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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 82 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: player character premises  (Read 4943 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2001, 01:32:00 PM »

Well, first off, I don't know that Character Premise is technically in the Narrativist lexicon. This may have nothing to do with Ron's Premise With A Big P other than the acccidental use of that word.

OTOH, they certainly seem similar. The idea could be that each player could have his own big Premise. The problem with this, of course, is that of keeping the play together. If everyone has their own Premise, then there may be little reason to keep the players together.

The Hegelian Synthesis here seems pretty straightforward as described by Blake. Ron has always said that if you have a Premise then the character response to it generates theme (but interestingly has never said why this should occur, IIRC). So, in this case, Character Premise is something that opposes the Game Premise in a Hegelian sense. Thesis and Antithesis. The collision acts to produce the Theme. Synthesis. This fits very well with Ron's observations. In Ron's game Sorcerer, he has things called Kickers and other mechanics for Goals. These are the Character Premises that we are talking about. So all the elements are present in Sorcerer for Hegelian Sythesis to do its work and create theme. Theoretcally.

This sort of formalization of the theory gets me thinking about how I can cause this sort of Synthesis or others. The Synthetic process is, to me, a powerful natural tool for creation. Always been my opinion. Take evolution for example.

Anyhow, there are probably here many people on The Forge who can speak to this a bit more eloquently. Ron, obviously, or Paul, many others. I am known as the resident Simulationist (or perhaps Simulationist proponent as I like all three modes, really). So I don't have down the Narrativist theory quite as well as they do.

I'm just here a lot. :smile:

Mike
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2001, 01:58:00 PM »

Hmmm... Thinking about it further. If we really tryy to employ Hegelian logic, then the Thesis and Antithesis, in this case the Character Premise, and the Game Premise should be opposites. Or, more precisely, things which deny each other, but do not deny unity. Most opposites fall into this category. Good and Evil, for example. So the classic example would be that of the Good character against the Evil game. Which we know works.

So, might this be useful in propelling plot? Should the player (with the help of the GM if necessary) select a Character Premise that is an opposite of the Game Premise? If this was to be a methodology, then the game premise would not be presented as a question so much as a object to be opposed. So, Ron's standard Sorcerer Premise, "What would you do for power?" becomes what? Compromise for Power. Which can be opposed by what? Uncompromising?

Hmmm...

Mike
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Blake Hutchins
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Posts: 614


« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2001, 05:01:00 PM »

Speaking in terms of story, the antithesis presents a substantial and immediate obstacle to the thesis, but I don't think  it needs to be the exact opposite of the thesis.  A story could present a series of theses, antitheses, and syntheses en route to the final outcome.

For purposes of a game, I'd focus on whether there's substantial, meaningful conflict between thesis and antithesis, i.e., is there conflict between the character's goals or values and the milieu or situation the character is placed in?  Obviously this conflict can be purely physical, or it can be layered with a great deal of emotional and psychological subtlety.  In my opinion, Ron's description of Kickers drives at having players create characters who hit the ground running, characters in motion within the story who face some kind of opposition or obstacle that generates conflict.

Any of you who are better versed in Hegelian theory can probably put this better than I did.

Best,

Blake
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2001, 08:34:00 AM »

I am presently working on what amounts to an essay on the potential applications of the dialectic, more specifically dialectical materialism, to RPG, with specific attention paid to premise and necessarily character development.  But I have not been able to complete it today.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2001, 09:03:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-10-23 12:34, contracycle wrote:
I am presently working on what amounts to an essay on the potential applications of the dialectic, more specifically dialectical materialism, to RPG, with specific attention paid to premise and necessarily character development.  But I have not been able to complete it today.


That's kinda funny. Like saying, "hey, I just started writing Das Capital, but I won't have it done today".

Hey, if it helps, take two days.  :wink:

But seriously, sounds interesting, and I look forward to reading it.

Mike
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