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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 104 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: The Party Principle.  (Read 6631 times)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2003, 06:48:03 AM »

Hi there,

Here's some older reading that might be interesting for people, in order from earlier to later threads:

Going against the party mentality
Whither the quest?
Methods to encourage group cohesion
PC interaction and party split-ups

If anyone else can provide links to discussions about scene-framing, scene-cutting, and what I've recently dubbed Crosses and Weaves (in Sex & Sorcery), then please do.

Best,
Ron
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Cadriel
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« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2003, 11:46:50 AM »

Ron, thanks for the links.

This thread has given me some good ideas, but I'm afraid that it's splitting off in two directions.  I'm only interested in one, and there's a good deal of information that I want to digest before pursuing it any further, so I'm going to have to say that the thread is done.  Thanks.

-Wayne
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SFEley
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2003, 03:24:47 PM »

The thread is "done," huh?  Sucks for any of the rest of us who were enjoying the discussion.  Here, I'll try:

Ben's and Lxndr's posts struck a chord with me, and I started thinking about parties with different motives for interacting.  In particular, I'm curious what ideas or successful experiences people have had with parties at cross- or even counter-purposes.  Paranoia comes to mind as a functional example of this: the characters are given strong drives to simultaneously work together and try to kill each other.  Amber is another example, with such a Machiavellian spirit to the source material.  But those are games where the system itself compels character competition -- can this sort of thing work in a more traditional context, say, D&D?  More specifically, can it be done in such a way that it's the characters competing and not the players?

I'd like to know what people think.  This may (or may not) have direct relevance to some attempts I'm making to revitalize my regular Sunday campaign.  >8->  Thanks in advance for any input.

Have Fun,
 - Steve Eley
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Cadriel
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« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2003, 04:07:51 PM »

Steve:

Your point is good, and it's cool that you were into the conversation.  Sorry if I cut it off where it was getting interesting for some.  I think - this being the Forge and all - it might be better if you were to start a new thread with the same topic you wanted to discuss here.

-Wayne
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Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2003, 04:34:33 PM »

Hi Steve,

In general, Forge threads tend to stay "on" topic.  When someone comes up with a tangental, but interesting topic, they start up a new thread that starts a new question or idea.

In this way, each thread is discrete and is a chunk of discussion about a topic someone can refer to later.

Christopher
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
SFEley
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Posts: 9


« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2003, 04:46:24 PM »

Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
In general, Forge threads tend to stay "on" topic.  When someone comes up with a tangental, but interesting topic, they start up a new thread that starts a new question or idea.


Aha.  Duly noted, thanks.  FWIW, I thought I was staying on topic, but apparently I was interpreting the topic more broadly than community custom allows.  As the newbie, I offer up the obligatory "my bad," and I'll shift the question into a different topic.  >8->

Have Fun,
 - Steve Eley
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Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2003, 04:57:22 PM »

Hey, no sweat Steve,

My first post to the Forge I resurected a thread that was four months old.  Talk about taboo!

Anyway, you'll get the hang of it.  Good to have you here.

Christopher
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
simon_hibbs
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Posts: 678


« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2003, 02:57:12 AM »

Quote from: Cadriel
But beyond that, it is just plain contrived...why is every roleplaying game about a group of protagonists?  This especially bothers me with regard to Narrativist-type games, when most literature tends to have one strong protagonist and not multiple.  


Most, but not all. There are many story telling media that are almost always based around the activities of a group of characters, and it seems to me oit's actualy a common occurrance in most media. For example :

Soap Operas - An obvious one.
Super Teams - Fantastic Four, JLA, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, etc.
Children's Adventure - Famous Five, Railway Children, Swallows and Amazons.
Space Opera - Star Trek, Blake's Seven, Farscape, B5, etc. (Subset of soap opera though?)
War Films - Dirty Dozen, Kelly's Heroes, Guns of Navarone, etc, etc.

Team-based stories are extremely common, especialy in film and TV, but there are plenty of examples in written media too.

Quote
So, what I want to open up a discussion on is a twofold question.  One, is elimination of the party principle worthwhile, or am I alone in bristling against the concept?  Two, what methods can eliminate it without making the game lose interest for the entire play group?


I think a big problem in RPGs is the fact that by default, characters are usualy assumed to be generated completely independently of each other, and then a reason for them working together has to be patched on as an afterthought. For some time now, I've started the team-building process from the very beginning of character generation, or actualy before during game planning. For example if the game is a military expedition I'd think up what criteria the expedition organiser would use to select a team, and use those criteria as factors in character generation.


Simon Hibbs
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Simon Hibbs
M. J. Young
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« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2003, 08:20:01 PM »

Quote from: Simon Hibbs
There are many story telling media that are almost always based around the activities of a group of characters, and it seems to me oit's actualy a common occurrance in most media. For example :

Soap Operas - An obvious one.
Super Teams - Fantastic Four, JLA, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, etc.
Children's Adventure - Famous Five, Railway Children, Swallows and Amazons.
Space Opera - Star Trek, Blake's Seven, Farscape, B5, etc. (Subset of soap opera though?)
War Films - Dirty Dozen, Kelly's Heroes, Guns of Navarone, etc, etc.

Team-based stories are extremely common, especialy in film and TV, but there are plenty of examples in written media too.
This is an excellent point.

Elsewhere, I observed that there was a difference between Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation that was to some degree overlooked by the filmmakers translating the cast of the latter to movies. Star Trek was always a starring vehicle for William Shatner, with strong support from Leonard Nimoy and (later) DeForest Kelley. There was never an episode of that show that didn't focus on Kirk. Later, though, Next Generation came out in the age of the great ensemble dramas--Hill Street Blues, L. A. Law. These were shows in which a dozen actors had significant parts, and any one of them could be the focus of this week's episode. (In that sense, they were a bit different from soap operas, a bit more cohesive.) There were episodes of Next Gen which featured Dr. Crusher, in which Picard appeared once or twice or not at all; sometimes Riker was the focus, or Data, or Geordi, or Worf, or one of the other characters. They worked together in different combinations, sometimes with other recurring minor characters or guest stars. How many Next Generation episodes centered on Lieutenant Barclay (Dwight Schulz' mentally unbalanced character)? It was an ensemble cast, a dozen protagonists who moved in and out of the lead positions from adventure to adventure, sometimes all taking a back seat to someone else, sometimes several being important (as in the romances between Riker and Troi, or Picard and Crusher, or later Worf and Troi).

There's no reason why you can't have multiple protagonists within a context in which screen time moves from one to another as the game progresses, as long as your players are all comfortable with that.

--M. J. Young
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2003, 02:59:51 AM »

I think the discussion of the identity of PC's and the party misses a practical problem: in a conventional GM-Players dichotomy structure, the game benefits from the GM being able to talk to all the players at once.  If the game has multiple protagonists, and each is engaged with different contexts, then the GMhas to deliver multiple specific 'info dumps'.  This means play alternates between protagonists rather than occurring simulataneously with all.

I think this problem could be resolved by (and this is going to sound a bit perverse after all my ranting on competition) establishing the characters in overt and direct conflict.  If the characters are conflicted over one particular issue, the GM can still deliver a single 'info dump' about the current status of that issue.  This is analogous, I think, to the way in which opponents in a board game all respond to one authoritative source - the board.  Board updates apply to everyone (mostly anyway).
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Lxndr
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« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2003, 05:56:51 AM »

Even when they're not in direct competition, info dumps can affect multiple players at once...

However, there's another thing to take into mind, something that players of some board games also can complain about:  time.  If the players are separated, you've got to make sure no player doesn't get to play for too long.  There are various methods of handling this (character stables, aggressive scene framing, occasional giving-of-NPCs) but it's an issue that should be addressed, not ignored.
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Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
Maker of many fine story-games!
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