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Author Topic: A Gamist game to teach Narativist gaming  (Read 9665 times)
Warrior Monk
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Posts: 85


« Reply #60 on: February 09, 2010, 03:03:37 PM »

Ok, here may arise a bit of a problem since what I was thinking was still around a caricature of bad roleplaying issues along with good ones. Perhaps we just have to state them all and then choose. The list provided by hix seems somehow useful so I'll start there, remove the ones that can't apply and add anything that pops into my head:

Player resources
-Interrupting to order some food
-Short span attention
-Rules discussion
-My character is not there
-Start some unrelated trivia chitchat
-Joke to ruin the mood
-Alleged Amnessia
-Showing up late
-Time wasting
-(what is the proper term when you play using information about the setting you know but your character isn't supposed to know?)
-Roleplaying out of character
-Acting the character too much / think you are the character
-Cheat with the dice
-Cheat with the character sheet
-Purposely misinterpretate the GM
-Not paying attention at all
-My PC Starts a fight with other PC
-My PC starts an unnecesary fight
-Insist on getting a 2 hour solo scene
-My PC doesn't go with the group for his own motivations and I can't do anything about it.
-Treasure doesn't worth the fight, my PC goes away.
-Nah, I don't think that will be interesting. Let's go the other way.
-My PC stays out of the fight. All the session.
-Insist on using an expansion of the game to munchkin his PC
-beign an uncooperative player

...I run out of time for today so I'll continue tomorrow, however if this already give you any ideas feel free to post them.
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stefoid
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« Reply #61 on: February 10, 2010, 08:50:42 PM »

Cheers for that.

Some of those are outside the scope, such as  Cheat with dice.
Quite a few seem to be variations on Not Listening, such as Lets go the other way   and     PC starts an unnecessary fight
Some arent anti-patterns at all - Stopping to order food   Huh

Im looking into patterns at the moment.  I had a look at Zombie Cinema which looks interesting.  Im still not sure whether the aim of the player is to relate a story about a GM and some fictional roleplayers that are gaming, or whether the players should take turns playing at a GM role, whilst the other players play at roleplaying. 

i.e.  are we story telling, or are we roleplaying the act of roleplaying?

If the former, then when one player has a turn, its mostly that player speaking and the other players only interjecting occasionally.   If the latter then everyone is more involved during each others turn, which is probably better.
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stefoid
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« Reply #62 on: February 10, 2010, 08:54:16 PM »

another alternative that just occurred is that each player roleplays a specific roleplayer and any player can roleplay the GM at any time.  thus we might not need turns as such, but rather phases where everybody does the same thing.  i.e. drawing card(s) phase, and roleplaying phase in which any player can act by playing card(s).
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Warrior Monk
Member

Posts: 85


« Reply #63 on: February 11, 2010, 09:26:00 AM »

As for patterns and anti-patterns, I'd say each player chooses 5 from the deck. It's better to have a deck for this to ensure players don't pick the same patterns or anti-patterns in order to keep the game varied. On their phase they use one and the opponent may have a chance to counter with another pattern of his own. Although with phases instead of turns is easy to lose track of who's the GM on some points or get lost in the thread of the story, if there's gonna be one, either about rpg players or a usual rpg story. On top of that, if the mechanic doesn't make everybody the GM at some point and only allows it when cercain conditions are meet, there's a chance more active players keep beign the GM while less active get to avoid the position at all.

Of course, it all depends on which would be the objective of the game. Is it to "amuse" a group of players as a GM though the use of patterns (and thus learning how to do it in another games)? Or is it to get the attention of the group as much as possible to attain and keep the GM position (and thus learning to do so in another games)? See carfully that both premises are valid and both are doable. But it's a matter of choosing now to steer the game design in the proper direction.

Now, about GM resources I'd list
-Start with a rich description of the whole place the players are in.
-Do a rich description of a character they just met.
-Now you all have to make a roll for a misterious motive only I know
-Everybody roll for perception
-A bunch of enemies jump from nowhere to attack you!
-Talk in secret with just one of the players
-Draw a huge scary misterious mass in the middle of the battlefield
-The big boss who was about to kick you sees something behind you and runs like hell is on his heels
-you suddenly find you can't move
-You start to feel like everybody is staring at you
-Launch another wave of attacks at the players
-Finally players get a quiet scene to rest, heal and recharge
-One of you starts attacking the rest for no apparent reason
-An npc of the opposite gender starts to flirt with one of the pc's
-Narrate a rich reward scene for the pc's
-Describe how good por the npcs went an adventure that the pc's choosed not to take.
-Leave the resolution of the argument to the dice
-Simply call the player's attention back to the game
-Taking notes of everything said on the previous sessions

There are some patterns and attitudes toward the game that can be added though for some reason I think they would suit best for "GM stats" since they can be developed and can interact with the patterns listed. Those could be
-Acting: The ability to interpretate different persons and mimic their gestures and speech. Works greatly to make players get a good idea of the NPCs mood and way of thinking
-Preparation: this ability measures the amount of time the GMs spend preparing for a session and how much prepared stuff they can pull on the table to get the players attention.
-Improvisation: This ability measures quick thinking, how capable is the GM to adapt to their players demands and change a whole campaign course by their reactions.
-Oratory: The ability to involve listeners with your voice by the use of the proper changes of tone and dramatic pauses.
-Narrative Skills: ... well actually this one is the point of the game so perhaps this is the only one that won't be listed.

Cheat with the dice and stop to order food can actually be anti-patterns when used to ruin a climatic moment on purpose, actually. I've seen people play like that Tongue About variations of a same pattern, I think they are valid to add color. Anyway, while I was writing this list I realized that if patterns and anti-patterns aren't funny or have some ridiculous hard to play choices among them, they get quite boring after a while. I agree this game is for training but it must still feel like a game somehow. Perhaps the patterns and antipatterns already described should be phrased differently, perhaps exagerated or in a sort of mocking RPG slang. Somehow a serious atmosphere doesn't seem to fit a game about metagaming for me at least...
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stefoid
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« Reply #64 on: February 11, 2010, 03:41:02 PM »

Your list is too specific.  Its all stuff that might happen for some reason or other in a D&D type game and some of it looks like anti-patterns to me anyway.

What I mean by too specific is that it mostly describes _what_ is happening - a specific situation that occurs for some reason, whereas a pattern should describe a general case. 

As an example, lets say we decide that Ron Edwards 'BANG" is a pattern we want to have in the game:  (from a wiki somewhere, here is a description)

Bang
A bang is a situation that requires a choice from the player as how the character will respond to the situation.[3] The choice will often be thematically relevant, based on the Humanity definition and earlier events in the game. For a bang to be effective, the game master shouldn't force a specific choice, and the player doing nothing should also have consequences.
The game master should prepare a number of bangs for each session in what Edwards calls a bandolier of bangs, but be prepared to alter them on-the-fly or discard them if necessary. A bang doesn't have to be initiated by the game master, another player or even the player himself could identify a bang situation that requires a choice.
The term was introduced by Edwards in the Sorcerer book.


Thats a pattern.  It describes a general technique that has been found to produce something good.  It doesnt say anything specific.  From your list below, there are many Bangs, such as "You start to feel like everybody is staring at you"   and  "A bunch of enemies jump from nowhere to attack you!"

So in this game, you draw a bang card which has a description of what a bang is on the card.  You can then play that card when you are the GM.  the challenge is to come up with a good one that your fellow players appreciate enough to give you "points.

Other people in this thread have pointed out that there is more to than techniques such as Bangs.  whats also important is the collective behavior of the real people at the table.  Their general disposition and way they interact has a huge bearing on the fun or otherwise of the rolelplaying game, and there are patterns and anti-patterns in that category as well, such as the anti-pattern "Not Listening"

The challenge for my game is to come up with the categories for patterns and anti-patterns, then the lists for each category, then create a framework within they can be applied in the way that I intend, which is a fun and educational gamey-game.
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stefoid
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« Reply #65 on: February 11, 2010, 04:02:16 PM »

Actually, WM, I didnt mean to crap on your list.  A list of specific situations that someone has found to be useful is one good way to identify patterns by 'reverse engineering' -- looking through lists of specific instances for repetition.  thanks for contributing and sorry for being a dick.

From your list:

BANGS:
-A bunch of enemies jump from nowhere to attack you!
-Draw a huge scary misterious mass in the middle of the battlefield
-The big boss who was about to kick you sees something behind you and runs like hell is on his heels
-you suddenly find you can't move
-You start to feel like everybody is staring at you
-Launch another wave of attacks at the players
-One of you starts attacking the rest for no apparent reason
-An npc of the opposite gender starts to flirt with one of the pc's

IMMERSION  (I just made this up as a name for this potential pattern)
-Start with a rich description of the whole place the players are in.
-Do a rich description of a character they just met.

PACING (I just made this up as a name for this potential pattern)
-Finally players get a quiet scene to rest, heal and recharge
-Narrate a rich reward scene for the pc's

I DONT KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN, PLEASE EXPLAIN FURTHER...
-Describe how good por the npcs went an adventure that the pc's choosed not to take.
-Leave the resolution of the argument to the dice
-Talk in secret with just one of the players

POINTLESS ROLLING (I just made this up as a name for this potential pattern).  To me, these are anti-patterns.  I find them irritating and problematic, as almost always there is an outcome that is preferable for fun reasons, so why bother randomly choosing between fun and no fun?  too bad, NOBODY sees the important clue that leads to more fun?  etc...
-Now you all have to make a roll for a misterious motive only I know
-Everybody roll for perception

Outside of scope.
-Simply call the player's attention back to the game
-Taking notes of everything said on the previous sessions
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stefoid
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Posts: 319


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« Reply #66 on: February 11, 2010, 04:34:30 PM »

from your list of player resources.

SYMPTOMS:  These are all variations on 'this game is boring me'.  They will be the result of one or more anti-patterns, but its hard to say anything about which one(s) from these outcomes.  Obviously the aim is to be having fun, not bored to distraction.
-Short span attention
-Start some unrelated trivia chitchat
-Time wasting
-Not paying attention at all
-Joke to ruin the mood

I think you answered your own question - roleplaying out of character - ANTI_IMMERSION, perhaps? 
-(what is the proper term when you play using information about the setting you know but your character isn't supposed to know?)
-Roleplaying out of character

EXPLAIN?
-Acting the character too much / think you are the character

ANTI_PATTERN, but Im not sure how to explain it succinctly, other than being inconsiderate.
-Insist on getting a 2 hour solo scene

ALL THESE SEEM TO BE THE RELATED/SIMILAR ANTI-PATTERNs.  The experience they describe is what someone was saying about the expectations of the people around the table being different.  Can someone help me out here?
-My PC Starts a fight with other PC
-My PC starts an unnecesary fight
-My PC stays out of the fight. All the session
-Nah, I don't think that will be interesting. Let's go the other way.
-beign an uncooperative player
-My character is not there
-My PC doesn't go with the group for his own motivations and I can't do anything about it.
-Treasure doesn't worth the fight, my PC goes away.
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stefoid
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« Reply #67 on: February 11, 2010, 04:37:20 PM »

PACING (I just made this up as a name for this potential pattern)
-Finally players get a quiet scene to rest, heal and recharge
-Narrate a rich reward scene for the pc's


Hmmn, maybe this isnt PACING at all, but merely the REWARD for earlier play, like part of the games basic structure?
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hix
Member

Posts: 531

Steve Hickey


« Reply #68 on: February 11, 2010, 07:23:01 PM »

So, are you starting to get a clearer idea of how this might all fit into a game structure, Stefoid? (I'd be very interested in a summary of your latest thinking about how this might all work.)
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Cheers,
Steve

Gametime: a New Zealand blog about RPGs
stefoid
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Posts: 319


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« Reply #69 on: February 11, 2010, 07:47:20 PM »

So, are you starting to get a clearer idea of how this might all fit into a game structure, Stefoid? (I'd be very interested in a summary of your latest thinking about how this might all work.)

Just vague ideas.  Id rather fit the game structure to the lists than the other way around, so the lists have to come first.

Feel free to hasten that outcome by proposing list categories and the patterns and anti-patterns that might fill them.
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Catelf
Member

Posts: 146


« Reply #70 on: February 16, 2010, 04:02:23 AM »


EXPLAIN?
-Acting the character too much / think you are the character

ANTI_PATTERN, but Im not sure how to explain it succinctly, other than being inconsiderate.
-Insist on getting a 2 hour solo scene

ALL THESE SEEM TO BE THE RELATED/SIMILAR ANTI-PATTERNs.  The experience they describe is what someone was saying about the expectations of the people around the table being different.  Can someone help me out here?
-My PC Starts a fight with other PC
-My PC starts an unnecesary fight
-My PC stays out of the fight. All the session
-Nah, I don't think that will be interesting. Let's go the other way.
-beign an uncooperative player
-My character is not there
-My PC doesn't go with the group for his own motivations and I can't do anything about it.
-Treasure doesn't worth the fight, my PC goes away.
I think all the above might go into "Egotism" or "(Being) Inconsiderate".

Cat
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stefoid
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« Reply #71 on: February 16, 2010, 05:18:13 PM »

WMonk is obviously describing a gamist game and the person or people exhibiting that behavior are simply bored with what is supposed to happen and are trying to make something else happen that might be more interesting from their own point of view.  I suppose that is inconsiderate in a way, but that term doesnt describe the pattern.

Going on what Ron says, the pattern is 'playing the wrong game'. 

In terms of my game where a player is role-playing being a GM of a particular game, 'playing the wrong game'  implies a need to know what type of game the GM is running.

i.e.  playing the wrong game
if gamist - fictional player distances from the group by doing something 'simmy' or 'narry'  ( I think most of the above are 'simmy')
if simulation - fictional player wants to do something 'impossible' by being 'gamey/munchkiny' or 'narry'.  like wanting outcomes outside of the simmy framework of possibilities and resolution.
if narative - fictional player behaves gamey or simmy resulting in an unsatisfying narrative,.


??
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Warrior Monk
Member

Posts: 85


« Reply #72 on: February 19, 2010, 08:35:56 AM »

It's all right Stefoid, the list I made was that specific because I was already thinking into a cynic-humor atmosphere for your game, but now I realize you're looking for something less distractive in that way, in order to focus on the educational part directly. I'll go back on those things I listed that require clarification, perhaps some of them can still be useful by either opening another pattern or anti-pattern category or adding to the others. If the explanation doesn't inspire you anything, feel free to discard the point completely. And I do agree with Catelf that most fit on the beign inconsiderate category.

-Describe how good por the npcs went an adventure that the pc's choosed not to take. > this is a childlike GM antipattern used to punish the players, stating the adventure would have been much better if they follow the clues into it instead of starting a pointless detour from it. It's more of a joke than something anybody would take seriously.
-Leave the resolution of the argument to the dice > this is actually a tool I use as a GM to keep argumentative players at bay. If they don't like the way things are going and I don't get convinced by their suggestions of how to solve the problem, we roll the dice as we could toss a coin.
-Talk in secret with just one of the players > this is a method to catch the attention of the players while they are busy on chit chat or discussing anything, as well as a method to get players to distrust each other PCs or just divide them.

POINTLESS ROLLING (I just made this up as a name for this potential pattern).  To me, these are anti-patterns.  I find them irritating and problematic, as almost always there is an outcome that is preferable for fun reasons, so why bother randomly choosing between fun and no fun?  too bad, NOBODY sees the important clue that leads to more fun?  etc...
-Everybody roll for perception> Sometimes the rolling may be pointless, sometimes not. However this actually works as a way to call the attention of the players and make them stop whichever distraction they are making. Only in that sense, calling everybody for a roll isn't pointless. But again, this is a tool for the GM. I didn't meant to create an antipattern here but it's your call.
-Now you all have to make a roll for a misterious motive only I know > written like this, this is totally an antipattern, I agree. Otherwise, see above.

Outside of scope.
-Simply call the player's attention back to the game> I thought this like a lvl 1 pattern against the "beign inconsiderate" antipattern, however it isn't too effective alone. As you aren't using much out-of-the-game-stuff you can just forget about this one.
-Taking notes of everything said on the previous sessions> again, this is a tool. Depending on how you use it it can qualify as a pattern or antipattern. Works like this: players said on the end of the last session that their characters would go to the town. On the next session they already thought it and see it isn't much of a good idea, so they state that they never said that their characters are going to the town, hoping the GM has gone amnesic. The GM then checks his notes and applies Force: "As you are entering the town..."

I'd say you can easily use my list to set examples for each pattern and antipattern on the cards, It will help the players get the idea of how can a Bang or a Pacing be used.
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stefoid
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« Reply #73 on: February 25, 2010, 07:00:33 PM »

the following is from Rons article on narrative play.  The emphasis is mine.   Personally I see these techniques as patterns for any style of roleplaying, not just narrativist play.  The opposite of that behavior - the anti-pattern of railroading, etc...  is just the kind of behavior that results in the types of behavioral listed by warriormonk :
"-My PC Starts a fight with other PC
-My PC starts an unnecesary fight
-Insist on getting a 2 hour solo scene
-My PC doesn't go with the group for his own motivations and I can't do anything about it.
-Treasure doesn't worth the fight, my PC goes away.
-Nah, I don't think that will be interesting. Let's go the other way.
-My PC stays out of the fight. All the session.
-Insist on using an expansion of the game to munchkin his PC
-beign an uncooperative player"

agree / disagree? 

"Narrative Tools

... The whole premise of role-playing is the freedom the players have to take their characters in whatever direction they want. It is important to maintain this free will, and not lead the players with a heavy hand down a course only the narrator controls. Though the narrator may tell a good story, it loses the rich creative spirit of role-playing if the players have little say in what happens.

Putting aside the synecdoche ("the whole premise," etc), two key features show up in this passage as well as in the whole of the Maelstrom game text. (1) No mention is made whatever of seeming to grant player control - it's real freedom he's talking about. (2) The freedom is specifically over what the character thinks is right and decides to do: the goal he or she brings into the current imaginary situation. The GM ("narrator" in this case) cannot wield any authority over what the characters are supposed to want, which therefore extends to a similar lack of authority over how any conflict during play is supposed to turn out.

From Christopher Kubasik's Interactive Toolkit series of essays (1995, originally published in White Wolf Inphobia #50-53):

So, what are the differences between roleplaying games and Story Entertainments? Let's start with roleplaying's GM (referee, Storyteller, or whatever). This is usually the person who works out the plot, the world and everything that isn't the players'. To a greater or lesser degree, she is above the other players in importance, depending on the group's temperament. In a Story Entertainment, she is just another player. Distinctly different, but no more and no less than any other player. The terms GM and referee fail to convey this spirit of equality. The term Storyteller suggests that the players are passive listeners of her tale. So here's another term for this participant - one that invokes the spirit of Story Entertainment - Fifth Business.

Fifth Business is a term that originates from European opera companies. A character from Robertson Davies' novel, ... Fifth Business, describes the term this way:

"You cannot make a plot work without another man, and he is usually a baritone, and he is called in the profession Fifth Business. You must have a Fifth Business because he is the one who knows the secret of the hero's birth, or comes to the assistance of the heroine when she thinks all is lost, or keeps the hermitess in her cell, or may even be the cause of someone's death, if that is part of the plot. The prima donna and the tenor, the contralto and the basso, get all the best music and do all the spectacular things, but you cannot manage the plot without the Fifth Business!"

This certainly sounds like the GM, but it also makes it clear that he's part of the show, not the show itself.

Let's call the players Leads. They're not players in the GM's game. They're participants in a story. The Fifth Business has a lot more work to do than do the Leads, changing costumes and shaping the story while it's in progress. But the Leads are equal to the Fifth Business. The Leads must react to the characters, incidents, and information that the Fifth Business offers, just as players must react to what the GM offers in a roleplaying game. But the Fifth Business must always be on his toes and react to what the Leads offer.

... The Fifth Business can't decide what the plot is going to be and then run the players through it like mice in a maze. The Leads determine the direction of the story when they create their characters ... What do the characters want? What are their goals? The story is about their attempt to gain those goals. The Fifth Business creates obstacles to those goals.

[From Part 3, "Character, character, character"]

As the designer of the character you shouldn't simply depend on the Fifth Business ... to provide you with trouble. You should look for trouble for your character. ...

Moreover, you know best of all what kind of problems you want for your character. ... in a story entertainment you're not the passive passenger in the gamemaster's roller coaster. You are a co-creator with Fifth Business and the other players of a story.

[From Part 4, "Running Story Entertainments"]

Listen to the players, keep in mind the idea of obstacles, mix up volatile characters and objects, and remember you don't have to know where you're going. No roleplaying game ever follows the "path" of the story anyway, so a story entertainment just dismisses the whole notion of adventure. Rather than become frustrated when the characters don't do what they're supposed to, let them lead the story with their Characters' Goals.

It all comes down to this: a "player" in a Narrativist role-playing context necessarily makes the thematic choices for a given player-character. Even if this role switches around from person to person (as in Universalis), it's always sacrosanct in the moment of decision. "GMing," then, for this sort of play, is all about facilitating another person's ability to do this. "
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