*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 19, 2022, 05:57:19 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 68 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4
Print
Author Topic: Naive and Sophisticated: The Terms  (Read 16096 times)
Jack Spencer Jr
Guest
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2003, 07:38:31 AM »

Quote from: Le Joueur
I'd argue that you couldn't play such a role-playing game in the absence of rules, but there needs to be this 'compartmentalization' of thought to keep the rational from overwhelming the notional.


"Rational?" "Notional?" These sound like good terms to me. Do I here a second?
Logged
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2003, 07:58:28 AM »

Quote from: Valamir

In referencing the Dung Beetle/Sun example it was suggested that if it is actually a dung beetle, than one could create darkness by impeding the beetle in some way.  This seems to be a very literal interpretation of what the myth says.


I just wanted to point out that yes, it is a very literal approach to the myth, on the basis that the myth was intended to be taken literally.

If the myth were not intended to be taken literally, such behaviour would not have occurred.  So this seems to me to be rather circular; the behaviour is being labelled by the instruction it was given to portray.
Logged

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
Walt Freitag
Member

Posts: 1039


« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2003, 08:34:55 AM »

To address Jack's question, the way Christopher has described Sophisticated and Naive so far, it appears to apply to play. Not to characters specifically nor players specifically, despite what others have read into it. (Thus, I agree with Gareth that the distinction between player and character is being overblown.)

In any case, following ths discussion with increasing discomfort, I've come to the following conclusion:

We seem to be looking for a set of rules or principles, either at the game mechanics level or the social contract level, that can distinguish between character decisions reflecting a player's engagement in an alternate world view or logic (Naive), and character decisions reflecting a player's desire to "test" or "challenge" or "exploit" that world view or logic (Sophisticated). I believe that no such rules or principles exist.

For example, much has been made of the fact that Jack doesn't go searching for more magic beans. But Jack does use an axe to cut down the beanstalk to prevent the giant's pursuit. How, pray tell, is that any different from seeking a way to prolong the daylight by slowing down the dung beetle, in a world where the dung beetle myth is literally true? How does a player express a character's engagement in a world view other than by acting on that world view? That's why I believe there can be no rules of game mechanics or of social contract that can discourage acts of "sophisticated" play from "challenging" or "exploiting" the literal truth of the dung beetle, without making it so that the dung beetle explanation of the sun's movement simply doesn't matter. Which, I believe, would defeat the original purpose.

Now, there may be some validity in separating Sophisticated from Naive play when director stance play is involved, because that case opens up avenues for players expressing engagement in an alternate world view or logic by means of director stance manipulations rather than character actions. So I have to ask, is "Sophisticated" decision-making really a problem in games emphasizing director stance? Or is this a solution in search of a problem?

In any case, as far as actor and author stance play are concerned, this Naive-Sophisticated split is a hopless quest to separate one side of a sheet of paper from the other. (And, unfortunately, an apparently too-tempting opportunity to do some bashing of play styles we don't like along the way.)

- Walt
Logged

Wandering in the diasporosphere
clehrich
Member

Posts: 1557


WWW
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2003, 09:07:12 AM »

Walt raises some excellent points here, and in the process I think identifies a possible miscommunication within the discussion.
Quote
We seem to be looking for a set of rules or principles, either at the game mechanics level or the social contract level, that can distinguish between character decisions reflecting a player's engagement in an alternate world view or logic (Naive), and character decisions reflecting a player's desire to "test" or "challenge" or "exploit" that world view or logic (Sophisticated).

Because this is the focus,
Quote
...I have to ask, is "Sophisticated" decision-making really a problem in games emphasizing director stance? Or is this a solution in search of a problem?

I agree entirely, in the sense that I think trying to distinguish between these perspectives (whatever the terms) has two potential problems.

First, they cannot be distinguished absolutely: actual games, gamers, and characters rarely fixate on one side or another terribly consistently.

Second, there is no way to construct rules for forcing one type or the other to occur, although (as Fang points out with the Munchausen example) one can certainly encourage particular types of play.

So I think what we have here is a division which is only useful as a heuristic device, i.e. as a means for focusing in on particular issues and problems about RPG theory.  When we try to make it into a practical division, either in terms of classification (of games, people, etc.) or in terms of prescription (do it this way rather than that way), the division will break down.

If we recognize this as a heuristic division, that entails that neither side is more a problem than another.  As I said earlier in my example of extreme empiricism, there are just as many problems with extreme forms of "Naive" approaches, depending on the game, the group, and the players.  Consequently, Fang's criticism that "Sophisticated" seems a poor term, because the extremes of play now associated with the term are strikingly unhelpful and even destructive, can be taken with a grain of salt: to be sure, we can pick a new term, but the point is that what we've been calling Sophisticated play isn't bad play; at its extremes, of course it's a problem, but so is any kind of play taken to a radical extreme with respect to the game in question.

Let me conclude with an annoying extreme of Naive play:

1. GM drops a fairly large and obvious plot clue, in whatever sort of campaign; unfortunately, the only PC present is played by an extreme Naive player.  This player says, "Well, my guy isn't very bright, so he doesn't notice this."

2. A variant, in let's say a classic fantasy world, is when the GM has some sort of fairly obvious causal logic occur.  For example, the PC stumbles across a line of footprints under the window of someone who's been murdered in the night.  The PC decides to interpret this in terms of some grand myth about corpse-spirits or whatever, totally ignoring the obvious logical inference, and justifies this with, "Well, it's a mythic world, so that kind of causal logic just doesn't exist."

These aren't great examples, I freely admit.  The point is just that if extremes of both kinds are problematic.

Frankly, I'm more interested in the ways that Naive and Sophisticated perspectives can be used postively.  

I recall reading a set of mysteries about a character called something like Lord D'Arcy, who was a classic detective in a world of fairly consistent and mechanical magic.  Could we imagine the detective's Sophisticated perspective in less mechanical universes?  How would it work?  How might we encourage it?

On the Naive side, I think we can all see the advantage in such approaches at times, and Fang's Munchausen example is excellent here.  We want players in such a game to do what he proposes, not say, "Well, but clouds aren't solid, and you can't cut off the top of the rope because then you'll fall."  How does one encourage this sort of play?
Logged

Chris Lehrich
Jack Spencer Jr
Guest
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2003, 10:25:31 AM »

Actually, it seems to me that the terms are about logic and the attention paid to it and it seems to tie very, very closely with the consistency issue, but it's more a matter of how finely the elements in the setting and situation are broken down.

Using the two examples above, namely the vampire with UV lamps and the Dragon blood artifact. In both case, using a mister or a UV lamp is taking a very sophisticated view of the world with a decidedly metagame bit of stragtegy involved coming from the players. Specifically:

"If I use a mister to spritz the dragon's blood then the blood we have will last longer and thus the artifact will work longer."

"If UV rays are the component in sunlight that are harmful to vampires, then I can go get so UV lamps and kill me some bloodsuckers."

Both of these are working in the Sophisticated mindset and the GM telling them "It just doesn't work that way," without further explanation like all that stuff you wrote about Vampires, is trying to get them in the Naive perspective. The artifact must be soaked in blood. Sunlight kills vampires. That's it. You can't break it down any further in the Naive mindset. Naive takes things in bigger chunks and doesn't make big leaps, or so it seems to me.

Sunlight is sunlight. If a vampire gets into it, it dies and that's it. Naivity doesn't try to find out anything past this, really.

The Artifact needs to be soaked in dragon's blood. Naivity does not fiddle with how much blood it needs to be soaked in or if using the bare minimum of blood is good enough.

A beanstalk grew up overnight. Naivity does not wonder if there are more magic beans but deals what is right in front, the beanstalk. Now, in the version I had heard of Jack and the Beanstalk, he chopped down the beanstalk with an axe because the giant was climbing down after him. This is also in the Naive mindset because Jack is dealing with the situation or problem right before him. The giant is coming down to kill him, so Jack kills the giant with the handiest tool he had available, cutting down the beanstak while the giant was still on it and having the giant plumet to his death.

The Naive mindset would also work with trying to slow the dung beetle rolling the sun. That is, if the players are faced with a problem where time is of the essence and they decide to try to slow down or stop the sun so they will have more time, then that is Sophisticated. If the problem before them is that they need to slow down the passage of the sun for some reason, then this is Naive.

Sophistication seems to contain a bit of thinking outside of the box while Naivity require thinking very much inside this box or maybe taking things in larger chunks (I just got this my head and I can't seem to get around it)

I would say that explanation is only for Sophisticated is incorrect. Naivity can also have explanations for whatever may require it. But in Naivity it is only logistics whereas in Sophisticated it is yet another tool for player action.

Example: Monster Inc. The monsters in Monster world believe that human children are deadly to the touch. Exactly why is never really explained although germs are mentioned.

In Naivity, this is just the logistics, an excuse for comic highjinx like the whole sushi restaurant scene or the scene immediately following where Mike & Sully are all afraid of this little girl.

Sophisticated could focus on this in numerable ways.
    [*] If children are so dangerous, why don't the scarers wear protective gear or why isn't there a decontamination chamber to get on and off the scare floor.
    [*] Boo turned out to not be dangerous after all. Why, then do the Monsters thing children are toxic? Is it germs after all? If Boo had a cold would she have been dangerous?
    [/list:u]
    And so on.

    Naivity ignores all of this and just takes the concept of human children are dangerous and runs with it. Sophisticated breaks it down, and TBH may find some interesting details and to go with as well.

    It seems to be about how much is taken given and how much is dug into.
    Logged
    John Kim
    Member

    Posts: 1805


    WWW
    « Reply #20 on: January 17, 2003, 02:00:10 PM »

    I'd like to take a different view on this.  This is to some degree being a Devil's Advocate, since I enjoy strong genre play, but I think there is some truth to it.  

    The Sophisticated player is role-playing.  She thinks only in terms of what her character would know, regardless of whether or not it will fit the intended story.  If her character is analytical in nature (say a scientist), she will go ahead and question things like "why does sunlight hurt vampires".  Indeed, there are many vampire films where the protagonists do do things like fill up super-soaker waterguns full of holy water.  

    The Naive player is storytelling.  He thinks in terms of what would make the best story or what would best fit the genre.  He analyzes the story on a dramatic level -- and if something seems like a "plot hole" or "genre convention" rather than a "clue", he makes his character ignore it.  


    From this view, an example of an extreme Naive player is the one who constantly looks for cues from the GM for what the story is supposed to be, and steadfastly refuses to engage in any in-character logic.
    Logged

    - John
    erithromycin
    Member

    Posts: 159


    « Reply #21 on: January 17, 2003, 02:08:22 PM »

    I think it might be better to go with the ancient Greeks on this one.

    The 'Sophisticated' mindset seems closer to analytical skepticism.

    The 'Naive' mindset seems closer to faith, or at least suspension of disbelief.

    A 'Skeptical' Gamist character will question why things let them kill other things, while an 'Accepting' Gamist character will just use it.

    A 'Skeptical' Narrativist character will, as in the Buffy example, be aware that there is a story going on - villains to be fought, and so on. An 'Accepting' Narrativist character will get on with it.

    A 'Skeptical' Simulationist character is akin to an early anatomist - they know that some people are stronger than others, and can cut people apart to find out why. An 'Accepting' Simulationist character is much like us - they are aware that they are subject to physics, but don't worry about it.

    Of course, that's only what I I think you're trying to get at. I must say that the 'Sophisticated' and 'Naive' labels, while relatively accurate, do have unfortunate connotations when they are applied to the player. Which is, of course, something that one has to be careful about.

    That said, I'm not entirely convinced that this is worth worrying about. Yes, it's nice to have a term [or set of terms for it], but is it really anything more than an expansion upon the Exploratory desires of a variety of players?

    - drew

    [edit - oops. no name]
    Logged

    my name is drew

    "I wouldn't be satisfied with a roleplaying  session if I wasn't turned into a turkey or something" - A
    John Kim
    Member

    Posts: 1805


    WWW
    « Reply #22 on: January 17, 2003, 02:32:44 PM »

    I thought I should follow up on what I consider the split is here.  

    I would say that fiction itself is split between "naive" and "sophisticate".  For example, in _Terminator 2_ Sarah Connor decides to leave the robot that her grown son sent back in time, and goes haring off to kill off the head researcher who develops the technology.  Frankly, if this happened in a game, I think there are many "Naive"-tending players or GMs who would complain loudly that Sarah's player was engaging in too much thinking and was ruining the story.  

    A lot of fiction pushes the limits of and/or questions genre conventions.  The comic series "Astro City", for example, has a long sequence where two superheroes discuss over the ethics of their life-saving and whether they are playing God in who they save.  This is grossly breaking of the genre, and it is great (IMO).  By the same token, the modern "Miracleman" comic series can be seen as a Sophisticated take on the old comics.  

    Basically, "Sophisticated" is good for sophisticated takes on genres (like the modern Miracleman series) whereas "Naive" is good for naive takes on genres (like the original four-color Miracleman series, say).
    Logged

    - John
    jburneko
    Member

    Posts: 1351


    « Reply #23 on: January 17, 2003, 02:57:08 PM »

    Hello,

    I've been following this discussion with some interest because it's an issue I deal with ALL the time.  I'm going to throw a big fat monkey wrench in here and if it's too far off topic, someone can split it off.

    It seems to me that there's an awful lot of focus on explaining "How" a given player views a fantastic game world when I think the issue is much clearer when you look at "Why" the player looks at the game world the way he does.  And when viewed from that angle it all comes down to the same thing most RPG Theory (GNS, Stance) comes down to: Modes of Decision Making.

    I once started a large discussion on RPG.net about 7th Sea's setting.  Frankly, I love it.  Its detractors bring up points like: If there's no New World, why are there large sailing ships?  How can Montaigne be funding so many different political actions all at once? and so on...  It all comes down to the fact that 7th Sea's setting is unstable and "irrational" when it comes to "real world" economics, politics and other social sciences.

    Okay, I believe them and I agree.  After getting frustrated with going back and forth, back and forth, I finally got fed up and flat out asked them, "Why is it so god damn important that the setting be 'internally consistent' from a natural and social science point of view?"

    The answer I got went something like this: Because if situation B does not logically arrise from action A then there is *NOTHING* I can base my character's actions on and everything just boils down to GM fiat.

    I was floored.  Is the alternative really NOT as obvious as I think it is?  If you can't base your character's actions on internal causality of situation and setting, you can still base your character's decisions on Emotional Evocation.  That's what 7th Sea's Setting is about.  It's about being emotionally evocative.  It's designed for players who want to make emotionally evocative decisions and demonstrations.  No matter HOW illogical a setting is, you can ALWAYS take actions that evoke an emotional response in the audiance (i.e. the other players).  That is the BASIS of surrealism in art.

    So, it isn't really about whether the Dung Beatle can or can not be slowed down or stopped.  It's about WHY either player cares.

    The "Sophisticate" player cares right now, regardless of situation, because he wants to be able to file that fact away for possible decision making latter on.  "Ah, so the Sun is pulled by a Dung Beatle, which means if I ever need extended darkness or prolonged daylight I can choose to stop this creature."  It's about making intelligent choices (for whatever end).  Often, though not always, this is for long term planning purposes, such that if a player starts his character out as a farm boy and wants him to be king, he can plan out the route in advance.

    The "Naive" player only cares about whether or not the Dung Beatle can or can not be slowed down or stopped if it's emotionally evocative.  If it doesn't have a right here and now emotional impact then it's irrelivant.  It simply doesn't matter.  If suddenly stopping the sun from rising by slaying the Dung Beatle or what have you suddenly becomes a powerfully charaged emotional moment only then and there does the fact that the Dung Beatle and all it's "logical" consequence of being physically real even begin to come into the picture, if still at all.  Often, though not always, the player simply doesn't care about the long term picture of his character.  If the player starts his character out as a farm boy the fun is in the emotional roller coaster along the way, not necessarily in the striving and planning for any given destination.

    I'm not saying that the "Sophisticate" does not care about the emotional content of play, I'm only saying he does not base his decisions upon them the way the "Naive" player does.

    I hope this was clear.

    Jesse

    Edited for minor typos and mistakes.
    Logged
    Jack Spencer Jr
    Guest
    « Reply #24 on: January 17, 2003, 03:06:36 PM »

    Quote from: jburneko
    So you it isn't really about whether the Dung Beatle can or can not be slowed down or stopped.  It's about WHY either player cares.

    Agreed this far, Jesse. In fact, I was kind of hoping that was what I was saying with my last post.
    Logged
    Valamir
    Member

    Posts: 5574


    WWW
    « Reply #25 on: January 17, 2003, 05:43:49 PM »

    Quote from: jburneko
    Okay, I believe them and I agree.  After getting frustrated with going back and forth, back and forth, I finally got fed up and flat out asked them, "Why is it so god damn important that the setting be 'internally consistent' from a natural and social science point of view?"



    I don't want to throw this into a tangent, so if you'd like to discuss it further I'd love to do that by IM or in another thread.  But I'm going to strongly disagree with you specifically with regards to 7th Sea.

    Why?  As JW himself pointed out several times, 7th Sea is not set in the Renaissance.  Its set in the *Age of Reason*.

    So in answer to your question about WHY its important for 7th Sea to be internally consistent from a natural and social science point of view...its precisely because it is in this setting that the natural and social sciences (as we'd think of them today) got started.  

    The Brotherhood of the Wolf gives an excellent example of the clash between naturalistic reason and raw spirituality and superstition.  These are elements of 7th Sea also and both core books go to some length to highlight the possibilities in this regard.  But for "Reason" to actually function properly, the world must be reasonable...which unfortuneately it isn't.
    Logged

    John Kim
    Member

    Posts: 1805


    WWW
    « Reply #26 on: January 17, 2003, 06:21:28 PM »

    Valamir wrote:
    Quote
    So in answer to your question about WHY its important for 7th Sea to be internally consistent from a natural and social science point of view...its precisely because it is in this setting that the natural and social sciences (as we'd think of them today) got started.


    I think that the time period is a red herring.  The Age of Reason was also the time period of pirate high adventure, swashbuckling musketeers, and more.  I don't think that inconsistency in a swashbuckling pirates game is any different in principle from a modern-day action movie game, or a Hercules/Xena game.  

    I think elsewhere in the debate over religion, people have suggested that a problem is that "Sophisticated" players do not take the historical viewpoint.  However, I don't think that is accurate for describing the problem in examples like "Jack and the Beanstalk", "Signs", and others.  There have been analytical people in nearly all ages: like Archimedes,  Saint Augustine, or lots of others.  An Archimedes-like character would most certainly question and analyze the magic beans, say.
    Logged

    - John
    Christopher Kubasik
    Member

    Posts: 1153


    « Reply #27 on: January 18, 2003, 01:57:58 AM »

    Hi all.

    Okay, just 'cause I'm the one who started this nonsense, I'm going to try to herd it in a bit... And perhaps set a few ground rules.  This isn't meant as a slam to anyone.  But it is an attempt to keep the discussion moving forward rather than splitting off in eight million directions.

    1) First order of business, and, I hope, the last time it has to be brought up: no one so far has been "slammed" on this thread.  I've seen people be defensive, I've seen people reacting to percieved slights for their "sophisticated" or "naive" point of view.  But I suggest that any re-reeading of the thread will not actually produce a single example anyone saying anything bad about anyone who seems to prefer one still of story over another.  So... Let's remember, this isn't a contest, nor is a judgement.  I'm talking about a style of story I'm looking to play with in RPGs.  That's all.  I ask you all to play along in the same spirit.
    (And quickly, just like GNS, there are no "Sophisticated Players," nor "Naive players."  There are modes of play, and these are two of them.  One could play either way -- even in the same day!  But I suggest once you're pushing toward either end of the spectrum, it's tough to get them in the same game.)

    2) This issue is not binary.  It is a contiuum.  I suggest as much when I referred to Sorcerer in a post above.  So please no more announcements that the issue isn't clear cut between two poles.  I know that.  Just like G and S and N, there's a lot of squishiness at hand here.  I think the nob can be pushed closer to Naive or Sophisticated, but it's still a scale.  (The fact that people discussing this seem to be able to take sides suggest there are "sides" but really, looking back to point one, let's not go there.)

    3) I reference Puppetland and then realized a lot of folks might not be familiar with it.  Here's the link: http:// http://www.johntynes.com/rl_puppetland_www.html .  Ron's got a review of it in the library, but you might want to read the rules.  In fact, I really recomend reading the rules, because you'll see the style of game I'm talking about is really different than lots of other games.

    4) As an extension of point three, let me very clear here: the kind of game we're talking about will be very different than most other games.

    (This touches on a fault of mine, actually.  Since bumping in the Forge, since playing Sorcerer, I've gotten closer to the kinds of games I've always wanted to play -- and sort of don't think in terms of the games I used to play anymore.  So, when someone writes about a GM leaving an "obvious clue" for the players I think, "Why would anyone do that?"  Not because it's a terrible thing to do, but because it's just so not the style of play I think of these days.  For anyone who doesn't know why I'd be so startled by such a tactic by a GM I suggest reading the GNS essay and spending some time going through the Forges extensive thread library.)

    In brief, we're talking about a game with a LOT of shared authorship between everyone at the table; a game driven not by the GM's story/plot, but by some sort of Kicker or heavy PC protagonizer engine.

    5) We *are* talking about the players desires and their agenda.  The PCs themselves might end up being a wide range of intelligence levels or POVs... But the *players* are all playing with a goal of creating some sort of fable-like logic.  Please, if you're having trouble wrapping your head around this, go check out Puppetland.

    6) I don't know how to say this without making it sound like... Well, what the hell... Some folks keep making posts that PCs within a Naive story are below intelligence or whatnot.  This is not the case.  Their intelligence is fine within the "logic" of the world: which is fable-like, poetic, and built on the causality of the human heart and free-wheeling fantasy.  These can be bright people. Odysseus is a bright man.  He also lives in a world where you can return home after twenty years and with the simple disguise of beggar not be recognized by your wife or former comrades until your wife asks you a question about your marriage bed.  (Tthink about all the complication and die rolls involved in that process in a Sophisticated game.)

    To discuss the PCs as being too thick to see clues or story points (or their players willfully ignoring these things), is to assume a Sophistacted story universe that the Naive story PCs have wandered into by accident. That is not the case at all.  Everyone is in on this from the start.  They're all working together, as shared-author storytellers.

    7)  We are not discussing history.  We are talking about stories.  Please keep that in mind.  The moment we are trying to figure out how this mindset works in specific, real histories, we're playing the Sophisticates game, and of course the whole thing falls apart.

    Examples of such stories are folk and fairy tales, Beowulf, the works of Homer, Malory, the writing of Borges, Italo Calvino, Mervyn Peake, and, I'd offer, a great deal of Bradburry's work.  (The "science" of The Martian Chronicles is just there to make the trip Mars plausable -- after that, we're in the territory of the heart laid out on the red planet's soil.)  

    For contrast, The Lord of the Rings is sophisticated.  Anybook that reveals on the last page that the main characters had different names than the one you thought they had because the language of the Hobbits.... and so on, is playing a very different, wonderfully concrete game of reality building of *history* -- which, again, is not what we're after.

    Freud was a Sophisticate; Jung, Naive.

    8)  Finally, a repeat: We're not talking about the experience provided by most RPGs and the assumption of most RPG styles of play.  A game with XP as a goal just... It just wouldn't make any sense for the Navie playing group. There there to get their jollies making a story that gives you an ah-ha feeling when it's all making sense -- even as it makes no sense in a Sophisticated framework.

    I suggest looking at Ron's essay about Authored gaming in Sorcerer and Sword, Puppetland, and the free rules available for Hero Wars.  There's stuff out there that's very different, and I'm looking, I think, for a V6 engine to install into the mode of play to crank up the power on these babies and get something really freaky.

    *****

    I think Jesse and I intuitively see eye to eye on a lot of matters, and this is one of them.  (Jack, too, actually.)  The problem is, the Naive viewpoint
    is about intuition in many respects ("Does it feel right or not?" is the guiding compass rather than, "Yeah, but can you reproduce the results?") and so we all can go, "Yeah, I get it!" without nescesarily having explained it that clearly to somene who doesn't have it yet.  

    But, to draw a larger result from his post, the idea of the emotions of the Naive story PCs are writ large across the universe, and actually alter it.   In a Sophisticated story world, the world keeps on working the exact same way whether the PCs are there or not.  In a Naive story world, if Oddyseus isn't there to be tempted from his journey home, there simpy are no nymphs on that island, no sirens along those rocky shores.  They are for his ears, his eyes, his cock alone, and if it was another set of PCs, each with their own personal agenda, the circumstances, creatures, whatnot would be conjured from the GM and players in all new material.

    Okay.  I'm about to keel over at the keyboard from exhaustion.  See you all later,

    Christopher
    Logged

    "Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
    Lemonhead, The Shield
    John Kim
    Member

    Posts: 1805


    WWW
    « Reply #28 on: January 18, 2003, 09:30:57 AM »

    Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
    Some folks keep making posts that PCs within a Naive story are below intelligence or whatnot.  This is not the case.  Their intelligence is fine within the "logic" of the world: which is fable-like, poetic, and built on the causality of the human heart and free-wheeling fantasy.  

    ...

    In a Naive story world, if Oddyseus isn't there to be tempted from his journey home, there simpy are no nymphs on that island, no sirens along those rocky shores.  They are for his ears, his eyes, his cock alone, and if it was another set of PCs, each with their own personal agenda, the circumstances, creatures, whatnot would be conjured from the GM and players in all new material.


    I think it is can be misleading to talk about Naiveness as a property of the world.  Naiveness is really a property of the story, not of the world.  Thus, for example, "Beowulf" is a Naive story while "Grendel" is a Sophisticated story set in the same world.  Neither of them is wrong -- they are just different takes on it.  There isn't any definable qualities of the world which are different.  Instead, it is a more nebulous quality of two stories which differ.  

    Like many debates, I think this can get sidetracked in advocacy of either Naive or Sophisticated views.  Some people may look down on Naive storytelling because it is associated with four-color comics, pulp adventure, and action movies.  I think this is true, but it is also true that fairy tales and myth are also Naive storytelling.
    Logged

    - John
    clehrich
    Member

    Posts: 1557


    WWW
    « Reply #29 on: January 18, 2003, 09:43:16 AM »

    Thanks, Christopher, for that needed clarification of the issues.  I'm not sure I get it all, but I'm going to re-read it carefully.

    You brought up an interesting point about Odysseus, correlating the Odyssey with a Naive perspective.  Actually, I think the Odyssey is a wonderful example of the two mindsets clashing and merging.  Given that this is one of the earliest Western "fantasies," it might be worth thinking about the origins of these mindsets here.

    As I see it, Odysseus is really a classic Sophisticate in the middle of a Naive world.  Christopher brings up the example of his "simple disguise as a beggar", which he uses upon his return to Ithaka.  The text informs us that this disguise was created or at least enhanced by Athena, using her divine powers.  So it would appear that whichever way you look at such disguises, the Odyssey projects them Naively; that is, it demands that the reader say, "Oh OK, it's a perfect disguise, don't ask how it can work so well, go with it."

    But look again at the disguises, such an essential part of the text.  Note Odysseus' awakening on the shore of Ithaka (I forget which Book, maybe 16).  He doesn't know where he is; Athena, in the guise of a shepherd boy, comes up and says, in effect, "Who are you, dude?"  Now when Odysseus lies, he tells stories; furthermore, he tends to "grade" these stories to his audience: he tells noble-sounding lies to kings, earthy soldier-stories to peasants.  He now tells the shepherd-boy the most complicated, intricate, and lengthy lie in the Odyssey.  Athena turns back into her own self, and laughs, "Odysseus, you're incorrigible.  Telling lies to me?"

    Odysseus' says, "You gods are so powerful, and can look like anything.  How are we poor mortals to know when it's you guys and not people?  I mean, remember the contest on Phaiakia?  I barely recognized you there!"

    But nothing in the text indicates that he could have or should have recognized her on Phaiakia.  In addition, why does he tell this huge lie to a mere shepherd-boy?  If you look through the lines, it's pretty clear: he knows it's Athena all along.

    After this long and complex summary, what's my point?  In the Odyssey, the gods think that the world is made up of Naive people.  Mostly, they're right.  But Odysseus is a Sophisticate; in fact he's so Sophisticated that he can see through the gods' disguises and so forth.

    As another very brief example of Odysseus and the Sophisticated mindset clashing with the Naive, remember that at some point O. went off to get poison for his arrow-heads.  This was refused him, because the local king thought it would offend against the gods.  The point is that within the Naive mindset that the gods approve of, you're supposed to use swords and spears, not arrows, and you sure as hell aren't supposed to use poison.  Typically, Odysseus thinks of a way to get the desired effect (dead enemies) that is entirely logical and rational, but offends directly against the gods.
    Logged

    Chris Lehrich
    Pages: 1 [2] 3 4
    Print
    Jump to:  

    Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
    Oxygen design by Bloc
    Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!