Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

Narrativist Player's Tutorial

Started by Bankuei, May 21, 2002, 05:57:35 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


I've got a weekend group of players who are interested in Narrativist play, but are only used to Gamist stuff.  I'm getting ready to give 'em the good ol' N baptism, and am wondering some if anyone has specific points/issues that I should remember to inform them of(links to threads would help too).  I'm primarily interested in Scene Framing and Director Stance...

Much thanks,

Ron Edwards

Hi Chris,

See my second post to Ian in the Hero Wars prep for play thread. I strongly advise keeping the "now we are going to do this" talk very brief, if present at all.

I hope Jesse and Ralph chime in on this thread - they have a lot of experience in the kind of transition you're talking about.



Hello Chris,

Facilitating a Transition in mindset is actually not too difficult assuming you have open minded players.  My strategies are as follows:

If I'm 'drifting' a game, like Deadlands or a World of Darkness game, I have a policy, I call, 'be scary on paper, be friendly in actual play.'  What I do, is I generally do all my overt discussion of Premise, techniques I'm interested in exploring, assumptions I want the players to throw out, etc on paper.  I agree with Ron that keeping the 'now we are going to do this,' talk to a minimum.  I include all that stuff on a hand out for the players to digest and take it or leave it as they like.

Then, I just make sure that my GMing stays focused on The Premise and let the players be.  During actual play I do not, 'critique' or otherwise comment on the players decisions or apparent mindset.  I also keep in mind Ron's comments from Sorcerer: 'Never say No.'  Eventually, the players will catch on to their new found freedom and start doing cool and interesting stuff.

If you choose to 'drift' a game you will likely have a lot of hit or miss sessions.  My first Werewolf session was great.  My second Werewolf session sucked because it fell into that awful boring, 'Gather Information until we understand this situation in its greatest minutia of detail so that we can take the best possible course of action.'  Again, don't sweat it.  When drifiting a game these things happen.

Okay, enough about drifting.

I notice you say you are interested in exploring Director Stance.  In that case I HIGHLY recommend using a system that promotes Director Stance in some servicable manner.  My top recommendations are:

The Pool or The Questing Beast,
Story Engine

The Questing Best and InSpectres come with built in Premises.  If you went with Story Engine or The Pool you'd have to decide what your game was going to about in advance.  For that, I DO recommend talking to your players as a group about.  You want to find something that they are all interested in exploring.

Other than that, the best advice I can give is focus on yourself as a GM.  If continue to focus and hone your Narrativist facilitating skills as a GM the players will eventually catch on and either embrace it, be indifferent to it, or walk out on you.

Hope this was useful.



Thanks Ron, actually, I'm not trying to give the players a bible, more like a paragraph or two of, "Here's scene framing, and here's director stance".  I find that spoken words are "soft" but written words are "solid" and it'll give them a chance to chew on the idea and digest it properly, plus come back with questions.  Instead of laying down law, I'm thinking more along the lines of an intro to an idea they may have never seen before.



Just throwing in some loose change:

Clearly state that the point of the game is not "to win" but to have a good time and do something cool. If they're hardcore Gamists then this point needs to be openly stated.
Alex Hunter
Email | Web


Thanks Jesse.  I'm actually thinking the Pool or Inspectres as my two options for doing this.  Also, I'm not planning in any way to "critique" or give metagame advice.

Actually, this group would be Narrativist, but they have been caught in gamist systems.  They approach most games with the understanding that N goals are related to character exploration, but haven't been exposed to the possibilities of N play.  


Ian Cooper

From my recent experience I would say concentrate on trying to find a 'kicker' for each player. Those who have connections into the plot tend to start providing more of the story without consciously being aware of it. Those without takelonger to pick up on their avanue for contribution. I left one player out first time around, and it took him longer to get going.

I found that they were keen to be allowed off the leash and react to bangs, but it was their desire to do this even in more linear play that encouraged me to pick up with these techniques.