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Author Topic: Is Director Stance Real?  (Read 15142 times)
lumpley
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« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2001, 03:44:00 PM »

Fang,
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lumpley
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« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2001, 04:11:00 PM »

pblock,
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IIUC the key to the Stances is the character. Director may be an outgrowth of AUthor stance, but the reason they are two separate stances is how they relate to the PC.

That is how it is currently defined, IIUC too.

I think.  Your example isn't quite clear, becuase you do two things in the same step: create a chandelier, and take an action.  In Ron's example, Bertie just stands there with his mouth open while the crate (which Ron didn't create) falls.  Ron uses "Director Stance" to have the crate take an action.

I'm proposing that "Director Stance" isn't a stance at all.  It doesn't say what basis you use to make decisions.  It describes what you make decisions about, unlike the three other stances.  I think it would be better to make that explicit, rather than leaving it invisible in an illusory stance.

It doesn't change the way you play.  It definitely doesn't change the way, say, Elfs works.  The difference is that instead of saying "in Elfs, the players may take Director Stance," you say, "in Elfs, the players may take Actor, Author and Pawn Stance toward things outside of their characters."

-lumpley Vincent
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lumpley
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« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2001, 04:14:00 PM »

Mike,
Quote
Player: There is a chandelier in the room.

What is that? Just creating something not at all in relation to the character.


Dunno.  What is it when you create your character?  Same thing, probably.  Exercising creative (as opposed to editorial or something) control on the game world.

-lumpley Vincent
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2001, 04:22:00 PM »

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lumpley
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« Reply #34 on: October 18, 2001, 05:40:00 PM »

Hey All.

I'm going to summarize and restate my position.  Bear with me.

As they are currently defined, the stances apply pretty much only to the non-GM players of traditional games.  I think that it would be a. profitable and b. extremely easy to expand the definitons so that they apply to every roleplayer.

Here are the old definitions:

Actor Stance - making decisions about your character based only on in-game considerations.

Pawn Stance - making decisions about your character based only on metagame considerations.

Author Stance - making decisions about your character based on metagame considerations, but in such a way that they are justified by in-game considerations.

Director Stance - making decisions about other things in the game world than your character.

All good, so far?

Here are my proposed new definitions:

Actor Stance - making decisions about [X] based only on in-game considerations.

Pawn Stance - making decisions about [X] based only on metagame considerations.

Author Stance - making decisions about [X] based on metagame considerations, but in such a way that they are justified by in-game considerations.

Where [X] is whatever element of the game world you're making decisions about.  [X] is usually your character, but it might also be the weather, the thieves' guild, your character's horsie, God, or anything else that exists in the game*.

Expanding the existing definitions in this way makes Director Stance simply disappear.  It's covered.

So yes, it's b. easy, but is it a. profitable?

Right now we have a rich, fun, contested, powerful way to talk about what players do in a one-player-one-character limited-power-sharing game.  If we adopt my definitions, we'll have a rich, fun, contested, powerful way to talk about what every player does in every game.  Sounds good to me.

*(Not that you automatically have the right to make decisions about God or your character's horsie.  Who gets to make decisions about what is a different issue.)

-lumpley Vincent

Thanks to Valamir for introducing [X].


[ This Message was edited by: lumpley on 2001-10-18 21:53 ]
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lumpley
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« Reply #35 on: October 18, 2001, 05:50:00 PM »

Oh and Laurel, I think you've got it, except that it's about making decisions about things, not just creating them.  The decision might be that it exists, it might also be that it moves or anything else.

-lumpley Vincent

One day I'll remember to write one post addressing everyone instead of every post addressing one one.  Sorry, All.
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #36 on: October 18, 2001, 07:04:00 PM »

Hey Vincent,

Actor Stance - making decisions about [X] based only on in-game considerations.

Pawn Stance - making decisions about [X] based only on metagame considerations.

Author Stance - making decisions about [X] based on metagame considerations, but in such a way that they are justified by in-game considerations.


I like these definitions quite a bit. They're lean and clean.

But there's something that was part of my personal understanding of stances that I think I lose with your new definitions. Stances to me were always a resource that the player had for demonstrating character significance. The stances a game permitted to a player were delimiters of what he could do on behalf of his character's significance. So a player, whether game-limited or self-limited to Actor stance, would demonstrate character significance only through in-character considerations. And a player, whether game-limited or self-limited to Actor+Author stances, would demonstrate character significance only through in-character considerations and through out-of-character considerations that could be justified as in-character considerations. And in the context of a Narrativist game, where significance equals protagonism, the player using Director stance has far-ranging power that extends well beyond in-character considerations, but it is still limited. The limit of his Director power is the protagonism of the other player characters. He absolutely cannot kill other player characters, or ruin or deprotagonize them in some way, by killing their significant foils or whatever.

Stances to me were always less about what they allow the player to do than about where they draw the line. And that Director stance limit at margin of other characters' protagonism was way significant to my thinking.

Paul
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lumpley
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« Reply #37 on: October 19, 2001, 02:43:00 AM »

Paul,

Awesome.  That's cool stuff.

I don't think -- that is, I don't think -- that my definitions will cost you that.  [X] can specifically include or exclude the other characters' protagonism.

My observations in support of my definitions are almost entirely from GM-shared games.  The GM of your game, if you follow me, also limits her directoral power, drawing the line at the characters' protagonism just as the non-GMs do.

My definitions don't automatically include that limit, no, and if Stance needs to, then they fail.  But they include a place for that limit and a way to talk about it, and recognize that that limit may not be universal across roleplaying.

Again, the issue of who actually gets to make decisions about what -- which [X]s are available to which players -- is a separate one.  The next one in line, I hope.  My goal with this thread is to establish a framework for talking about how Getting To Make Decisions gets shared out and exercised from game to game.

-lumpley Vincent



[ This Message was edited by: lumpley on 2001-10-19 06:58 ]
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #38 on: October 19, 2001, 05:02:00 AM »

Quote
lumpley wrote:

Quote
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #39 on: October 19, 2001, 06:37:00 AM »

I think Fang, that you may be right in a way. This is why I want to move to something like roles or behaviors. What I think everyone wants is a model that looks at all sorts of things that go on in RPGs. For example I can identify the following behaviors.

Audience - observing, but otherwise not-participating
Actor - making decisions for any character, IC.
Author - making decisions for any character, OOC.
Director - creating or motivating things other than characters.

The thing is that, as Vincent points out, there are actually two things going on. What is being affected and the perspective that it is being affected from. This should be specified.

Also, There is no particular reason to fight with the Stance model. We'll call these "Behaviors" and change the terms for clarity.

So:

Audience* Behavior - soley observing, not making in-game changes.
Character Behavior - making decisions regarding any character.
Object Behavior - making decisions regarding anything other than a character.

Then there is the Perspective from which the Behavior is occuing.

Audience Behavior has no special Perspectives as it is passive.

Character Behavior can have IC or OOC or Non-Charater (Pawn) Perspective.

Object Behavior can have OOC or Non-Character Perspective.

Howzat? This should cover traditional GM behaviors as well.

BTW, then Power is defined by this model as mechanics or metagame that empower a player (including GMs) to employ a particular behavior from a certain perspective.

Mike

*Since there is no Audience Stance as stance is defined, we can use it for this purpose.

[ This Message was edited by: Mike Holmes on 2001-10-19 10:39 ]
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lumpley
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« Reply #40 on: October 19, 2001, 01:12:00 PM »

Fang,

Ah.  You're saying that there are only two things on which you can base your decisions about things in a game: 1. your identification with the thing as a character, or 2. metagame concerns.  Right?  If you don't identify with something, you can't make decisions about it based on only in-game considerations?

I think I agree with you, when it comes to it.  That's certainly how I talk about it casually with my friends.  But -- let me think a little.

-lumpley Vincent
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #41 on: October 19, 2001, 03:22:00 PM »

To simplify:

Quote
Mike Holmes wrote:

I want to move to something like roles or behaviors.

Audience Behavior, Character Behavior, Object Behavior...can have IC or OOC or Non-Character Perspective.

"Maestro, I say, right on!"
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #42 on: October 19, 2001, 11:23:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-10-19 10:37, Mike Holmes wrote:

The thing is that, as Vincent points out, there are actually two things going on. What is being affected and the perspective that it is being affected from. This should be specified.



To play Devil's advocate here, why should this be specified?  We can have a definition for the term and then use that term regardless of the symmetry of the terms.  The alternative is to have clunky terms like "In-Character Specific Motivation" or the like.

The reason the Stances were looked at and defined because they are Stances people actually take when they sit at a gaming table.  The currently debated Audience Stance being the oddball of the lot.  It's got it's own thread but I don't think simply observing is a worthwhile Stance to name.  That's bringing more meaning to the term "Audience" from the original word that the other three stances bring from their respective root words.

One key element to the Stances as they're defined is the character, or more specificly, your player character as we describe a Stances you can assume.

The first stance, and most obvious, is to player from the perspective of your character.  The tools you have at hand to interact with the environment are whatever your character has.  You see what your character sees.  You are able to do what your character is able to do.  But the important thing is you are pretending to be your character.  This is role-playing in the strictest sense of the word.  It is called Actor Stance since you must "act" like your character, or rather to act as your character would act.

An outgrowth from this Stance has the same interactive toolbox at hand as Actor Stance.  You are only able to see and do things your character is able to do but less focus is placed on the "let's pretend" game of acting like your character.  Instead, the motivation comes from the player.  The player's desires for what they wish their character to do take the forefront.  A player using this stance can justify their actions by figuring out why their character is taking the actions they desire, but not always.  This Stance is called Author Stance to show a level of control that is in a way above the Actor Stance, or that the control is not in-character but out-of-character.  Pawn Stance is used to describe this stance when the retroactive step of justifying the actions to the character is not taken.

The progression here appears to be moving away from the character.  Going from in-character decision making in Actor to out-of character decisions in Actor and Pawn.  The next step is control over the environment.  This Stance has a whole range of effectiveness from only being able to effect the environment in relation to tyour own player character to effecting the environment in scenes your character is not present in.

GM's traditionally tend to have the furthest extreme of power in what is known as Director Stance.  This is because the players may be using Actor Stance and they may not have a player character to use Actor, Author, or Pawn Stance with themselves.

Non-player characters are part of the environment and are subject to control in Director Stance.

Audience Stance has been suggested and continues to be debated.  The problem is it is either described as a form of "non-stance" or any properties  it can have attributed to it can easily be attributed to one of the other stances, usually Author or Director.    

The real question seems to be as-to whether it actually exists or not.  A valid question.  No sense naming and defining something that is never done.

Yet it is possible.  All it really needs is a good game or two to make use of it.  Once it starts to become a bit more common, acceptance will follow  (if it exists, of course)

That's all well and good, but what is it?  

I suggest it may have a relationship with Actor Stance similar to the relationship between Author and Pawn and Director Stance.  Director Stance can be sen as Author or Pawn Stance without the player character.  In all three, the player is enacting their desires on the game.  Director Stance does this to the environment, and does not require the player character.  It is possible to be in Director Stance without a player character, but impossible to be in Author or Pawn Stance without one.

Actor Stance without the player character is tricky since Actor Stance is so focused on the player character.  Mainly it would mean a lack of the ability to actively effect the environment as you could in Director Stance and interaction with the environment is limited since most the tools for interaction are with the now absent player character.  Essentially you'd have a floating camera observing the scene, listening and , yes, smelling, feeling and tasting even though there is no camera in the world that does this (that I know of).

But simple passive observing isn't worth a Stance.  An active passive observance is needed.  Imagine that camera is able to look around and focus on whatever the player wishes, although they still view the entire scene.  It is the only thing the player has control over in this stance.  The player can focus the camera the same way a player in Actor Stance can focus his character's attention.  The player asks the GM, or whichever player is in control of the scene.

The unique feature of both Actor and Audience Stance is how this passive obvservation cal have a profound effect on the scene.  Untill the player asks what color the carpet is, there may not have been a carpet.  Usually this is just filling in details but details can add color to an otherwise flat scene.

This should not be confused with shared Stances, like Shared Author or Pawn Stance where another player can ask you to have your player character check for traps or a similar action.  Sharing Stances hasn't been fully discussed but it should not be confused with Audience Stance.

But I'm rambling.  This is how I'm seeing the Stances at this time and how I understand Ron's article.  TBH I don't see any reason to tamper with it.  What works, works.

This is also the best description and bid for an Audience Stance yet.  Most rebuttals of this Stance usually points out that anything done in Audience Stance can actually be done in another stance.  To this I say, perhaps, but it is also possible to lump all three Stances together using that same kind thinking.  It's not the similarities that make the Stances, but the differences.  The question is what unique perspective or limitations are placed on the player (voluntarily place, mind you) defines a Stance.  Audience Stance could be confused with shared Director Stance, and someone using Audience Stance can drift back and forth, but the unique collection of attributes, (and frequency of occurance) is what makes it a separate Stance.

Homer sleep now.

[ This Message was edited by: pblock on 2001-10-20 03:26 ]
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lumpley
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« Reply #43 on: October 20, 2001, 04:10:00 AM »

pblock,
The current definitions do work, as I said, when you're describing the player side of a conventional one-player-one-character limited-power-sharing game.  That's what they were invented to describe.  That's cool.  That's not the kind of game we all play.  Expanding the definitions gives them much broader power for relatively little effort(*).
Quote
Non-player characters are part of the environment and are subject to control in Director Stance.

Ah, wait.  I think you're conjoining two things here.  a. On what basis you make decisions about your characters, and b. Who adjudicates / interprets / makes real the decisions you make.  (At least, that's how I can make sense of your statement.  I'm no doubt completely wrong.)

When I play NPCs, I spend most to all my time in Actor or Author stance, undeniably, except that I decide when and whether to roll dice for them, or if they simply succeed, or whatever.

If your definitions of the Stances include issues of adjudication -- and I think they might, unexamined -- best to make them explicit.

-lumpley Vincent


(*And I think there's one answer for you, Fang, Mike.  I agree with you, and I do this little process when I'm writing where I translate what I actually think into Stance-speak, which is dumb.  But expanding the current definitions gives them more power for little effort, and switching to better definitions, while even more powerful, would take much much more effort.  I think I'd rather move forward than start over.)

[ This Message was edited by: lumpley on 2001-10-20 08:28 ]
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Ampersand
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« Reply #44 on: October 20, 2001, 12:55:00 PM »

lumpley wrote: I'm proposing that "Director Stance" isn't a stance at all.  It doesn't say what basis you use to make decisions.  It describes what you make decisions about, unlike the three other stances.  I think it would be better to make that explicit, rather than leaving it invisible in an illusory stance.

I don't exactly disagree, Lumpley, but I'm curious about this.  Why do all stances have to be "what you make decisions about?" to qualify as stances?  Until you establish this (and maybe you already did and I missed it), your argument doesn't hang together.

If I pre-heat the stove, chop up food, place food in the pan, and then put the pan-with-food in the oven, someone could say "well, it doesn't make sense to say all those things are cooking, because they all involve handling food except for pre-heating.  QED, pre-heating is not a part of cooking."

Even if I do agree with you that all distinctions between stances must be distinctions in "what basis is used to make decisions," that doesn't leave you with a clear case.  You keep on calling "Pawn" and "author" separate stances, but there is no difference in "what basis" is used to make these decisions - only in how the decision, which has an identical basis in pawn and author, is justified.  This contradicts your claim that the only valid stances are those distinguished by "what basis."

And nice to see you again, Vince. :wink:

Amp
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