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Author Topic: Tony's Standard Rant #2: Disagreement != Dysfunction  (Read 11410 times)
Blankshield
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« Reply #30 on: May 31, 2005, 02:43:30 PM »

Quote from: TonyLB
Quote from: WhiteRat
Is there any aspect of another's fun that is inviolate? Anything you will not threaten?

I don't know... what is this mythical "Thing so terrible I could never have fun again if it happened" of which you speak?  Maybe if I believed in the existence of that then I might shy away from threatening it.  Short of that?  No.  Everything's fair game.

FYI, I've done the "turned into a mindless bunny" thing, in LARP no less.  You missed out on a terrific, fun, memorable opportunity there.


Fun for you, maybe.  Fun for everyone?  No.  I think that's something you're not quite catching here, Tony.

Just because you get more out of the game by having to work for your fun doesn't mean everyone does.  Don't fall prey to the One True Way.

James
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Callan S.
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« Reply #31 on: May 31, 2005, 04:16:18 PM »

Quote from: hyphz
About the reference to a "blue deck" in Magic - what that kind of deck does is to attempt to cancel everything the opponent does.  Not to undo it or to work around it but to cancel it before it happens at all.  "I summon a monster."  "Counterspell.  It doesn't happen."  And both cards get thrown in the discard.

What Tony's describing isn't that kind of thing.  "There's a bomb in your castle, but you might be able to defuse it" is inspiring action, not negating it, whereas the classic griefer behaviour is all about preventing people taking action.  Likewise, in the tennis example, saying "I'll try to return all of your aces" doesn't stop you serving aces.  

It's the line between making action interesting and preventing it - the same line that Story Now gets stuck on in some game sessions..

Through this thread I keep seeing stabs at defining "what's okay (and thus, what's not)"
I'll quote Whiterat:
Quote from: Whiterat
It was just an obstacle I had to clear before I could get to stuff I actually cared about.

I'll ask you and Tony, if it's on your list of okay provocations to do, then do you feel you can do it without asking consent? If you compile a list of okay things to do, without actually consulting with the person your going to do them to...are they okay to do?

Edit: To be clear I'm not actually suggesting you would work without consent. It's just that I see from Tony's doubts about applying provocation, and trying to generate some list of "okays" from past experience. This'll be an odd analogy, but it's like the guy who has bought dinner for scores of women, and then gotten to have sex with them. But when he tries to put together the idea of "Buying dinner means they will give me sex" he has doubts about it. It corelates with past data, but just doesn't feel right. Because each time it was about getting consent.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #32 on: May 31, 2005, 07:27:27 PM »

James:  Yes, James, I get it... there are people who, presented with a sufficient blow to their desires, are totally unable to integrate it, or to ever have fun in the game again.  For them, this technique will not produce fun, they will hate the person who does it, and cease to game with them.  I can live with that.

Callan:  This isn't dating.  It isn't sex.  It's a game, and people signed on knowing it was a game.  I don't ask a tennis partner's consent before I serve hard.  I don't ask a pitcher's consent before I bunt.  And I don't ask an RPG player's consent before I make him fight for his fun.  Any doubts I had on that score at the beginning of this thread have since been allayed.
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John Kim
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« Reply #33 on: May 31, 2005, 08:26:06 PM »

Quote from: TonyLB
Quote from: WhiteRat
Is there any aspect of another's fun that is inviolate? Anything you will not threaten?

I don't know... what is this mythical "Thing so terrible I could never have fun again if it happened" of which you speak?  Maybe if I believed in the existence of that then I might shy away from threatening it.  Short of that?  No.  Everything's fair game.

I think this is a crock.  That is, I can play in a game with you and destroy your fun.  The thing is, you are looking for a particular type of conflict within the game.  That's your fun.  You claim you want someone to threaten your fun, but really you want them to threaten your in-game pieces (i.e. characters, situation, etc.), which isn't the same as threatening your fun.  

I can threaten your fun by dodging the challenge.  For example, I have my character casually chat with another character for a while.  On your turn, you try to break it up, and then I just find something else to amuse myself in the game.  You kill my character, I just roll another one up.  After a while, I predict that you would grind your teeth and complain that I'm not playing it right.  In short, you would hate it.  

Quote from: TonyLB
James:  Yes, James, I get it... there are people who, presented with a sufficient blow to their desires, are totally unable to integrate it, or to ever have fun in the game again.  For them, this technique will not produce fun, they will hate the person who does it, and cease to game with them.  I can live with that.

So really this is just a basic style clash.  You prefer to play with a certain level of detachment from the game such that it doesn't majorly reduce your fun for any piece of play to be hurt or destroyed.  Other people are different.  They may prefer greater levels of emotional identification or attachment, and different levels of or types of conflict.
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Brand_Robins
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« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2005, 08:38:08 PM »

Quote from: TonyLB
This isn't dating.  It isn't sex.  It's a game, and people signed on knowing it was a game.  I don't ask a tennis partner's consent before I serve hard.  I don't ask a pitcher's consent before I bunt.  And I don't ask an RPG player's consent before I make him fight for his fun.  Any doubts I had on that score at the beginning of this thread have since been allayed.


True, but I might ask what the rules were before I gave the tennis player the one two punch, or went after a boxer with a paintball gun. Or I might not, but in that case I'm being an ass. Playing hard and playing mean aren't the same thing, and neither is the same as playing dirty.

If people go into an RPG with a confrontational mindset, with everyone knowing its going to be that way, then I don't see the problem. Not everything in life needs to be nice, and "always place nice" is as much a one true wayism as any other. Sometimes some good old confrontation is a good thing, and I know I've played in a good share of narrative RPGs (as well as gameist ones) in which part of the fun came from totally schooling other players.

However, if you're playing a game in which people play by certain rules and you don't play by those rules, you're in violation. And for a lot of people an atmosphere of cooperation is necessary for them to have the comfort level necessary to do what is fun for them. Saying that their rules are namby-pamby sissy rules doesn't change the fact that if you’re fucking with people who have a “no fucking” clause, you're the ass.

Really, isn't this a social contract issue? I see nothing inherent in any game mode that makes cooperation in all things and niceness at the table necessary. You could have a perfectly narrativist game in which people get punched in the head. (Yes, I hit at the gaming table.) But if you play with people that don't want that, that find it unacceptable for other reasons, then it isn't acceptable at their table.

So, to go back to the original post about the originally provocative article, I see the difference between a “griefer” and an “TonyLBer” is a lot the same as between a muchkin and a power player. One plays within the rules of the system to get the result they find fun, the other bends and twists the rules in every way possible in order to maximize their own enjoyment at the expense of others.

Or am I misreading you Tony? Isn’t it part of your social agenda to make games in which you have to earn what you get in order to avoid the often-slung insult that narrativist games are little more than mutual masturbation? You aren’t trying to get your kicks by fucking up the game, you’re trying to make a CA in which accomplishment means something and the PCs help with that by messing with each other as much (or more) than they help each other. Right?
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- Brand Robins
John Burdick
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« Reply #35 on: May 31, 2005, 09:00:13 PM »

Tony, you mentioned baseball. Any one playing baseball that isn't striving to help other people is loser. He isn't playing baseball the way it needs to be played. The social contract and rules are such that you compete with a group of people while helping another group.  The helping your team part can not be left out of the game.

Where the boundaries will exist does need to be established by tradition, ruling body, or by negotiation of the players. Claiming otherwise in sports is a silly distraction.

John
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Callan S.
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« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2005, 02:37:25 AM »

Quote from: TonyLB
Callan:  This isn't dating.  It isn't sex.  It's a game, and people signed on knowing it was a game.  I don't ask a tennis partner's consent before I serve hard.  I don't ask a pitcher's consent before I bunt.  And I don't ask an RPG player's consent before I make him fight for his fun.  Any doubts I had on that score at the beginning of this thread have since been allayed.

And you don't ask for crediblity, either?

Social contracts usually involve asking something like "Rather than tell me every time you give me cred, can I assume I am getting credibility from you, until you give some sort of notice that I now am not?". Instead of waiting on someone to indicate "I give you cred" for your every action, your now waiting for them to indicate "I've stopped giving you cred now". You'd agree, someone can sign on for the game, then mid game turn to you and show they have stopped giving you cred?

Though I might be overextending the idea of cred with drawing a link between crediblity and consent. Anyone want to call me on that?
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Ginger Stampley
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« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2005, 04:28:34 AM »

Quote from: TonyLB
Callan:  This isn't dating.  It isn't sex.  It's a game, and people signed on knowing it was a game.


Actually, in the circles I game and discuss roleplaying in outside the Forge, the metaphor of sex for RPGs is common currency, and people often say "gaming is like sex because ..."

"... part of your fun comes from helping the other people get their fun."

"... you never know what other people bring to the encounter."

"... some people like one-afternoon stands but other people like long-term relationships."

etc.

One of the ways that an RPG is like sex is that many people like to have a certain trust and intimacy before they hand power over them/their character to another person. "I don't think there's any way I can break your fun" is not an encouraging statement to these people, especially those who have had their fun ruined by clashing styles of GMing or play in the past. There's nothing wrong with pushing or opposing people to help them achieve their agenda, but claiming that you can't break their fun is overstating the claim for fun opposition and, in my experience, untrue.

When I learned how to play tennis, I learned that there were two sorts of game. One was a competitive game in which the objective was to crush your opponent and hear the lamentations of his women. The other was a social game in which the object was to bat the ball back and forth over the net as many times as possible with the other player. One trick of being a good tennis player was to recognize which players were playing in which style and playing with them accordingly. Balancing things in an RPG with more than two players makes it harder, but the point that playing how others like to play is more fun for them remains the same.
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Adam Cerling
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WhiteRat


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« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2005, 06:21:58 AM »

Quote from: TonyLB
I don't know... what is this mythical "Thing so terrible I could never have fun again if it happened" of which you speak?  Maybe if I believed in the existence of that then I might shy away from threatening it.  Short of that?  No.  Everything's fair game.


Believe. Maybe such a terrible thing does not exist for your play, but it does exist for mine. It's difficult to be specific about what it is, since it depends on the people and the game, but when it happens, I don't feel inspired to defend my stuff more vigorously in the future. Instead, I just feel bullied.

While it would be hyperbole to say "I could never have fun again if it happened," it would be damaging. My fun would have to heal. My comfort with having the person responsible at the table would have to heal.

Quote from: TonyLB
FYI, I've done the "turned into a mindless bunny" thing, in LARP no less.  You missed out on a terrific, fun, memorable opportunity there.


To me it just felt deprotagonizing. I felt like I'd been suckered into higher stakes than I wanted to play for.

Tony, how is this technique different from requiring a player to Step On Up? How can it be compatible with Creative Agendas that don't include Step On Up?
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TonyLB
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« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2005, 07:15:56 AM »

Brand:  Absolutely.  If rules are set down then they're rules.  If you hit a baseball backwards into the stands, that's not a home run, it's a foul ball.  Threatening to hit it back and run the bases is nonsensical.

So if people have said (for instance) "Player characters will not be killed" then I'm not going to threaten to kill a player character.  Even if I "did" it, that input wouldn't be accepted into the SIS.  It's pointless to threaten.  

But if that hasn't been said then killing them is (probably) fair game.  And if the player being threatened feels that the death of their character is extremely undesirable... well, good!  It's meant to be extremely undesirable.  But if the kill is supported by the Lumpley-System of the game, it is not unacceptable.  If it happens they'll accept that it happened.  They'll just be pissed.

If they really can't accept it (if play literally grinds to a halt) then you've just learned something about the actual Lumpley-System of your game, as opposed to the previously stated one.  Apparently you have more rules than you thought you did.

Adam:  Yes, it's meant to be less fun.  But not no fun.  Which, honestly, I think you're agreeing with.  What I think you're disagreeing with is the notion that it can be functional for another person to deliberately reduce your fun in the game.  Is that right?

As for Step On Up... I don't know.  Maybe this is Step On Up.  But, at the same time, I'm using it in a game that I can only conceivably describe as heavily Narrativist, and I've used it in many other games that I would confidently, but not unarguably, describe as Narr.  So where does that leave us?  Maybe Step On Up isn't as incompatible with Narrativism as it seems.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #40 on: June 01, 2005, 08:45:34 AM »

Hiya,

GNS point, not intended for major discussion: all role-playing is subject to social expectations, whether of "quit cryin' you baby," or of "hey we're trying to get along here," or of any combination of the two. I don't see this topic as being especially restricted by Creative Agenda.

Best,
Ron
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TonyLB
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« Reply #41 on: June 01, 2005, 08:49:46 AM »

You're saying, I figure:  "Step On Up can be required in a Social Contract without being the point of the Social Contract, and therefore its presence is not a reliable indicator of any CA."  Is that about right?
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Adam Cerling
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« Reply #42 on: June 01, 2005, 11:02:38 AM »

Tony --

Quote from: TonyLB
Adam:  Yes, it's meant to be less fun.  But not no fun.  Which, honestly, I think you're agreeing with.  What I think you're disagreeing with is the notion that it can be functional for another person to deliberately reduce your fun in the game.  Is that right?


Well, if you're saying it can be functional, I don't disagree. But it was statements like this:

Quote from: TonyLB
And it's particualrly powerful, of course, when you as player have a reason for wanting to ruin someone else's fun. For instance, maybe the two of you disagree about how the game should proceed. You don't need to reach consensus. Consensus is for the birds. If you have a system that lets you decide "I win, you lose, I get my way and you don't" without rancor then that is better than consensus. It's cleaner, it's simpler, and it makes your player achievements into achievements in the face of adversity.


...that made it seem to me like you were saying it is often (if not always) functional. Perhaps I'm fixated on the word "better" above. I don't think it is better unless there's that Step On Up aspect present in the Social Contract or Creative Agenda.

Alternatively, I might be misinterpreting your use of the word "ruin." Perhaps it's the parallelism with the idea of "griefing" you create that makes it seem so dysfunctional to me. "Ruining" someone's fun implies more to me than simply providing legitimate threats: it implies that you're striking at the reasons a player stays at the table. To turn things backward a bit, I could understand "ruining" the fun of a Gamist as deliberately failing to provide legitimate threats!

Quote from: TonyLB
As for Step On Up... I don't know.  Maybe this is Step On Up.  But, at the same time, I'm using it in a game that I can only conceivably describe as heavily Narrativist, and I've used it in many other games that I would confidently, but not unarguably, describe as Narr.  So where does that leave us?  Maybe Step On Up isn't as incompatible with Narrativism as it seems.


Story Now and Step On Up are said to be close siblings, no? Both care about a kind of "challenge."

Before I absorbed the Forge meaning of the word "challenge," I would have described my Narrativist tendencies as a longing for challenging roleplay. Except it isn't the challenge of tactics and resource-management and gambling that I seek: it's the challenge presented by making difficult moral choices through the lens of my PC.

Perhaps "threatening a player's fun" is a technique you've discovered to demand that players make those difficult Narrative choices. You're proposing the premise, "What would you do to save [X]?" And you're finding that addressing that premise is more effective when the threat is real.

You're right, that is good Narrative fun -- as long as the premise being created is engaging to the players. Not every "What will you do to save [X]?" will be an engaging premise. So in my opinion, you have to take care when choosing [X].
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Adam Cerling
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Callan S.
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« Reply #43 on: June 01, 2005, 04:31:22 PM »

Quote from: TonyLB
So if people have said (for instance) "Player characters will not be killed" then I'm not going to threaten to kill a player character.  Even if I "did" it, that input wouldn't be accepted into the SIS.  It's pointless to threaten.  

But if that hasn't been said then killing them is (probably) fair game.  And if the player being threatened feels that the death of their character is extremely undesirable... well, good!  It's meant to be extremely undesirable.  But if the kill is supported by the Lumpley-System of the game, it is not unacceptable.  If it happens they'll accept that it happened.  They'll just be pissed.

Emphasis mine.

I've not added much to the thread. But what I meant to get across was almost exactly the same thing that that 'probably' says. And I wanted to get more into how significant it is, to this threads issue.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #44 on: June 01, 2005, 04:34:35 PM »

Callan:  That "probably" is to account for the cases (as I point out) when people have not communicated what they want from the game.  Is that what you're thinking also?
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