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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 57 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: New essay by Ron  (Read 6817 times)
Blake Hutchins
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Posts: 614


« Reply #30 on: October 17, 2001, 04:18:00 PM »

:smile:

More seriously, running that distance is certainly a challenge.  Most folks run to beat their best time, to qualify for Boston, or to prove something to themselves.  I'm in the last camp, more concerned in the race itself with finishing, but not worrying about time or competition with other runners (well, OK, I didn't want to let the blind guy pass me, but other than that...).  Not finishing would suck.  The whole point of running a marathon is to finish it.

I can certainly see the Gamism analogy.  The watch serves as a meter of progress toward the runner's goal, but that goal does vary with the runner.  Similarly, different roleplayers in a Gamist context may have different interpretations of "victory," or perhaps more pertinent, different meters of enjoyment.  All this is pretty self-evident.  What seems to be the most useful point is that the context of the starting and finishing points is common to all the runners.

Best,

Blake
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contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #31 on: October 19, 2001, 12:48:00 AM »

Quote

Win/loss condition: Can I achieve maximum power and keep my character?


At which point the argument has become circular - the gamist "premise" is now located in the mechanical system and its balance of probabilities, NOT in the premise of any proto-story such as "can I survive tonights bloodbath".

Thus, none of the listed gamist "premises" are any such animal.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #32 on: October 19, 2001, 05:09:00 AM »

If people really want to get into "are the listed Gamist premises reasonable," or, "Is there Gamism at all," and anything like that - which they evidently do - then I'd like to see an appropriately-titled post for it.

Gareth, you've posted a lot of short statements in a variety of threads recently, but have not presented an argument that I can follow ... I know there must be a coherent foundation for your points (it's you, after all), so a "Gamism" thread would be greatly appreciated.

For the record, I can't see your current objection at all. So I'm asking for clarity in a place devoted to that topic.

Best,
Ron
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #33 on: October 19, 2001, 06:54:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-10-19 04:48, contracycle wrote:
At which point the argument has become circular - the gamist "premise" is now located in the mechanical system and its balance of probabilities, NOT in the premise of any proto-story such as "can I survive tonights bloodbath".

Thus, none of the listed gamist "premises" are any such animal.


I'd like to call you on this, though. It's an interesting school of thought, and the prevailing school of thought in RPGs today, White Wolf actually being the king of espousing it. I assume you're saying (your brevity sometimes confounds this - correct me if I've misread you) that the Premise must be in the story and not in the system - that the system is rather irrelevant without a great story.

I'm the first to admit a great story is needed, but I think that it must be rooted in the system. That's really the point of discussing GNS - how can we seed the system with mechanics that explicitly reinforce the premise?

Sorcerer does this with its Humanity-balancing mechanic. The question is asked: how far will you go for power? The system quantifies this.

Dying Earth does this with its unique resolution and refresh mechanics. The idea is to create characters that aren't heroes, but are whipped up on the whims of fate - the system makes this happen.

Hell, even D&D does this. The idea is to have characters that grow ever stronger in the face evil. The system reinforces this by rewarding you whenever you slay evil in its tracks.

All of these assure that a good story - or at least the intended story for the game - is told
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Blake Hutchins
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Posts: 614


« Reply #34 on: October 19, 2001, 11:00:00 AM »

Hi Clinton,

I'm not disagreeing with you regarding the value of premise vis-a-vis reinforcing mechanics.  I am curious how you'd categorize The Pool in this discussion.  The attraction of The Pool seems to me to be its open-ended freedom for players to adapt their stories to any premise offered by the narrator.  However, I don't see The Pool providing premise-specific mechanics.

Thoughts?

Best,

Blake
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #35 on: October 19, 2001, 11:07:00 AM »

I haven't played the Pool yet, so I can't comment with any real knowledge, but from a few readings, this is what I see:

- The Monologue of Victory does not reinforce a premise, but certainly reinforces player-driven story creation. You literally could not play a game where the players expected the "world" or outside forces to control their character's destiny - their destiny is in their own hands.

- At the same time, the betting system, and the ability to get "the hose" or to lose all your dice on one roll is a great way to replicate in a system the idea of overextending yourself, or fate taking a firm hand in your fortune.

These would seem contradictory, but remember that a character can recover from the Hose by pressing himself to succeed and not taking MoV's relatively easily.

Therefore, my guess is that the Pool is great for a Premise of: How will you control your own destiny in a world of chance? Will you let your life be ruled by the whims of the world, or will you fight the hard fight in the face of Fate?

The mechanics certainly seem to support this. The type of game I'd be most likely to run with this is pulp sorcery, Fahfrd and the Grey Mouser-type action, to be specific.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
contracycle
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« Reply #36 on: October 22, 2001, 04:05:00 AM »

Quote

I'd like to call you on this, though. It's an interesting school of thought, and the prevailing school of thought in RPGs today, White Wolf actually being the king of espousing it. I assume you're saying (your brevity sometimes confounds this - correct me if I've misread you) that the Premise must be in the story and not in the system - that the system is rather irrelevant without a great story.
[/premise]

No, not precisely.

The Egrian approach to premise is located in the narrative proper.  This is why Egri places such emphasis on introducing your conflict straight away, not revealing anything which fails to support the premise, that sort of thing.  I must point out that I don't in fact think this can be ported to RPG's en bloc, and this is a secondary criticism of the espoused model.  In the Egrian sense, premises cannot be in the mechnaics.

Thus, a mechanic CANNOT have anything to do with a premise.  IT cannot support it or work against it, because the premise lies in the words spoken by the GM, the things that are described, etc etc.  The role of mechanics supporting, umm, verisimilitude used to be described as supporting genre conventions - like the lethality of .38's in Noir - but now I am to understood that genre is also passe.

Whatever we call that process - "realising the world through mechanics" perhaps - it cannot have anything to do with premise as Egri defines it.  You can/will have multiple premises in sequence set in a single world with such realised mechanics.

However, when Clinton tried to rationalise the listed gamist premises, all of his approaches analyse the mechanics.  Not one of them addresses a specific scenario or event, as Ron's initial gamist premises did ("can I survive tonights bloodbath").

Thus, I think we are trying to use two incompatible approaches to premise (one located in the narrative, one located in the mechanics).  If Clinton is right and it is the mechanics which define gamist rpemise, then Rons premises are false.  And if Ron is right, in essentially saying that a gamist premise is a framed competition (something else I dispute), then Clinton must be wrong.

I just find the whole thing completely incomprehensible.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #37 on: October 22, 2001, 05:11:00 AM »

The Egrian approach to premise is located in the narrative proper.  This is why Egri places such emphasis on introducing your conflict straight away, not revealing anything which fails to support the premise, that sort of thing.

When did Egri become the issue? Later, you say the issue is muddled - no one else brought this up that I can see. Talk about one model at a time.

However, when Clinton tried to rationalise the listed gamist premises, all of his approaches analyse the mechanics.  Not one of them addresses a specific scenario or event, as Ron's initial gamist premises did ("can I survive tonights bloodbath").

Thus, I think we are trying to use two incompatible approaches to premise (one located in the narrative, one located in the mechanics).  If Clinton is right and it is the mechanics which define gamist rpemise, then Rons premises are false.  And if Ron is right, in essentially saying that a gamist premise is a framed competition (something else I dispute), then Clinton must be wrong.


This may sound harsh on Ron, but my examples were different from his because he doesn't primarily play or enjoy Gamist games (which he admits). He and I in no way disagreed - I just have a deeper appreciation for my inner Gamist. (Not that Ron doesn't - geez, the disclaimers are getting thick lately.)

Mechanics do not define Gamist premise - they define Premise in all games which are constructed well, wherever these games may fall. I see your point that they don't have to define Premise - but I believe you'll find a game much less enjoyable if they do not.

I just find the whole thing completely incomprehensible.

This is primarily because you keep bringing new models and misapplications of quotes into the discussion - not bad things, but they tend to muddle the situation. Re-read it from the beginning, and it should refresh your memory.

And... Premise in the Pool, above, anyone? I'm interested in whether my idea holds up.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Zak Arntson
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« Reply #38 on: October 22, 2001, 06:04:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-10-22 09:11, Clinton R Nixon wrote:
Mechanics do not define Gamist premise - they define Premise in all games which are constructed well, wherever these games may fall. I see your point that they don't have to define Premise - but I believe you'll find a game much less enjoyable if they do not.


And since Mechanics and Premise (in my opinion) are heavily intertwined, it makes sense that a Gamist game would rely on competitive mechanics, and these will probably be more noticable.  A game with a N or S bent should have mechanics supporting that, though they may be less obvious if you aren't looking for them.  In Gamist games, the rules tend to stick out a little more (there's that misconception that good Gamist = more Rules, at least that's what it seems commercial games (D&D and Rune, for example) support).
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #39 on: October 22, 2001, 07:08:00 AM »

Uh, guys? I suggest that this thread has matured well past the point when it should have reproduced - perhaps to the point of metastasis. Gamism, Premises for Gamism, and so on really ought to hop into threads headed by specific issues, questions, or claims.

Many thanks,
Ron
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #40 on: October 22, 2001, 10:06:00 AM »

Quote

When did Egri become the issue? Later, you say the issue is muddled - no one else brought this up that I can see. Talk about one model at a time.


There are references to Egris discussion of premise in the initial article and in subsequent posts.

Quote

Mechanics do not define Gamist premise - they define Premise in all games which are constructed well, wherever these games may fall. I see your point that they don't have to define Premise - but I believe you'll find a game much less enjoyable if they do not.


Be that as it may, you seem to agree that my initial claim is correct: that framing the GAMIST as "tonights competition" is erroneous; it is not a gamist premise at all.

Quote

This is primarily because you keep bringing new models and misapplications of quotes into the discussion - not bad


I most certainly did not - in fact I went out and bought bloody Egri on the basis of trying to understabnd Ron's approach to premise.

Quote

And... Premise in the Pool, above, anyone? I'm interested in whether my idea holds up.


Well, personally I don't think that to say gamist games have a premise in the mechanics means anything significant, because it does not absolve us of the need to discuss premise as it occurs in an actual game, which DOES have a pseudo-narrative structure.  On the other hand, the pool appears to be heavily gamist because of the resource management structure (NOTE: not because of the presence or absence of competition), so I don't understand why it is described as intended for narrative play if System Does Matter.
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contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #41 on: October 22, 2001, 10:26:00 AM »

Quote

aren't looking for them.  In Gamist games, the rules tend to stick out a little more (there's that misconception that good Gamist = more Rules, at least that's what it seems commercial games (D&D and Rune, for example) support).


I am intrigued to see what sort of game you would propose for this gamist, who is non-competitive and a rules minimalist.
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"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
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