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Expansion of the game-division list in the Nar Essay

Started by sirogit, March 27, 2005, 07:08:01 PM

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I'm not 100% if this is an appropiate post.

I'd really like to see an expanded version of that game-divsvion-list-thingy in the Nar essay featuring more games, either in this thread, on a article/wiki, what have you, for the purposes of sizing up new narrativist games for specific purposes.

Here'd be an example:

Dogs in the Vineyard:
Prep: Steady
Premise: Character
Gm: Centralized
Endgame: Varies by prep
R&R: Connected at the bone; Fallout
Behavior Mechanics: Mild
Content, High Risk, High-medium depth, low-absent humor.

Ron Edwards


Dogs might be a little bit less "steady" in its content, subject to some improvisational additions. I'm thinking mainly of Scripture, which is inserted into play by whoever, but is thereby established as always having been Scripture. It overall definitely tends toward the "steady" end of the pool, though.

I also think that Dogs relies greatly on Situation for Premise, more so than Character. The fact that characters are going to altered by their engagement in Situation is a consequence, not a starting point.

Here goes for Nine Worlds:

Basic content: tending toward "steady"
Source of Premise: Setting
GM jobs: mostly centralized (very much like The Pool, actually)
Story structure: Encouraged by reward system
Resolution & Reward: Fully identical; more integrated than nearly any RPG
Behavior mechanics: middle
Thematic content: low risk, moderate to deep depth, variable humor

I'm a little surprised I didn't include Dust Devils and Trollbabe in that list, actually.


Victor Gijsbers

Wouldn't it be more helpful if one also put the actual premise in this write-up? As in "How much will you sacrifice for power?" in Sorcerer, "What is justice?" in DitV and "Can you remain decidedly human in the face of monsterising forces and adverse circumstances?" in MLwM.

Ron Edwards


I suppose that might be a topic, but it's not the topic of this thread, which is to extend the content of the existing table.

Furthermore, Premise is qualitatively different from anything that the table's about. The table concerns procedural structures, which in each case, do contribute to the group being able to address a Premise. Frankly, it doesn't matter at all for purposes of the table what the Premise is. You might have a game with exactly the same features on the table as, say, Sorcerer, but with an entirely different Premise.

And finally - most importantly - Premise is a feature of play. To state the Premise of a game design is necessarily very general, more of a statement of potential than anything that we can say "happens." What's the Premise of Universalis, in terms of game design? There isn't one - yet ... although I think the game lends itself very well to making one and then addressing it, if that's what the group is creatively inclined to do.


Victor Gijsbers

Yes, I see your points. Let me retract my suggestion.

(Perhaps there should be another list with premises then - it would be quite useful.)