*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
July 22, 2014, 10:52:25 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 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 93 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 9
Print
Author Topic: Brain damage  (Read 74917 times)
Bill Cook
Member

Posts: 501


« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2006, 01:21:28 AM »

Wow, is this thread interesting. I'm cool with the three requirements, except maybe "with these people." I agree, I'm just a bit guilty of being accommodating. And to some degree, I dissent; you can train. And certainly, you must also prune and walk away. Two great ways to make progress on this point: (1) Nix the RPGs. Let's have a LAN party (or whatever); and (2) build a second group. The latter (while arduous to the uninitiated networker) not only gets you what you really want (or so you thought), it also can enhance your experience with your steady group.

Re: The Details.

Man, I was humming along, reading this list, .. (nope, don't do that .. ha! people actually do that?) .. and then started to feel more and more ashamed! Really, it's only been within the last year that I've identified the need for a consistent technique to settle something. My second try at a TSOY one-shot really caused it to click in my head as far as knowing when to apply the rules manual. Uncritical rules application has been the root of so many of my unsatisfying game-play experiences.

There's a line in the Narrativism essay .. something like "open discussion about the direction of play" that made me recognize my frustration play as a catty statement along these lines. (e.g. "I roll to grab my own elbow" instead of "Fuck the rules! I don't want to play if I can't hit at least half the time! I mean, this isn't even that important. Why don't we just say I hit him?")

I've been slow to come around to the value of reward systems. It was really Artha in BW that demonstrated its worth to me. I had this conflated with advancement up until a couple of years ago. (Which, I have no interest in advancement with the possible exception of buying off a Key [TSOY].) But rewarding story-relevant role-play with currency to budget immediate advantage? Like, in the moment I could really use it? Sign me up.

** ** **

Piers Brown:

I imagine gamers with a focus on world modeling are probably not the most Nar inclined.

Darren Hill:

I think the purposeful gamer is a rare animal. And I would almost add doomed. For how can he hope for community?
Logged

Halzebier
Member

Posts: 216


« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2006, 03:28:19 AM »

I'm little by little realizing exactly how I've let myself become damaged and how I've perpetuated the damage. I'm little by little realizing how I can shake off the damage and relearn how to have fun playing RPGs. Sometimes it seems like an awfully slow process. There are a lot of learned habits that, in the heat of playing, are hard to break sometimes. And you can't do it yourself--this is a social thing, so you need other people playing with you who are either undamaged or want to fix the damage.

Amen to every single word of that.

Progress is hard and slow for me, too, but it's there:

(1) In the last D&D campaign I ran, I asked my players to let me officially and completely abolish PC death ("The PC(s) will just be unconscious or I'll use a deus ex machina and that's that."). They were not convinced - "Where's the thrill?" -, but humored me. And now they like it and the next player up for DM duty wants to keep that approach. We've never had permanent PC deaths anyway, because nobody in our group liked them. But now the illusions (e.g. fudging, which IME is a surefire way to kill 'the thrill') and insecurity ("Will the DM save my PC again?") are gone and, contrary to expectations, things work better than before.

(2) A few weeks ago, our PCs split up in a game of DSA which left one player with nothing to do. So I asked him to take control of my PC's kick-ass warhorse in a big fight even though it was its first performance ever and I had been looking forward to that. We had tremendous fun joking, competing and overcoming our foes. A few years ago, whenever I or another player had to sit out half the evening, I would think "This sucks!" but also "These things happen from time to time." Today, I think "This is simply not acceptable" and act on that.

(3) Most importantly, I've run InSpectres (mixed success) and The Pool (epiphany) and am in the process of running The Mountain Witch for one group (a bumpy ride so far, but we're getting better) and prepping it for a second.

I'm damaged and, arrogant as that may sound, so are my friends. I'm not sure they, too, want to fix the damage - want it hard enough, that is, to embark on this journey with me. I'm trying to get them on board by introducing them to Indie games (learning myself as I go along), but eventually I and they will know whether they want this or not. I'm daydreaming of our journey together, but I'm also trying to steel myself for the possible realization that they might not come along.

Regards,

Hal
Logged
JonasB
Member

Posts: 29


WWW
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2006, 04:59:28 AM »

This may be the worst piece of crap I have ever read.

I agree that doing something in a specific way for a prolonged time tend to form your mind in a way that makes it harder to do it differently.

But your belief that this "storytelling" you talk about should be more "damaging" than playing Sorcerer is only a proof that you have been severly brain damaged by your own theories and way of designing games. Showing page upon page of "proof" why your way is "better" is one thing, but trying to define fun is to me nothing but delusional.
Logged

url=http://unrealitiesofmine.blogspot.com/]Unrealities of Mine[/urlUnrealities of Mine
ricmadeira
Member

Posts: 44

"You can choose just who you are."


WWW
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2006, 05:41:16 AM »

Showing page upon page of "proof" why your way is "better" is one thing, but trying to define fun is to me nothing but delusional.

Maybe you missed this point, Jonas?

... keeping in mind that I'm talking about the specific Creative Agenda of Narrativism, in its most abstract form (i.e. not talking for the moment at all about Techniques).

At least I take it to mean that if your Fun does not equate with Narrativism, you need not apply. As a regular reader of your blog, I guess that's the case. :)
Logged

Gregor Hutton
Member

Posts: 274


WWW
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2006, 05:55:07 AM »

To no one in particular ... more a statement on what I see in Ron's initial posts at the top of the thread.

If anyone... played the games Ron talks about ... bought the shelves and shelves of books that the companies shifted (and you don't want to know the f'in weight of books I personally bought, hardly/in some cases never read, and then left lying as some pointless badge of gamer culture for all to see) ... and hasn't experienced dysfunctional play first hand, and had their mind clouded to what the f'k we were really trying to do along the way,  then...

...I can only conclude that you are in one of three situations:
(i) you are walking around with you eyes closed, your stumps held tight to your ears, but quite surely not with your mouth shut,
(ii) a liar (and I don't care about to me, it's to yourself, honestly),
(iii) you are the rarest of cases that somehow dodged the bullets, and until I see you for myself I'm not entirely convinced you exist.

Ron, you have a way of putting things in an unpalatable way. But I agree with you.
Logged

JonasB
Member

Posts: 29


WWW
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2006, 06:44:25 AM »

At least I take it to mean that if your Fun does not equate with Narrativism, you need not apply. As a regular reader of your blog, I guess that's the case. :)

If it is just from a strict narrativist view of fun, how can one way of doing it be more brain damaging than another? Why is one damaged by playing for example Vampire and not when playing Sorcerer? Wouldn't narrativism be equaly damaging to the abality to have non-narrativst fun? If so, what's the problem? Everything we experience shapes our mind.

I what Ron really mean is that players of traditional games are not having fun "from his point of view and personal preference", he does a very poor job of communicating that.

Fun is 100% subjective and there is no general definition of "story" requiring it to contain the parts that Ron describes.
Logged

url=http://unrealitiesofmine.blogspot.com/]Unrealities of Mine[/urlUnrealities of Mine
JonasB
Member

Posts: 29


WWW
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2006, 07:01:31 AM »

...and hasn't experienced dysfunctional play first hand, and had their mind clouded to what the f'k we were really trying to do along the way,  then...

I have certainly experienced that, but I have also experienced dysfunctional play and known exactly what was wrong (read: not fun) with it, and then taken steps to correct that. It has happened both with traditional games and narrativist indie type games, sometimes as a function of the game itself and sometimes as a function of how the players used the games. But if you mean that narrativist games can never trap players in dysfunctional play.... I highly doubt and have not seen anything supporting that. My own solution to the dysfunctions I have encountered have never been narrativism, thou I have been inspired by that way of thinking, incorporating parts of it into my own play. Your experience may differ as minds are different. A difference in gaming preferences is hardly enough to call one or the other brain damage.

As the expected function of the game is subjective, the game being dysfunctional is also subjective. That way I can claim that My Life With Master is highly dysfunctional and you can claim it to be highly function, both being equally right.
Logged

url=http://unrealitiesofmine.blogspot.com/]Unrealities of Mine[/urlUnrealities of Mine
Halzebier
Member

Posts: 216


« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2006, 07:12:44 AM »

Fun is 100% subjective[.]
True, but there are kinds of fun which are bad for you and can cripple your ability to have 'good' fun.

Think back on Ron's (drastic) analogy of (consensual) sex between an adult and a twelve-year old. The child may conceivably consider this to be fun - it may feel loved, enjoy the attention etc. -, even though it is being abused and irrevocably scarred for life.

There are numerous other examples of abusive and self-abusive behaviour which is fun (e.g. overeating, mobbing someone, drug use).

So there is, in fact, 'good' fun and 'bad' fun.

Regards,

Hal
Logged
Christoph Boeckle
Member

Posts: 455

Geneva, Switzerland


WWW
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2006, 07:27:09 AM »

Jonas, a behavior is dysfunctional only if you were set out to obtain one goal, but the methods you use bring you somewhere else and you still think you will one day eventually get to where you were headed in the first place, although you're walking in a completely different direction. Dysfunctional because it leads you to all sorts of behavior that have been described in this thread (it's okay I guess if people play rpgs as Darren plays poker).

The games Ron mentions place themselves as a means of creating a compelling story, but the methods (techniques) they present do nothing to support that. But a lot of gamers are convinced that if they try hard enough bashing with a hammer, they will manage to repair the vase.

If you never really where interested in what those games promised to deliver, but rather in that which its methods did deliver, then you aren't "brain damaged" at all.
You had a different agenda in mind from the start and supported it with a proper system (at least at the level we are discussing now).

This discussion doesn't look to me as judging what seems to be your case, so you mustn't feel as being the target of the sexual abuse example.
Logged

Regards,
Christoph
JonasB
Member

Posts: 29


WWW
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2006, 07:53:37 AM »

The games Ron mentions place themselves as a means of creating a compelling story, but the methods (techniques) they present do nothing to support that.

Maybe they do not create a compelling story in the way Ron defines the word, but that is not the only definition of story.

Ron says:

"A brief list of the specific features, or telltales, of the damaged story-capacity.

- The person cannot distinguish between "hopping over a fence" and conflict, between "this guy meets that guy" and a decisive plot event, or between "dramatic close-up" and character decision-making

- The person cannot summarize any story in simple four-point structure (conflict, rising action, climax, conclusion) - they typically hare off into philosophical or technical interpretations, or remain stuck in narrating the first ten minutes of the story in detail."


To me this simply tells me that the person do not know the same theory that Ron does and/or that he is not interested in theoretical aspects of his storytelling at all. When did Ron get to define the word "storytelling"? Would it be better if the games claiming to be storytelling games called themselves "experience creating" instead, but othervise remained the same?

Logged

url=http://unrealitiesofmine.blogspot.com/]Unrealities of Mine[/urlUnrealities of Mine
Caldis
Member

Posts: 359


« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2006, 08:15:50 AM »

To me this simply tells me that the person do not know the same theory that Ron does and/or that he is not interested in theoretical aspects of his storytelling at all. When did Ron get to define the word "storytelling"? Would it be better if the games claiming to be storytelling games called themselves "experience creating" instead, but othervise remained the same?

I can only go by my experience but Ron's definition of story matches with what I expect in good TV, movies and books.  If that's what I'm after (and it is) then I can easily agree with his definitions and see his advice as valuable.  If you want stories that are of a different nature then I can see how they may not be valuable to you.

Logged
JonasB
Member

Posts: 29


WWW
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2006, 08:25:06 AM »

I want a fun and/or rewarding experience. If that experience happens to qualify as a good story or not do not matter at all.
Logged

url=http://unrealitiesofmine.blogspot.com/]Unrealities of Mine[/urlUnrealities of Mine
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2006, 08:39:40 AM »

Hello,

Apparently some of you are under the impression that I care about how you react, in terms of emotions. I don't.

Some of you also apparently think that I have some desire, or am under some obligation (!) to make myself liked, to make myself understood to the maximum possible audience, or to represent some sort of community or generalized interest. None of these are the case.

What about my goals in posting this? To "save gamers?" To "make people change?" Hardly. Guessing about my goals and then responding to your own guesses is waste of time. All you can do is make whatever you will out of what I've posted, if anything, somewhere else. Don't expect my goals to be explained or defended; if they're not obvious to you from my personal history of posting, site management, and publication, so be it.

Some of you apparently never learned the primary lesson of dealing with me and my posts - which is, bluntly, I could be mad as a hatter. You are perfectly free, at all times, to say, "That guy is a mad old man mumbling in a corner. There is paper litter stuck to his clothes by substances that I do not want to identify." Letting me know that this is your assessment is futile. Announcing it to others is your prerogative - but you can do it somewhere fucking else. People who fit this description are not predictable in their actions and I can assure you, that if it applies to me, that I will be intractable to any such announcement. In this forum, I don't obey Forge rules. Instead, my rules, and I make them up.

Some points so far that I'm happy to address include ...

1. The nuances of Deconstructionism and Postmodernism are pretty complex, and I totally favor deconstruction as an activity, but not the "ism" it's become especially in academia. So I'm sorta weird that way, rejecting the old-school author-intent model but not buying various developed versions of the newer approach either. I think my outlook is well-represented by the Narrativism essay, so there you go. My statements above are definitely too brief and broad to be taken as a manifesto and then debated.

2. I don't think it's worth debating whether "story" is as broad as I think it is, as a species-character rather than a localized artifact. As long as we're agreeing about ourselves in the here-and-now, I'm happy to split the difference. I do not, however, find the notion convincing that Anglo-American or any sort of modern/civilized cognizance is necessarily impaired about story (or myth, or whatever you want to call it). I'm one of those weirdos who thinks modern peoples are, you know, the same old peoples just dressed up. That's not a point for debate, but rather an orienter for where I'm coming from, and it's up to you to decide whether disagreeing with it also leads to disagreeing with my main point.

3. In line with #2, yeah, I'm talking about a specific subset of role-players compared to the larger society. Gotta tell you ... my extensive experience with the story-understanding of people in general, specifically college kids, leads me to be impressed. Not necessarily in terms of analytical glibness, but definitely in terms of the bare-bones, rock-solid perception of what stories are and how they work, given only the most basic of tools. (No, I'm not an English prof. Biology. Yes, I teach about stories in at least some classes. No, I'm not going to explain that here. It costs tuition to learn that.)

Let me say that again: my perceptions, experience, bias, whatever you want to call it, is that the default-citizen of modern society is not story-impaired in the sense I'm describing here. Whether they're uniquely impaired in some other sense, for example gullibility in the face of an effective story (e.g. advertising, propaganda, values-imprinting), is damned interesting but out of the scope of my point.

And in clarification: I'm not talking about "gamers" and certainly not about "geeks." I'm talking about a very specific bunch of role-players who might be tagged by these labels, but not about defining features of these larger labels, insofar as they exist as things (if they do). I do think it's a pretty broad and consistent bunch of people that I'm talking about, especially when considered in terms of the age-based wave-fronts I mentioned, and thus much larger than people currently active in the hobby if you include the ones who recoiled from what they initially experienced.

4. Brains are fascinating resilient organs, in a way which isn't immediately obvious. We're all familiar with the localization of certain brain functions, such that a very small amount of physical damage can impair an enormous range of activity. Yet certain tremendous malformations or other sorts of horrific damage to the brain apparently have little if any effect on behavior. And recovery or reparability of functions/behaviors is, in some cases, remarkable compared to the extent of the initial impairment.

The same points also apply to psychological (i.e. associations, responses, habits) phenomena as well as morphological (i.e. injury with sharp or blunt objects).

All of which is a fancy way to say this: nowhere above did I say irreparable brain damage. In fact, rather the opposite. Levi, you might want to take that point to heart.

5. Early role-playing history includes a vast diversity of play-approaches and game design. Commercially, it was canalized toward specific forms of Gamist play in the late 1970s, and that effect had a big impact on role-players of approximately my age (41), and a little younger. However, especially if we (this age group) didn't participate in role-playing much between the late 1980s and late 1990s, it's hard for us to understand what happened to the new wave-fronts. The commercial canalization was absolutely overwhelming, dropping the diversity of published game design to practically none. Gamist play and its troublesome relationship with other agendas is simply not the issue that drove the values-issues in role-playing culture during that time. Yes, it's hard to buy that, because to us, "good role-playing" was predicated on nothing but how one dealt with Gamist play (yes, no, how much, in what way, etc).

Instead, starting with the college crowd in the late 1980s, hitting the next wave of high-schoolers in the early 1990s, and peaking in the middle-late 1990s, the primary issue was as I've described above, this whole "story" thing, and again, dividing and re-coalescing and agonizing over (as I say above) "just say it, the dice don't matter," vs. gutting it out with the dice and saying it anyway. Both of which ultimately rely on Force for anything resembling story to emerge.

In many ways, the older bunch, especially a specific subset of RuneQuest and Champions players, understand how stories can emerge through actual decisions and actions during play better than the younger bunch. Not that it was common back then, but at least it was a matter of groping in the dark rather than gouging out one's eyes as a starting point. (Hey, John Kim, I think this is where you and I, for all our disagreements, do connect and recognize one another.)

Thanks to all who posted thinking responses.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Levi Kornelsen
Member

Posts: 210


« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2006, 11:50:51 AM »

All of which is a fancy way to say this: nowhere above did I say irreparable brain damage. In fact, rather the opposite. Levi, you might want to take that point to heart.

I noted that.  I still don't agree. 

I'll assume that you're interested in a dialog on this point, and proceed accordingly.  If you're not, please simply say so.

We are, indeed, creatures of story.  I would say that stories inform our actions, and make up part of how we think about things, to the extent that many of our memories - often, the ones we share with others - slowly become kinds of parable that we tell one another.  So, from my perspective, this topic in general terms is one of some import.  Now, we're specifically talking about stories in the context of making them, which is fiction, and doing so through collaboration, and that brings it down a few pegs, so that a statement that damage is done to the mind specifically here is simply serious, rather than damningly brutal.  But it's still serious.

With that as a basline of where I'm coming from, here's why what you're saying doesn't match my experience:

Inside the context of a roleplaying game, the habits that prevent us from creating collaborative stories as freely as possible are much as you've described them.  Some of us want to make stories, and want to use roleplaying games to do it with.  And many of us find that we can't do so as naturally as we should.   Because there's an image built up in our minds that prevents it, of what a roleplaying game is and does.

But if we step outside of the context of the roleplaying game, we drop the habits.  We can sit around a table and just shoot the shit, and stories can emerge, change, and grow, in a fully collaborative fashion.  We can improvise theatre without rules, and have stories come from that naturally and easily.  The falsity and the habits you're talking about apply only when we step into the context of roleplaying games - that's why I object to the title of "brain damage" for this habituation.

Still, though, the block of habit tells us that we shouldn't be doing that in the context of a roleplaying game.

The solution is obvious.  Create or find different means by which groups can collaborate on the creation of stories that are not, themselves, framed as roleplaying games, but borrow heavily from that tradition.  Borrow back and forth across the block of habit, simply bypassing it, and let it dissolve on it's own.

Further, I find the idea of framing this difficulty as "brain damage" to be unhelpful and potentially even forming of negative habits all of it's own - Self-deprecation that doesn't lead to positive change is useless, and condescension at any level, which is a natural outgrowth of framing things in such a fashion, whether or not it's your intent, actively retards any process of growth and learning.

That's my position on it.
Logged
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2006, 12:14:33 PM »

Quote
Further, I find the idea of framing this difficulty as "brain damage" to be unhelpful and potentially even forming of negative habits all of it's own - Self-deprecation that doesn't lead to positive change is useless, and condescension at any level, which is a natural outgrowth of framing things in such a fashion, whether or not it's your intent, actively retards any process of growth and learning.

That's my position on it.

Levi,

I completely agree with you. This "brain damage" term is insulting. Personally, I find this discussion less than pointless. It's Ron venting something, and responding is, well, like responding to anyone else who'd come on the Forge and wave around his personal problem.

For the rest of you, let me point something out, and then ask a question. This is a discussion that's gone like this:

Ron, a person who's made it quite clear in the past that arguing with him doesn't really help anything: I say this thing that will insult almost all role-players who don't believe in my theories!

Others: Wait! That's not right, we don't think!

Ron: (hands over ears) I am not listening to your feelings about this!

Others: Wait!

Why are you even arguing? If you don't agree, let it drop. I would have never posted here, except it's gone too far, and I guess I've got to moderate this one.

(Edit: Crap. Because of the way I read threads on the Forge, I didn't notice this was in Adept Press, which is Ron's own personal territory. Carry on, but seriously, I'd think about what I said above before doing so.)
« Last Edit: February 12, 2006, 12:20:55 PM by Clinton R. Nixon » Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 9
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!