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[Vampire 2E Sabbat] Of Evil and of Simulationism

Started by Frank T, August 31, 2006, 06:15:57 PM

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Adam Dray

Frank said:
QuoteIt is said Sim is all about Exploration, but not just any Exploration will do. It has to be meaningful to the players. In some cases, this meaning may come from emulating genre conventions or "coolness posing" or "tourism" or the "GM show" or a number of other things. In our case, however, the meaning came from those conflicts and choices, challenging us as players and creating opportunities for us to affect the SIS in important ways. Therefore, some people may confound this mode of Sim play with Nar or Gam because they think that "hard choices" are a telltale for Nar or Gam, whereas Sim can actually rely on hard choices just as much.

I wouldn't say Sim is all about Exploration, since every CA is all about Exploration. Role-playing is all about Exploration because it's a necessary component of the Big Model. Exploration is basically a synonym for "playing a role-playing game." Creative Agenda (of which Sim is a manifestation) pierces through all the layers of the Big Model, right through Exploration but also through Social Contract and Techniques.

But in case I'm just nitpicking semantic points or burning strawmen, I do agree that "not just any Exploration will do." Sim Exploration has to support a Sim Social Contract by using Sim Techniques. The "meaningful to players" that you refer to is just another way of saying, "supporting a Sim agenda," which doesn't say a lot about Sim. =)

I agree with a good deal of the rest of what you said though. I just think your terminology is a bit muddy and confusing.
Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777

Ron Edwards

Hiya,

Uh ... perhaps "muddy and confusing" can be left to the individual perspective. This does seem to me to be a "say it yourself" sort of thread, regarding Simulationist play. Everyone's version, based on different backgrounds of what to rely upon in role-playing, is probably going to be iffy for nearly everyone else.

I mean, I could refine some of what Frank's said, especially in terms of further reasons why it's not Narrativist despite some similar language that works for him; and I could refine some of what you've said, in terms of techniques not being associated with given CA ...

... but based on multiple posts by you guys in the past, I am fully confident that such refinements would be only for my benefit, and that neither of you really needs to have those bits tweaked in your own phrasing. So I'm suggesting that we spot one another a few phrasings here and there.

Best, Ron

Adam Dray

Fair enough. I'd love that clarification, myself, about techniques and CA but I'm not sure this is the thread for it.
Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777

Frank T

Adam,

Let's not get entangled in semantics. Please bear in mind that this is not my mother tongue after all. For further discussion of the subjects you raised, it'd probably be best to have an Actual Play of, say, a Narrativist game you played in. I'd gladly participate in that discussion.

Let's also not force Ron to rephrase the whole GNS model in this single thread. Give the poor man a rest.

Ron,

You know, I used to be confused about the distinction between Vanilla Nar and Sim with strong thematic content, until the Jasper we both know said that bit about the fiction being by-product, and I found myself going, "Shit, no!" Then, things fell into place.

I do think that some less formalistic Forge games that are generally considered Nar designs, e.g. Sorcerer and The Shadow of Yesterday, would support the mode of play I described very well, without any tweaking necessary. In fact, I think they'd support it much better than Vampire did.

- Frank

Adam Dray

Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777

Callan S.

Quote from: Frank T on September 13, 2006, 10:44:39 AM
QuoteIt is simply not enough to say, "I do bastardly things," but that you as the player must find the means, given the circumstances and the limitations of the Setting, to portray a convincing bastard to all the other players.  In my book I find this is effort to be extremely difficult but I also think this is exactly where the players are truly challenged and must reach deep creatively within themselves to accomplish.

Exactly my feelings about this mode of play. This can also lead to frustration if your skill forsakes you, if your character doesn't work or if you just don't get the reinforcing response you are hoping for. It's crucial that the other players acknowledge you as the bastard you are being.
Just on that acknowledgement, in other AP posts of mine I identified in early games trying to do addresses of premise in such a way as the other players would get it. On reflection this is just horendous, as I was applying force to my address, trying to make a better story so they'd get it/acknowledge it. That's probably why the agenda's are distinct - you can't win someone over to acknowledgement (of any agenda). It just has to be there. There's nothing you can do in play to get it - it's there or it isn't. I think this applies to sim potrayal as well - if its your turn its absorbed into the dream, but your not - well, theres no hope, no matter how much you try to be clever.

On the hard choices and sim, I agree. Although I tend to think the hard choices are there mainly to stir up play, so you don't just tread on old ground. And what you do is an exertion of will/an exertion of yourself, not just something which was less you and more a reflex. Would you agree with that at all?
Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>

Frank T

Hi Callan,

QuoteAnd what you do is an exertion of will/an exertion of yourself, not just something which was less you and more a reflex. Would you agree with that at all?

I don't understand. Could you explain what you mean by "what you do"?

- Frank

JasperN.

Frank,

since it seems that my thread over at Grofafo had a crucial part in making you come up with these thoughts, I'd like to add that my remark about fictional content being a "byproduct" was referring to Primetime Adventures alone and to a very specific session at that. I enjoyed this particular session tremendously and tried to put in words how most of the fun derived from interaction between the actual players rather than creating "a story", and how that required doing things that were not actually in the PtA rules and so on.

Apart from that particular game and that particular session, I'm completely with you as regards to Sim with strong thematic/competitive elements. What you are describing is exactly what I've been doing in my Unknown Armies campaign for a long time - and I think, UA lends itself particularly well to that kind of play. We had a pretty traditional distribution of competencies within the group, but still the obsession and trigger mechanics allowed players to drive some thematic issues, while the game, despite being "rules light", still offered enough crunchy bits to make character improvement fun and meaningful.  Those mechanics were supported by frequent outgame discussions and informal scene framing rights for the players. They would often discuss in which direction to drive the story or how to build scenes that would highlight certain traits of their characters. Nevertheless, having read your thoughts here, I'd  agree that all of that was a means to come up with a better dream in the end.

Great thread, nice new understanding of Sim play here for me.

Caldis

Quote from: Frank T on September 14, 2006, 08:09:02 AM
I do think that some less formalistic Forge games that are generally considered Nar designs, e.g. Sorcerer and The Shadow of Yesterday, would support the mode of play I described very well, without any tweaking necessary. In fact, I think they'd support it much better than Vampire did.

Interesting thoughts Frank.  If this isnt getting too hypothetical maybe you can answer this question.  What kicker do you think you would have come with up for this character if you had been playing Sorceror rather than Vampire?  How would dealing with that kicker and the other players kickers have changed the game from the one you had?  Would the plotlines dealing with the Camarilla vs the Sabbat have been as important?

Ron Edwards

Hi there,

Without trying to step on anyone's desire to answer, I suggest that "would you" questions aren't going to be useful. I've been seeing such attempts go down the drain for seven years (Gaming Outpost, RPG.net, here), without fail.

Frank already suggested that other threads about Narrativist play with similar content be started instead, and I think that's a great idea. I modestly suggest that many of my darker play accounts, such as the Violence Future and le mon mouri threads, are good examples.

Jasper, your comment about Unknown Armies matches extremely well with my experience with the game, and every account of play I've heard or read. Other games that seem optimally suited for this sort of moral portraiture include Dread (the game by Rafael Chandler), Godlike, and the Mutant Chronicles.

Best, Ron