*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
June 29, 2022, 07:27:50 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: 84 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4
Print
Author Topic: Purpose of rules  (Read 25908 times)
joshua neff
Member

Posts: 949


WWW
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2002, 03:54:32 PM »

Bailey--

Having a GM is all about having one person in control of "everything"? Including story creation? That's what a GM is for?

Hm. I'm not so sure. Sounds a bit too simplistic & absolute to me. Seems to me it can be one thing a GM is for, but not the only thing. I certainly don't think a GM is meant to have absolute control over where the story goes. When I GM, my players & I don't give the GM that authority--we all have control over the narrative & where it goes. That's why we play RPGs.
Logged

--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
John Wick
Member

Posts: 210


WWW
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2002, 04:14:59 PM »

Quote from: hardcoremoose

Hey Chris,

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if a particular game instructs its players to "ignore the rules when they get in the way", that game is probably experiencing a GNS identity crisis.  And if a GM feels the need to "fudge" results too often, the system is either incapable of meeting its own goals, or the goals of the players differ from what the game is intended.


I find the latter to be much more true than the former.

The fact of the matter is this: If you, me and Ron all ran a game of... oh, let's just say D&D... we'd run three different games. This is because GM styles differ so wildly that no game can adequately meet each group's needs.

The roleplaying game is a unique model. I can't think of any other game where the rules differ from group to group, from player to player. It isn't a G/N/S problem, or a problem with the game.

As a matter of fact, I don't see a problem with it at all.

Take care,
John

"There is no right answer. But some answers are more right than others."

- The Tao of Zen Nihilism, A Self-Hurt Book
Logged

Carpe Deum,
John
Gordon C. Landis
Member

Posts: 1024

I am Custom-Built Games


WWW
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2002, 05:23:42 PM »

Bailey,

What josh said.  All-powerful GM is one model - it seems to me there are TONS of variations between that and "don't have a GM".  In my experience, the All-powerful GM is ALWAYS curbed in his power by social forces in the play group.  All-powerful - as longs as it makes sense, or All-powerful  - as long as you're true to the genre, or All-powerful - as long as you give us what we want (which can EASILY become quite disfunctional) . . .

Now, if what you mean is "if you don't give SOME control to the GM - even complete/final control, in some situations - you might as well not have one" . . . sure, I can agree with that.

It still seems to me like this thread could get real . . . meaty if we started discussing specifics - ah, so many threads, so little time,

Gordon
Logged

www.snap-game.com (under construction)
Gordon C. Landis
Member

Posts: 1024

I am Custom-Built Games


WWW
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2002, 05:31:02 PM »

Quote from: John Wick

The fact of the matter is this: If you, me and Ron all ran a game of... oh, let's just say D&D... we'd run three different games. This is because GM styles differ so wildly that no game can adequately meet each group's needs.

The roleplaying game is a unique model. I can't think of any other game where the rules differ from group to group, from player to player. It isn't a G/N/S problem, or a problem with the game.

As a matter of fact, I don't see a problem with it at all.


"Problem" is a slippery word.  I guess I'd just say that I do find this to be an issue worth discussing, as I'd really like to know which game and GM are most likely to give me the play experience I want.

Though I bet either Chris, John or Ron would be a ton o' fun to play with, reagrdless of whether it's D&D or not.

Gordon
Logged

www.snap-game.com (under construction)
Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2002, 09:55:33 PM »

You're quite right John, no set of rules is going to work for everybody, or work the same.  My question lies not in generating a "standard" for everyone, but why is the expection of sticking to the rules different for players than for the GM?  Players are expected to follow the rules, whereas the GM is often not, and in fact encouraged in most rulebooks to cheat, fudge, or not follow the rules.  I'm really interested in what would happen if players were given the same power as the GM to ignor rules when convient, or perhaps just a little more power.

In the Actual Play forum, my Forgotten Fist playtest experience was incredibly different than anything else that I've done before.  It lays all the resolution narration in the hands of the players.  The players have the power to create new characters, locations, items and scenes, and while certainly no rules were placed on the GM, I definitely felt, not restricted, but definitely no longer "the Hand of God" anymore.  By explicitly laying the power on the players in the rules, I had implictly pulled back the "GM is God" scheme.  In this case, as a GM I was forced to follow the rules, since they were followed by players.  I couldn't fudge dice, change character power levels behind the screen, but I could still alter current events, or add elements as I saw fit.  But everything I could do, the players had it in their power to undo, or alter, or do themselves.  

Instead of disempowering the players by forcing them to follow the rules and the GM to be able to skip them, these rules empowered the players and enforced the rules on all sides, by the players and the GM, and yet, were not restrictive in any sense.  In no case did I feel it could have run better by ignoring the rules, skipping them, or altering them.

On the other hand, there's many systems where to actually create a character is so time-consuming, that GM's never actually build a character, or even have rules defined for a minimal-detail character, they just fudge it.  Or certain rules(encumberance, movement rates, etc) that may require calculation, that again, the GM certainly can't use in a general purpose.  So why are the players expected to follow these rules?  

What indeed is the purpose of those rules?  Instead of actually being used to facilitate play, are they merely used to limit player power(No player can just declare,"You're dead", but the GM can)?  Or perhaps justify the results of the GM's will("You fail, so I can decide what happens...")?  Can it be said that certain rules and mechanics encourage railroading?  Or is it simply the unspoken rule that GM's can break any and all rules that encourages railroading?  

Chris
Logged
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2002, 03:16:29 AM »

I think its just division of labour.  We know the player are going to be seeing the world from an individual perspective, but to mediate the world to the players we need someone who sits outside of that immediate perspective and has an adequate overview and is therefore in a position to passed INFORMED judgement from occassion to occassion.

It is possible to distribute the authority to overide the rules in a number of ways, most of which have been explored by narrativists.  This is largely becuase of the write-permission type problem I mentioned elsewhere - we don;t wan't to get ionto arguments about whether or not there is a fishing village on a certain spot on the coast or not.  The ability to ignore rules necessarily implies distributed authorial power.
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
joshua neff
Member

Posts: 949


WWW
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2002, 07:12:18 AM »

Quote
I think its just division of labour.


Yes! Exactly. Ding!

Every group agrees (or hopefully agrees, assuming they're all on the same page) that certain things need to be dealt with during game play. Who deals with what is all part of the social contract. It's not the GM's job per se to deal with it, but it can make things go faster if there's only one person to deal with it. But Fang's put forward some really good thoughts about who does deal with it & when. Sometimes, having one person (the GM) handle it all can make things go faster & more smoothly. Other times, splitting up the labo(u)r can actually make things go faster.
Logged

--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
Bailey
Member

Posts: 71


« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2002, 02:34:25 PM »

Quote from: joshua neff

Bailey--

Having a GM is all about having one person in control of "everything"? Including story creation? That's what a GM is for?

Hm. I'm not so sure. Sounds a bit too simplistic & absolute to me. Seems to me it can be one thing a GM is for, but not the only thing. I certainly don't think a GM is meant to have absolute control over where the story goes. When I GM, my players & I don't give the GM that authority--we all have control over the narrative & where it goes. That's why we play RPGs.


Well, as a simulationist I'd say that largely it is the GM's job since the GM is in control of the outside world.  Stories that focus on the relationships between the player characters could get some minor interruptions by the GM but nothing serious.  When I play narrativist I don't usually have a GM.
Logged

Signature:
This is a block of text that can be added to posts you make. There is a 255 character limit

HTML is OFF
BBCode is ON
Smilies are ON
joshua neff
Member

Posts: 949


WWW
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2002, 02:43:48 PM »

Bailey--

Except I pretty much exclusively play in a narrativist fashion, & I often have a (or am the) GM. Narrativism & GMs aren't mutually exclusive at all. As Gareth pointed out, it's all about division of labor.
Logged

--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
erithromycin
Member

Posts: 159


« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2002, 03:07:20 PM »

Quote from: Bankuei

What is the purpose of the rules in regards to actually dictating what occurs?


Rules are physics.  They constrain how a character acts upon other entities within the gameworld, and how other entities act upon the character. Though they can do more than that.

Quote

Are they designed for player vs. player conflict?


By the above, no. Character vs. character yes, but player vs. player is a negatory, good buddy. Those would be, um, play-rules, not game-rules. Hang on...

Quote

An accepted means of limiting Player control within a game?


No, that'd be, ok, I'm running out of terminology, and I'm not sure there is any. Stay hanging on...

Quote

With the GM as an "above the law" participant in a game, what purpose do the rules serve to them?  


None, if, right, hang on. I'm going to suggest something, so feel free to rip it apart. This, by the way, is what you've hung on for.

There are sets of rules, presented here in levels:

GAMEWORLD

Character rules: These are the 'physics' by which a character is constrained. These govern actions, set the realms of the possible and impossible and so forth.

Translation rules: These are the 'metaphysics' by which a character is controlled. Most games don't have these, though many create their own ways of dealing with this when they're playing characters of differing abilities to their own.

GAME

Interaction rules: These are the rules that govern interaction between players, what they are allowed to do to each other and the game, and probably basic codes of conduct and, hopefully, hygiene. :)

GMing rules: These are the rules that govern how a game is run, what the GM is allowed and is not allowed to do. Some of this is rules of thumb, a lot of this expresses itself as styles.

WORLD

Right, I know I'm coming into this thread late, but hey, sue me. These are the rules I think there are [or should be], and this is what I think they do [or should]. Anything else is gravy. Adaptation of the rules is a weird thing, but I think levels affect other levels up and down the 'play-chain'. Woo. I'm trying to create terminology here too. Yay me, and stuff. :)
Logged

my name is drew

"I wouldn't be satisfied with a roleplaying  session if I wasn't turned into a turkey or something" - A
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2002, 06:54:56 AM »

Roleplaying games only ever have one 'physics,' and that's the consensus of the gamers.  Your PC never skids on the ice because the mechanics say she does, only because you all agree that she does.

Agreeing in advance to abide by mechanics (instead of using more everyday techniques, like arguing) is one way to achieve that consensus.

Having a GM, which is to say, an arbiter and a final authority, is another way.

Saying that the GM can ignore the mechanics just means that the GM has a privileged position when it comes to creating consensus -- which we knew already.

Right?

It's all about credibility.  The rules of a game are (almost exclusively) about whose word you have to take for what.  Traditionally, you have to take the GM's word for everything, and the game's mechanics have been all caught up in enforcing, mitigating, and sugarcoating that.

(Some of the games we're designing around here, though, the whole point is to distribute credibility in different ways.  Director Stance for instance says: If it's about my character, even if it's not something my character has under her control, you still have to take my word for it.)

I'm coming late to the thread too.  It's drawing us in, I guess.

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


WWW
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2002, 07:24:48 AM »

Hi Vincent,

Fuckin' too right on that post about "rules." People sure stumble over that word, don't they? It's like balance or realism.

I'm totally boring about my use of "rules" - synonymous with "design," as far as I'm concerned, or even "text." Hence all the suffering about what is or isn't a rule (or heaven help us, a "guideline" whatever that is) becomes irrelevant.

Best,
Ron
Logged
erithromycin
Member

Posts: 159


« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2002, 02:34:37 PM »

Quote from: lumpley

Roleplaying games only ever have one 'physics,' and that's the consensus of the gamers.  Your PC never skids on the ice because the mechanics say she does, only because you all agree that she does.


That's the 'playing experience'. Right. What I was trying to say is that rules affect different things, like the world that the characters inhabit [gameworld], the game itself [that is, I suppose, the people playing - what they can and can't do], and then there's plain old reality.

Quote

Agreeing in advance to abide by mechanics (instead of using more everyday techniques, like arguing) is one way to achieve that consensus.


Well, yeah.

Quote

Having a GM, which is to say, an arbiter and a final authority, is another way.

Saying that the GM can ignore the mechanics just means that the GM has a privileged position when it comes to creating consensus -- which we knew already.


But is that right, or fair, or good for the hobby? Why should the GM get to ignore the rules of a game? Or am I being overly simulationist/gamist [I'm not sure it matters in a narrative system, because IME physics tends to be less of an issue in those]

Quote

It's all about credibility.  The rules of a game are (almost exclusively) about whose word you have to take for what.  Traditionally, you have to take the GM's word for everything, and the game's mechanics have been all caught up in enforcing, mitigating, and sugarcoating that.


No, I dispute that. I say the rules of a game are about how things work. Allowing the GM to ignore them is a flaw in the structure of how the game is played by the players, not how the game works on the character. They aren't the same thing.

Quote

(Some of the games we're designing around here, though, the whole point is to distribute credibility in different ways.  Director Stance for instance says: If it's about my character, even if it's not something my character has under her control, you still have to take my word for it.)


I don't have an issue with that, what I've got an issue with is that it's somehow OK to make things different for the GM. Why shouldn't he play by exactly the same rules with a different stance, or a little more power within the same rules as everyone else?

Anyway, if I'm gratuitously missing the point, do feel free to tell me. I just think there's something here, really, but I could be the only one seeing it.
Logged

my name is drew

"I wouldn't be satisfied with a roleplaying  session if I wasn't turned into a turkey or something" - A
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2002, 03:28:14 PM »

Drew,

I think you're missing that Vincent is not speaking about "what's best" or "what works" or anything like that - he's simply providing the most global concept that could account for the concept of "rules."

You're addressing a subset-issue: what framework of rules, especially in terms of the social contract to abide or not abide them, is most functional? I think to address this well, we have to specify further into the goals of play.

After all, say I'm playing in a Simulationist fashion in which the scenario events are pretty well set, and my goal of play is to enjoy its details as they are revealed and have impacts on my character (and to role-play the results with gusto). This happens to be exactly how I play in Call of Cthulhu scenarios (Explore Situation, mainly).  When this happens, frankly, I'm kind of glad that the GM (who happens to be Doc Midnite) acts as a filter between dice/rules outcomes and "what really happens." He essentially makes sure that the system doesn't mess with our fun (which is by definition divorced from metagame concerns), and "the rules" (tacit or otherwise) give him that role.

It's not my personal favored style of play, but for many people it is - and I suspect that their enjoyment is enhanced by the GM's privileged relationship to "the rules." These sorts of players, I have found, are among the most vocal about "You have to have the right GM in order to role-play," and I suspect this is a function of the necessary role of that GM-privilege.

Then, when you take play toward my most favored style, which is Narrativism with a strong Character(s)-derived Premise, such a GM privilege would be terribly destructive toward the goals of play.

So I do see your point, but I think it would help to distinguish your needs and goals of this discussion, as opposed to a larger-scale, more philosophical examination of "what rules are."

Best,
Ron
Logged
James V. West
Member

Posts: 567


WWW
« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2002, 04:41:30 PM »

One of my pet peeves has always been games that actually say to ignore or fudge results if they hinder the game. This is probably the main reason I've never played FUDGE, even though I bought the original printed version and fell in love with the whole concept...I just didn't like the "fudging" aspect. Years before any of this talk of GNS met my ears I knew that it was bullshit for a game to do that. I mean, if the game works like its supposed to, why would you have to do that? (and by working like its supposed to, I mean the rules actually produce results in harmony with what's being touted in the game's text).

I think the GNS identity crisis argument menitoned earlier is valid. WW games seem to have this going on, from what I gather. The premise of these games is strongly in the camp of Narrativism, but they still have a system of rules that defer to old school modes of thought. So much that they are forced to into the old "ignore the rules if they get in the way" statement (I don't have a copy of Werewolf handy right now, so if I'm wrong about that, please someone correct me..I'm going on [beezelbub help me] memory). And DnD does the same thing, although the goals are more vividly written as Gamist.

The game Shards of the Stone (Fuzion rules) has a huge amount of back-story and setting details and states explicitly that the goal in playing it is to create epic fantasy stories. I'm not very familiar with the Fuzion rules, but it seems like they don't have a lot of tools that actually support this Narrativist statement.

But I'm dragging things too far off topic, I think.

If I'm playing in the classic DnD style, I want the GM to have the power to bend the rules. I certainly don't want that power myself. The fun of that game and that style of play is to experience things, figure them out, defeat foes, and find cool stuff that you can't identify. The fun of that experience is magnified by having one person who Knows All--even if he's making half of it up. Don't ask, don't tell.

But if I'm going to play The Questing Beast, I don't want the GM to do that at all. I want him to be sympathetic to what I'm trying to accomplish with my story. I want him to be a fair arbiter with a sense of drama and playfullness. I want him to have plenty of cool stuff to pull out of his hat on a whim, while being perfectly content to sit on all that cool stuff if bringing it out would interfere with my storytelling.

If I'm going to play Sorcerer it seems like I'd want a GM with a great sense of style, pacing, and a sense of where the "edge" is. I'd want him to keep a hawk's eye on me so that if I'm shying away from that edge, he can give me a hard shove right over it.
Logged

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4
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!