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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 91 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: GNS from Shadows in the Fog  (Read 5475 times)
clehrich
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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2003, 08:51:37 AM »

And one final comment, replying to Valamir, Josh, and others on the question of "experienced" in gaming.

Valamir, I take your point; my comment was much too unspecific.  I seemed to imply that somewhat freeform games would be more difficult for newbies, which isn't what I meant, but it is what I said.  You're right on that.

What I was responding to was when Josh wrote:
Quote
Personally, I don't think experience counts for nearly as much in RPGs as enthusiasm & everyone being on the same page. Roleplaying isn't something you need to learn how to do....[Emphasis mine]

This, I think, is dead wrong.  Roleplaying is a skill.  It doesn't just "come naturally."  It needn't be terribly difficult, to be sure, but it is something you can learn to do better, that you can improve at.  And I think there are some things about SitF [I've really got to come up with a better shorthand] give it a somewhat steep initial learning curve.

Valamir rightly jabbed at me, as I've said, for being simplistic about why I think SitF is not newbie-friendly.  So let me be specific and clear.

1. GM-shifting.  In SitF, any player can bid on a Scene and take it over, meaning that she becomes the GM of that Scene.  This is not a question of Directorial Stance: the player now has classic GM-style power, and must run the show.  So:
A. I think this is going to be difficult for a newbie, though hardly impossible.
B. I think this is going to be daunting for a newbie, who after all hasn't GM-ed before, and she is unlikely to make as much use of this power as will someone who has GM-ed a lot.  This puts the newbie at a disadvantage in terms of using the mechanics.
C. The way you do this is through interpreting a Trump.  You must now not only GM the scene, but must also do so within pre-stated constraints.  Without railroading.  That's pretty difficult for an experienced GM, and is going to be very difficult indeed for a newbie.

2. Trump Interpretation and Work.  When you do magic, or bid on a Scene (as above), and in a few other cases, you need to play a Trump and interpret it.  Taking the case of magic-use, the primary example, you have to do two things at once: explain what your character is doing, in terms of doing the magic itself and describing it, for which there are no rules and minimal guidance in SitF; and at the same time interpret a Tarot card such that it fits with what your character is doing.  To do this effectively, as I discuss in the "playing your character" section, you're going to need to do a lot of preparation.  

Assuming you know just a bit about Tarot cards, you will need first of all to get very familiar with whatever set of basic interpretations your group is working with (i.e. whichever little manual you're using).  Second, you will need to think ahead about the ways your character might do magic, based on his personal shtick, and how to go about bending Trump meanings to fit.  This process will be time-consuming for most people.

The result is that magic, the heart of SitF, requires a considerable expenditure of time and effort, creative and intellectual, outside of session play.  In a similar vein, there is a lot of push in this game for players to do outside work (research, general reading, etc.).  In short SitF demands an unusual amount of out-of-session time and effort.

I maintain that this is an unreasonable demand to make on a newbie.  If you're really not sure what gaming is all about, or you're just getting started, it's not fair to have someone tell you to start spending lots and lots of time thinking about it and practicing.  If you're an experienced gamer, on the other hand, you can make an informed decision about whether this is something you want to do.

I hope this helps.
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Chris Lehrich
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2003, 09:53:54 AM »

Hi guys,

This thread has topic-drifted, I think, and not in a good way. I'm especially unhappy to see "newbie" debate; I've said it before and I'll say it now, that this term enjoys the status of being whatever its user wants it to be.

I think everyone has spoken his piece regarding the original topic, with the exception of me (the aforementioned private message), so unless anyone reeeeally wants to make a point - which does not include just getting the last word in - then now's the time.

Best,
Ron
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