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Author Topic: Setting > Situation > Scene?  (Read 23655 times)
Josh Roby
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« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2005, 08:55:11 PM »

...in an RPG, which elements are truly significant is only known in retrospect.  A setting detail which may have seemed insignificant before play might turn out to be crucial for how the game plays out -- indeed, such things are often the most interesting bits of the game, in my experience.

You have (half a) point, John -- the significance of elements are sometimes recognized only in retrospect.  In other game situations, they're perfectly plain from the start, either in terms of mechanical design (glamour in Changeling, self-loathing in MLwM) or in terms of stated player preferences ("I want to play a Jedi Knight who falls in love").  And in other games yet, the setting is drastically changed right in the middle of it.  Who hasn't played in some campaign that got "restarted" or shifted to somewhere else?

I think Eliot's got the right approach, and it's one that I can fake like I implied from the start -- that these distinctions certainly exist, but they are created and modified through play.  Which means that the significant elements are determined in play, as you say.

Callan --

I'm not saying there's an outside force that says you can't leave the Setting.  I'm saying that the Setting is the set of elements in the game.  If you're playing Romeo & Juliet and then go to the moon with rayguns, well, you've added the moon and rayguns to the Setting.  Similarly, sure you can reverse the order and have the entire game take place on a balcony, reflecting on the vastness of Italy that it's part of.  That's just a different game than R&J, and one that you can compose for your game group just as easily as you can say that you go to the moon.

The reason why that is important is that these decisions are procedures of play, which means they're something that we can fiddle with.  Obviously some games give the GM broad powers (Multiverser comes to mind), while other games would strictly delimit the Setting based on a rather crude group consensus buried in an implicit social contract ("Dude, adding in the space marines in the middle of the dungeon was just dumb").

Eliot --

I can see an argument that Situation is the relationships of elements in the Setting, sure.  These are illustrations, not "the way things are" that we're talking about.  I find it easier to talk about it as nested boxes because I think that can be a useful tool for 'paring down' a overly large setting into one nice bite-sized chunk of content to play.
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MatrixGamer
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« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2005, 08:54:04 AM »

Lets say that [setting > situation > scene] are nested. What implications does that have on game writing?

As an author, I have an idea of how I'd like my game to be played. The players can of course take it and do what they want with it - A gamist "My Life with Master" for instance - but since I'm writing the game I want to write it in such a way as would make my preferred type of play easy to do.

I will follow steps I took in a Gen Con game in the late 90's "Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter". (Which was a hoot to play.)

My first job is to describe the setting. This could be a wordy source book or something as abstract as boardgame icons. In Romeo and Ethel I did it as I do in Engle Matrix Games, the world was divided into an area map with key locations, there is a cast of characters (with a paragraph showing who they are), and a short introduction to the game that suggests what is going on (which suggests what the players need to do.) In this case it was played on two levels. On one level the characters were the characters in the story, on the next level they were actors in Elizabethan London putting on a show (complete with a depressed Shakespeare, a arrogant producer, and the dog "Use the dog Will. Everyone likes the dog.")

I tend to favor giving key information and trusting the players to imagine the blanks filled in.

Situation in part comes from the character's write ups (that suggest relationships and conflicts) and the opening introduction. The game could be explicit on what to do (as in a boardgame) or wide open. I see my job as a game writer to be to come up with a world that can be played with in many ways so I set up many potential struggles and trust the players to supply the spark to make them come alive.

Scene framing I think is a technique of play, just as the glossery says. It is the players enacting the situation, so the situation may be that Romeo is a lusty lad how will fall for the first pretty face he meets. The scene would be Romeo and Ethel meeting, with subsequent scenes exploring that relationship.

As a game maker I affect scene framing by the rules I include with the game. This is where "system matters" comes in. I use rules that suggest but don't require players to do any one thing. Player arguments judged by the referee is a negotiation of what the shared imagined space includes. The referee apportions authority/control over changing the world based on the likelyhood of an argument happening. Meanwhile the players are negotiating/jockying for control over what actually does happen in the game.

SUMMARY

Game writers present the setting. They influence scene framing by the rules they write. They may suggest situation but that is more up to what the players want when they play the game. The players can also ignore our rules and go off in their own direction if they want to so we really have little control over situation or scene framing.

Chris Engle
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Chris Engle
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2005, 09:18:32 AM »

Game writers present the setting. They influence scene framing by the rules they write. They may suggest situation but that is more up to what the players want when they play the game. The players can also ignore our rules and go off in their own direction if they want to so we really have little control over situation or scene framing.

Chris, I realize that that is totally a viable way to do it, but we really need to be careful not to say that it is the way to do it.  Matt Wilson created a great game in PTA but he didn't write one lick of setting.  As I understand it, the Roach dictates scene framing for the players rather than influencing it.

I think it would be far more useful to say that, as game designers, we need to be conscious of and perhaps offer mechanical procedures for determining the scope of the Setting, Situation, and Scenes.  (We talked about this in Scope & what I mean by it.)  I also think it would open some very viable areas of exploration when we start fiddling with player access to those procedures -- we know what a game looks like when the GM has absolute control over what's in and out of Setting, defines the Situation, and frames every Scene.  What's it look like when the GM can't frame scenes at all, or when the Situation is explicitly created by players spending currency?
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Callan S.
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« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2005, 01:45:38 PM »

Hi Joshua,

I get you now. But really then it's about someone at the table saying 'the balcony scene fits inside the warring families situation...that's how it is'.

I think when your trying to figure out how broad situation is, your trying to figure out how broad any particular player will insist it is. You don't know until they insist on it (unless you work out some currency they can pay off their insistance with).
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Philosopher Gamer
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2005, 04:48:34 PM »

Admittedly, Callan, Situation is defined by the play group.  However, Situation is definitionally "between" Setting and Scene, which is what I was trying to nail down.  Whatever the Situation is, it will be smaller (or equal to) the Setting and greater (or equal to) one Scene.
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John Kim
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« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2005, 11:49:01 PM »


...in an RPG, which elements are truly significant is only known in retrospect.  A setting detail which may have seemed insignificant before play might turn out to be crucial for how the game plays out -- indeed, such things are often the most interesting bits of the game, in my experience.

You have (half a) point, John -- the significance of elements are sometimes recognized only in retrospect.  In other game situations, they're perfectly plain from the start, either in terms of mechanical design (glamour in Changeling, self-loathing in MLwM) or in terms of stated player preferences ("I want to play a Jedi Knight who falls in love").  And in other games yet, the setting is drastically changed right in the middle of it.  Who hasn't played in some campaign that got "restarted" or shifted to somewhere else?

I think Eliot's got the right approach, and it's one that I can fake like I implied from the start -- that these distinctions certainly exist, but they are created and modified through play.  Which means that the significant elements are determined in play, as you say.

I think I buy that.  So these are the different levels, which may be different in play from how they're predicted.  Obviously, you can make predictions about what is significant from what rules-set you're using or stated player preferences.  Such predictions may be accurate but can also be wrong.  A player might turn out to be interested by something entirely different than what she originally said she would be -- i.e. she wants to play a Jedi Knight who falls in love, but in play the NPC set up as the love interest doesn't actually interest her, and she instead chooses a different path.  A Changeling game might have players be interested more in particular relationships and cultures than in collecting Glamour points. 

To me personally, I feel there is a big difference between Predicted Significance and Significance-In-Play.  However, they are obviously related. 

I think it would be far more useful to say that, as game designers, we need to be conscious of and perhaps offer mechanical procedures for determining the scope of the Setting, Situation, and Scenes.  (We talked about this in Scope & what I mean by it.)  I also think it would open some very viable areas of exploration when we start fiddling with player access to those procedures -- we know what a game looks like when the GM has absolute control over what's in and out of Setting, defines the Situation, and frames every Scene.  What's it look like when the GM can't frame scenes at all, or when the Situation is explicitly created by players spending currency?

Sure.  There are lots of options.  For example, LARPs generally do away with scene framing -- the time and place are always continuous and specified.  Dungeon crawls or other mapped-location gaming are another case of continuous time and placement -- where the GM cannot simply pick of the PCs, say that it is an hour later, and place them at some other location.  There, scene framing generally occurs only through collective agreement to skim past time.  Then there are GMless games like Soap or Capes. 


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pekkok
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« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2005, 12:49:12 PM »

An interesting and useful discussion, this thread, with a good general tone of writing: critically constructive (to my mind at least).


I would argue, the key is that Situation is the collection of relationships between elements (in-game and metagame). To be worth exploring, a scene must at least have the potential to alter or expand the collection of relationships. If you're thinking in dramatic terms, then at some point you want to say, "enough", and concentrate on scenes that alter existing relationships. Concretely, the only way to do this is to include elements that are already tied into the web of relationships that is Situation.

IMO that's why we're tempted to see Setting, Situation, and Scene as nested boxes, but they aren't really.

I can see an argument that Situation is the relationships of elements in the Setting, sure.  These are illustrations, not "the way things are" that we're talking about.  I find it easier to talk about it as nested boxes because I think that can be a useful tool for 'paring down' a overly large setting into one nice bite-sized chunk of content to play.


It seems to me here that Situation sets itself as a "topography" of Setting: In one sense, Situation comprises all the elements of the Setting - but only through their evaluation and measure: By discerning the Situation from the Setting, it maps interrelations, juncture points, etc., placing a weight of importance on them, and the connections between them.

This way, one ends up with a map where everything is "present" to some extent - but certain elements, in their concordance and complicity, rise to the foreground forming a constellation (the Situation), while others, more or less detached from this current complicity, fade into background. Furthermore, perceiving a situation is an act of filtering: That is, one is able to have a narrower or wider view of the Situation, depending on how one evaluates the importance.

Now, these kind of topographical concepts tend to include a point of view (perhaps a point of view is even unavoidable): Since it is an evaluation of some sort, there are criteria present, and criteria for evaluation cannot really be general (they have to evaluate something).

So, for example, one can evaluate the situation for a group of characters, or a single character - but, as entailed by the structure of the concept, the results are bound to be more or less different from each other: between the character and the group, between a single character at different times etc.

In sum, the Situation seems to me something one has to perceive through a point of view, and something that is susceptible to changes with the alterations of overall balance - but as such, forms a manner of perceiving a constellation of elements affecting a viewpoint, and a general impression of the balance of this constellation.

In this manner, I find this pair of concepts, Setting and Situation, both useful and robust - not universally useful, but then again, what is? (To explicate, I can think of instances of rpgs where the concept of Setting is not all that fruitful - for example when the topos and the question of Setting is exactly what is explored in the game, and is not, as such, preordained for any player, GMs included. But this type of games are exceedingly rare, and will probably stay that way.)

That's at least how I perceive the operative nature between Setting and Situation - I would love hear your agreements and, especially, disagreements.


There's no entry for "Scene" itself, but the definition of Situation says that it is divided into scenes, and Scene Framing suggests that those scenes would be what I was calling Situation.  So now I'm wondering if Setting, Situation, and Scene are nested within eachother.  This would make Setting the set-of-all-potential, Situation the set-of-all-significance, and Scene the set-of-all-actual.


The Scene, hmm - that's quite a can of worms. The concept has a lot of history, generally mixing up the establishment of a place with a development of action, even some sort of resolution "to wrap up the scene". Additionally, many rpgs use this type of concept of a scene, even emphasizing it as a measure of narrative chronology: "this power lasts to the end of the scene".

Given all that, it might be hard to strip down the scene to a term of scope, without the dominatively narrative implications (the word narrative used here in a traditional sense, as a structure, organisation of what is represented). There are alternative concepts skirting this area, such as Event, even State - but these outline things quite differently (although I have to say that I'm tempted by Setting-Situation-State triad for its robustness... but then again I'm an unabashed conceptual pervert).

So, running out of time, I'm left with three questions:

1. Can Scene be stripped from its narrative connotations, and how it should be defined as such?

2. Is this stripping of narrative connotations of the Scene even desirable? Or, is a concept that sets up a "crucible" for different elements to react together, in the interests of some type of resolution something that is actually needed for this area?

3. If Scene is found wanting, is there a satisfying alternative for it?


Cheers,
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pekko koskinen
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2005, 10:42:18 AM »

To me personally, I feel there is a big difference between Predicted Significance and Significance-In-Play. However, they are obviously related.

It's like your starting cash in Monopoly and the cash you end up with at the end of the game.  Or in poker, the hand you're dealt and the hand you eventually lay on the table.  I'd actually take a step further to a stronger statement where there really is no Predicted Significance before play -- I'd say that, as with dealing cards, setting up that initial set is part of play just as much as developing the set through roleplay.

This way, one ends up with a map where everything is "present" to some extent - but certain elements, in their concordance and complicity, rise to the foreground forming a constellation (the Situation), while others, more or less detached from this current complicity, fade into background.

I'd argue that the entire Setting being implied in the Situation is when things are really clicking -- see my difficulty finding a Shakespearean reference for this.  I don't know how feasible it is to expect this in RPGs, which do not have the same range of foresight, planning, and (msot importantly) revision to tie all those threads together (and remove stray elements that aren't clicking).

Quote
In sum, the Situation seems to me something one has to perceive through a point of view, and something that is susceptible to changes with the alterations of overall balance - but as such, forms a manner of perceiving a constellation of elements affecting a viewpoint, and a general impression of the balance of this constellation.

I have trouble seeing anything in RPGs as outside of specific points of view.  PoV is sort of the base currency of roleplaying to begin with.  All players around the table will have a different conception of what is in the Setting, the Situation, and the Scene -- one of the functions of playing the game is to bring those differing conceptions into closer alignment.

Quote
In this manner, I find this pair of concepts, Setting and Situation, both useful and robust - not universally useful, but then again, what is? (To explicate, I can think of instances of rpgs where the concept of Setting is not all that fruitful - for example when the topos and the question of Setting is exactly what is explored in the game, and is not, as such, preordained for any player, GMs included. But this type of games are exceedingly rare, and will probably stay that way.)

Your exception doesn't need to be excepted if you accept that the Setting can be changed in play according to specific procedures that add and remove elements of the Setting.  Usually these are "the GM makes it up" but other games (Universalis) afford other options.  None of the three sets are preordained -- but most of them are probably pre-loaded with content.  Whether that initial set changes or not is subject to the proclivities of the game being played at the table.

Quote
1. Can Scene be stripped from its narrative connotations, and how it should be defined as such?

I don't think Scene really has too many narrative connotations to get rid of.  I wouldn't, for instance, say that a scene needs to be "wrapped up" -- lots of scenes, in and out of narratives, are not wrapped up, are left on cliffhangers, or simply end or get cut away to another scene.  The base requirements for a scene are a set of fictional elements (characters, sets, props) juxtaposed to some sort of immediacy (physical or otherwise) and a little interaction between those elements.  You can get that out of just about any gaming scenario I can think of, narrative concerns aside.
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2005, 10:50:04 AM »

LARPs generally do away with scene framing -- the time and place are always continuous and specified.  Dungeon crawls or other mapped-location gaming are another case of continuous time and placement -- where the GM cannot simply pick of the PCs, say that it is an hour later, and place them at some other location.  There, scene framing generally occurs only through collective agreement to skim past time.

I dunno if LARPs really do away with scene framing.  Having never LARPed myself, I may be completely wrong about this, but if you're at a LARP and you leave one area with players in it, walk alone down a hallway, go to the restroom, and then walk further down the hallway to another area with other players in it, were you really roleplaying in the hallway?  Especially if you were playing Vampire or something, and your character really doesn't have to visit the restroom (to phrase it more delicately than I did at first), isn't there a transition there between one scene and the next?  Moreover, if you're GMing at a LARP and you set up something to happen when players enter a room, isn't that scene framing?  Admittedly, scene framing is less of a concern, or does not structure the game experience as much, but I wouldn't say it disappears entirely.

Similarly, just because a dungeon crawl is continuous doesn't mean that there are no scenes to be framed.  Especially if the party gets split up, attention will have the jump between one group and the other; similarily, the players will often call breaks for the restroom, smokes, food runs, and these are placed at "appropriate points" when the characters have cleared out a room or something.  Alternately, when the characters enter a new room, the GM often frames the scene that occurs (inside the room are four goblins worshiping at an altar!  they attack!).  So again, from my perspective, scene framing happens, it just happens differently.
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John Kim
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« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2005, 03:41:41 PM »


LARPs generally do away with scene framing -- the time and place are always continuous and specified.  Dungeon crawls or other mapped-location gaming are another case of continuous time and placement -- where the GM cannot simply pick of the PCs, say that it is an hour later, and place them at some other location.  There, scene framing generally occurs only through collective agreement to skim past time.
I dunno if LARPs really do away with scene framing.  Having never LARPed myself, I may be completely wrong about this, but if you're at a LARP and you leave one area with players in it, walk alone down a hallway, go to the restroom, and then walk further down the hallway to another area with other players in it, were you really roleplaying in the hallway?  Especially if you were playing Vampire or something, and your character really doesn't have to visit the restroom (to phrase it more delicately than I did at first), isn't there a transition there between one scene and the next?  Moreover, if you're GMing at a LARP and you set up something to happen when players enter a room, isn't that scene framing?  Admittedly, scene framing is less of a concern, or does not structure the game experience as much, but I wouldn't say it disappears entirely.

No, I wouldn't call it that.  I don't see that dropping out of character and then coming back into a character constitutes a scene break.  In my experience, the action is usually continuous.  Someone may step out of the room to deal with an important cell phone call, say, but the others will continue to play in linear time -- and the player who stepped out will usually give some in-character excuse for disappearing upon his return. 

Now, on the one hand, you can come up with a definition of "scene" such that there are multiple scenes in a LARP.  i.e. Each time a character enters or leaves a room is a new scene, for example, or whenever a major event happens like a character death or somesuch.  So in that sense, you can cause new scenes to happen by leaving the room or making a major event happen. 

However, this is very different from the tabletop process of scene framing where you do not have continuous time -- and you have an active step where you determine where all the characters are and what the setting is.  In most LARPs, there is no active step of framing a scene.  There may be an event which you can call a new scene, but everyone simply is where they are when the break happens.  So I might spend the game on one side of the room, and never notice people going in and out, and thus not know when scene changes happen.   

Similarly, just because a dungeon crawl is continuous doesn't mean that there are no scenes to be framed.  Especially if the party gets split up, attention will have the jump between one group and the other; similarily, the players will often call breaks for the restroom, smokes, food runs, and these are placed at "appropriate points" when the characters have cleared out a room or something.  Alternately, when the characters enter a new room, the GM often frames the scene that occurs (inside the room are four goblins worshiping at an altar!  they attack!).  So again, from my perspective, scene framing happens, it just happens differently.

I'm not following your definition of "scene".  Are you saying that if the players call a break for the restroom, then that constitutes a change of scene?  So you might have three rounds of combat, then a restroom break, and then pick up again -- so the rest of the combat is a different scene?  Is entering a new room a new scene?  This is a tricky issue.  In a play, a new scene is usually defined by the stage being empty of actors or the lights going down to signal a change in place or time.  In film, it's usually defined by a cut from one location to another, but what constitutes a new location is fuzzy. 

The definition I am giving of "scene framing" with respect to RPGs is that it is a break in time, where you pick up at a new time and place, and there is a process of establishing who is where. 

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Josh Roby
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« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2005, 04:07:30 PM »

I'm not following your definition of "scene"... The definition I am giving of "scene framing" with respect to RPGs is that it is a break in time, where you pick up at a new time and place, and there is a process of establishing who is where.

The base requirements for a scene are a set of fictional elements (characters, sets, props) juxtaposed to some sort of immediacy (physical or otherwise) and a little interaction between those elements.  You can get that out of just about any gaming scenario I can think of, narrative concerns aside.

While a "change of time and place" certainly does signal a scene change, that's not always the case.  A lot of Shakespeare doesn't change the time or place, but shuffles the current batch of characters off the stage while another batch enters (Tempest does this constantly).  The scene-change is denoted by different characters in the set of involved elements, rather than a different place in the set of involved elements.  Framing that scene would involve deciding which elements go and which elements stay -- which may be the physical location, or it may not.

Now, not every character entrance and exit denotes a scene-change, and admittedly the line is fuzzy, but that's not the same thing as saying that a LARP is composed of one mammoth scene, happening in all places and throughout the entire game.  Similarly, in the dungeon crawl example, I'm not saying any pause to go to the bathroom constitutes a change of scene.  In my play experience, people run off to the bathroom when there's a lull in the action.  That lull in the action, I would argue, is the scene break.  Similarly, when the party is split up, jumping the action between the two groups is very similar to the jump cuts you mention regarding film.
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« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2005, 04:31:31 PM »

I'm going to plug my idea again, and also draw attention to Joshua's earlier formulation of "situation" as "set of all significance".

A scene is sequence inside a narrative that changes or adds to the situation. It takes some problem or relationship in the situation, changes or adds to it, and produces a new situation. You can even have changes in time and space within a scene--for example, cutting back and forth between Luke in his X-Wing and the control room of the Death Star, or a flashback in montage with current events that explains the significance of what we're watching.

The problem is that without formal enforcement of scene boundaries, the definition of scene and significance in roleplay is bound to be subjective. IMO, formalism goes hand-in-hand with conflict resolution, while task resolution is amenable to less formally defined boundaries of scene and significance.
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2005, 06:43:15 PM »

A scene is sequence inside a narrative that changes or adds to the situation.

Yes!  Or at least, a scene should change the situation.  A failed scene may not, but I wouldn't say that means it's no longer a scene (a failed prison break that lands the characters... right back where they started).

Do we go the step further and say that a situation eventually changes the setting?  I am sorely tempted to go there, but I'm not sure if that's representative of my gaming or gaming in general.
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John Kim
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« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2005, 10:01:21 PM »


While a "change of time and place" certainly does signal a scene change, that's not always the case.  A lot of Shakespeare doesn't change the time or place, but shuffles the current batch of characters off the stage while another batch enters (Tempest does this constantly).  The scene-change is denoted by different characters in the set of involved elements, rather than a different place in the set of involved elements.  Framing that scene would involve deciding which elements go and which elements stay -- which may be the physical location, or it may not.

Now, not every character entrance and exit denotes a scene-change, and admittedly the line is fuzzy, but that's not the same thing as saying that a LARP is composed of one mammoth scene, happening in all places and throughout the entire game.  Similarly, in the dungeon crawl example, I'm not saying any pause to go to the bathroom constitutes a change of scene.  In my play experience, people run off to the bathroom when there's a lull in the action.  That lull in the action, I would argue, is the scene break.  Similarly, when the party is split up, jumping the action between the two groups is very similar to the jump cuts you mention regarding film.

Hrm.  Well, this is a debate over semantics, and thus neither side can be objectively correct.  The question can't be which definition of "scene" for RPGs is right, since that's just a matter of convention.  The Shakespeare example mirrors a point I mentioned earlier -- in a play, a scene change is usually defined by there being no actors on stage.  On the other hand, this literary glossary defines "scene" as "A dramatic sequence that takes place within a single locale (or setting) on stage. Often scenes serve as the subdivision of an act within a play."  In any case, definitions from other forms can be difficult to apply to RPGs.  For example, in LARPs, the action is usually dispersed and simultaneous.  For example, while there's a lull in the action for four PCs on one side of the space, there might be a dramatic argument occuring on the other side. 

More specifically, the term "scene framing" has been used for a while here on the Forge.  In his glossary, Ron defines it as "A GM-task in which many possible Techniques are used to establish when a sequence of imaginary events begins and ends, what characters are involved, and where it takes place. Analogous to a "cut" in film editing which skips fictional time and/or changes location. A necessary feature of System."  Note that it specifically refers to skipping fictional time and/or location.  Now, the term "scene" is not defined in the glossary, but in my opinion it would be very confusing for "scene" to be defined in a way that didn't correspond to "scene framing".  For example, if we define "scene" as simply changing what is of significance -- then a purely in-character action (i.e. "I shoot him") can cause a change of scene.  And yet in prior conversations on the Forge, we don't refer to such actions as scene framing. 

I'd be willing to not use "scene" independently.  For example, I might say that a continuous portion of action in a location is a "sequence" and not refer to scenes.  This fits with the definition of "scene framing" that it establishes the breaks between "sequences".   But I wouldn't want to redefine "scene framing". 


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« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2005, 04:59:14 AM »

Reading back through this thread, it looks as you've got a very good working definition of a scene. It's quite a loose definition and it seems to involve some or all of:

- Being set in one place and time
- Being a sequence that changes or adds to the situation
- Being between a particular set of characters, until someone enters or leaves

Interestingly, you can think of an example of what's commonly called a "scene" that breaks each of those rules: "The scene where we got chased by the dragon" clearly wasn't set in one place and time; "The scene where we got drunk in the tavern for the hell of it" needn't have changed the situation; and "The scene where we summoned lots of demons" didn't end when a demon entered. But the definition of "scene" is still useful.

I'd prefer you kept the definition loose. If you try and define it any more exactly, there's a danger that the term loses all significance.

(For example, you could insist that a scene must change the situation, but then you'd be left with lots of sequences of events that don't change the situation, and you'd have to decide what to call them. Non-scenes? Interludes?)

So, in my opinion: it's an interesting discussion; I think it's a good working definition of a scene; but there's a danger that, if you try to define "scene" any more exactly, the term will stop being useful. Keep the definition loose.

(As an aside - and I can't remember whether this has been mentioned - it looks as though there's an interesting connection between "Scope" and "Setting". But that's going off at a tangent.)

Graham
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