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Author Topic: Sharks With Lasers On Their Heads!!  (Read 56663 times)
ross_winn
Member

Posts: 53


« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2003, 08:09:28 PM »

I heartily agree. Do you have any ideas for resolutiion systems that are not violence based?

Quote from: Cadriel
This is actually a part of what I've been thinking of lately.

In a standard roleplaying game, there is a combat system.  This is a lovingly detailed expansion of the core mechanics into an all-out, quite frequently blow-by-blow, rendering of what occurs when people take recourse to violence.  It is taken for granted that resolving combat will take significantly more rolls and more time than resolving any other action.  This is accepted as the standard truth by game players and designers.

This reveals two underlying assumptions in roleplaying games:

1.  Combat is the most interesting form of conflict.
2.  Many problems can be solved by violence.

The first is quite blatant; after all, making cakes and riding bikes are not given resolution systems of their own.  The second is implicit in the first; if combat is the most interesting form of conflict, then the solution to many or even most problems will involve violence.  This grows naturally out of the source material, so the dicussion of the two will meet here.

Basically:  "Violence solves all problems" isn't the kind of message you can push terrifically easily in the real world, where violence tends to be messy and creates nice vicious cycles and what have you.  So, in works where the violence solves the problems nice and pat, it is dressed up in some form - say, supertechnology (whether spy style or sci-fi style), magic, swords, or even just making everything high-gloss like an action movie.  And generally, you're made quite painfully aware that the people who die deserve to die.  They are bad people, and the killing is not dwelt upon in any significant respect.  The killers are painted as the heroes because they kill the right (e.g. bad) people.  This kind of entertainment is known for big payoffs at the moment, and generally merits less afterthought than other forms.  You can attribute it to whatever you like, really.

It is this attitude, this ethos, that I think is the root of both the extreme tendencies of RPGs toward violence and those toward sharks with laser beams on their heads.  I suppose its transitory form works well for an RPG, and the demographic that games seems overwhelmingly drawn from the same pool who enjoy the entertainments I describe above.

If you're not happy with it?  Find people who are into other entertainments, and give them games sans combat systems.  I think it's what has to happen if RPGs are going to be able to show semblances of literary merit and grow out of the rather juvenile attitude I've described.

-Wayne
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Ross Winn
ross_winn@mac.com
"not just another ugly face..."
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2003, 08:19:22 PM »

Hi all,

First, I want to offer a warm, hearty welcome to all the new posters to the Forge.

Second, I want to offer that The Forge is somewhat unique in it's thread and posting style.  There are several ways it differs from most other sites on the web.  One of these ways is that threads tend to be cleanly focused.  When people find something new they want to talk about, then they start up a new thread.

As far as I can tell, this thread has jumped the rails.  Jack started a thread about the "over-the-topness" of rpg narrative, and now we're talking about the use of violent resolution as being a "core" mechanic... or something very much like this.

I offer that if people want to discuss this further, they kick off a new thread and see if other peopel want to join the party.  This way, when and if Jack returns to the thread, he'll be able to address responses to his questions, and not get sidetracked by issues that may or may not concern him.

Hell.  I'll start the new thread.  Check it out. It'll be called, "Action, the Core Resolution or Just a Dull Habit?"

Christopher
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
ross_winn
Member

Posts: 53


« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2003, 08:21:41 PM »

Quote from: BPetroff93
At least that's my theory.  Real level threats, are for real level people. Most RPGers don''t want to play real level people, they ARE real level people, and real level people hurt and cry and get scared and usually get killed.  Cyborg ninjas kick ass.....with lasers...against sharks....who are hyper intelligent vampires....


Dramatic situations can also be explored when the characters are forced from the mundane existence into the more heroic. I am thinking of specifically 'Unbreakable' here. I think the film does a very nice job of mixing the mundane and the heroic.
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Ross Winn
ross_winn@mac.com
"not just another ugly face..."
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2003, 08:35:50 PM »

Hi Ross,

I think Night's work is an excellent topic of study for this thread.

By keeping the genre elements "simmering" at a low level, the "extreme" elements get to stand out without going all crazy.  The fact that his movies exist without any CGI work I think speaks volumes about the fact that he's willing to let the camera simply pick up what's right there.  And yet, the circumstances of the stories are extraordinary.

This is what I meant about the pendulum swinging back.  While a movie like "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" (which I loved, by the way), can only make the current state of movie-making a lovely, almost mythical joke that folds in on itself in its absurdity, Night's work reclaims the ground of storytelling by calming the whole affair down.  (I think, too, this was part of the appeal of "Blair Witch."  It offered something new -- simplicity -- or, at least, new to people who grew up on post Close Encounters / Star Wars cinema.)

Christopher
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Jack Spencer Jr
Guest
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2003, 10:28:50 PM »

Quote from: Roy
Ok, I'll give you the point that there is a very weak "man vs. environment"  conflict inherent in a flat tire.  Conflict doesn't have to be "whiz! bang! zam!" to interest me, but it does have to contain something that grabs me emotionally.  You can dismiss my comments if you like, but I'm certainly not in the minority here.

Not the minority, but not the only opinion, either. I just want to point out that your comment here very weak "man vs. environment"  conflict , is a value judgement. A personal opinion. One man's weak is another man's mind-blowing... well, pretty good, anyway. This whole discussion seems to be completely missing the reason for the flat tire illustration which is to point out how complications, or whatever you call it, are what makes the story go in the 'life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans' sense of it. whether you like the flat tire story or not is moot as long as you get that point.
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Roy
Member

Posts: 153


« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2003, 09:04:52 AM »

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
Not the minority, but not the only opinion, either.


You're absolutely correct.  I pointed this out myself and suggested that we agree to disagree.

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
I just want to point out that your comment here very weak "man vs. environment"  conflict , is a value judgement. A personal opinion.


Of course it is.  Everything I say is my personal opinion.  Anyone that tells you he can be objective is delusional.  Objectivity is an illusion because every thought is filtered through your own mind.  But THAT'S a discussion for another day. :-)  

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
This whole discussion seems to be completely missing the reason for the flat tire illustration ...
 
... whether you like the flat tire story or not is moot as long as you get that point.


I told you I understood your point even though I disagreed with the example you provided.

Roy shuffles up to Jack with his head down.  "I sorry I put the dead body in your trunk, Jack.  I didn't mean nuthin' by it."  Roy looks up at Jack and smiles weakly, seeking Jack's forgiveness.

Satisfied, Roy shuffles over to Jack's trunk and slides the dead body to the ground.  Roy turns and leaves, dragging the slightly decomposed dead body behind him.  

"I wonder if Ron's got any room for this thing," thinks Roy to himself as he shuffles off into the sunset.


Roy
roypenrod123@yahoo.com
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2003, 01:02:04 PM »

Seems to me like there are two kinds of people in this world. Those who appreciate Austin Powers because we "resemble that remark"; people like me who like every Bond film ever made, and realize that we relish something that is in some ways ridiculous. And those who laugh at the laser bearing shark MKIV because they're certain that they're superior in some way to those who like the Bond films.

You think that when Lucas wrote that part about Vader being Luke's father he thought for a moment, "Nah, too over the top?" You think that Quentin Tarantino (I know, hack, right?) said, heck, I'll tone down the plot coincindences some for the movie Pulp Fiction? He'd be all over the body in the trunk idea. Note the name of the movie. Note that most RPGs cite pulp, Fantasy and Sci-Fi as amongst their main influences. Coincidence? I think not.

As always, I repeat my motto: taste is an excuse for people to be depressed that things aren't as good "as they should be". Whatever the hell that means.

Personally, I'm easy to please, and squeal with delight whenever Godzilla gets on the screen. Any version. I figure that if I can appreciate a man in a rubber suit stomping on miniature buildings, I can appreciate anything, no? I'm a happy guy as a result.

Does that mean that I'm against playing out the socio-economic plight of the seventeenth century Ukranian peasant in excruciating detail? Not at all...it's all good fun. Just quit raining on my parade for the damn energy weapon equipped chondricthyse that I relish so much. Does that mean that some people will have to suffer through the tripe that I pay for at the movie theatre? Well, they can just sit home and read Chechov for all I care.

Mike "Proud to be one of those gamers" Holmes
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Christopher Kubasik
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Posts: 1153


« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2003, 02:15:14 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
As always, I repeat my motto: taste is an excuse for people to be depressed that things aren't as good "as they should be". Whatever the hell that means.


Mike,

You are now my hero.

Christopher
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John Kim
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Posts: 1805


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« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2003, 03:56:40 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
  Does that mean that I'm against playing out the socio-economic plight of the seventeenth century Ukranian peasant in excruciating detail? Not at all...it's all good fun. Just quit raining on my parade for the damn energy weapon equipped chondricthyse that I relish so much. Does that mean that some people will have to suffer through the tripe that I pay for at the movie theatre? Well, they can just sit home and read Chechov for all I care.  

Well, I agree that there is nothing wrong per se with laser-equipped sharks.  At the same time, I think that Jack's question has some merit.  If you take away the anti-shark-laser tone of it, there is still a good question about why RPGs tend toward more over-the-top genres -- especially fantasy and science-fiction.  You imply here that disliking shark lasers means that you play Ukranian peasants and read Checkov, but I think that is a straw man.  

For example, the swashbuckling genre in books and film is filled with action.   However, the author's of 7th Sea decided to go further and throw in magic, special armor, and other fantasy elements.  This is what Jack is talking about -- i.e. not just sharks, but sharks with lasers on their heads.  Even if one doesn't mind this in itself, it does make one wonder why you don't see more non-cybernetic sharks in RPGs.  

Now, one can point to a similar trend in movies (as I think Christopher Kubasik did): but it is actually a fairly recent phenomenon.  In the first half of this century, movies weren't dominated by over-the-top action -- even the period equivalent.  Fantasy, science-fiction, and martial arts were for a very long time considered inherently "B" movie material.  Top movies tended to be things like "On the Waterfront" and "Golden Earrings".  It is only in maybe the past two decades that they have come into the mainstream.  I would attribute it to improvements in special effects technology.  In a similar way, musicals were very popular in the times following the introduction of sound -- but dropped in popularity after a while.  

In RPGs, obviously, the reason isn't special effects.  So what is it?  

I have some ideas, but I'm going to leave them for another post (I'm short on time).
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- John
Comte
Member

Posts: 129


« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2003, 05:08:23 PM »

Quote
Mike "Proud to be one of those gamers" Holmes


That post made me smile, unless something else happens it will of made my day.  BUT! I don't like Austin Powers, and I don't like Bond films.  So where do I go?  What do I do?  

Me?  I like Adaptation, I loved Magnolia, Blue Velvet is one of my favorite movies, and I am still impressed by Waking Life.  I think How to kill your neighbor's dog is the shit, and Gosford Park is my idea of a good night out.

I also like to roleplay, and I love to game master.  Artsy people are people to.  We can't help the way we are, hell I wish I could just laugh with the rest of the people when I was forced to sit through Bruce Almighty.  Hell I wish I wasn't the only person laughing duing the house of 1000 corpses.  But I am.  And I'm mystified by the need for lasers.

This may seem off topic at first but I am going somewhere with this.  The nature of the gamer is starting to change.  It is mostly due to Vampire.  People who get into the game from D&D do so with the high adventure, save the world, sort of ideals.  Many people come in fresh from reading Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter wanting to go play out some of the very same things.

THen there are thouse White Wolf games.  Games where people seem to want to live out social intruige and mystery.  It is here that people have the K3lwz P0\/\/3rrZ but they aren't allowed to use them so because of the maqurade.  It is this influx of people that cause the original question to be viable, do we need K3lwz P0\/\/3rrZ to make a good RPG?  Do we need to use our K3lwz P0\/\/3rrZ to have fun roleplaying?  These questions come wrapped in the from why do we need K3lwz P0\/\/3rrZ to happen in our plots.  Of course I hope we don't answer this question here because if we do then my future career as a lit major will be kinda usless.  But if a movie can be sucessful without any sort of extrodinary thing happening, then why not a game?

To answer my question...it can't.  Lets go back up to my list of pretension shall we?

Adaptation: Drug use, death, uncovering an affair, and a shoot out
Magnolia: Frogs fall from the sky
Blue Velvet: well the whole movie is about the horrid underworld that excists right below our own.
Waking Life: The whole movie is a lucid dream
How to kill your neighbor's dog: the death of the said dog, and becoming freinds with a stalker
Gosford Park: THe man was murdered twice

So my little clump of artistic snobbery has its own share of lasers.  Just aobut every movie dose, as dose just about every story.  It is what makes the story special, and memorable.  I mean sometimes it is these lasers that made the movie what it is ie Magnolia.  Someone above me said that this is a part of storytelling.  

As gamemasters I would like to take you back to a version of the original example.  You have five players in front of you, you say," You pull into the gas station, the car needs gas and one of the tires is low on air, almost flat".  Now how would that fly with the play group?  For the majority of the play groups I've had they would blink at me dumbfounded, pump the gas, blow up the tire and just move on wondering what that was all about.  Now I could turn this encounter into something exciting.  I could base an entire game session around this gas station and it would rock.  But I can not have this be the most exciting thing that happens during the game session.  Something has to happen during this game session that is more exciting than that flat tire otherwise the players will wander off, start making out, eating my food, and everything else.  They don't have to save to world, heck most of the PCs I've delt with just aren't capable.  But at some point they should encounter something, something that has the potenial to change thier lives compleatly otherwise why would you be playing?  

Either you do it through combat or through clever planning but something has to happen that will both threaten the players, and cause them to rise up to the occation.  We need more than a simple flat tire conflict in our game sessions because if anything we need to fill the time and be entertained.  No matter if the conflict is interpersonal (a warden and inmate), or extrapersonal (a robbery, or a cop) or supernatural (a bear with a laser on its head), we still need more than the tire.

THe trick is not if we need it or not.  The trick is how much should we give.  In a given situation is the flat tire enough to keep the players entertained?  No?  Well what would entertain them...a robbery?  Well billy over there has a level 46 wizard with the kill alll robbers in a 1000mile radius spell so no.  Hmm maybe a couple of bears, at the very least they could spend the rest of the game session trying to figgure out where they came from.  Or we can take it the interpersional rout, Billy could see a snickers wrapper sticking out of Zack's back pocket when he bends over to check the tire.  That was the last snickers bar that billy wanted...now we have a conflict that is starting to build up.  Of course my exmples are rediculouse but I mean we need more than the tires.  Sometimes we need more than the sharks, and sometimes sharks with lasers just won't do it.  The key to storytelling to a group of people is finding the right tools for the job, so that the players go home happy, eager to return the next week.  And remeber as the old pervert said variety is the spice of life.  We can't always have sharks running around, and we can't always have interpesonal conflicts.  Welll I guess thats all I have to say about that.
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"I think where I am not, therefore I am where I do not think.
What one ought to say is: I am not whereever I am the plaything of my thought; I think of what I am where I do not think to think."
-Lacan
http://pub10.ezboard.com/bindierpgworkbentch
Roy
Member

Posts: 153


« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2003, 06:14:51 PM »

Quote from: Comte
Of course my exmples are rediculouse but I mean we need more than the tires. Sometimes we need more than the sharks, and sometimes sharks with lasers just won't do it.


All of these are just trappings that can change with the setting.  

If you want your gamers to consistently enjoy your roleplaying games, you've got to grab their interest with emotionally engaging conflict between interesting and dysfunctional characters.  That's what separates good fiction (in any form) from marginal fiction.  

Roy
roypenrod123@yahoo.com
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John Kim
Member

Posts: 1805


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« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2003, 08:28:57 PM »

Quote from: Roy
  If you want your gamers to consistently enjoy your roleplaying games, you've got to grab their interest with emotionally engaging conflict between interesting and dysfunctional characters.  That's what separates good fiction (in any form) from marginal fiction.  

While this is true if interpretted broadly enough, it also becomes so vague as to be useless.  For example, you can analyze "My Dinner With Andre" such that it is between the conflict of interesting and dysfunctional characters.  However, at this point you have gotten so vague about conflict that I don't see how it is a useful tool.  

In any case, I don't think this is related to the original topic.  A story can have "engaging conflict" in a broad sense without putting lasers on shark's heads.  Jack's complaint is that RPGs seem to be dominated by the latter (i.e. why add magic and monsters to swashbuckling for 7th Sea, why add gunpowder to Rome in Fvlminata, etc.).  As an individual choice there is nothing particularly bad or strange about this, but it is a definite trend for all RPGs -- and that brings up the question of why.  

One thought I have is the amateur nature of tabletop RPGs.  That is, you develop stories but they are portrayed by amateur or even indifferent actors.  Thus, more subtle forms of comedy and drama are less engaging than in professional media.  However, I don't think this is sufficient to explain the tendency.
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- John
M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2003, 09:18:44 PM »

I'm going to have to cut Wayne's post up a bit to answer him, and this is still a bit off topic so I'll try to keep it as brief as I can.
Quote from: Cadriel
A number of your statements indicate this tendency (pardon me if this seems terribly out of context):....
Quote
...and there are more variations of what can be done in combat than any other area of play.


...From the second, we start to see a lot of the "most interesting form of conflict" attitude coming through in the form of an assumption.  You've assumed that, in a fight, the options are incredibly plentiful, and that there is more to do in a combat than in any other situation.  Yet, in just about any actual fight (regardless of circumstances, and using "actual fight" to mean where the chips are down and it's serious), people either react on a pure instinct level or go to rote training.  The actual circumstance will be over in a flash and an adrenaline rush; if it's a fist fight or similar, you'll just be going for whatever you can get desperately; if it's a gun fight, you'll spend most of your time trying desperately not to get shot.  The kind of combat that RPGs go for is quite similar to what is choreographed for an action movie, and I've found that it often comes off rather dispassionately.  That this is the case seems to me to be quite substantial evidence that most RPGs consider violence to be the most interesting form of conflict.

I'm sorry that I wasn't more clear on that point.

Multiverser provides a comprehensive rules system in the sense that if you can do it in any other game, you can do it in Multiverser.
Quote from: When I
there are more variations of what can be done in combat than any other area of play.
I specifically meant that, given all the role playing games that are in print and what they include within the rules, there are more variations of combat techniques, equipment, skills, and adjustments out there than any other aspect of games. Several games include weaponless combat styles; a player character visiting such a game world can learn such styles, and when he leaves that world those styles must become part of Multiverser. Many games include protective armor, but some include ablative armor, and both must be covered by Multiverser so that if someone brings either type of armor into the game there's a way to make it part of play. Some games have absolute defenses to specific attack forms, such as Star Frontiers' hush field against sonic weapons, so such absolute defenses must be possible. Area attacks, attacks on cover, non-physical damage such as pain, crippling attacks, subduing attacks--if it's possible to do in any game, it can be translated to Multiverser. That's what I meant about the number of things that can be done.

Arguably, there are many things that can be done in a game that's about driving, and all of them can be translated to Multiverser as well. However, far fewer games have contributed far fewer variations to this area of play. That's covered in the text, a lot more quickly than the massive amount of variation in combat skills and equipment.

I'll concede that there are more things covered by Multiverser's rules related to combat than related to driving or cooking, and that this reflects something generally true about the gaming hobby (that most gamers relate to games with combat in them), but I wanted to distinguish that point. A player can do as many or more things in other areas as he can in combat, if he wishes. The support is there. Combat requires special attention because of the massive amount of material generated in relation to it by so many other game systems.
Quote from: Wayne also

Quote from: again quoting what I
Combat, though, is dangerous. It always means something is at stake.

...The third quote, though, is what drives it home:  combat means your life is on the line.  This, I think, is a blatant statement of why RPGs lovingly detail combat and make it central.  It's an immediate, visceral reaction, and brings the drama home right away.  But here's the irony of the whole situation:  it's a trap.

When you make combat the centerpoint of the whole equation (with the unstated assumption that combat is inherently more interesting than anything else), it means that...well...the combat system - even if it's just an applied version of the standard engine - had better earn its keep....
Wayne goes on to make some good points about how most RPG settings are of a sort in which violence is easily justified.

I'm not going to say that Multiverser play is non-violent; it would be silly if I did. I am going to say that combat is not the centerpoint of the whole equation, and that a lot of play is not about violence. For some players, it will be--but even when it's violent, it has to be smart most of the time. Many of the worlds we publish have a lot of issue-oriented play involved. Sure, we do fantasy adventures, spy thrillers, science fiction battles, horror, war. We also do confrontations with racism, issues of human rights, philosophical and religious debate, whodunits, and other less violent situations. Of course, some players can turn a peaceful sit-in at Kent State University into a blood bath; there are others who can turn an intergalactic war into a debate on the morality of conflict. So players matter a great deal; but the system doesn't make combat more important than any other thing.

In general, though, you're right that RPGs tend toward potentially violent situations, and attempt to provide justification for the violence through the nature of the setting. Sometimes Multiverser does this, but not always. I've known players who when faced with unavoidable combat have allowed their characters to be killed, on the theory that as a verser they'll wake up in another world, but if they killed their attacker he would be dead. That's a peculiarity of Multiverser--life and death on the line is certainly something at stake, but not to the same degree as it is in other games.

--M. J. Young
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Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2003, 10:36:08 PM »

Hi all.

I'm now confused.

A page back Jack wrote:

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
Perhaps a bit of clairification is in order. I did not mean just cool powers, per se so much as something that always brings it to the extreme. In the original thread, Roy suggested spicing up the story of me finding a dead body in the trunk of my car. Unless you work in a hospitol, how often do you see a dead body? I know I don't see one, much less would have one in the trunk of my car. That's what I'm talking about. Something that brings things to the furthest extreme of possibility or even past it.


Now.  We seem to be twirling around kitchen-sink-genre mixes in RPGs (elves! and spaceships! and dinnerware emporiums!).  But Jack in the quoted post seems more concerned with the extremes narratives take in RPGs.  (Instead of a flat tire, we get a body in trunk.)

Now, these two matters might be related. But they're clearly two different things.

Jack?  Which one are we talking about?

Christopher
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2003, 06:12:03 AM »

I was obviously (I hope) being hyperbolic in the last post. By the whole "Ukranian Peasant" thing, John, I mean to say that you can look at any situation from the cheerfully unrealistic, to the dreadfully real, and it's still valid. There's lot's of room in between these corners of the chartable territory, obviously. My point was that where you play on that chart is completely a matter of opinion, and none is better than the other. So the argument sorta becomes "why not sharks with laser beams"?

But I agree that there's a lot of goofyness in RPGs that would exceed the goofiness level of alternate forms of entertainment. So why does this phenomenon occur?

Well, I see two variables.

First, the media itself. RPGs are slow to provide feedback in general terms. That is, in an hour of play you'll probably see less plot than you would in an hour of TV in general. To go off on a tangent for a moment, the reason that salad is presented first traditionally, followed by the main course, and then by desert is that you start with the least flavorful (and therefore calorifically low) substances while you're still hungry, and work towards the more flavorful as you combat the feeling of fullness. That is, the traditional meal structure was designed in days when obesity was not a problem in order to ensure that people could confortably eat as much as possible of the available perishable goods, so that they'd better be able to survive lean times.

Same goes with RPGs. There are typically long, dull down times in RPGs. Lulls in the action. As such, in order to keep people's attentions, the high points have to be more punchy. As such, designers, I think, throw in the most stimulating ideas they can think of.

The other variable is the players themselves. People who play RPGs are typically escapists like myself. As such, I think that on the whole they tend to be more predisposed to fantasy and sci-fi literature, comics, and the like. This makes sense with the material produced, no? This may be because the first RPG was a fantasy RPG, but I think as likely the format lends itself to escapism, meaning that the two were destined to collide. In any case, it seems to me that the average RPG player is an escapist, and therefore will take to the novel more readily than the mundane.

But this is all moot. People should play what they want to play. I like Chechov (I like everything), and would readily play the Cherry Orchard RPG. I've been quoted as saying that I won't play Nicotine Girls, but that's probably some sort of subconscious fear of latent homosexuality or fear of things feminine than something that can't be played because it lacks photonic armaments (OK, it's because I'm an escapist and want something less mundane, I'll admit it). And it does represent the sort of game we're talking about here. Down-to-Earth role-playing with no "spicy" elements tossed in for kicks. So they do exist, and ought to be played by those who find them more interesting.

So is there a problem? On the far end of specualtion, I suppose that one could say that RPGs as long as they are mainly represented by games that feature aquatic fauna bearing Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation devices, that they will tend to alienate that part of the market segment who think that dragons are for kids. Same problem that comics have had forever. Well, I'm not too concerned. I've never been an advocate that we needed them anyhow. In any case, dragons and superheroes have become more prevalent in mainstream media, and I believe that the rest of everyone is coming over to our side slowly anyhow.

So, from the POV of the guy that likes dragons and superheroes (four color, if you please), it's all good. There are RPGs for everyone, IMO, with more coming soon. I mean how close is Heartquest to closing in on the Romance Novel RPG genre that I've been waiting for?

Mike
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