*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 25, 2014, 02:50:54 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 68 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 2 [3]
Print
Author Topic: GNS and Hierarchy  (Read 3664 times)
Adam Dray
Member

Posts: 676


WWW
« Reply #30 on: August 18, 2009, 11:10:33 AM »

Go for it.
Logged

Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Caldis
Member

Posts: 359


« Reply #31 on: August 18, 2009, 02:41:03 PM »


 This is the actual play account I'll be discussing.  The relevant posts are reply #1 where he talks about the first session the Laszlo experience, reply # 12 where he talks about the second session and reply 14 where he talks of the final confrontation. 

Each of the sessions is a reward cycle.  In the first they start out with the task they had to accomplish, find the mutant chimpanzee.  There are several possible encounters along the way and how they deal with them directly affects the outcome of the situation. If they dont move quickly enough bad things can happen.  Their choices, actions, tactics made the difference.  Their quick movement allowed them to catch up to the Chimp before he was captured by slavers, the gutsy move by the borg player with a little bit of luck on his side allowed them to escape the slavers and get away with the chimp.

The second group functioned in the same way.  Their actions determined how well they did.  The Lt's indecisiveness was costing them but the smart play by the others found the information they needed.  The fact the other group acted without caution allowed this group to get the information they needed however there lack of though cost them the extra support they could have had in requesting weapons.

So what we have so far is each group assigned a task, through various means they accomplish the task but how well they do affects how capable they are at future tasks.  In some of his side comments not directly in the play account the gm tells of how the game could have differed if they hadnt moved fast enough. 

Now there is a new task for the groups, the battle to control the chimp.  This is the cycle in action.  The groups Stepped Up to the tasks on the way they changed the situation and now a new one awaits, one in which once again how well they act tactically and strategically will determine what happens.

Contrast that with the game from your example where it's not how well you did but the meanings of your choices that matter.

I can also do up an example of a Sim reward cycle if you are still interested but that will have to wait for another day.
Logged
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #32 on: August 19, 2009, 05:01:50 AM »

Assumption #6: No group can pursue multiple creative agendas within a single game session (even if they are completely united on wanting to do so).

As it happens, a lot of the substance of your argument has been discussed before, although I'm not having much luck locating any of those threads with search terms I can think of right now.

I held quite a similar position, but it was all resolved to my satisfaction by the 'instance of play' and reward cycle criteria.  I've picked out this point of yours as a suitable place to make the point.

I think my play rests primarily in one agenda, skirts into another regularly, and largely ignores the third.  How can this be, when only a single mode can be present?  The thing is that its not necessarily about what you do in terms of this minute, right now; what matters is what is ultimately rewarded and reinforced.

So you can indeed have a "heriarchy" in a sense that one agenda is dominant and another recessive and so forth, and see it that way if you choose.  But that actually obscures more than it illuminates.  Because ultimately, for the game to actually work and be fun, it will have to prioritise one agenda, even if it allows temporary excursions into behaviour that seems to belong in another agenda.

This is what people mean by techniques not expressing an agenda automatically and in their own right.  It is perfectly possible to have, most commonly, gamist style techniques present in a game that is really not G at all.  Does this mean the game as a while is a hybrid?  No.  Becuase, over the instance of play, it will be the other thing, whatever it is, that will get rewarded, that will be recognised as the point of play.

IF such a game rewarded the gamist things, it would be gamist overall.  But if instead its just an excursion, and the reward cycle really adressess S or N, then these excurions are just supporting elements.  The game still has one agenda, even if it borrows from some of the fun things that the others can do.

Your statement I picked out puts things to starkly.  It is indeed possible within a session (and a session may or may not be coterminus with an instance of play) to use techniques that are usually though of as being supportive of different agendas.  That is all fine and normal and not a challenge to the GNS model as such.  What you cannot do is have instances of play whose cycles actually reward more than one agenda over all.  Thus, hybrid play, that is rewarding of two or more agendas simultaneously is impossible, but play with some variation of techniques is not.  And when people do branch out into those techniques, they are not really temporarily pursuing a different agenda, because what they are doing is not rewarded and reinforced.  It may well be enjoyed and celebrated in its own right, in the moment, but ultimately it is not the point of play.
Logged

Impeach the bomber boys:
www.impeachblair.org
www.impeachbush.org

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
FredGarber
Member

Posts: 95


« Reply #33 on: August 19, 2009, 02:32:46 PM »

Thanks again everyone. You have all contributed meaningfully to this as far as I am concerned.
2. Creative Agenda is not at the beginning, middle, or end of play, it IS play. Everything within the scope of play, from start to finish (and even beyond) is Creative Agenda in action.

Here I have to disagree with one of your basic assumptions.  I would phrase it as this:

2. Creative Agenda is not ONLY at the beginning, middle, or end of play.  Anything within the scope of play, from start to finish (and even beyond) might reinforce or weaken the Creative Agenda.

Actual Play:
We're playing "Switch", a PTA game.  J--------- is playing Jade, a shapeshifter who lives in hiding in Seattle. 
I Produce the show with the Theme (Premise) of "How much can you change to get your goal and still be the same person?"
We had a scene where Jade and Colby found a mysterious book on Jade's pillow.  It was fun, since Jade had to search her house for an intruder without letting Colby know what was going on.  Colby had to find out what was going on without looking like she wanted to invade Jade's privacy.
But there's no Premise payoff in that scene.  The Challenge will come when Jade decides what to do with the information in the book.  If Colby gets to read it, then I get a second Premise challenge.  It's just a scene to demonstrate the Chekov Gun on the wall in Act I.

As another example, I was Storytelling a WhiteWolf LARP.  I got some feedback on one of my fellow storytellers:
"I went out to buy a newspaper, and BB made it a whole scene, with some crazy Greek guy running the newsstand.  I just wanted a newspaper, and it took me twenty minutes."  The player didn't want a whole scene to happen: It didn't break with their CA, either.  They wanted a quick stamp on an item card, and instead they got Exploration, and even a bit of a Challenge.  That was an unfun moment, but it had nothing to do with the CA.  In fact, they were looking for the newspaper to find out the next clue to StepOnUp to the 'Werewolves in the Sewers' problem. 

Two examples where play happened, and in one case it was fun, and in another case it was not fun, but in neither case were the Techniques involved affecting the Creative Agenda of the group.


Secondly, I think you are confusing Incoherence with Unplayable.  Incoherant groups tend to short term play only and are a lot of work for a GM to manage.  But they can be fun, as long as Pete realizes Randy wants as many fight scenes as possible, and Randy knows Pete wants to focus on the characters becoming part of their village community.  If each player accepts the NotFun that comes during the other guy's part, then the game can continue long term.

-Fred
Logged
Callan S.
Member

Posts: 3588


WWW
« Reply #34 on: August 19, 2009, 04:54:39 PM »

Just a note on 4E D&D and indeed editions prior, in terms of character creation being gamist? What are you stepping up against? Nothing really - it's just spreading out stats. Can you lose during character gen? No - so it's 20 to 30 minutes of non gamist activity - activity which is probably quite stimulating for someone who has a dream of a certain character. And in terms of play being focused on challenge .... what focuses it? Does something say there has to be a challenge in the next two to five real life minutes of play? Or can someone follow the rules as much as they are and yet large amounts of RL time can pass during play without challenge being presented? 4E isn't dreadfully gamist supportive, in the same way 3E wasn't.
Logged

Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Adam Dray
Member

Posts: 676


WWW
« Reply #35 on: August 19, 2009, 05:09:02 PM »

Callan,

I meant that 4E's character creation system "front loads" play with a character that is ready for Step on Up. It's sorta like how all the chargen that goes on in Sorcerer "front loads" play with a character that is ready for Story Now, even though chargen is not exactly play.
Logged

Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Ayyavazi
Member

Posts: 127


« Reply #36 on: August 22, 2009, 04:28:31 AM »

Thanks everybody for your insight.

I'll address 4e D&D first, and go from there.  I am on board with the idea that all of 4th editions rules (and even GM advice, for the most part) supports Gamist play. I've read another thread about how it actually supports Simulated Gamist play (that is, it makes you feel like you are playing gamist, when really its a sim game) call D&D 4e Balance killed my game, or something like that. Either way, It is obviously a gamist reward system at work, both in game and out of game, depending on how the sessions are structured. Some structures end up supporting simulationist play. This is why I think Ron says that systems themselves cannot have a Creative Agenda, but only support it. So, if you want to show me some gamist play, I would suggest a play example using 4th edition. But remember, the dials (taken from Ron's initial Gamism essay) have a certain setting in 4e that is not necessarily the same as other games. So what I would like to re-iterate is that I not only need play examples from different agendas, but from the different agendas and where their focus was. So each of the dial configurations for gamism, what is being explored for simulationism (on the big model), and the types of Narrativism.

As for which types I have already seen, the play example I used (according to Ron, and I think I agree with him) was some deeply Narrativist play, with some setting based premise and some character based premise. The Rifts example appears to me to be gamist play, but I have no idea where the dials were. In short, I still would like all the other blanks filled in.

As for mistaking techniques for agenda, I understand. I know that this thread and its father thread are a lot of reading, so I understand if you didn't read every word and/or only skimmed them. But I have already said that I understand that individual techniques do not create agendas, precisely because the whole instance of play needs to be examined along with the reward cycles. That's what I am trying to do now.

All in all, I am coming more and more online with the idea that agendas are separate animals, but I still don't see why they can't co-exist. With the Rifts game for example, other than the players that didn't enjoy things as they were (the Lt may have been the only one), I see a lot of Step On Up. Every challenge fed into every other challenge after it, increasing or decreasing effectiveness. There was no premise that I could see. But I don't see why there couldn't have been. What I do see is that if premise had been premise, then at the times when it was being addressed, gamist play would be taking a backseat at best. That is, if overall the challenge involves future effectiveness, it feeds into gamist play, if it feeds into more premise, its narrativist play (I don't understand Sim reward at all, so I'm really craving an example!). In this way, it looks to me like the GNS is only good for telling you what is happening overall, even though things seem be overlapping. For example, lets say that in the Rifts game there was a premise, doesn't matter what. And within a given challenge (doesn't matter which) that premise was being addressed, and even the individual actions of the players (such as the choice to use MD weapons or not because of the fallout) helped address the premise as well as determining future effectiveness. In this case, both more premise and more effectiveness can result, but its still not "hybrid" because GNS says it must be one or the other. Therefore it looks at the whole things overall and says that the premise-addressing happened within the effectiveness-ramping challenges. Therefore its Step On Up. Am I mis-understanding how this is working?

Thanks again and Cheers,
--Norm
Logged
Callan S.
Member

Posts: 3588


WWW
« Reply #37 on: August 22, 2009, 06:46:23 PM »

Hi Norm,

Take this
http://mindspace.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/youngwomanoldlady.jpg

Did you see an old lady? Or a young lady? Can you mentally switch to see the other?

Can you see both at the same time? Can both co-exist at the same time?

Basically it's hitting the hardware limits of the human mind to try and see both. Perhaps it is possible to train oneself to see both at once without slipping into one over the other. But a default human sees one or the other, not both in co-existance.

Same basically goes for GNS at the game table. Note that just like you can mentally switch from one image to the other, you could do this as a group in terms of creative agenda, at the gaming table during play. It's possible to keep switching creative 'gears' back and forth. But both in co-existance? About as much as seeing both young and old woman at the exact same time.

Or that's how I'd put it, anyway.
Logged

Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #38 on: August 23, 2009, 01:19:17 AM »

In this case, both more premise and more effectiveness can result, but its still not "hybrid" because GNS says it must be one or the other.

Need to bust this out.  This is not an a priori assertion, it is a conclusion[/].

Quote
Therefore it looks at the whole things overall and says that the premise-addressing happened within the effectiveness-ramping challenges. Therefore its Step On Up. Am I mis-understanding how this is working?

Yes.  Because the GNS determination is not made on the bases of which techniques were in play, but on what was rewarded.

So in order to make such an assesment, you would need to find out what the players were grooving on,  how the interpreted its meaning to them, what they particularly remembered about this event.  And it is likely then that it will be either that enjoyed and appreciated the stepping up with the moral issues as set dressing, or vice versa.

And there you find out what was rewarded, both socially and mechanically.
Logged

Impeach the bomber boys:
www.impeachblair.org
www.impeachbush.org

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Caldis
Member

Posts: 359


« Reply #39 on: August 23, 2009, 08:27:44 PM »

All in all, I am coming more and more online with the idea that agendas are separate animals, but I still don't see why they can't co-exist. With the Rifts game for example, other than the players that didn't enjoy things as they were (the Lt may have been the only one), I see a lot of Step On Up. Every challenge fed into every other challenge after it, increasing or decreasing effectiveness. There was no premise that I could see. But I don't see why there couldn't have been. What I do see is that if premise had been premise, then at the times when it was being addressed, gamist play would be taking a backseat at best. That is, if overall the challenge involves future effectiveness, it feeds into gamist play, if it feeds into more premise, its narrativist play (I don't understand Sim reward at all, so I'm really craving an example!). In this way, it looks to me like the GNS is only good for telling you what is happening overall, even though things seem be overlapping. For example, lets say that in the Rifts game there was a premise, doesn't matter what. And within a given challenge (doesn't matter which) that premise was being addressed, and even the individual actions of the players (such as the choice to use MD weapons or not because of the fallout) helped address the premise as well as determining future effectiveness. In this case, both more premise and more effectiveness can result, but its still not "hybrid" because GNS says it must be one or the other. Therefore it looks at the whole things overall and says that the premise-addressing happened within the effectiveness-ramping challenges. Therefore its Step On Up. Am I mis-understanding how this is working?

I think you are pretty much getting it.  The problem with them coexisting if you look back at the example, how do you think the author and GM would react to someone deciding not to use MD weapons?  I'm guessing the same way he did with the Lt. that didnt try and get more equipment, he'd think it's poor play and a mistake.  He'd treat it as such and make it that much more likely the group would fail.  If the rest of the group is trying to succeed (stepping up to the situation) the player that is making suboptimal decisions to instead address premise is quickly going to be looked down on.   It is possible that a player could come up with an moral decision based action that didnt mess with the bigger gamist goal, didnt make it harder to achieve their objective, but it wouldnt be rewarded and influence play.  It would happen and then be pretty much ignored which isnt Story Now it's a moment of character development taking place during Step on Up.  It's exactly the same as the combat and tactical play going on in your example of Story Now play.

I have an example of a Sim play showing reward cycles but it's from awhile back so I have to think on it a bit.  I'll post it as soon as I have the time.
Logged
Ayyavazi
Member

Posts: 127


« Reply #40 on: August 25, 2009, 05:08:44 PM »

Thanks everyone again,

Caldis, I understand the old lady thing. The primary discussion here is that I don't need analogies to understand the concept of creative agendas being exclusive. I get that. What I am ultimately questioning and discussing is that I disagree with the analogies and the concept they are explaining in the first place. That is, I fundamentally disagree (or at least I did. Now I'm on the fence) with the assumption that each agenda is exclusively executable. Therefore, all the analogies in the world do nothing to clarify the problem for me, because I already understand it and simply disagree. But there's no hostility here, I'm just clarifying the point.


I think something has slipped through the cracks. When I asked about reward cycles and play examples, I also asked about the variations within agenda. To clarify, I not only need a Step On Up play example, I need several. I need one example for each of the possible dial combinations (this will give me an increasingly clear view of Step On Up, and each other agenda). I also need the variations on Story Now to be expressed, and the variations of Right to Dream. I believe this is critically important to my understanding of GNS as a whole.

Now, on to GNS being about what was rewarded. In the example Rifts game, obviously the GM would have seen the sub-optimal Story Now choice about MD weapons as a poor tactical decision. That is because the game was very much pointed toward Step On Up. Especially when you consider that it involved two rival groups that were supposed to come head to head by design. That whole structure pointed to Step On Up so strongly that it would take a fool to try to swim against its current (or perhaps a serenely naive person such as I seem to be).

What was being rewarded was tactical thinking. In fact, there was even supposed to be a clear winner (and in my opinion there was).

Adding Story Now to such a game would have required complete separation of the initial concept: two rival groups of players.

But if Creative Agenda is only based on what is rewarded, I still have trouble understanding why the two agendas are mutually exclusive. Oddly enough, you claim that one has to be dressing and the other front and center, the exact assumption this thread made: that there can be a hierarchy of agendas. Now, if agenda is defined as being what is rewarded, and each agenda is individually defined as automatically being exclusive in execution, then no combination of the agendas can occur by definition. It is the definition of each agenda as exclusive that I am questioning, just to be clear. Therefore, analogies explaining why are useless. One good thing is that I have been made aware that techniques are not agenda. Thats why I am trying to examine reward cycles. But I feel that I must re-iterate something that seems to have been forgotten, or looked over: I need not only reward cycles, but also to know what techniques are being used, and how their specific grouping points to a creative agenda in action. That will help me to understand why everyone defines them as exclusive.

So, I'll recap where my current thinking on this idea is: Rewarding a Step On Up agenda (which must be about increasing degrees of effectiveness and harder challenges) precludes Story Now (which requires richer and richer situations in which to address premise, and actually force, in a way, the addressing of premise) because at times one will be forced to choose between adressing premise and making a sub-optimal decision (which will reduce effectiveness, a big no-no for Step On Up) or to make the optimal choice and ignore Premise (though I can't think of a single example where choosing the optimal choice would not in one way answer a premise. Instead, I can only think of examples in which it would mean acting out of character for a character, which seems more of a Sim problem than a Nar problem. Perhaps the two are closely linked?).

But, even this assumes that eventually the choice must be made. It assumes that the two agendas are so antithetical to one another that it will inevitably come down to a choice moment, and the choice (a technique or ephemera, I'm not sure which) will actually in this instance determine the agenda in action. But I still don't see why these asumptions are made. Why is it assumed that the two agendas will inevitably force a choice between optimization and increasing success and addressing of Premise? What are the key differences in techniques, ephemera, and rewards that cause this to be true?

Also, I would like to know if you all think this is an appropriate point to split the topic into this thread and a thread to compile play examples.
Logged
Pages: 1 2 [3]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!