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Author Topic: Autorities in pta and producer  (Read 2186 times)
pippo_jedi
Member

Posts: 8


« on: August 22, 2009, 10:59:40 AM »

Hello everybody.
I finally managed to try pta and i'm having some problems... I've tried a couple of times dogs, polaris and don't rest your head so i'm pratically a noob in this kind of rpg but I'm trying to keep up... the italian forum, where Moreno is mod, is filling my head with ideas and game theory... which is very good and I thank them!
just trying to get some other opinions and, at the same time, give some feedback on the game. I always think that noob problems help a lot people to better their things...

on a topic they linked me to I read this
Quote
Ron Ed. said
Content authority - over what we're calling back-story, e.g. whether Sam is a KGB mole, or which NPC is boinking whom

Plot authority - over crux-points in the knowledge base at the table - now is the time for a revelation! - typically, revealing content, although notice it can apply to player-characters' material as well as GM material - and look out, because within this authority lies the remarkable pitfall of wanting (for instances) revelations and reactions to apply precisely to players as they do to characters

Situational authority - over who's there, what's going on - scene framing would be the most relevant and obvious technique-example, or phrases like "That's when I show up!" from a player

Narrational authority - how it happens, what happens - I'm suggesting here that this is best understood as a feature of resolution (including the entirety of IIEE), and not to mistake it for describing what the castle looks like, for instance; I also suggest it's far more shared in application than most role-players realize

Now, it seems to me that pta arranges things in this way
- Situational A is shared: player request a scene, wich fixes some things, the rest is up the prod. to frame. a protganist can enter scene spending fan mail.
- Plot/narrational A. is usually a prod work, except when dealing with a pc, then it's the pc's player doing. when a player wins this auth. when winning narrative authority.
- prod has usually Content A. when a conflict is over and narration is won, the winner has Content auth. it can happen for both of them to take suggestions from other players from time to time and the game design encourages that.

Now if I'm right, IF my reading of the rules is correct, then follows the... following
The producer must have a No Myth approach, he can have some spare bangs to use, but he will throw some of them away as the pther players will, sooner or later, create content that go against some of them.
So it is impossible for the prod to have a solid backstory, a strong relantionship map. something like a city in dogs or a relationship map as some with Don't Rest Your Head do.

On the italian forum a lot of people (well... i'd say everybody :-P ) are saying that i'm fondamentally wrong.
they say that Content Auth., after the pitch, stays always within producer hands and and never goes to the other players. that enables prod to build a backstory as I've outlined above... I say that the rules dons't seem to forbid this entirely but the impression I got from the manual was the first and not the latter.
I also say that the second interpretation is a playable version of pta IF all is clear on the table, otherwise confusion will arise between players.
Someone is not supposed to know all of the theories before reading the manual and not being conversant with all the auth. differences when reading the manual "narrative auth. goes to the player... " means to me that that player is "in charge" for some time and says what is and what is not... the examples don't particularly enforce one view or another imho.

re reading the english manual I read on p30 "narration auth goes to the player..." and not "narrational" ... could this doubt arise from this two words?
Quote
Ron on the topic "Silent Railroading and the Intersection of Scenario Prep & Player Authorship"
Narrational = which actual person talks and what they say; in this case, specifically pertaining to in-game resolution
Narrative = pertaining to what fictional conflicts occur, how they finally are resolved (again, in fictional terms, not procedurally), and the emergent themes

I'm a noob so please: I'm here eagerly waiting for some punch in the face saying "nooooo you're wrong!" or "yessss you're right!"
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"if you have to do a fire, you do it with the wood you have, if it's green it'll do smoke" Filippo Zolesi that's me. Most real people know me by my nick, so i'll stick with it :-)
Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 389


« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2009, 02:48:17 PM »

Hi Filippo!

Good idea, asking here. I should have thought about it, instead of debating so much on the interpretation of the rules.

Here, too, the site policy ask for the real name on the signature (to tell the truth, a good part of the policy of our forum is a direct copy of the Forge policy...)

@ Everybody else:  these are the threads I already linked in my previous posts to him. I am listing them to avoid telling him to read the same threads over and over...
Silent Railroading and the Intersection of Scenario Prep & Player Authorship
[PTA] Players wanting their PCs to fail?
[PtA] How are the narrative authorities working in this scene?
[Primetime Adventures] Pilot episode - Cakewalk
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Noclue
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2009, 05:07:31 PM »

The Producer in PtA has no special backstory creation powers. The Producer frames scenes (with suggestions and requests from players), provides adversity and makes choices for antagonists. The producer has the authority to make snap decisions if things start to lag, but they can't overrule a player's narration because it doesn't fit with their pre-game prep.

I'm not sure where folks are getting the idea that the producer has sole content authority. If a player wins high card they have authority to add content.

Here are the Producer's jobs from the book:

Create the spark - kick off an episode.
Keep the pace - make sure a scene doesn't wander too far from the agenda that the player set.
Create conflict - um, nuff said
Say yes to players - good advice that!
Make protagonists shine
Weave elements together.
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James R.
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2009, 12:59:38 AM »

James,

That's not entirely true.  When I play PtA I restrict High Card Narration to only being able to narrate the outcome of the conflict *at hand*.  So in an interrogation you can narrate how and why a character breaks but you can't actually narrate the content of what he spills if what he spills is based on events unknown to the player.  The GM does that.  In other words: "Does he break?" is the conflict and High Card Player has total authority over how that goes down.  "What does he know?" on the other hand is NOT part of the conflict, and instead is basically part of the GM's basic role-playing authority over the character.

Jesse
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Noclue
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2009, 01:09:52 PM »

James,

That's not entirely true.  When I play PtA I restrict High Card Narration to only being able to narrate the outcome of the conflict *at hand*.  So in an interrogation you can narrate how and why a character breaks but you can't actually narrate the content of what he spills if what he spills is based on events unknown to the player.  The GM does that.  In other words: "Does he break?" is the conflict and High Card Player has total authority over how that goes down.  "What does he know?" on the other hand is NOT part of the conflict, and instead is basically part of the GM's basic role-playing authority over the character.

Jesse

Hey Jesse, is that a personal preference for you and your players or is that somewhere in the text? From what I can see the text leaves it pretty open:

Quote
Primetime Adventures is a very democratic game. Many of the rules leave some room for interpretation, and often when ambiguities aris in play, it's best to resolve them with a group agreement...the producer has the authority to make a snap decision to get things rolling (Page 15).

However, I don't see anywhere where the book says your example of "What does he know?" can not be part of the narration. In fact, what the text says about the Producer's responsibility seems to argue against this heavy handed approach:

Quote
Although the producer has a fairly broad influence on the game, it tends to be in the form of sublte nudges and pushes. At times it may be a strong influence, but the producer shouldn't be seen as the only player whose input is important (Page 14).
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James R.
Noclue
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2009, 01:18:24 PM »

"What does he know?" on the other hand is NOT part of the conflict, and instead is basically part of the GM's basic role-playing authority over the character.

A follow up question: I am not sure if you mean the GM's authority over the NPC or the protagonist? Because, in my limited understanding, the player always has authority over their protagonist (except during conflict when they don't have the high card), including what they say.

Quote
...with the exception of conflict resolution you are always the final authority for your own protagonist (Page 58).

This also implies that high card narration trumps this authority and would equally trump the Producer's authority over any NPC. No?
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James R.
Matt Wilson
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Posts: 1121

student, second edition


WWW
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2009, 09:28:25 AM »

Here's what I think:

If you get the narration, you have the responsibility to make what happens match the card results and to fill in everything else that isn't covered by the cards. "Can I keep my cool in the fight?" I lost against the producer, and you have narration.

You can decide:

  • Who won the fight?
  • How did I fail to keep my cool?

You don't get to decide:
  • That my character has just fallen in love with someone
  • That the world is now made of cheese
  • That Fred has actually been a double agent all along

Remember that in the narration, everyone is contributing. You have the final say. If I'm playing Fred, I might say, "oh, maybe it's because Fred is a double agent!" And maybe you say, "yes, that's perfect!" But it's not up to you to decide it.

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Noclue
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2009, 10:10:07 AM »

Thanks Matt. And to be clear, I wasn't trying to suggest that high card had unfettered narration rights. I assumed there were always vetos for things that break tone (the world is made of Cheese) or over-reaching your authority about what other players are up to (You are now in love with her!).

There shouldn't be any controversy that narration is limited to the conflict being resolved, at least in my view. Jesse's example was interesting because the information that was spilled could definitely be argued to be part of narrating the conflict about spilling it. Also, the example assumes that the information is based on events that the PLAYER is unaware of. In a TV show where we're all writers/actors, why are there any events that the player is unaware of? The character, yes, but the player?

Why wouldn't all the players have perfect knowledge of all events in the show, even if their characters do not. If so, why isn't it then high card narrator's responsibility to add things but to make sure anything they add fits with what has already happened? Subject to veto of course.
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James R.
pippo_jedi
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2009, 02:29:57 PM »

Hello Matt, thank you for participating in this discussion...
let me re word and expand it to see if I'm right, because I have a doubt:
The following are OK
  • Who won the fight? That is: you decide a plot thing related to the conflict at hand
  • How did I fail to keep my cool? well, that doesn't need to expand
  • That my character has just fallen in love with someone. That is: you can't narrate something about your pc that isn't in the conflict
  • That the world is now made of cheese. That is: going against what's decided in the pitch about the story conventions

But with the last I have a doubt:
  • That Fred has actually been a double agent all along.
That is: adding elements to the story that are Content. BUT: you can't do this EVER, or only because isn't related to the stakes?
the conflict was about "Can I keep my cool in the fight?" but... i'll make an example

Norman and Masked Man begin a fight, the stake is "will Norman discover Masked Man's identity?" Norman's player wins conflict and stakes
He can decide:
  • How the identity is revealed
  • Who won the fight, and things related to the fight
But can the player decide that the masked man is Alexander instead of Fred?
Or the producer has to have decided that the masked man is Fred, so it's written in the stone? it's obvious that the producer can if he wins narration but...
putting in a Yes/No way:
Has a protagonist's player Content authority IF it's related to the stakes? (and he has won narration of course)

It comes to my mind now that the answer could be... NO! because it's as the player tried to ask for a conflict "the masked man is Fred" which sounds nonsense...

thank you for your time.
pippo_jedi
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"if you have to do a fire, you do it with the wood you have, if it's green it'll do smoke" Filippo Zolesi that's me. Most real people know me by my nick, so i'll stick with it :-)
Noclue
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2009, 03:10:47 PM »

  • That my character has just fallen in love with someone. That is: you can't narrate something about your pc that isn't in the conflict

Hi Pippo, Matt's example was accually "You don't get to decide that MY character has just fallen in love with someone."  I don't think you need high card to narrate that your character has fallen in love.
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James R.
pippo_jedi
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2009, 12:12:29 AM »

  • That my character has just fallen in love with someone. That is: you can't narrate something about your pc that isn't in the conflict

Hi Pippo, Matt's example was accually "You don't get to decide that MY character has just fallen in love with someone."  I don't think you need high card to narrate that your character has fallen in love.

Ops! a wrote it badly... it should be
" That is: you can't narrate something about another pc that isn't in the conflict"
sounds right now?
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"if you have to do a fire, you do it with the wood you have, if it's green it'll do smoke" Filippo Zolesi that's me. Most real people know me by my nick, so i'll stick with it :-)
Matt Wilson
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Posts: 1121

student, second edition


WWW
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2009, 05:39:38 AM »

In general, I would not like another player to decide something really important about my own character, so I would want to play this game with that understanding all around.

However, people adjust that level of authority within their groups all the time. If you want to play it so that you have a lot of power when you get narration, play that way. Just make sure everyone else agrees.

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pippo_jedi
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2009, 06:19:13 AM »

Thank you Matt,
I really like your game, my two pennies in this matter as feedback are that PTA isn't an "old style rpg" so some "new" concepts should be more clear, maybe this issue could be addressed in a new edition, or a web addenda, explaining that this kind of adjustable authority is within the rules and that are two kind of play: one with content a. always with the producer, and one that goes to the player that wins narration, in the first case the producer can prepare a backstory, but this can't happen in the second case.
In this way people that haven't read all of the forge are going to have an easier time "gettin' the game right" and it will be easier to avoid debates over this isssues during play as some people may think "it doesn't work".
This leads to two different modes of play so it could be a source of more fun.

Thank you again, bye bye.
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"if you have to do a fire, you do it with the wood you have, if it's green it'll do smoke" Filippo Zolesi that's me. Most real people know me by my nick, so i'll stick with it :-)
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