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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 93 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: GM premise in narrativist play  (Read 2859 times)
Valamir
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« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2004, 07:25:43 AM »

He Doc.  I want to point out that when you say:

Quote

I want to start out the campaign exploring what it is like to be a superhero the way they are portrayed in the comics, and then once I have done that, I want to explore whether it is ever good and right to kill someone and explore what a particular answer to that question really means and what its effects are, et al.


That this is exactly what I was talking about in the other thread

when I said:

Quote
The difference between this situation and Narrativist play is that this form of Simulation thrives on enforcing and reinforcing the stereo type while many times Narrativist play is about establishing those stereo types and then breaking them.


You'll note the similarities.

This was, in fact, a large part of the point I was making in that other thread.  In Sim play you adhere to the genre conventions because the whole point of play is to adhere to the genre conventions.

In Nar play you can also spend alot of effort adhereing to the genre conventions, but here that effort is solely to provide the context for the premise.

Genre Conventions are a pretty common method of expressing the key elements of Exploration (setting, color, character, situation).  If you are using genre conventions to provide a context for addressing premise you're playing Nar.  If you are using genre conventions because enjoying the experience of being true to those conventions is the primary reason why you are playing...then you're playing Sim.
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matthijs
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« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2004, 09:46:27 AM »

I thought I'd say a little bit more about the original theme of the thread.

Perhaps one could say that setting premise is narrativism's answer to metaplot? Instead of having a greater pre-planned story arc that adventures must hook on to, there's a dynamic story arc, created in real time during play, that adventures organically tie into. Meaning that they grow together, and affect eachother.

Now, if I were to try to focus on addressing setting premise as a GM - wouldn't it be fun if there were setting bangs? As history unfolds during play, sometimes strange twists and dilemmas occur that can be turning points for the flow of events. Players could perhaps make such bangs for the GM, perhaps one per session or once every few sessions, and in this way make life... interesting for the GM.

This could also make for an Aria-like game. Instead of defining the GM as "the one in control of setting", different players could have different parts of the environment and/or individual characters. Then, the GM would be defined as "the one supplying the bangs for the group".
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2004, 10:04:23 AM »

Hello,

That is exactly right, Matthjis.

You have described our experiences with HeroQuest (at the time Hero Wars) perfectly. That's exactly why, especially after many discussions with Greg Stafford about it, I do not consider our play of this game (or its text) to include a metaplot in the same sense that (e.g.) the Mage line of supplements did.

I also submit, since all role-playing contains all five components of Exploration, that during Narrativist play, the Explorative content of Bangs can draw from all five in whatever combination one can imagine.

In other words, just because one's current game concerns a lot of character-defined/originated Premise, doesn't mean the GM "shouldn't use" setting-based Bangs. Bangs are Explorative composites, not setting-only or character-only or any such thing.

Best,
Ron
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matthijs
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« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2004, 10:39:46 AM »

Ron,

cool! Do you have any of your HQ/HW experiences written down somewhere?

Did you use setting-based bangs? If so, who introduced them, and how were they resolved?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2004, 10:47:34 AM »

Here are a few threads to check out, although you may have to parse the Bangs a little on your own. God damn it, I love Glorantha, Premise in Hero Wars?, my Goddess of Rape article for Daedalus #1, and Peter Nordstrand's Narrativist scenario writing.

Best,
Ron
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Emily Care
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« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2004, 11:23:58 AM »

Quote from: matthijs
Perhaps one could say that setting premise is narrativism's answer to metaplot? Instead of having a greater pre-planned story arc that adventures must hook on to, there's a dynamic story arc, created in real time during play, that adventures organically tie into. Meaning that they grow together, and affect eachother.
...
This could also make for an Aria-like game. Instead of defining the GM as "the one in control of setting", different players could have different parts of the environment and/or individual characters. Then, the GM would be defined as "the one supplying the bangs for the group".


This also exactly describes the long-running Ars Magica games I played long ago with the Ennead.  However, at the time I thought of these games as simulationist because they focused on detailed description of setting and character, were largely un- or loosely-plotted and in-game motivations were emphasised as justification for plotting and play.  

This was back in '93-'95, heyday of Rec.games.fantasy.advocacy as seen in John Kim's FAQ.  More heavily plotted games ie metaplot games would have fallen under the Dramatist mode.  This captures the sea-change that has occured along the way from then to now!

Yes, I'm not imagining it take a look at this part of the FAQ. I'll quote it here too:

Quote

1) What is "dramatic plotting" in an RPG?  
   (by John Kim <jhk6@columbia.edu>)
......
1) What does it mean to pre-plot a game?
   (by John Kim <jhk6@columbia.edu>)

   Much discussion has been on the subject of "dramatic plotting",
  based on certain formulas from dramatic theory.  The basic concept
  is that the GM should prepare lines of tension which will specifically
  engage the PC's.  In short, the GM looks at each of the PC's, and the
  PC's as a whole, to determine what will engage them:  what is
  interesting and meaningful to them.  

   The GM then prepares background on elements which will lead
  to this engagement, and arranges for the PC's to get an inkling
  of what is there.  (This is often called a "hook" in some circles,
  or the "plot-premise").  

   The key is that once the PC's have committed themselves to
  a line of tension (or perhaps even before), the GM prepares a
  series of scenes -- his prediction of how the conflict will be
  played out (using both his knowledge and communication with the
  players on what they plan to do).  The sequence is designed as
  one would write a dramatic plot: with twists, climax, and so
  forth.  
 
     During the game, the GM may have to abandon particulars of
  his prepared plotline, of course, when the PC's do the unexpected.
  The theory is that his preparation will still be useful, because
  even though the particulars of the second plot twist have changed,
  the GM can still arrange for there to be a second plot twist,
  and thus retain his scene structure.  

The difference between rgfa dramatism and gns narrativism seems to be who exactly does the plotting, and Sim has come to be associated with what was once seen as dramatism.

Compare this with the definition of rgfa sim from the Faq:

Quote
 "simulationist":  is the esthetic of games where effort is made
   to not let meta-game concerns during play affect in-game
   resolution of events.  That is, a fully simulationist GM will
   not fudge results to save PC's or to save her plot -- and
   will not add forces to the game world just to make things
   more challenging for the PC's.


No wonder I often feel like the world is upside down when I talk to people about sim and nar.

yrs,
Emily Care
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Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
Doctor Xero
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Posts: 433


« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2004, 01:25:31 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
And furthermore, a lot of snap "oh that's Sim" responses, even from people who should know better, are assuming that the play is coherent enough even to gain a single descriptive term.

Ah!  I had encountered that so frequently in the threads I explored when first I found The Forge that I took that for the normative assumption here.

The "oh that's Sim" response from the reluctant (and new-narr-converts) Narrativists about whom I've written in a different thread reinforced that interpretation.

Discounting the "oh that's Sim" responses I've read in threads or encountered in posts (and RL comments) directed towards me eliminates much of my confusion over a seeming narr-vs.-sim schism I've seen.

For there to be no narr-vs.-sim binary enforcement answers a lot of my concerns about why my experiences and studies conflict with that seeming binary.  Most of the campaigns I've been in oscillate between those two CA according to player interests for that day.

Doctor Xero

< grin > One could say that in playing The Forge campaign, I've been challenging narrativistically a seeming CA dichotomy after first simulationistically adapting to the normatives here.  So, to complete the analogy, where do I go to get my gamistic rewards?  < laughter >
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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
Doctor Xero
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Posts: 433


« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2004, 01:43:02 PM »

Quote from: matthijs
Instead of having a greater pre-planned story arc that adventures must hook on to, there's a dynamic story arc, created in real time during play, that adventures organically tie into. Meaning that they grow together, and affect eachother.

Now, if I were to try to focus on addressing setting premise as a GM - wouldn't it be fun if there were setting bangs? As history unfolds during play, sometimes strange twists and dilemmas occur that can be turning points for the flow of events. Players could perhaps make such bangs for the GM, perhaps one per session or once every few sessions, and in this way make life... interesting for the GM.

I love this image!

According to this idea, then players who are playing out fairly stereotypical characters with no breaking ever of those stereotypes are still using a Narrativism Creative Agenda if their focus is not on their characters but on setting bangs through which the players explore ethical questions about the movements and evolutions of tribes or nations!

That would be totally cool!  (And one of the few times I can imagine my deriving any pleasure from Author stance instead of Actor stance.)

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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