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The Creation and Birth of a Character

Started by Silmenume, May 13, 2005, 06:28:51 AM

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Sean

Jay -

I think from your descriptions it probably makes more overall sense to talk about your group as having a Simulationist CA, as you think, but Mike's point about how some of your group's 'System', rules, and norms of play support a Gamist CA seem accurate as well.

Just a question about that - it seems clear that there are substantial social rewards in your game for exploring imaginary material. But you also talk a lot about climactic scenes, low level characters holding off Black Commandos, the dwarf who's smithy skills are paid this incredible compliment by having two elves solicit him, and so forth. Are these moments rewarded too? Does the player feel like it's a personal achievement, something good that he did, when his character does something heroic or stands out as an exceptional individual, and is that supported by the approval and/or envy of other members of the group?

This sort of feeling is I believe (maybe this tells something about me?) present in every game in every CA. But there's a big difference between it being what people are playing for and it being something that happens on the road to something else, a sort of 'pat on the back' for discovering or 'bricoling' (have to find a better word, that's a barbarism) something or for taking the story in a new and unexpected direction.

Though it is incoherent in Big Model terms, the kind of Sim/Gam mix which Mike is talking about and which was my dominant form of play in groups from 1979-1983 is extremely psychologically powerful for some people. The Gamism produces a deeply personal psychological investement in an ever-growing and -expanding fantasy life addressed by the Sim focus on exploration. The disruptions that the incoherent CA sometimes produce in play are partly compensated for, in such players, by the incredibly rich discovery of the possibility of deeply identifying with a shared fantasy life.

The way you describe the intensity of some sessions, with large groups of shouting men, also suggests a gamist-type personal investment. Pure Simulationist intensity on a similar level would I suspect look more like a shared trance.

I think Chris Lehrich and you have made a huge contribution to my understanding of Simulationism, and I suspect to that of some other people as well. I have no doubt that there's a lot of that going on too and that it's supported by what you're doing together as a group.

Silmenume

I know that I am late with this post and I apologize, but I felt that I should respond to those who have taken their own precious time to post in response to me.  So –

Quote from: Mike HolmesThe "System Doesn't Matter" POV is that mechanics are system, and that no mechanics can ever work well across all of play to deliver what's needed. So we should just chuck the pretense that one system is better than another, and just use whatever is at hand, altering it as/when needed to make it produce what we want. This is the very common attitude that Ron's essay is against.

It is, in fact, a failure to understand Lumpley that leads to this idea. That we can be making stuff up and not have a system. Lumply points out that everyone has a system, and hence why it must automatically matter.

Your designers, not seeing Lumpley have created a system where the mechanics are to some extent ignored for an actual system that's largely freeform. Again, they get there by, instead of finding a system with mechanics that work for them, by deciding that no mechanics ever will.

What seems to have emerged I call freeform in one of it's standard meanings, that being that the method for creating the SIS, is constantly negotiated. Mostly it's whatever the GM wants at the time. This is a system. But it's one that seems to have been arrived at by assuming that System Doesn't Matter - only the GM's judgment can make things right. Basically we'll sorta have rules, but they'll only pertain when the GM rules that they should.

This is actually a very complex issue and the one that fouls almost all discussions that aim to discuss how the Sim action of play is functions (i.e. discussing how the Narrativist play action of addressing Premise and Gamism etc. works)  However I should note that there have been two very interesting threads that are agonizing all over this issue without really recognizing that what they are wrestling with is the central focus (priority) of Sim.  Beyond Credibility and Setting as Rules.

What appears to confound to most people is that a lack of overt mechanics – points of contact – means that system isn't important to the players of said game.  However, Sim is all about proposing, creating and testing systems.  What baffles most people is that because someone (such as myself) says that mechanics aren't strictly necessary means that we have rejected the notion of a system at all.  A while back I posted a thread about the role of mechanics in the various CA's.  I have now come to the idea that the role of mechanics in Sim is to lay the initial ground work but then must drift into the background as the fixed nature of mechanics interferes with the free operation of Bricolage.  That is - system, just like the other four elements of Exploration, is up for negotiation as part of the Sim game process.  Part and parcel of Sim play is like M.J. Young says, "discovery."  But here is where I diverge from M.J. and agree with Chris Lehrich, that while one feels that one is discovering something new they are actually creating that discovery.  To whit – we "discover" when are statements are help up by the group (given consensual approval) that we have discovered something new, when in actuality what has "been discovered" was never established anywhere prior.  The group feels this "new assertion" makes sense as a logical extension of the pre-established or more importantly previously establish "rules of the world."  Just as Setting is really a starting place for the players to use for their bricoling efforts – so is System.  A fixed rules system, mechanics, precludes this "discovery" process if the "rule" is already known, via explicit mechanics, to the player.

So to get back to your assertion that the authors of the game system above felt that "no mechanics can ever work across all play to deliver what is needed," is false.  Rather they placed mechanics in its proper role in Sim.  If systems are to be "discovered" then the players need the necessary conditions to discover them.  IOW overt mechanics, which are the modern conceptual process of thinking/knowing are in direct opposition to the bricoling process of "thinking/knowing" via the mythic process.  Strong mechanics in Sim is to play as "ouija play" is to Narrativism.  But to understand this one needs to realize that Sim and Nar are conjugates of one another in process of play.

To go back a little bit, one might ask the question, "If players 'approve' of 'new' or more precisely 'modified' system elements, where or what are they using as a guide?"  Simple.  Setting.  More explicitly, there are many implicit "rules" in the source material Setting.  In time as play progress everything that transpires changes both Character and Setting, thus the "rules" are constantly building on each other.  So as Mechanics are to the players (not the GM) of Gamism, Setting is to the players of Sim.  That is Setting is really where the players start with their "rules" of play.  For even if the players themselves did not "create" the opening mechanics system, that system of mechanics is (or ought to be) drawn from the Setting element in the first place.

Thus it is not that "system doesn't matter," but rather "system is the focus of play," but not in the form or process that we are used to employing (or even familiar with) in modern literate cultures.

Quote from: Mike HolmesWell, this is all just a matter of your POV. I don't dispute the timeframes or how it was presented, but none of that is counter to what I indicated. In fact a mechanical system in which it's a rule that the GM can choose to ignore the system at any time simply has drift encoded into the system.

Put another way, when we give examples of drift and System Doesn't Matter, we're thinking precisely of people like Chuck. We've all known, or even have been Chuck. I've been Chuck.

Again, this is where the fundamental understanding of Sim is absolutely amiss.  The GM IS subject to system, but that system is the bricoled system generated during play, not the fixed overt mechanics.  Players in Sim don't need to see what the GM is doing, all they need is the data represented in the form of the results of their efforts.  WE, all the players at the table, make/modify System during play through the actions of the Characters.  Actually our game has a very high number of Points-of-Contact if you consider rolling dice an overt form of negotiation.  What does not matter is that we do not have to state "conceptually" what is being negotiated, but rather we do so through the bricoling process of "concrete actions."  IOW system is inferred.

Quote from: Narrativism: Story Now essay][list]Narrativist Premises focus on producing Theme via events during play. Theme is defined as a value-judgment or point that may be inferred from the in-game events.[/list:u]underling added[/quote]

In the first sentence change Simulationist conflicts focus on producing System ('s of meaning)
Substitute System ('s of meaning) for Theme and change "a value-judgment" to "the basis of knowing" in the second sentence above and you have Sim.

Change the above to –

[list]Simulationist conflicts focus on producing System via events during play. The created System (of meaning) is defined as "the basis of knowing" or point that may be inferred from the in-game events.[/list:u] – and you have Sim.

The big misunderstanding about "systems of meaning" is that people don't understand that "systems of meaning" are used to project into the future and describe how the world works, as it were, (in this instance) just like mechanics can do.  The difference is that we the players get to say how the world works and thus "celebrate what is important by our choices of play," rather than being beholden to a third parties fixed system of mechanics and thus crippled or severely handicapped in our ability to engage in the building/additive process of the dialectic between Character and Setting.

So if you wish to call making the negotiation of system the focus of play mere drift from mechanics exploitation, then that's fine by me.  But I personally think that the former is a radical change of philosophy from D&D where by having so many "rules" that the players are deprived of many opportunities of creating those "rules" in play.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]I'm going to sound judgemental again, and say that the mechanics of combat were retained for gamism, to give a level playing field. And drifting to the players not knowing the mechanisms (not using them) doesn't change this, as long as the players feel that the GM is as fair as the mechanics were; or "Fairer" given that if the assumption is that if you do something in X way that a "realistic" or "internally plausible" result will occur. Basically system can screw you if you expect the level playing field to be that which emulates reality. So given a directive to move to this more "realistic" mode, it makes sense to do what he did.[/quote]

Feel free to be judgmental!  However, I too will be judgment and say that you are wrong! =oP.  Actually I am rather confused with the automatic conflation of Mechanics and Gamism.  There are combat mechanics in Narrativist games, but that does not mean the players are Gamist.  Gamism is not defined by mechanics, as you are well aware of and have expressed many times, but rather the priorities and goals of the players.  In our case the Mechanics of combat do exactly as Vincent has said they do – they function to help speed up the negotiation process.  Now if one uses the Mechanics of our combat system to express Step-on-Up, then I would agree with you that they were kept for "Gamist" intentions.  But in play and in discussions with the GM there have been discussions where the question has been raised about the value of the mechanics in combat.  IOW because we are miming so much of the combat so quickly that the players mimed actions are taken as their statements of intent and sometime the move is so good that or so out of place that mechanics become superfluous to the negotiation process.  That is the player mime of intent is accepted into the SIS as is.

[quote="Mike Holmes
All of which ignores that there could be mechanics which could cover everything realistically anyhow, but that's another discussion.

Again, Sim functions by the player creation of system.  The above process would totally remove or render impotent player input in Sim games.  It is precisely because of that paradigm that many Sim games do founder and players start drifting play to "turning" Gamist or the Narrativist struggle for player input in supposed Sim facilitating or prioritizing play."  I am not saying that Gamist or Narrativist players are all scalded Sim players, but rather those forms of drift in Sim play arise primarily because the preponderance of pre-created "rules" severely limits the player's input into what is actually being created.

I would like to clarify that I am not saying "system = mechanics" or that "system excluded mechanic," but rather in Sim "System includes all systems of meaning/knowing of which Mechanics is but a part."  Thus the above quote is absolutely contrary to the Sim focus and process and represents the primary reason for the misunderstanding and mischaracterization of Sim.

Quote from: Mike Holmes"]>The abstractions of Gamism obviate the role of the inductive process – the heart and sole of the Sim process.  We need not inquire or be observant of the rules of how the fictional world will respond; those "rules" are already made bare.  

I disagree. Saying this is like saying that Gamism implies no exploration. That we can't have gamism about things like who gets the girl. That it has to be about the mechanics. That's simply not true, and relegates gamism to being non-RPG play.[/quote]

Again, incorrect.  One cannot express Step-on-Up outside of Exploration.  That is a logical impossibility with regards to the Model.  Again you are conflating mechanics with CA.  I am saying that in Sim and only Sim that the abstractions that are so useful for the Gamist facilitating game design obviate the Simulationist prioritization of the inductive process – the rules making process.  Sim isn't about using Mechanics (that Gam and Nar facilitating games do), its about making Systems – which includes Mechanics.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]Again, by your observations, games like GURPS, Hero, FUDGE, etc, etc, are all gamism games. In fact, the only sim supportive games by your analysis are freeform games, and your game. That's not how GNS is constructed.[/quote]

I am not saying that games like GURPS, Hero, FUDGE, etc., are all Gamist games as only player actions demonstrate which CA is in operation despite game design.  I would advance two propositions though.  I would say that GURPS, Hero, FUDGE, etc., are incoherent with regards to the Sim CA.  Second, because of the preponderance of rules that are ready tools for Gamist employment that those games systems tend to drift towards Gamist employment and are not terribly successful at creating "functional" Sim play without drift.  By drift I mean drifting the role of the rules, not just changing the rules themselves.

As far as how GNS is constructed, I disagree.  The Model does state that properly designed mechanics can strongly facilitate the functional expression of CA.  I agree.  In the case of Sim the role of functionally designed mechanics is to function as a starting place, just like Setting and Character.  This is not in contradiction with the Model.  The Model does not say there must be Mechanics, as indicated by the acknowledgment of "rules-lite" and vanilla style game but rather they the mechanics are formulated in such a way as to aid CA expression.  So if the portion of system called mechanics is used in the role of a template or model and then fade into the background as the whole of system is modified and enlarged during play, then we are not in opposition to the tenets of the Model.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]Again, why not play completely freeform then? Why even know that there are mechanics underlying what's going on? Why even know that there are mechanics underlying what's going on? If they can be ignored and replaced by GM judgment, then why not just always do that? Either it's the sumum bonum of this sort of play to not percieve mechanisms, and therefor they should not be used, or mechanisms are OK on any level, and it's just a personal preference. [/quote]

We don't have a "need to know" that there are mechanics underlying what's going on.  They role is to primarily help to speed up the negotiation process in the heat and thick of battle – thus making it more intense.  Many times in combat we don't use fortune mechanics but use drama as per my descriptions above.

Regarding the summum bonum of this sort of play I am not proposing that points of contact are bad in and of themselves, bur rather the role and form of mechanics is very different from those of Gam and Nar.  Its not that mechanics should not be perceived, but rather there is no ontological reason in Sim for the players to "know" the mechanics a priori.  This does not mean they are verboten or "should not be used," but that their place in play needs to be understood and utilized - and that is of template and starting place.  As far as the players go, "discovering" the systems of the fictional world is really a matter of creating them via play.  How many overt mechanics the players are comfortable with is as much a matter of personal choice as the level of Step-on-Up or how much input the players' have in Setting in Gam and Nar respectively.  That is, how involved to they players wish to have in the game process.  In Sim the more the mechanics the less the player input and that is a matter of local taste.

Fixed Mechanics in Sim cannot be "employed" by the players without deprotagonizing them with regards to CA expression any more than having a Mechanically fixed Premise in Narrativism.  By mechanically fixed Premise, I mean one where the mechanics choose for the player and "enforce" what their Character's Premise question is.  I am not saying this is how Narrativist mechanics word, but rather having Fixed mechanics in Sim is roughly the Narrativist equivalent of having Mechanics choose the Premise for the players thus undercutting their input to the game.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]That seems like an odd statement. I mean, is it "deprotagonizing" in a sim game to have your strenght constrain you to only be able to lift X pounds? If not, then why would it be "deprotagonizing" to have the character affected by a predetermined personality.[/quote]

Because a predetermined personality precludes or at least hampers the dialectic between Character and Setting.  That dialect must necessarily alter or affect both the Character and the Setting.  If the player has a Character with a mechanically predetermined and fixed personality one is once again stifled in their ability to bricole.  In fact the bricoling process cannot be effective if one of the two objects being used cannot change or be affected by the process.  As our bodies are more or less artifacts of our existence and that our intellects and personalities are the means by which we decide how to interact with "Setting," to fix that personality or mechanically choose that personality is to deprotagonize Sim play action.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]In fact, this seems to be a feature of many sim games, and is often pointed to as the dividing line between sim and nar - the abilty to make statements based on the character's personality. So it very much sounds like you're arguing that the game is nar supportive here.[/quote]

I am confused about your statement here.  Are you saying that "commenting" on personality is the dividing line between Sim are Nar?  Then you are wrong.  Nar is the commenting on Premise and Sim is the abduction, induction and deduction of System.  Thus both styles play can "comment" of personality.  This is also true of Gamism.  However, while a fixed or mechanically prescriptive personality can certainly be a nifty tool for Nar play it is neither a "tell" of Nar play nor facilitative of Sim play.

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]If a player acted to erratically then they would be damaging the Dream for all the other players because everyone needs to be on the same page regarding how the world works.  If someone is acting without rhyme or reason and there is no explainable cause then that player is damaging the induction and signification process for all the rest of the players.  Thus while it may seem that no one cares what the other players are doing, we are actually deeply invested in how everyone else at the table operates because everyone's actions have the potential to tweak or alter everyone else's inductive process.  Break the rules too much and the whole internal model (which is the foundation for the system of signification) collapses and the Dream comes to an abrupt end.[/quote]Right, System Doesn't Matter. We'll leave it to the players to make right by social contract. System would only mess this stuff up, so we'll ignore the mechanics related to it.[/quote]

Again you make the error of conflating System and Mechanics.  Mechanics are selfsame as System, but rather one form of system.  In our system of play it is the bricoled system of "meanings and rules" which informs the negotiation process.  System is central to Sim play, not peripheral.  In fact I will go so far as to say quote, again I believe it was Vincent, as roughly saying that, "Mechanics are refinements/implementations of the Social Contract."  I mean Mechanics are just a much a functioning of the Social contract as the mode of play I am speaking of – that is mechanics have no actual authority unless the players have given the results credibility, and that is an expression of the Social Contract.  Functional/effective System drift occurs specifically because the "rules" are a negotiable part of the Social Contract.  In Sim System is what is being negotiated via play.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]This is very much the "get out of the way" attitude. Where system interfers, instead of using mechanics that support what we want, we'll assume that no system can do so, drop all mechanics, and leave it on the participants to arrange. Shifting the system to freeform here again. What makes sense is constantly negotiated instead of having algorithms to figure it out.[/quote]

In a way you are correct, but you have it backwards.  To whit – "Because mechanics interfere with the Expression of the Sim CA, we use the entirety and plentitude of the concept of system (the means by which statements are negotiated into the SIS) as derived from the source material and that which has been negotiated in play."  Because the entirety of system (not limited to mechanics nor excluding mechanics) is itself up for negotiation, then a fixed mechanic confounds that process and contradicts the goal.

Again, if you mean "Free form" as meaning no or an extremely limited role of mechanics as a means of resolution, but that there is still a highly complex, subtle and rich "system" that encompasses resolution then I agree with you.  If however, you mean "Free form" to basically mean the "whim" of the GM, then you are profoundly off the mark.

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]Thus, its not that they found their own system of mechanics lacking, but that it was discovered that the role of mechanics was decidedly different than the conventional wisdom had up till that point held.[/quote]Well, held by the non-freeformers. You realize that people got this idea after the first few sessions of D&D in 1974. And have been playing this way ever since.[/quote]

By extension of this logic, all RPG's that came out after D&D are just drifted versions to lesser or greater degrees of the original game.

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]We make frequent use of Fortune mechanics but we don't need to know the mechanical process by which the content of the narration is decided upon.[/quote]Or, whether or not it's being used at all, right? I mean, even if the GM rolls a die, you don't actually know that he's using the mechanics, do you?[/quote]

Absolutely.  Nor is that relevant.  What does matter is that the outcome is reasonably plausible within the player generated System.  Again System is not the same as mechanics.  His input, whether informed by Fortune Mechanics or Drama Mechanics as informed from the totality of player generated System up to that point in time, is irrelevant.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]As you say:[quote]Once the GM gets the "feel" of them, that is get a feel for the norms of the world, then the "calling" or the overt labeling of the employed task resolution mechanics are no longer strictly "necessary."[/quote]

I'm not saying that your GM's are faking. But I would suggest that it's likely. This is just a long-running sort of illusionism.

But what's interesting is that the modeling still resembles D&D reality. I mean, I think I remember you saying that combat was still in "rounds"?[/quote]

What is there to "fake?"  Mechanics don't make the game, the player negotiations make the game.  How can one "fake" negotiating?  We players either agree to give his input credibility or not.  Mechanics only facilitate that process; Mechanics are not selfsame as that process.

Actually I said that we don't use "rounds, turns, segments or the like."

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]The mere act of calling for a roll then becomes significant in and of itself.  "What is going on that is significant enough that the GM needs to show impartiality?"[/quote]Or the appearance of impartiality - they might still be faking. In any case, if it's obvious that GM fiat is being used at times, then why is impartiality ever neccessary? Gotta be level playing field. The GM saying that he's not hosing the players, but letting the system show "what really would have happened" arbitrarily.[/quote]

Because the dice add drama!  If their employment increases tension then they are employed.  If a die roll would not serve to heighten tension, then they aren't employed by the GM.  Sometimes he's just fishing when having us roll dice.  In this mode of play the totality and plentitude of system is employed for resolutions, meaning Mechanics not only doesn't hold the exalted ground of being supreme arbiter, but rather fortune Mechanics are in the service of moment (which is determined by the GM).  Thus if the moment would not be aided by their employment they aren't
I'm going to sound judgemental again, and say that the mechanics of combat were retained for gamism, to give a level playing field. And drifting to the players not knowing the mechanisms (not using them) doesn't change this, as long as the players feel that the GM is as fair as the mechanics were; or "Fairer" given that if the assumption is that if you do something in X way that a "realistic" or "internally plausible" result will occur. Basically system can screw you if you expect the level playing field to be that which emulates reality. So given a directive to move to this more "realistic" mode, it makes sense to do what he did.

Feel free to be judgmental!  However, I too will be judgment and say that you are wrong! =oP.  Actually I am rather confused with the automatic conflation of Mechanics and Gamism.  There are combat mechanics in Narrativist games, but that does not mean the players are Gamist.  Gamism is not defined by mechanics, as you are well aware of and have expressed many times, but rather the priorities and goals of the players.  In our case the Mechanics of combat do exactly as Vincent has said they do – they function to help speed up the negotiation process.  Now if one uses the Mechanics of our combat system to express Step-on-Up, then I would agree with you that they were kept for "Gamist" intentions.  But in play and in discussions with the GM there have been discussions where the question has been raised about the value of the mechanics in combat.  IOW because we are miming so much of the combat so quickly that the players mimed actions are taken as their statements of intent and sometime the move is so good that or so out of place that mechanics become superfluous to the negotiation process.  That is the player mime of intent is accepted into the SIS as is.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
All of which ignores that there could be mechanics which could cover everything realistically anyhow, but that's another discussion.


Again, Sim functions by the player creation of system.  The above process would totally remove or render impotent player input in Sim games.  It is precisely because of that paradigm that many Sim games do founder and players start drifting play to "turning" Gamist or the Narrativist struggle for player input in supposed Sim facilitating or prioritizing play."  I am not saying that Gamist or Narrativist players are all scalded Sim players, but rather those forms of drift in Sim play arise primarily because the preponderance of pre-created "rules" severely limits the player's input into what is actually being created.

I would like to clarify that I am not saying "system = mechanics" or that "system excluded mechanic," but rather in Sim "System includes all systems of meaning/knowing of which Mechanics is but a part."  Thus the above quote is absolutely contrary to the Sim focus and process and represents the primary reason for the misunderstanding and mischaracterization of Sim.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]>The abstractions of Gamism obviate the role of the inductive process – the heart and sole of the Sim process.  We need not inquire or be observant of the rules of how the fictional world will respond; those "rules" are already made bare.  

I disagree. Saying this is like saying that Gamism implies no exploration. That we can't have gamism about things like who gets the girl. That it has to be about the mechanics. That's simply not true, and relegates gamism to being non-RPG play.[/quote]

Again, incorrect.  One cannot express Step-on-Up outside of Exploration.  That is a logical impossibility with regards to the Model.  Again you are conflating mechanics with CA.  I am saying that in Sim and only Sim that the abstractions that are so useful for the Gamist facilitating game design obviate the Simulationist prioritization of the inductive process – the rules making process.  Sim isn't about using Mechanics (that Gam and Nar facilitating games do), its about making Systems – which includes Mechanics.

[quote="Mike HolmesAgain, by your observations, games like GURPS, Hero, FUDGE, etc, etc, are all gamism games. In fact, the only sim supportive games by your analysis are freeform games, and your game. That's not how GNS is constructed.
I am not saying that games like GURPS, Hero, FUDGE, etc., are all Gamist games as only player actions demonstrate which CA is in operation despite game design.  I would advance two propositions though.  I would say that GURPS, Hero, FUDGE, etc., are incoherent with regards to the Sim CA.  Second, because of the preponderance of rules that are ready tools for Gamist employment that those games systems tend to drift towards Gamist employment and are not terribly successful at creating "functional" Sim play without drift.  By drift I mean drifting the role of the rules, not just changing the rules themselves.

As far as how GNS is constructed, I disagree.  The Model does state that properly designed mechanics can strongly facilitate the functional expression of CA.  I agree.  In the case of Sim the role of functionally designed mechanics is to function as a starting place, just like Setting and Character.  This is not in contradiction with the Model.  The Model does not say there must be Mechanics, as indicated by the acknowledgment of "rules-lite" and vanilla style game but rather they the mechanics are formulated in such a way as to aid CA expression.  So if the portion of system called mechanics is used in the role of a template or model and then fade into the background as the whole of system is modified and enlarged during play, then we are not in opposition to the tenets of the Model.

Quote from: Mike Holmes"]Again, why not play completely freeform then? Why even know that there are mechanics underlying what's going on? Why even know that there are mechanics underlying what's going on? If they can be ignored and replaced by GM judgment, then why not just always do that? Either it's the sumum bonum of this sort of play to not percieve mechanisms, and therefor they should not be used, or mechanisms are OK on any level, and it's just a personal preference. [/quote]

We don't have a "need to know" that there are mechanics underlying what's going on.  They role is to primarily help to speed up the negotiation process in the heat and thick of battle – thus making it more intense.  Many times in combat we don't use fortune mechanics but use drama as per my descriptions above.

Regarding the summum bonum of this sort of play I am not proposing that points of contact are bad in and of themselves, bur rather the role and form of mechanics is very different from those of Gam and Nar.  Its not that mechanics should not be perceived, but rather there is no ontological reason in Sim for the players to "know" the mechanics a priori.  This does not mean they are verboten or "should not be used," but that their place in play needs to be understood and utilized - and that is of template and starting place.  As far as the players go, "discovering" the systems of the fictional world is really a matter of creating them via play.  How many overt mechanics the players are comfortable with is as much a matter of personal choice as the level of Step-on-Up or how much input the players' have in Setting in Gam and Nar respectively.  That is, how involved to they players wish to have in the game process.  In Sim the more the mechanics the less the player input and that is a matter of local taste.

Fixed Mechanics in Sim cannot be "employed" by the players without deprotagonizing them with regards to CA expression any more than having a Mechanically fixed Premise in Narrativism.  By mechanically fixed Premise, I mean one where the mechanics choose for the player and "enforce" what their Character's Premise question is.  I am not saying this is how Narrativist mechanics word, but rather having Fixed mechanics in Sim is roughly the Narrativist equivalent of having Mechanics choose the Premise for the players thus undercutting their input to the game.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]That seems like an odd statement. I mean, is it "deprotagonizing" in a sim game to have your strenght constrain you to only be able to lift X pounds? If not, then why would it be "deprotagonizing" to have the character affected by a predetermined personality.[/quote]

Because a predetermined personality precludes or at least hampers the dialectic between Character and Setting.  That dialect must necessarily alter or affect both the Character and the Setting.  If the player has a Character with a mechanically predetermined and fixed personality one is once again stifled in their ability to bricole.  In fact the bricoling process cannot be effective if one of the two objects being used cannot change or be affected by the process.  As our bodies are more or less artifacts of our existence and that our intellects and personalities are the means by which we decide how to interact with "Setting," to fix that personality or mechanically choose that personality is to deprotagonize Sim play action.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]In fact, this seems to be a feature of many sim games, and is often pointed to as the dividing line between sim and nar - the abilty to make statements based on the character's personality. So it very much sounds like you're arguing that the game is nar supportive here.[/quote]

I am confused about your statement here.  Are you saying that "commenting" on personality is the dividing line between Sim are Nar?  Then you are wrong.  Nar is the commenting on Premise and Sim is the abduction, induction and deduction of System.  Thus both styles play can "comment" of personality.  This is also true of Gamism.  However, while a fixed or mechanically prescriptive personality can certainly be a nifty tool for Nar play it is neither a "tell" of Nar play nor facilitative of Sim play.

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]If a player acted to erratically then they would be damaging the Dream for all the other players because everyone needs to be on the same page regarding how the world works.  If someone is acting without rhyme or reason and there is no explainable cause then that player is damaging the induction and signification process for all the rest of the players.  Thus while it may seem that no one cares what the other players are doing, we are actually deeply invested in how everyone else at the table operates because everyone's actions have the potential to tweak or alter everyone else's inductive process.  Break the rules too much and the whole internal model (which is the foundation for the system of signification) collapses and the Dream comes to an abrupt end.[/quote]Right, System Doesn't Matter. We'll leave it to the players to make right by social contract. System would only mess this stuff up, so we'll ignore the mechanics related to it.[/quote]

Again you make the error of conflating System and Mechanics.  Mechanics are selfsame as System, but rather one form of system.  In our system of play it is the bricoled system of "meanings and rules" which informs the negotiation process.  System is central to Sim play, not peripheral.  In fact I will go so far as to say quote, again I believe it was Vincent, as roughly saying that, "Mechanics are refinements/implementations of the Social Contract."  I mean Mechanics are just a much a functioning of the Social contract as the mode of play I am speaking of – that is mechanics have no actual authority unless the players have given the results credibility, and that is an expression of the Social Contract.  Functional/effective System drift occurs specifically because the "rules" are a negotiable part of the Social Contract.  In Sim System is what is being negotiated via play.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]This is very much the "get out of the way" attitude. Where system interfers, instead of using mechanics that support what we want, we'll assume that no system can do so, drop all mechanics, and leave it on the participants to arrange. Shifting the system to freeform here again. What makes sense is constantly negotiated instead of having algorithms to figure it out.[/quote]

In a way you are correct, but you have it backwards.  To whit – "Because mechanics interfere with the Expression of the Sim CA, we use the entirety and plentitude of the concept of system (the means by which statements are negotiated into the SIS) as derived from the source material and that which has been negotiated in play."  Because the entirety of system (not limited to mechanics nor excluding mechanics) is itself up for negotiation, then a fixed mechanic confounds that process and contradicts the goal.

Again, if you mean "Free form" as meaning no or an extremely limited role of mechanics as a means of resolution, but that there is still a highly complex, subtle and rich "system" that encompasses resolution then I agree with you.  If however, you mean "Free form" to basically mean the "whim" of the GM, then you are profoundly off the mark.

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]Thus, its not that they found their own system of mechanics lacking, but that it was discovered that the role of mechanics was decidedly different than the conventional wisdom had up till that point held.[/quote]Well, held by the non-freeformers. You realize that people got this idea after the first few sessions of D&D in 1974. And have been playing this way ever since.[/quote]

By extension of this logic, all RPG's that came out after D&D are just drifted versions to lesser or greater degrees of the original game.

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]We make frequent use of Fortune mechanics but we don't need to know the mechanical process by which the content of the narration is decided upon.[/quote]Or, whether or not it's being used at all, right? I mean, even if the GM rolls a die, you don't actually know that he's using the mechanics, do you?[/quote]

Absolutely.  Nor is that relevant.  What does matter is that the outcome is reasonably plausible within the player generated System.  Again System is not the same as mechanics.  His input, whether informed by Fortune Mechanics or Drama Mechanics as informed from the totality of player generated System up to that point in time, is irrelevant.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]As you say:[quote]Once the GM gets the "feel" of them, that is get a feel for the norms of the world, then the "calling" or the overt labeling of the employed task resolution mechanics are no longer strictly "necessary."[/quote]

I'm not saying that your GM's are faking. But I would suggest that it's likely. This is just a long-running sort of illusionism.

But what's interesting is that the modeling still resembles D&D reality. I mean, I think I remember you saying that combat was still in "rounds"?[/quote]

What is there to "fake?"  Mechanics don't make the game, the player negotiations make the game.  How can one "fake" negotiating?  We players either agree to give his input credibility or not.  Mechanics only facilitate that process; Mechanics are not selfsame as that process.

Actually I said that we don't use "rounds, turns, segments or the like."

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]The mere act of calling for a roll then becomes significant in and of itself.  "What is going on that is significant enough that the GM needs to show impartiality?"[/quote]Or the appearance of impartiality - they might still be faking. In any case, if it's obvious that GM fiat is being used at times, then why is impartiality ever neccessary? Gotta be level playing field. The GM saying that he's not hosing the players, but letting the system show "what really would have happened" arbitrarily.[/quote]

Because the dice add drama!  If their employment increases tension then they are employed.  If a die roll would not serve to heighten tension, then they aren't employed by the GM.  Sometimes he's just fishing when having us roll dice.  In this mode of play the totality and plentitude of system is employed for resolutions, meaning Mechanics not only doesn't hold the exalted ground of being supreme arbiter, but rather fortune Mechanics are in the service of moment (which is determined by the GM).  Thus if the moment would not be aided by their employment they aren't.  The converse is also true.

The notion of impartiality is, I think, a tar baby.  Since all Mechanics employment is subject to player consensus, then all Mechanics employment while have some bias to some extent or another.  The only way to make the Mechanics truly arbitrary is to remove the human element all together –
>The abstractions of Gamism obviate the role of the inductive process – the heart and sole of the Sim process.  We need not inquire or be observant of the rules of how the fictional world will respond; those "rules" are already made bare.  

I disagree. Saying this is like saying that Gamism implies no exploration. That we can't have gamism about things like who gets the girl. That it has to be about the mechanics. That's simply not true, and relegates gamism to being non-RPG play.

Again, incorrect.  One cannot express Step-on-Up outside of Exploration.  That is a logical impossibility with regards to the Model.  Again you are conflating mechanics with CA.  I am saying that in Sim and only Sim that the abstractions that are so useful for the Gamist facilitating game design obviate the Simulationist prioritization of the inductive process – the rules making process.  Sim isn't about using Mechanics (that Gam and Nar facilitating games do), its about making Systems – which includes Mechanics.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Again, by your observations, games like GURPS, Hero, FUDGE, etc, etc, are all gamism games. In fact, the only sim supportive games by your analysis are freeform games, and your game. That's not how GNS is constructed.


I am not saying that games like GURPS, Hero, FUDGE, etc., are all Gamist games as only player actions demonstrate which CA is in operation despite game design.  I would advance two propositions though.  I would say that GURPS, Hero, FUDGE, etc., are incoherent with regards to the Sim CA.  Second, because of the preponderance of rules that are ready tools for Gamist employment that those games systems tend to drift towards Gamist employment and are not terribly successful at creating "functional" Sim play without drift.  By drift I mean drifting the role of the rules, not just changing the rules themselves.

As far as how GNS is constructed, I disagree.  The Model does state that properly designed mechanics can strongly facilitate the functional expression of CA.  I agree.  In the case of Sim the role of functionally designed mechanics is to function as a starting place, just like Setting and Character.  This is not in contradiction with the Model.  The Model does not say there must be Mechanics, as indicated by the acknowledgment of "rules-lite" and vanilla style game but rather they the mechanics are formulated in such a way as to aid CA expression.  So if the portion of system called mechanics is used in the role of a template or model and then fade into the background as the whole of system is modified and enlarged during play, then we are not in opposition to the tenets of the Model.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]Again, why not play completely freeform then? Why even know that there are mechanics underlying what's going on? Why even know that there are mechanics underlying what's going on? If they can be ignored and replaced by GM judgment, then why not just always do that? Either it's the sumum bonum of this sort of play to not percieve mechanisms, and therefor they should not be used, or mechanisms are OK on any level, and it's just a personal preference. [/quote]

We don't have a "need to know" that there are mechanics underlying what's going on.  They role is to primarily help to speed up the negotiation process in the heat and thick of battle – thus making it more intense.  Many times in combat we don't use fortune mechanics but use drama as per my descriptions above.

Regarding the summum bonum of this sort of play I am not proposing that points of contact are bad in and of themselves, bur rather the role and form of mechanics is very different from those of Gam and Nar.  Its not that mechanics should not be perceived, but rather there is no ontological reason in Sim for the players to "know" the mechanics a priori.  This does not mean they are verboten or "should not be used," but that their place in play needs to be understood and utilized - and that is of template and starting place.  As far as the players go, "discovering" the systems of the fictional world is really a matter of creating them via play.  How many overt mechanics the players are comfortable with is as much a matter of personal choice as the level of Step-on-Up or how much input the players' have in Setting in Gam and Nar respectively.  That is, how involved to they players wish to have in the game process.  In Sim the more the mechanics the less the player input and that is a matter of local taste.

Fixed Mechanics in Sim cannot be "employed" by the players without deprotagonizing them with regards to CA expression any more than having a Mechanically fixed Premise in Narrativism.  By mechanically fixed Premise, I mean one where the mechanics choose for the player and "enforce" what their Character's Premise question is.  I am not saying this is how Narrativist mechanics word, but rather having Fixed mechanics in Sim is roughly the Narrativist equivalent of having Mechanics choose the Premise for the players thus undercutting their input to the game.

[quote="Mike HolmesThat seems like an odd statement. I mean, is it "deprotagonizing" in a sim game to have your strenght constrain you to only be able to lift X pounds? If not, then why would it be "deprotagonizing" to have the character affected by a predetermined personality.
Because a predetermined personality precludes or at least hampers the dialectic between Character and Setting.  That dialect must necessarily alter or affect both the Character and the Setting.  If the player has a Character with a mechanically predetermined and fixed personality one is once again stifled in their ability to bricole.  In fact the bricoling process cannot be effective if one of the two objects being used cannot change or be affected by the process.  As our bodies are more or less artifacts of our existence and that our intellects and personalities are the means by which we decide how to interact with "Setting," to fix that personality or mechanically choose that personality is to deprotagonize Sim play action.

Quote from: Mike Holmes"]In fact, this seems to be a feature of many sim games, and is often pointed to as the dividing line between sim and nar - the abilty to make statements based on the character's personality. So it very much sounds like you're arguing that the game is nar supportive here.[/quote]

I am confused about your statement here.  Are you saying that "commenting" on personality is the dividing line between Sim are Nar?  Then you are wrong.  Nar is the commenting on Premise and Sim is the abduction, induction and deduction of System.  Thus both styles play can "comment" of personality.  This is also true of Gamism.  However, while a fixed or mechanically prescriptive personality can certainly be a nifty tool for Nar play it is neither a "tell" of Nar play nor facilitative of Sim play.

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]If a player acted to erratically then they would be damaging the Dream for all the other players because everyone needs to be on the same page regarding how the world works.  If someone is acting without rhyme or reason and there is no explainable cause then that player is damaging the induction and signification process for all the rest of the players.  Thus while it may seem that no one cares what the other players are doing, we are actually deeply invested in how everyone else at the table operates because everyone's actions have the potential to tweak or alter everyone else's inductive process.  Break the rules too much and the whole internal model (which is the foundation for the system of signification) collapses and the Dream comes to an abrupt end.[/quote]Right, System Doesn't Matter. We'll leave it to the players to make right by social contract. System would only mess this stuff up, so we'll ignore the mechanics related to it.[/quote]

Again you make the error of conflating System and Mechanics.  Mechanics are selfsame as System, but rather one form of system.  In our system of play it is the bricoled system of "meanings and rules" which informs the negotiation process.  System is central to Sim play, not peripheral.  In fact I will go so far as to say quote, again I believe it was Vincent, as roughly saying that, "Mechanics are refinements/implementations of the Social Contract."  I mean Mechanics are just a much a functioning of the Social contract as the mode of play I am speaking of – that is mechanics have no actual authority unless the players have given the results credibility, and that is an expression of the Social Contract.  Functional/effective System drift occurs specifically because the "rules" are a negotiable part of the Social Contract.  In Sim System is what is being negotiated via play.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]This is very much the "get out of the way" attitude. Where system interfers, instead of using mechanics that support what we want, we'll assume that no system can do so, drop all mechanics, and leave it on the participants to arrange. Shifting the system to freeform here again. What makes sense is constantly negotiated instead of having algorithms to figure it out.[/quote]

In a way you are correct, but you have it backwards.  To whit – "Because mechanics interfere with the Expression of the Sim CA, we use the entirety and plentitude of the concept of system (the means by which statements are negotiated into the SIS) as derived from the source material and that which has been negotiated in play."  Because the entirety of system (not limited to mechanics nor excluding mechanics) is itself up for negotiation, then a fixed mechanic confounds that process and contradicts the goal.

Again, if you mean "Free form" as meaning no or an extremely limited role of mechanics as a means of resolution, but that there is still a highly complex, subtle and rich "system" that encompasses resolution then I agree with you.  If however, you mean "Free form" to basically mean the "whim" of the GM, then you are profoundly off the mark.

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]Thus, its not that they found their own system of mechanics lacking, but that it was discovered that the role of mechanics was decidedly different than the conventional wisdom had up till that point held.[/quote]Well, held by the non-freeformers. You realize that people got this idea after the first few sessions of D&D in 1974. And have been playing this way ever since.[/quote]

By extension of this logic, all RPG's that came out after D&D are just drifted versions to lesser or greater degrees of the original game.

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]We make frequent use of Fortune mechanics but we don't need to know the mechanical process by which the content of the narration is decided upon.[/quote]Or, whether or not it's being used at all, right? I mean, even if the GM rolls a die, you don't actually know that he's using the mechanics, do you?[/quote]

Absolutely.  Nor is that relevant.  What does matter is that the outcome is reasonably plausible within the player generated System.  Again System is not the same as mechanics.  His input, whether informed by Fortune Mechanics or Drama Mechanics as informed from the totality of player generated System up to that point in time, is irrelevant.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]As you say:[quote]Once the GM gets the "feel" of them, that is get a feel for the norms of the world, then the "calling" or the overt labeling of the employed task resolution mechanics are no longer strictly "necessary."[/quote]

I'm not saying that your GM's are faking. But I would suggest that it's likely. This is just a long-running sort of illusionism.

But what's interesting is that the modeling still resembles D&D reality. I mean, I think I remember you saying that combat was still in "rounds"?[/quote]

What is there to "fake?"  Mechanics don't make the game, the player negotiations make the game.  How can one "fake" negotiating?  We players either agree to give his input credibility or not.  Mechanics only facilitate that process; Mechanics are not selfsame as that process.

Actually I said that we don't use "rounds, turns, segments or the like."

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]The mere act of calling for a roll then becomes significant in and of itself.  "What is going on that is significant enough that the GM needs to show impartiality?"[/quote]Or the appearance of impartiality - they might still be faking. In any case, if it's obvious that GM fiat is being used at times, then why is impartiality ever neccessary? Gotta be level playing field. The GM saying that he's not hosing the players, but letting the system show "what really would have happened" arbitrarily.[/quote]

Because the dice add drama!  If their employment increases tension then they are employed.  If a die roll would not serve to heighten tension, then they aren't employed b
Again, why not play completely freeform then? Why even know that there are mechanics underlying what's going on? Why even know that there are mechanics underlying what's going on? If they can be ignored and replaced by GM judgment, then why not just always do that? Either it's the sumum bonum of this sort of play to not percieve mechanisms, and therefor they should not be used, or mechanisms are OK on any level, and it's just a personal preference.

We don't have a "need to know" that there are mechanics underlying what's going on.  They role is to primarily help to speed up the negotiation process in the heat and thick of battle – thus making it more intense.  Many times in combat we don't use fortune mechanics but use drama as per my descriptions above.

Regarding the summum bonum of this sort of play I am not proposing that points of contact are bad in and of themselves, bur rather the role and form of mechanics is very different from those of Gam and Nar.  Its not that mechanics should not be perceived, but rather there is no ontological reason in Sim for the players to "know" the mechanics a priori.  This does not mean they are verboten or "should not be used," but that their place in play needs to be understood and utilized - and that is of template and starting place.  As far as the players go, "discovering" the systems of the fictional world is really a matter of creating them via play.  How many overt mechanics the players are comfortable with is as much a matter of personal choice as the level of Step-on-Up or how much input the players' have in Setting in Gam and Nar respectively.  That is, how involved to they players wish to have in the game process.  In Sim the more the mechanics the less the player input and that is a matter of local taste.

Fixed Mechanics in Sim cannot be "employed" by the players without deprotagonizing them with regards to CA expression any more than having a Mechanically fixed Premise in Narrativism.  By mechanically fixed Premise, I mean one where the mechanics choose for the player and "enforce" what their Character's Premise question is.  I am not saying this is how Narrativist mechanics word, but rather having Fixed mechanics in Sim is roughly the Narrativist equivalent of having Mechanics choose the Premise for the players thus undercutting their input to the game.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
That seems like an odd statement. I mean, is it "deprotagonizing" in a sim game to have your strenght constrain you to only be able to lift X pounds? If not, then why would it be "deprotagonizing" to have the character affected by a predetermined personality.


Because a predetermined personality precludes or at least hampers the dialectic between Character and Setting.  That dialect must necessarily alter or affect both the Character and the Setting.  If the player has a Character with a mechanically predetermined and fixed personality one is once again stifled in their ability to bricole.  In fact the bricoling process cannot be effective if one of the two objects being used cannot change or be affected by the process.  As our bodies are more or less artifacts of our existence and that our intellects and personalities are the means by which we decide how to interact with "Setting," to fix that personality or mechanically choose that personality is to deprotagonize Sim play action.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]In fact, this seems to be a feature of many sim games, and is often pointed to as the dividing line between sim and nar - the abilty to make statements based on the character's personality. So it very much sounds like you're arguing that the game is nar supportive here.[/quote]

I am confused about your statement here.  Are you saying that "commenting" on personality is the dividing line between Sim are Nar?  Then you are wrong.  Nar is the commenting on Premise and Sim is the abduction, induction and deduction of System.  Thus both styles play can "comment" of personality.  This is also true of Gamism.  However, while a fixed or mechanically prescriptive personality can certainly be a nifty tool for Nar play it is neither a "tell" of Nar play nor facilitative of Sim play.

[quote="Mike Holmes
QuoteIf a player acted to erratically then they would be damaging the Dream for all the other players because everyone needs to be on the same page regarding how the world works.  If someone is acting without rhyme or reason and there is no explainable cause then that player is damaging the induction and signification process for all the rest of the players.  Thus while it may seem that no one cares what the other players are doing, we are actually deeply invested in how everyone else at the table operates because everyone's actions have the potential to tweak or alter everyone else's inductive process.  Break the rules too much and the whole internal model (which is the foundation for the system of signification) collapses and the Dream comes to an abrupt end.
Right, System Doesn't Matter. We'll leave it to the players to make right by social contract. System would only mess this stuff up, so we'll ignore the mechanics related to it.
Again you make the error of conflating System and Mechanics.  Mechanics are selfsame as System, but rather one form of system.  In our system of play it is the bricoled system of "meanings and rules" which informs the negotiation process.  System is central to Sim play, not peripheral.  In fact I will go so far as to say quote, again I believe it was Vincent, as roughly saying that, "Mechanics are refinements/implementations of the Social Contract."  I mean Mechanics are just a much a functioning of the Social contract as the mode of play I am speaking of – that is mechanics have no actual authority unless the players have given the results credibility, and that is an expression of the Social Contract.  Functional/effective System drift occurs specifically because the "rules" are a negotiable part of the Social Contract.  In Sim System is what is being negotiated via play.

Quote from: Mike Holmes"]This is very much the "get out of the way" attitude. Where system interfers, instead of using mechanics that support what we want, we'll assume that no system can do so, drop all mechanics, and leave it on the participants to arrange. Shifting the system to freeform here again. What makes sense is constantly negotiated instead of having algorithms to figure it out.[/quote]

In a way you are correct, but you have it backwards.  To whit – "Because mechanics interfere with the Expression of the Sim CA, we use the entirety and plentitude of the concept of system (the means by which statements are negotiated into the SIS) as derived from the source material and that which has been negotiated in play."  Because the entirety of system (not limited to mechanics nor excluding mechanics) is itself up for negotiation, then a fixed mechanic confounds that process and contradicts the goal.

Again, if you mean "Free form" as meaning no or an extremely limited role of mechanics as a means of resolution, but that there is still a highly complex, subtle and rich "system" that encompasses resolution then I agree with you.  If however, you mean "Free form" to basically mean the "whim" of the GM, then you are profoundly off the mark.

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]Thus, its not that they found their own system of mechanics lacking, but that it was discovered that the role of mechanics was decidedly different than the conventional wisdom had up till that point held.[/quote]Well, held by the non-freeformers. You realize that people got this idea after the first few sessions of D&D in 1974. And have been playing this way ever since.[/quote]

By extension of this logic, all RPG's that came out after D&D are just drifted versions to lesser or greater degrees of the original game.

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]We make frequent use of Fortune mechanics but we don't need to know the mechanical process by which the content of the narration is decided upon.[/quote]Or, whether or not it's being used at all, right? I mean, even if the GM rolls a die, you don't actually know that he's using the mechanics, do you?[/quote]

Absolutely.  Nor is that relevant.  What does matter is that the outcome is reasonably plausible within the player generated System.  Again System is not the same as mechanics.  His input, whether informed by Fortune Mechanics or Drama Mechanics as informed from the totality of player generated System up to that point in time, is irrelevant.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]As you say:[quote]Once the GM gets the "feel" of them, that is get a feel for the norms of the world, then the "calling" or the overt labeling of the employed task resolution mechanics are no longer strictly "necessary."[/quote]

I'm not saying that your GM's are faking. But I would suggest that it's likely. This is just a long-running sort of illusionism.

But what's interesting is that the modeling still resembles D&D reality. I mean, I think I remember you saying that combat was still in "rounds"?[/quote]

What is there to "fake?"  Mechanics don't make the game, the player negotiations make the game.  How can one "fake" negotiating?  We players either agree to give his input credibility or not.  Mechanics only facilitate that process; Mechanics are not selfsame as that process.

Actually I said that we don't use "rounds, turns, segments or the like."

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]The mere act of calling for a roll then becomes significant in and of itself.  "What is going on that is significant enough that the GM needs to show impartiality?"[/quote]Or the appearance of impartiality - they might still be faking. In any case, if it's obvious that GM fiat is being used at times, then why is impartiality ever neccessary? Gotta be level playing field. The GM saying that he's not hosing the players, but letting the system show "what really would have happened" arbitrarily.[/quote]

Because the dice add drama!  If their employment increases tension then they are employed.  If a die roll would not serve to heighten tension, then they aren't employed by the GM.  Sometimes he's just fishing when having us roll dice.  In this mode of play the totality and plentitude of system is employed for resolutions, meaning Mechanics not only doesn't hold the exalted ground of being supreme arbiter, but rather fortune Mechanics are in the service of moment (which is determined by the GM).  Thus if the moment would not be aided by their employment they aren't.  The converse is also true.

The notion of impartiality is, I think, a tar baby.  Since all Mechanics employment is subject to player consensus, then all Mechanics employment while have some bias to some extent or another.  The only way to make the Mechanics truly arbitrary is to remove the human element all to
In fact, this seems to be a feature of many sim games, and is often pointed to as the dividing line between sim and nar - the abilty to make statements based on the character's personality. So it very much sounds like you're arguing that the game is nar supportive here.

I am confused about your statement here.  Are you saying that "commenting" on personality is the dividing line between Sim are Nar?  Then you are wrong.  Nar is the commenting on Premise and Sim is the abduction, induction and deduction of System.  Thus both styles play can "comment" of personality.  This is also true of Gamism.  However, while a fixed or mechanically prescriptive personality can certainly be a nifty tool for Nar play it is neither a "tell" of Nar play nor facilitative of Sim play.

Quote from: Mike Holmes

Quote
If a player acted to erratically then they would be damaging the Dream for all the other players because everyone needs to be on the same page regarding how the world works.  If someone is acting without rhyme or reason and there is no explainable cause then that player is damaging the induction and signification process for all the rest of the players.  Thus while it may seem that no one cares what the other players are doing, we are actually deeply invested in how everyone else at the table operates because everyone's actions have the potential to tweak or alter everyone else's inductive process.  Break the rules too much and the whole internal model (which is the foundation for the system of signification) collapses and the Dream comes to an abrupt end.

Right, System Doesn't Matter. We'll leave it to the players to make right by social contract. System would only mess this stuff up, so we'll ignore the mechanics related to it.


Again you make the error of conflating System and Mechanics.  Mechanics are selfsame as System, but rather one form of system.  In our system of play it is the bricoled system of "meanings and rules" which informs the negotiation process.  System is central to Sim play, not peripheral.  In fact I will go so far as to say quote, again I believe it was Vincent, as roughly saying that, "Mechanics are refinements/implementations of the Social Contract."  I mean Mechanics are just a much a functioning of the Social contract as the mode of play I am speaking of – that is mechanics have no actual authority unless the players have given the results credibility, and that is an expression of the Social Contract.  Functional/effective System drift occurs specifically because the "rules" are a negotiable part of the Social Contract.  In Sim System is what is being negotiated via play.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]This is very much the "get out of the way" attitude. Where system interfers, instead of using mechanics that support what we want, we'll assume that no system can do so, drop all mechanics, and leave it on the participants to arrange. Shifting the system to freeform here again. What makes sense is constantly negotiated instead of having algorithms to figure it out.[/quote]

In a way you are correct, but you have it backwards.  To whit – "Because mechanics interfere with the Expression of the Sim CA, we use the entirety and plentitude of the concept of system (the means by which statements are negotiated into the SIS) as derived from the source material and that which has been negotiated in play."  Because the entirety of system (not limited to mechanics nor excluding mechanics) is itself up for negotiation, then a fixed mechanic confounds that process and contradicts the goal.

Again, if you mean "Free form" as meaning no or an extremely limited role of mechanics as a means of resolution, but that there is still a highly complex, subtle and rich "system" that encompasses resolution then I agree with you.  If however, you mean "Free form" to basically mean the "whim" of the GM, then you are profoundly off the mark.

[quote="Mike Holmes
QuoteThus, its not that they found their own system of mechanics lacking, but that it was discovered that the role of mechanics was decidedly different than the conventional wisdom had up till that point held.
Well, held by the non-freeformers. You realize that people got this idea after the first few sessions of D&D in 1974. And have been playing this way ever since.
By extension of this logic, all RPG's that came out after D&D are just drifted versions to lesser or greater degrees of the original game.

Quote from: Mike Holmes"][quote]We make frequent use of Fortune mechanics but we don't need to know the mechanical process by which the content of the narration is decided upon.[/quote]Or, whether or not it's being used at all, right? I mean, even if the GM rolls a die, you don't actually know that he's using the mechanics, do you?[/quote]

Absolutely.  Nor is that relevant.  What does matter is that the outcome is reasonably plausible within the player generated System.  Again System is not the same as mechanics.  His input, whether informed by Fortune Mechanics or Drama Mechanics as informed from the totality of player generated System up to that point in time, is irrelevant.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]As you say:[quote]Once the GM gets the "feel" of them, that is get a feel for the norms of the world, then the "calling" or the overt labeling of the employed task resolution mechanics are no longer strictly "necessary."[/quote]

I'm not saying that your GM's are faking. But I would suggest that it's likely. This is just a long-running sort of illusionism.

But what's interesting is that the modeling still resembles D&D reality. I mean, I think I remember you saying that combat was still in "rounds"?[/quote]

What is there to "fake?"  Mechanics don't make the game, the player negotiations make the game.  How can one "fake" negotiating?  We players either agree to give his input credibility or not.  Mechanics only facilitate that process; Mechanics are not selfsame as that process.

Actually I said that we don't use "rounds, turns, segments or the like."

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]The mere act of calling for a roll then becomes significant in and of itself.  "What is going on that is significant enough that the GM needs to show impartiality?"[/quote]Or the appearance of impartiality - they might still be faking. In any case, if it's obvious that GM fiat is being used at times, then why is impartiality ever neccessary? Gotta be level playing field. The GM saying that he's not hosing the players, but letting the system show "what really would have happened" arbitrarily.[/quote]

Because the dice add drama!  If their employment increases tension then they are employed.  If a die roll would not serve to heighten tension, then they aren't employed by the GM.  Sometimes he's just fishing when having us roll dice.  In this mode of play the totality and plentitude of system is employed for resolutions, meaning Mechanics not only doesn't hold the exalted ground of being supreme arbiter, but rather fortune Mechanics are in the service of moment (which is determined by the GM).  Thus if the moment would not be aided by their employment they aren't.  The converse is also true.

The notion of impartiality is, I think, a tar baby.  Since all Mechanics employment is subject to player consensus, then all Mechanics employment while have some bias to some extent or another.  The only way to make the Mechanics truly arbitrary is to remove the human element all together – that is have something like a computer resolve all events and all the players must accept them a prori.  What matters instead is that the GM and all the players stay within the confines of the Social Contract.  Sometimes the GM does "hose" us, as it were.  However, that could only happen if the totality of the player generated/negotiated system would support that resolution as plausible in the first place.

Because the phrase "hosing the player's" implies a certain implicit unfairness, I ask how does one define what is fair or unfair in the first place?  Where is it even written that the GM must be "fair?"  What does "fair" mean?  I say that "fair" is locally defined and is part of the Social Contract.  Isn't the role of "GM" to facilitate play, which in implies the facilitation of the expression of CA?  In our game, with the source material
This is very much the "get out of the way" attitude. Where system interfers, instead of using mechanics that support what we want, we'll assume that no system can do so, drop all mechanics, and leave it on the participants to arrange. Shifting the system to freeform here again. What makes sense is constantly negotiated instead of having algorithms to figure it out.

In a way you are correct, but you have it backwards.  To whit – "Because mechanics interfere with the Expression of the Sim CA, we use the entirety and plentitude of the concept of system (the means by which statements are negotiated into the SIS) as derived from the source material and that which has been negotiated in play."  Because the entirety of system (not limited to mechanics nor excluding mechanics) is itself up for negotiation, then a fixed mechanic confounds that process and contradicts the goal.

Again, if you mean "Free form" as meaning no or an extremely limited role of mechanics as a means of resolution, but that there is still a highly complex, subtle and rich "system" that encompasses resolution then I agree with you.  If however, you mean "Free form" to basically mean the "whim" of the GM, then you are profoundly off the mark.

Quote from: Mike Holmes

Quote
Thus, its not that they found their own system of mechanics lacking, but that it was discovered that the role of mechanics was decidedly different than the conventional wisdom had up till that point held.

Well, held by the non-freeformers. You realize that people got this idea after the first few sessions of D&D in 1974. And have been playing this way ever since.


By extension of this logic, all RPG's that came out after D&D are just drifted versions to lesser or greater degrees of the original game.

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]We make frequent use of Fortune mechanics but we don't need to know the mechanical process by which the content of the narration is decided upon.[/quote]Or, whether or not it's being used at all, right? I mean, even if the GM rolls a die, you don't actually know that he's using the mechanics, do you?[/quote]

Absolutely.  Nor is that relevant.  What does matter is that the outcome is reasonably plausible within the player generated System.  Again System is not the same as mechanics.  His input, whether informed by Fortune Mechanics or Drama Mechanics as informed from the totality of player generated System up to that point in time, is irrelevant.

[quote="Mike HolmesAs you say:
QuoteOnce the GM gets the "feel" of them, that is get a feel for the norms of the world, then the "calling" or the overt labeling of the employed task resolution mechanics are no longer strictly "necessary."

I'm not saying that your GM's are faking. But I would suggest that it's likely. This is just a long-running sort of illusionism.

But what's interesting is that the modeling still resembles D&D reality. I mean, I think I remember you saying that combat was still in "rounds"?
What is there to "fake?"  Mechanics don't make the game, the player negotiations make the game.  How can one "fake" negotiating?  We players either agree to give his input credibility or not.  Mechanics only facilitate that process; Mechanics are not selfsame as that process.

Actually I said that we don't use "rounds, turns, segments or the like."

Quote from: Mike Holmes"][quote]The mere act of calling for a roll then becomes significant in and of itself.  "What is going on that is significant enough that the GM needs to show impartiality?"[/quote]Or the appearance of impartiality - they might still be faking. In any case, if it's obvious that GM fiat is being used at times, then why is impartiality ever neccessary? Gotta be level playing field. The GM saying that he's not hosing the players, but letting the system show "what really would have happened" arbitrarily.[/quote]

Because the dice add drama!  If their employment increases tension then they are employed.  If a die roll would not serve to heighten tension, then they aren't employed by the GM.  Sometimes he's just fishing when having us roll dice.  In this mode of play the totality and plentitude of system is employed for resolutions, meaning Mechanics not only doesn't hold the exalted ground of being supreme arbiter, but rather fortune Mechanics are in the service of moment (which is determined by the GM).  Thus if the moment would not be aided by their employment they aren't.  The converse is also true.

The notion of impartiality is, I think, a tar baby.  Since all Mechanics employment is subject to player consensus, then all Mechanics employment while have some bias to some extent or another.  The only way to make the Mechanics truly arbitrary is to remove the human element all together – that is have something like a computer resolve all events and all the players must accept them a prori.  What matters instead is that the GM and all the players stay within the confines of the Social Contract.  Sometimes the GM does "hose" us, as it were.  However, that could only happen if the totality of the player generated/negotiated system would support that resolution as plausible in the first place.

Because the phrase "hosing the player's" implies a certain implicit unfairness, I ask how does one define what is fair or unfair in the first place?  Where is it even written that the GM must be "fair?"  What does "fair" mean?  I say that "fair" is locally defined and is part of the Social Contract.  Isn't the role of "GM" to facilitate play, which in implies the facilitation of the expression of CA?  In our game, with the source material having a strong thematic element of "fate," it is acceptable and part of our Sim CA expression and what is one of the many idea being celebrated, such turns of events are not needed to be perceived as
QuoteWe make frequent use of Fortune mechanics but we don't need to know the mechanical process by which the content of the narration is decided upon.
Or, whether or not it's being used at all, right? I mean, even if the GM rolls a die, you don't actually know that he's using the mechanics, do you?

Absolutely.  Nor is that relevant.  What does matter is that the outcome is reasonably plausible within the player generated System.  Again System is not the same as mechanics.  His input, whether informed by Fortune Mechanics or Drama Mechanics as informed from the totality of player generated System up to that point in time, is irrelevant.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
As you say:
Quote
Once the GM gets the "feel" of them, that is get a feel for the norms of the world, then the "calling" or the overt labeling of the employed task resolution mechanics are no longer strictly "necessary."


I'm not saying that your GM's are faking. But I would suggest that it's likely. This is just a long-running sort of illusionism.

But what's interesting is that the modeling still resembles D&D reality. I mean, I think I remember you saying that combat was still in "rounds"?


What is there to "fake?"  Mechanics don't make the game, the player negotiations make the game.  How can one "fake" negotiating?  We players either agree to give his input credibility or not.  Mechanics only facilitate that process; Mechanics are not selfsame as that process.

Actually I said that we don't use "rounds, turns, segments or the like."

[quote="Mike Holmes"][quote]The mere act of calling for a roll then becomes significant in and of itself.  "What is going on that is significant enough that the GM needs to show impartiality?"[/quote]Or the appearance of impartiality - they might still be faking. In any case, if it's obvious that GM fiat is being used at times, then why is impartiality ever neccessary? Gotta be level playing field. The GM saying that he's not hosing the players, but letting the system show "what really would have happened" arbitrarily.[/quote]

Because the dice add drama!  If their employment increases tension then they are employed.  If a die roll would not serve to heighten tension, then they aren't employed by the GM.  Sometimes he's just fishing when having us roll dice.  In this mode of play the totality and plentitude of system is employed for resolutions, meaning Mechanics not only doesn't hold the exalted ground of being supreme arbiter, but rather fortune Mechanics are in the service of moment (which is determined by the GM).  Thus if the moment would not be aided by their employment they aren't.  The converse is also true.

The notion of impartiality is, I think, a tar baby.  Since all Mechanics employment is subject to player consensus, then all Mechanics employment while have some bias to some extent or another.  The only way to make the Mechanics truly arbitrary is to remove the human element all together – that is have something like a computer resolve all events and all the players must accept them a prori.  What matters instead is that the GM and all the players stay within the confines of the Social Contract.  Sometimes the GM does "hose" us, as it were.  However, that could only happen if the totality of the player generated/negotiated system would support that resolution as plausible in the first place.

Because the phrase "hosing the player's" implies a certain implicit unfairness, I ask how does one define what is fair or unfair in the first place?  Where is it even written that the GM must be "fair?"  What does "fair" mean?  I say that "fair" is locally defined and is part of the Social Contract.  Isn't the role of "GM" to facilitate play, which in implies the facilitation of the expression of CA?  In our game, with the source material having a strong thematic element of "fate," it is acceptable and part of our Sim CA expression and what is one of the many idea being celebrated, such turns of events are not needed to be perceived as arbitrary.  In fact the point of the mythic bricoling process is to remove the arbitrariness of "the world."  Ultimately, the concept of complete arbitrariness flies in the face of the Sim system creation process.  We are trying to make sense of the world, not model the world.  We want event resolutions where we have fodder in our struggle to create meaning (induction) not just the manufacture of arbitrary results.

[quote="Mike Holmes...Wait - did I just admit that I was playing protection against pawn stance gamism? Yep. ...
Excellent!  That is how you used system.  In our mode of play such an employment of mechanics is not to protect against Gamism, in fact sometimes the GM having us roll a die is in itself a "meaningful" clue/cue for us to chew on.

Quote from:
QuoteThe mere act of calling for a roll then becomes significant in and of itself.  "What is going on that is significant enough that the GM needs to show impartiality?"
Or the appearance of impartiality - they might still be faking. In any case, if it's obvious that GM fiat is being used at times, then why is impartiality ever neccessary? Gotta be level playing field. The GM saying that he's not hosing the players, but letting the system show "what really would have happened" arbitrarily.

Because the dice add drama!  If their employment increases tension then they are employed.  If a die roll would not serve to heighten tension, then they aren't employed by the GM.  Sometimes he's just fishing when having us roll dice.  In this mode of play the totality and plentitude of system is employed for resolutions, meaning Mechanics not only doesn't hold the exalted ground of being supreme arbiter, but rather fortune Mechanics are in the service of moment (which is determined by the GM).  Thus if the moment would not be aided by their employment they aren't.  The converse is also true.

The notion of impartiality is, I think, a tar baby.  Since all Mechanics employment is subject to player consensus, then all Mechanics employment while have some bias to some extent or another.  The only way to make the Mechanics truly arbitrary is to remove the human element all together – that is have something like a computer resolve all events and all the players must accept them a prori.  What matters instead is that the GM and all the players stay within the confines of the Social Contract.  Sometimes the GM does "hose" us, as it were.  However, that could only happen if the totality of the player generated/negotiated system would support that resolution as plausible in the first place.

Because the phrase "hosing the player's" implies a certain implicit unfairness, I ask how does one define what is fair or unfair in the first place?  Where is it even written that the GM must be "fair?"  What does "fair" mean?  I say that "fair" is locally defined and is part of the Social Contract.  Isn't the role of "GM" to facilitate play, which in implies the facilitation of the expression of CA?  In our game, with the source material having a strong thematic element of "fate," it is acceptable and part of our Sim CA expression and what is one of the many idea being celebrated, such turns of events are not needed to be perceived as arbitrary.  In fact the point of the mythic bricoling process is to remove the arbitrariness of "the world."  Ultimately, the concept of complete arbitrariness flies in the face of the Sim system creation process.  We are trying to make sense of the world, not model the world.  We want event resolutions where we have fodder in our struggle to create meaning (induction) not just the manufacture of arbitrary results.

[quote="Mike Holmes...Wait - did I just admit that I was playing protection against pawn stance gamism? Yep. ...
Excellent!  That is how you used system.  In our mode of play such an employment of mechanics is not to protect against Gamism, in fact sometimes the GM having us roll a die is in itself a "meaningful" clue/cue for us to chew on.

[quote="Mike Holmes"]Anyhow, pretending to use a system, like I was doing, is very much a System Doesn't Matter attitude. It was, we want to be playing a "game" (it's Role Playing Game, after all!), but no rules work to produce an interesting story, so I'm just going to make it up anyway.[/quote]

Again, you conflate System with Mechanics or rather you are committing synecdoche.  While System does encompass Mechanics, Mechanics is not equal to System.  Sim play is deeply concerned with and steeped in System as a whole, not limited to Mechanics.  That's the mistaken thinking that goes on all the time.  The lack of Mechanics does not connote arbitrary or uniformed decision making.  Sim is just rotten with "rules," they are created and acted upon via the play process, they just aren't formalized as Mechanics or handled as "concept."

Whew – I'm done.  Sean you're next up!
Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay

Ron Edwards

You guys might be surprised at this, but I am bored to death by this thread.

Can we get back to talking about making and playing the dwarf? Jay, have you played this character yet, with others? If so, what's happened?

And also, I'm very curious as to how your group typically inserts a new character into play. I have my suspicions about how this is done, but I'd rather hear about it from you.

Best,
Ron

Silmenume

Hey Ron,

Quote from: Ron EdwardsYou guys might be surprised at this, but I am bored to death by this thread.

Can we get back to talking about making and playing the dwarf? Jay, have you played this character yet, with others? If so, what's happened?

Actually not surprised in the least.  I was beginning to fret that I had wondered far from the foundation of this thread and my worries were borne out.

I have not played the new dwarf Character yet, nor have I played at all since I originally got the Character.  We will probably not be playing for several months, and my intuition tells me is that it is fairly unlikely that I will see him in play any time soon not including the hiatus.  Powerful Characters tend to get played less often than more mundane, down to (Middle) Earth Characters.

Quote from: Ron EdwardsAnd also, I'm very curious as to how your group typically inserts a new character into play. I have my suspicions about how this is done, but I'd rather hear about it from you.

Frequently new Characters are introduced through new "scenarios" and are typically the focus of that night's set up.  Of that process often several newly minted Characters are "introduced" all at once with their intra- and inter- relationships providing the foundation and the direction of the impetus (think vector) for start of that particular game.  What this means is the new Characters are introduced via actual play, but not as background or an isolated Setting piece.  IOW a new Character is usually introduced to the other players as Situation intermixed with the GM introducing certain elements of the Character to the owning Player.  Extremely rare is the new Character who is introduced to play as a complete unknown to the other players without any bonds of any sort – like an inert gas.

To go back a bit to what I mean by Situation is that each Character is going to have a different relationship to the new Character, and that relationship is going to have some conflicts to a greater or lesser degree – explicit or implicit mixed with some bonds and ties.

Sometimes a new Character is introduced near the end of a scenario as the "object" of play.  Other times the Character is introduced during events, such as was how my Dwarf was originally intended to be introduced.  Again the new Character usually represents the ability to fill a need or the creation of a obligation to one or more of the already established Characters.  Of the latter just one example might be an established Character being rescued in some fashion by the new Character after which the new Character is then handed off to the owning Player.

Overall the GM tries to vary the manner and circumstances of the introduction of the new Character, but I don't think I can really remember a new Character being introduced that did not have bonds/relations (positive and negative) to Setting as well as at least some bonds to the "established" player Characters.  I should note that these "bonds" could be anything from sibling, to filial, to racial, to those of duty/obligation, to co-membership to some sort of organization (which can be anything from political to military), to oaths or promises, etc.  The new Character can either fulfill that bond for the player Characters or evoke that bond in one or more of the established player Characters for his needs.

I haven't spent a huge amount of time in the past putting this process under the microscope so I don't have a lot material to present as yet.  But as a result of this writing I now see how important the forging of bonds and the introduction of conflict both in the new Character's relationship with Setting and the other player Characters is.  If you have further questions that would help unlock the investigation of this process please fire away!

Hey Sean,

As per Ron's correct suggestion I am going to defer answering your post on this board.  If you wish feel free to either PM and indicate your interest or bring it to one of the Theory boards if you wish.  I am more than willing to continue our discussion.

Before I sign off I want to very briefly post this very quick reply in public –

Quote from: SeanThe way you describe the intensity of some sessions, with large groups of shouting men, also suggests a gamist-type personal investment. Pure Simulationist intensity on a similar level would I suspect look more like a shared trance.

All CA's can have games where the players exhibit a powerful personal investment, "Pure Simulationist" intensity not withstanding.  Simulationist players can be just as pro-active and have as many powerful and personal stakes riding on play as the other two CA's.  Remember the players are creating here as well and that places a strong onus on all the Players to be as effective in their Sim creative acts as Gamists are in addressing Challenge or Narrativist are in addressing Premise.  In Sim we too have much vested in the game via the sharing of the same Dream-Fact space.

... 'til the next post!
Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay

Silmenume

Hey Ron,

Quote from: Ron EdwardsAnd also, I'm very curious as to how your group typically inserts a new character into play. I have my suspicions about how this is done, but I'd rather hear about it from you.

Unless you're still looking to wait, I am curious as to what your suspicions are.  They might help me get some perspective and thus gain a better understanding of what is going in the game I am playing in.

Thanks!
Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay