*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 22, 2014, 01:40:17 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 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 62 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Author Topic: What am I?  (Read 3406 times)
Wulf
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2003, 04:27:14 AM »

Quote from: greyorm
Might I suggest you're not really grasping GNS, and this is affecting your attempts to try things out based on that comprehension?

Possibly, possibly..
Quote
I'm saying this because of the context of a few terms you've tossed around -- what cinched it is that Donjon is a blatantly Gamist game, and mechanics, while they can influence or support a particular style, are not G,N or S.

Yes, but if you were to play Donjon and NOT make use of the success=fact exchange it would support Simulation just as well. My group has made little or no use of similar mechanics (Hero points, Drama Dice, etc) to change or add to the seting/situation, but only to jiggle numbers in their favour, so they are likely to start by using successes as carryover dice.
Quote
You've stated that you've unsuccessfully tried a couple things to get others in your group to play or approach certain games. In all cases, you report a a lack of response and disinterest.

Let's figure out why that is specifically without using the theory shorthand -- meaning you'll need to do a lot of examination on your own and bring up these problems with your group as individuals directly -- again, without using the theory terminology.

Right... No.1 pronblem is the ease and frequency with which distractions and out-of-game conversations bring things to a halt. This slows down the game and breaks up the flow. It happens less when players are presented with a plot or situation where they don't have to initiate actions, but just ask the GM questions and act on the answers, or when they are presented with a situation where they can figure things out out-of-character (puzzles, tactical situations, etc).

Allied to this, they let the dice run the game, relying on listing off suitable skills to solve any conflict or problem, without much description or in-character discussion. Until they find a problem or situation which interests them, whereupon they start to discuss, although usually player-to-player, not PC to PC/NPC, and come up with some nice ideas.

Once they get into a run like that, they get more focused and atentive, and DO start to interact in-character and with NPCs, but the momentum fizzles out if they don't get enough GM guidance and support. They won't create their own plots, don't suggest future storylines, and, despite lots of initial interest and ideas, have failed in the past to come up with their own material (character backgrounds, myths for Hero Questing, etc.).

In short, the group is lethargic and easily distracted, let their character's skills and abilities (not personality) run the game, and seem to be unwilling or unable to create material or scenarios for their own use. They are not competitive with one another, in fact usually cooperative, with any competitive activities being pretty reasonably in-character (warriors boasting, skill comparisons, etc) even though usually carried out by talking about the numbers on the character sheets, not by in-character conversations. They are not adversarial or competitive with the GM (except in a reasonable manner with some NPCs). But despite all problems, they turn up every week they can, and buy new games and gaming material regularly.

Thanks for all this, just defining my problem is enlightening.

Wulf
Logged
TJ
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2003, 12:36:40 PM »

Hello, I'm new here but I'm going to throw in my 2 cents based on my 2 1/2 decades of gaming.

Wulf, I think the first thing you need to do is print out your last post and read it, aloud, to your player group.  I would like to hear your players' responses, because I'm betting that they would either:
1 - Disagree with you, because they feel that their interests are not being catered to.  In other words, there has been a miscommunication on exactly what style of game they would like to have...and unless your players also read this site and are all familiar with the GNS terminology, they are going to misunderstand what you are talking about.

2 - Agree that they are lethargic about the gaming, because they indeed show up every week expressly for socializing, and the gaming is just an excuse or added bonus.  They will probably ask why you are taking all this so seriously.

Beyond getting your players' responses in this discussion, my advice to you is to check out some other groups, and bring up this subject with them, in the context of their games.  

Have you considered running something (such as Donjon you mentioned) for more than one group of people?  I have found that GMing the same scenario for two groups of players who don't know each other can be revealing of one's gaming style.

One more thing...I regularly game with some people who are little more than half my age so I can relate to your feelings of "gamer generation gap".  I have made a special effort to fit in with the younger players' mindsets in relation to the gaming.  I actually find younger players to be somewhat blundering and slow...especially when dealing with certain subjects...but the payoff of gaming with different people is well worth the time.

-TJ
Logged
John Kim
Member

Posts: 1805


WWW
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2003, 05:40:51 PM »

Quote from: Wulf
Re: sub-campaign based on Princess Mononoke
I had a whale of a time, it was smooth, fluid and focused. But to do it again (and again and again) with original plots would be a challenge (hell, if I could pull it off, I'd be damn proud).
...
Well, what I like, and what I'd like more of, is character interraction (PC and NPC). Which would mean providing those situations where people are more significant than skills or setting, I guess. I'd like there to be more player-led plot, mind you, but so far that's not forthcoming. I can truly say there was nothing that did NOT work in that campaign (other than a couple of bits where I was losing track of how PC actions could be brought back to the plot). So maybe the predictability of the plot (I'd seen the movie, I knew how it ended) was too great for me.  


OK, so it sounds like that overall both you and the players enjoyed themselves a lot in this sub-campaign.  However, you were somewhat dissatisfied with the predictability.  I'd like to ask a few more questions about it, since I see it as a prime source of information on what works well for you and your group.  

Had any of the players also seen Princess Mononoke, or were you the only one who knew it?  Were the PCs playing roles corresponding to characters in the movie, or were they all additional figures?  Was there character interaction which you liked?  

However, tentatively, I'd like to offer a bit of advice.  I would try for a campaign where the PCs have a built-in driving plot goal that give a concrete direction for their plans.  For example: there is a large-scale war, and the enemy must be defeated.  Having the larger goal set, though, there is room for lots of character interaction and improvised scenes along the way.  Ultimately, the story need not be "about" the plot -- but rather the plot can simply be a driver for the stuff you really want.  

I think my group has some similarities.  While they are pretty good about individual interactions, the overall plot direction seems to come from me as GM.  I think it is partly a question of group dynamic: the PCs are all closely related, but they aren't an organized group with a leader or a single direction.  

Regarding your comment about the challenge of doing it with original plots:
the old truism is "There is no such thing as an original plot."  I would say don't be afraid to steal mercilessly.  But also, don't be afraid to mangle and change and distort to suit.
Logged

- John
clehrich
Member

Posts: 1557


WWW
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2003, 10:00:36 PM »

Quote
I think my group has some similarities. While they are pretty good about individual interactions, the overall plot direction seems to come from me as GM. I think it is partly a question of group dynamic: the PCs are all closely related, but they aren't an organized group with a leader or a single direction.

I think you might try to think about ways to reward PC interactions with plot things.  The classic example would be the old PC's getting together to work out a plan of action.  Since you're in the room while they do this, you can try to encourage this to be done in-character, and then reward them for doing so by having their plan work pretty well.  You can also toss challenges and difficulties at them based upon character difficulties rather than setting/mechanics ones.
Quote
the old truism is "There is no such thing as an original plot." I would say don't be afraid to steal mercilessly. But also, don't be afraid to mangle and change and distort to suit.
Too true.  Steal steal steal.  But try mangling and distorting as you go, rather than in advance.  If you want to "run them through" a plot, as it were, you can, if you know the elements very well, simply make things happen in ways that facilitate the sorts of play you like.  If your players start finding that you're ready to give them a game that reacts to them, and that rewards their acting in particular sorts of ways, then they'll naturally gravitate toward the fun zone.

The only problem, of course, is when they start noticing this as such, at which point with more Sim-oriented players they may start feeling that you're "cheating" (or whatever term) to make the game go "your way."  You'll need to compromise on this, because once you've broken the frame negatively, you'll never get the toothpaste back in the tube (to mix a metaphor horribly).
Logged

Chris Lehrich
John Kim
Member

Posts: 1805


WWW
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2003, 12:21:47 AM »

Quote from: clehrich
Quote from: John Kim
I think my group has some similarities. While they are pretty good about individual interactions, the overall plot direction seems to come from me as GM. I think it is partly a question of group dynamic: the PCs are all closely related, but they aren't an organized group with a leader or a single direction.

I think you might try to think about ways to reward PC interactions with plot things.  The classic example would be the old PC's getting together to work out a plan of action.  Since you're in the room while they do this, you can try to encourage this to be done in-character, and then reward them for doing so by having their plan work pretty well.  You can also toss challenges and difficulties at them based upon character difficulties rather than setting/mechanics ones.

Well, this might be partly me, but I usually find that group planning problems are an issue with the design of the PCs and the campaign, rather than an issue with how the players are handling it.  For example, in my current campaign, the PCs really shouldn't be a coherent unit -- either using in-game logic or story logic.  They are closely related: Poul is the uncle of Kjartan and Thorgerd, while Skallagrim was their trusted retainer, and Silksif is their cousin.  However, as time passes they are driving apart for good reasons -- notably getting married.  Originally all of the PCs lived in the same house, but now they are scattered among four homesteads.  

If I were writing this as a saga, I would likely split the characters up into two or three separate but interacting storylines.  However, for purposes of play it is much nicer to have everyone playing at once.  RPGs are peculiar in this respect compared to story writing.  In a story, there is nothing wrong with having a given character not be around for several scenes.  However, in an RPG this can mean that a player can be cut out from participation.  

The point is that this is a much easier issue for certain campaign concepts.  For example, if the PCs are all chief officers on a starship, they will all go  to the same places together and face the same threats.  More loosely structured PCs have other advantages, but they definitely make it harder to operate as a group.
Logged

- John
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2003, 07:09:24 AM »

Hello,

Guys, I'm not sure that this discussion is about GNS any more, if it ever was. Wulf,  do you think you could review this thread in GNS-terms, and see whether that's still the issue? If so, we can continue it here. If not, then maybe a new thread in Actual Play is the right way to go.

The whole group-planning, together-vs.-separate characters issue, for instance, is a real drift from the topic, and it definitely needs its own thread (which will garner multiple links to already-existing threads, by the way).

Best,
Ron
Logged
Wulf
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2003, 07:23:48 AM »

Quote from: John Kim
Quote from: Wulf
Re: sub-campaign based on Princess Mononoke
I had a whale of a time, it was smooth, fluid and focused. But to do it again (and again and again) with original plots would be a challenge (hell, if I could pull it off, I'd be damn proud).


Had any of the players also seen Princess Mononoke, or were you the only one who knew it?  Were the PCs playing roles corresponding to characters in the movie, or were they all additional figures?  Was there character interaction which you liked?  

One player had seen it all, but was only able to take part in the first and last sessions of play (pure coincidence, but still...). Another had seen the first 10 minutes or so before, but was intrigued enough to rent a copy and watch it all over the time we were playing. Which irritated me a touch, as he then knew the plot before I introduced it, but he did not give anything away. The others (3-4 players) hadn't seen it at all. They replaced the central character as a group (it wasn't an exact copy, naturally).

Assuming you know the plot yourself, the time after Iron Town was besieged by the army the characters got into the town (using Orlanthi Great Leaps and the like) and set about organising the women of the town into a defence force, whilst one PC (the fastest) went out to get the men back. The organisation was well-played (Orlanthi PCs trying to organise Lunar NPCs...) and quite realistically played to character (with continual asides of "Why do we actually WANT to save these Lunars?" "We want them to beat THOSE Lunars outside"). Surprisingly, San, the wolf-girl (now a Telmori wolf-worshipper) was pretty much written out of the plot by the players, even though one of them did an excellent job of rescuing her from the townspeople when she was shot, with good and inventive use of magic.
Quote
However, tentatively, I'd like to offer a bit of advice.  I would try for a campaign where the PCs have a built-in driving plot goal that give a concrete direction for their plans.  

I think my group has some similarities.  While they are pretty good about individual interactions, the overall plot direction seems to come from me as GM.  I think it is partly a question of group dynamic: the PCs are all closely related, but they aren't an organized group with a leader or a single direction.  

So, in essence, you recomend a 'drop them in at the deep end' plot with a clear, single, solution, but lots of nice gritty complications on the way, involving talkative NPCs? In Hero Wars/HeroQuest at least this is easy, "The Chief has a job for you". My idea for a Buffy scenario (pregen characters for the first session) starts off "So, you're all strangers on a Subway train, when...". So, I think I can keep that part of the idea up.

This is good stuff. Until I wrote this I hadn't realised just how much I had enjoyed the Mononoke run...

Wulf
Logged
Wulf
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2003, 11:02:54 AM »

Agreed, Ron, the conversation didn't go the way I had planned, although I acknowledge my plans were flawed, and the results were most edificatious :-)

Thanks all. Thread closed, I think.

Wulf
Logged
Pages: 1 [2]
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!