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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 54 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: How do you draw out a relationship map?  (Read 5651 times)
ghoyle1
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« on: October 02, 2005, 09:29:11 AM »

How do you draw out a relationship map? Are there some examples online somewhere?

Guy (Hoyle)
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Guy (Hoyle)
I used to think, "Mind-control satellites? No way!" But now I can't remember how we lived without 'em.
Peter Nordstrand
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2005, 11:51:02 AM »

Hi,

Here are some links:

Relationship maps. Includes further links.

You need to buySorcerer's Soul. It doesn't matter if whether you play Sorcerer or not. This is the book.

One of Ron's R-maps

Good luck.
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2005, 09:58:37 AM »

Do you know what kind of a learner you are?  If you're of a visual bent, then drawing out your relationship map will work well for you.  However, not all relationship maps need to be drawn.  I get a lot of steam out of using index cards and sorting them, shifting them around, even dealing 'hands' of them to suggest new combinations I hadn't thought of before.  I also write out little entries of each element in the R-map in one long document, and this works well, too.  Relationship maps are highly dependant on how your brain works -- experiment and find something that works for you.
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MatrixGamer
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2005, 02:00:48 PM »

You could also look at the body of literature on relationships and social networks found in anthropology, psychology, social psychology, sociology, psychotherapy and family therapy.

I've been doing psychotherapy and family therapy for nearly 20 years. Here are a few ways I've seen social networks described.

1. Kurt Lewin's Field Theory: A person's psyche is divided into areas that touch and interact (id, ego, super ego - warmed over Freud). This forms an individual person. People interact with other people - so their fields touch. This reduces relationships into a map. It's theory straight from the 1950's.

2. "Tally's Corner" a sociological evaluation of a ghetto neighborhood in the early 1960's. The individual is in the center of their world. They are surrounded by a series of circles that indicate how emotionally or economically close a person is to them. It shows how people have networks of contacts that help them meet their needs.

3. Genograms, the family therapy tool: Structural family therapy is built on the idea that societies and families are build on hierarchy. The parents are over the kids. Individuals are drawn using circles (for women) and squares (for men) in a hierarchy. Kids are placed in a row in birth order. Lines are used to show connections between people. In a "healthy" family they parents have a strong tie between them and present a unitied front to the kids. There is a wall between the kids and the parents marital relationship (which is independent of their parental relationship). The classic "unhealthy" family is one where the parents have a marital problem that puts a wall between them. The mother builds a VERY strong connection with the kids (recruiting them as allies in her marital conflict). Once the father is pushed out, mom has a problem - her kids are now her equals. She needs to reestablish herself as the parent. (A problem that has kept me employed for many years!)

4. Emile Durkheim's organizational model: This is the corporate structure map idea, where different jobs are rellegated to different departments. Another pyramid.

5. Engle Matrix Games - operate on a mental geography made up of all these with the addition that certain descriptive words can be tagged to relationships like "friend" "enemy" "Rival" "Minion" etc.

I'd definitely recommend looking outside of gaming for ideas on this subject rather than internally. It is a well researched area - so why reinvent the wheel.

Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
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Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
http://HamsterPress.net
Sydney Freedberg
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2005, 05:55:57 PM »

The individual is in the center of their world. They are surrounded by a series of circles that indicate how emotionally or economically close a person is to them...

Interesting. Ron Edwards, who did a lot of innovative stuff on relationship maps in The Sorcerer's Soul, goes into a similar concentric-circle model for stories in Sex and Sorcery: very loosely, it's self at the center, lovers/parents/children in the innermost ring, then friends, organizational / social groups, and so on out to everyone in the world. Edwards applies this to RPGs by proposing that a character care about two different people or groups, quite possibly in two different rings, and then has to choose when those two things come into conflict.
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MatrixGamer
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2005, 05:41:36 AM »

That's pretty much what they did in "Tally's Corner". People had the closest ties to their loved ones, but there was always the tension between economic and emotional needs. It also got into how crime functioned in the ghetto setting, at the time of the Civil Rights movement.

I think academic fields are a great treasure trove of ideas that can be used in games. The only potential problem I see is that academic terminology is different from the terms developed here at the Forge. "Simulation" and "Simulationist" being a case in point. Simulation is one way to do an experiment - which carries the assumption that one is trying to be objective.

What I'm wondering is how a relationship map will be used in a game?

I think of it as creating a mental landscape in which characters act. Actions subtly (or blatantly!) change relationships. In Engle Matrix Games these changes are operationalized in the game by the way they change the referee/game master's impression of the strength of arguments. I would like people to say how relationship maps or similar ideas would play out in their game system. For instance - Ron's book uses a relationship map which is important - how does it play out in the game? How does it play out in Breaking the Ice? Dogs in the Vinyard? and others.

Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
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Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
http://HamsterPress.net
Sydney Freedberg
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2005, 08:36:47 AM »

Well, of course, the sociologists and social workers study relationships to see how they can help make things right for real people, and novelists and roleplayers study them to see how they can make things go horribly wrong for imaginary people....

The Ron Edwards/Vincent Baker approach to r-maps is, as I understand it, intended to create instability that any action of the players then catalyzes into crisis: No matter what the player-characters do to whom, the impact of their actions will ripple out across the r-map and cause secondary effects that the player-characters then must react to. This doesn't become railroading because the GM draws the r-map (or should draw it) without any idea of what the player-characters should do, and especially without knowing in this web of conflicted relationships is the "good guy" and who the "bad guy" -- it's up to the players to take sides, and change sides.
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2005, 09:12:10 AM »

What I'm wondering is how a relationship map will be used in a game?

I haven't yet seen a game that uses an R-map in a systemic way, where the actions of play are directly based off of the map or the actions directly impact the map through the mechanics.  Mostly the R-map is used as inspirational material, or (as the name implies) a map to the 'territory' that the game plays out in.

...actually, I take that back.  The Montaigne supplement for 7th Sea has a mechanically functional R-map.  I don't remember the details, but I do remember being somewhat let down by how it was supposed to work.  It was a little too simple, and relied a lot on GM fiat.  Of course, grafting an R-map onto a relatively traditional game system was probably a hopeless cause to begin with.
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Peter Nordstrand
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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2005, 01:28:07 PM »

People,

Give Guy a chance to respond to what has been said before taking over. This is his thread, let him set the pace.

Chris "Matrix Games", if you don't know how a relationship map will be used in a game, you will not be able to help Guy out. Joshua, if you haven't seen a game that uses an R-map in a systemic way, you shouldn't be here either. Show some bloody courtesy goddamit!
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2005, 07:07:33 PM »

What Peter said.

Guy, what do you think? Questions, comments?

Or perhaps post in Actual Play, to describe experiences you had that drew your attention to the term "relationship map" when you encountered it.

Best,
Ron
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