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How does one Explore Colour?

Started by Jack Spencer Jr, February 12, 2003, 04:14:45 PM

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Jack Spencer Jr

I think I understand at least some of the possible ways to Explore the other elements of roleplay: Character, Setting, Situation, System; but Colour eludes me. Perhaps it's because I really don't get what color is exactly or maybe I just don't see how it could be prioritized over Exploring any of the other elements.

Any thoughts?

Ron Edwards

Hi Jack,

Here are some threads that pretty much nail the topic down, as far as I can tell:
Crayola role-play
Setting vs. Color
Rewarding Color


Le Joueur

Quote from: Jack Spencer JrPerhaps it's because I really don't get what color is exactly or maybe I just don't see how it could be prioritized over Exploring any of the other elements.

Any thoughts?
How?  For some time, I've been asking myself that question a lot.  The word-choice of 'Exploration' has been misleading; you aren't necessarily entering 'new territory,' you're just playing the game.  Even so, I think I finally have an answer to the colour question.

Wallow in it.

I mean, what is the difference between The Untouchables (you pick the version), Bogart's Casablanca, and Raiders of the Lost Ark (I think they're in about the same era)?  In one you race around trading tommy-gun battles with gangsters, in the next you struggle to resolve issues of love with the threat of war (okay, I never saw it; bear with me), in the last you travel to exotic places seeking powerful metaphysical secrets.  These are not at all alike in terms of colour, but could theoretically be handled with the same rules (drifting in the use of supernatural for Indie).

If you revel in the gunplay, the intrigue, the daring-do, aren't you exploring colour?

I think.

Fang Langford

p. s. Ron, your link to "Setting vs. Color" goes to something on web publishing; can you fix the link?
Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!

Jack Spencer Jr

Quote from: Ron EdwardsHi Jack,
Hi Ron,

The Setting vs. Color vs color link points to a thread about web publishing. Interesting but I didn't see anything about Colour.

Ron Edwards

Emily Care

Looking over those three threads, a few things jumped out at me:
    [*]color conveys tone
    [*]color may convey genre expectations
    [*]color describes the other four elements[/list:u]
    Taking that last bit, there can be color aspects to all four of the the other elements: in system, genre-congruent mechanics like the poker chips in deadlands; color for character are characteristic details that convey a sense of the character without adding anything to effectiveness or have to do with "working" system elements; the small details of setting that help make you "feel" like you are experiencing a certain period or setting (or genre) again, without having mechanical effect on characters; situation:... well, that stumps me.

    I think what I'm getting at here is that they are details that have large psychological, but not necessarily mechanical effects.  They affect our experience of the game.  Good color-to-system elements can be seen as extremely valuable since system itself can be intimidating and off-putting.  Adding color can help bridge the gap between in-game and mechanical elements, allowing participants to maintain engagement in areas that might otherwise it might be interupted.  

    And exploring color might require exploring it in terms of the other four.

    Though color is often seen as something additional, or extraneous, look at the metaphor again--yes, you may have adequate information about an image from looking at the black and white line drawing of it, but when you add color....

    --Emily Care
    Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

    Black & Green Games

    Jack Spencer Jr

    Thanks. The general impression I'm getting is that Color is a slippery little shit and tough to pin down,...sorta. I find myself agreeing with Fang in one of the linked threads that Color may be a catch-all term for things that are not one of the other Elements of Roleplaying.

    The terms seems to be associated with things like Mood, Atmosphere and so on, although is not limited to this. Or so it seems to be implied.

    One example of a Pure Color mechanic is taglines in Dying Earth.

    One interesting feature is that Color is not limited to Actual Play, at least how I see actual play, at any rate. Things like the book's production in the first place. Art, layout, the physical book itself. How was it published? What sort of book does it resemble? (side note: I always thought Sorcerer looked a little like a Time-Life book) Music and other such things contribute to Color. This is calling up the discussion in Sim Essay: reading the book is the start of play? but that debate belongs in that thread, I think.