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Author Topic: Don't Just Stand There  (Read 2738 times)
Roger
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« on: August 17, 2006, 02:08:58 PM »

This is an idea for a game... process, I guess.  It's not really a game mechanic, per se.

The basic definition of it:

"Don't Just Stand There" is a bit of game ephemera that uses the positions of the players' bodies to indicate the level of conflict in which they are engaged.

Level 0:  No conflict.  The players stand out of reach of each other.

Level 1:  Low-level conflict.  The players stand such that their outstretched hands can just touch.

Level 2:  Mid-level conflict.  The players stand such that their outstretch hands can touch each other on the body (not the other person's outstretched hand.)

Level 3:  High-level conflict.  The players stand such that their bent elbows can touch each other on the body (not the other person's outstretched elbow.)

And that's all there is (so far) to it.

I'm not entirely sure where to go with it -- if, in fact, there is anywhere to go with it.  I'm happy to turn it over to the Great Commons, if someone wants to swipe it.

I might try it with a couple people later just to get a sense of how it affects things, and what things it affects -- assuming it has any effect at all.

I know this is dangerously close to a "what do you think of my idea?" sort of post.  Regardless, I'd be happy to hear people's opinions on this idea.

As far as a "real" question goes -- are there any RPGs (or other, umm, activities, let's say) which use this sort of formalized physical posturing?  If so, what for?



Cheers,
Roger
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Arturo G.
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Posts: 333


« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2006, 09:32:20 AM »


I think it could be an original way of representing an important feature of the situation at hand; the degree of conflict between the characters of the respective players. It represents the degrees of conflict, not the nature of them. And it represents the global state, not the possible transitions to other states.

Define rules that allow you to aproach to, or to move further away from other people, based on the nature of the character actions. Or define rules about the nature of the imagined content which is generated when approaching or leaving the proximity of other people. Then, you will have a game.

Arturo

 
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oreso
Member

Posts: 67


« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2006, 11:04:12 AM »

the idea of gesture as mechanically significant is criminally underused, but with good reason i think. This sort of mechanic means you can't have a table between you, meaning all the usual jazz like dice, paper and pens is much harder to use.

To add, pay attention to a person's relative aspect:
Face towards: Conflict
Face towards Face: Challenge.
Face towards Side: Undermine, Outmaneouvre.
Face towards Rear: Take Down.

Side or Rear towards Side or Rear: Ally

So the relative position of the players creates a relationship map (and possible tactical concerns, like: "I cant move against X without allying myself with Y")
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Roger
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2006, 09:26:54 AM »

This sort of mechanic means you can't have a table between you

I wonder if this is a bug or a feature.  There's a lot psychologists could say about props like DM screens, for instance.



Cheers,
Roger
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David Artman
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2006, 10:31:28 AM »

Forget the table--this is a great means of doing multi-party conflicts in non-contact, turn-based LARPs!

Normally, such games (like oWOD and CoC) can break down in the face of segmented time and taking turns to run conflict tests. It is easy to lose track of the combat flow, pair-offs and pile-ons, and who can see/do what.

But this makes it all patently self-evident, AND it's a potentially fun 'handling" thing: folks might like thinking of their own bodies as a sort of "miniature" or "playing piece" in such a technique. The only place it might get ragged is with the ranged versus melee thing that is still considered tactically relevant in many such LARPs. But you could toss in one more gesture (pointing, like in oWOD) and handle ranged effects in a basic way.

Other random thoughts--because I think WAY faster than I type--any use of this system would want some kind of "touch shoulders only" rule or some-such. And you might not need the "elbows" degree of conflict, because it could be overly detailed (in a melee combat context) while ranging is so simple (one gesture). Also, you may not want elbows because they will tend to touch others in places lower than the shoulder. Finally, get more than one or two folks at "elbows" to you, and you might feel uncomfortably crowded... or you might think that's a feature.

Hmmm.... but the real question is whether Twister can become a mechanic in LARPs...? ;-)

Cool idea! Keep layering.....
David
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Roger
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2006, 06:57:40 AM »

any use of this system would want some kind of "touch shoulders only" rule or some-such

Up to about a year ago, I would have completely agreed.  Now it kinda makes me wonder.

I suppose it serves as a useful sort of test for one's group.  If someone is in a group and they think this sort of rule needs to be in the game text, maybe it's time for them to sit down and re-evaluate what sort of company they're keeping.

Now I'm tempted to write in a rule like "It's okay to punch the other players in the eye" just to see what would happen.



Cheers,
Roger
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Kensan_Oni
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« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2006, 03:29:11 PM »

OMG, this reminds me so much of the stress levels I had built for one of my games.

White - Unstressed. No conflict.
Yellow - Slightly Stressful. Giving a speech in front of a few people. Being talked to hostilely by a person.
Orange - Stressful. Pain. Giving a speech in front of many people. Being talked to hostilely be a group of people.
Red - Extremely stressful. Giving a speech in front of many important people. Getting into a fight with a group of people. Breaking an arm.

The idea behind stress levels is that it reflected when it was very tough to change into your 'superform' to do things. Being in more stressful situations made it easier, but you also didn't want to change in that form, either. In eithercase, it's nice to see someone else thinking of a idea that is roughly the same.
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David Artman
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2006, 10:55:29 AM »

any use of this system would want some kind of "touch shoulders only" rule or some-such
Up to about a year ago, I would have completely agreed.  Now it kinda makes me wonder.
OK, as a long-time LARPer in the US, I can give you a clear example of this as a "path to badness": LARPs have trouble (in some areas of the country) drawing in women. Women are shorter than men, typically. If I go to touch someone with my elbow... who is shorter than me by about a half a foot... and female... where am I going to touch, 33% (or so) of the time? How much do you think women--reluctant to play or unsure of "this LARP thing"--are going to tolerate being elbowed in the chest? Do you even WANT to have the (inevitable, sadly) conversation with That Guy who will make a habit of setting himself at elbows to the new, cute blond?

Quote
I suppose it serves as a useful sort of test for one's group. If someone is in a group and they think this sort of rule needs to be in the game text, maybe it's time for them to sit down and re-evaluate what sort of company they're keeping.
(Still talking LARPs.) The above statement doesn't seem to accommodate the very real fact that major LARPs depend upon fairly regular arrival of new players. Even more minor LARPs will want to be able to admit anyone who comes to play, to maximize things like economy of scale and inter-player relationships to drive story. Further, many LARPs have to accommodate the very young, to be able to accommodate their parent-players or to maximize the potential participant base.

Unfortunately, selectivity is very hard on any LARP other than the smallest, most private of LARPs. As such, rules of propriety and safety and basic social contract issues are usually first and foremost to be addressed, in LARP systems.

Quote
Now I'm tempted to write in a rule like "It's okay to punch the other players in the eye" just to see what would happen.
You'd get full-contact LARP, a very real format (if rare). Think martial arts sparring (sometimes with live steel) within a fictional situation, with characters to portray. Yep, folks get hit (but rarely hurt, unless from running into things).

So are you done with the notion?
David
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TroyLovesRPG
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Posts: 150


« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2006, 12:15:30 PM »

Maybe each player could carry an action figure that represents their character. They would have appropriate clothes, armor, weapons, etc. Then you would ask "Show me where you want to touch me." Would that be too weird?
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David Artman
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« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2006, 07:05:02 AM »

Ron? This is a GOOD time to close a thread....
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