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Author Topic: Stakes in Narrativism  (Read 5221 times)
Andrew Morris
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« on: August 04, 2005, 12:33:29 PM »

I just have a quick question here. While reading through the Provisional Glossary, I noticed that the definition for "Stakes" basically stated that they applied to Gamist play. However, I've seen Stakes used to refer to Narratvist play, as well.

So, is the definition incomplete or inaccurate? Is using Stakes in reference to Narrativist play incorrect? What about for Simulationist play?
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jburneko
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2005, 01:02:20 PM »

Ron can correct me if I'm wrong but I think Stakes has used in the glossary is meant to be a technical term with regard to Gamism.  However, with Narrativism we often talk, informally, about what's at stake in a conflict.  In that sense "stakes" isn't meant to be a technical term.  It's just a word that makes sense in casual conversation.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2005, 02:22:58 PM »

Hello,

Jesse's right, but the potential for confusion is increased by my use of "stakes" as a term in Trollbabe. In that game, it's referring to some kind of person/place/thing in the scenario which really is at risk in some way. The real issue in play, of course, is what to do regarding these stakes, and why. What's "at stakes."

Whereas as a technical term, in Gamism, the stakes refers to what you might get, in reward, as well as what you're risking, which are often related, as in gambling.

Best,
Ron
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2005, 05:34:43 PM »

Okay, I'm still not understanding. The explanation sounds a bit like, "When used to talk about Gamism, 'Stakes' is a technical term, referring to what you risk and stand to gain, but when you use 'stakes' to refer to Narrativism, it's an informal term, referring to what's at risk." Huh?

What's the difference between "what is risked and gained" and "what's at risk," other than the fact that the "gain" in the latter isn't explicit? For example, in a combat, the risk could be lowered Effectiveness or loss of character (in any CA). The gain could be survival, achievement of a goal, or increased Effectiveness (again, in any CA). So....what's the difference, really? The "technical" vs. "informal" distinction? A capital vs. a lowercase letter? If that's the only difference, then they're functionally the same thing.

I'm willing to accept that I'm missing a key point here (in fact, that's likely the case), but I can't discern what it is from the explanations offered so far.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2005, 06:57:01 PM »

Hi Andrew,

The key point you're missing is that in Gamism, we're talking about people, real people, at the table. Not the fictional stuff in the game-world. Stuff in the game-world like, say, "diamonds in the trapped chest" are not Stakes to Gamist play. What's at stake is the chance to buy more effectiveness vs. the chance to get your character injured or killed by the trap (and hence will be played less effectively or not at all). See? Nothing to do with how much, or why, the character wants the diamonds.

Whereas in Trollbabe, for instance, the stakes refers to in-game assets or desired stuff which some NPCs really care about, and which will be affected by the trollbabe's actions. The trollbabe may or may not care about them, and is under no obligation to do so, and definitely the player may or may not find them important, and is free to choose in what way if they do. But those NPCs sure do care, and so the stakes in Trollbabe are used as a way to power-up the activities of the NPCs as the scenario progresses.

Best,
Ron
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Andrew Cooper
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2005, 03:21:58 AM »

Andrew (the other one obviously),

Ron can correctly if I'm wrong but in Gamist play the Stakes can be a bit of pride, the right to some smack-talk, and some inter-player social status.  In a healthy group this isn't extreme but it's quite real.  Imagine being at the table and you have your Fighter run right up to the big, nasty Dragon (making yourself a target and keeping attacks away from weaker characters).  What's at Stake...

Win - "Wow, did you see that attack!  Andrew did 50 points of damage in 1 round!  Kick ass!"

Lose - "Heh.  Guess that prove the old adage.  Don't mess with Dragons for you are crunchy and taste good on toast."

The Stakes in Gamism are real player to player issues.

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TonyLB
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2005, 03:53:26 AM »

Oh, how interesting!  I've been using stakes (informally) in narrativism to mean what the player has at stake, in terms of their preferred address of premise.  So, like, if you are playing a staunch, upright hero and the villain tries to make you lose faith in the common people then your (real-life) desire to play your hero as optimistic and determined is the stake.  Which I gather is somewhere between the two things being listed here.
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2005, 05:49:41 AM »

Okay, so the difference between Stakes (technical) and stakes (informal) is whether what's at risk is important to the player (Stakes) or the character (stakes). But what about the situation where it's both? I think this is probably the case more often than not, in any CA. I'm still not understanding why Stakes applies only to Gamism. Aren't all the CAs about "people, real people, at the table"?
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Andrew Cooper
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2005, 07:24:07 AM »

Ah...  I see you question now.  Let me see if I can answer it being the good Gamist that I am.

In Gamist play, Stakes (with the capital "S") is the priority of play.  It's what's at risk when you "Step on up!"  It's very much between the players and to a Gamist group it is the point of playing.  If you take it away, why bother.  Booooooring.  Yawn.  Can there be inter-player stakes in Nar or Sim games?  Sure.  Capes is a good example.  Especially the way I read Tony playing it.  However, that social risk and "Step on up!" aren't the point of Capes.  Rather, Premise and Theme are the priorities in that game.  That's one of the reasons I'm looking forward to trying Capes out.  I can indulge in my Gamist tendencies and still experience how the Narrativists do things, without disrupting the game.

I think I've got this correct anyways.  I'll let Ron or someone give me the thumbs up or the thumbs down.

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2005, 04:00:46 PM »

Whoops, I didn't realize there was a cue for me at the end of this thread. Sorry Andrew.

Thumbs up!

Best,
Ron
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