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Warhammer; Chaos! Order! Molasses!

Started by Callan S., June 28, 2009, 03:41:40 AM

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Callan S.

Played some warhammer RP (the new book) with some friends last night (Daniel and Matt, who are also brothers, Matt younger. Daniel is GM). There's this odd thing that I'm not sure I can describe well (I so wish a transcript was magically recorded during play), so maybe this threads shot in the knee already. But weve been hired to do a job, as sometimes happens. Anyway, it seemed in doing anything, particularly in traveling, I'd say "Okay, we head off then!" when I was sure Matt, the other player, was pretty much ready (I'm sure he'd instantly interupt that if not, so that's worked out). But nothing would happen? Well not nothing, but as far as my fuzzy memory goes, I'd say something like that then somehow the subject changes to some gear or something related or semi related. This would go on, for awhile and then we'd do this about twice more before we'd head off, down the road toward the destination. I don't think we were even doing anything at all that was 'against script', so to speak. It was like you just couldn't DO anything - not straight away - only after awhile would it sink in. I don't think this is new, but at the same time it was really quite noticeable this time.

Even just crossing a room with mini's and a grid - I think I moved my mini (not in combat) across a room and we then had to go into everything that happened before that (I think there were some mushrooms would could have found in the dark room). Even though the figure was across the room (not a remarkable thing), it couldn't just happen - all this stuff from before it happening had to be gone over first.

It's like moving through molasses! It's not a terrible thing, but it a little frustrating to not be able to just do something. And it makes me wonder what that is? I'm trying to get my head around it and I can't really grasp anything about it. Anyone heard of anything like it? Is it like some sort of responce to player action, but rather than getting onto what happens after a character does X or even what happens when they try to do X, it's like going "Ah, you made an action - and since you did that, now we have to work out a bunch of stuff leading up to the action you made/about to make!". Once it actually came to the action - like traveling out of the city for a day then staying at a coach in, it'd basically just happen in a snap. I'm wondering if it's just trying to fill out player actions in what would otherwise happen in a few seconds. Well, I'm trying to work out some sort of fun (doesn't have to be my sort of fun) reason for it.

Also on another topic, interesting to see that a 50XP bonus (the largest spontaniously handed out) was for Matt thinking an NPC's name sounded like it was from a certain region (it was) and when I recognised the past nesting spot of some ravens previously mentioned. All rewards for 'getting' the world, basically.
Philosopher Gamer

Jasper Flick

Quote from: Callan S. on June 28, 2009, 03:41:40 AM
Even just crossing a room with mini's and a grid - I think I moved my mini (not in combat) across a room and we then had to go into everything that happened before that (I think there were some mushrooms would could have found in the dark room). Even though the figure was across the room (not a remarkable thing), it couldn't just happen - all this stuff from before it happening had to be gone over first.

I'm not sure I follow you completely, but this sounds like an obtrusive reality simulation engine is at work. Something that might work if performed in a millisecond by a computer, but not if it's manual. This might also reflect back on the first part of your post, which seems to be about inventory micromanagement versus action.

Does the new book give you the impression the game's written for computers, instead of for people? D&D 4e comes to mind...
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Ron Edwards

Hi Callan,

I've been thinking & thinking about this.

A while ago, I wrote about what I called "the murk," which primarily had to do with when and how conflicts (crises, fights, whatever) arose during play, and how people often seemed to play in a fashion in which trivial stuff was treated as a conflict and no one knew how "real" conflicts were supposed actually to start.

It's possible that you're talking about the same murk on a larger scale - not even really knowing how characters get from here to there. But I'm still trying to articulate how it relates to games of this kind, in which "roll to see if bandits attack" is a textual instruction regarding travel. The various questions for such games should include:

- is there travel which can be treated as instant? Must bandits or whatever be rolled for, always?

- how does it initiate? Do you have to play the decision to travel in "real-time play" in order for the traveling to occur?

- once initiated, can't it just start? Do you have to play the provisioning, the getting-around-to-it, and the various possible leave-taking events too?

The reason it reminds me of the murk is that there's this same funny emphasis on "if we skip something, we break the SIS." And oddly enough, playing everything means the stuff we want to play ends up not happening, happening rarely, or happening hit-and-miss.

Best, Ron


It reminds me of a criticism a friend of mine made; "Tolstoy is a terrible writer, he takes a page to describe a table!".

Tolstoy isn't terrible to me, but his prose is slow moving, because of the depth of description. Now it sounds to me like the GM is doing that to the max; when you move through a room, you might take a quick glance around and look for the exit, but the GM would notice the patterns of the light on the walls, and you are stuck with the GMs pacing for everything. Imagine the game runs at 50 details per second. Well because he wants more details per action, less happens. If your not into the colour, then you will just be like "come on, I said what I wanted hours ago!!", but he's like "yes you did, and so you walk through the hallway, decked out in the colours of ........ and through the door, which is in the style of ........ until you find yourself outside in the cool light of......" etc!

But accompanying that, I think the GM is just not getting what you are not caring about, and sticking it in anyway. So it's like he's thought what is in every book in a library, and you want one of them, but he can't resist telling you what's in the one's you didn't pick, cos he likes them too. Now that is just wanting to make your creative efforts count, not to waste them which I think you mentioned before as a concern of your own, but in this case he's not giving in and just going on about it anyway, backed up by GM power. Is there another way? Well one way to make what he is interested in relevant to you might be to build it into the

Ron, do you watch many soap operas? Cos they can be full of "weak" conflicts and low stakes, but some people like that! Friends and pre-teen dramas can be strangely similar in the lack of substantial things that happen. And some people don't like that, but aren't sure how to do much better. Does that stuff fit your part of your "murk" idea? Basically I'm trying to get a feel for what separates real and trivial conflicts from your perspective, is it just what we want to do vs what we feel is required as a pre-requisite?

Callan S.

Thanks, Jasper & Ron!

I think that all ties in. Groping for a structure I think it's like "There has to be more to it than just...going there? So I'll ignore that and...ah ha, there is more to it!" when obviously if you ignore the travel request, more 'stuff' will happen before travel (unless I insistantly kept repeating 'were going', which I'm obviously not going to - instead I'm going to say something else to avoid being repetitive/rude - thus more stuff happens). It's like "Well, it's a dangerous, savage world - the books say so in it's fluff over and over. If just going means no real sense of danger or tension to travel, then the travel request isn't quite right compared with what the books always talk about...there must be something else to I'll ignore it for now until we get it just right...".

I mean, as said, I even got that when I charged once - our mini's were placed and on my turn, I moved the amount of squares granted for a charge and placed my figure next to a chaos warrior...annnnd Dan says something like "Okay, your about to charge...". No, I have already charged! This is a dead parrot! ('scuse the python reference). It's a guess on my part, but I think it's trying to build it up to be so much more than a minature moving eight inches across a board. I'll grant it does add a tension to the RL atmosphere of play, but its composed of not a little frustration.

Also in the past Matt's asked my opinion on what to do with travel, for when he GM's (typically GM'ing for his friends/another group). I think he said something along the lines of "How do you do it, so it doesn't just happen - your not just suddenly in another spot?". At the time I suggested players briefly describe some events (what happened and how it ended), hand out some XP for description, and move on. I think I got what he meant - I also think, to a degree, that if your engaging this idea of a dangerous world, but then you have a suggestion of a huge track of land that's essentially safe and nothing happens, it waters down the whole thing. My idea, if I'm recalling it right (I might be inventing this now. I'm not sure), wasn't to really engage any mechanical risk, just have some narration of supposed risks dealt with - keep up an illusion of danger until we get to a place with some real danger.

That's probably another factor in this - players don't really contribute to a sense of tension in our game. You do stuff, but that doesn't build up any sense of tension in itself. That's all on the GM's shoulders. If I were to try and talk up the dangers in the world (I know, pure narration and an attempt to evoke the danger in the books fiction - but what else do I have? I can't make monsters appear), even just a sentence or two, I'd get a funny look - perhaps even a look of stepping outside my job as player. I think I've even done this in the past once or twice out of reflex - it's like I threw a ball toward someone else to catch and run with, then watched the ball hit the ground, bounce a little then lay still. Not even in a 'well, not that ball, but perhaps another type of ball' way. Anyway, basically it's all on the GM's shoulders. So maybe Dan was sitting there thinking "Traveling is supposed to be tense...nah, nah, your not traveling yet..." while I feel no sense of tension and just want to head to a place that has tension/conflict.

I'm also kind of thinking of the term 'hardcore', not for it's gamist context, but for the direct contact between social contract and mechanics - I'm wondering if this is an attempt to stuff fiction in between SC and mechanics rather than let the travel option contact directly with 'your figure is now here' mechanical outcome. Ron, doesn't your question about instant travel strike you as direct SC contact with mechanics? I have no issue with that myself, but I could imagine someone, perhaps in a defensive way, stuffing fiction in between SC and mechanical outcome "Oh, not always, all sorts of events could happen in the world that can get in the way of travel..." etc etc, quickly trying to jam fiction into the direct, almost audible contact of SC onto metal mechanics.

Also on that note, I'm pretty sure this edition of warhammer is another RPG with 'the GM can do anything' in it somewhere(in cheery prose, as usual). Ie, the GM is given a blank cheque. Or atleast I've assumed so - so I've agreed to a system that gives the GM a blank cheque. Or more directly, I've given the GM a blank cheque. So if he wants to write out a cheque for 'Stuffing fiction in between SC and mechanical outcome' I can't exactly argue it without dishonouring my agreement to hand him a blank one. So questions like "Must bandits be rolled for" could be answered with "Must I hand him a blank cheque to begin with, on the matter?". Alot of the questions come right back to me, in that regard.

I suppose, like for many years, I've wanted to sever the blank cheque shit, either from something I wrote or from an existing RPG (verbally, explicitly exponging it from a session I'd propose to my friends), but I want to know what is so important to him on the matter? What's the most important thing, if I can condense it down to something and cut off the extra time chewing stuff that isn't for me. Because without the old blank cheque model to allow it to exist, it'll need some sort of mechanical procedure to make sure it exists. But I need to know what it is before I could make that, assuming I could even make it. Or is it inseperable from the blank cheque model?

Note: Cross posted with Joywriter and I'm kind of spent having written this - I'll reread your post tomorrow, Joywriter :)
Philosopher Gamer

Frank Tarcikowski

Callan, that sounds familiar. Back in the old days we were moving through a molasses, too. We somehow had that idea that you had to go through everything in detail. If was fine to finish an adventure and then start the next one a few months of in-game time down the road. But once you started playing, you had to go through the details. You could not, for example, move to the next morning before you had established how everybody spent their evening. You could not just say "we go to a bar", you had to describe the bar, you had to order your drink... and while you were there and playing through it, naturally your tried to make the scene somehow interesting, stretching it even further.

Sometimes these scenes turned out to be tremendous fun. Sometimes we even embraces these scenes because they were giving us a break from the GM's railroading us into some sort of nonsensical task that our character had no real motivation for. At other times, these scenes were just dull and boring, but you had to go through them, didn't you? We never questioned the way we played, at the time. It was the only way we knew.

We made the best of most of these games, but I have a theory where that notion of "you have to go through every detail" originates from. Ever seen a group where the players try to outsmart the GM? Because the GM is trying to railroad and the players are trying to avoid being railroaded, or because the GM is trying to spoil the players' plans by any means, and the players are trying to put him back to the wall where there is nothing left he can pull out of the hat to stop them? Awful, dysfunctional play.

A group that plays that way is bound to constantly argue about what happened when, who was where, and why what the GM says can't happen. Anything that was left open could be used by the GM, so the only way for the players to pin down the GM was to mind every smallest detail, from A to Z.

So yeah, that's my theory as to the origins of this "slow paced" approach. I guess some groups keep it out of habit. I don't know if that's what's going on in your group, actually the charge example makes me doubt it. Maybe and it's rather that your GM is trying to invoke some sort of atmosphere and thinks that taking his time is necessary for that.

- Frank
If you come across a post by a guest called Frank T, that was me. My former Forge account was destroyed in the Spam Wars. Collateral damage.

Jasper Flick

Quote from: Callan S. on June 30, 2009, 11:06:41 PMI mean, as said, I even got that when I charged once - our mini's were placed and on my turn, I moved the amount of squares granted for a charge and placed my figure next to a chaos warrior...annnnd Dan says something like "Okay, your about to charge...". No, I have already charged! This is a dead parrot! ('scuse the python reference).

Could it be an IIEE issue? Vincent's recent Rock of Tahamaat example comes to mind here. I'm not sure because I don't know if your issue is forcefully injected color, or system.

Quote from: Callan S. on June 30, 2009, 11:06:41 PM
It's a guess on my part, but I think it's trying to build it up to be so much more than a minature moving eight inches across a board. I'll grant it does add a tension to the RL atmosphere of play, but its composed of not a little frustration.

If it's like forcefully describing every to-hit roll, then I think it's bad. I've seen it fall flat countless times in miniature combat. It's just not sustainable. "Make every action interesting" is bullshit advice if the average action is insignificant. Personally, I prefer to quikly handle them and only focus on moments worth mentioning. I dunno, stuff like crits and kills.

The same goes for travel. But opinions differ a lot here. Isn't it an issue of working out together how you should handle this? Experience taught me that not talking about this gets you mired in muck fast. Assuming the book is firmly traditional in a Gygaxian sense, it probably won't be much help here.

From the rest of your post it sounds like your play is well-entrenched in GM-entertains-passive-players mode, and you're not happy with it. What can you do if that is true? I'm afraid you suck it up, abandon the group, or talk it out...

(Crossposted with Frank)
An additional common defense of "you have to go through every detail" play: "It's not roleplaying if you do not act it out."
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Callan S.

Hi Frank,

Yeah, in terms of Rons comment
QuoteAnd oddly enough, playing everything means the stuff we want to play ends up not happening
The thing is, it's not stuff 'we' want to play - or atleast that is not certain for the GM from the outset. In the end I think we played to the GM's predefined script fairly closely - and to be honest I was pretty okay with that this time (hesitant more because I don't know in advance what's in the script, rather than because I'd be following a script). But the GM doesn't really know that. So all this fuzting around is perhaps to give the sense of player agency and capacity to choose, when really it's just sweating the small stuff. Perhaps it's not just to give the impression to players, but also to give the impression to himself that all sorts of things could happen, rather than just what he's scripted.

Our friend Chris ran a game once and at the end in private Dan said it was a good one and Chris was learning and getting out of his heavy railroad ways - I was a little surprised and said to him I think we pretty much went through everything Chris had prewritten. Since there wasn't really anything else but the prewritten stuff, we had gone from one piece to another, like moths attracted to the next beacon of light - sure it might have felt like we were doing what we want, but there weren't exactly two sources of light on offer - just a linear path of single beacons (one beacon at a time). Well, I don't think I described it that clearly at the time, but it seemed to sink in a little and he wasn't so certain it wasn't a railroad. Though he's probably right in that it's not a heavy railroad - instead it's one strung together by our 'moth like reflexes' as you might call it (what we drift toward reflexively), rather than overt force. A much more subtle railroad. One that panders to our reflexes so much we railroad ourselves.

Actually that makes me think of something constructive I could talk about with him - something like "Okay, the player groups attracted to certain stuff like a moth to the flame - but if you only put one up a single flame at a time, clearly we'll just drift toward it. That's kind of following a railroad. So what if we zip past all the single flames you'd find in the fictional world, and find where two flames would show up at once - which one would we drift towards and engage in? There's uncertainty there" or something like that...
Philosopher Gamer

Emily Care

You may be interested in a set of 10 scenarios based on the Warhammer universe that folks in Denmark put together for a con. They keep the flavor of the war against chaos, while tripping you through some moving and hysterical situations of play. Nice to have that dark, bitter taste but in a less sticky and sloggy form. The scenarios are extremely pre-written, but that is all on the table and transparent for the players. There they embrace the railroad.

They are in the process of being translated to English and are available here:
Imperiet, The Empire Anthology

edited once to add:
(En Sommernats Fortaelling, Krigshammeren, Returning Home, The Butterforger and The Hunt have been translated so far.)
Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games

Callan S.

Thanks, Emily!

We played again recently. I think Matt is actually part of this issue, though it was hard to see/remember in the first game. Basically we were to head up to this cave where some orcs were near it and retrieve some treasure for our employer. The description was as vague as that. Weve stopped off at this wizards place, who has many potions and some supplies. And Matt gives plan upon plan upon plan, buying nets and morph potions and more and it keeps going. The thing is, I can't knock this - if you have unlimited time to plan ahead, it makes sense to take your time. For myself, given there was little description of it, I couldn't form any real plan and I decided to just go there and wing it - sometimes the most efficient thing to do is just go, instead of trying to plan for a million things. Plus, it's a game - it's okay to lose. But Matt keeps coming up with plans. I ask about this and he says he doesn't want to get there and then they could have had just the perfect thing but forgot it. I said it's okay, we don't have to be perfect, keeps going. Again, I'll say it makes sense to keep planning when you have time to - this is where some hard mechanics should put a real life time limit on this stuff.

Which leads me to a sublime point - I didn't feel I could just say that. Because for me, roleplay games seem more like a book full of disparate parts - more like a dictionary than a novel, so to speak. You have to act as designer. But I'm not sure Matt was taking on any sort of designer position, he was just playing it. I couldn't suggest adding a time limit to the game, with someone who isn't taking on a designer role.

I considered just stating I was riding ahead. But then I knew what would happen - I'd be acknowledged as 'riding' and the attention would pan back to the planning. If I asked if I'm there I'd be told no, because the amount of time that had passed would be based on how long this gear negotiation would take - ironically too short a time to get there in game, and too long a time in RL. There was no way to escape the molasses!

After a long while, where I'd sort of gone silent because what else could I add, Daniel said to him "So your going now?" and he said "yeah". I wonder if Dan hadn't said that, would he have continued on...and for how long?

Hmm, I really don't want too sound down on this. It might seem like I've written alot, but given the time spent at this stage of RP, I'm not spending much time detailing this relative to the time spent on the activity.

Further in the adventure we came across a fairly classic beaten peasant, who's family and friends were under siege by orcs. Will we help him? I kind of guess this was optional and I was considering it in terms of my character, thinking maybe because it might be the same orcs as we were headed toward and we could whittle them down. Matt says yeah, we'll help you (there's also several NPC's (employers dirty jobs man and NPC friends)). I start to say well yeah, uh, this might help whittle the orcs so...but it's kind of missed in the board set up. I'm wondering if this happens again and my character were, after Matts says we'll do it, to say fuck it, no and stick to that, what would happen? But I think I'll be left wondering because I'm inclined to go with what my characters reflex is, rather than just do it to find out. I don't want my PC to say fuck it, just to see whether that's supported at all.

We pick some orcs off, I shoot one in the back of the head really, really hard. The atmosphere at the game table is a little more towards electric. We save the villagers...and head back to the road. It's kind of not important - theres no real sense of climax - like it was put there to give choice, but it's perhaps not a choice Dan really cared about, except to put it there in case we cared about it.

We get to the cave and the orcs have a camp about 700 meters away from the cave. Blessedly there isn't any huge planning stage this time - go in at night and stuff coins into a bag of holding handed to us for the job (yeah, bags of holding kind of jar me in terms of warhammer, and I haven't even read it as much as Dan and Matt? Or am I way off in getting warhammer? Oh, and it was a box of holding...if that makes a dif). Perhaps too many unknown factors makes Matt overplan? He gets in there, uses the tarp over the treasure to block the entrance and pours coins into the bag. Can't get the bigger tapestries and stuff into it, though. Really I thought this was a risk/reward assessment up to our employers goon but I dunno who decided to go to the cave with the cart. Anyway, while were doing this, the orc camp is attacked by a couple of dozen chaos dudes (some chaos dudes (same ones?) dumped the treasure here previously, because they were under attack). When were just finishing, they see us and start riding over - which is the end of the session. Which I kind of try to find a climax, but at the same time it just feels like it was put there - I can't feel "OMG, no!" like if you rolled high/bad on a critical roll on your PC. This wasn't a roll, it was just...put there? Hard to describe it. Also, there's more to the script, but I'm glossing over it - ask if you want extra details.
Philosopher Gamer

Jasper Flick

What do you think Matt's overplanning is a symptom of? Does he just love to make up plans? Is he a perfectionist? Is it a defense mechanism against a screw-you GM? What's Daniel's place in this?
I feel your pain! Personally I despise this kind of play. It's boring, based on nothing but second-guessing, and probably totally irrelevant later. Couple this with a GM who instinctually counters any plan the players come up with, and you have a colossal waste of time.
To me, it's not playing, it's making up what-if scenarios. Ok if everyone wants to do that, but if it bores you, perhaps you should say so? Why won't you? So you'll keep sacrificing for them, so they don't need to sacrifice for you? Why not demand an equal share of fun? You're tuning out!

Ok, past that specific issue. Now I'm going to jab hard at what I think is the core issue, to see if I'm anywhere on target. Correct me if I'm talking nonsense.

The main vibe seems to be that your contribution doesn't matter, that it's all between Matt and Daniel. And they just happen to be brothers. They're attuned to each other, while you're the misfit left in the water outside the boat.
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Ron Edwards

What a fascinating thread - so much to think about based on one thorough description of what play is like. I thought I'd provide some background threads which play a big part in how I'm reading this one, which again involves the term "murk."

Bangs&Illusionism - in which Ron beats down Confusion - I don't think the thread itself was particularly successful, but on the second half of the final page, that's where I proposed the term "murk" for a very specific phenomenon of play. - a follow-up murk thread which elaborated upon a particular example. And Spot the sim-clue-ationism was Callan's thread regarding the same group - I found it valuable reading as a foundation for this one. ... And as optionals for people who enjoy the topic, here are Incoherent Play and Bucket Seats (and to some extent its linked parent thread), Bangs and Framing, and [PTA] Players wanting their PCs to fail?, to see how the same issue cropped up a lot.

Best, Ron


Don't forget that you could be oscillating; what if Matt got the reward for detailed play in the last game, so stepped up to the detail role, with Dan pulling back because he could see he was annoying you last game?

But that effect would only be a very small amount of the problem. The other problem seems like classic compulsive future proofing, and there are three ways I can think of to deal with it on floor level; time limits as you suggested make the choice more pointed, super GM creativity to make the situation one that his tools cannot solve, whatever they are by listening to his plans and bypassing them all, and actually letting him retcon his prep time, but setting out "how long it took him" before you set off. The latter seems the one that would most suit him, for these reasons;
he is forced to consider the time his character would use to plan at the outset, considering you by proxy,
he is able to work out the perfect solution and have satisfaction in it, (although I would have it so in playing out the prep he should be required to make some irrelevant prep too, for suspension of disbelief purposes and so he still thinks ahead a little)
he is more aware that he is interrupting you by how it interrupts the flow of events.

The question is then how to broach such a subject, as well as dealing with the decision making thing. The social element Jasper mentions may well be true, (me and my brother have done that before now to newer contributors by accident) but these things can break down really quick if you approach them right, especially if you have a solid group going:

I get the impression you're not much into out of character table talk, more out back chatting. In that case, how about having a talk to Dan about the pacing thing, and the causes for your lack of engagement with the fiction (from here it feels like pacing + tension + slight breaks in your personal warhammer suspension of disbelief/genre conventions). If we can hammer out some possible solutions here maybe he would be interested in implementing them, as he is more likely to be in a design frame of mind. You'll probably want to avoid hitting him with a new game text and an ultimatum though :P

Got an idea for two birds/one stone solution, to travel + lack of player involvement in tension, based on rustbelt last night:
One player rolls to "avoid trouble" which is sort of the equivalent of a stealth check, and explains how, imagining what dangers could be there and how to dodge them. The next part uses price pretty heavily, but weirdly, as if they fail we think up piddling little adversities or avoidance challenges they come across in trying to avoid the main threat(s). Anything from crawling into brambles, loosing equipment scagged on bushes, or little challenges where your attempt fails a little but you have a chance to recover. Heavy interaction between GM and player to suggest acceptable price, and in doing so the journey is given character.

Very little idea how it works for multiple journey-ers yet, and would probably require adjustment for WFRP, but I thought I'd add it just in case.

Frank Tarcikowski

Hey, I once knew a player who liked to plot every detail in advance. The trick was to give him something to work with, because otherwise he would go through all the possibilities and would just refuse to go anywhere until he had it all thought through. That player knew exactly what he was up to and what he liked about role-playing. He would appreciate an easy victory that he had earned through careful planning. Not so much the style of play I enjoy, personally, but at least you knew what to expect of that player.

In your example, Callan, I suspect that one should not read that much purpose into the individual actions. These guys seem to me as if they don't have a clue what they're doing, or why. If I may be so blunt.

- Frank
If you come across a post by a guest called Frank T, that was me. My former Forge account was destroyed in the Spam Wars. Collateral damage.

Callan S.

Well, to me that raises the question: And you do know what your doing? Isn't that what my group would say as well? With the very same emotional certainty?

In accounts I've read for years, it seems hundreds of groups take a text which is, as I said before, more like a dictionary than a novel. Their texts contains rules, yes, and like in Ron's murk example about fights and yes, we have rules for a fight, but how and when does one start - how does it's results link into anything else?

If I were to just write a hundred rules, with no intent on my behalf for them fitting together in any way at all, I'm sure on exposure to them (perhaps with some nifty fluff text and art) some group somewhere out there would "Know how to do it" with my hundred rules. When there is no fucking way to do it - I specifically just randomly threw rules together! I'm pretty damn sure that would happen - people would see a 'procedure' and 'the right way to do it' when there was none at all.

Further, in terms of murk, there was this TV program called 'How art changed the world'. It looked at cave paintings and how flickering lights (like a flaming torch) could in a partly sensory deprived environment, start causing halucinations. Indeed, there were often squares and odd geometric shapes in the animals they painted in caves. The presenter actually went to a science lab where they stimulated the same geometric visions in him with some goggles.

Eventually they brought images out of the cave and onto stone pillars as stone carvings. Eventually they didn't have to go into the cave for it to happen, they could produce images from memory and produced them because they facinated them (and others)

Perhaps it's a long draw of the bow on my part, but it seems roleplay culture is still in the halucination phase, still crawling down into a dank cave (so to speak) and sitting there for hours (literally?) until it comes. The bad bit isn't halucination - inspirational halucination is great! The bad bit is the absence of recognition that it's a halucination - there's instead this certainty that "That's how it's done!", when it isn't how it's done, it's something they've invented - they are as much the author of their halucination as everyone is the author of our own dreams at night, even though you don't realise while dreaming, that you dream and author it.

I'm not sure it's just about talking with Daniel about designing. It's hard to describe - it's again like Ron's example of the fight rules - as we all see, combat rules are often quite detailed. It's like many designers tried to get designery with them and...still just left it to the halucination as to when a fight starts, what the ongoing ramifications are, if any, etc. There's not much point getting into design, if you then let the halucination run rampant everywhere else. The halucination has to be contained and constrained, with no leak points, otherwise it just pwns any other design element with it's halucinegenic ways. And for that, A: the hard one, you have to recognise its a halucination and the harder one B: you have to want to constrain it. Alot of people just wouldn't call it roleplay "It's a board game!". So there's a philisophical hurdle, then a choice I can't make for them.
Philosopher Gamer