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Author Topic: Something about 'height advantage' and it's kin  (Read 8510 times)
Roger
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« Reply #30 on: May 05, 2010, 08:59:06 AM »

Hi Callan,

I'm glad I stuck with this thread, because I think I finally see where you're coming from.  It's part of a big huge question, maybe the biggest question there is.  So I need to start at the big huge level, but I promise you that I'll bring it back to your specific discussion by the end of it.

The big question is:  what is real?  What is reality?  What makes something real?  More specifically, what are the properties of something that is real?

One important property is, as you've already brought up, an objective measurable continuity.  This anvil really weighs 50 pounds; anyone with access to it can weigh it themselves at any time, and they'll all come up with the same answer.

On the other hand, there are a number of things that many people would describe as real, as really existing, that don't have that property.  Abstract concepts like love, subjective concepts like beauty.  Even something like mathematics, which has laboured so diligently in the pursuit of objective truth, doesn't seem to be real in the same sense an anvil is.

However, those things tend to exhibit a subjective continuity, and so people often treat them as being as real as any other real thing.  Everyone agrees, more or less, on the meaning of the abstract concept "3".  Its properties are the same for everyone, at every time.

Similarly, a fiction can have this subjective continuity.  In Shakespeare's story of Macbeth, Macbeth kills King Duncan.  Everyone who has read the story will agree that that occurs in the fiction.  There can still be a lack of consensus on some properties of the fiction, of course -- not everyone agrees on the motivation behind the regicide, for example.

Is it possible to go through life rejecting all such abstract concepts as being unreal?  It's probably possible.  I present to you my good friend Literal Larry:

Roger:  Hi, Larry.  Say, I've been envisioning my ideal dream house.  My ideal dream house would be red.  Do you understand what I'm saying?
Larry:  Yes, I understand.
Roger:  Okay.  So, Larry -- what colour is my ideal dream house?
Larry:  Bzzt!  Does not compute!  Your ideal dream house does not exist and therefore cannot have a colour.
Roger:  Thanks, Larry.

But I think we might all agree that Larry is a little strange in this.

So, coming around circuitously to RPGs:  our old friend the Shared Imagined Space typically has this sort of fictional subjective continuity.  And it also has areas in which there is a lack of consensus.

As you have so ably pointed out, sometimes this lack of consensus can result in a crisis.  "Hey, I shot you!"  "No you didn't!  I dodged!"  "No way, I totally shot you!"  So what happens then?

What happens is that a conversation of some sort takes place.  Molding and mediating that conversation is essentially the only thing that RPG rules do.

Is this an arbitrary process?  Yes, in the sense that it is a process that consists of arbitration.  There is one or more arbitrators, and they arbitrate a resolution to the conflicting visions of the SIS.

Is this unusual to RPGs?  Not at all.  Many sports have rules which define a penalty named something like "Unsportsmanlike Conduct."  There's no definitive list or definition of exactly what constitutes it.  But referees call that penalty every day, and by and large people are happy with the results.  Even in very big and very important games where millions of dollars are at stake.

Alright, that's been a pretty long slog without any examples, so let me bust some out.  They'll all share the same basic setup:  The guys are sitting around playing D&D -- the characters are (within the established fiction) travelling through a forest, and the DM has just announced that a landshark has burst from the ground and attacked Jenkins -- something that the player of Jenkins is not too happy about.  "J" refers to that player, "DM" to the DM, and other letters indicate other players.

Scene 1:  An appeal to real props

J:  What?  It's attacking me?  That sucks.  Wait a minute -- he doesn't have 3 squares of reach, does he?  I'm out of range; he can't attack me.
DM:  Hunh?  Oh, whoops.  Alright, I guess it just bursts out of the ground and stands there, eyeing you hungrily.
J:  CHARGE!

(This one doesn't really reference the SIS at all, so it's  pretty straightforward.)

Scene 2:  An appeal to real props, take 2

J:  What?  It's attacking me?  That sucks.  Wait a minute -- he doesn't have 3 squares of reach, does he?  I'm out of range; he can't attack me.
DM:  Hunh?  Oh, whoops.  I mean he bursts out OVER HERE (moves the miniature) and attacks you.
J:  Dude that's sorta bogus, but whatever.

(This one displays the DM's mindset that the props are merely reflections of the SIS, not elements which define it, and so it's simply a matter of updating an incorrect prop so that it correctly reflects the fictional reality of the SIS.)

Scene 3:  An appeal to role authority

J:  Why is it attacking me?
DM:  Because I'm the DM and I say it's attacking you.
J:  Yep, guess it is.

(This occurs so often that I think many people don't even notice it occuring.  I don't think it's inherently dysfunctional, but some people probably disagree.)

Scene 4:  An appeal to 'the rules'

J:  Why is it attacking me?  Gutboy is a lot closer to it.
DM:  Yeah, but Gutboy is a dwarf, and look, the Monster Manual says right here in the third paragraph that landsharks don't like the taste of dwarves.
J:  Frickin' dwarves.

(Also relatively straightforward; 'the rules' really exist in an objective way.)

Scene 5:  An appeal to 'the rules', take 2

J:  Why is it attacking me?  I'm an elf, and the Monster Manual says landsharks don't like to eat elves.
DM:  Yes, but in my homebrewed campaign world of Elsuckia, the Elsuckian Landshark absolutely loves to eat elves.
J:  Alright fine whatever.

(The relationship between 'the rules' and 'the houserules' can be a bit dicey, but they tend to have the same type of authority with respect to the SIS.)

Scene 6:  An appeal to fortune

J:  Why me?
DM:  I gave each of you an equal chance of being attacked, rolled a die, and the dice say you get attacked.
J:  Frickin dice.

(This often gets described as "more fair" by people who favour it, although I'm not particularly sold on that myself.  Still, arbitration by fortune is pretty common.)

Scene 7:  An appeal to the metagame

J:  Why is a wandering monster yet again attacking me?
G:  Because you're a 3rd-level fighter in plate, and the rest of us are 1st-level dweebs with 2 hitpoints each.
J:  Heh, you guys suck.

(This isn't often the sort of thing you'd see so explicitly explained, but I think it's more common than some people would like to believe.)

Scene 8:  An appeal to the metagame, take 2

J:  Why is it attacking me?
G:  Because all the rest of us are guys who have been playing D&D together for the last 8 years, and you're the new guy who just showed up an hour ago.
J:  Sniffle.

(As above -- it's usually not this explicit.  But such things occur, and it's keeping in line with some social contracts.)

Scene 9:  An appeal to Spirit of the Century

J:  It's attacking me?  No way!  Here's my FATE point -- I'm tagging my Aspect "I'm way too stringy -- you should eat Gutboy instead!".
DM:  Ha, awesome.  Okay, Gutboy, it's attacking you.
G:  I hate that Aspect so much.

(I'm dropping out of pure D&D for a moment to demonstrate how different game systems arbitrate the conversation in different ways -- here, with a more direct influence on the SIS by a non-GM player.)

Scene 9:  The thing that never happens

J:  No it doesn't.
DM:  What?  Yeah, it does.  The landshark is attacking you.
J:  Nope.  Is not.
DM:  It bites you.  Take 9 points of damage.
J:  No.

(Seriously, this sort of thing just doesn't occur -- or doesn't occur for very long.  In a very literal way, J is no longer playing the game at all if he flat out refuses to accept this version of the SIS.  A crushing amount of social contract pressure is about to come down on poor J, and it's likely he'll back down or get exiled.)

Scene 10:  The other thing that never happens

J:  Dude, landsharks aren't real, you know.
DM:  What the hell is your problem?

(It was hard enough for me to imagine Scene 9 occuring; I find this so intensely implausible that I include it only as a sort of logical extreme.)


So.  It feels like it's been a long and winding road to get here to the end.  In summary:  People think all sorts of things which cannot be measured are really real.  People often talk about the properties of fictional things in such a way that, void of all context, it may seem that they're talking about real things.  People sometimes have disagreements about the properties of fictional things.  Shaping the resolution of those disagreements is the only important thing that RPG rules do.

I'm glad you brought this subject up; it's so deep and fundamental that I think I've avoiding taking a good hard look at it.


Cheers,
Roger
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Christian
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #31 on: May 05, 2010, 10:45:03 AM »

Christian,

This might be a bit off topic, or it might not, I'm not sure.

Hey !

I'll do my best to answer your questions. Be aware though that the ruleset is not finalized yet, and that it is certainly not 100% functional. That being said, your questions and my attempt to answer them can only lead to improvement, at least I hope so ! So here we go...

Quote
However, in your ruleset, is it fine for me to say: USS Enterprise appears and evaporates the goblin with photon torpedos (I use my "Raised in a tavern" trait and spend 1 Resolution point)?

You can't because 1) It doesn't show us or teach us anything about your character, 2) You essentially ask for narrative rights when it's not appropriate (during a conflict resolution)
Plus your "story" is unrelated to the Trait used. You can use any trait, but do your best to make it look good (at least look like you do!)

Quote
Or, is it fine for you to say "He calls his friends" every time you spend threat tokens for the goblin, over and over again?

I could, but as it would be boring, perhaps I should make a rule to prevent it. But as a conflict is played to resolve a whole scene, perhaps your question is irrelevant.

Quote
With both, is it fine when the person saying that is genuinely convinced they are telling good story? With both, is it fine if they are just saying it, for reasons? What happens when other players don't think it fits the story?

Out of conflict, it is fine to ask for "permission" to the gm. If everybody thinks it's a good story (fits with the context approved by everyone before play) then yes, go ahead! If it clashes and is said just to be a joke then no way.

Quote
USS Enterprise aside, what if I object to your goblin's dagger glowing red?

Except for particular cases, I don't see why. The glowing dagger is either 1)mere color, or 2) a malus for you but I paid for it.

Quote
How does your ruleset process that? Does it at all?

I hope I answered your questions!
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Paul T
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Posts: 369


« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2010, 11:39:26 AM »

Isn't this thread the reason games like GURPS were written?

I'm referring, of course, to rulebooks with pages and pages of "tables" and "modifiers", which were presumably written so that people could point to a book to establish an objective standard.

For instance, the book might say:

"Higher ground: +2 to hit. Assign this modifier if the attacker is at least 2' above the target. Examples: On horseback; firing from higher elevation to lower elevation; standing on a table."

The idea being that we can all look at that last bit and go, "Ah ha! +2 it is."

In actual play, I think that when a player says, "I climb up on the table", he or she is implicitly asking permission to get that +2 bonus. And, even absent the detailed chart which mentions standing on a table, in the groups I've seen such a player would most definitely feel cheated if the GM withheld that +2 bonus from them after they'd made that request. It's definitely grounds for a serious argument or at least a little bit of hurt feelings.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2010, 06:11:58 PM »

Hi Christian,

Again kinda off topic but probably the more productive part of the thread! Okay, yeah, your example works and it's engaging of imagination.

But imagine that there's more of a 'talking shit' stage before any goal is declared. Now I know in traditional RPG's people...can talk shit for hours and it go nowhere. So lets say it only lasts until ten RL minutes are up or until some assigned person thinks an interestingly tense situation has sprung up.

Now roughly the same things could be said duing the talking shit mode, like you could say there's a goblin and he has this cool sounding black red glowing dagger. But no mechanical resources have been assigned yet. So we build it up a bit - the assigned person either calls it, cause damn, there's a goblin here with a dagger! Or ten minutes goes by and weve really described everything in enough detail now.

Now the ten minutes up, now the rules instruct you to ask what is the players goal? Well maybe he instead wants the damn dagger rather than the treasure chest (it's probably looted anyway!)! So that's his goal - the talking shit phase might actually set off something in him that makes what would be his goal, shift. Or maybe he thinks 'damn, that dagger sounds kewl - Christian is sure to spend malus because of it and I'm just about out of points - I'm a gettin' outta here! Goal: Retreat' so he'll strategize because he's seconding guessing what points you'll use, like you second guess people in poker, but instead of looking for beads of sweat on faces, he's second guessing based on what fiction you've described.

Anyway, just an idea. I think a talking shit phase can lead to different goals or approaches than if you start with 'what is your goal'. Or maybe you meant that with your example.

But yeah, it's totally clear cut with the spending, and that is an entirely refreshing thing! Just doing something, bang!, here and now!, instantly instead of wading through molasses before you get a climax. Also that the points are structured, so some sort of overall session play is built into the game rather than people trying to play and get some sort of structure in place at the same time. Good on ya! Smiley


Hi Jim,

Good post! Thanks for that!

Quote
we, being human, expect consistency and some reliance on the rules of the real world, we expect that if the person(s) with credibility has established that there is a table in the scene, it provides height advantage, and height advantage adds 2 to your attack roll, that when I stand on that table, it ought to provide me that +2!

Yes, but does your expectation mean anything, in terms of rules? I could go into dodgeball expecting not to be hit in the head, yet if there is no rule against it - then it's just some expectation I've cooked up. The expectation isn't actually relevant to the written rule.

There are various board games like diplomacy where people can ally, but then break that alliance at the drop of a hat latter on. You could get upset over that or realise it's all part of the game. Here, someones imagination can break their alliance with what you expect, by normal rules use. Perhaps they are doing it from whim, or perhaps you forgot 'the table got hit by a shrink ray' earlier. The table is as 'established' as those alliances are established.

To me, your quote makes it sound like expectations are more important than actual written rules. What gameplay exists, rests on expectations rather than rules.

I'm not going to lay into that, but this returns me to much the same sort of question I started with. Which comes first for people at the forge - expectations, or written rules?

Height advantage and it's kin - from what you say in your post, have expectations getting first priority. Would you disagree - you just mentioned how important expectations are to you?


Hi Filip,
Quote
Human-hardware does process words, though. You feed human-hardware with data and height advantage is either 0 or 1. When the computer would measure the amount of pixels or whatever, human-hardware can measure some other quality and proceed accordingly.
Take one hundred people and put them in seperate rooms. They have a piece of graph paper and two little cardboard figures. They are told to put one above the other at the very minimum needed for height advantage.

Will everyone do the same? Measure it on the graph paper down the millimetre and practically all of them will contradict the rest. Or so I say - run the test and we can find out!

Hell, take people from one gaming group, seperate them and do the same. They will produce results that contradict each other.

Now if they aren't all wrong somehow, what is the point of saying it's processing like hardware - no hardware does this (except for dice, I guess)?

Quote
This might be a bit off topic, or it might not, I'm not sure. However, in your ruleset, is it fine for me to say: USS Enterprise appears and evaporates the goblin with photon torpedos (I use my "Raised in a tavern" trait and spend 1 Resolution point)?
I'm not Christian, but it sounds fine to me. Oddball, but then I've seen manga where an old mans bed turns into a giant robot.

Do you have any AP accounts of people doing that? Would you do it? You wouldn't find it more fun to shape your words around 'Raised in a tavern'? And so be inclined to say something closer to 'Raised in a tavern' not because you have to, but because it's more fun to?

I'd say Christians design has 'fun gravity' and that gravity will attract you to say something closer to 'Raised in a Tavern'. Perhaps you still might say 'Well, one time we had this patron...his name was Kirk...I pick pocketed him and got this device that shoots and I now shoot the gobo with it!'. But to me, that sort of crazy high concept mash up makes me laugh and attracts me.

Christian, I can't quite describe why, but I've got a bad feeling on your list of 'you can't because'. It's relying on someone at the table 'knowing best'. Honestly that doesn't work amongst adults and also, amongst adults, is anyone going to really just call upon the USS enterprise?

And even if they did...so what? Is some god of RPG going to strike everyone down? Or is everyone going to go 'Oh, that player said it but it's up to something else to stop and limit him and nothing did - OMG! Nothing is tangible and that's the only important thing!' and then they all run screaming from the room?

I'd swear these are just superstitions your trying to address. But then again my original question kind of asked if people here are gripped by such.


Hi Roger,

It's not enough really. To say one isn't treating things as real, but then do the very same physical actions and say the very same things someone who does treat it as real would say and do. It doesn't really matter if you say it isn't real if the outcome of it all is exactly the same as the outcome you'd get with someone who does treat it as real.

Particularly when it comes to discussing design itself. Not even a break there. Still talking exactly like people who geniuinely believe it's real. The same outcome, even if you insist people aren't treating it as real.

Not the same topic but same idea, there was once a thread about storyteller games saying to young teens, in their formative years, that storyteller is sooo much about story, just pumping that idea while giving something not at all about story.

I mean, whitewolf weren't a school, they had no curriculum. So perhaps because of that it had no effect at all on anyone. And saying somethings real, to all sorts of new designers, to all sorts of people through books or blogs, like people in their formative teens, when really you don't believe it but the only things said say you do believe it. No effect at all, perhaps.

*Semi detached rant*

Or, given I was asking a question for myself at the very start, it's the same end result- even if all these other designers don't really believe it's real, everyone talking like it's real is is the same damn result. A never ending spew of mollases to wade through on anything collaborative. The same mollases as that actual play but in terms of design, because everyones so damn busy getting into how it's real (but don't believe it) it gets freakin' nowhere. Just cut to the combat in that AP? The actual meat? Hell no, that'd lose some sort of thing that's important! Cut past this 'your environement determines your combat advantage' double talk during design discussion? Hell no, that'd lose some sort of thing that's important!

Fuuuuuuuuck
*end rant*


Vincent, I outlined a contradiction in things you've written, but as far as I can tell your not even humouring the idea you could have made some error there, which is breaking one of the criteria for posting. So your post is in error/breaking our agreement. Please don't post in this thread again unless you can mull over the idea of an error.

Gareth, you seem to be telling me things as if your not considering you could be wrong on the matter. You need to add stuff like 'And this would be wrong if X'. Even Richard Dawkins said if a rabit skeleton is found in the wrong fossil record, it'd disprove the thing he passionately believes is true (evolution theory). Please don't post again unless you can mull over being wrong somehow.
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Philosopher Gamer
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lumpley
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« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2010, 06:27:27 PM »

I'm here in good faith. I wouldn't be posting in this thread if I hadn't considered the possibility that I'm mistaken -- them's the rules. In this case, though, you've misread me; I don't take the position you ascribe to me. There's serious problems in your understanding of what I've written.

-Vincent
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Jim D.
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« Reply #35 on: May 05, 2010, 07:11:09 PM »

Quote
from what you say in your post, have expectations getting first priority. Would you disagree - you just mentioned how important expectations are to you?

Not at all.  You've pretty much hit the nail on the head with respect to where I stand.  The rules of any tabletop RPG, as written, are what they are, but it's everyone's understanding of the SIS and how your group plays that counts.  Same reason, I believe, so many RPG rulebooks go to great lengths to encourage you play by the rules you think make sense or are the most fun, even if they skirt or even openly contradict what the rulebook suggests.  Why use a rule if it doesn't make sense to you and your group?  And I believe that generally the house rules that stick are the ones that:

a) are just more fun, or more often
b) better fit the group's expectations of how the game (per the manual) is played and how to best reflect the SIS and spirit of the campaign/session being run.

So yes, to word it succinctly, I do believe the "real" component of an RPG depends on the hybrid of the game, house rules, and group.  It's their knowledge and expectations that build the SIS, and become the reference point, even more so than the rulebook, even though what the group "expects" is often made up in large part of the written rules.
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contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #36 on: May 05, 2010, 07:21:46 PM »

Gareth, you seem to be telling me things as if your not considering you could be wrong on the matter. You need to add stuff like 'And this would be wrong if X'. Even Richard Dawkins said if a rabit skeleton is found in the wrong fossil record, it'd disprove the thing he passionately believes is true (evolution theory). Please don't post again unless you can mull over being wrong somehow.

Hahaha.  Shit man, I CAN always be wrong, that goes without saying, that doesn't oblige me to construct self-critical positions which I think are think are bogus.  Whats more, I'm not obliged to do your job for you - I'm not obliged to invent weaknesses in my own arguments for your benefit.  If thats your criterion for participation, that everyone with a contrary view must also concoct a reason why you are right, then you are simply demanding acquiescence from the outset.

Either you can counter my argument, or you can't. You haven't even made an an attempt to do so here.
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Christian
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« Reply #37 on: May 06, 2010, 12:29:10 AM »

Callan :
About the talking shit : steps are clear and to be followed in strict order:
- informal description, talking, etc (standard, out of conflict roleplaying stuff)
- player or gm asks for a conflict
- player states his goal
- gm spends (or not) threat tokens
- player activates traits and all
- roll the dice
- goal reached (or not), someone narrates

So there is no back and forth talking shit.
And if there is, maybe it's more a problem of person... or maybe i misunderstand something.

About not allowing the enterprise stuff : you're right, but I got to be more precise :
- if the player asks for that out of conflict, the gm allows it or not, based on the context decided altogether. As you say, grownups etc !
- the player can't ask for it as is during conflict, but using your example he could say "I use my (relevant) trait, I remember capt kirk phone number, etc... far fetched but if the context allows it, why not.
- (the one point I forgot) just after the conflict, the narrator (can be the player or the gm) has narrative rights, so he could imagine this enterprise stuff, again considering the context allowed.

For the context relevancy aspect, well, as you say people are grownups. If the context boils down to "anything goes" or "science fantasy" then why not ?
In other cases, perhaps there should exist some kind of veto rule, I don't know... "When all other players roll their eyes, the narrator just shut up and grab the nachos". He he, what do you say ?
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Caldis
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Posts: 359


« Reply #38 on: May 06, 2010, 06:16:00 AM »


Keeping it simple.

If you dont say your character climbed up on that table the gm has no reason to give you a bonus to hit.  Because you did the gm gives you the bonus but also because of that he knows your character is on this imaginary table so he can use it subsequently in following rounds like say if he decides to have the enemy smash the table sending your cleric falling to the floor to face all the penalties that entails.  We have rules but they depend on imagined events.
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Roger
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« Reply #39 on: May 06, 2010, 07:29:05 AM »

Hi Callan,

My earlier optimism about understanding your point was, I fear, perhaps misplaced.  I read through your linked AP (which, in retrospect, I probably should have started with) and it seems to me that you're doing exactly the thing that you're opposed to.

By way of specific example, I mean the places where you write:

...we've been hired to do a job...

...we'd head off, down the road toward the destination...

...we were to head up to this cave where some orcs were near it and retrieve some treasure for our employer...

...We get to the cave and the orcs have a camp about 700 meters away from the cave...


Those all seem to be cases where, if I didn't have any other context, I would be unable to distinguish whether it was your fictional characters fictionally going off to a fictional cave, or whether it was you real people really going to a real cave.

To be fair, I think you're speaking mostly towards the way the rules and games are designed and written, rather than the way Actual Play is written.  Still, it seems like if the players are naturally comfortable speaking in terms of "we get to the cave and the orcs have a camp" that the rules might be written to direct that situation in similar language:  "When the characters get to the cave, they can make a Perception check to notice the orc's camp, about 700 meters away."

So, in summary: yes, I think I see the phenomenon you're describing as occurring all the time.  No, I don't see any fundamental problems arising from it.  Even if there were deep problems to resolve, I don't think I see any clear alternative that would resolve them.


Cheers,
Roger
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Callan S.
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« Reply #40 on: May 06, 2010, 05:14:22 PM »

Hi Jim,
Quote
Not at all.  You've pretty much hit the nail on the head with respect to where I stand.  The rules of any tabletop RPG, as written, are what they are, but it's everyone's understanding of the SIS and how your group plays that counts.  Same reason, I believe, so many RPG rulebooks go to great lengths to encourage you play by the rules you think make sense or are the most fun, even if they skirt or even openly contradict what the rulebook suggests.  Why use a rule if it doesn't make sense to you and your group?  And I believe that generally the house rules that stick are the ones that:

a) are just more fun, or more often
b) better fit the group's expectations of how the game (per the manual) is played and how to best reflect the SIS and spirit of the campaign/session being run.

So yes, to word it succinctly, I do believe the "real" component of an RPG depends on the hybrid of the game, house rules, and group.  It's their knowledge and expectations that build the SIS, and become the reference point, even more so than the rulebook, even though what the group "expects" is often made up in large part of the written rules.
Well there you go! Probably the most productive on topic outcome for the thread! You prioritize what you'd call expectation! We both have written something that gives each other an understanding of what the others on about (instead of one person just saying the other 'doesn't understand' or such)!

Just celebrating that a bit - it's a good outcome! Thanks for contributing, Jim! Smiley

Now I'm not going to get into it heavily, because I'd rather wrap up this bit on a high. But here's a question: How many other gamers do you think prioritize expectation ahead of rules? If you were to say a large segment of them, I'd even agree that may be the case (even though I don't happen to prioritize expectation - I prioritize rules (where there are any)). Kind of a open ended question to finish off this bit with Smiley


Hi Christian,

I think I sounded too derogitory with the phrase 'talking shit'...I meant a kind of affectionate derogitory! I wasn't saying it's bad (except when it goes on for ages/hours and it's all talk and no walk). A small amount is valuable, a large amount is not good. What I was trying to describe, with the ten minute rule, is a good thing (in my estimate). I think have communicated poorly. There was something cool I wanted to describe to you, but did not do well at it at all.

Quote
In other cases, perhaps there should exist some kind of veto rule, I don't know... "When all other players roll their eyes, the narrator just shut up and grab the nachos". He he, what do you say ?
Just in terms of the USS enterprise sort of stuff? Hmmm, I think it's complicated. It depends on whether the issue is 'The USS enterprise was brought in at all' or 'The USS enterprise was brought in because the other person doesn't mean well'. With the latter, someone can mean well, but bug the crap out of you from something they do. We all know that. That's where playing with people you do other things with really matters, because we tolerate friends doing stuff that bugs us, sometimes.

I think with the latter, if your playing with friends/for people who buy this game, if they play it with friends - people you'll tolerate some being bugged by, just work without a net/no veto rule at all. If the person means well in their contribution - is it a bad thing? It's the thought that counts. Well to me it ceases to be about judging fiction and instead about appreciating that people care and are trying to give something. If the USS enterprise shows up but the person cares and is trying to give - well, that's the important thing, not some darn genre adherance! Note that up front in the games text, so people know they can't just play this with random people.

Also stick a time limit on talking. Make a rule that anyone can flip over an egg timer if they want things to wrap up and move on, for example. Smiley

What do you think?


Hi Roger,

When I linked it I looked at it and thought 'someones probably going to note that, but I'll take that on when it occurs'

If you asked me about any of the components like '...we've been hired to do a job...' I would say well actually the GM was just talking a bunch of shit and I was waiting around, to see what mechanic in the book would be invoked by him next.

I wouldn't say "Oh yes, totally there's money to be had and an adventurer has to eat you know!"

I would quit with the molasses. I would talk straight about what was actually there. A GM just talking shit and I was waiting around.

As opposed to, if height advantage is discussed, pouring on more molasses "totally your environment determines your combat advantage!"

And if it's discussed further, pouring even more molasses on "But it's not really some sort of 'environment', it's the GM deciding" "No look it's obvious the table is high, and the character just established they are on it, so it's just totally invoking the +2". Always more molasses rather than talking about the man behind the curtain.

Or maybe after the second layer of molasses, if you start up a thread like this they'll finally cut to the man behind the curtain.

There's quite a distinction there, I hope you can see it. Most non gamer people on the street would engage in one layer of molasses 'Cookie monster loves cookies' or 'Luke was a Jedi', but if pressed they'd say 'Well, it was just a puppet' and 'Well, actually it was just an actor in a movie'.

I'm not your literal Larry after all. But nor am I a molasses Monty, either.

But if you want to clump it all into the same thing, well there we part *shrug*



Back to the moderation
And finally, who'd be a moderator for a lark?

I blame myself for adding a 'you can return and post if' statement and then not defining that 'if'
Okay, this is no good
"There's serious problems in your understanding of what I've written."
Only with qualifier or caveat is it good
"There's serious problems in your understanding of what I've written, unless there's something I'm missing on the matter."
Or something along those lines. It doesn't matter if you've said prior your considering you could be wrong. If you can't say it in the same sentence then do not post.

Also atleast for myself, unless it's somehow impossible to communicate with the other guy, it's not just him failing to understand, it'd be me failing to communicate.



Anyway, that identification of expectations being prioritised ahead of rules was a good result for the thread!
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Philosopher Gamer
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« Reply #41 on: May 06, 2010, 06:22:54 PM »

Callan, come the fuck on. I don't take the position you ascribe to me. I mean, I don't, unless there's something I'm seriously fucking missing on the matter. Let me reiterate my position: Your DM decided. Luke Skywalker is a Jedi; Mark Hamill's not. Cookie Monster loves to eat cookies, but Cookie Monster is a muppet and his muppeteer can't really eat cookies through his hand. Duh.

Unless there's something I'm missing, you've drawn the wrong conclusions from what I've written.

I've given up trying to explain myself to you -- that was a long, frustrating, and (here we are!) fruitless effort -- but I am inclined to answer when you ascribe bullshit nonsense to me.

-Vincent
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Christian
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« Reply #42 on: May 06, 2010, 10:47:47 PM »

Callan : yeah, you're right, I don't think this talking shit is a serious problem, and that is a matter of people playing together, and trust and affinities. I say, let people decide. I'd be the gm and that thing comes up early, I'd say "why not?". Science fantasy's good. No veto rule. Or the rule should be "if you can't agree, stop playing together!"

I like the idea of the timer ! I'm gonna think about it. Seriously, how cool would that be? "Ok, devise your plan. Timer." I like it !

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #43 on: May 09, 2010, 06:59:51 PM »

Callan,

Quote from: Callan S.
Take one hundred people and put them in seperate rooms. They have a piece of graph paper and two little cardboard figures. They are told to put one above the other at the very minimum needed for height advantage.

Take one hundred computers created by different producers, varying in technical capabilities and loaded with different operating systems. Run the same program. Do you get exactly the same performance?

The fact that you're dealing with a flawed hardware doesn't make it less of a hardware. It only means that when designing for human-hardware, you need to account for its seemingly chaotic performance.

Computers are good at processing numbers, but currently suck at processing words and concepts. Human-hardware is good at processing words and concepts, but sucks at math compared to machine. Still hardware enough for practical purposes, I'd say.

Anyway.

Recently, it occurred to me that for all your talk about measuring physical objects and all, you seem to be largely ignoring fine branches of science that deal with measuring stuff in the realm of those "height advantage" and describe its processing in computational algorithms. Like this one or this one. I'm not an expert in any of those, obviously, but neither are you, it unfortunately seems.

The more I think about it, the more I'm starting to believe this "height advantage" should actually be referred to in the same terms as the physical ball in your roulette wheel's slot, as in concrete representations of game data. At this point I'm specifically not sure if on this level, other than means of storage, there's any practical difference between the physical prop, bites on your hard drive or neurons firing in your head. All seem to carry concrete game data.

Regarding Christian's design:

Quote
Do you have any AP accounts of people doing that?

Yes.

Quote
Would you do it? You wouldn't find it more fun to shape your words around 'Raised in a tavern'? And so be inclined to say something closer to 'Raised in a tavern' not because you have to, but because it's more fun to?

I don't know.

Quote
I can't quite describe why, but I've got a bad feeling on your list of 'you can't because'.

Well, I asked my questions to Christian specifically expecting to see quite a lot of "you can't just because" answers.

I recall having a design not unlike Christian's, where it didn't matter what weapon your character was using, it only mattered what attack value and resource points you had on your sheet. It didn't even matter if your character was using any weapon at all or some wild kung-fu, since you could describe your attacks according to your aesthetic preferences, all being mechanically equal. This addressed some of my issues with Exalted at that time, which punished the player mechanically for most weapon choices other than the grand daiklave (boring). When I pitched this game to some gamers I used to hang out with (not my regular gaming group at the time), here's what they told me: "You're kidding? Everybody will go overboard with weapons!"

Apparently, this reaction was grounded in their actual play history, when the GM allowed too much leeway when it came to equipment and powers, and then someone declared his character a God. Perhaps the group was terribly dysfynctional, I don't know; those guys used to game together regularly like that, and they found it fun. So, perhaps I was the only dysfunctional person there, with my perverse mechanical ideas?

Either way, they were all adults. 18-20-something age range, but still adults by my country's laws. For all I care "grownup" is an empty word. If you consider all the shit going on in the world, it was all caused by grownups, didn't it? Still, somehow people expect others to magically do one thing or another based on them being grownup. In a game, of all things, when most adults I know don't even accept games to be a particularly grownup thing to do.

And here, you're referring to "grownup" as if it was a physical and objectively measurable quality, when it's pure personal value judgment of yours. About as physical and real as various "height advantages", incidentally, if not less so.

Anyway, all in all, I find it interesting what happens when the rules allow you to say anything you want and you actually say something you weren't allowed to, as it turns out. I'm especially interested in whether it's different when you genuinely believe you're saying something proper and fine, versus when you have other reasons or no reasons at all.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #44 on: May 10, 2010, 01:48:24 PM »

Quote from: Filip
Quote from: Me
Take one hundred people and put them in seperate rooms. They have a piece of graph paper and two little cardboard figures. They are told to put one above the other at the very minimum needed for height advantage.

Take one hundred computers created by different producers, varying in technical capabilities and loaded with different operating systems. Run the same program. Do you get exactly the same performance?
I'd expect the same result each time. Either that or there has been human error in choosing the hardware set up. Machines don't make mistakes, only humans do.

You can only blame your tools for so long. No, if your getting chaotic results from putting in 'height advantage' you can either keep blaming your tools, or realise what your putting in is flawed. It's one reason I recommend to roleplay designers as part of their theory development to go do some programming on a computer instead of something/someone that makes up for your logistical shortfalls. Trying to program is an excercise in humility. It exposes your own shortfalls to you nakedly, while other people cover them up and paper them over, if only to avoid angry responces from you. I still write code, expecting it to just damn well work, yet no. And I have no 'dick' at a table to blame, no flawed hardware to blame. If anything I am the flawed hardware in such a case. But who wants to admit that? With RP no one has to admit it! You can always blame the other guy.

Actually that might have made a good mod requirement - describe a RP theory or AP situation where you were wrong, or don't participate. Bit late to add that now, but noting the idea, all the same.

Quote
The more I think about it, the more I'm starting to believe this "height advantage" should actually be referred to in the same terms as the physical ball in your roulette wheel's slot, as in concrete representations of game data.
I'm not sure why 'height advantage' doesn't sound the same as 'how long is a piece of string' to you, as in it asks an arbitrary, subjective value?

Quote
I recall having a design not unlike Christian's, where it didn't matter what weapon your character was using, it only mattered what attack value and resource points you had on your sheet. It didn't even matter if your character was using any weapon at all or some wild kung-fu, since you could describe your attacks according to your aesthetic preferences, all being mechanically equal. This addressed some of my issues with Exalted at that time, which punished the player mechanically for most weapon choices other than the grand daiklave (boring). When I pitched this game to some gamers I used to hang out with (not my regular gaming group at the time), here's what they told me: "You're kidding? Everybody will go overboard with weapons!"
I think Ron has an anecdote about writing a game called 'bullshit less' and someone he played with read it and said 'you can't just read this - you'd have to play'...and that was a stumbling block, apparently. People invent hurdles.

Quote
Anyway, all in all, I find it interesting what happens when the rules allow you to say anything you want and you actually say something you weren't allowed to, as it turns out.
No, that'd be someone breaking the rules, if you can't say some particular thing (smelly chamberlain style, actually. As in a secret rule breaking agenda emerging at surprise moment).

But upthread we already had a discussion of expectations being prioritised ahead of rules. So me saying it's the rules being broken will sound pretty meaningless to anyone who prioritises expectations ahead of rules (when expectations are being broken by regular rules use). When rules don't come first, who cares if they are being broken, eh? But by the same token, if the rules say 'you can say anything you want' you aught not listen to them for the fact of the matter, since they don't come first. So it's not particularly interesting - it's either cheating, or expectations have priority over rules. The vaunted 'spirit of the game' perhaps?
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