*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 22, 2014, 07:36:02 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: 57 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 2 [3]
Print
Author Topic: [D&D 3.0/3.5] At long last, a dungeon  (Read 12986 times)
colin roald
Member

Posts: 82


WWW
« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2006, 08:51:43 AM »

One speedbump I'm encountering with your post is that I can't tell whether you're agreeing or disagreeing with me. It starts one way and seems to end up another.

It sounds to me like Paul wasn't particularly agreeing or disagreeing with you -- that is, I don't think his point was "to make an argument in the debate", but rather just "to ask a question".  Specifically, I think his key sentence was "Learning how to present those options is what I'm interested in."

I hope I'm not putting words in his mouth.
Logged

colin roald

i cannot, yet i must.  how do you calculate that?  at what point on the graph do `must' and `cannot' meet?  yet i must, but i cannot.
-- Ro-Man, the introspective gorilla-suited destroyer of worlds
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2006, 02:48:31 PM »

Paul can speak for himself, Colin. He can let me know whether my reply to his question - which is consistent with your interpretation - helped him. This isn't a confrontation, and you don't need to mediate.

Best, Ron
Logged
Paul T
Member

Posts: 369


« Reply #32 on: July 04, 2006, 10:57:13 AM »

Ron,

Your reply was, indeed, just what I had been hoping for, and quite clear.

My own post could have used quite a bit of editing. For the purposes of retaining clarity in this conversation, I'll try to summarize what it was that I had been trying to say:

1. You are correct: that sort of response, coming from people new to gaming, is often a "second" response, as you put it--a direct reaction to negative experiences they've had in the past.

2. However, will I agree with that, I disagree that it is the ONLY reason. Another explanation is that they either just want to experience the RPG thing "au naturel", as an explorer or observer, and thus do not want to provide input. A third is that they simply can't articulate what they want because they don't really understand what RPG gameplay is like, not having experienced it yet. I feel quite confident that the reticence I have seen in some new gamers is due to one of these reasons, and not a result of bullying or other negative behaviour.

3. What I'm interested in is learning how to communicate about these things in a simple way, whether with people new to roleplaying or veteran gamers.

You've provided two great examples of a simple way of explaining CA in plain English, and thus offering these people a clear choice. Those examples are a good model for that sort of communication. Essentially it comes down to telling the players what the overall goal of play is (e.g. collect the most money in Monopoly, defeat the other players), rather than describe parts of the process (especially things like Color elements within the fiction).

However, explaining Gamist priorities is probably the easiest of the three (at least once you get over any stigma attached to "rollplaying" or "playing to win" being evils, and can just explain it as it is, as you have done). Where most people flounder, I think, is in trying to explain collaborative storytelling/Narrativism, where there isn't as clear a "victory condition". Even more difficult is trying to explain an open Sim-type game. And, of course, there are many varieties of play within games aimed at fulfilling those Agendas. The "mainstream" RPG world is focused on that type of play, although it usually talks about "storytelling", so that's probably what most gamers are trying to describe, most of the time--and failing miserably! 

Can you offer any advice on talking about those? A single paragraph, like the ones you wrote so far, would be sufficient, I think.

My final concern in the previous post was that this might be considered off-topic. I will not be surprised if you choose to keep it brief, therefore.

More in line with the thread topic, however, I could frame the question differently:

You have made it clear that you do not intend or expect to continue this game with Dan and Christopher. If the answer doesn't lie too deep in the personal realm, why not? Is it a personal issue (lack of time, preference to play with other gamers, or similar), or a game-related issue (the setting/characters, or the system, doesn't interest you beyond this brief game)? Have you satisfied whatever interest you had in playing 3rd edition D&D in the first place?

(All of the above goes for you or Dan and Christopher--so, if you know how they feel about these questions, I'd love to hear about that too. And, finally:)

Do you plan to play with Dan and Christopher again? If so, how would you pitch a different game (even if it's D&D again) to them?

And, while I'm here, one more question:

All in all, not bad. I have some general thoughts and conclusions about running the modern D&D, but even more about the nature of dialogue about D&D, and the latter may or may not show up in this thread.

I'm not so interested in the latter, but rather in the former. Have you said all you have had to say on the subject, or is there more forthcoming?

Thanks!

All the best,


Paul
Logged
Paul T
Member

Posts: 369


« Reply #33 on: July 04, 2006, 11:06:55 AM »

Sorry, just to clarify:

When I said,

"Can you offer any advice on talking about those [other Agendas]? A single paragraph, like the ones you wrote so far, would be sufficient, I think."

I was referring to the example you gave for "Tunnels and Trolls", which I found immensely helpful as a model for describing Gamist play:

I suggest that in your case, based on what you've said here (because I wasn't there and cannot be sure), you might introduce, say, Tunnels & Trolls as follows:

The goal is to "beat my dungeon." The only way to do that is to progress as many of your characters upward through as many levels and abilities as possible, because I'll be amping the foes up the whole time. You'll need imagination and to think laterally a lot of the time, because the system is highly flexible and you can do stuff that isn't explicitly listed there. Sometimes it'll involve working as a team, and sometimes it'll involve screwing one another over in small ways.

Compare that to:

You make up characters and act out their dialogue!

All the best,


Paul
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #34 on: July 04, 2006, 02:01:53 PM »

Hi Paul,

I get it, and have from the beginning: "not all," or "not only," is a fair statement regarding newcomers' hesitance and the causes I've stated. I do stand by my observations that the negative reasons (including Creative Agenda inarticulacy) are vastly more common, but there's no point in debating that. I'd like to forestall any further debate on whether other reasons are 10% or 20% or whatever percent of the total.

Regarding describing Creative Agendas to a group prior to play, a lot of this has to do with the way I compose handouts for a given group. I've discovered that the little summaries I write in the first couple of paragraphs are a lot more meaty than they look at first. "Creative Agenda via Color" might be the best way to describe them.

For a pretty intense example, see my old account of My current Sorcerer game - modern necromancy. Actually, the most relevant portion of the discussion can be found in the second thread, The necromancy game continued; see my point #3 in my first post, especially.

As for providing a whole string of off-the-cuff examples here, I'd rather not. Part of the reason is that venue is important: who exactly I'm writing for, as well as the general social circumstances of the game. Another part is that it's not really the way I like to interact on-line, providing lists on demand, although that is not to be taken as a criticism of you in particular (you've been very courteous).

As for the other questions, here goes.

Quote
You have made it clear that you do not intend or expect to continue this game with Dan and Christopher. If the answer doesn't lie too deep in the personal realm, why not? Is it a personal issue (lack of time, preference to play with other gamers, or similar), or a game-related issue (the setting/characters, or the system, doesn't interest you beyond this brief game)? Have you satisfied whatever interest you had in playing 3rd edition D&D in the first place?

Lack of time relative to other games I'd like to play, lack of interest in developing skills specific to this version of D&D (e.g. knowledge of feats, among other things), general satisfaction of my contract with Christopher to "play D&D," general satisfaction on my part at seeing at least some of the system in action (e.g. recognizing Champions when I see it, in the monster creation).

As for playing again with these guys, I enjoyed role-playing with Dan and Christopher a great deal and look forward to playing other games with them. Pitching really isn't an issue any more, at least not in terms of "trying to convince them to play at all." I think that a lot of our shared gamer-culture problems with pitching is that it's often serving two purposes: trying to convince people to play at all, and trying to convince them to play a particular game. When the former is a given, then a lot of the tension simply vanishes, and the game in question can be presented very minimally on one or two merits, with little debate.

In fact, now that this has occurred to me, I suggest that a lot of the unspoken edginess of the posts about this topic, in this thread, is probably the result of this exact double-duty problem. It's tied very closely to the gamer-culture issues of the "reversed priority" that I discussed in Social context, as well as my general, also problematic observation that a proposed game is often offered as the New One Thing that will finally enable the group to have fun.

Something I'd suggest if we set up another game, though, is expanding the group to include more people, whether of their invitation or mine. As for which game, I'd probably bring out about six different books and let people paw through them and eventually settle on one.

Best, Ron
Logged
Paul T
Member

Posts: 369


« Reply #35 on: July 04, 2006, 05:06:28 PM »

Ron,

I am not interested in discussing percentages either, so we're on the same page there!

I will go and read the threads you linked to, as well your three main essays (my main problem being that I'm not sure how to explain a Narrativist CA without using GNS jargon, and a Simulationist CA without using gamer-geek jargon).

I realize that posting a shopping list of paragraphs is not your mode of operation--I only suggested it because that was the format you used for the first example. Are you still interested in discussing my question (in some form other than "read this boxed text before your game" from Ron Edwards)? What are important points to hit on for other CAs? As I said, I've found the examples you've put up so far extremely useful.

Finally, in the first post of this thread, you mentioned that you'd like to encourage new posters to ask questions about the GNS aspects of your D&D game. Very well! You've already mentioned that you "drifted" the game in part by limiting the scope of play, effectively removing the planned character improvement aspect of play (as well as beginning at 3rd level, encouraging multi-classing, and having two characters per player). What other methods did you use to make sure you reached your "creative goals" in this game?

Quote: "4. Did we hit the creative goals that we talked about in the beginning? Check."

I believe that by "creative goals" you were referring to your earlier statement: "light-hearted Narrativism, with necessary attention to strategy in order to keep characters alive."

So, what techniques (including out-of-game discussion or anything else, not just rules changes) did you apply to encourage your stated "light-hearted Narrativist [...] + strategy" agenda? So far, you've mentioned the discussion you had up-front (making special note of the potential for character death), relationship-mapping, and some time spent checking over the characters in order to help the players remember to put on their armor, and similar.

For example, were the characters created completely in a vacuum, as the books seem to suggest (unless I'm mistaken)? How did you encourage (if at all) a connection between the characters, and between the characters and the "adventure"?

The relevant quote: "Our heroes are friends of the family in various ways and are showing up for Lady Khoros' funeral."

Was this your decision (and was it open to negotiation), or theirs (likewise)?

Thanks a lot, once again. I've really enjoyed these threads, and your last few posts have been particularly useful to me.

All the best,


Paul


Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #36 on: July 04, 2006, 06:30:30 PM »

Hiya,

The general question about initial presentation is probably too general for this thread, and I can only say that for most of the stuff I've posted about here in Actual Play, I've tried to articulate just how I presented it to the group. Check out my threads and let me know if any of the content provides useful examples.

As far as specific techniques regarding Narrativist play ... you know, I think it was pretty much just that first discussion, and that was it. After that, it was an agenda, not techniques. Not what we did at an atomic level, but what we did it for, as evidenced by a number of concrete decisions and interactions during play - the same ones I've been careful to point out across all the threads, they should be relatively easy to spot on a re-read.

One of these days, I'd like to consider reward systems which, mechanically speaking, consist solely of subsequent interactions among the characters (PC or NPC, doesn't matter). I aimed very specifically in that direction in my game Trollbabe, and you can see hints of it in games like Polaris and Dogs in the Vineyard ... and the daddy of these effects is probably Hero Wars (later HeroQuest) ... h'm. Another thread topic, to be sure.

My point in bringing it up here concerns the mechanics of the reward system we utilized, and as far as I can tell, it was extremely SIS-heavy - actions had very specific and identifiable consequences in terms of how all the other NPCs related to the character from that point on. It goes back to the essence of relationship-mapping as a technique, actually, which puts one of the foundational texts at The Sorcerer's Soul.

You asked some good questions.

Quote
were the characters created completely in a vacuum, as the books seem to suggest (unless I'm mistaken)?

Yeah, they were. Dan's decision to make his characters brothers, and Christopher's to make both of his characters clerics of Hieronymous, were entirely theirs; I didn't know about them until they showed up with the completed sheets.

Quote
How did you encourage (if at all) a connection between the characters, and between the characters and the "adventure"?

See, that's backwards. I saw all Good characters, two of them Lawful Good clerics, with a general tendency toward elfiness (even the half-orc has a half-elf brother). I thought for a little bit and came up with an environment that seemed suitable to them, and with a situation that put the bite on certain features of that environment. So they set the real parameters for my decisions; you could say they encouraged me rather than the other way around. I totally did not follow the advice of so many RPG books, which urge the GM to enforce character creation that fits with his planned adventure.

Now, I did make some decisions after that point that they knew nothing about, and would not see except in terms of my actual contributions during play. Among them were the focus on death and my notion that their characters would have a social place in the situation, but would also be new arrivals.

And this was one of those sorts of decisions too:

Quote
The relevant quote: "Our heroes are friends of the family in various ways and are showing up for Lady Khoros' funeral."

Was this your decision (and was it open to negotiation), or theirs (likewise)?

It was my decision, or rather my suggestion, presented as part of the first five minutes of actual play, and was at least partly open to negotiation. I asked them if my presentation made sense, and was at least emotionally open to the idea that they might not like it.

And actually, now that I look at that quote, my actual presentation was more specific. I told Dan that the dead lady was a friend of his characters' mother, even though they had not met her; I told Christopher that these lands were sacred to Hieronymous and the people were mostly human, but very well-inclined toward the elves, so his characters were being sent to the funeral as an official gesture by the church.

If they hadn't liked it, I would have said, "well, there's this funeral, and you tell me why your character's going," with the expectation of batting justifications around a little if necessary. I said it was partly open to negotiation because it was not surprising that at this point in play (i.e. just starting), they'd probably follow my lead. Still, I didn't present it as "do it this way or we can't play," and as it happened, both players responded favorably (not merely cooperatively) and offered details of their own to flesh out the justification.

Best, Ron
Logged
Paul T
Member

Posts: 369


« Reply #37 on: July 05, 2006, 09:14:50 AM »

Thank you very much, Ron. That answers my questions (particularly the parts about choosing to make death an important part of the game, etc).

Is it acceptable for me to quote some of what you wrote here in a new thread?

Thanks,


Paul
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #38 on: July 05, 2006, 03:35:45 PM »

Better to ask me procedure-questions by private message. That way, I don't have to switch moderator/poster hats in the middle of the thread, which confuses people (and sometimes myself). Anyway, though, yeah, quote as you like. However, be sure to post about real actual play of yours if you're aiming for the Actual Play forum; don't merely quote me as the basis for a new thread by itself.

Everyone, further posts on this thread should focus on the D&D game I described.

Best, Ron
Logged
Pages: 1 2 [3]
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!