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Setting-Premise Nar. vs. Setting Exploration Sim.

Started by jburneko, February 06, 2003, 09:04:15 PM

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Le Joueur

Hey Paul, Jack,

Quote from: Paul CzegeYeah, there's a very strong relationship between metaplot and Setting-Exploration Simulationism.
I'm no expert, but I woulda sworn meta-plot was a function of a 'changing Situation,' not a temporal-coded Setting.  If I understand right, Setting-based Narrativism forces the player to have their character breach the conventions of the setting with their 'theme¹' and Character-based Narrativism pits the player (and their character) against the conventions of the character to create 'theme¹.'  That's why the 'bushido breach' is the act of Character-based Narrativism and 'bushido restrictions' were the arrangement of Character-Explorative Simulationism.

It seems like 'what suffers' is where the Narrativism is.  If the Character 'does what they do' and suffers for it, it's Character-based; therefore, if the Character does what they do, and the Setting suffers for it, it'd be Setting-based.

But I'm not expert.

Fang Langford

¹ Excuse me for a minute while I spit out that word, using in this fashion runs so counter to my training as a writer and critic.  Still, this is communication....

edit: Come to think of it Situation-based Meta-plot is common but usually thought negatively about and Setting-based Meta-plot saves the game from 'what happens if we kill off a major player in the Meta-plot.'  I'm gettin' fergetful, must be 'Oldtimers Disease.'
Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!

Ron Edwards


We aren't fucking talking about fucking metapl ---

Wait. Breathe. Wait.

OK, hi everyone, I want to get back to Paul's post. I'd really appreciate it if hot-button words like "metaplot" wouldn't come in as side issues. If you look at Jack's post, you'll see that he is applying the term to Paul's alternate model, the one that isn't Narrativist, and I think he's doing so accurately. But that is not to the point of Paul's post, is it? No, it bloody well isn't! It's not about Jesse's primary and very important question and therefore shouldn't take over the fucking thread ---

Gasp. Chill. Gasp, gasp. Strangle inoffensive student with question about his test. Loonnnngg breath.

OK, here's what I'd like to say. This thread is not about Simulationist play, and it's definitely not about where metaplots come from. If people think that Paul has nailed Setting-based Premise, and I think he has, then the purpose of this thread is fulfilled. If it bears some more discussion, then we can do that.

For instance, I propose that since the five elements of play are always present, that Character and Setting emphases in Narrativist play are almost always a matter of Lots vs. Some rather than All vs. Nothing. Paul's example is possible, yes, but in (say) Hero Wars, I think that it's primarily Setting-based with a fair bit more Character going on than in Paul's example, but not as much as in The Riddle of Steel.



Well, okay, we'll drop the metaplot thing.  So here's an extention of my original question which might by worthy of it's own thread.  Please break it off it is.

Putting System aside for a moment are there elements of Setting DESIGN, like there are for System, that can facilitate specficially Narrativist or Simulationist play.  

For example, are there elements of Glorantha's design that make it more Narrativist-facilitating than, say, Forgotten Realms?  If so, what are they?

What about a setting like that from Blue Planet, which was built quite litterally with Simulation in mind but seems to be structured to present Narrativist Premises similar to those found in Westerns?

Just more thoughts.


John Kim

Quote from: Paul CzegeIf this were a Setting-Exploration type Simulationist game, play would be characterized by exposure to aspects of the setting. Perhaps characters would join the clone rebellion, and experience the secret clone communities. The whole point of play is for the game world to happen, and for the characters to be carried along on a wave of experiences. But there isn't much of a question, or rather, the answer to the question is worked out largely external to the player characters.

OK, a question here (related to my confusion over Simulationism).  As I currently understand it, there isn't anything inherently about Simulationism per se which prevents the PCs from influencing the conflict -- right?  If logically the PCs find an in-game way to gain power over the outcome, then the GM should follow through to the consequences.  However, at that point it becomes Character-Exploration or perhaps Situation-Exploration.  Is that right?
- John


This is in no way official, but here's how I like to differentiate between setting / character / and situation.

Setting is external. Play centers around (perhapse litrally) exploring interesting locations, and seeng what happens in the context of the the game's causal environment.

Situation involves other characters. Play centers around exploring relationships between characters, seeing what happens to a character with regard to another character.

Character is internal. Play centers around seeing what happens if my character feels like such and such. What does my character think? How does he feel? Why does he do what he does?

Ron Edwards


This thread slipped away from my perception for some reason. Let's see ...

Chris (clehrich), that's a verrrry subtle point, and I'm wary of sophistry ... much of what you describe is an eeny step across a very real procedural difference in play. The one thing that keeps your example Sim/Setting is the issue of the player using the canonical literature itself as the basis for play-decisions, in which case I have two points to make. (1) Yes, that would be Simulationist play. (2) You're talking about Situation Exploration, not Setting per se. (I have observed many people to say "setting" when they describe what I consider to be Situation.) With any luck, my reply to Nathan, below, will clarify this point.

John, your post is gorgeous - makes tons of sense.

Nathan, I think you're erring on the simplistic side. Situation, to me, means that the character is facing conflict of any kind - stated most carefully, all Premise in Narrativist play is Situation-driven; the question is what prompts that situation, Character or Setting, relative to a beginning character's choices. Issues like "playing from within my character" properly relate to Stance, and Stance shifts all about like quicksilver during play.