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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 77 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Story, schmory  (Read 7734 times)
John Wick
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« Reply #30 on: June 28, 2001, 11:12:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-06-25 13:09, pblock wrote:
I suppose there are several ways to look at it.

Some of the more recent RPGs (meaning post 1982) have been focused on story even to the point of having mechanics that mimic the- what is it?- feel, look, flow of real literature.

I have to ask, is this a good thing?


For some.
Maybe not for you.

I don't think there's a single game out there that everyone can agree is "good."

And that's the way it is.
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #31 on: June 28, 2001, 08:04:00 PM »

I think I'm starting to get it.  

RPGs are often described as Let's Pretend with rules.  This is fairly accurate.  Let's pretend is all about experience of what it's like to be a fireman or cowboy or Han Solo (I did that! I did that!) or, at least what we think it's like, anyway.

Narrativist games is like campfire stories with rules.  Well, campfire stories already have rules, really:  

*  The whole group is telling a story
*  When it's your turn, you must pick up where the other person left off.
*  Take the story wherever you want
*  Then pass it on to the next person

Games in the narrativist style take this a step or two further, allowing the other players to effect and alter a player's story, giving the players control over one character, etc, etc.  Specific vary by game.

Is this far off?  This is the impression I've gotten at this point.

I'm starting to wonder if continuing to call these games is a misnomer, just as when D&D grew out of wargaming it was essentially incorrect to call it just a wargame.

Is it?  I'm not sure.  If you didn't called it RPG, what would you call it?
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joshua neff
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« Reply #32 on: June 28, 2001, 08:25:00 PM »

Quote
I'm starting to wonder if continuing to call these games is a misnomer, just as when D&D grew out of wargaming it was essentially incorrect to call it just a wargame.

Is it? I'm not sure. If you didn't called it RPG, what would you call it?


why wouldn't you call it a game? why not a roleplaying game? there are rules, there are players engaging in an activity bound by those rules--sounds like a game to me. & as the players are taking roles, it sounds like a roleplaying game to me.

pblock, it sounds like you're getting it (whatever that means), but i strongly suggest you find a copy of the basic story engine rules & if you don't want to buy them, at least read them in the store. or the main hero wars book. on one hand, narrativist games are very different from other rpgs, but on the other hand they're really not all that different & i don't think it takes a phd in quantum physics to wrap your head around the concepts behind narrativist rpgs.

traditionally, rules in rpgs are for determing the outcome of "stuff"--usually combat, but possibly jumping over a pit, or fast talking a guard, or whatever. these are broken down into individual actions, with the idea being one must randomly determine what the outcome of each individual action is.
narrativist rpgs don't necessarily do this. they attend to "narrative stuff"--a duel between romantic rivals, a philosophical debate, an attempt to steal the king's jewels. maybe these are broken down into individual actions or maybe the whole scene is resolved by one roll of the dice (or whatever)--but if broken down, the point still isn't to see "how things really would happen". any rules in a narrativist game should be about driving the story. this doesn't mean fudging a death because it's not appropriate for that scene (although it could mean that), it simply means that if it's not relevant to the narrative, there's no point in rolling dice (or whatever). the rules either focus on the premise (sorcerer & extreme vengeance, for example) or focus on general story-based resolution (story engine & theatrix).
am i making any sense at all, or is this just more confusing babble?


[ This Message was edited by: joshua neff on 2001-06-29 00:26 ]
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--josh

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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #33 on: June 28, 2001, 08:48:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-06-29 00:25, joshua neff wrote:

why wouldn't you call it a game? why not a roleplaying game? there are rules, there are players engaging in an activity bound by those rules--sounds like a game to me. & as the players are taking roles, it sounds like a roleplaying game to me.


Perhaps, perhaps not.

WHen D&D was going to press, they decided to refer to it as something other than wargame, since they figured it was different enought to call it something different.  They probablly did this to tell customers that D&D wasn't like most other wargames out there and probably to impress potential customers  Ooooh!  What's this new thing?

Yeah it was a marketing decision.  I'm given to understand one person in the group thought the term "role-playing game" was wrong but was outvoted.  I wonder what they the hobby would have if he wasn't.

It's unlikely that anyone would put a new name on a game at this point because there just isn't a big pile of money to be made, unfortunately.  (Some money, but not the pile that'd attract dumb people who'd rename stuff for no reason)

Actually several RPGs came out with descriptive name other than "Role-playing game" on them.  Sandman from Pacesetter calls itself a "Storytelling Game." and contains a brief paragraph about why they called it that instead of just RPGs. (Like they did anything especially different from then-current games compared to some of the games we're talking about)

I asked what you would call these games if the term RPG didn't apply more out of curiousity than any real desire to draw a division here.  I don't what I'd call them.


I will name them George and I will hug them and pet them and squeeze them
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Mytholder
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« Reply #34 on: June 29, 2001, 12:40:00 AM »

Attempts to define what an rpg is tend to fail. Everytime someone comes up with a good definition, someone else points out some game that should be covered but isn't, or is covered but certainly doesn't fit into the fuzzy brainspace we mark "rpgs". Baron Munchausen and Pantheon are good examples of these activities-which-involve-roleplaying-but-aren't-exactly-
traditional-rpgs-so-what-the-smeg-do-we-call-them-games....
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jburneko
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Posts: 1351


« Reply #35 on: June 29, 2001, 08:10:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-06-29 04:40, Mytholder wrote:
Attempts to define what an rpg is tend to fail. Everytime someone comes up with a good definition, someone else points out some game that should be covered but isn't, or is covered but certainly doesn't fit into the fuzzy brainspace we mark "rpgs". Baron Munchausen and Pantheon are good examples of these activities-which-involve-roleplaying-but-aren't-exactly-
traditional-rpgs-so-what-the-smeg-do-we-call-them-games....


You know, games like Baron Munchausen, Soap and Puppetland I think are RPGs from a different evolutionary standpoint.  These games are what RPGs would have been like had they developed from victorian parlor games instead of war games.

"The minister's cat is a noble cat... The minister's cat is an elegant cat..."

Jesse
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Supplanter
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« Reply #36 on: June 29, 2001, 09:32:00 AM »

I'd tend to ID Puppetland as the One of These Things That Is Not Like the Other on the list of three. The player/character and player/GM relations seem much more characteristic of traditional RPGs than Munchausen, which I have read, or Soap, which I've only read about. Certainly Munchausen and Soap really are something new in the way of RPGs, and the "parlor game" lineage is a very tenable theory for them.

Best,


Jim
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contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #37 on: July 19, 2001, 02:38:00 PM »


Hi guys

I'm new, but I'm going to bust right on in here, partly because that I suspect that is one of my accomodations to the socially inept thing, possibly/plausibly in conseqence of my GM role.  

Let me have a crack at HW and how the mechanicla format influences play.  Characters have Action Points (AP''s) which determine their "dominance" in a scene.  AP's are controlled by an ability rating, the most appropriate rating for the contest as a whole, although actual actions may be carried out with any ability (and I do mean ANY, you can do wild stuff, a bit like Mage, if you want).  This neatly encapsulates say a Dex-type task in an overall combat contest.  Furthermore, the contest is based on a bidding mechanic by which players bid character-derived AP's in an exchange which may cause the loss or transfere of points between the antogonists.  This means that the players control of the pace of the contest, byt their bid sizes, and that the process of exchange leads the players and GM to kinda negotiate their way to an outcome.  It does not primarily rsolve discrete actions, so much as overall influence of the situation.

One of the ways that this changes actual play behaviour is characterised in the advice to GM's not to give concrete results to actions - for example you do not usually respond to a dice result with "you hit"; you encourage "vaguer" actions like "I charge in with a flurry of blows, driving him back" and respond by narrating the "true" outcome with an eye to the mechanical exchange of AP values (and for example, whether they were transfered or outright lost).  This flexibility allows great reign to potentially fuzzier attributes like, say, loyalty to a patron: you could use such an attribute to increase your effectiveness in the exchange - "In the Name of the King" is a legitimate and effective, well, tactic.  Or can be, anyway :wink:

I think a lot of the design difference here is that HW resolves the whole contest, with all participants (pretty much) in one mechanical resolution, and uses sub-resolutions to allow discrete decisions within that framework.  And the fact that the AP contest features a fairly regular attrition means that it also kinda "counts down" the contest, which is useful for the GM.
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contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #38 on: July 19, 2001, 02:40:00 PM »

there was meant to be a smilie after that first paragraph :smile:
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