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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 68 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: playing in the band  (Read 2521 times)
joshua neff
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« on: May 15, 2001, 10:27:00 AM »

so, my group just finished up playing a short d20 "star wars" story...overall it went well, but i had a few problems w/ the way my friend ran it (which the other players echoed): basically, we all felt pretty railroaded...the gm had his story, & we had to figure out what the story was...there were a number of instances where one or more of the players were visibly frustrated...

anyway, i don't want to discuss rpg horror stories (& overall, it wasn't horrible--i had fun)...my problem is this:

today, the gm sent out a post-game email, saying he wanted feedback on his gming, & then mentioned that i had already sent him some feedback & he saw my points, even if he disagreed w/ some of them--& that he's concluded he'll never really be completely narrativist, as he still enjoys simulationism & gamism too much...

this is my friend who's background is west end "star wars", "rifts", "rolemaster"...he's been turned on to "mage" & loves it (which doesn't really surprise me, as it's narrativism for simulationists)...when i ran "extreme vengeance", the rest of the group really got into the authorial & directorial stance, while he held back a lot & didn't seem to like it as much...

my question is this:
what do you do if one person in the gaming group doesn't really fit in w/ the rest of the group...i mean, the rest of my group seem to really want to move ("drift") more towards "purer" narrativism...what do you do when one of the group, who's really nice & does claim to want to do some narrativism, isn't playing along exactly w/ the rest of the band?
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2001, 10:58:00 AM »

Hi Josh,

My call on this one would go like this ...

Basically, extend the band metaphor all the way. What would you do if it WERE a band?

1) Keep the guy, and pretty much play as well to your own satisfaction in those circumstances as possible.

2) Lose the guy, although not without making damn sure that everyone else won't get all resentful & political about it and break up the band. (In other words, collude with them first.)

In a real band, of course, there's the potential for going commercial (or continuing to upgrade commercially if you're already there). In role-playing, this isn't the issue and it all comes down to one's own aesthetic sense, and to that of the group's as a whole.

I guess the main thing is to avoid blowing the WHOLE endeavor apart by taking option #1 or #2 without considering everyone's take on the matter.

Best,
Ron
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Dav
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2001, 02:50:00 PM »

You could always split the group (band) into two (you know, side-project style).  Have the narrativist night and the gamist night.  Alternate weeks or choose another day, or whatever works with the schedules of your group.  That way, less pissiness all-around (I've seen some real doozies).

(This is the first time I have every seen the word "doozy" in print... it didn't do as much for me as I thought it might)


Dav
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joshua neff
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2001, 07:08:00 AM »

ron, dav--

thanks for the feedback...it may not actually be as big a problem as i first thought...i think my first action will be to talk to my friend & make sure that he feels he'll enjoy what i want to do as a gm & what my expectations & goals are...if he's cool w/ that, it will take care of a lot of my worry...

thanks again...
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
james_west
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2001, 04:19:00 PM »

I'm deeply considering this issue myself, not just
with respect to G/N/S, but other stylistic preferences.

What I'm hoping to do is have a big enough "community"
that people can propose a game, and interested people
can play, without any implied or perceived snub (since
there would be too many people to all play one game
anyway.)

                          - James
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2001, 06:28:00 AM »

James,

What you describe is what I decided to put together in 1995, and have been running/playing ever since. It is ... incredibly satisfying, more so than I had believed possible via role-playing.

I've moved a couple of times in the interim and to my astonishment, in each place, founded a NEW group with exactly the same strategy.

POINT ONE
I have come to think that what you describe actually matches more player goals than the usual "must ... design ... campaign ..." model. This seems to be WHAT WORKS in terms of role-playing, in social/people terms.

It began in Gainesville, FL, in 1996, continuing for two years; then went throughout my year in Valdosta, GA, and now here in Chicago, I am involved with three groups that I described in another forum. One of them "settled" on Hero Wars after about a year, and the others are equally-settled in a continuing series of changing systems.

No fizzling. No fizzling. It's wonderful. If a particular game is too laborious or unsuited for what we like to do, we learn about that, and move on. "Huh," says a player, "I really like that mechanic," about a certain game, and we move on. Insights about play derived from certain mechanics in one game get applied in later games, perhaps through Drama or via similar mechanics.

POINT TWO
A lot of people who were initially "into it" turned out to be incredibly unsuited for participating (disruptive, power-tripping, behind-back-talking). My players have almost entirely been people who (a) were disgruntled with their current highly-traditional group; (b) were once-in-the-past role-players who thought there was something to it, although they didn't continue; and (c) were romantic partners of role-players who showed up to be sociable. ALL of these people responded very well to my mode of GMing and this "few sessions a system, move on" social/play strategy. So my call is that a certain amount of cultural selection goes on that lands you, eventually, with people who might not have been the initial play-partners.

POINT THREE (forgot this one; had to edit it in)
With the exception of the campus club group, which is designed specifically to encourage NEW groups to form rather than to become its own clique, the whole endeavor didn't become as loose as I'd originally wanted. I'd wanted more of a 15-person community, with games poppin' up and running for a while, and new ones poppin' up here and there as that happened. What has happened is more like the traditional four or five-person committed group, just with more flexibility about play and without a single game to which we are all wedded.

(It's from this experience that I developed the band metaphor.)

POINT FOUR
Much to my disappointment, I ended up being the consistent GM for a really long time. Only in ONE group, one of the current ones, have I played as well as GM'd. This may be just as much inclination on my part as the group's, but I also think that a GM is looked-to as social leader in many cases, and to some extent what we were doing depended on my being committed to it AS a GM.

POINT FIVE
Role-players involved in these groups do some really interesting things, over time. After a bit, many of them branch into new sorts of PCs. You know as well as I that many players simply apply the "same guy" to system after system, but I like to watch this sort of group foster a different behavior.

The woman who always plays the tough-babe killer decides to go with a shy, deductive sort; the guy who always plays the clever gambler decides to play a hot-blooded duellist .... it seems as though in the older mode (which Paul describes really well somewhere around here, when everyone places all their eggs in the basket if "this game"), people end up trying to play their FIRST character "right, this time," over and over, continually becoming more disappointed.

This way, people get through that phase ... they FINISH whatever a given PC might have been "about," and then loosen up enough to try another sort - which, to my way of thinking, at least for the highly-Narrativist goals that typify my groups, indicating a degree of creative maturity.

(To embarrass another Forge member) One fellow I know is famous for his amoral, hard-core, highly scheming and self-promoting characters ... but recently he's taken to playing parents! Nurturing, make-hard-choices type parents, at that. Hell, last night in the Orkworld game his first scene was all about breast-feeding ...

TO CONCLUDE
I really hope you can organize such an activity and see where it goes. I think it's the most functional form of role-playing, in a social sense, that I've ever encountered.

Best,
Ron

[ This Message was edited by: Ron Edwards on 2001-05-18 11:11 ]
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