*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
May 22, 2019, 06:55:57 AM

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] 3
Print
Author Topic: The Model as seen by Valamir [Long. Very, very long]  (Read 35996 times)
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2004, 01:00:17 PM »

Quote
This isn't functionally different from what you're describing, but I think it more acurately reflects the thought process that goes on in actual play.


I think you're correct that that is the thought process that typically goes on in play.  And I think its wrong.  There is a lot of built in assumptions about what is and isn't going to be acceptance.  I think this leads to alot of disfunctional, or at least unsatisfying play.  It leads to grave but widely held misunderstandings of what rules are and what their for.  Its exactly that sort of thought process that the Lumpley Principle was designed to shine a white hot spot light on and say "wrong...that may be what you think is happening but that's not what's really going on.

The GM has no right to say anything about anything and just presume that it will be accepted by the players and the players have no right to say anything about their characters and just presume that it will be accepted by the GM.  Every statement carries with it a fundamental "if that's all right by you" clause invisibly tacked on the end of it.

Quote

Probably the best way to restate this is, a lot of times, rules are used to pre-determine what everyone will agree to imagine, without waiting for a conflict between what two (or more) players already *have* imagined separatly.


I think that's a correct statement.  But I don't think it changes the fact that each statement is still accepted or rejected on its own merits at the time its made.  The rules certainly provide lubricant but there's still the potential for friction.  I'd also add that this approach has the same kind of pitfalls as I outlined for info-dumping of setting information.  Info-dumping of system information (as would be expected since they are both components of Exploration) has the same potential for creating incompatable Individual Imaginary Spaces.

***

Quote
About conflict, you're a little unclear / imprecise. I'm not sure if you're saying that the *player* must sacrifice something (i.e., effectiveness) or if the *character* must sacrifice something. Similarly, I'm not sure if you're saying that the *player* must be opposed, or if the *character* must be opposed. It seems like you go back and forth on it.



You'll have to be a little more specific where you're seeing the conflict.  When I look at the 3 tests for Conflict I think I wrote them pretty clearly in that regard.  

1) the player must want the situation to change.  The character is usually the tool the player uses to inact that change.

2) the situation must involve adversity, i.e. effort and sacrifice.  The character is usually the maker of that effort and sacrifice.

3) There must be consequences to the SiS.  The SiS is assembled from Setting and Character constrained by Color, so it will be one or more of those elements that suffer the consequence.


Quote
The reason this is important is that, in some of the pervy nar games I play, there will be times when a player sets up (what I view as) conflict, in, say a mini-scene. The player's character faces adversity, there are consequences for resolving conflict regardless of success or failure, but there are no other players involved. The one player both sets up the conflict and resolves it.


Then you have to ask yourself...is there really adversity there, or just the illusion of it?  Is the player really setting up the adversity, or just willingly embracing conditions set up by someone else?

If the player is really setting up the adversity, i.e. controlling the parameters of that adversity and is running the character experiencing the adversity then the player's playing both sides.  That situation might have alot of the appearances of adversity, but it isn't really.

It was Universalis that really drove this distinction home for me.  If I'm controlling a character who's going to be fighting a character you control, and I do that by taking control of that character from you and playing out the fight myself.  Then no matter how graphically I narrate the up and down of the fight and no matter how battered and beat up "my" character gets, there is really no adversity.  Everything is proceeding according to plan.  If instead we run it as a Complication.  Then that is real adversity.  Universalis is very extreme in this because when you're playing both sides in Universalis you really do have 100% control over everything.  But the principal I think applies equally to every game where the level of control isn't that extreme but still enough to render the adversity illusiory.


So I guess what I'm saying is this.  For a character under a player's control to truly experience adversity, the player must be experiencing the possibility of not having things go as they want (and to John Kim's point elsewhere, what the player wants may or may not be the same thing as what the character wants).  I think this is the heart of why Ron is so adamant about letting the dice fall where they may in Sorcerer, and Adamant about the GM having a very traditional role in interpretting failure in Troll Babe.  

The Conflict isn't real if you're just playing both sides.
Logged

Paganini
Member

Posts: 1049


WWW
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2004, 07:00:32 PM »

Ralph,

Agree in full WRT to system and rules.

WRT adversity, the thing that was unclear is what the "adversity" is supposed to appy to. You seem to set it up to mean adversity that the character faces in game, but when you go through the practical applications you treat it as meta-adversity that the player must face to get what he wants.

I can set up situations where my *character* faces adversity; from the perspective of that character, the adversity is real. I can then go on to resolve the adversity in some particular way that I choose (say, to address some specific Premise). From a relative view internal to the SiS, the character experienced adversity, and that adversity was resolved with all consequences of that resolution. From a meta view of the SiS, there was no adversity to me, the player. I set up the conflict I wanted, resolved it in the way I chose to make the point I was aiming for. Was this a conflict? I say yes. But you say:

"For a character under a player's control to truly experience adversity, the player must be experiencing the possibility of not having things go as they want."

And, I disagree with that. This is the important point. In my example above, I addressed Premise. That means that CA - specifically Narrativism - was at work.

Maybe I've misunderstood you here. It ocurrs to me that you could be talking about identifying CA in action, as opposed to mere presence / absense. Do you mean that CA can't be *externally discerned* without a special kind of conflict, specifically, a conflict where the player might not get his own way?
Logged

Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2004, 08:10:48 PM »

Quote
Quote
"For a character under a player's control to truly experience adversity, the player must be experiencing the possibility of not having things go as they want."


And, I disagree with that. This is the important point. In my example above, I addressed Premise. That means that CA - specifically Narrativism - was at work.


Good question.  Definitely worthy of more discussion, probably in a thread of its own, because I envision being potentially long.  Mayhaps Ron could split these last couple of posts off to a new thread.


My initial reaction is to disagree with your disagreement and say that you have not actually addressed Premise.  My initial thought in this regard is based on the fundamental difference between writing a novel and role playing.  When writing a novel you have the luxury of having perfect control over the novel (issues of coauthors and publisher constraints aside) including both sides of every conflict, and you can indeed author theme that way.  One might take that as proof that your point is the correct one.

However, I'm thinking, that in fact, its proof of the opposite.  That the fundamental difference in medium (reflected in the changes to the notion of Premise between Egri's writing and applying it to roleplaying( means that you can't; that that approach of simply authoring premise because you have full control of both sides of the conflict would be an invalid one for a role playing game even though its perfectly typical for a written work.

In fact, if it were the GM doing it, I think we'd probably call it Illusionism and both agree that it was not actually Narrativist play.  Therefor, I suspect the same is true if a player does it.

But I admitt to that being an initial reaction only, I could be convinced otherwise.
Logged

Caldis
Member

Posts: 359


« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2004, 08:28:44 PM »

Thanks Ralph for this post, there's lots of depth here and I feel most if not all of it is bang on.  I still have some problems with the relationship between GNS and conflict as you've related it.  I may just be misinterpretting what you've stated, if so I hope you can clarify for me.

As I understand what you've stated GNS does not become a concern until conflict is raised,  up until that point all you have is exploration.  I have a few problems with this view.  I feel GNS is more pervasive and a players preferences are at work throughout the role playing process; from chosing a rpg to play, to creating a character, through actual play.  Now I'm not sure if you would disagree with that, but to me at least your assertion about conflict suggests that.  It seems like you were suggesting that conflict resolution is the only place where GNS based differences are felt or were you simply suggesting that is the only place where they can be reliably seen?

Another problem I'm having is with the split between adversity and conflict.  This relates to the example of smoke behind the hills and the character trying to cross them we were discussing in the previous thread. I'll come back to that one later but to clarify my take on the situation I'm going to jump to something a little different, Call of Cthulu.  

Just about every time I've played Call of Cthulu most of the game revolved around searching to try and find out what was going on.  Piece by piece you drew out more and more information until by the end of the game you knew enough to be able to stop the evil cultists.  This type of hunt for the plot game; where characters use their skills to overcome adversities along the way, until they bring enough information from the gm's private imaginary space into the shared imaginary space, and reveal the conflict in the situation, would seem to be almost entirely exploration in your view.  The resolution of the conflict was always almost an afterthought, if you'd stayed sane until the end you could probably manage to thwart the plot.   Is Call of Cthulu viewed as a simulationist game because of how it resolves the conflict at the end even thought the majority of the game revolves around exploration?  Isnt creative agenda at work in deciding the system used to resolve the adversity that leads to the conflict?

This leads back to the question of the character who has seen smoke over the hill.  You left it out but in the original thread we did have a goal for him, he was trying to discover information about his location he views the smoke he has seen as a likely source of the information he is seeking.  It's very likely that the information he finds there will lead him into a conflict as you've described it.  This is the same sort of hunting for a plot that we see in the Cthulu game, if he doesnt make it over the hills he'll have to find another way around or somewhere else to find the information he desires just as the investigators make their way through the plot.   Have I misread you and this hunting for a plot somehow fits into your definition of a conflict?  Or does the system used to handle adversities hold just as much relevance as that used to handle conflicts to people with differing GNS preferences?
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2004, 06:54:28 AM »

Hello,

I got really confused in the last few posts, and Caldis is right there with me.

All this time, when I've been talking about Situation and conflict, I have been referring to adversity faced by the characters in the SIS. I haven't been talking about conflict among the real people at all, whether GNS-based or anything else.

Has this been a source of confusion for people in any way? Thinking that when I was talking about conflict, that some kind of conflict-of-interest or disagreement among real people was involved?

'Cause if so, then I dunno what to say. I thought that was a non-issue, but your latest posts, Ralph, seem to be all about that for some reason.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2004, 07:11:33 AM »

There are two separate things being confounded here.

First:  The adversity I'm refering to in the essay is very much 100% adversity faced by the character.  Done deal.  I think we're all in agreement there.

Second:  The side issue that I suggested would make a good seperate thread is my postulation that if the same player is representing both the adversity and the character facing the adversity, that the adversity isn't real.  When you have one player playing both sides, the adversity being faced by the character is just an illusion, and since its just an illusion it disqualifies the adversity from being a real Conflict.

I think this notion is related to things such as fudging dice rolls.  Fudging dice rolls are all about controlling both sides of the conflict.  The GM is representing the adversity which is trying to hinder the characters.  But then when they actually get hindered, the GM starts representing the characters interests by fudging the rolls so they aren't hindered so badly.

He is essentially taking control of both sides of the conflict.  Same with retroactively reducing stats or intentionally playing the adversaries more stupid than they should be and other assorted ways of saving the character's bacon.
Logged

Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2004, 07:47:13 AM »

Ah. Full agreement. This is also why I've been saying for a while that fully-unconstructed Drama resolution is unsatisfying, whether it's fully under one person's control or supposed to be based on consensus.

Best,
Ron
Logged
C. Edwards
Member

Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2004, 03:45:13 PM »

So.. I guess I agree if we're talking about situations where the outcome is pretty much predetermined. I think that as soon as you add an element of randomness, such as the usual die roll, then a "conflict" controlled by a single player becomes a true Conflict.

-Chris
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2004, 06:02:41 PM »

Hey Chris,

I'm still not fully with you on this quotes vs. capital thing. Can you parse that out for me?

Best,
Ron
Logged
Paganini
Member

Posts: 1049


WWW
« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2004, 06:55:30 PM »

OK.

So, I think that conflit inside SiS of an RPG is identical in nature to conflict in the SiS of a movie, or a novel, or whatever. If the good guy is fighting the bad guys, it's conflict. If Joe Protagonist has to choose between his brother, or his (Joe's) lover who just killed his (Joe's) brother, it's conflict. This last one is what we're dealing with in the case of Narrativism. I don't care which player is controling what side of the conflict. That meta-layer is totally irrellevant to how I identify conflict. The important thing is what's going on in the SiS.

I disagree with Ralph that we'd call what I described before "Illisionism." I remember a place in the Nar essay that talks specifically about one player in the group doing just this sort of thing. IIRC, it was an example of disfunctional play, because it was *one* guy doing all the narrativism, while everyone else just sat back and watched. But if everyone at the table has the ability to do this at certain times (as with TQB) then I don't see how it can be disfunctional, or *not* be Narrativism.

Edit: This is probably obvious already, but I just want to add that the entire contents of the SiS are an "illusion" in the sense that they only exist in the minds of the players. If there's an apparent conflict among elements present in the SiS, then there's a conflict as far as I'm concerned. I don't have to check the meta-level to see which player is controling what element before I decide whether or not the conflict is "illusory." This in-SiS conflit is the only thing I care about when I'm playing Nar. If one player narrates the whole setup and outcome, that's fine with me. The output of play will resemble what it's supposed to resemble (i.e., narrative containing thematic decisions.)
Logged

C. Edwards
Member

Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2004, 07:29:32 PM »

Sorry about that, Ron. Based on Ralph's idea of what constitutes a true conflict, the conflict in quotes falls short of actually being a true conflict with a capital C. Ralph has been capitalizing his form of conflict, so I was trying to stay true to that.

-Chris
Logged
Emily Care
Member

Posts: 1126


WWW
« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2004, 06:16:38 AM »

Any chance this thread can be made a sticky on the GNS forum?

Thanks very much, Ralph.

--Em
Logged

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
John Kirk
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 121


WWW
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2004, 03:57:53 PM »

Quote

Any chance this thread can be made a sticky on the GNS forum?


I second the motion.  Valamir's essay would have done me a world of good a year or so ago.  Even now, after having lurked on the Forge for many months, it helps to have it all laid out in one place and makes the current theory much clearer in my mind.  Excellent job, Valamir.

Quote


Quote

The reason this is important is that, in some of the pervy nar games I play, there will be times when a player sets up (what I view as) conflict, in, say a mini-scene. The player's character faces adversity, there are consequences for resolving conflict regardless of success or failure, but there are no other players involved. The one player both sets up the conflict and resolves it.



Then you have to ask yourself...is there really adversity there, or just the illusion of it? Is the player really setting up the adversity, or just willingly embracing conditions set up by someone else?



I think you're confusing conflict with tension here, Valamir.  Let's take the following simple story:

Boy meets Girl.  Boy wants Girl.  Girl rejects Boy.  Boy pursues Girl.  Boy gets Girl.

The sentences, "Boy wants Girl.  Girl rejects Boy." sets up a conflict.  It doesn't matter who is playing the roles of Boy or Girl.  Boy wants a relationship but Girl doesn't.  The two characters are in conflict.  Now, if one person controls both characters, then "Boy pursues Girl" lacks tension because "Boy gets Girl" will already be a foregone conclusion.

I also don't believe that these issues change depending on whether you are authoring a book or playing a role-playing game.  In fact, it points out why it is so darned hard to write a decent novel.  If we consider your criteria for setting up a conflict:

Quote

1) the player must want the situation to change. The character is usually the tool the player uses to inact that change.

2) the situation must involve adversity, i.e. effort and sacrifice. The character is usually the maker of that effort and sacrifice.

3) There must be consequences to the SiS. The SiS is assembled from Setting and Character constrained by Color, so it will be one or more of those elements that suffer the consequence.


These criteria make sense even for conflicts in books.  However, we must recognize that the player doesn't always correspond to the author, it sometimes corresponds to the reader:

1) the reader must want the situation to change.  The character is the tool the author uses to enact that change.

To write a good novel, the author must somehow get the reader to identify with the protagonist (character).  In addition, the author must make the protagonist act in a way that the reader agrees with, or at least understands given the circumstances.  The protagonist must always take the "best" course of all possible options so that the reader is never ripped from his suspension of disbelief by thoughts of, "well, I wouldn't have done that".

In other words, a good novelist gets into the minds of his readers and makes them feel as if they are the ones controlling the protagonist, even though such notions are utter nonsense.  If they can't accomplish this difficult task, then the book will suffer greatly because the reader knows "it is all going to work out anyway".
Logged

John Kirk

Check out Legendary Quest.  It's free!
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2004, 04:57:31 PM »

Thanks for the kind words Emi;y and John.

John, I'm using Conflict in the essay for a very specific purpose.  It is the crucible in which Creative Agenda can be seen.  Adversity is an important part of the definition because it is through adversity that players responses can be seen.

...in deciding what adversity to attempt to overcome and what to ignore, in choosing what to put at risk and what to not put at risk, in choosing how much to risk for a particular objective, or how willing the player is to allow the objective to fail.  All of these are ways in which we can see what it is that is important to the player.  What is the player willing to risk loseing, what is the player unwilling to risk loseing.

If the player controls both sides of the adversity, then the player really isn't risking anything.  The outcome for better or worse is going to resolve pretty much as the player wants it to.  There is no opportunity to see what the player is really prioritizing.  Its only when there is the definite possibility that the player isn't going to get the outcome he wants (regardless of whether or not this is the outcome the character wants) that we see where the player's priorities really lie.

That's why I stress this in the essay.
Logged

Paganini
Member

Posts: 1049


WWW
« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2004, 07:22:39 AM »

Ralph, this just looks so backwards to me. To me, it seems like the ultimate display of Creative Agenda is what choice the player makes when he can  have anything he wants, but must pick only one.

Personal risk (i.e., the real person stands to lose something) at the SiS level seems to me to be an element of gamism.

Maybe it would help me understand if you explain why you feel this restriction is necessary; I'm not getting it from your big bad post. :) Maybe in a different thread?
Logged

Pages: 1 [2] 3
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!