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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 74 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Drifting, Rewards, Narrativism and D&D  (Read 1175 times)
Andrew Cooper
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« on: June 30, 2004, 06:32:36 AM »

My bi-weekly D&D campaign is typically Gamist and we have a lot of fun with it.  Stepping on up has a certain thrill that we like and the 3rd Edition D&D rules certainly lend themselves to that style of play.  However, I'd like to start nudging my players towards a more Narrativist game.  I think most of them would find the Nar style of play quite enjoyable.

My first thought is that drifting the reward mechanic in D&D to support a more Narrativist agenda would be the way to introduce this.  After reading this other thread I seem to be getting the idea that the reward for Narrativist play doesn't neccessarily have to increase the player's ability to address Premise (Narrativist) but can instead increase the player's ability to overcome challenge (Gamist).

This would seem to indicate that by simply changing or drifting what actions I give XP for would push the game in the direction I'm shooting for.  As an example, if I start giving XP for doing something "Cool" (as they say happens in Sorcerer) or for adding conflict, then play style should drift in the direction I want.  Even though giving XP as a reward simply increases the character's Gamist effectiveness.

Has anyone tried something like this before?  Did it work?  Am I totally off base here?  Does anyone have any advice for drifting D&D towards Nar a bit?
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TonyLB
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2004, 07:23:10 AM »

I'll refer you to Mike Holmes rant on this subject, just because he says it much better than I would.
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Trevis Martin
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2004, 09:35:44 AM »

The question is why do you want to nudge your players?  As per Mike's rant, that kind of nudging usually doesn't work.  You say you guys like playing Gamist style D&D3E why mess with it?  Now if the answer is that you wanna try out this narrativist thing to see if it's for you then the best thing I can recommend is to find a game that supports Nar and ask them to try it out.  Don't explain it to them, necessarily, just say you want to play this game and play it as written.  If they like it, they like it.

I get the sense, because Nar has such strong proponents here on the Forge, that it is somtimes mistakenly viewed as a superior mode of play.  (I'm not saying that is where you are coming from, I don't know that.)  But, bluntly, it is not.  Its like saying Football is better than going to the movies.  Objectivly there is no superiority, its just the opinion of those who participate in those activities.

regards,

Trevis
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Andrew Cooper
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2004, 08:51:04 AM »

Tony - Thanks for directing me to Mike's post.  It was very helpful.

Trevis - I'm a little late replying to this posting because I had to take a while to ponder the questions you raised.  Why am I wanting to nudge my players?  Admittedly we are all playing a primarily Gamist system and we enjoy it as such.  So, why alter anything?

After a bit of soul-searching I realized that I wasn't really wanting to turn our game to a Nar agenda.  I'm simply looking for  techniques to make the story element in our game a bit more compelling.  I don't want to diminish the Step On Up factor or even try to get my players to engage in deep premise-oriented play.  I'm just looking for additional ways to get the players emotionally invested in the story.  I know my players well enough to believe that they would like this kind of thing.  

So, I guess I was just confused when I originally posted this thread.  Thanks for asking the questions that forced me to sort it all out.
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Doctor Xero
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Posts: 433


« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2004, 12:36:49 PM »

Quote from: Gaerik
I'm just looking for additional ways to get the players emotionally invested in the story.  I know my players well enough to believe that they would like this kind of thing.

I have found that in many healthy gaming groups, the players enjoy campaigns which have moments of all three CA.

A fantasy campaign focused on monster-slaying (usually but not always a gamist focus)

may still have scenarios or subplots of pure character roleplay in which a player-character explores his or her heritage as a dwarf (usually but not always a simulationist focus)

and scenarios or subplots of player investigation of an ethical quandary such as a player's taking the game master aside and saying, "I want to explore whether I would let a villain live when there is no way of knowing whether he is redeemable or not" and the game master later arranging for the player's character to face such a quandary in a situation in which there is no "right" answer provided by genre or game master or setting and therefore the "right" answer (if there is one) must come from the player as translated into the campaign world through his or her player-character (usually if not always a narrativist focus).

Doctor Xero
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"The human brain is the most public organ on the face of the earth....virtually all the business is the direct result of thinking that has already occurred in other minds.  We pass thoughts around, from mind to mind..." --Lewis Thomas
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