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Author Topic: Vanilla and Pervy [thread #4 of the Five]  (Read 25599 times)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #30 on: November 22, 2002, 09:47:10 PM »

Hi there,

The "points of contact" thing is exactly right, Steve. I'll modify what you've said just a tad, though.

1) Vanilla and Pervy are relative terms. It's not a matter of You Is and You Ain't; the games have to be compared next to one another. It took me a bit to realize that people weren't flashing on this and that I hadn't actually said it.

2) For the sake of pure clarity, let's leave "who says" entirely out of your combat examples. Never mind whether the player says this or the GM says that. All we're talking about is the number of points of contact. Given that, yes, you have described a Vanilla and a Pervy system, relative to one another.

Does this mean that Vanilla is always "loose" and a Pervy one "strict"? Maybe in terms of coarse vs. precise, sure - but not in terms of loosey-goosey, whatever-I-want kind of looseness. I used Sorcerer as an example of a Vanilla system (given its Narrativist focus) that allows absolutely no screwin' around with outcomes, numerically speaking.

Best,
Ron
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Steve Dustin
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« Reply #31 on: November 22, 2002, 10:52:00 PM »

Quote

The "points of contact" thing is exactly right, Steve. I'll modify what you've said just a tad, though.


Cool.

Quote

2) For the sake of pure clarity, let's leave "who says" entirely out of your combat examples. Never mind whether the player says this or the GM says that. All we're talking about is the number of points of contact. Given that, yes, you have described a Vanilla and a Pervy system, relative to one another.


Ok, let's leave narration out, but does that means "interpreting the mechanics" is a point of contact, or step, to consider when evaluating something as Pervy or Vanilla? Is this "filtering system mechanics through a GM" a point of contact? Is that why a game with a GM with over-arching control powers more Pervy, because everything is interpreted by the GM?

I guess I said the same thing three times. Just trying to understand what's been going on in this thread.

Take care, Steve
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #32 on: November 23, 2002, 11:27:32 AM »

(hands on cheeks, pulling lower eyelid skin down, woeful expression)

People just can't leave the narration thing alone, can they? I brought it up and it's flailing all over the place like a horrible 70s zombie trying to dance the Funky Chicken.

Really. We're just talking about Pervy vs. Vanilla regarding a combat resolution mechanic. It doesn't matter for purposes of the Perviness of this combat example to think about who's narrating. Just count the steps made, and pretend the whole group is taking these steps, because they are (even if someone is just waiting for someone else).

Best,
Ron
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Stuart DJ Purdie
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« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2002, 03:17:04 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
We're just talking about Pervy vs. Vanilla regarding a combat resolution mechanic. It doesn't matter for purposes of the Perviness of this combat example to think about who's narrating. Just count the steps made, ...



If I read you right then you could actually count this (in principle), by enumerating the number of points of contact.  This would then give an absolute measure, with a firm definition.

But that seems to contradict what you suggested above, when you said that the terms were only  relative.  Or have I missed something?

As an aside, comparing the Vanilla/Perviness of combat resolution and generic skills resolution strikes me as an interesting measure.

Stuart
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #34 on: November 25, 2002, 07:21:34 PM »

Quote from: Stuart DJ Purdie
If I read you right then you could actually count this (in principle), by enumerating the number of points of contact.  This would then give an absolute measure, with a firm definition.

But that seems to contradict what you suggested above, when you said that the terms were only  relative.  Or have I missed something?

The relativism comes in here: one game has three points of contact, another has seven, yet another eleven, and there's one with fifteen. We could say that the first game is vanilla and the fourth pervy; but of the middle two, we can't say much more than that the second is more pervy than the first but more vanilla than the other two, the third more pervy than the first two and more vanilla than the fourth. Also, as compared with some wargame-based system with thirty steps in resolution, all of these games are rather vanilla; and all are pervy compared to some hypothetical single step system (is there such a thing?).

In this regard, it may do well to consider not merely the raw count but the nature of the steps as well. I recall that Space Opera (if I've got the right game) had a very accurate ship-to-ship combat system, one of the steps of which was to solve a trigonometric equation in three dimensions to target the attack. Even if that's one of only three steps, in my book that's pervy.

--M. J. Young
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #35 on: November 25, 2002, 09:21:06 PM »

Hi M.J.,

Excellent points. I agree totally. That "nature thereof" concept reinforces the relative nature of the terms, too.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #36 on: November 25, 2002, 10:07:09 PM »

Yeah theres a big difference between a point of contact that is merely a delicate touch (to continue the analogy) vs. one that is ramming full speed into large heavy object.  Its also relative in degree between people.

I for one hate charts...even in wargames I despise the ubiquitous CRT.  Any touch that requires looking something up on a chart (even a relatively simple chart like TRoS) is a heavily pervy touch in my book.  Others who do not revile charts to such a degree may feel the touch of one much less onerous than do I.
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talysman
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« Reply #37 on: November 25, 2002, 10:40:31 PM »

Quote from: Valamir

I for one hate charts...even in wargames I despise the ubiquitous CRT.  Any touch that requires looking something up on a chart (even a relatively simple chart like TRoS) is a heavily pervy touch in my book.  Others who do not revile charts to such a degree may feel the touch of one much less onerous than do I.


oh, man, then you must hate what I'm doing in "The Court of 9 Chambers"... I'm basically turning the character record sheet into a chart that is built during play...

still, the debates about vanilla vs. pervy have affected Co9C, in that I am thinking about making it more vanilla in other ways. in fact, the only reason for the "chart on the character sheet" thingie is that I think I can greatly simplify other game mechanics that way. I'm also becoming adamant about keeping metagame issue on the social contract level as much as possible; I have absolutely no experience points or spendable resources that affect play so far.
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John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
Mike Holmes
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« Reply #38 on: November 26, 2002, 08:47:44 AM »

Wait. You're trying to design your game about Surrealism so that it appeals more to the mainstream? I think that's a mistake. If any game deserves to be pervy, I'd say it's Co9C.

This is what I was afraid of. People changing cool rules so that their game sells more to some unknown market segment. I am not the mainstream, and as such resent the idea of pandering to it.

The surrealists didn't worry about mainstream accessibility; indeed they weren't interested in ease of accessibility at all. In point of fact, one could make the case that Surrealism is Pervy Art. That is to say, art in which there are lots of points of contact to get to the meaning.

I want more games like that, not less.

Mike
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talysman
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« Reply #39 on: November 26, 2002, 09:46:44 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Wait. You're trying to design your game about Surrealism so that it appeals more to the mainstream? I think that's a mistake. If any game deserves to be pervy, I'd say it's Co9C.

This is what I was afraid of. People changing cool rules so that their game sells more to some unknown market segment. I am not the mainstream, and as such resent the idea of pandering to it.

The surrealists didn't worry about mainstream accessibility; indeed they weren't interested in ease of accessibility at all. In point of fact, one could make the case that Surrealism is Pervy Art. That is to say, art in which there are lots of points of contact to get to the meaning.

I want more games like that, not less.


waitasec... didn't Ron just say something about how there is no "the" mainstream?

I'm not trying to sell Co9C to "the" mainstream. I am, however, trying to sell it to people interested in art or mystical symbology who might also be interested in roleplaying games, if those games don't focus on things they aren't interested in (like combat systems or "alignment" systems.)

one of the points of this thread, I thought, was that a game can be more pervy or more vanilla than other games in different ways. people who like a lot of detailed, "realistic" combat tend to like games with pervy combat systems, but that doesn't mean that they like pervy narration rules or pervy character personality rules.

what does this mean for Co9C? the whole point of the game is "Art Combat" and the ability to weave Motifs into paintings and dreams. this is what makes the game distinctive and what is going to attract fans of surreal imagery, not pervy rules about voting (which were in the original Co9C but won't be in the new version) or a pervy combat system. as I said (emphasis added):

Quote

I am thinking about making it more vanilla in other ways.


and so I will make it more vanilla in other ways... while making it more pervy in terms of Motifs. this is why, in the new description mechanics thread, I started adding "color rolls" to the system -- as a way to get Motifs worked into the real world in addition to the surreal dreamscape.

granted, in my most recent post, I "de-perved" conflict resolution by removing what I considered to be a "combat mechanics" rule: declaring which tools/motifs will be used before rolling the dice. by simplifying conflict resolution, though, I increased the use of Motifs, making it more pervy in that respect.

it's all a matter of balance and coherence. the game system has to suit the subject matter.
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John Laviolette
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2002, 11:53:41 AM »

I just had a thought regarding the vanilla/pervy distinction.  I wonder if a better term is "rules emphasis".  That is, what is emphasized by the rules.  For instance, Unknown Armies is fairly light on most skill resolution and (at its core) has only two types of attacks in combat.  However, the madness rules are much more detailed, relatively speaking.  Why is this?  The theme of the game is expressed largely through the madness meters, and therefore the rules devote more time and focus to this element of gameplay.

As I understand it, Sorcerer is another good example of this.  IIRC, 90% of a character's knowledge, skills, and abilities are summed up in three numbers (Will, Stamina, and Cover).  Humanity, Lore, and demon abilities get the focus of the rules, because they are the focus of the game.

Alyria functions similarly (if I may be permitted my plug).  Three attributes sum up most of the character, with the rules focus on moral Traits.

It seemeth that the problem is not Vanilla vs. Pervy.  Rather, the problem is misplaced Perviness.  Every game will be part Vanilla, part Pervy.  The question is on focusing the Perviness to where it will do the most good.

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #41 on: November 28, 2002, 10:15:24 PM »

Hello,

What Seth said.

... which is to say, System Does Matter.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #42 on: November 29, 2002, 08:07:41 AM »

Quote from: talysman
it's all a matter of balance and coherence. the game system has to suit the subject matter.

Absolutely.

And I'm not suggesting that you make it Pervy in the combat department or anything. Just that, unlike most games, where the subject matter is, itself, accessible, the subject matter of Co9C is not very accessible. Thus, people who may be interested in this sort of art, will be, moreso than others I feel, more interested in activities that are less accessible rather than more. They want to have to work for their results, and be rewarded in a manifold manner for doing so. As such, I see a system that is very Pervy in terms of Art being very appropriate to the game.

In fact, I think that there is no way, short of really changing the game arround quite a bit that you are going to make the game less Pervy in this area. It's already hugely pervy, and I love it for that.

Pervy does not simply mean, "less accessible to all but Gamers". It simply means less accessible. Gamers just happen, by and large, to be comfortable with a lot of Pervyness. My lament has been that, as a gamer, and someone who can take monster amounts of Pervyness of any sort in a game with aplomb (in fact, I'm often scheming to make games more pervy when I play them, and often do), I hate to see Pervyness get tossed aside in the name of reaching a greater market.

And it just so happens that, in this case, I think it's wholy the wrong move. If there's any group out there that desire Pervy as much as we Gamers, it's the Art crowd that you describe. As such, you're game is uniquely situated to go heavily Pervy, IMO.

OTOH, they may not be as Pervy with respect to games as they are to art. And as such, this may be a fallacious argument. But I have to take my stand and demand my Perviness where I can get it.  :-)

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #43 on: November 29, 2002, 08:57:04 AM »

Hi there,

Mike, man, you're jumpin' the gun. No one said anything about a massive move toward Vanilla design in order to reach a wider market.

Thread #5 still remains, so chill. Lots of room remains to ask "so what" regarding these threads.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #44 on: November 29, 2002, 11:04:13 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Mike, man, you're jumpin' the gun. No one said anything about a massive move toward Vanilla design in order to reach a wider market.


Nor did I say such a thing. I am worried about this one particular designer who seems to be moving in that direction, and any others that may be doing so before seeing thread #5. I'm pre-empting it by saying, staying Pervy is a cool option, IMO!

Mike
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