*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 13, 2019, 11:57:17 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Author Topic: how we played Chalk Outlines  (Read 28480 times)
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2002, 09:37:55 AM »

I just wanted to remark that I am not in any way opposed to the deliberate employment of character emotions et al; I find the Relationship Map, as discussed elsewhere, to have been a real eye opener.  The lesson I learned here is to be much more conscious of player emotion by calling on resonant character emotions, as it were.  I also do feel that players (should) have a responsibility to overtly portray character emotions; I have been in games in which no such communication occurred, either player-to-player or character-to-character, and its awful.  

I guess this little rant has been running around inside my head after reading a post, forget where or by who, about The Film.  It was to the effect that the poster had been struck by the emotive relationship between Sam and Frodo, and this as the purpose of story.  The irony was that when I was watching the movie, at almost the same moment, I was thinking "thank god - a real story driven by its own momentum for a change".  I had drawn exactly the opposite conclusion from probably the same scene.

Clearly our preferences are colouring our perceptions.  I think my error in RPG design to date is to over-concentrate on the situation; not in fact to even really address the emotional experience of the characters, and especially failing to use NPC's with whom the characters had emotional relationships as, umm, expository channels.  But I think the game above erred at the opposite extreme, by moving the action to those relationships when the people in them more or less had nothing to talk about.

I have had some PM about the lyric quote at the end.  I understand some people may find this annoying, my apologies.  I was trying to find something that would illustrate the way people become self-motivated by the situation, to "change the world for the better" - to take the One Ring to the crack of doom so that all can live in peace, or to join the war against the Nazis, or whatever the person perceives to be wrong.  If it failed in this regard, my apologies.
Logged

Impeach the bomber boys:
www.impeachblair.org
www.impeachbush.org

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2002, 09:45:00 AM »

Hey Gareth,

Based on some previous posts of yours, I think your quote illustrated your activist/positive outlook well - my concern, speaking only as a fellow Forge member, and (obviously) belatedly, was that it was ... well, vertically extensive. Once I'd read it, it was just more stuff to scroll past. A structure issue, not a content one.

Best,
Ron
Logged
hardcoremoose
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 669


WWW
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2002, 10:37:09 AM »

Gareth, Mike...

Sheesh, I'm the one who said heist movies aren't really about heists.  

Well, I really don't think they are.  In fact, my favorite heist movies are the ones where the heist happens in the first few minutes, and the rest of the film is fallout from the characters' mistakes.  Character-driven Situation.

Gareth is absolutely right though.  There wasn't enough going on in Chalk Outlines, in terms of characters, to warrant a real character-driven story.  It just wasn't there.

Putting all of that aside, I want to say that I'm pretty tired of the way players normally characterize their characters in games.  There seems to be a lot of discussion here about emoting and whatnot, and that's not what I'm on about.  In fact, I'm pretty disgusted with the overt use of monologue or dialogue to express "emotion".  I agree with Gareth when he says that "action, challenge, confronation" be present in a story.  I do think that stuff illustrates protagonism.  I think it's better when that stuff involves other characters and exposes relationships (even when those relationships are fairly superficial).

I'm sure there's more I want to say - there's alot of content here for me to sift through.  Good discussion though.

- Moose
Logged
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


WWW
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2002, 11:58:51 AM »

Hey Vincent,

And of course you played it right. I'll own my own bad game design.

I was actually hoping you were going to come back and explain where we went wrong, playing the game as practically GM-less, and how we should have used the mechanics to deliver a GM-full experience, one where competing characters protagonize each other, rather than shaft, undermine, and irrelevantize each other.

But it was a hope. I'm very much aware that designing a structured game mechanic that delivers mutual protagonism to competing player characters is no easy task.

Paul
Logged

My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2002, 12:36:30 PM »

Quote from: hardcoremoose

Well, I really don't think they are.  In fact, my favorite heist movies are the ones where the heist happens in the first few minutes, and the rest of the film is fallout from the characters' mistakes.  Character-driven Situation.


You say that these movies are *about* the characters, then you talk about your favorite *parts*. I'm aware that The Thomas Crown Affair isn't all that much without the Affair. But my favorite parts of that movie is seeing the ingenious ways in which he pulls off the heist. There were a buncha seventies heist films I like that are pretty much all about the crime. I think we're talking about preferences here, again. You want to focus on the relationships because that's the part you enjoy. Fine. I'd like to keep the focus more on the action, which I maintain is equally as valid.

My point was merely to agree with the others that without a good context for the action that any relationship stuff can seem blah to me. I am not a fan of Steel Magnolias. It takes the kind of over the top relationship stuff of Resevoir Dogs to get me interested in "just relationships" in a film, and even then its the type of responses that get me, not why the responses are occurring. And I think that the average group will be hard pressed to reproduce that in an RPG, anyway. Heck, I think I'd prefer to obseve than try to be a part of any such effort (neither an ear cutter, nor ear cuttee be).

I will go so far as to agree with Gareth that playing characters as completely emotionless or relationsphipless (if that's possible) is not a good way to support the action of the game. But I only need a modicum, personally, enough to "keep it real".

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


WWW
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2002, 12:39:12 PM »

Hey Mike,

Because a player like Gareth sees no point in displaying his character's emotional state to the group the character must be static?

I don't think the displaying or not of the character's emotional state has anything to do with the character being static. In much of the source literature Ron cites in Sorcerer's Soul, the emotional reason for the main character's actions is not directly and overtly told to the reader. Gareth described his thought that a player, like a director, exposes a character to the audience by revealing things he "already knows" about the character, stuff that for him is "old news." I didn't use the word, but that's pretty much the definition of static.

If he's having fun by himself internalizing his character's protagonism, but doesn't go out of his way to make it visible, is he playing poorly?

I didn't use the word poorly either. In fact, I didn't make any value judgements.

Protagonism is about authoring a thematic take on the game's premise and having it received by the audience. This is distinct from character significance. I don't think there's any such thing as "internal protagonism." But I can see how someone might mistake "hidden significance" for it. The source literature cited in Sorcerer's Soul may not directly describe to the reader the emotional reactions and identity-contradicting decisions made by the main character, but that stuff is still delivered to the reader through the character's actions. And that's why the character is a protagonist, because he is altered by the conflicts he experiences, and it's apparent to you when you witness it.

Paul
Logged

My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
hardcoremoose
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 669


WWW
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2002, 01:06:59 PM »

Mike,

I hate Steel Magnolias.  I can't tell you how much I hate that film.

And as a connoisseur of low-budget horror flicks, I think it's safe to say that real heavy characterization isn't always my thing.  Sure, it's cool in the Night of the Zombies when the umpteenth nameless primary character has a zombie shove its fist straight into her mouth and then claws its way through the roof of her mouth into her brainpan, her eyes popping out as it goes.  But the gross-out thrill someone gets from that would mean so much more if the character meant something, or if she were led to that fate through some betrayal of her supposed friends, or something.

Personally, I find the heist stuff kind of boring.  Especially the real techie type stuff.  But I like heist films, especially the ones with real snappy dialogue and cool, over-the-top characters.  Snatch is one of my favorite films - you can't get better than characters with names like Turkish, Freddy Four-Fingers, and Bullet Tooth Tony.  But yes, it would be nearly impossible to ad-lib the kind of dialogue you see in that film for any amount of time.  Falling back on action as a means of characterization is perfectly valid.

So I think we agree, even though we don't sound like it.  I so dislike the overly melodramatic, long-winded way that many players use to characterize their PCs that I'm actually considering writing a game that strictly forbids dialogue, unless it's been earned.  And just not dialogue, but any overt expression of thought or emotion.  It's completely action based - maybe a little bit like a video game with lots of things happening, leading up to occasional cut scenes of full motion video and dialogue.  But I don't expect it to be short on characters and relationships.  Not deep ones to be sure, but they'll be there.

- Scott

(Who only saw Steel Magnolias because his wife made him)
Logged
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2002, 02:35:00 PM »

Quote from: Paul Czege

 Gareth described his thought that a player, like a director, exposes a character to the audience by revealing things he "already knows" about the character, stuff that for him is "old news." I didn't use the word, but that's pretty much the definition of static.

I think I misinterpereted both your points, possibly. OTOH, I think we could have a whole thread about whether a charcter can be static and a protagonist.

Quote

Protagonism is about authoring a thematic take on the game's premise and having it received by the audience. This is distinct from character significance. I don't think there's any such thing as "internal protagonism." But I can see how someone might mistake "hidden significance" for it. The source literature cited in Sorcerer's Soul may not directly describe to the reader the emotional reactions and identity-contradicting decisions made by the main character, but that stuff is still delivered to the reader through the character's actions. And that's why the character is a protagonist, because he is altered by the conflicts he experiences, and it's apparent to you when you witness it.

Again, I think I disagree. What is more I'm very sure that what you describe only applies to a limited number of Narrativists. I think that plenty of Narrativist players would be just fine with static characters. Many characters just are this way. Superheroes are classic, they go through the wringer only to come out the same, which is often how they win. Conan never changes. Not even becoming king changes him.

I have no idea what you mean by all the "hidden significance" and such. I know if I like my character. I know if story is being created. What else matters? RPGs are unique in that the player is also his own audience. I can have fun even if nobody else likes what I'm doing. Do you claim now that all Narrativists also have an urge to satisfy all other players in the game? I don't ever recall that claim or anything like it being made before.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2002, 06:28:01 PM »

Paul:
Quote
I was actually hoping you were going to come back and explain where we went wrong, playing the game as practically GM-less, and how we should have used the mechanics to deliver a GM-full experience, one where competing characters protagonize each other, rather than shaft, undermine, and irrelevantize each other.

Alas no.

Let me turn it back on you, though.  If you were to play it a second time, what would you do differently?

Did that one scene, the bribery broken nose one, did it actually work, or was it just okay compared to the others?

Here's a mechanic that I just thought of that might add to the game.  Several times, have everybody write down in a sentence or two the worst possible thing that could happen, with free reign over NPCs and circumstances and other Director-Stance stuff -- and knowing what's on the other PCs' character sheets.  Pull one from a hat, or maybe vote.  Then it happens.

That seems to be how my favorite movies are written.  I sit there cringing and laughing a mean little laugh, anticipating how wrong it's going to go.

You could even replace the players-framing-scenes thing with it.  The GM goes along, goes along, then calls for the worst.  I like it better, at first sight.

-Vincent
Logged
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2002, 02:47:08 AM »

Incidentally, the formlessness of this design might be fixed by giving it a competitive element.  Then the players (not the characters) will have an explicit goal to aim at, and the sniping would become purposeful, even useful.  Problem is, at the end you have to declare a winner.  But essentially, the thrill of competition is often employed to get people to carry out some behaviour which is itself worthy; the competitive element merely provides a motive to the participant.
Logged

Impeach the bomber boys:
www.impeachblair.org
www.impeachbush.org

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!