« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2001, 11:51:00 PM »

Your absolutely right and with as much jockying that goes for spoils now, imagine a game where the players have to fight over a coin they found in a dank, stank dungeon!!! :wink:
Talk about introducing comedy to a game!

Ryan  
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