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Author Topic: [Silence Keeps Me A Victim]Narration limits and general feedback. (adult)  (Read 20229 times)
Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #45 on: September 21, 2006, 06:26:30 PM »

Clyde, Sex and Sorcery is generally useful for confronting adult issues in games irrespective of its usability in Sorcerer. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
DAudy
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #46 on: September 25, 2006, 07:05:55 AM »

I realise that I'm breaking some Forge conventions by dropping into this thread so late but after reading your posts on this and talking about it with some friends who have not been abused I felt I needed to comment.

Also to clear up what it seems like folks are getting from my posts so far. I'm not modeling the game on being a cathartic experience for people who have suffered abuse. My goal is to put people who haven't been abused into a position of silence to bring across the point that societies inability to talk about molestation and rape without going nut-so, creates a significant harm for the victims. One that is not as dramatic as the abuse, but a harm never-tha-less. The game might also be cathartic but that isn't my main goal.

I don't think it will work.  I'm not trying to be deconstructive here, I grasped what you were going for quite a bit earlier in the thread but none of my friends who have not suffered abuse got it.  Their comments were that the rules seem petty, arbitrary, deprotagonizing, and not fun.  I recognize that these are all vital components to trying to put these people who haven't been abused into a similar position of silence and helplessness, but the fact is that it wasn't fun for us in real life and it won't be fun for them to simulate.  I don't see them having fun playing this game, but moreover I don't see them gaining an understanding of what someone who has been abused went though - I see them being pissy because the rules are stupid and I pressured them into playing this game they had reservations about.

If the ultimate purpose of writing this is one of personal healing and empowerment then you have my whole-hearted support in this endevour.  However if what you really want is a way to let other people understand what going through that experience was like, I think that this isn't the solution you are looking for.

I hope that this comes across as supportive rather than bashing as that is my intent.

Sincerely,
-Dan
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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Posts: 1144

the glyphpress


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« Reply #47 on: September 25, 2006, 07:09:29 AM »

Dan, it's only supportive if you offer solutions or help in some way. That's pretty much in the definition of "supportive".

Here's why the rules aren't deprotagonizing: while your ability to act at the beginning of the game is hampered, what you're gaining in the course of the story is protagonisthood. The characters start off victims but gain moral agency over the course of the game.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Clyde L. Rhoer
Member

Posts: 391


« Reply #48 on: September 25, 2006, 12:00:30 PM »

Hi Dan,

No offense is taken. Thanks for your honesty. I definitely don't expect the game to be popular with a large segment of the gaming community. Which is fine. The fact that at such a nascent state you felt compelled to talk to your friends about it is awesome. I'm much more happy about that than if you never play the finished product. Using the game to create conversation I think is one of my most important goals. Whether that's through playing the game or discussing that crazy broken game. It's all good.

I would like to understand further. You say they didn't understand. What does that mean exactly? Can you outline what it was you discussed? Did you explain the game without explaining what it was a metaphor for?

Also to touch on this again. I'm not sure that the game is about fun, at least happy fun, but more about exploration, which I personally consider fun. Exploration is why I play RPG's. If you play for fun i.e. happy fun, I can totally see why you wouldn't want to play this.
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Theory from the Closet , A Netcast/Podcast about RPG theory and design.
clyde.ws, Clyde's personal blog.
DAudy
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #49 on: September 26, 2006, 03:42:53 PM »

Hey Clyde,
Glad to hear you weren't offended.  The idea behind this game really struck a chord with me for a couple of reasons (1) its an incredibly brave idea to put out there given, as you noted in your thoughts about this, how wacky society gets when discussing these issues (2) it takes a dramatically different perspective on what a player can or can not do.  I'm also glad that you recognize that regardless of how stunningly designed the game is that a large portion of roleplayers will never be comfortable playing this.  Of course the fact you are making an indie game in the first place suggests you recognize that a quality product enjoyed by a few is better than one played by everyone but enjoyed by few.

I'll try to give a very brief overview of what I told them about the game and their response.

Mr X.  X is big into sim and likes dissecting systems.  I told him that the concept about a group of children without voices in a fictional setting trying to find navigate between the desires of a powerful abuser and an oppressive community.  I explained the roles of the game and how narrational and declarational power was assigned.  His first comment was that it sounded like it wouldn't be much fun.  After a few minutes of probing I found his major issue was that he felt there would be little to do as a player.  His view was that there would be a time chunk of setting a particular scene, a time chunk of each the abuser and community giving their goal, a brief silent assignment of dice giving him as a player the first chance to do anything other than sit there being unconfortable, some form of presumably silent and quick resolution, a period of narration which he has some chance of getting to do, and a assignment of traits which he has some chance to do.  His opinion was that with a 1 in 4 chance of getting either narration or declaration rights that half the time he would sit through most of a scene and either narrate an outcome he didn't want or have someone else narrate the outcome he did want.   The other half of the time he saw himself going through an entire scene sitting there silently unable to do anything.  His opinion was it was 3 hours of boring and 20 minutes of fun taken to a new level since you didn't even get to pretend you were having fun the rest of the time.  While we discussed it for a bit he maintained his opinion that the game was (too) arbitrarily strict and he disliked how little control he would have  over his character.  He understood that it was a metaphor for how abuse victims feel unable to talk about their experiences but felt that anyone who couldn't understand that in the first place wouldn't figure it out from a game.

Mrs Y.  After hearing me talking about this with Mr. X she asked what we had been discussing.  I gave a brief overview for her.  She didn't like the idea of having virtually no more control over her characters actions than over others or others over hers.  She felt the restrictions on her talking and her ability to control her character were petty and would make the game very little fun.  She didn't see any reason given the structure of the game to actually control any particular character..  She didn't see the metaphor of the game being effective because she had no reason to emotionally invest.

Hope that helps.

-Dan
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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Posts: 1144

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« Reply #50 on: September 26, 2006, 04:08:25 PM »

DAudy, that's critique, and critique is supportive. Rock on.

Clyde, correct me if I'm wrong, but the purpose of the initial phase of the game is to gain a voice, right? The only way to do that is by acting, correct?

How's this sound for a basic algorithm:

Players start off with very narrow authority: they can choose between options posed by other players.

Each time they make a system-supported good choice, they gain a little bit more authority. Let's say the Abuser gets to give options, but if the players succeed, the Abuser loses authority over that aspect to the player who "won".

The players, when they use their authority, they stand to gain more dice against the will of the Community, but they can also lose their authority to the Community.

The authority that is being risked can be generated by the Abuser, but it will necessarily get more and more narrow as the players gain narrative rights over more and more of the game. Eventually, the Abuser will have this little narrow band of authority, but the players will have enough power that they can make the Abuser irrelevant or otherwise attack them.

... I think there gets to be a certain point where the Community sort of switches sides. I propose that the authority of the Community be tied to "getting with the winning team" in some way. Perhaps the Community awards (or bribes) with dice to effect the outcome and the only way to get those is to side with the winner of a conflict.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Clyde L. Rhoer
Member

Posts: 391


« Reply #51 on: September 28, 2006, 05:09:27 AM »

Hey Dan,

Thanks for the additional feedback. Churning it around in my head has helped me fill in some unrelated holes. I wonder what your friends reactions would have been if you had sold it as playable character creation where the other players and GM have some say in who your character is and you have some say in who the other characters are. That changes nothing I'm contemplating as far as procedure, it's simply another way to look at the same thing. It's really the way I've been looking at it but I didn't want to muddle things by calling it character creation as I believe that people who don't normally play RPG's might find their way to this game, and I want it to be able to draw them in without too much of the problem that new folks have creating characters. More about the why of that here.

I don't think the game will be completely well suited for new folks, but easing folks into character creation fits really well with my other ideas for phase 1 anyway.

So the unrelated hole that I think may be fixed is I know why a child would assign negative traits if they gain declaration authority. My plan for the second phase of the game was for the traits assigned in the first phase to be used to gain "dice", by working them into the fiction as seen in a ton of Indy games, particularly Dogs in the Vineyard, during the second phase. So-- I'm going to split how negative and positive traits can be bid. I'm thinking positive ones will be more defensive in nature, and negative ones will be offensive. What that means specifically I don't know, but procedurally it seems sound, as that should mean that players actually want some negative traits.

Hey Joshua,

You are correct, the idea in the initial phase is to gain a voice. The idea in the second phase is to defeat the abuser and heal the community. The second phase the railroading will stop and players will have more control of the story, it will be like Mountain Witch, but I think more with the players creating obstacles that blunt The Abuser.

I've reread your post a few times and I'm not understanding what you are suggesting. I think I'm hanging on the words authority and aspects. By authority you mean the sense the word is used in RPG theory, as someones control over the SIS that should be spelled out by coherent rules? What you mean by aspects I'm totally missing.

Please bear with me if my responses get a bit slower than they were in the beginning. I'm cutting down on my internet time as I've just gotten some of the fiction people suggested to me, and some reference books.
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Theory from the Closet , A Netcast/Podcast about RPG theory and design.
clyde.ws, Clyde's personal blog.
Joshua A.C. Newman
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Posts: 1144

the glyphpress


WWW
« Reply #52 on: September 28, 2006, 06:09:44 AM »

So the unrelated hole that I think may be fixed is I know why a child would assign negative traits if they gain declaration authority. My plan for the second phase of the game was for the traits assigned in the first phase to be used to gain "dice", by working them into the fiction as seen in a ton of Indy games, particularly Dogs in the Vineyard, during the second phase. So-- I'm going to split how negative and positive traits can be bid. I'm thinking positive ones will be more defensive in nature, and negative ones will be offensive. What that means specifically I don't know, but procedurally it seems sound, as that should mean that players actually want some negative traits.

It's not a problem to want negative traits. The idea isn't to make the kids turn out to be shiny good guys, is it?

Quote
I've reread your post a few times and I'm not understanding what you are suggesting. I think I'm hanging on the words authority and aspects. By authority you mean the sense the word is used in RPG theory, as someones control over the SIS that should be spelled out by coherent rules? What you mean by aspects I'm totally missing.

By "aspect" I mean a piece of the fictional situation. So the kid might win authority over Louisa, the baker. Or maybe over the forest. Or over a weekly ritual.

[qoute]Please bear with me if my responses get a bit slower than they were in the beginning. I'm cutting down on my internet time as I've just gotten some of the fiction people suggested to me, and some reference books.
Quote

Conversations can take place at real world time instead of internet time. I applaud your ability to leave the keyboard!
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Clyde L. Rhoer
Member

Posts: 391


« Reply #53 on: September 29, 2006, 11:02:31 PM »

Hey Joshua,

I understand what you mean better now. I think that's an interesting idea as it would slowly constrain The Abuser. I'm not sure how I'd hook that to the pieces I have now. However, I'm already having some other ideas spinning in my head from just glancing over my reference books. I think that means I need to stop and see what those books stir up. So... I want to thank everyone who has helped me by contributing to this thread. It is greatly appreciated.

I'm closing this thread now.
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Theory from the Closet , A Netcast/Podcast about RPG theory and design.
clyde.ws, Clyde's personal blog.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #54 on: September 30, 2006, 06:52:59 AM »

Confirmed: closed.

Best, Ron
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