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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 153 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Common Sense Guidelines for Group-Concensus Exploration...  (Read 11654 times)
lumpley
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« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2002, 08:54:38 AM »

I was saying to Em just last night that hidden in her innocent-looking "find some folks..." sentence is, in our case, at least eight years of being very close, sometimes housemates, regular gamers, in one combination married, and deeply involved in each others' lives.

You articulate the process very well.

But I think that if we'd known that group-consensus games were possible, we'd've tried it much sooner and with more players.  (Trusting someone with your game being, as it is, much easier than trusting someone with your marriage.)  If game mechanics are for when you haven't earned each others' trust, there should be a more widespread acknowledgement that as you come to trust one another, you can change your relationship to them.

I'm seeing the beginnings of that acknowledgement all the time, in shared authorial power, Director Stance, open-ended GMing, all kinds of awesome stuff.  I think it's worthwhile to point out where it can lead, and to talk about how it can get there.

-Vincent
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2002, 09:02:52 AM »

Hello,

I'd like to stake a claim here for the following concept: we are not discussing a simple-minded syllogism such as, "The more trust you have among yourselves, the less you need to have rules."

I suggest, rather, "The more trust you have among yourselves, the more need arises for goal-oriented, principle-based rules as opposed to particulate, case-by-case, canalized rules."

I further submit that this point applies to any and all role-playing, across all the GNS modes.

Best,
Ron
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lumpley
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« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2002, 10:12:10 AM »

I don't think that I disagree with you, Ron, but I want to check.  Here's my claim:

As you trust each other more, you gain more flexibility in choosing and applying rules, up to and including using exclusively the general social rules that apply to any shared creative pastime (listen, compromise, be clear, that sort of thing).

As you trust each other more, no need for rules increases, but rules that aren't goal-oriented, principle-based, flexible, and empowering are increasingly petty, irritating, pointless, limiting, and disruptive.

In a group-consensus Sorcerer game, for instance, I might botch my Binding roll and say "nope, I don't like that a bit.  I'm going to reroll, 'kay?"  What matters is that we all agree to what happens, not that the mechanics agree to what happens.  Sorcerer's rules are useful insofar as they support our construction of consensus, and otherwise irrelevant.

What does 'canalized' mean in this context?  I looked it up, but I don't think you're talking about canals, literally.  Is 'inflexible' close?

I agree absolutely with your further submission.

-Vincent
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2002, 11:36:30 AM »

Hi Vincent,

I agree with your stated principles, but the example that you chose seems odd to me.

Dice-rolling in Sorcerer is not compensating for anything; it is a component of story-creation. Same goes for Hero Wars, or The Pool. To suggest ignoring the result an appropriately-placed roll is to cease to play.

I'd state it a little differently. An example of a "high trust" use of rules in Sorcerer (or any other RPG) occurs when the GM says, "The next morning ..." and one of the players chimes in, "Hey, I want a scene with the bartender at midnight first." Everyone says, "Cool," and listens in.

Think about this - how many disputes have you seen in actual play over (a) whether the GM "had the right" to cut like that in the first place, and (b) whether the player "had the right" to dispute it. I've seen dozens, possibly hundreds. Such disputes are never couched in terms of trusting one another to increase the game's enjoyment - they often descend into babble about whether the character "would have been too tired" or whether the GM is railroading or any number of other personal, not-very-honest manifestations of the lack of trust.

That's why I'm emphasizing so strongly that we are not talking about a GNS issue, but a role-playing (overall) issue. This form of trust is necessary for good competition - without it, you get munchkinism. It is necessary for good simulation - without it, you get "woulda, would not" arguments. It is necessary for good story creation - without it, you get either "writers' group syndrome" or fizzling.

Best,
Ron
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lumpley
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« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2002, 12:33:05 PM »

Ron,
Quote
Dice-rolling in Sorcerer is not compensating for anything; it is a component of story-creation. Same goes for Hero Wars, or The Pool. To suggest ignoring the result an appropriately-placed roll is to cease to play.

Ignoring a roll is ceasing to play the particular game, it's not ceasing to play.

Well, the truth is that I haven't really seen that kind of thing happen.  When we played the World, the Flesh and the Devil, we didn't even use the Annotations for rerolls, we liked using the dice to create the story so much.  So of course you're pretty much right.

A better example, and something that we do do occasionally, is say "instead of rolling for this, I'm going to suggest a way I'd really prefer for it to go."

A game's goal might be to help us create an awesome story.  Our goal might be to create an awesome story in which, as it turns out, my character is victorious in this one particular instance whether he deserves it or not, for whatever stupid little rooted-in-my-childhood trivial reason I might have.

(I dearly hope you haven't taken my use of Sorcerer personally, and I just realized that what I do isn't always obvious to people, who can't read my mind.  Duh.  What it is is I've been trying to mention games that I like and respect and admire, so that it's clear that I'm not just talking about dumb games.  When we play Sorcerer, it'll be because we want to, and by god we'll play that puppy.)

-Vincent
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Emily Care
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« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2002, 02:19:27 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

To suggest ignoring the result an appropriately-placed roll is to cease to play.


I would agree with Vincent. This action is simply suspending use of the system at hand. Play continues.

If the goal of play (be it to craft a satisfying narrative, or to create a cohesive and complex world or character) is undermined by the use of mechanics, should we prioritize use of the system over the experience of the players?

This, of course, assumes a very high level of trust and communication among the players in order to avoid the trivialization and abuse of such instances.  

Quote from: Ron Edwards

I'd state it a little differently. An example of a "high trust" use of rules in Sorcerer (or any other RPG) occurs when the GM says, "The next morning ..." and one of the players chimes in, "Hey, I want a scene with the bartender at midnight first." Everyone says, "Cool," and listens in.


Forgive me if I'm misreading your post.  What I hear is that "high trust" may be invoked at moments of GM action that do not involve resolution through mechanics.  When ever a GM has used their judgement or personal discretion, example given being to begin or end a scene,  a non-obstructionist player may suggest an additional interaction with the world that might give them a better sense of the story, world etc.  Whereas a "low trust", obstructionist player would argue that the GM had "no right" to start the scene at a given place.

I agree that the player who argues is missing an opportunity.     It's probably obvious that I would extend these opportunities even farther.

Quote from: Ron Edwards

That's why I'm emphasizing so strongly that we are not talking about a GNS issue, but a role-playing (overall) issue.


Couldn't agree more.  Language to talk about issues that arise has been an issue. Also, the perception or reality that players and GM's operate in opposition causes problems. However, reaching an understanding that all participants in a game have common goals can engender trust--even if the common goal is competition! :)

--EC
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lumpley
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« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2002, 06:31:16 AM »

Ron,
My thinking's a weekend-worth clearer.  I hope.

Two terms: high-trust and group-consensus.

You can play Sorcerer (e.g.) high-trust.  You can't really play it group-consensus.  Playing any game group-consensus does violence to the game (like drifting it does).  That's because a game's rules apportion credibility, who gets to say what, right?  What makes a game group-consensus is that the players apportion credibility themselves, on the fly, and pretty much everybody gets to say anything.

This means that all my examples have been iffy.  When we played The World, the Flesh, and the Devil, we didn't play it group-consensus.  Emily Care and Meguey specifically limited their own power in the game so that I could be the GM.  We still played it high-trust.

A high-trust game can be either group-consensus or governed-at-the-consent-of-the-governed, like our WFD game was.  A group-consensus game, though, pretty clearly has to be high-trust to work.

(I think it goes without saying that group-consensus falls under the 'system matters' heading, and so isn't good for every goal of play.)

-Vincent
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xiombarg
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« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2002, 02:48:05 PM »

Quote from: Emily Care

Very reasonable suggestion, Ron.  Sound useful, Xiombarg?


It sounds reasonable. The problem is, at this point, it almost sounds like A = A. The devil is in the details. How do you make sure it goes that way, and not the way I was afraid of?

Quote from: Emily Care

And, going back to Xiombarg's original post, and also Jesse's, when one member of a gaming group wants to get beyond the "what do you guys want" stage of discussion, how is that accomplished?


And I have no idea. As I said, whenever someone has attempted that sort of thing, in my experience, it killed the game. Hell, even "what do I want" has killed games.
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