*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
July 02, 2022, 03:05:42 PM

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 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 81 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5
Print
Author Topic: Criticisms of the Threefold  (Read 26579 times)
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #45 on: July 31, 2003, 07:01:38 AM »

Quote from: Marco

I was speaking as though I *were* Bob's GM--and that would've been one of my first solutions. Nothing Raven's said so far looks like a GNS mode issue. Certainly not the movement thing. The idea that you see playing Exalted as a mode-change speaks volumes of your mind-set.


Marco, the example IS OF A GNS MODE ISSUE.  That is why it was given.
Logged

Impeach the bomber boys:
www.impeachblair.org
www.impeachbush.org

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Marco
Member

Posts: 1741


WWW
« Reply #46 on: July 31, 2003, 10:08:39 AM »

Enlighten me. I'm not saying it's not there ... just that it's not clear which two modes are at stake or what the proper GNS solution is.

-Marco
Logged

---------------------------------------------
JAGS (Just Another Gaming System)
a free, high-quality, universal system at:
http://www.jagsrpg.org
Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #47 on: July 31, 2003, 05:54:08 PM »

Marco, I don't know how you missed it, but I'll requote myself: "This is a GNS conflict. In this case, we have a conflict between Narrativism and Simulationism -- the rules used by the group aren't supporting the player's desired mode, but they are supporting the GM's desired mode."

Reread the conversations given: this is exactly what the conversations point to.

Now, if you're going to say I didn't say all that in the first post, you're right. I wasn't attempting to outline everything in detail, it was an example for that situation.

We've moved on and it can't be focused on as the end-all, be-all of style-conflicts within that game -- I could have easily detailed a number more arising from the same basic style conflict.

So, let's take this into the larger-than-one-example realm: Bob feels consistently deprotagonized by the rules of the game. But Bob has no idea how to say this to his GM -- he doesn't even know what the hell protagonism is in an RPG or that you can be deprotagonized by the rules.

All Bob knows is that he is consistently hampered by the rules from doing the things he think his character should do. And that's likely as coherent as Bob's explanation is going to be -- and there's no way it will ever hold up to his GM's rebuttals.

As shown in the "conversation" post above, the GM, working from an entirely different set of style assumptions, is going to provide "the correct answers" to Bob.

Contra has the right of it when he says the Exalted solution you present will only reverse the position of the two: the GM will be unhappy with the "be anywhere you want kung-fu action" though Bob will be happy with the greater freedom.

(More later when the kids stop yelling at me.)
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Marco
Member

Posts: 1741


WWW
« Reply #48 on: July 31, 2003, 06:34:23 PM »

I didn't miss it. I'm asking you to refine it (in a PM someone told me it was maybe Nar vs. Sim or Gam). To me it could be any of those modes. How does Nar play into it--how did you know it was a Nar issue?

Even GNS enabled, how could the GM know? Protagonization issues can exist across any mode (by Mike's defn', anyway).

I also want to know what the solution was/should've been.

And I think it's interesting that you discount Exalted too: It's plenty Simmy. If this was purely a *mode* issue the GM shoulda been fine with it under your scenario as presented thus far.

-Marco
Logged

---------------------------------------------
JAGS (Just Another Gaming System)
a free, high-quality, universal system at:
http://www.jagsrpg.org
Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #49 on: August 01, 2003, 02:48:31 AM »

Quote

And I think it's interesting that you discount Exalted too: It's plenty Simmy. If this was purely a *mode* issue the GM shoulda been fine with it under your scenario as presented thus far.


Not really.  Becuase the GM is "playing correctly" by their own lights, and that was what was frustrating the player.  The player did not experince it as correct play.  Therefore they will go to a new system and the same problem will likely  recur: Bob will still feel that the tight rules-lawyering (from Bob's  perspective) is bogging down play.  

And in fact the adjustment to Exalted may well aggravate the situation; because now the GM will feel agrieved that they tried to accomodate Bob and Bob is still unhappy.  Why... he must be doing it deliberately becuase nothing will make him happy, apparently.

Quote from: Marco
I didn't miss it. I'm asking you to refine it (in a PM someone told me it was maybe Nar vs. Sim or Gam). To me it could be any of those modes. How does Nar play into it--how did you know it was a Nar issue?


It could be any one of them given the few specifics provided.  But given the sense that the movement ruiles were a problem, it is likely that Bob is less interestd in the unity of cause and effect than getting on with the cool stuff; thats likely to be Narr.

Quote

Even GNS enabled, how could the GM know? Protagonization issues can exist across any mode (by Mike's defn', anyway).


Because when the GM finds out that Bob feels that the movement rules are bogging down play, this may serve as a signpost to the fact that Bob is one or other particular style, and adjust accordingly.  It also means that the GM does not assume the Bob is just a wanker out to destroy the game and can instead try to accmodate a different play priority in a mature fashion, rather than going into arsehole GM mode.
Logged

Impeach the bomber boys:
www.impeachblair.org
www.impeachbush.org

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Marco
Member

Posts: 1741


WWW
« Reply #50 on: August 01, 2003, 04:32:44 AM »

In order
1. NARRATIVIST?: You're writing off Exalted because you already *know* it's Narritivist play at stake so *that won't work.* All we know actually from the example given is that it's movement rules that keep the player away from the action. Look a little deeper: your conclusion isn't based on the data ... it's based on the conclusion (the player did not argue that it was "incorrect play" as in "you're screwing me." He more or less said that the play was "unsatisfying.")

In other words: how do we know it's a Narrativist issue? Raven told us it was. How could he know that?

2. MODE: The GM's statements indicate a Sim preference on that side to me too. But after that: unclear. I'd see it as Sim vs. Gam (Sim is you're far away, Gam is I want to get in and do my thing). Doing "cool stuff" is across the board too. Gamist like cool powers as much as anyone. It could be Sim-resolution-vs-things-didn't-go-my-way (not every result will always be to everyone's liking, and someone may choose to complain about that). It could be a mechanics issue: my character is a high-level Monk, he oughta be able to leap further! That's sim-vs-sim. I'm still not convinced there's enough there to make any such determination. Well, there is, but it's contentious:

CONCLUSION
You're dismissal of Exalted and declaration of Sim-vs-Nar relies on a statement of intent in both cases (i.e. Raven knows what was going on in his head, so we can say his conflict was Narrativist in complete lack of identifying signposts).

We're presented with an atomic instance that could be multi-modal and is certainly unclear as to what the real conflict is. You claim you know--you know because Raven told you so. The observable behavior is opaque with-out it: If Raven says "hey, I knew my decisions for the betterment of the story were getting slapped down in favor of decisions based on situation" I'd go 'yeah, Narrativist vs. Sim' but your whole argument here is that Raven can't say that.

Note: you do not cite a string of observable behavioral instances, nor did Raven. That aspect is absent. You might infer it from his statement that that's what it was, in which case your reply to me would have looked like this:

"We knew it was Sim-vs-Nar because there must have been ample evidence for both of those. That evidence isn't presented, but it's the only way we could know."

You didn't say that. You analyzed particulars ... and made predictions about the GM based on what you precieve his internal state to be. If he's just interested in playing by the rules and Raven is just interested in getting to the action, there should be no reason to dismiss Exalted. It's when you factor in intent-to-play-narrativist that you can start saying that might not work.

3. PROTAGONIZATION: I'm still unclear on "adjust accordingly?" What's the GNS enabled guy to do exactly? In the stated example of conversation, the GM didn't presume Bob was a wanker and that was without GNS. It's got to be more than that.

NOTE: If Bob starts trying to destroy the game, I think the GM is justified in treating Bob like wanker and taking whatever steps he chooses to in order to preserve the game (or just throw the towel in and all be friends if that's more important).

What is "adjust accordingly?"

-Marco
Logged

---------------------------------------------
JAGS (Just Another Gaming System)
a free, high-quality, universal system at:
http://www.jagsrpg.org
Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #51 on: August 01, 2003, 06:38:01 AM »

Quote from: Marco
In order
In other words: how do we know it's a Narrativist issue? Raven told us it was. How could he know that?


Becuase that was his scenario, and rthat is how it typically plays out.  What is so hard to understand about this?

Quote

2. MODE: The GM's statements indicate a Sim preference on that side to me too. But after that: unclear. I'd see it as Sim vs. Gam (Sim is you're far away, Gam is I want to get in and do my thing).


Good god, AT LAST.  So do you finally see that it is entirely possible that the kind of at-the-table dispute described could be a GNS conflict, and could be worked around through the application of GNS.  Yes?  No?

Quote

It could be a mechanics issue: my character is a high-level Monk, he oughta be able to leap further!


Of COURSE its a mechanics issue.

Quote

You're dismissal of Exalted and declaration of Sim-vs-Nar relies on a statement of intent in both cases


In fact it does not.  The GM will not succeed in making Bob happy no matter how much he might INTEND to do so if they have incompatible game play BEHAVIOURS.

Quote

We're presented with an atomic instance that could be multi-modal and is certainly unclear as to what the real conflict is. You claim you know--you know because Raven told you so.


No, I know becuase I have seen very similar behaviour in real life, and becuase I don't go around just lablling people dicks in order to avoid dealing with them.  

Quote

The observable behavior is opaque with-out it:


No, the observable behaviour just is.  The intent behind the behaviour is opaque.

Quote
Note: you do not cite a string of observable behavioral instances, nor did Raven. That aspect is absent. You might infer it from his statement that that's what it was, in which case your reply to me would have looked like this:


Now you are just dodging and weaving.  THe example was not about diagnising what kind of GNS preference a given person has; but how GNS can be used to make a personal argument impersonal.

Quote

You didn't say that. You analyzed particulars ... and made predictions about the GM based on what you precieve his internal state to be. If he's just interested in playing by the rules and Raven is just interested in getting to the action, there should be no reason to dismiss Exalted. It's when you factor in intent-to-play-narrativist that you can start saying that might not work.


The intent to play narratavist may be there without anyone knowing - even the player.  Thats the whole point; thats why "just change to another system" does not help, if their behaviours are incompatible anyway.

Quote

What is "adjust accordingly?"


Realise that the other dude is not objecting becuase they "want to destroy my game, boohoo I'm so oppressed" but has a different play preference.  Then you could nefgotiate a way to play you both agree on, or agree not to play together, or Whatever.

Take your answer "I'd see it as Sim vs. Gam " and YOU tell ME what you would do, knowing that.
[/b]
Logged

Impeach the bomber boys:
www.impeachblair.org
www.impeachbush.org

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Marco
Member

Posts: 1741


WWW
« Reply #52 on: August 01, 2003, 07:33:31 AM »

Quote from: contracycle
Quote from: Marco
In order
In other words: how do we know it's a Narrativist issue? Raven told us it was. How could he know that?


Becuase that was his scenario, and rthat is how it typically plays out.  What is so hard to understand about this?



Where is the 'typically plays out'? There's no past history in the hypothetical. You submit that most movement conflicts are Narrativist in nature? Even the cool-things is shaky: the conversation doesn't suggest that the game system disallows cool things, only that the situation didn't bear it out.

So we're back with 'Raven told us it was.' Well damn, man--that was my whole point on this thread--for him to know that, he has to recognize that it's his preference for Narrativist play that is being denied. Which I agree he *can* know--which you disagre with on the basis that his ability to self-reference would have to be, literally, miraculous.

Quote

Good god, AT LAST.  So do you finally see that it is entirely possible that the kind of at-the-table dispute described could be a GNS conflict, and could be worked around through the application of GNS.  Yes?  No?


In the description of the conversation, yes, of course. I follwed up with agreement immediately (scroll up). In the original hypotehtical where the guy in question is declared "a dick," I submit there's stuff at play other than a misunderstanding with an honest attempt at cooperative agreement. Such an atempt  (the GM says "Hey--I'm lookin' out for you, let's sit down and talk about it") is not the behavior I think that would lead Raven to qualify someone as a "dick."

To be a "dick" (as the hypothetical suggests) it implies that the person shows an observable string of abusive uncooperative behavior that clearly antagonizes the speaker. If past performance does indeed predict future behavior, I would not count on that person changing their behavior based on a theory since they've been clear they are both abusive and quite content with me being unhappy with them.

Quote

You're dismissal of Exalted and declaration of Sim-vs-Nar relies on a statement of intent in both cases.

In fact it does not.  The GM will not succeed in making Bob happy no matter how much he might INTEND to do so if they have incompatible game play BEHAVIOURS.

Let me see if I follow:

Stated problem: I can't get to the action because of the movement rules

Your Inference: Your preference for story-thematic decisions is being hampered by the application of the rules.

Possible Solution: The movement rules in question will be changed to allow you to get to the action (by playing Exalted, for instance).

Conclusion: That can't possibly work because both people have incompatible behaviors.

That looks to me like a non sequitor.

Firstly your inference (that it's Nar) is based on knowing what's going on in Bob's head. I'm cool with that, cause he told us. But you've argued that's not vaild.

Secondly the possible solution (change games so the GM can apply the rules and the player can get to the action) is rejected because you claim to know that Bob will never be happy until ... what? That's where I'm lost--what *is* your solution.

Quote

We're presented with an atomic instance that could be multi-modal and is certainly unclear as to what the real conflict is. You claim you know--you know because Raven told you so.

No, I know becuase I have seen very similar behaviour in real life, and becuase I don't go around just lablling people dicks in order to avoid dealing with them.  

Sure, you can categorize observed behavior--but from a minimalist description you can't honestly claim to do that accurately without a real strong indicator ("I'm a narrativist").  Had I described a movement-action argument without stating an intent (as Raven did) I submit you'd say "could be a number of things--you can't tell without a lot more context."

See the threads here where that happens all the time. Be honest with yourself. Someone complaining about movement rules is hardly "always Narrativist." Someone claiming they didn't get to do their cool stuff because they didn't get to the action in time would be far more common as a Gamist complaint, I think.

The point is, without a personal statement of intent, you really don't know.

Quote

Now you are just dodging and weaving.  THe example was not about diagnising what kind of GNS preference a given person has; but how GNS can be used to make a personal argument impersonal.

No, I'm not. The first hypotehtical had a personal argument where the GM is a "dick" which implies, I think, some kind of abusive behavior and the player decides to torpedo the game.

The argument becomes personal when there's abuse and revenge. Both of those were implicit (abuse) or explict (revenge) in the first situation.

In the second there *is* no personal argument--even without GNS. The two people have sat down and guy A has said to guy B "I don't know how to make you happy." Guy B's solution of changing the movement rules (drift?) isn't working--that's hardly a dead end.

Saying "well, I really don't dig that. It ruined the evening for me--let's see if there's something else we can do--" is the next rational step, not okay, grumble, I'll ruin it for everyone.

The lack of GNS doesn't make the argument personal. The decisions of the people involved make it personal.

But again, I come to a dead end:

I'm the GM, I'm willing to work with you, you've read GNS, what do you suggest? What's the resolution to the argument?

You suggest we negoitate a way to play we both agree on. Well, duh. Exlated is one great way to do that (rules + movement).

Clearly the GM doesn't want to drift. Where do you take it?

Gareth,
Note that in the second example--the one where we agree communication and cooperation can work things out--there is no victimization (unless Bob is harboring great anger towards the GM or vice versa--something I don't get from the text--and as you've said, we can't know if it's there). There is no personal argument. The GM is not crying that Bob is gunning for him.

The way this plays out when the speaker are GNS enabled is similarily vague (I still don't have a concrete answer): if there is some GNS-cooperative solution you see that's really the heck likely to work so they can play together, tell me. I've yet to see a cooperative play mode the theory suggests for this case (although I expect there is one). But if there's not, the idea that GNS is needed for both people to respect each other enough to not play together if they can't get along is ridiculous.

It's like saying "how could anyone possibly be mature without GNS?"

Do you really think the standard of civilized, cooperative problem solving behavior where the GM, even though he doesn't see himself at fault can respect Bob's distress enough to work with him is unreasonable? These guys need a theory just to take each other seriously? I think you're putting a lot of faith in the theory and none at all in the people.

-Marco
Logged

---------------------------------------------
JAGS (Just Another Gaming System)
a free, high-quality, universal system at:
http://www.jagsrpg.org
Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #53 on: August 01, 2003, 08:45:25 AM »

Quote

No, I'm not. The first hypotehtical had a personal argument where the GM is a "dick" which implies, I think, some kind of abusive behavior and the player decides to torpedo the game.


No.  The first scenario was a GNS dispute, only without GNS vocabulary.

Quote

I'm the GM, I'm willing to work with you, you've read GNS, what do you suggest? What's the resolution to the argument?

You suggest we negoitate a way to play we both agree on. Well, duh. Exlated is one great way to do that (rules + movement).


Don't you think it would be useful at this point to have some sort of vocabulary with which we can negotiate?

If we are stuck with "my way is the cioorrect way", and fail to recognises other legitimate choices, how can we succesfully negotiate?

Quote

The way this plays out when the speaker are GNS enabled is similarily vague (I still don't have a concrete answer): if there is some GNS-cooperative solution you see that's really the heck likely to work so they can play together, tell me.


Thew way this plays out when they are GNS enbabled is that they do not see each other as dicks, and the mutual acrimony does not arise.  Because of instead of mutual accusations of bad, improper or frustrating play, they can move constructively on recognising their preferences.

Quote
It's like saying "how could anyone possibly be mature without GNS?"


Don't tar me with your brush, boyo.  I'm not saying that GNS is required to be mature; the virtue of the threefold models was to establish that there WERE multiple legitimate ways to play, in fact.

Quote

Do you really think the standard of civilized, cooperative problem solving behavior where the GM, even though he doesn't see himself at fault can respect Bob's distress enough to work with him is unreasonable? These guys need a theory just to take each other seriously? I think you're putting a lot of faith in the theory and none at all in the people.


You have it in a nutshell.  Does that explain to you why people value GNS?

You keep saying that you don't understand what utility GNS has.  GNS is an aid to constructive dialogue as an alternative to accusatory dialogue.  
Is that clear yet?
Logged

Impeach the bomber boys:
www.impeachblair.org
www.impeachbush.org

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Marco
Member

Posts: 1741


WWW
« Reply #54 on: August 01, 2003, 09:13:07 AM »

Quote

...how can we succesfully negotiate?


I understand you think Bob has no vocabulary to express his desires without GNS. I don't agree. Mostly, I don't think GNS will even even factor into a real problem-solving attempt as a tool for resolution. Sure, it *can* help to articulate preferences--but if people are really willing to talk and listen, I think very little jargon or theory is needed. That, combined with the fact that mostly people have a hard time understanding GNS will limit it's utility there:

"I was deprotagonized" is obscure.
"You keep having the orcs show up anytime I'm away from the group" is a real complaint.

"I want more Narrativist play" is nearly meaningless.
"If my character is in peril and might die--and it wouldn't mean anything if he did--that sucks" is actionable.

What's missing for you, it looks like, is the concept that Bob and GM could respect each other without GNS: I absolutely reserve the right to hold them to a higher standard than that. And, frankly, it isn't all that high a standard.

The failure of the GM to see that Bob is unhappy as something that needs addressing is a people-failure, not a nomenclature or vocabulary failure.

Look at all the text that says "hey, having fun is the primary goal of the game. If you aren't having fun you're doing it wrong. Ignore a rule if you have to." Everyone thinks that text sucks, right? But look:

If you think playing right is more important than everyone having fun, that, right there is the issue. Not the rules, not the vocabulary--the fact that you've put playing by the rules (as you interpert them and apply them--a tricky thing in and of itself)--above being in any kind of community with your buds at the table. Bingo, contra--you just nailed it. Bob's GM needs to look at Bob's dissatisfaction as a real friend in distress that needs to be dealt with rather than ignored regardless of any understanding of theory. Even if he thinks he's right.

It probably says so in black and white in the manifesto on the inside cover of the book.

Now, that fuzzy text is problematic right? It doesn't tell you what to do when someone's not having fun--it doesn't say which rule to ignore or how to resolve that. It gives no guidance on how to achieve that compromise.

I'm still wating on that answer myself--from this thread, actually. It seems like it's still something people still have to work out for themselves GNS or no.

-Marco
[Edited to add: I think there's a great deal of utility in GNS--I think the idea that it's primarily a tool for addressing dysfunction is a serious mistake. I think it's far better at other things. ]

Also Edited: It occurrs to me that you think people will NOT be willing to talk and listen without understanding there are "other ways to play." If that's the case and GNS helps that (i.e. they'll sit still and absorb it)--then cool. It's clearly the missing link.

Again, I think your perception of how common that occurrs and how tractable that is to address with GNS differes from mine. But I can see it's utility there.
Logged

---------------------------------------------
JAGS (Just Another Gaming System)
a free, high-quality, universal system at:
http://www.jagsrpg.org
Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #55 on: August 01, 2003, 10:26:44 AM »

Marco, I really don't want to jump into the middle of your discussion here.  But I think you really need to realize just how fortuneate you are.  Everything you've said about your group and play marks it as one of the smoothest least dysfunctional groups I've ever heard tell about.  You should be applauded for your successful negotiation of social contract issues, but I think your experience leaves you ill prepared for just how dysfunction many groups are(I'd say most but I don't have more than anecdote to support that word).

Quote
What's missing for you, it looks like, is the concept that Bob and GM could respect each other without GNS: I absolutely reserve the right to hold them to a higher standard than that. And, frankly, it isn't all that high a standard.


There was a panel discussion at GenCon about players and their group problems.  I didn't attend, but the summaries I heard were full of the petty bickering infantile nonsense that IMO is pretty much the norm and falls well below the standard you hold.  Maybe we can get Ron (who was on the panel) to chime in with more info but play groups whose members have little difficulty in dealing with their problems without resorting to accusatory tactics in my experience are few and far between.


Quote
"I was deprotagonized" is obscure.
"You keep having the orcs show up anytime I'm away from the group" is a real complaint.


Interestingly I see those sentences in reverse order.  "you keep having the orcs show up" doesn't tell me anything about why this is a problem for the player.  He loves orcs and resents missing them?  He hates the fact that the rest of the group is racking up XPs for killing them while he's away?  He has a really powerful thematic scene he wants to initiate the next time he meets an orc, but they keep showing up when he's not around so he hasn't been able to?  What?

On the other hand "I was deprotagonized" is very clear (to those who understand what deprotagonized means...hense the need for a common vocabulary).  As a GM, I hear a player say this and I immediately know what he's talking about and can begin examining recent play to identify those points where I caused this to happen.


Quote
"I want more Narrativist play" is nearly meaningless.


wow...I couldn't disagree with that more.  If that sentence is true, you might as well throw out the whole theory.

For me, if you were to say that...and use the word correctly (that whole shared vocabulary thing again), it would tell me ALOT about what you were wanting.  Not everything, because as we saw in the Simulationist and Gamist articles there are lots of shades within each category...but I'd be well ahead of starting from zero.
Logged

Marco
Member

Posts: 1741


WWW
« Reply #56 on: August 01, 2003, 12:35:01 PM »

Hi Ralph,
Good post--friendly in tone--don't worry about jumping in. I'd like to hear about the pannel too.

I actually think I am, at least mildly, prepared for dysfunction. In highschool games power-struggle was rampant, sometimes coming close to physical violence. One of my closest friends and I have sparred continually in game and out. Even today there are points where we need to stop and resolve things. In the group I took over, one player refused, game after game, to play anything but a psychotic, pyromaniac, halfling thief with a crossbow. The former GM gave up a game in disgust when the theif player set random important NPC's on fire.

I play with a rules lawyer who's now a trial lawyer--and won't let anything go if he thinks he has a case. I played with a power-gamer who did things with Champions and Fantasy Hero that appalled and astonished me--and refused to back down. I had a player in college who the other players felt was beyond random and a game wrecker. I refused to kick him out--but did my best to manage it ... and learned a lot in the process.

I'm now running two groups of 6 people. Both contain people I don't know well at all. Both contain several brand-new gamers as well as far more experienced ones (and their experience is vastly different from mine). One member is a 17 year old who has no RPG experience other than online MMPORGs.

My favorite GM--who I know and respect--and shares my outlook--has started a group in NYC that's fielded several munchkin-vs-story conflicts successfully.

Both these goups are working. After each game, I post an After-Action-Report on a site (or we discuss it). I'm consistenly told the games are excellent and people are engaged. I'm careful to thank everyone involved and let them know how much I appreciate their particiaption.

Now, I have the advantage of being the GM in both large groups--which, traditionally makes me a moderator--but as Gareth will tell you, not everyone finds me easy to get along with.

What's been working for me? Three things.
1. When I show up I'm more committed to haivng fun than being "right" (winning a power-struggle).
2. I do my damndest to treat everyone with respect and at least, apologize if I fail.
3. If I do get into power-struggle, I take responsibility for my being in it, meaning that if things aren't working for me I don't go into feeling victimized by the other person. I don't--or at least I do my best--which is pretty good--not to take it personally.

The people I play with have responded to that. Communication *is* key--but in my experience that just means talking plainly (and not taking things personally goes a long way towards talking plainly) and listening. Yes, things may not be clear the first few times around--but it's been my experience that if someone feels you're listening to them and committed to a mutual positive experience they cut you a LOT of slack before getting frustrated/passive aggressive.

I really do think GNS as a vocabulary can help communicate things (although if I tell you I was "deprotagonized" do I mean in Mike's sense (disempowered), Paul's sense ("unable to engage observers properly, a more general sense of "wrongfully denied a rightful option"?) but the sheer fact that people seem to have a hard time understanding it limits GNS's value as an enabling tool.

I also think the focus of addressing dysfunction coupled with game-design creates an unfortunate mix--and stands in the way of delivering a clear message.

And it really isn't *that* clear a message: I've yet to see a real solution for Raven's problem. Gareth seems to think that just to have a respectful conversation they need to digest theory. I say, if they can't muster enough compassion/respect for each other before the theory to resolve things I see no reason they'll have it after the theory. Christanity teaches a lot of powerful things about being good to each other. Converts have often proven more righteous with it than kind.

Edited to add: That said, there is powerful testominy from people who *did* absorb the theory and *do* feel it changed their gaming experience. I can't discount that. That is obviously a massive benefit that some people get and as Gareth says, that justifies it's existence.

-Marco
Logged

---------------------------------------------
JAGS (Just Another Gaming System)
a free, high-quality, universal system at:
http://www.jagsrpg.org
Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #57 on: August 02, 2003, 06:53:30 PM »

Holy shit...Marco, take breath. You're trying too damn hard to find the flaws, and you're either picking at nothing or making anthills into mountain chains.

First, I told you I wasn't going to go into a big, long description of the whole game. If that's what you want or you get to declare the example doesn't work -- well, too bad, I'm not typing up a three month history of a game group and the various decisions in it just to make the point work for you. It's an example situation to illustrate the point, sorry to be harsh, but live with it or shutup.

Second, I agree with everything Gareth has said so far. End.

Quote
I say, if they can't muster enough compassion/respect for each other before the theory to resolve things I see no reason they'll have it after the theory.

I covered that already. Scroll up and reread.

Second, you're making strawmen here. Note that in my examples, the individuals have been compassionate and respectful towards each other, but things still don't work out.

Bob's GM sincerely wants to help Bob.
Bob is friends with his GM and brings up the problem in a mature way -- no accusation, just a definition of the problem.
They talk without accusing each other or bickering.
The problem of an unhappy player persists.

The problem, as I've repeatedly stated, is their inability to successfully communicate their true desires, based on their different baselines of play.

Bob wants Narrative play -- he doesn't enjoy the GM's basline style of carefully detailed, realistic cause and effect. On the other hand, Bob's never been involved in anything but that type of gaming -- so he wants to do cool stuff like you see in the movies, but doesn't have the rules to do it.

Bob's GM doesn't see how gaming could work successfully without using the rules to reflect and guage exacting, real standards, to get the most believable result possible (Simulationism) -- if it isn't believable, he feels it will not work and will seem fake. However, he's never thought of it in those terms: he's acting out the behavior the Lumpley principle was detailed to correct: For Bob's GM, rules HAVE to accurately reflect the way the world works, because -- common gamer experience tells us -- that's just the way it is.

And no, they can't talk about it just like I did above, because neither of them knows a rat's ass from a hole in the ground about this problem. Neither of them understands their own baseline, so how the hell can they understand someone else's baseline, let alone cater to it?
They'll be talking past each other for weeks.

Doesn't happen? This is a group I was involved in for four years of weekly play as a player. This was my group two years ago, positions reversed, with me as the GM. We talked, and talked, and tweaked, and tweaked, and eventually argued, became frustrated, and the campaigns eventually simply broke down despite the best efforts of player and GM.

My current game was well on the way to the same damn thing: then I "got" GNS. There's a few hitches here and there, mostly because the game doesn't match our play style, but now I know why its happening and how to fix those problems -- I can even choose games that will definitely appeal to my players.

How does GNS fix the above problem?

After their last conversation, Bob and Bob's GM now know GNS theory.
Here's the new conversation:

Bob: "Like I said before, I don't like it when you employ those tight-assed movement rules--it's really ruining the game for me."

Bob's GM replies: "Like I said before, I'm just following the rules, and they're realistic. I'm sorry, but what would you have me do? Just let you move whevever you want whenever you want?"

Bob says: "Within reason, yeah...well, I want the game to be more like a movie than a simulation. The realistic limitations you place on movement are seriously hampering my character's ability to do anything really neat, like movie-type action stunts, showing up suddenly in the middle of combats, crashing through windows, and such. That's what I like."

GM: "So...what, like scene-framing and stuff? You know this game doesn't really support that. Movie stunts are all choreographed by the writers ahead of time, and I don't know if I want to start mixing up the game like that. I like the detailed realism because I feel it makes you think about what you can do, or what you have to do."

Bob: "Ok, sure, it does. I'm not really into that though. I don't like detailing every move my character makes just to position him to do something."

Bob's GM: "Yeah, I see where you're coming from."

I know you're going to argue: "But why can't they just do that without theory?" Seems reasonable, right? Reasonable is very rarely actual, however. These two, even though they haven't used GNS terms in the conversation, are working from base assumptions about overall play that match, based on what they know about different play styles.

Before this, they were taking two entirely seperate positions, assuming their position was the reasonable position, unaware or unable to express that the other person had other ideas about how games really work, or that there were other codified ways to play.

In fact, let's backtrack, if Bob and his GM go through much of the above conversation without having a shared vocabulary and understanding of the gamut of gaming, Bob's GM is still going to say: "That's not realistic! I won't allow it. Everyone will be doing crazy stunts, and making things up as they go along. How will I maintain creative control of the game?"

How do I know? I've seen it on dozens of lists where the ideas codified as Narrativist play are brought up without reference to GNS. It's the same reaction every time: "It's not realistic! It would sow mass chaos! I would lose control of the game! Nothing would make sense! Everyone could cheat! I couldn't keep track of it all!"

Above, however, Bob and his GM can approach the issue at its heart: Bob wants a different style of play than his GM is willing to provide, and they both know and can articulate that problem exactly like that.
This is better than, "(Listen up, bossy GM-man!) Why don't you just let me...?" "(Are you stupid? How can you miss the obvious?) It would ruin the game's realism!"
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Marco
Member

Posts: 1741


WWW
« Reply #58 on: August 03, 2003, 06:46:46 AM »

Quote from: greyorm
Holy shit...Marco, take breath. You're trying too damn hard to find the flaws, and you're either picking at nothing or making anthills into mountain chains.


No, you're missing my initial response: when you posted the conversation, I followed up immediately with this:

Quote

"Raven,

The coversation outlined is a great one.

Haven't much time now--I'm curious what GNS insights gave/would've given you by way of solution?"



My followups to Gareth were due to not being provided with exactly what you've done here. Let's look at that:

My assertion was/has always been--

1. It's not what's key for people respecting each other.

your second example of conversation without GNS shows that the two people respect each other--to the point that I'm surprised that you described the guy as a "dick of a GM" in your first example.

2. That if people are communicating as in your second example then a theory that expands the vocabulary is of benefit.

Which it is--but note that in your third (GNS-enabled) example you aren't using the vocabulary outside of the word "framing" which is applied only in the sense of a movie.

3. That it won't help if there's some other commitment to powerstruggle (in the conversation you gave, the GM did not in any way appear to me to be a "dick of a GM")

The GM might've calmly said: "As the GM, I'm going to continue to make calls as I see them. You agreed to the rules when we sat down to play and I designed the adventure. We'll play it out that way and consider revising next time."  No help there, right? I wouldn't think much of the guy but nothing about the theory makes him wrong to say that.

4. That even with the theory there will still have to be an indepth discussion about the specifics that, as in your example, doesn't use much/any jargon (framing, again, being notable--but not used in the GNS sense of scene framing).

And you didn't. You didn't say "Yo! GM-man. More Narrativism over here. And he didn't say "Oh, I get it--you have a problem with the movement rules."

Finally,
I'm unclear as to what the actual resolution was--but note that in both examples the GM cites "realism" as a factor(despite your statement that GNS would remove realism as a primary point of argument from the disagreement--and maybe it does--I can't tell whether the tactical exercise is more important to the GM than some reflection of realistic abilities--but it is still there (an expectation of Sim, right?)).

I may be missing an outcome but this is what it looks like one of the following:

1. The GNS-enabled GM despite, stating this: "I like the detailed realism because I feel it makes you think about what you can do, or what you have to do." gives up on his enjoyment of tactical play

2. Bob feels heard and respected and decides that he can continue to play even if it isn't entirely optimal.

3. There is some actual rule modification or play-style compromise made that satisfies both people (still has some element of tactical choices but allows cinematic stunts):

(And, though you dismiss it, Exalted* comprises both stunts and tactical play--I really think it'd work for these two guys from what I've seen of them if the GM doesn't switch to it under protest and Bob realizes that for the GM to be happy there will need to be some level of tactical play at some level of abstraction).

If the answer is 3, then while the theory might help both sides reach that agreement, I think a push to teach some creative-team-work social skills ("Creative teams work best when there's a willingness for compromize!") would work as well as GNS (which has a whole lot of game design that wasn't used here built into the theory).

-Marco
* and I don't know what "boiler plate" Exalted comes with, if any, but if it did say "Having fun is paramount--even over following the rules and therefore if a rule isn't working for your group, change it" that would be awfully close to a GNS dictate that says "for functional play with this game between these two people, drift will be required either at a mechanical level or at a rules-implementation level." The latter is just much harder for people to understand.
Logged

---------------------------------------------
JAGS (Just Another Gaming System)
a free, high-quality, universal system at:
http://www.jagsrpg.org
Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
Marco
Member

Posts: 1741


WWW
« Reply #59 on: August 03, 2003, 09:42:48 AM »

Quote from: greyorm

Second, I agree with everything Gareth has said so far. End.


Gareth, if I understand him correctly (and he's been pretty explicit in PM's, I think) believes you will be unable[/u] to articulate your problems without knowing GNS.

You seem well able to do so here:

Quote

Bob says: "Within reason, yeah...well, I want the game to be more like a movie than a simulation. The realistic limitations you place on movement are seriously hampering my character's ability to do anything really neat, like movie-type action stunts, showing up suddenly in the middle of combats, crashing through windows, and such. That's what I like."


and here:

Quote

Bob: "Ok, sure, it does. I'm not really into that though. I don't like detailing every move my character makes just to position him to do something."


There is, in the common parlance, a great deal of understanding of cinematic games vs. "gritty" or "realistic" ones. The concept of "like a movie" is irrelevant to GNS specifically.

This may be a bad example of a problem *requiring* GNS terminology--but I see no reason that a player who was unhappy with how the movement rules were appling to his character couldn't make a statement either *exactly* like, or incredibly similar to the above without GNS.

Of course, Gareth *also* says the GM would be unlikely/unable to give it any credence without having absorbed the theory--which you seem to be arguing as well.

That might be the case for individuals.

-Marco
Logged

---------------------------------------------
JAGS (Just Another Gaming System)
a free, high-quality, universal system at:
http://www.jagsrpg.org
Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5
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!