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[Sorcerer] New Roleplayer's First Session

Started by Bret Gillan, February 14, 2005, 12:42:22 PM

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Ron Edwards


Regarding Humanity as in vs. out of "game" is missing a crucial point about role-playing in general.

The people are real; the characters and events are fictional.

Humanity is a causal, central element of the System. It does not have to be called in-game or out-of-game, because the former is always an expression of the latter. It absolutely functions among the real people, all the time, and sometimes that function is expressed as a concrete impact in the fictional events as well.

That's all really harsh and abstract, so let me take a completely different approach to explaining it.

There's a guy in a movie. He has made several rather unsympathetic choices so far in the story, but has at least demonstrated a glimmering of potential to do otherwise. At the moment, we're watching a scene in which he does something really pretty cool, very much in tune with his potential transformation from a less-sympathetic character to a more-so one.

But that scene doesn't have anything to do with the major conflicts going on, within the movie.

Then we get back to stuff that's more plot-heavy; say then he faces some aspect of this major conflict, later. And in this case, he stands up to a bad guy or something else he failed to deal well with earlier.

You could talk about all this stuff in terms of character motivation, and bluntly, I think that's nice, but it's really blowing a lot of hot air. What matters is that the audience has warmed up to the character and for lack of a better word "gets more on his side" through the intermediate scene.

See, the character has "magically" become better at something (martial arts fighting, moral centering, legal wrangling, etc) for no actual in-movie reason. The only thing that's changed is that audience warm-up, and in story logic, that is perfectly adequate for accepting that for some reason, the character is now competent in a way he wasn't before.

Can you imagine a particular musical riff getting introduced into the movie during the intermediate scene? And then it gets repeated, perhaps with a little more bass and a little more trumpet, in the later scene?

That music is the Humanity score.

The movie may add in-movie justification to the increase (the famous training scenes in martial arts movies are a good example), but that is entirely optional and such scenes must reinforce the relationship or issue that the character is struggling with, or they instantly become intrusive.