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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 164 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Cyclical World Explosion and Premise  (Read 1050 times)

Posts: 127

« on: July 28, 2009, 05:57:49 AM »

Ok, I'm trying to design a setting so that it encourages premise, that is, encourages narrativist roleplaying and doesn't fall into the "excuse to publish fiction" Ron hates so much. Therefore, I'd like to give a very brief synopsis of the world setting here, and ask the big question, and then you folks can tell me if such a setting encourages narrativism or not.

I understand that setting divorced from system (and vice-versa) can't generally point to an agenda, but lets just assume the system does for the moment, and we just need to make sure that the setting does too.

Essentially, the setting takes place on a formerly perfect world. The world broke apart and became imperfect, and the players play characters trying to put the world back together. At some point, they are made aware (or discover) that once the world does indeed become perfect again, it will only stay that way for a short time before breaking apart again and starting the whole cycle over, effectively erasing everything and starting fresh, again and again and again. At this point, the characters have a clear choice. Either they continue with their plans, determined to see the perfect world and/or remain loyal to a natural order of things, or they can undo their carefully laid plans and stave off the impending perfection explosion just long enough to live their lives dangerously close to perfection in an attempt to be less happy longer.

Is that a good premise? Or is it just one small thing and needs several more to really work as the point of play in a game? Can it be explored fully, or is it basically just one question with one answer that determines the course of play but doesn't really nail premise?

In that line of thought, is premise a series of these hard questions, with the answers being actualized in play, and the protagonists occasionally changing their minds? Or is it about them making up their minds, actualizing their opinions, and then going on to answer different hard questions? Is it a little of both? And in the course of actualizing an answer to these questions, is this Narrativist play at all? Or is it only narrativist when they actually answer the question, and the rest is just filler to go from one decision to another?

Thanks for any help you have to shed on this topic,

Jason Morningstar

Posts: 1428

« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2009, 06:10:47 AM »

I can't really parse your concern about agenda, but I'll tell you that you've set up a situation where the players are completely reactive.  The hard choice they have to make is whether to do something 100% or just do it 95%.  Why is that remotely interesting?

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