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Started by ThreeGee, January 19, 2003, 01:54:47 PM

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Hey all,

I first read Ron's GNS essay a couple years ago, and I have been generally able to guess which of the three catagories applies to a given situation, but the simple truth of the matter is that they never meant anything to me.

However, I was reading Jared's octaNe and thinking about mechanics, when suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, I understood the point.

Finally, after all this time, I have a system that works for me, but I would like to double-check my ideas to be certain I am not completely off-track.

Sims think in-the-box about appropriate reactions for their characters inside the virtual-world situation that the GM describes. When they are uncertain what is appropriate, they like to roll dice or consult charts. Sims like to think of the world as being bigger than their characters.

Gamers think out-of-the-box about winning. The rules of the game set the bounds for what is and is not appropriate. Gamers like to think of their characters as being equal to the world.

Narrativists also think out-of-the-box, but about telling an interesting story, with the emphasis on telling. They decide for themselves what is appropriate, given the literary conventions of the game. Narrativists like to think of themselves as being the most important influence on the world.

Anyway, that's what I have come up with. Being the experts on the theory, I am hoping you all can tell me what works and/or does not work for you.


Ron Edwards

Hi Grant,

That's really an interesting way to look at it. I think there's probably a little bit more variety within each mode, or possible venues within each mode, but what you've written makes a lot of sense to me in terms of examples.



Hey Ron,

Thanks for getting back to me. I wanted to know if I am on the right track. Distilling an involved and much debated theory into a few sentences can be tricky business. Naturally, there is more to GNS than what I indicated.

It is difficult to have serious discussions with people about game design without using Forge terminology, but without a simple, clear idea in my head what the terms mean, I had no hope of conveying the meaning of those terms to others.


Jack Spencer Jr

Hey, Grant.

An addendum:
Quote from: ThreeGeeNarrativists like to think of themselves as being the most important influence on the world.
I would agree with themselves = the players, not the characters. I think that the characters are very much a part of the world upon which the players have supreme influence over, albeit a very special part and an issue of priority-- who gets the say what for what characters-- that can vary highly.