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Author Topic: Gamism and Premise  (Read 18076 times)
Clinton R. Nixon
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« on: October 22, 2001, 10:56:00 AM »

contracycle (Gareth, I believe?) and I have been having a pretty spirited discussion in the "New essay by Ron" thread about where Premise comes from in Gamist RPGs.

Here's a quick breakdown so far of points argued:

Premise
Me: I think Premise has to be embedded in the mechanics of any game to work well.
Gareth: Premise is a quasi-narrative thing that exists only in the context of the storyline.

Gamism
Me: The focus of gamism is some sort of competition, whether it be player v. player, player v. GM, or player v. character (internal).
Gareth: Gamism is based on resource management.

Until this second problem is resolved, the first is almost moot. Resource management does however fall within what I've said. I think this is an interesting element to watch, actually, because it's a Gamist mechanic that shows up everywhere. The example I used before in the 'New essay by Ron' thread was Sorcerer, actually, as the balancing of Humanity and power is a very rigorous example of a Gamist mechanic that works well within a game usually considered Narrativist.

Where I think things go astray when talking about Gamism is that there's a bunch of battered people out there that enjoy Gamism, but have been vilified by someone else. That is, they might play Sorcerer, or The Pool, or Dying Earth or whatever, but what they enjoy is the resource management aspects.

Now, if there were a game that focused solely on this sort of internal competition, that would be a great Gamist RPG, and should appeal to these people, right?

Wrong.

Why? They've been told they were wrong over and over, that these games are only for 'hack'n'slash,' which is a bad thing in this context. This is why I don't eat Play-Doh. I love the stuff, but I've been told so many times it's not food that I'm conditioned to think so.

It's not bad to have an RPG focused on game rather than story. Dispel the concept.

That said, is Premise in any game, Gamist or not, seated in the mechanics?

Let's say it's not for a moment. If Premise is solely in the narrative, let's use the ever-so-prevalent vampire example. The GM establishes a premise of "Is power more precious than relationships?" The story concerns three 20-somethings changed into vampires overnight, and thrust forward into a heady world where money flows, blood is passed around as easily as cocaine, and everything they ever wanted is theirs. Except the people they once knew, now alienated from their vampiric lives.

Great set-up. If Premise is not in the mechanics, let's say we're using Vampire. Now the time comes to reinforce the Premise. The GM wants to give a character the chance to save his mortal mother at the cost of destroying himself. The scenario will be that his mother's car overturns near the character's apartment. The character could rush out and pull his mother from the wreckage - but would be hurt and possibly die from the fires, as well as the fact that he would expose himself as a vampire.

In Vampire, here's what happens:
 - The character sees the accident. He decides whether or not to save his mother.
 - The fire scares vampires. Roll to see if you frenzy. If you do, you'll probably start eating people.
 - If not, you try to lift the car. Take damage from the fire. You can't do anything about this damage, so you may die here.
 - If you don't die, are you strong enough to lift the car? If you're not the right type of vampire, maybe not - and the longer you take, the more of a chance you'll die. Statistically, you'll probably die or freak out before you can save anyone.

Now what if this premise were rooted in mechanics? I'll have to make a fictional system, so watch carefully.

In System V, as I call it, you have a few stats:

- Blood Pool
- Humanity
- Will

These are rolled against each other, much like Sorcerer. The only difference is that Blood Pool has a maximum value and goes up and down. To use a Power, you allocate as many Blood Dice as you want. You roll that many dice, and if successful, it works. However, all non-successful dice are subtracted from your Blood Pool.

You also have a list of Powers - vampiric traits you have that you can use. This might look like: Strength, Speed, Mist Form.

Ok, here's the play-by-play:

- The character sees his mother. Roll maximum Blood Pool (your vampiric-ness) vs. Humanity. If Humanity wins, you manage to care.
- The fire and flipping the car over are one scene. The difficulty to flip a car is 5 dice + 1 more because of all the flame. You spend all 6 dice out of your blood pool, and the GM gives you a bonus of +1 for your screams and shouts (good roleplaying) and +1 for your personal investment - your mother. That's a good chance, and the kicker is - you just spent all your Blood Pool. You will pass out or possibly die here - after you flip the car.

This was kind of contrived, but I think brings a point home - Premise exists in all games, and is a point of the story. However, Premise backed up and seated in mechanics is much more powerful of a tool.

Next post: how to identify Premise in Gamist RPGs, and how to create one with strong Premise.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
jburneko
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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2001, 12:23:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-10-22 14:56, Clinton R Nixon wrote:
Gamism
Me: The focus of gamism is some sort of competition, whether it be player v. player, player v. GM, or player v. character (internal).
Gareth: Gamism is based on resource management.


I think I'll jump in here and say that I agree with Clinton.  And I think the most prevelant form of Gamism is Player vs. Scenario with the GM acting as Referee.  I will agree with Gareth to an extent that resource management can be a big PART of Gamism but it by no means defines Gamism.

A well designed gamist scenario is VERY VERY VERY hard to pull off because it requires an incredible amount of attention dedicatted to detail.  Particularly physical detail.  For example it's not enough to simply draw a map and slap down some monsters, treasures and traps.  If you do this you are in fact relying on a kind of dungeon resource vs. player resource model to provide all the entertainment.  I know, because this is the extent of my patience of gamist design and my D&D games all follow this model.  The result is I never repeat a monster because my game solely relies on overcoming a specific monster's abilities.  Once you've figured out how to do that most effectively, whats the point of ever fighting that monster again?

GOOD gamist design however relies on clever variations on a theme often combining monsters that compliment each other abilitywise in particularly nasty ways or even better getting the terrain involved.

In one of the few moments of gamist inspiration on my part I came up with this situation:

The party had traveled to a place known as the Temple of Time.  The clerics who live here are responsible for making sure time continues to flow in a linear fashion.  While in the main chamber the party was attacked by an Evil Black Knight figure.  Now normally this would just have been a fight inside a temple and indeed it would have been Black Knight resources vs. Player Resources if that's all it were.  BUT I added the following element: There were 4 Clerics walking in concentric circles around the room.  If any of these clerics were disturbed then the linear nature of time would be disrupted.  So, all the players had their initiative point, the Knight had his initiative point but the clerics ALSO had their initiative point.  So, part of the challenge of the scene was not only to defeat the knight but to make sure no one was standing in the way of the clerics come their initiative point.  Suddenly all those minitures made sense to me.

So you see the added element of dodging the non-hostile clerics has NOTHING to do with resource management and yet a great deal of the Gamist challenge comes from that element in this scene.  I also think that a lot of the fun in Gamism requires this ability to basically present the same situation repeatedly but with enough variation to significantly change the strategy needed to overcome the obstacle.  

And to some extent this gets back to Clinton's other assertion of Premise needing to be in the mechanics.  I don't think just managing the resource of Humanity in Sorcerer is enough to hold the Gamists attention.  I think that element is what satisfies the little gamist in us all but I don't think it would satisfy the player who holds Gamism as his priority.  To satisfy the gamist the rules have to support that variation on a theme thing I'm talking about.  Watching humanity going up and down is going to eventually bore the gamist if that's all he's using to measure win/loss conditions.  But something like D&D3E where we have all kinds of feats and physical movement rules and spells and special case combat rules, ultimately has the necessary tools to create a solid gamist scenario.

Sure, arena fights are interesting but good gamist design will have more than just arena fight after arena fight.  It will have fights among circling clerics.  Or just plain tricky terrain based cliffs to scale.  Well laid out keep plans with thuroughly thought out guard patterns.  And so on.

Jesse
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2001, 12:51:00 PM »

Hmmm. I'm not entirely sure that what Clinton has above are Gareth's arguments precisely. Maybe they are, and I'm mistaken. However, I hope that we can get some clarification from him before proceeding. Even if these are his opinions, they seem to have been stripped of quite a lot of context.

Gareth, would you care to elaborate?

Mike
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Bankuei
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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2001, 02:16:00 PM »

  Gamist design appeals to the strategist in me.  I can't deny I love playing mech games, micromanaging and designing the mech for maximum efficiency.  I guess it goes in the same line as fantasy football, and the perfect team, or people who tweek out their cars.  When it comes to the gameplay tho, I prefer lite rules, maximum focus on tactics, and quick play.
   The Narrativist in me loves story, and the Gamist loves a challenge.  The strategist loves the resource management, but in effect, strategy is always about finding the most efficient use of resources or abilities within a given set of rules/restrictions.
   You can definitely see the Gamist rules in all Whitewolf games, since they all include some "power" stat(Blood pool, Gnosis, Arete, Quantum, etc) and a "corruption" stat(Loss of Humanity, Rage, Paradox, Taint) both which are linked, usually the bad one in to the abuse of the power.
    Gamist rules are more than resource management, its always about hard decisions(which class?  Which skills?  Which feats?).  There's always satisfaction to having chosen wisely with one's character creation and equipment, just like building a good magic deck.
    The gamist part comes in with,"If you can only be good at A,B, or C, which do you pick?", and trying to make it work, regardless of your choice.

Just some thoughts from a bipolar Narrativist/Gamist :smile:

Bankuei
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Don Lag
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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2001, 09:27:00 PM »

I just had to comment that the cleric dodging in the Temnple of Time situation IS a resource management problem. The resource to manage just doesn't get much attention paid to it in most D&D games. This is, of course, Space. (Space and Time, funny).

See, the problem is defeating the Black Knight. There is a limited resource which is Space (or mobility if you will), you can't use ALL of the Space at ANY given time. So you have to figure out how to manage it.

I'm not sure if resource management is actually a Something that might or not be present in a given situation/context. Rather, it seems to me, that resource management is a way of dealing with any given situation/context. So it would actually reside in the observer, not it the actual phenomenon.

My two cents.
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Matt Machell
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2001, 12:39:00 AM »

Quote

"Is power more precious than relationships?"


This whole thing interests me, because to my mind what you're describing is the Theme of the individual GMs story rather than the Premise of the entire game.

Are you saying that say, White Wolf should design their game so that only "Is power more precious than relationships?" can be explored? What about the people who want to explore other ideas?

It's a bit like saying an episode of Star Trek explores "Is power more precious than relationships?" so the basic Premise of the series should include that.

Just my thoughts.

Matt

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contracycle
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2001, 02:27:00 AM »

Bankuei expresses a number of my interests in the Gamist approach to play.  So anyway, lets tackle some of the initial points.

Firstly, I am not denying the presence of a competitve strand of gamism; but I think that, for example, the resource management issue is a parralel way that gamists can enjoy a game.  Furthermore, the absence of an easily framed comeptition can itself be part of the "competition", in the sense that "picking your fights" may also be a part of the game.  Sometimes the most succesful strategy is to stop competing.

I think that the RPG gamist has already delberately selected a form of play which values cooperation much more than competition, and this adds to my concerns about describing gamist play as competitive.  I like Don Lag's phrasing of a "problem" which needs to be resolved, and I think it would be more constructive to see gamism in the light of problem soolving behaviour rather than competitive bahviour (makes sense to me anyway - I do technical support for a living).

The issue over premise is separate matter IMO, and in fact I am very surprised to see these issues conflated with one another.  I think it must necessarily be the case that  premise, as Ron has mostly discussed it, is necessarily a property of a story.  Hence I don't see it appearing in the mechanics at all, although it is true that the terms of the competition, or as I prefer, the variables in the problem, are delineated by the mechanical system.

However, I think a significant part of the draw of RPG to gamists is the fact that, like life, the problem is not clearly understood, bounded and known.  Hence, a big part of the problem is identifying, or prehaps selecting, the problem you intend to tackle itself.  Its that old saw about the inferior general who fights to win, where the superior general wins before they fight.  This element of strategy is I feel somehat ignored if we think of the conflict we are establishing as bounded and explicit.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2001, 06:45:00 AM »

OK, finaly we get the word from the horses mouth.

Quote

On 2001-10-23 06:27, contracycle wrote:
Bankuei expresses a number of my interests in the Gamist approach to play.  So anyway, lets tackle some of the initial points.

Firstly, I am not denying the presence of a competitve strand of gamism; but I think that, for example, the resource management issue is a parralel way that gamists can enjoy a game.  Furthermore, the absence of an easily framed comeptition can itself be part of the "competition", in the sense that "picking your fights" may also be a part of the game.  Sometimes the most succesful strategy is to stop competing.


I think that the above clears up half of the argument by itself. Gamists have as much range as anyone else. I think everyone can agree to that.

Quote

I think that the RPG gamist has already delberately selected a form of play which values cooperation much more than competition, and this adds to my concerns about describing gamist play as competitive. I like Don Lag's phrasing of a "problem" which needs to be resolved, and I think it would be more constructive to see gamism in the light of problem soolving behaviour rather than competitive behaviour (makes sense to me anyway - I do technical support for a living).


Well, then this is just a problem of POV. Collaborative problem solving where the problem is the scenario is called competition with the scenario by others. These things don't really conflict. It's just the angle that you're looking at it from.

Is it your opinion that competition is derrogatory or inaccurate in this sense? I suggest that competition is being offered in the broadest of senses here soley for the purpose of finding a unifying factor. If "problem solving" were substituted for competition, would you be all right with the definition?

This is the important factor to Gamism, the idea of the player gaining his satisfaction from the rating of relative success. Did we compete well, did we solve the problem or make a good attempt? Gamism must necessarily be defined by this factor (whatever you call it) to distinguish it from the other modes. A Simulationist can certainly play a character bent on solving, competing, winning. And to the extent that he chooses to play such characters, this may indicate a Gamist slant. What makes a particular decision Simulationist, however, is the motivation behind it. A Gamist will play the character so that the outcome is positive from that solving, competitive, whatever angle. The Simulationist will only do this if he thinks that it is "realistic". In other words, a Simulationist will do the wrong thing from a competition or solving angle, if he thinks it is what the character would do.

I, for example, like to occasionally play characters who are much dumber than I. I like to see them mess up and do the wrong thing, even if the character has a desire to problem solve. I just see it as a truer simulation. If I were a gamist, I'd put those considerations aside in order to try and have the character perform better in the situation, to solve the problem, or to compete more effectively.

This is the line between Gamism and Simulationism. Realize that I feel that many, if not most players shift back and forth over this line constantly. They play to win one minute, and the next go for an interesting portrayal by doing something untactical but in-character. This describes most of my players precisely. And they have lots of fun with it.

Much fewer are the players who only play to solve the scenario, or only to remain true to the character and setting.

Quote

The issue over premise is separate matter IMO, and in fact I am very surprised to see these issues conflated with one another.  I think it must necessarily be the case that  premise, as Ron has mostly discussed it, is necessarily a property of a story.  Hence I don't see it appearing in the mechanics at all, although it is true that the terms of the competition, or as I prefer, the variables in the problem, are delineated by the mechanical system.


Well, I think in the essay that Ron was trying to conflate certain things. He was expanding the term Premise beyond it's usual Narrativist/Literature definition, to mean that thing which attracts that player to the particular game. For Narrativists, then, these are that same old thing. For Gamists and Simulationists, the "Premises" are the rules or setting hooks or whatever that draw players in.

Perhaps he would have done better to create a new term like "hook" or something that would indicate these things, and left Premise only to mean Narrativist hook. Note that a game can have all three types of hooks, and many games do. The problem is that the system will usually only support one of these hooks well, leaving the GM on his opwn to support the others.

Quote

However, I think a significant part of the draw of RPG to gamists is the fact that, like life, the problem is not clearly understood, bounded and known.  Hence, a big part of the problem is identifying, or prehaps selecting, the problem you intend to tackle itself.  Its that old saw about the inferior general who fights to win, where the superior general wins before they fight.  This element of strategy is I feel somehat ignored if we think of the conflict we are establishing as bounded and explicit.


I'd agree with you that the "competitive framework" or "problem to be solved" can be diffuse and still be compelling. But that doesn't deny it's existence. It just characterizes the particular framework.

One of my favorite board games right now is 1830. What I like about it is that there is no clear strategy. The strategy constantly shifts with play. You can't start the game out saying, "I'm going to do this because it will win." That just doesn't work. Which is cool. Yes, shifting targets and obsucre goals can be a very interesting part of the problem to be solved.

Hope some of this helps somehow.

Mike
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Marco
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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2001, 07:18:00 AM »

I've got some comments on Premise being rooted in mechanics:

1. Can a specific example of a specific rule screwing up a specific scene invalidate a whole premise? (what if the car plunged into a deep pool and everyone knew the vampire character couldn't swim? Say it was filled with pirannahs ...)

2. If my premise was Navy Seals beat Rangers hands down in small unit fire-fights I'd better have a system that really does a job of detailing the differences, I agree, but for Vampire themes of alienation? What if in System V the character hadn't taken Strength as a power and tried to lift the car (or the game designer had overlooked, say, a Show Up In Mirror power that a GM wanted to have a vampire have?). That doesn't mean the system's failing, it means the GM should consider his scenes a little more carefully.

3. If what we're saying is that the game has to walk-its-talk, I agree: VtM shouldn't make vampires that can be hosed with a few SMG shots ... (and I *don't* like the whole aggrivated damage thing) but that's a simulation thing ... I don't see it as a premise thing.


-Marco

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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2001, 08:29:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-10-23 11:18, Marco wrote:
I've got some comments on Premise being rooted in mechanics:

1. Can a specific example of a specific rule screwing up a specific scene invalidate a whole premise? (what if the car plunged into a deep pool and everyone knew the vampire character couldn't swim? Say it was filled with pirannahs ...)


Probably not. But the example is demonstrative of the sort of problem that many of us see with how mechanics handle game premise. If the mechanics repeatedly work against a Premise, then there is a problem.

Quote

2. If my premise was Navy Seals beat Rangers hands down in small unit fire-fights I'd better have a system that really does a job of detailing the differences, I agree, but for Vampire themes of alienation? What if in System V the character hadn't taken Strength as a power and tried to lift the car (or the game designer had overlooked, say, a Show Up In Mirror power that a GM wanted to have a vampire have?). That doesn't mean the system's failing, it means the GM should consider his scenes a little more carefully.


Nobody said that the GM was uninportant or couldn't screw tings up too. Just what you said: the system should do what it can to support the Premise. And, yes, I am of the belief that a mechanic can support something like alienation if designed right. More obviously, a particular se of mechanics can certainly work against something like that. The minimum requirement for narrativist success of a system in this regard is that it should stay out of the way. Better though is to have the system actually facilitate.

Quote

3. If what we're saying is that the game has to walk-its-talk, I agree: VtM shouldn't make vampires that can be hosed with a few SMG shots ... (and I *don't* like the whole aggrivated damage thing) but that's a simulation thing ... I don't see it as a premise thing.


Again, this is just semantics. Ron speaks of Premises for Simulationist games meaning exactly what you mention. What you have pointed out is a problem with Vampire's Simulationist Premise (getting to play a Vampire). The game is even worse when it comes to supporting it's purported Narrativist Premise (the angst of Vampirism vs Humanity).

And, as always, a good GM can make these Premises work even with a system that does not support it. But the system as written does not.

Note that I don't have a particular beef with WW games. Though they don't do a great job of supporting the Narrativist Premise, I'm more concerned with the Simulationist end anyhow. I like much of what they do there. (though I'd agree with you on some specific implementations like the aggravated damage example you give). But I do see how someone who played it, looking for it to support strongly the Narrativist Premise which it states as the primary goal, might be seriously disapointed.

Just another reason to be a Simulationist. :smile:


Mike
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contracycle
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« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2001, 03:18:00 AM »

So, is premise a property of the story, or of the mechanics?  We still appear to be using a single term to describe two vastly different animals.

If oremise is in the mechanics, does the game have a theme?  If the GM tries to run such a game and wants to use a story premise, can they?  And is there a danger that the mechanical premise will conflict with the premises of on or more stories conducted with those mechnaics which have their own premise?
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Matt Machell
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« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2001, 04:38:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-10-24 07:18, contracycle wrote:
So, is premise a property of the story, or of the mechanics?  We still appear to be using a single term to describe two vastly different animals.

If premise is in the mechanics, does the game have a theme?  If the GM tries to run such a game and wants to use a story premise, can they?  And is there a danger that the mechanical premise will conflict with the premises of one or more stories conducted with those mechnaics which have their own premise?


This is exactly my problem with the use of the word Premise in the context of what Themes are being explored. One term for two concepts just doesn't work, and leads to confusion.

Also, I think it needs appreciating that peoples complaints about systems often lie with "It doesn't do what I want it to" rather than "It doesn't do what the designer wanted." The Vampire example above being a good example of this.

Matt

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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2001, 05:49:00 AM »

Remember, I'm coming from Ron's definition of Premise. Which is not precisely the same as the commmon definition. Ron is using the term "Premise" as jargon to mean "that thing which is compelling about the game" or "that thing which makes you want to play" or something of that nature. For a Narrativist game, these things happen to resemble (to a certain extent only superficially) the Premises of literature. The others don't very much.

Yes, it may be confusing to speak about Premise being in mechanics. A more proper phraseology might be "the mechanics of a game may support a Premise". Premise can also be driven by setting, BTW. And that might be enough or some. But if the sysem does support the Premise, so much the better. At the very least, it should not interfere with the Premise.

In fact, I'd say that the usual challenge in design is to get the System to support the Premise as portrayed in the description of the Setting. Ron doesn't have to worry about this in Sorcerer, though, as Sorcerer is Setting independent. Instead the whole game is just mechanics supporting the Premise of the game. But for more traditional games the challenge is getting the system to support the Premise as presented in the Setting.

Lets look at another game. Say Pendragon. This has the incredibly well established "Arthurian Legend" Setting. The Premise is a Simulationist one, which is "Being in an Arthurian Legend". Does the system support that well? Extrememly well, IMHO. In fact I'd speculate that if you took the system and used it in a different setting, you'd still get something that looked a lot like an Arthurian Legend (which just now gives me a cool idea for playing a game like that; Sci-fi Arthurian anyone?). This sort of judgement is necessarily subjective, but I can point to the Virtues and Passions mechanics and others, and how well these work in actual play as evidence.

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2001, 06:23:00 AM »

Matt and Gareth,

I'm having a little bit of trouble seeing your position.

"Premise" as presented in my essay means ONE THING: any aspects of play which engage the role-players' interest (plural role-players there). One of my most important points is that such a Premise takes its meaning and development from the GNS terms; more accurately, GNS is a set of applications by which Premise is addressed.

To say "Premise resides in the mechanics" or "arises" from them or anything of the sort is an abomination. What we CAN say, accurately, is that procedural and conceptual aspects of an RPG can facilitate, focus, and develop a given Premise or range of Premises.

Mike has stated the matter fully, completely, and, as I see it, definitively. I don't really see any reason to continue the discussion.

Maybe it's the shorthand issue? For purposes of bevity, people including me often say "Premise" when we are really referring to something like "Narrativist Premise with strong Setting focus." Also for purposes of shorthand, we might say, "The Trouble mechanic in Orkworld presents the game's Premise," or, "The wars and politics of Glorantha prompt the game's Premise during play."

Is this discussion based on a confusion with the shorthand? Or is it based on a disagreement with how Premise is defined and developed in the essay?

Best,
Ron


[ This Message was edited by: Ron Edwards on 2001-10-24 10:25 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Ron Edwards on 2001-10-24 10:32 ]
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Marco
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« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2001, 08:16:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-10-24 09:49, Mike Holmes wrote:
Remember, I'm coming from Ron's definition of Premise. Which is not precisely the same as the commmon definition. Ron is using the term "Premise" as jargon to mean "that thing which is compelling about the game" or "that thing which makes you want to play" or something of that nature. For a Narrativist game, these things happen to resemble (to a certain extent only superficially) the Premises of literature. The others don't very much.


I take exception with the last line there. Correct me if I'm wrong but from your text you'd be saying (this is an extraplation):

In non-narrativist games the things that make the games worth playing don't resemble much the things that make good literature. (the last is taken from  " ... resemble ... the Premisies of literature."

Specifically, you didn't say that what makes narrativist games worth playing for some people is the ability for all the participants to engage in authorial construction of the adventure. You said that Narrativist games' premises tended to resemble literature premises and, say, Simulationst games (and I don't mean the system, I mean the play-session) don't. What, if anything, is Call of Cthulhu, then?

It's certainly compelling ... and based on literature and the themes of the novel--and its simulationist.

I see it as this:

Simulationist -- one gets pleasure as though *reading* literature (sure, you get to play, but you *aren't* the *primary* author)

Narrativist -- one gets pleasure as though *writing* literature (sure, the GM may provide 'a lot of meat' but the players get to do a lot more of the story).

The Premise could be identical between the two--the only decision is where you as a player/GM want to fall on the reader/writer scale.

-Marco
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