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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 79 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: I hate compromises  (Read 9516 times)
greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2010, 03:29:50 PM »

 
Either way, somehow, I'm not coming across such players. I'm starting to wonder if it might be some strictly cultural thing.

Is writing cooperative (or round-robin) fiction a thing restricted by culture?
Does your culture not have troupes of improv actors?

That's the sort of activity we're talking about here, and such activity isn't something rare, special, or unusual, especially among creatives! So I really don't know what to say about your belief that the only groups that can compromise quickly or while having mutual fun are composed of passive, non-involved individuals? That's pretty much the opposite my experience and perceptions.

So there is this cooperative/mutualist mindset necessary for easy/successful resolution compromise-based mechanics, and I don't know if as a result of their gaming history or just their place/time in life or what, but it sounds to me like you have a bunch of argumentative players who don't what to behave like in a mutual creative enterprise, or who are afraid of creative mutualism (you mentioned there is a concern they are getting the short end of the stick in compromises) perhaps because they've been burned in the past?

Can you tell us more about these players: are they high-school or college-age kids? Are they argumentative outside of gaming (for example, is ordering pizzas a twenty-minute affair) or otherwise have strong individualist tendencies? What other games do they play regularly and have they played? Have they mentioned or have you seen a lot of dysfunction in their past groups or past games?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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JoyWriter
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also known as Josh W


« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2010, 04:35:42 PM »

Fillip, I wonder does an new set of criteria come out when you're asked about compromise? I mean do you and other people in your group suddenly get more picky because someone is asking your opinion? I've seen that happen before in very different contexts; offer certain people a choice and they'll leap on it, and hold you there for hours, but if you suggest one option out of say 10, (with a bit of undecidedness but without explicitly mentioning it's up to them) they will quickly agree to one of those ten!
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2010, 06:33:11 PM »

I don't think it's cultural. Filip's experience basically mirrors mine (well, not specifically wrt Burning _, but in that games that require a group compromise and group consensus are hard and frustrating to play.) The development process for both Polaris and Bliss Stage involved eliminating most or all instances of group compromise from play.

yrs--
--Ben
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Callan S.
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« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2010, 06:35:00 PM »

Raven, from the account they seem to work fine and have fun/uninterupted fun if there is a default mechanism. The addition of the default mechanism makes the shoe fit their collective foot, so to speak. But you keep seeming to want to delve into some problem or thing with the group, as if rather than having a default added or involved, it's the group that should fix itself? Like instead of adding this small bit of mechanics, which seems to work well for them, actually they should change themselves to fit the game? To me this seems to be making the foot fit the shoe, as if it's the foots fault or job or role to be the right size for the shoe?

Also I'm not sure actors are a great example of people who aren't into following other peoples scripts. I know improv can make a scene hilarious or nifty, but it can do so while not changing some greater script in the least.
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Philosopher Gamer
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greyorm
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« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2010, 01:36:00 AM »

Callan, I've turned back to the group because Filip's response to my procedural questions appeared to indicate he thought it was a group thing, too (hence his statements about it being cultural, the dismissal of my questions along the lines of "making the shoe fit the foot"). So I'm trying to figure out why the group responds like this to compromise situations in order to suggest or help spur solutions that will work for them. And now I must ask you: why do you want to completely divorce group dynamics from the solution?

Re: the "actors" bit, please note exactly what the context of that was, what it was a response to, before you start jumping all over whether actors do this or actors do that, or Hollywood sucks and so therefore acting is bad thing to bring up, etc: it was an example for a response to the idea that "creatives can't engage in mutualism/they can but its cultural" and the intent of the example should be pretty clear given the other example of cooperative fiction writing.

(Note: I'm talking about improv theater, not an actor who improvs a line in a play -- even though that is also a good example as it requires compromise between writer and actor: "Ok, this is going to happen, but I'm going to say it this way, instead." or "So I have to leave, but I'm going to exit to the right instead of the left, and knock over the flower vase.")
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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Brendan Day
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« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2010, 09:05:03 AM »

Improv is a good example, because the actors never have an opportunity to negotiate.  They're trying to reach a consensus on stage, but they have to do so in scene, and they want to avoid compromises at all costs.  If the snake is threatening the mouse, there is no time to debate whether the mouse should survive, and backing down from the conflict would just kill the scene.

The closest I've come to that in an rpg is IAWA.  Let's say the oracles are "a humble field mouse, burdened with a great treasure" and "an impetuous queen, transformed for a time into a hideous serpent".  Tthe snake doesn't try to catch the mouse; it devours the mouse whole.  The mouse responds by leaping out of its jaws at the last moment, and either getting away or having its tail chewed off.  If the mouse loses the conflict, it is injured or exhausted unless it offers some other concession.  That's the only place where the experience stops feeling like improv, because the actors sudden run off stage, and for a few minutes the audience can hear them whispering frantically behind the curtain.  They finally come back onstage and the mouse brushes itself off, thankful that it escaped with its skin, only to discover that the snake swallowed the magical ring it had been wearing on its tail.  Or the snake announces that it has a toothache, and will happily let the mouse go if only it would extract the tooth.  The audience doesn't care any more, because they sense that this isn't really improv.  The actors cheated.

When I play an rpg, I feel like I'm out there on stage if there are rules constraining my actions.  The rules take the place of the audience.  If the rules disappear and I'm just supposed to negotiate the outcome, then it feels like I've stepped off stage.  It's a relief to be out of the spotlight, but it's also kind of disappointing.

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contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2010, 10:22:15 AM »

I don't see any realy similarity to or relationship between improv and RP.  I think they are very different beasts; we would never need any of these tomes of rules if we could and did just make stuff up.  Whats more, improv works to different goals; all it has to do is amuse an audience, the actors do not have a stake in the ouctome, and their toes don't get stepped on if something they set up gets used for a different effect.  I don't think there are many RP groups that work much at all like acting improv, and a rules set built for that kind of dynamic is then a really unusual and special.

Compromise, as has been acidly remarked, is the art of insuring the other party doesn't get what they want.  Note that this says nothing about getting what you want; the effect is entirely negative.  That may be a rather cynical view but I think it strikes at a truth, which is that compromises tend to be watered down versions of any given proposition.  In same cases that's a virtue - although, not in as many as our conventional wisdom likes to claim.  But it seems to me that in RP this poses the danger of turning a Really Cool Idea into just another, run of the mill, crappy idea.  Certainly a case could be made for it being preferable to hand authority over cleanly and have one person author something than to mediate it through what everyone else is willing to accept.

Anyway, these sorts of group compromise "rules" look very odd to me, sort of a bizarre reincarnation, or perhaps reanimation, of the Golden Rule.  System, after all, is there to establish the IS, but in this case it seems to be throwing the duties of system back on to the players, leaving them without any system with which to work.  That seems exceedingly strange and self-defeating to me.
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Impeach the bomber boys:
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"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."
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Judd
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« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2010, 11:17:26 AM »

I don't see compromise as the art of not giving someone what they want.  I see it as the art of giving what they want with a twist, with a problem and/or a complication.

  • The elf arguing for the human's life saves the human but only if he takes responsibility for their entire rebellious village.

  • The dwarf arguing with the dragon will get the axe but only if they bring all of their future oath-breakers to the dragon for banishment.

    • The mice save the ship from the kestrel but one of the captain's children is taken.

    In my experience, it takes what the players want and complicates it, making it even more interesting.
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contracycle
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« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2010, 11:28:18 AM »

Well, I acknowledged that the reference I was drawing on was cynical, but I do have a cautionary tale to tell in regards making things "more interesting".  I did quite a lot of that sort of thing, and eventually the players rebelled and complained that I was sabotaging their efforts, and they wanted to have a plan actually succeed for once.  Obviously, it's not that you should never subvert someone elses proposals, but I was doing it too consistently.  Having this sort of thing as a fundamental part of the resolution seems in danger of producing a similarly dissatisfying effect.
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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
Judd
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« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2010, 11:31:20 AM »

That is like a group complaining because they lost hit points in a battle.  If their arguments lost Body of Argument, they have to compromise.

This sounds much more like a case of going to Duels of Wits when it was not necessary but I wasn't there.

Could we offer more at the table AP examples?
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Luke
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« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2010, 11:34:22 AM »

So this theorizin' sure is interesting, but I was wondering since this is the AP forum, if anyone has concrete examples of unsatisfactory compromises from their games. Anyone?

A campaign or two ago, my group got so heated up about a high-stakes argument, it took us another 30 minutes of wrangling to find the appropriate compromise. We had the words of the argument ringing our ears. Everyone knew what was at stake. And the mechanics told us the necessary scale of the concessions. But both sides refused to be generous. We had to toss out some bad ideas and let them die -- let tempers cool and vindicitiveness fade -- before a reasonable option presented itself. It was an intense moment at the table, but ultimately productive.

-Luke
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contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2010, 12:56:14 PM »

The point at hand is not that the comprimises ultimately arrived at are unsatisfying, but that the need to break out of formal system and compromise in the first place is itself undesirable to some.

Paka: my point was not about the legitimacy of doing it, but of the desirability of doing it.
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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
greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2010, 12:59:09 PM »

Jumping Jesus F. Christ on a pogo stick. I give up; context is lost art.

It really doesn't matter what improv is or whether it is a good example or not, because the point is: do people make mutual creative decisions even if they don't get exactly what they want without taking twenty fucking minutes to do so? Can some of them even do it in a snap without needing to discuss it long-form debate-style? Yes. They do. All the time. In many different creative fields.

Hence the question is then: why can't Filip's group?

Filip, any ideas? Can you run us through any specific compromise situations that were un-fun?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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Luke
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« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2010, 01:30:43 PM »

The point at hand is not that the comprimises ultimately arrived at are unsatisfying, but that the need to break out of formal system and compromise in the first place is itself undesirable to some.

Well, if you're referring to my designs, the formality of the procedure for compromise is the same as the formality for the baseline resolution procedure -- build context, state what you want from the context, operate the game mechanism, negotiate between all parties to ensure the result suits the context.

So, since the formalism doesn't seem to be the issue, I'm curious about what's going on in the actual gameplay.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2010, 03:49:24 PM »

And now I must ask you: why do you want to completely divorce group dynamics from the solution?
Why as in justify why? *shrug*
But as to my reasons, they just seem to fall into the usual human norms. Indeed it's pointless playing with people who think exactly the same as you - you want people to disagree and push for other directions, using whatever legit means they have to do that. Art from adversity.

But that's slipping off my point, which is they fall into the usual human norms. Or atleast my standards of normal, from observing life. So I forget about group dynamics being a solution since I don't see any error in falling into the normal human range. I mean, if compromising in a moment is so common - why aren't people compromising instantly in this thread? No ones here just to make a smooth running forge thread. Nor are people roleplaying just to make smooth roleplaying...well, maybe with simulationism, I dunno - sim seems to take roleplay itself as both the means to an end and the end sought.
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Philosopher Gamer
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