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Author Topic: El Dorado  (Read 17935 times)
Daredevil
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« on: December 26, 2001, 06:02:00 PM »

This thread is a continuation of two threads I started previously: "Narrativism and Simulationism Under the Same Roof" and "Narrativism and Bobby G". Thinking about the responses, I've been able to formulate my proposition better and I'm offering it here. I don't think simulationism and narrativism are opposing forces. I'm not yet willing to say the same about gamism, but I believe the tools can be found to make it non-interfering as well.

From an earlier thread, I pick the name "El Dorado" to refer to a game which fulfills both simulationist and narrativist goals.

In the roleplaying games I've played/ran *1, a certain amount of immersion has been always the key. You can make statements of intention based on story issues, or even efficiency issues, if they're cloaked under that immersion. In general, statements should not go blatantly against the shared state of immersion and indeed should if possible empower it more. A statement made purely because of story/efficiency concerns is anti-thetical to immersion.

However, allowing statements based on story gives the game a lot more directions where it can go to. It allows a lot more "shape" than simple simulationist goals. I don't see an inherent, total opposition in narrativism and simulationism.

Allowing statements of efficiency at times allows the game to be longer lived (if the PC's are about to die, for example), and engages the characters on yet another level. However, these can easily go against the "realism" of the campaign, or against what would make for a better story. (PCs use a tactical nuclear device to eliminate the main villain - boring! or PCs make use of their munchkin sides to empower their characters to win against all odds - unrealistic!)

What I'm saying is that several goals can exist at the same time as long as there is one providing the root (in the above example, it is simulationism). And that root must never fall under a certain "level", or the game as a whole is questioned.

Indeed, I'll use movies as an example, even if their use has been debated. I feel it's appropiate here. We often judge films to either contain a) poor plot or b) to be unrealistic. Poor plot is something that really didn't engage us, for one reason or another. Unrealistic is a difficult term, but usually implies a sort of lack of internal consistency. However, we usually expect our films to be both, having an interesting plot and being internally consistent.

As a very different type of though exercise consider this. You can immerse yourself even in a wargame. You can even try to make statements thinking about story. As a crude example, you can choose to move your strongest unit to attack the enemy's strongest unit, because it makes for a better story (en epic fight), even if attacking some other unit might be more productive and less of suicide. I think these types of decisions are actually a lot more common in such games than is commonly thought of and they can really make the games fun. They add depth.

I'm not saying "system does not matter", ---. It does, and thinking about GNS goals will result in better mechanics re: those goals, but I still think multiple goals can be evidenced within a single game, without it breaking down.

Indeed, I contend that mechanics that are intrusive, damaging to one type play, should not be present in games going for a multiple goal approach. You CAN design mechanics which don't damage one goal while empowering another.

In a previous thread I wrote;

"I understand the concept of not allowing the game to "break" out of an immersive mindset in a simulationist model, but I wonder if that is a necessary outcome of using a meta-game mechanic or another narrativist tool.

I propose that one can embed narrativism into a simulation by allowing narrativistic concerns to influence the inherent randomness of any actual world. What I mean is that most simulations of a world are going to include pure chance or fortune, so why not allow the needs of the story to influence those apparently random decisions?

I wonder if it is necessary to break the in-game-world causality to allow narrativism to take hold?"

I'll tow out examples.

Let's say our heroes are in a medieval city. There's lots of things that could happen to them. They could be beset by street thugs, attacked by the cruel Duke's men who hate adventurers preying on their lands or they could meet a gang of lepers. In a true dry simulation, all of these probably have a percentage chance to happen. However, that's taking things too far (maybe not for all types of players - the hardcore simulationists, which I feel are a breed apart from those who merely want consistency and immersion). It isn't necessary for player immersion to know that these exact probabilities are followed. So, the GM should make a decision between all the possible things that could happen and choose the one with most story potential.

I don't see how the GM's decision of choosing the Duke's men (which will potentially lead them into the web of intrigue surrounding the Duke) will hurt the general suspension of disbelief. The GM scene-frames to a situation with the Duke's men, offering the players a story hook (a connection to a relationship map, if you will). Subsequently the players can either pursue it, or not, depending on how they choose.

If they decide to do something else, then fine, run with it. If they just avoid the hooks and do nothing, the GM can throw another hook at them, hoping this will interest them.

Scene Framing is just a form of offering story hooks. If the PCs bite and how they bite, is up to them.

Mike holmes wrote;

"Narrativist games are *never* decided as to which direction the story will go before hand."

And Simulationist games are? I don't think so, Simulationism does not equal railroading. See above examples.

Mike Holmes wrote;

"Indeed, I wonder the same things. There do seem to be essential points of conflict up front, but I'd like to at least investigate the possibilities. The question is what angle are you approaching this from. You mention the idea of the addition of Author/Director power. I have previously surmised that these tools could be very effective in non-immersive simulation; essentially using these sorts of powers for a different end. That's easy. But what you suggest is harder. How do you allow players to create events and still feel as if they are experiencing the world? Is this a case of limited powers, or filtering them somehow? Can you share your methods, if even just theoretically?"

Now, these days I don't think that meta-game mechanics or narrativist devices will destroy player immersion or suspension of disbelief. If the meta-game mechanics are consistent with how the world works, there is no reason it should. At least not any less than accepting a scientific theory in real life makes us estranged from reality. Some meta-game mechanics certainly will go against simulationist goals, but in the "El Dorado" approach these shouldn't be employed at all.

These are my earlier words on the subject :

"Assume characters have in-game knowledge of the gameworld that the player (and gamemaster) does not. That seems rather obvious. After that it's just a matter of developing a tool to allow the player to create that knowledge within the gameworld.

In it's simplest form, already existing in most good RPG tables, it's when players do minor ad libs, like : saying 'we head to Tavern of the Great Oak we passed when we arrived to the town' when no tavern has been mentioned by the Gamemaster. Depending on the GM, he can continue from there or allow the players to describe the place further."

So, I'll continue that thinking by offering a more complex, mechanistically supported form. For example, players with a streetwise skill are allowed to create nightspots, fences and contacts according to some game mechanic. The specifics don't matter much for the sake of this discussion.

It's all about the character knowing more about the world than the player and conjuring stuff from that "emptiness", that empty space between all other settings elements. Because the character conceivably knows, and provided the conjured material is consistent, there is nothing that breaks the immersion for the players and indeed it will strengthen it ("oh boy, Jack really knows his way around town").

Then the stuff which is conjured can be created to craft a story (I mean, it's doubtful the players would conjure meaningless stuff up). It all depends on how the players want to use it, though. Lets say our streetwise character Jack is pursued by bounty hunters while in town. Because he knows the streets well (enter some mechanic to resolve the details), he states that he knows a local crimelord that might be willing to help.

The mechanic could be something that affects the relative power of the conjurations. eg. a low streetwise might conjure a rather hostile crimelord while a high streetwise might conjure a crimelord that's a good friend of the character.

Paul Czege wrote,

"I can't help but think someone's going to lab out a game that gives players access to the mechanics and conventions that make Narrativism possible, but in a way that doesn't violate suspension of disbelief for Simulationist players. I suspect it'll be a carefully constructed game system with mechanics integrated into a setting where the authoring and directing mechanics are disguised in ways that don't pose a challenge to suspension of disbelief."

See above. This is what I'm trying to design.

So, comments folks. I'm hoping to get in-depth with this discussion.

- conquistador Joachim Buchert -

Note *1 - Sure, I'm frustrated by a lot of the games available in the market. Their systems are disruptive to certain roleplaying goals. I fully agree with Ron's "System Does Matter" and consider his GNS theory to be an effective tool in analyzing and crafting game mechanics.

For example, having played Shadowrun a lot, since the setting so engaged my gaming group, I have banged my head into the wall many times because the system if so inherently gamist. This hasn't stopped us from having a lot of fun and even accomplishing our roleplaying goals, but it has been made no easier by the system.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2001, 12:43:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-12-26 21:02, Daredevil wrote:
Mike holmes wrote;

"Narrativist games are *never* decided as to which direction the story will go before hand."

And Simulationist games are? I don't think so, Simulationism does not equal railroading. See above examples.

Never meant to imply the contrapositive. I meant what I said. Narrativist games are not (pretty much by definition) involved with railroading. This says nothing about Sim games.

If you want my opinion, Sim games have railroading, um, sometimes. What is possibly unfortunate is that achieving story in a Sim game, as in a coherent plot, not just a series of events, may not be possible without railroading. Or at least a lot of work.

Or rather if the players are playing in the Sim style that the game promotes, usually their character decisions will not, of themselves produce story (if it does, it is by unlikely coincidence). The GM must intercede in some fashion. The more heavy-handed the GM is, the more effective he will be at introducing story. One effective (if abhorred) method is railroading. I promote Illusionism which is simply railroading in a fashion that is not easily detectable to the players.

Note that I find that players will often shift to narrativist play briefly to help out the GM and accomodate, which makes the GMs job easier as far as getting to a story. Perhaps a system can be made that promotes this shifting at appropriate times. Ron has said that though he feels that effective shifting games have not been made to date, that they are in theory possible. Interesting?

Quote

Assume characters have in-game knowledge of the gameworld that the player (and gamemaster) does not.

...

Then the stuff which is conjured can be created to craft a story (I mean, it's doubtful the players would conjure meaningless stuff up). It all depends on how the players want to use it, though.

What's that? You want to playtest Universalis?

The theoretical mechanic that you describe is made manifest in one of the main mechanics of Universalis. Though I'd never claim that Universalis in any way achieves Immersion, similar mechanics might be used in a slightly different fashion.

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2001, 01:35:00 PM »

You know, Mike (and Ralph), it's about time that some version of Universalis, maybe "lite," oughtta get made public. Or if not, at least a rundown in Game Design so people can know what you're talking about.

The earlier version of Universalis that I've read is a great set of ideas and a whole bucket of innovation. Any chance that we can get a peek available to all and sundry?

Best,
Ron
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2001, 01:47:00 PM »

Hi Mike, Ron,

I heartily add in a "YEAH, DAGNABBIT!" to that. Heck, I've played it and loved it and I don't have a copy. :smile:

Sean
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2001, 06:43:00 AM »

Duly noted. And we're working on it. No, really. :smile:

Anyhow, let's not hijack the thread. Could you repeat your objections to El Dorado, Ron, or at least link us to them?

Anybody else have support for El Dorado? Marco, I think that you're probably in the "El Dorado exists" camp. In fact haven't you claimed to have seen the city of gold? IIRC, isn't your claim that Marco's visit to the lost city was a mirage?

Mike
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Ryan Ary
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2001, 10:22:00 AM »

I have found that the Narrativist ideal and something close to El Dorado can often be found in mature Simulatist campaigns. In these cases, the culture of the gaming group has reached a point where:

1) Their is a high degree of trust between the GM and the players. This make adherence to the rules unnecessary.

2) Players take a much more active role doing things behind the scenes that they feel their charcters would be interested. Ususally these things marginally support the main thrust of the story (and therby help establish and maintain the general tone of the game) and have more to do with staying IC than serving the metagame motivations of the player.

3) The GM is willing to take time to support these activities.

The question, it seems to me, is whether or not one could can this phenominon so the structure of the game induces it. I think not and heres why.

1) Both the players and the GM usually recognize that the rules are being abandoned in pursuit of a rich storyline. This leads to a balance of trust that moderates both sides from doing anything to derail the storyline. In effect, the group has all the game balance restraint that the rules are there to create without actually adhering to the rules.

2) Some Players will never take the initiative in the game to push forward the storyline, period. If they don't do this, no ammount mechanics mumbojumbo will make the game reach this El Dorado point. In fact, I would argue the rules help these uncreative players do what little independent things they do giving them direction. But thats another thread. Additionally, some player will never put aside their motivations and just pursue the character's. This is a must for any sane GM to abandon the rules (or more accurately that portion of the rules the limits the actions of player). Otherwise, it is a prescription for abuse. I have even seen groups that achieved the aforementioned state and lost it do to a single player falling back into pursuing his personal agenda and subsequently, abusing the GM's tolorance.

3) The GM has to want to be flexible enough to allow the players to take the reins (supression of ego) and care enough about the game and players to take the time to hear out their sideline plans and act on them. This is in my view a kind of love for the game and players (a real personal friendship) that only comes with time not a set of rules.        

Just my 2quid

Ryan
 
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joshua neff
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2001, 10:29:00 AM »

Just to be a bug & chime in here...

Quote
1) Their is a high degree of trust between the GM and the players. This make adherence to the rules unnecessary.


I hope this isn't going with the false assumption that narrativists fudge rules & narrativist play requires ignoring rules. I'm a pervy narrativist (pervy in that it's pretty much the only kind of play I like) & I love adhering to the mechanics. I simply want mechanics that facilitate narrativist play. When I recently ran Mage, I didn't ignore the rules, I just changed them to better suit narrativist play--when I rolled the dice, for example, I always abided by the result. But I only had players roll dice for conflict-resolution, rather than task-resolution. When I ran InSpectres, I always abided by the rules.
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2001, 10:37:00 AM »

Hey Ryan,

I have found that the Narrativist ideal and something close to El Dorado can often be found in mature Simulatist campaigns.....Their is a high degree of trust between the GM and the players. This make adherence to the rules unnecessary.

This is pretty much the textbook definition of drift. The rules don't support Narrativism, so the group ignores the rules. It's hard for me to consider it a "mature Simulationist" game anymore at that point.

Paul
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2001, 11:06:00 AM »

No, what I'm saying is that relative to most Sim games, Narativist games tend to be rules light, especially in the area I generally describe as moderating rules (i.e. rules that limit player action). Its not surising to me (though it is rather ironic) that you find yourself adhering to the rules because, compared to a Sim game, you really have to if you want use any rules at all. Whereas in a Sim game (at least in my experience) groups tend to pare down the rules set as the trust level among players and with the GM rises.

What I am suggesting is that it is more difficult for a set of gamers to reach a place where rules become relatively unimportant (the narativist ideal). I would cite as my proof the fact that the vast majority of games played by gamers are Sim games, which means games are starting in a more codified rules environment. In other words, game balance for the vast majority of games is grounded in moderating rules when the level of trust among the game participents is low. As that level of trust rises the participents can abandon elements of the rules, especially moderating rules, without sabotaging game balance. The side effect being that participants feels a sence of being able to pursue IC motivations without worring about the rules (i.e. decisions of storyline altering actions are less like to be made with a dice) or achieve "El Dorado" of you will.

Returning to the subject of El Dorado, that means that the personal interrelations of a particular group of participants is more important in achieving El Dorado than a particular matrix of rules. In fact, the particular set of rules are fairly irrelevent. It is achieving the three points I outlined above that are important. And therefore trying to create a game that induces El Dorado will only work if one could find a way for the ruleset to achieve those three points and then become meaningless (for the most part) to the context of the game. A game so well designed it mankes people like each other and then goes away. :wink:

Thanks
Ryan

Thanks
Ryan
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Ryan Ary
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2001, 11:16:00 AM »

Paul

I can't argue with you on that point. The original question did call for the game remaining Sim. However, I would suggest that this is still as close to the "El Dorado" as anyone is going to get.

Ryan
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Jeffrey Straszheim
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2001, 11:58:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-12-28 14:06, Ryan Ary wrote:

What I am suggesting is that it is more difficult for a set of gamers to reach a place where rules become relatively unimportant (the narativist ideal).

But that isn't the narrativist ideal.  The narrativist ideal is a game that produces a good story.  I think you are showing vestiges of the narrativism = rules lite fallacy.  A narrativist game can have intricate rules.  A narrativist game can have players who are serious about understanding and following the rules.
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[ This Message was edited by: stimuli on 2001-12-28 14:58 ]
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2001, 01:44:00 PM »

Well put Jeff.

Narrativist rules help promote the creation of Story. Simulationist rules help promote the creation of an accurate simulation. Number is irrelevant. The obligatory example is Hero Wars. Lots of Narrativist rules there. I wouldn't call Sorcerer "lite" either.

Mike
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contracycle
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2001, 11:06:00 AM »

hackity hack, with hat and machete

I think the rules light business is both a red herring and useful.  Also the idea of trust based on abandonment of the rules is very interesting, but I'm not inclined to see it precisely that way.

Fact is no set of rules is possibly comprehensive enough to do a real sim, not even computer games.  So everyone knows at the outset that the purpose of the rules is precisely to frame what you can and cannot do ( and I think to sim gamers knowing what you cannot do is very important), not to necessarily dictate each and every outcome.  Thus, for many groups which develop trust in the (usually) GM's interpretation and probably consistency of interpretation and "tolerate" deviation from rules because it allows better sim.  Yes, this is directly a relationship between the actual participants, but I submity that many mechanics, as in HeroWars, can legitimise the interpretation factor to the extent that the player character has the authority to carry it out, not only ther GM.  Thus rules light or heavy is not the point, I feel, rather it is the implication abouts your range of actions *as a player* rather than as a character.

In fact I think certain types of mechanics can short-cut the trust process more or less into irrelevancy by, in one respect, allowing the player to create/narrate and thus directly impose their OWN interpetation of, say, die results and the sim flow of the situation.  This, for one thing, brings discussion into the open immediately and continuously rather than the old model of waiting for the GM to do something "unrealistic" and then objecting or vice versa.

Secondly I think sim gamers can really buy the whole scene based resolution idea; the principle of shifting from task resolution to conflict resolution is not, IMO, antithetical for sim because it often allows a better sim (there are few mechanics which can be interated infinitley and stay completely consistent or realistic, let alone both).  In this regard I think the whole business about stances is much more directly useful than the GNS itself, when it comes to actual design.  Peoples preferences are based on the GNS distinctions, but their actual actions in the game are based on the stance they are adopting, and THAT can potentially be manipulated mechanically.  "Fuzzy" mechanics which generate game currency (I guess?) to take affective action based on progressive change in the situation, like sorcerer and herowars are, IMO, succesfully implying a shift in stance by the player into an authorial mode, and thus legitimising that sort of behaviour (AP in HW, carryover dice in sorcerer).  

The further complication, lies in the distinction between player and GM in these sorts of games, I think.  I think it does require a certain "antagonism" between player and GM, in that the distinction between player character knowledge is or can be important for the maintenance of "sim-value" for the player.  I think for a lot of players, the knowing that there are things they don;t know is part of the draw, and the GM is the repository of that information, one way or another.  Thus, under normal circumstances the GM is in a better position to judge (specifically) the outcome of actions or of situational probability based on the fact that they can understand the situation better than the player can via their in-character mode of perception.  The GM knows whether the door is bolted on the other side, and the player does not.  And this is why the GM has the right to overule the player on any situational decision, no matter how improbale to the player, on the basis of their presumed superior knowledge.  In this light the totalitarian powers of the GM are a feature, not a bug.  

The question then becomes how to relate the GM's superior knowledge and still provoking the players to quite explicitly overule the GM.  It is not a question of relaxing the GM's authoritarian role so much as allowing it to be overidden in circumstance where the player is the authority.  The problem that then arises is that by definition the player does not know, and does not want to know, all aspects of the situation and thus might, by pre-defining, destroy some aspect of the world that the GM requires to be so.  I think that Ron's work on bangs and, in fact, Theatrix ideas about avoiding the "whiff" factor might go a long way towards resolving this.  Say the GM has decided, as part of situation exposition, that "all the local dealers are underground".  If the player then has the authorial right to bring a dealer into play through some attribute, this apparently conflicts with the GM's model of what the siutation is right know.  This might be resolved by, say, establishing that its better to have an NPC come "on stage" and actually say that the dealers are underground rather then hope for this fact to be implied to the players.  Then the players authorial right becomes a "vector" by which the GM looks to carry out their exposition; the missing dealers can be the response to the players authorial use of their contact and perhaps, cater for better dramatic structure, a prompt for say a scene with a snivelling snitch held over a balcony or whatever comes to mind.

I think players kinda do this already.  I have often seen players doing in character conversation almost like a scene because they know they are communicating some fact they have gleaned and need to convey this fact in character to the other players.  Also, they have often stylised their description of movement and body language to convey in character surprise, say, that they can't get hold of their usual fixer.  They portray that surprise as a kind of private exposition of their individual experience of the game world, a mini-scene between the players authorised by their direct possession of the character as dramatic vehicle.  This is cool stuff which I would not want to replace, but I think the sense of ownership and hence scope for play might possibly be mechanically extended in ways that specifically address how to alter the flow of play to incorprate wider bounds than the players immediate embodiment in the character.

That way, I say [removes hat, wipes brow] lies El Dorado [points machete].

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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2001, 03:40:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-12-29 14:06, contracycle wrote:
  So everyone knows at the outset that the purpose of the rules is precisely to frame what you can and cannot do ( and I think to sim gamers knowing what you cannot do is very important), not to necessarily dictate each and every outcome.  Thus, for many groups which develop trust in the (usually) GM's interpretation and probably consistency of interpretation and "tolerate" deviation from rules because it allows better sim.

Wow. Very well said, sir. I think that point had been left unstated for far too long.

Quote

In fact I think certain types of mechanics can short-cut the trust process more or less into irrelevancy by, in one respect, allowing the player to create/narrate and thus directly impose their OWN interpetation of, say, die results and the sim flow of the situation.  This, for one thing, brings discussion into the open immediately and continuously rather than the old model of waiting for the GM to do something "unrealistic" and then objecting or vice versa.

Yes, yes. OTOH, there will be players who still find having control of such things as unappealing. FWIW.

Quote

Secondly I think sim gamers can really buy the whole scene based resolution idea; the principle of shifting from task resolution to conflict resolution is not, IMO, antithetical for sim because it often allows a better sim (there are few mechanics which can be interated infinitley and stay completely consistent or realistic, let alone both).

This is why I've adopted Paul Elliot's combat system from Zenobia for a lot of my games. Uses Conflict resolution, and creates a much better Sim. Even my most anti-narrativist player thinks its a vast improvement in some ways.

Quote

  In this regard I think the whole business about stances is much more directly useful than the GNS itself, when it comes to actual design.  Peoples preferences are based on the GNS distinctions, but their actual actions in the game are based on the stance they are adopting, and THAT can potentially be manipulated mechanically.

I've said similar things myself. There are a few other factors though that go into GNS, though, so it's still useful for gross descriptions, IMO.

Quote

Say the GM has decided, as part of situation exposition, that "all the local dealers are underground".  If the player then has the authorial right to bring a dealer into play through some attribute, this apparently conflicts with the GM's model of what the siutation is right know.  This might be resolved by, say, establishing that its better to have an NPC come "on stage" and actually say that the dealers are underground rather then hope for this fact to be implied to the players.  Then the players authorial right becomes a "vector" by which the GM looks to carry out their exposition; the missing dealers can be the response to the players authorial use of their contact and perhaps, cater for better dramatic structure, a prompt for say a scene with a snivelling snitch held over a balcony or whatever comes to mind.

So, let me see if I get you. If a player uses authorial power, he should state his general intent up front, so that if there are problems, the GM can create a dramatic way of informing the character (and thereby player) of the problem so that the character can then "author" in a non-damaging way? I like that. Yep, stuff like this could go a long way.

Quote

...a kind of private exposition of their individual experience of the game world, a mini-scene between the players authorised by their direct possession of the character as dramatic vehicle.  This is cool stuff which I would not want to replace, but I think the sense of ownership and hence scope for play might possibly be mechanically extended in ways that specifically address how to alter the flow of play to incorprate wider bounds than the players immediate embodiment in the character.

Could you elaborate on that last, possibly with an example?  


Even if we don't make it to El Dorado, it's worth looking for. We may set up some interesting colonies on the way. :smile:

Mike
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Ryan Ary
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« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2001, 01:14:00 AM »

I think alot of this ties into the player types discussion on another thread. I fully embrace Ron's assertion that its nonsence to claim that the GM is the sole source of the "story" in a game. Its obvious to me that the players have a role in creating the story as well via their characters. I think the question is where one draws the demarcations between the GM and Players in the story creation process. This question of degree is the essence of whether or not players should have "authorial" powers in a game.

My problem (and most Simulationist's- I think) with giving players strong authorial power is its capacity to be abused. Maybe that's seeing the glass half empty. 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.

The question then becomes should the designer require that  every player in a group to fit a style mode. Obviously, opinions will vary on that score and the reverse arguement (should players that have a preference of style play a game that is obviously not consistent with their style preference?) has some validity (in my mind), if the player wants to maximise enjoyment of the gaming experience. Gaming time being a comodity in short supply (for me and mine anyway), I think thats playing what's consistent with your preferences is only logical. Unfortunatly, the world's not all rationality and refusing to play could just as easily eliminate all a player's game time.

Regardless, I think it would be a mistake for a designer to create only Sim games for sim players, etc.  This is due not only to the fact that it would tend to narrow the agregate number of people playing their game but as I pointed out, also because often people just have to play with who they can and whatever game the consinsus demands or not play at all. It seems to me that is unfortunate and unnecessary. I think the other extreme would be preferable, which is to code (as best one can) games to satisfy (as much as is possible) players of all the styles of play. Even if that means wrting variations on rules and scenes and instructions on purpose of those variations. Then have some faith in the ability of GMs and Players to sort out the best middle path for them. That may mean Authorial rules are one option the group can choose from. However, Authorial rules are not a pancea I think.

Just mt 2p

Thanks
Ryan      
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Former, Co-Founder, Thunderhead Games, Inc.
Former, Vice Chairman, DnDCC/FaNCC
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