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Author Topic: Neverwinter Nights and GNS  (Read 2926 times)
Ian O'Rourke
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« on: April 28, 2003, 06:48:36 AM »

I'm not really sure this thread has much response potential to it, but I've been so enthralled by my discoveries (sad I know) and frustrated at the same time, that I thought I would mention it here.

Basically, I've been lucky in my gaming in that I *never* had the old long D&D apprenticiship that some people have had, not saying all, but some. I started playing what I now understand to be vanilla narrativist games (as in the sessions not so much the rules) in Star Trek (FASA) and other non-D&D systems. The first game I ran was Golden Heroes, which was certainly delivered in a vanilla narrativism way if not closer to true narrativism (might have the terms wrong, but I think you get my point).

Anyway, this is only important because I have recently started playing regular Neverwinter Nights games. This game, fully DM'ed, is a shockingly good platform for computer role-playing due to the presence of the DM. Numerous tools have been created by the DMFI (DM Friendly Initiative) that makes a lot possible. Anyway, its viability as a platform is not my main issue.

My main discovery is the major focus on simulationism and actor stance style play. They all play that way, and if anything else is suggested some even call it cheating, or ignore the suggestion totally as if it is an alien tongue (some engage in good discussion, just thought I'd make that clear).

What amazes me the most, is not so much that my narrativist focus should be taken on board, that's not my intention, but the complete closed mindedness to anything else. Gamism is referred to as powergaming and bad. Narrativist tools and rules support it referred to as cheating and bad. It's like stepping back ten or so years to see all the old debates.

Anyway, it brought home to me how lucky I was, in terms of gaming satisfaction, to play in a Star Trek game, and run a Golden Heroes game and avoid the D&D Hive mind.

(None of this is meant to have negative connotations for any game, just a recently encountered 'culture' - and even then not so much with there gaming style - just there unwillingness to pick and choose tools/methods from alternatives).
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Ian O'Rourke
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Balbinus
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2003, 07:31:03 AM »

Simulationism and actor stance are, I think, what roleplaying means to most people.

Most folk IME draw the hoary old distinction between roll-players and role-players, much as we all groan to hear it.  Gamists and simulationists in other words.

Narrativists aren't even on the page.  I suspect that for most of the people playing what you're suggesting is about as sensible as talking about what the Dog wants to do in Monopoly, that's not what the game is about.  Similarly, roleplaying is the act of acting as if you were someone else in a world created and managed by a third party.

If you read the "What is roleplaying?" section in most rpgs, in Forge-speak they might as well say Roleplaying is simulationist play with a predominantly Actor stance.
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Ian O'Rourke
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2003, 07:37:50 AM »

That is pretty much the problem I think. It does create intriguing results.

As an example, we had a complicated courtroom scene coming up (on a NWN games that shows how you can move in a narrativist direction - with the computer limits) and the DM suggested we discuss the established facts so it went smoothly - rather than a load of halts and tells to get our facts straight during the game. The majority of the group did not do or complained it was not really right to discuss possible 'character stuff' ahead of time. The result loads of stalls and major hickups - it could have all been avoided (and the char with the highest persuade skill insisting he did most of the talking even though he was not in the sessions the court scene was pertaining too and hence we had to stall play and update him - but it was realistic he did it because he had the highest Persuade skill).

And if I hear the phrase 'my character would do this' or people really getting sticky one when OOC and IC started and stopped I'll go insane :)

I will say now, the Neverwinterconnection.com community where this is encountered is a great example of a web community, but they do rate you as a player just to try and filter out the dead wood - or Diablo people as they say. Considering this is a subjective judgement system on the web it works quite well. But you do see a certain style of player always doing well: the ones that I say role-play purely internal to themselves. They don't role-play with the goal of shaking up the group dynamic, forming relationships based on real emotions or story - they just do the talk and the emotes and go along with playing their character without any 'design' on making the story better. Indeed, some people just almost play by emote - and it apparently allows people to rate them well.

Anyway, I'll shut up now. I just found it fascinating.
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Ian O'Rourke
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Balbinus
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2003, 07:51:37 AM »

I think it is interesting, and I to a degree sympathise with them being a gamer fond of simulationist actor-stance focussed play :-)

Basically, to these guys you're asking them to defeat the point of playing.  If the point of playing is to create and portray another person within a coherent game world, then discussing OOC stuff or agreeing to get such straight goes directly against the point of play.

The character cannot act on OOC knowledge, to do so is not portraying the character as a person within a world.  The person within that world does not have that knowledge.

Logically then there is no higher guide to character action than "my character would do this".  Indeed, a gamer who consistently acts in character to the point of doing the talk and emotes and nothing more is necessarily a better roleplayer than one who takes into account story exigencies.  That latter gamer is just powergaming, doing stuff the character wouldn't otherwise do for the sake of the outcome, no?

Every now and then on the Forge the idea comes up that simulationism doesn't exist, which I think is nonsense.  Outside here though, I think the more common twofold model is not gamism and narrativism but gamism and simulationism.  If you act out of character to advance a story on this view you are not roleplaying, quite simply you are not playing a role.  You are doing something else.  If you are doing the other thing to advance your character then it is seen as a subset of gamism, you are powergaming by OOC methods.  Otherwise you're trying to get into some kind of collective storytelling endeavour which may be seen as fine but isn't what this kind of game (a roleplaying game) is about.
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Ian O'Rourke
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2003, 07:59:04 AM »

Yeah I know all that - just not encoutered it in such a rabid form. And I say, it was not so much the philosophy but more the lack of ability to comprehend other ideas. I am on the narrative strand but I aware of the other forms (albeit not so steadfastly held to) and play in the other forms - obviously.

The ironic thing was the OOC discussion on the board was not discussion what characters did not know - but what they did - it was just to get it straight - but they knew it. So it was OOC lite in the extreme.

Anyway, just an interesting observation.

And I would agree, without reading these previous discussions (I've been away a while) that simulationism does exist. They long to exist in that world and Actor Stance in that world. So I'd say it exists, but then the discussion was probably long and varied ;)
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Ian O'Rourke
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ADGBoss
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2003, 08:22:06 AM »

I want to take a bit of exception to this on a couple of levels. I am not offended personally especially since I do not think these statements are meant to be offensive.

First off, its Never Winter Nights. A D&D 3E (sort of ) computer game based of the D20 system which is built on Simulationist and to an extent I think Gamist principles. It has been that way since is inception over two decades ago.  Those basic principles are not likely to change.

Second, you say Simulationist / Author Stance as if it were synonimous with Hack n Slash. They are not. Sim / Author Stance are not dirty words and it amazes me that people still think that from time to time. (or it seems they do)  Not everyone find absolute fulfillment in NArrative games. I like narrativism but I prefer Simulationism and I think a great many people do as well....

Third... because I learned to role play using the long D&D apprentice, does not mean I am incapable of playing in a non-Sim game here in the New Order.  Many people went through the D&D apprenticeship and were frustrated by the lack of detail and adherence to the Corporate Model and thus moved on, looking for something that fit their needs better. Many played Runequest, Tunnels and Trolls, etc...

Now I will say that I think people shohld try something before nixing it and the people you play with seem a little closed minded about that but it IS a computer game and that in and of itself is limiting. I would aslo argu, and this is my opinion here, that a Computer Game, online or otherwise, is inherently Sim.  

Sean
ADGBoss
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Ian O'Rourke
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2003, 08:32:15 AM »

Quote from: ADGBoss
I want to take a bit of exception to this on a couple of levels. I am not offended personally especially since I do not think these statements are meant to be offensive.


Not meant to be offensive. People are allowed to play in anyway they wish, I'd just not encountered it before in such an en masse sort of way.

Quote from: ADGBoss
First off, its Never Winter Nights. A D&D 3E (sort of ) computer game based of the D20 system which is built on Simulationist and to an extent I think Gamist principles. It has been that way since is inception over two decades ago.  Those basic principles are not likely to change.


Quite true, but that was sort of my point I'd not encountered such a D&D culture, or a version of it en masse. I'm not really sure what the statement above, other than stating a fact, actually means to serve.

Quote from: ADGBoss
Second, you say Simulationist / Author Stance as if it were synonimous with Hack n Slash. They are not. Sim / Author Stance are not dirty words and it amazes me that people still think that from time to time. (or it seems they do)  Not everyone find absolute fulfillment in NArrative games. I like narrativism but I prefer Simulationism and I think a great many people do as well....


No I didn't. I'm saying quite the opposite in fact. I think that was obvious. I am distinctly making a difference between the form of play I am encountering, which is fine, and Hack and Slash. And you presume to think I view hack and slash as a negative term anyway.

Quote from: ADGBoss
Third... because I learned to role play using the long D&D apprentice, does not mean I am incapable of playing in a non-Sim game here in the New Order.  Many people went through the D&D apprenticeship and were frustrated by the lack of detail and adherence to the Corporate Model and thus moved on, looking for something that fit their needs better. Many played Runequest, Tunnels and Trolls, etc


I never said you are incapable - just that a specific group of people I have encountered are. The mention of the D&D apprenticiship was to give my D&D background nothing else. I have no problem with their stance, just that *I* found it surprising. The people I am talking about a specifically still playing 1e D&D by and large so establishing my lack of 1e experience was necessary. And my current Mythic England game is using 3e so I'm hardly a D&D basher.

Quote from: ADGBoss
Now I will say that I think people shohld try something before nixing it and the people you play with seem a little closed minded about that but it IS a computer game and that in and of itself is limiting. I would aslo argu, and this is my opinion here, that a Computer Game, online or otherwise, is inherently Sim.  Have a good day.



I don't agree - NWN can easily do at least narrativism lite. It certainly don't have to be heavy sim (though it is easy to go gamist).

In fact, I'm a bit lost about the whole tone of your post all together. I think I made it quite clear it was more my surprise than anything they where doing wrong.

Has this place got more antagonistic since I left? Pretty sure there is nothing in my post to offend, or you just a strident sort?

Have a good day.
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Ian O'Rourke
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The e-zine of SciFi media and Fandom Culture.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2003, 08:38:11 AM »

Hello,

Sean, you are reacting, not thinking. I suggest that "tone" is not an issue, without validation of the original poster's position. Please check out the "The Forge as a Community" thread in Site Discussion regarding the concept of No Blood, No Foul. It's pretty important.

As it happens, I do think that Ian's posts have been a little difficult to parse regarding Gamism and Simulationism; he's trying to articulate a lack of Narrativism, which isn't easy to do as it's not a single "thing."

Ian, you've made your point, I think, and in general, "No I didn't say that" posts are a sign that not much more exists to be said. The thread's yours, so it's up to you whether you want to continue.

No one else post until Ian says so. Just in case anyone cross-posts with me, please consider this to apply to their post as well, as if it preceded mine.

Best,
Ron
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2003, 08:38:54 AM »

Dammit, there was a cross-poster.

This is really happening a lot today.

Solution: split.

Best,
Ron
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ADGBoss
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« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2003, 09:06:49 AM »

Ian,

I stand by my post as is. I have no idea what you mean by Strident sort.

Ron,

I was thinking. I think I do see though that my style, which has always been a bit rough, does not really have a place here on the Forge which is a great place. Thanks for all the good times and very good information I found here. I will not be coming back, not because the Forge is "bad", hell no far from it but because my style of discussion and ways of thinking clearly are far too confrontational to continue.

Again thank you

Sean
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