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Author Topic: Humanity and Society  (Read 1232 times)
Frank Tarcikowski
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Posts: 277

Hamburg, Germany


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« on: January 06, 2010, 02:33:45 AM »

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James_Nostack
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Posts: 642


« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2010, 11:10:49 AM »

Hi Frank,

The only people who need to care about Humanity are the people playing Sorcerer.  It's the core of the value system at work in the play of the game itself, but it doesn't have to be valued by any fictional characters or cultures. 

Dictionary of Mu presents one example of this: "heroism" seems to be generally derided and not a major part of the brutal cultures of Marr'd, but that only makes heroism more important to the story.

Personally, I think this does a decent job of addressing premise, as the sorcerers are all about moral alienation from their society (and from us as well), basically through play creating and testing an ad-hoc individual ethic.

But that's just my view.
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jburneko
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Posts: 1351


« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2010, 11:24:16 AM »

I just want to back James up.  Humanity is a player-only meta concern.  It provides the emotional focus of the story.

That said, it's true that often a given setting's color is built to directly support the Humanity definition.  For example, for my & Sword games I use this Gothic Literature inspired world where everyone is boiling over with passions.  My Humanity definition is Love because to me the setting, as judged by me an outside observer, is all about the line between when functional love turns into dysfunctional obsession.  But the people in the setting?  Not a clue.  Not an issue.  They just do what they do.

The Dictionary of Mu example is a REALLY good one because I actually had this issue come up when I ran Mu.  A player did something and I called for a Humanity check and they asked me why I was doing that since the action was perfectly in line with the culture values of the society.  I had to remind them that the Humanity definition for Mu is Hope and that what they did wasn't very Hopeful.  It was a Humanity check precisely because it was in line with the cultural values of the society which are, pretty Hopeless.  The lack of Hope within the societies of Mu is precisely it's problem and precisely what the game is about fighting against.

Jesse
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2010, 08:07:13 AM »

i]replace<
Quote
Quote
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Frank Tarcikowski
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Posts: 277

Hamburg, Germany


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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2010, 07:55:03 AM »

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2010, 12:04:21 PM »

Hi Frank,

That's about right, although the risks I was thinking of were a little simpler, I think. I'm referring to a lot of modern 'historical' Hollywood dramas in which the protagonists' viewpoints are all too obviously thoroughly middle-class American or otherwise extremely modern. I'm also thinking about a medieval dragon-killing fantasy novel from the 1980s in which the hero openly talked about how a father-son conflict (two other characters) was composed of love twisted into dominance. As a reader, I lost touch with the book at that point.

I'm thinking about the barbaric, primal, fantastic setting, not much more than a step up from the unrealistic-but-fun caveman stereotype, that we briefly utilized in our game in Berlin. From [Sorcerer & Sword] Dinosaurs and Zebra Women:

Quote
... my concept for Humanity in that game would be, in English, "the rule of law," meaning that a society's members are subject to a system of judgment, and principles-based laws with some flexibility built in, rather than merely the rule of the fist at any given moment. As I saw it, the tribes were mainly run by might and deception, and thus true law was just struggling into existence for our story.

No one in the setting itself had to understand a word about that. In fact, I think we did quite well at seeing Humanity as a principle in action strictly as an imposed thematic mechanic from players-to-fiction, and I also think we would have done spectacularly if we'd turned that game into an ongoing long-term game. When I'm talking about risks, I'm talking about not trusting ourselves as authors and not imposing the mechanical consequences of Humanity unless the characters somehow "agree," which would necessitate one of our characters becoming somehow able to articulate Humanity as stated above. Which I think would be annoying at best, and more likely outright stupid-bad.

Best, Ron
edited to fix the link title - RE
« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 12:07:46 PM by Ron Edwards » Logged
Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2010, 02:46:04 PM »

When a player fails a roll, definitely do not make it just a wiff where they can safely try again.  Once they fail, something happens and it should be concrete, dramatic and change the context of the entire situation.

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