*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 15, 2019, 07:29:29 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 156 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Point of Collapse] Of munchkins and min/maxers  (Read 4131 times)
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« on: December 23, 2005, 02:44:51 PM »

So, the reason my d&d group fell apart was a Minotaur Barbarian with Cleave and Power Attack, and a gigantic axe. Or, rather, the player behind said minotaur barbarian. Worst roleplayer ever, as stated by a friend. He killed people at random, in city streets, then got pissed off when the guards came. That sort of kid.

And now that same player has resurfaced, "excited" and "pumped up" about playing Point of Collapse, my play-by-post baby I've been working on. (www.fluffydevil.com/pointofcollapse/forum)

His first words to me after he found my game were "So, about your little game dealy - I'm going to play a pit fighter.")

Now, I was trying to make a game about internal struggle and searching for purpose, a game which was strongly narrativist, and a little sim at the same time. And I wish he weren't a close personal friend, because I didn't have the ability to just deny him access.

Anyways, what I decided to do was try and "mold" his direction a little bit (i didn't want to railroad him, but I really didn't want a game of smashing skulls to earn gold coins. With a modern barbarian.)

So, here's what I found worked really well in this case: For other players that I've helped develop characters for, I suggested possible background and story angle tweaks - to get them thinking about how to integrate themselves into the game world.

For the powergamer, story means very little most of the time. So I took a different tact - logistics. "Pit fighting is a dangerous world, which likely means there are a lot of bigger fish out there. You would likely be a bottom feeder."
"Oh, well I thought that part up already - I'm one of the retired supersoldiers you outlined in the book."
(Curse myself for making that information public.)
"Okay, but there is no steady 'pit fighting' or underground fighting rings."
"Well, I wander from town to town." (So, we've got him out of the pit now. mostly.)
"And FutureCorp soldiers were given a large severence check. Why do you need to fight?"
"Well, I have nothing better to do. he's a bruiser."

(At first, this statement appalled me. Then I saw a possibilty in it.)

"So, you feel like you have no higher destiny or purpose; is that what I hear?"
"Yeah."
"Okay, so really you aren't so much a pit fighter, but someone who is searching for a place, and who gets sucked into violence because that's all he's good at?"
"Yeah, that's it."

And, I think we both kinda came a little closer to like terms. He gets his pit fighter, I get my story. haha.


Anyways, when I really thought about it, I realized this: He's a god damn supersoldier, with cybernetic gauntlets. I can just let him automatically win every fight - downplay that aspect.

As soon as supersoldier rolls to punch, I can narrate his enemy dying then and there if I want.

And then, the game isn't about combat anymore. Even if that's where the game takes place.


So, a question: Is this fair practice as a GM? Am I helping create a commonality, or am I railroading?
Logged

Lamorak33
Member

Posts: 183


« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2005, 03:43:51 AM »

Hi Joepub - whats your real name by the way?

I have a few questions for you;

Can you give us a little background on what you have read here at the Forge?

I take it you have read the 'Narratavism: Story Now' article?

Other than D&D, what other RPG's have you played?

Regards
Rob
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2005, 08:31:19 AM »

Hello,

I don't think your final questions need to be discussed. I think you need to back up to a more important underlying issue, which you expressed earlier in your post as follows:

Quote
I wish he weren't a close personal friend, because I didn't have the ability to just deny him access.

Since when is "friendship" also blackmail?

Last night, my wife and I went over to a friend's place for a small Christmas gathering. We exchanged cards and presents, watched the Grinch cartoon, and talked about different stuff like my Berlin trip. The six of us all shared many other friends, but we didn't invite them and they were not there. This was just for the small group of us.

Does that mean we aren't friends with everyone else? No, it doesn't. Does it mean we had to negotiate with all those other people to let them know why we didn't invite them? No, it doesn't.

Why should role-playing be any different? The answer is, it isn't different, but gamer-culture thinks it is - and is therefore riddled with confusing situations like the one you're in.

"You have to include me, I'm your friend" is an adolescent concept which has its place during adolescence, as people are learning and practicing social interactions. For adults, it is poisonous. You are grappling with a Social Contract issue, and trying to solve it with a Technique. That is doomed to failure.

Best,
Ron
Logged
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2005, 01:25:36 PM »

Quote
Hi Joepub - whats your real name by the way?

I have a few questions for you;

Can you give us a little background on what you have read here at the Forge?

I take it you have read the 'Narratavism: Story Now' article?

Other than D&D, what other RPG's have you played?

I have read the Narritivism and Simulationism articles, System Does Matter, The Crunchier Bits, Hard Look at D&D...
I've read enough to get a general understanding of GNS, the"standard rants" on game design, race, and the Power 19 questions...


I've played D&D 3, D&D 3.5, FATE (Fudge Rules), Shock:Social Science Fiction, Kill Puppies for Satan, and have been GMing my game, Point of Collapse, for a couple weeks
Logged

joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2005, 02:02:13 PM »

Quote
Since when is "friendship" also blackmail?

This isn't really the direction I had hoped to go with this...

Basically, the game is open to anyone. Meaning that if you, him, or someone in South Africa signs up to play, then you are invited.
To block him would thus be a very volatile thing to do.


But you are right - this is a social contract thing.


Let me reword my question though: If it is difficult to negotiate social contract issues, is there the possibilty of shifting in-game focus in the attempt of also shifting social contract?
Take something he's keen to do, and show him through in game what I want the social contract to help establish?


...Sorry, my viewpoint probably sounds really juvenile and... "railroadish." But the basics are I've got a player that has signed up, who I know will try to go for a hack-and-slash player. And he's smart enough to "disguise" this within the guise of superficial narrativism.

I've got this player; how do I make it work for the both of us? Or is that even possible?
Logged

Josh Roby
Member

Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite


WWW
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2005, 02:17:26 PM »

1. Talk to him.
2. Talk to him.
3. Talk to him.

Tell him that the game isn't about hack-n-slash, it isn't about winning, and that his player will handily strike down just about everybody who comes at him, to the point where dice won't even be rolled.  Follow up with "and no, there will not be a boss at the end of the trail of broken mook bodies."  Tell him that there will be no joy to be had in dominating combat, because the game isn't about combat.  It would be like playing Monopoly for the adrenaline rush of completing a pass and scoring a touchdown.

That said, he may be perfectly fine playing the badass who's looking for a purpose in life.  Inhabiting the badass character may be a prerequisite for him playing in much the same way that some folks must play only male or female characters, or who must play characters whose parents are conveniently out of the picture.  If he's fine going somewhere else in the same car, then you'll be all good.

4. Talk to him.
Logged

joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2005, 03:21:04 PM »

Okay, I'll try to talk to him about it - It's tricky because last time I brought it up, he talked to me like I was an idiot. "I *was* telling a story. Y'idiot."

But I think yuo guys definately provided me with some angles/guidelines on how to approach dude, and future like-minded dudes.





Thanks.
Logged

Callan S.
Member

Posts: 3588


WWW
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2005, 05:40:49 PM »

I think creative focuses (in games or anywhere) requires someone to say no. This guy isn't ready to hear no (he's automatically assumed he's invited to play, for a start).

If he doesn't have the capacity (from the outset) to understand that he might hear a no, then that same issue will drive right into the heart of the game. There's no 'guiding' someone who isn't prepared to accept 'no'. Come to think of it, he'll be guiding you (you can already see it with the 'I'm invited' assumption)!

Along with the suggestion of talking, I think it would clarify many issues if you asked "What would you say if someone said no to you about something?" (using the word 'someone' so as to avoid making it seem a 'who's the alpha here?' question). Don't give any context, because it can be turned into grounds for an arguement. Just ask it straight, to see what he's straight up responce is. If he gives some reasonable responce, then tie that into the social contract with "Okay, so you'd do that. What would happen in game if, in the heat of the moment, you didn't? What should the rest of us do?"
Logged

Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Luke
Member

Posts: 1359

Conventions Forum Moderator, First Thoughts Pest


WWW
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2005, 09:19:36 PM »

Sounds like this kid has an agenda, one that's contrary to yours. And he probably gets mad at you, as the GM, for not recognizing that he's playing out his agenda to his extreme enjoyment.

Ask him what he wants from the game. What he hopes for.

Because that "you punch him and he dies" trick is going to work once. The second time he's going to get very mad. Because he told you at the outset of the game what he wanted -- fighting -- and you're fucking with him. It's an excellent passive-aggressive way to drive him from your game, if that's your goal. But it certainly isn't going to "trick" him into your idea of story oriented play.

2
-Luke
Logged

Lamorak33
Member

Posts: 183


« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2005, 02:31:33 AM »

Hi

I think that it might work, despite what the other posters have said. The GNS articles point out that Gamist players have less of a problem with addressing premise. So go with it a see what happens. Have you got this guy to write a kicker? I wouldn't let him off the hook - insist that he creates a few relationships that matter to his character.

Any disruptive behaviour, then big boot!

Regards
Rob
Logged
Marco
Member

Posts: 1741


WWW
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2005, 09:00:42 AM »

A lot has been said here that I agree with--I *do* understand that this is a tough situation. The issue is that there's a paradox:

1. You have a game that's *about* something (your ideas).
2. You will accept any *character*.

Leaving the issues of the *player* aside (and they are, as Ron points out, the key ones) this is a self-contradiction. That's where my suggestion lies. You will eventually need to resolve this with the Player--there's probably no way around that (and I don't think the auto-kill thing, as Luke says, will work very long).

However, stating clearly up front what kinds of characters the game is for--and what kind of play--may be a good moderately neutral way of setting expectations.

For example: "This game is about people searching for their place or destiny. How does that conflict show itself in your character?"

If the answer is "I fight!" then you need to work out with him why that doesn't work for you--or why you need more help with that ("I don't see that--help me understand how that gets him closer? Where's the conflict? Does he not like fighting but does it because it's all he's good at? What'd he rather be doing?")

This will not solve the problem. However--by being *very* explicit about what you are looking for it can help remove the subteranian level of power struggle.

Good luck,
-Marco

Logged

---------------------------------------------
JAGS (Just Another Gaming System)
a free, high-quality, universal system at:
http://www.jagsrpg.org
Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2005, 04:38:46 PM »

Quote
2. You will accept any *character*.

Just to clarify, I will accept any *player*. I've rejected a character already.
The initial problem was that any character I rejected from this player, he would have put forward a similar one. If not pit fighter, aggressive mercenary. If not that, supersoldier. If not that, a street fighter.

Anyways, I had some lengthy discussion with him, and we came out of it with some really great stuff - He's a supersoldier (bear with this, it's actually a good thing) who escaped his training facility because he felt meaningless there.
Now that he's escaped, he has no destiny, no place, and no training in social situations. He's lost.

And his struggle is with: I am escaped, I am all powerful, there is nothing to hold me back. Now what? I am nothing, without something.

And it seems like its working really well. We went over narrativism vs. gamism (left out Sim. because it isn't relevant to what me and him are doing). We went over why fighting is not the premise.


I also used one analogy that REALLY EFFECTIVELY demonstrated what I was talking about. If anyone else is stuck in the same boat I felt I was, here's the analogy that helped demonstrate:

Quote
In Fight Club, when the protagonist is fighting Angel Face - The blonde guy who's a part of Project Mayhem.

He beats the crap out of Angel Face. But the fight isn't the focus - the actual fight takes about 6 seconds in that scene. What takes the time is the beating, the aggression, the venom, and the guilt.

The scene isn't about fighting - it is about "Jack" feeling exclusion, lack of control, and an inability to express his emotions in any way but aggression now.

I think that helped get the exact message across. And he's come to realize how much fun the STORY is, now.

Thanks for all the help, guys
Logged

Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!