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Different types of Director Stance

Started by LordSmerf, October 19, 2004, 12:28:59 PM

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Over in Stance Theory: The Hegemony of One Character is suggested that we should differentiate between different types of Director Stance.  Ron replied with:

Quote from: Ron EdwardsOooh! New thread, Thomas, new thread!!

Can we identify meaningful and necessary distinctions among what is now called 'Director Stance'?

I totally want to see this discussed, and we need a new thread for it.


So, consider it started.  I have already proposed (in the aforementioned thread) that there is a valid distinction within Director Stance that is roughly analogous to the distinction between Author and Actor Stances.  That is, whether the decision is made purely based on in-SIS information or whether it is made using metagame knowledge.  I am calling the pure in-SIS version Environmental Stance until someone comes up with something better.

I also suggest that while we often think of Director Stance as being primarily stuff that GMs handle in "traditional" RPGs, that the specific Environmental subset is an unrecognized shared responsibility.  For example:

GM: You come into the room, there is a bright fire burning merrily in the fireplace.
Player: I take off my jacket since it is warm inside.

The player has decided that the room is warm, the GM never mentioned the fact.  In most cases this is going to be Environmental Stance.  That is that there is a logical inferrence that since there is a fire burning the room must be warm.  Of course, like all Stance stuff, we can not be sure that this is Environmental Stance without knowing what the player is thinking.

Director Stance is ridiculously broad.  In fact I most often see it used (and use it myself) as a sort of catch-all term for "Stuff the GM does in traditional games".  I have suggested Environmental Stance as a specific (and hopefully useful) subset of Director Stance, what other subsets exist?

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Ron Edwards


So how would the other Director Stance, the one which does use out-of-SIS information, go?

If you could, use the same scenario involving the warm room, introducing whatever elements you need to make the example work.



Could it be as simple (and minimal) a difference as the following?

GM:  You come into the room.
Player:  I take off my jacket and warm myself by the fire.

That seems to be positing a fire for the purpose of... I dunno, conveying comfort?  Providing a contrast to the cold conditions the character just emerged from?  But not because the GM declared that this is a room of the type that has fires, nor (as far as I can see) out of any other in-SIS necessity.
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Sure thing Ron, I guess it was rather careless of me not to point out both sides.  Imagine the exact same thing happening.  Remember that Stance is about why you make a decision (in this case where we have already determined that we are manipulation something besides the focus character).

The difference would be: "It must be warm because there is a fire."  and  "I want it to be warm so I can take off my jacket."  Maybe your weapon is in your jacket and you want to be unarmed for some reason, maybe you want to describe the cool shirt your character is wearing, whatever.  In both cases the room is warm, and you can justify that using the the fire.  It is a question of whether you want the room to be warm because there is a fire maintaining in-SIS causality, or if you want the room to be warm for some other reason that is outside of the SIS.

Edit: Crossposted with Tony.  While that is not exactly what I am getting at with this specific distinction, I think that that is yet another subset of Director Stance that could be addressed.

Current projects: Caper, Trust and Betrayal, The Suburban Crucible


Quote from: LordSmerfThe difference would be: "It must be warm because there is a fire."  and  "I want it to be warm so I can take off my jacket."
Thomas, isn't that creating a seperation based upon a reading of intent, which the model cannot account for? I totally get what you are saying in the difference, it's just the reason for the difference that is bothering me.

Can the Stances be differentiated solely from the output produced, without needing to know "why" it was done?
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My understanding of current Stance Theory indicates that you can never identify the Stance used based on output.  How is it possible to know if I am using Actor ("I shoot him because that's what my character would do.") or Author ("I shoot him because I am bored and want to see some combat, oh and that's what my character would do.") Stances?  Stances are all about intent.  The exception in place is that Director Stance stands in stark contrast to the others in that it specifically deals with using an agent other than the character.

This is what I was trying to get accross in the Stance Theory: The Hegemony of One Character thread.  Director Stance is radically different than the other two since we can tell that you are using it based on output.  (Note: Thank you for helping me to articulate this, I will probably head back over there and present it in those terms.)

Current projects: Caper, Trust and Betrayal, The Suburban Crucible