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Naratavist Game Compatable with D&D settings

Started by Narmical, August 07, 2007, 03:56:42 AM

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Here's link to a list of Ron's posts on his D&D3 game played with narrativist creative agenda:

- Alan

A Writer's Blog:



I see what you mean - and we're probably saying about the same thing: that each of these individual techniques, which tend to be associated with narrative play, are really just things that we happen to notice from narrative systems. The important thing is the central point-of-play. Some of the characteristics, incidentally, probably aren't even corollaries of narrativist design when we see them in-game. Specific rules for social conflicts, for example, is something we see a lot of in indie RPGs, whether or not they're designed on narrative principles. Sort of like a "OK, I kill the goblin with my sword and talk the courtier down with my diplomacy and fast talk skills. What's the XP?"

Although looking back at the list now, they don't seem that contentious in themselves. Social conflict resolution? Check out the skill descriptions for Diplomacy and Intimidate - they're pretty thorough. Sharing of responsibility for scene creation? No, but shared responsibility for setting creation is one step away, and that's in Birthright (AD&D 2nd ed). Replacing alignment? I've got an old Dragon article where you defined your alignment by making up beliefs and putting them in order - probably from the mid-1990s. So none of these techniques are new.

I'm still interested in these ideas, but I'm/we're probably using the wrong terminology to call them narrativist. To be honest, I guess my original enthusiasm for this idea was derived from the possibility I could "trick" my players into trying out some narrative gaming. The problem is, given that my players also want to add extra goodies to their PCs and work as a group and play around with miniatures getting the most tactically efficient outcome from combat, can we have our cakes and eat them? Or, unless we're playing to explore issues in our SIS, are we just adding some neat, albeit possibly contentious, rules to D&D. And aren't we better off not adding more rules to D&D and focussing on the key ideas.

Ron Edwards

Hi there,

It might be that those are rhetorical questions, so I'm not sure whether you really want a big dialogue about them. All of these have been thoroughly worked through over the years here at the Forge, and the general conclusions have been ...

1. Sneaking up on Creative Agenda, trying to trick other players into playing a certain way by inserting techniques, typically doesn't work. Mike Holmes wrote a great thread about this a while ago.

2. Creative Agendas are priorities, and although priorities may be changed or traded off, play simply doesn't meet two priorities as priorities at once. Debate about this point went through many stages, and for a while people talked about "Congruence," which eventually, as I see it, fell off the cart because it was not borne out as an actual phenomenon.

3. The answer to your last couple of sentences is "yes," because basically, if you (speaking of the group as a whole) don't want to do X, then adding X-y rules toward Y is merely confusing or annoying.

However, as I mentioned before, there isn't any reason why, for instance, more widely-distributed scene framing or other aspects of GM tasks can't be included toward the Gamist ends which the group as a whole prefers. That would be a fine thing and no problem at all.

My earlier point which you accurately paraphrased: a given technique cannot be Narrativist, Gamist, or Simulationist. It's just a technique.

In which case, if you and the rest of the folks in the group want to play solid D&D 3.5 with the addition of, say, "Players narrate their own successful rolls," and if that particular thing makes the shared Creative Agenda (say, Gamism) more powerful for your group ... well, then, rock on. That's what techniques are for, dammit.

Does that make sense?

Also, I think if you want to pursue this further, that you should post in Actual Play about experiences with your group. We are effectively threadjacking Narmical at this point.

Speaking of which, I don't know whether the original poster is still engaged with the thread. Narmical, are you there? If so, what are your thoughts at this point?

Best, Ron