*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 16, 2019, 09:10:00 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: Burning Wheel with the Parents  (Read 7215 times)
friartuck
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2004, 04:55:38 PM »

It seems to me the biggest barrier standing in front of potential new role players is psychological, and does reflect something of what BirdMan said: the belief that it's all kids' stuff. Adults simply do not pretend as well or as much as they did when they were children, and it can be difficult to knock the rust off the machine and get it working again.

That said, I will also echo the sentiment that the game situation is far more important to recruiting new players than game mechanics. I know of more players who are put off of trying RPGs by fear of byzantine rules structures than by the notion of saying "elf" in public and meaning it. I believe the best tonic for this is to downplay the mechanics until they are engaged by the story.

In the scenario you described above, I wonder if the parents might have had an easier immersion into the game if, before any confrontations, they were allowed to converse in character without an imminent threat -- or even better, under a less immediate threat. For example (to steal a scenario from Le Guin's The Tombs of Atuan), the parents played the parents of a young girl -- played by their daughter -- who has been chosen to be the new priestess of such and such; this entails her removal from the family and getting a completely restructured identity. Immediately passions are engaged, and these characters have a reason to act. The fact that there is no immediate threat provides them a much broader canvas, which illustrates the possibilities of role playing very effectively. Already they're involved, and to hell with the mechanics. Time enough for them when they're caught at the docks trying to smuggle their daughter to safety.
Logged
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2004, 07:06:11 AM »

That is not a game, however, that is improv theater, even though we role-players consider it to be role-playing gaming.

I know I would be utterly uncomfortable in such a situation (ie: "So, I'm supposed to...act like my character or something?" {squirm}), and yes, I am speaking as a long-time RPGer.

Compre this to: "So, I roll these dice and if they come up above 6, I win...um, succeed at what I want this guy to do? Cool."

Ah, question, did they identify personally with their characters when talking about the character they were each playing; that is, saying "my character" rather than "this guy" or "the elf" when referring to them?
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
friartuck
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2004, 08:03:34 AM »

See, I think that is the game, though. Mechanics are just a tool; the game -- the thing that people, especially newcomers, are going to care about -- is the story. I think this is borne out a bit by some of Luke's post:

Quote from: abzu
As soon as I started on my standard demo pitch, I realized that I'd already lost the 'rents. They had absolutely no frame of reference for what was going on. The basic die rolling mechanics meant absolutely nothing to them. Why roll dice? What for? When?

Once I backed up and explained from the bigger picture, they got it. But then as I was about to do the "Let's Fight!" spiel, I realized that they didn't even know what a basic situation was let alone one that would drive one to kill!


Even the "improv theater" was something the parents brought up (and really, what else does "role playing" mean?):

Quote from: abzu
So I was forced to take another step back and give them the room to step into the shared space and navigate to an outcome they chose.
"Do I just tell you what I do or do I act it out?" was Erin's dad's first question.

"Either way" I told him, but I also informed him that my play style is slanted toward acting it out. He was comfortable with that and roleplayed a nice query to the wolf.


So I take your point, greyorm, but I respectfully disagree. I think mechanics must always take a back seat to the story, and new players will most successfully be engaged if they are shown that there is indeed a story they can get caught up in. If they come to identify with their characters (beyond just saying "my character" ), then they will want to learn the mechanics so they can help the characters achieve success.
Logged
friartuck
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2004, 08:12:41 AM »

I should clarify something though: I'm certainly not talking about LARPing here. The very thought gives me the heebie-jeebies. I just think that any RPG can benefit from benefit from extended dialogues, wherein the players are speaking through their characters, even if they are not using funny high-pitched voices.
Logged
Luke
Member

Posts: 1359

Conventions Forum Moderator, First Thoughts Pest


WWW
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2004, 08:15:38 AM »

Hi Friartuck,

Since you quoted me I feel compelled to clear some points up.

I think you took my comments out of context. I was describing that the the 'rents had no solid ground of conception on which to stand and see roleplaying as a whole. I'm too accustomed to players who already grasp situation and the shared imaginged space, the 'rents had no such grasp.

HOWEVER, situation and shared imagined space are presented in the framework of a game with a set of neutral mechanics that allow all players to manipulate the situation (from a neutral position) in order to express their desires in the shared imagined space.

Setting a scene and letting two people perform roles is something that anyone can do in acting class. It is NOT roleplaying as we define it here. It's not a game. I know plenty of actors who don't "get" roleplaying. There is something fundamentally different from simply acting out a scene and using a set of rules and resolution methods to drive a scene toward a desired outcome.

-L
Logged

friartuck
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2004, 08:35:35 AM »

Fair enough. I'm new here, so it's likely that there are subtleties to the definition to which I've not yet become attuned. I will assume (perhaps dangerously) that the following constitutes a definition of role playing users of these forums would largely agree on:

Quote from: abzu
. . .  situation and shared imagined space are presented in the framework of a game with a set of neutral mechanics that allow all players to manipulate the situation (from a neutral position) in order to express their desires in the shared imagined space.


It seems to me that the only difference between role playing and "acting" is the mechanics used for conflict resolution. Well, mostly conflict resolution. A character's strength or attractiveness or what have you may have impact on other areas of the game than conflict, but probably not often. Even "Do I convince the vendor to give us a discount using my haggling skills?" consitutes a kind of conflict.

So, if this is the case, I don't think you're going to get many players to genuinely care about the resolution of the conflict unless they have reason to identify with their character (again, beyond the simple fact that it is theirs). How else is this done, except by, well, acting?

Please understand I'm not trying to be confrontational or dense. Nor am I trying to threadjack. If these questions are addressed elsewhere, please point me in that direction, and I'll go a-reading. But from my perspective, it seems that too much focus is being put on the neutral mechanics, and not enough on the story those mechanics are trying to help illustrate.
Logged
Nathan P.
Member

Posts: 536


WWW
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2004, 09:05:13 AM »

Quote from: BirdMan
In my mind, roleplaying has always been "playing pretend" with more extensive rules.  I wonder if, when bringing non-gamers into a game, you think about how to translate the game -- ie, the mechanics, into the "pretend" motif.  

Because everybody remembers playing pretend as a kid.  Roleplaying just codifies what you did as a 6  year old.


Literally minutes after reading this yesterday, one of my roommates saw me reading Dogs in the Vineyard. She asked what it was, I explained that it was a role-playing game.

Her: I never understood those.
Me: Well, it's basically just make-beleive, but with rules.
Her: Oh OK. That sounds kinda cool.
Me: It is.
Her: You should show me some time.
Me: Sure thing.

Ka-ching. Isolated data point, and she is a theatre person, but I thought it was interesting.
Logged

Nathan P.
--
Find Annalise
---
My Games | ndp design
Also | carry. a game about war.
I think Design Matters
Thor Olavsrud
Member

Posts: 349


WWW
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2004, 10:10:35 AM »

To me, the difference between "pretend" and a role-playing game comes down to this:
Pretend is simply the act of coming up with a SIS. I think just about everyone is familiar with the SIS just by having once been a child.

The heart of an RPG are the mechanics, which are the medium by which each of the players has agreed to negotiate the manipulation of the SIS. The game part of an RPG is not the SIS. It is using the rules to put our stamp on the SIS.

Maybe this analogy gets at it more directly: The SIS is to an RPG what the board is to a board game. The board is not integral to the game, except as a shared space in which the rules of the board game are implemented.

Manipulating a SIS through an agreed upon set of rules is an altogether different thing than "pretend" I think. Not the least of which is the presence of Victory conditions (and I would suggest that these victory conditions coincide with our play priorities, or G/N/S).

From talking to Luke about this experience, the problem that he recognized did not really have anything to do with the fact that Erin's parents did not comprehend the rules of his game. They didn't even get that far, because he had not effectively established an SIS for them to play in and therefore they could not understand the victory conditions. Sort of like trying to play monopoly without the board.

You and I are familiar enough with the fantasy/RPG tropes -- dwarf, elf, giant wolf -- to establish a fairly functional (if simplistic) SIS with no more information. They were not.  They did not have enough input to decide what their priorities were in the situation, let alone begin making decisions based on those priorities.
Logged

friartuck
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2004, 10:42:04 AM »

Okay, I understand that. I would quibble with a few points, namely the notion that the heart of an RPG is comprised of mechanics rather than story, but I'm a fiction writer in a discussion with (or at least including) game designers, so it may be that we are conditioned to approach this from different angles. Which is probably as it should be.

When you say, though, that the parents could not understand the victory conditions because there was an insufficiently established SIS, I think you are bolstering my argument that, especially with newcomers, story must trump mechanics. You have to involve them in the drama before you can convince them to care about the numbers.
Logged
Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2004, 10:46:02 AM »

Quote from: Thor Olavsrud
Pretend is simply the act of coming up with a SIS.


No, "Pretend" is more than that.  Coming up with a SIS is the first five minutes of the game.  

"Hey, let's play 'house'!  I'll be the daddy and you be the mommy, and your teddy bear will be our baby, and the cat will be our toddler."

Bang.  SIS.

What follows is an exploration of events within the SIS, without explicit rules.  It's more like FFRP (Freeform Roleplay) than it is like an RPG (Roleplaying Game).  It has a simple social contract, the same as any play between children have, that basically boils down to, "we'll keep playing this game until one of us doesn't want to play anymore, at which time we'll have an argument."

Have you got kids, Thor?
Logged

"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Luke
Member

Posts: 1359

Conventions Forum Moderator, First Thoughts Pest


WWW
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2004, 11:06:20 AM »

Quote from: Thor Olavsrud
Manipulating a SIS through an agreed upon set of rules is an altogether different thing than "pretend" I think. Not the least of which is the presence of Victory conditions (and I would suggest that these victory conditions coincide with our play priorities, or G/N/S).


Ah! I had  forgotten. Erin's mom was interested exploring the situation through the lense of the game, she wanted to understand how it worked. Erin's dad, on the other hand, had other goals. As soon as he grasped the basic conventions of play, he wanted to know, "now how do you win!?"

We had a somewhat lengthy description of what "winning conditions" were in the game. Of course I started by asserting that no one won, but then went on to describe how you set out priorities and accomplish them -- which is very similar to winning.

EDIT:
Quote from: greyorm

Ah, question, did they identify personally with their characters when talking about the character they were each playing; that is, saying "my character" rather than "this guy" or "the elf" when referring to them?


We talked about the "my guy" vs "I" stuff a bit. They were open to either and I framed it as a play style issue rather than one integral to the situation or the resolution.

I prefer the "I" mode, so I encouraged that form of play. But I don't think it had a serious impact on the session.

-L
Logged

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!