Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

Mechanical Facilitation and... Other Stuff?

Started by LordSmerf, December 03, 2004, 09:25:28 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


Over in the GNS Theory forum, specifically in the thread: Setting Premise Narrativism Paul says:

Quote from: Paul CzegeHow does [Everway] facilitate setting premise? Don't ask me. I don't think it's a mechanical facilitation at all, which is why I never thought of it as a setting premise game until just now. Somehow, the meta-setting and the game text creates a shared sense of purpose for the play group around resolving issues the GM embeds in the scenario realm/setting, and installs the player characters with the significance to have that impact.

Which brings to mind a question that I was toying with when I started work on Trust and Betrayal.  How can you convey and enforce authorial intention without increasing points of contact?

I am now wondering how you write text that conveys "rules" for which there are no mechanics.  For example, there is nothing inherent in the mechanics of, say, Primetime Adventures that makes you play it like a television series.  However, in the way that it is presented it is clear that such play is the intention.

Now, I understand that there is nothing that makes me play as the author intended, but often there is a reason for the author to intend what he does.  This is the same as players having the option to change the mechanical rules whenever they want.  My question deals with making the non-mechanical stuff have the same weight as the mechanical stuff.  In the same way that someone may say "let's play by the rules in the book", and mean that they wish to use the mechanics as presented, how do you generate non-mechanical text with the same weight?

Further, are there certain types of ideas that are better suited for mechanical emphasis (Humanity in Sorcerer) and others that are better suited to textual and/or group preference emphasis (when to test Humanity in Sorcerer).

Let's see if I can make this one coherent question.  What kinds of ideas can and should be presented with no mechanics, and how do you effectively present them such that they have similar weight to mechanics?

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


Wow... serendipity.  I was just writing up the section of Capes that discusses how the only rules are the mechanics, and how players get their minds wrapped around the axle by assuming that there are unwritten rules about "fairness" or "equality" or "cooperation".

So there's my opinion:  Anything that is your authorial intent should be encoded into the structure of the mechanics, and should emerge from any hard-headed attempt to game those rules for maximum selfish benefit.  Period.

Anything that can't be coded into mechanics is unfortunately prone to people wildly disagreeing about whether the "rules" are being followed or violated.  The more important you make those subjective rules the more you prompt argument and hard feelings.

Your mileage may (and I rather expect will) vary.
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum


Quote from: LordSmerfHow can you convey and enforce authorial intention without increasing points of contact?
I don't think this is really as difficult as you seem to think it is. Simply say "Game X is best served when you do Y. If you don't do Y, then the game will likely bogged down (or whatever), and here's why..." If you explain what you want people to do and the reasons behind it, I believe most people will do what you suggest.

But I guess I will see shortly if this is actually a good strategy. The Mountain Witch requires a number of informal techniques to make the game work. For example, if the players aren't interested in role-playing Trust and Betrayal, then the game will break. That is to say, it just won't be fun. I plan on simply addressing this in the text and trusting that the players will follow what I say. I think the key is just explaining the reasons behind it, and also explaining how the technique will affect play.
--Timothy Walters Kleinert