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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 58 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Vanilla Narrativism  (Read 7233 times)
Marco
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Posts: 1741


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« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2001, 07:44:00 AM »

Hi Scott,

I didn't mean to discount excitement or sense-of-accomplishment. Those are both real important. What I meant was that the literary themes Ron's listed as Narrativist Premises are usually understood through other media through some 'basic' emotion (of which happiness ... which could be pride at accomplishment is one--so I may re-think that one). I was tryign to say that if you just played through a game that worked out like Hamlet, while parts would be exciting (the sword fights) and you'd defintiely get a sense of accomplishment at the end ("Was that a great monolg with Yoric's skull or what!") the tragic sense would exist separate from those.

To put it another way I wanted to draw what I saw as a distinction between:
Gamist: sense of accomplishment ("I won!")
Simulationist: excitement ("I escaped! barely!")

And trying for a ... deeper(?) emotional involvement.

I was trying to avoid someone saying "I was emotionally involved in the last checkers game I played--what are you talking about."). It was with reference to resonant literary themes.

As you noted, that's the way I've been playing for years too. But as I've only played Simulationist games with little by way of in-game player directoral power I'd have described myself as hard-core sim with a lot of interest in themes that are described as Narrativist Premises.

Looking at the Vanillia Narrativist thread, I'd say that its drawing a real fine-line.

-Marco
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333Chronzon
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Posts: 18


« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2001, 07:53:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-10-30 09:38, Ron Edwards wrote:
Hi Scott,

And welcome to the Forge!


Thanks Ron, it's good to be here :smile:



Quote

I'd like to invite you to the Actual Play forum where we are locked in combat about something I've dubbed the "Bobby G" scenario design. How do you think it applies to Call of Cthulhu, especially if the play of that game includes some nudges and driftings toward Narrativist priorities?



I'll drift over there and check it out.  I'm still a bit new to the G/N/S model.  I read your latest essay and I'm still getting the hang of application, by observing things as they play out in the forums.  I'll do my best over the day to formulate a coherent idea about that particular issue.



Quote

As an occasional CofC player and GM, I have found that it takes a lot of effort to get Narrativist with the game, even to a minimal level. (Usually, I don't even try, and just go all Simulationist and enjoy that, for which the game is a masterpiece.)


Oh, I agree.  

The entire process takes a good deal of trust between the players and myself and an understanding of the, in G/N/S terms, the Premis of CoC and of the particular sort of session I wish to run.  I tend to run action/horror style or 'pulp' sessions.  I make it clear that my games are 'grounded' by the lethality of the action and the *mortality* of the characters.  That the 'danger' to the characters is 'real' is, I feel, one of the elements of the environment that the Players (at least mine) expect of the 'Mythos Universe.'  It is often the 'crux' of an individual character's story, as is the descent into madness.            

I normally have the players proceed through character creation as normal, then I ask them for as detailed a background as they feel comfortable providing.  Before I ran across the G/N/S model I understood from experience to 'interview' all of my players as part of the character creation process and to discover at that point just what each of them expected to 'get' from the session so that they could have fun.  Some peope were all about getting into the story of the tragic character who meets his end at the hands of Mythos Nastys, ala the Lovecraft stories, some people were just interested in shoot'em ups with gangsters and monsters, and had no real 'character conception' other then the character as a proxy 'them,' etc.  Given this understanding of the *people* who would attend the sessions I then built the 'specifics' of my scenerio environment.  

I feel that the 'Simulationist nature' of CoC gives me a foundation upon which to 'mount and frame' the narrative of the story that each Player wishes to see evolve for their characters.  I build basically a 'sim' environment and populate it with NPCS who have their own plans and motivations, some of which cross over or include the PC's or elements of the PC's 'relationship tree' or history.  Depending on just what concept I had to start off with the PC's are either drawn into a slow revelation of horror and subsequent activities connected to that, or I introduce a 'bang' to set things in motion.  

I tend to take a 'loose' attitude toward application of skills, attributes, etc.  during the course of actual play.  Basically I make use of the 'Idea,' 'Know,' and 'Luck' scores as 'PC empowement' devices to 'skew' the course of events.  I let *them* make the descision as to when this is appropriate for their character and for the game session as a whole.  They all also know *before we start playing* that I reserve the right of 'GM Fiat' over all the events that take place.  The universe is uncaring, arbitrary and harsh afterall :smile:  I exercise this power under an obligation to the source material that the players also enjoy and to a commitment to keep the overall enjoyment of the Players in mind.

Oh, I'm sorry I rambled on so much.  I'll quit here while I'm ahead,  I hope :smile:

Scott B.
 
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2001, 07:58:00 AM »

Actually, Scott, that was quite clear. A finer explanation and example of constructive Drift would be hard to find.

Marco, the line is much more clearly delineated than you are perceiving. Take a look at Scott's description of Luck and Idea rolls, and what they permit PLAYERS to do in his Call o of Cthulhu game. There you are - a group either does or does not permit any such thing to be occurring (through Drama or otherwise). When it does, specifically in terms of addressing exactly those literary themes you mention - there lies Narrativist play.

Best,
Ron
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333Chronzon
Member

Posts: 18


« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2001, 08:35:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-10-30 10:44, Marco wrote:
Hi Scott,


Hi Marco

Quote

I didn't mean to discount excitement or sense-of-accomplishment. Those are both real important. What I meant was that the literary themes Ron's listed as Narrativist Premises are usually understood through other media through some 'basic' emotion (of which happiness ... which could be pride at accomplishment is one--so I may re-think that one).



Pride at accomplishment is an awsome and powerful emotional motivator.  Eliciting this, cultivating this in the players is one of my goals as a GM.  I have found that the key to this is understanding the player and what motivates them to play.  What is Jane, for instance, looking for in the game?  What does *she* feel is important for her character?  What elements can I include in a session to give her those things?  This is all, of course, under an understanding of the context of the game we are playing.  CoC, for instance, has certain conventions and moods, etc. and under an understanding of the basic premis for the session I'm running.  I do my level best to make it clear what those are before any play or character creation begins.  With that in mind I keep what will give each player that 'sense of accomplishment' in mind as well.    


 
Quote

I was tryign to say that if you just played through a game that worked out like Hamlet, while parts would be exciting (the sword fights) and you'd defintiely get a sense of accomplishment at the end ("Was that a great monolg with Yoric's skull or what!") the tragic sense would exist separate from those.

To put it another way I wanted to draw what I saw as a distinction between:
Gamist: sense of accomplishment ("I won!")
Simulationist: excitement ("I escaped! barely!")


I see.  I will accept that such a distinction exists, but I do think it's a *very* subtle one.  In the context of CoC survival often *is* an accomplishment :smile:

In my experience they interrelate.  Different people draw feelings of 'excitement' and 'accomplishment' off different things, or even both off the same 'thing.'  

A group of players all participate in the 'same' event during a game session.  That event represents a specific moment in spacetime that they all share, not just by way of their characters but by way of their all being there and having had the experience.  Each of these people will have had a very different and highly personal experience and may take away from that event entirely different feelings and memories.  On Playre will be happy at his 'accomplishment' of having won against the cultist that was trying to kill his Character.  Another will have the thrill of having their PC survive the fight alive and another will remember with enjoyment their PC's horror in discovering that the cultist was her brother.

I take it as my job to manage things so that the events that take place contain the elements necessary for each Player and their Character to have had by the end of the evening a pleasurable experience.    


Quote

And trying for a ... deeper(?) emotional involvement.

I was trying to avoid someone saying "I was emotionally involved in the last checkers game I played--what are you talking about."). It was with reference to resonant literary themes.


I understand now, thank you for clearing that up.  I would say, though, that in the end what is important is the emotional involvement of the player.  I appeciate a 'deep' commitment and try to enhance my Roleplaying and GM experience to elicit this, but I'm just as ok with the level of emotional commitment of your checkers player.  He had *fun* and to my mind that's what's important.  

Quote

As you noted, that's the way I've been playing for years too. But as I've only played Simulationist games with little by way of in-game player directoral power I'd have described myself as hard-core sim with a lot of interest in themes that are described as Narrativist Premises.

Looking at the Vanillia Narrativist thread, I'd say that its drawing a real fine-line.


Indeed.  I'm just getting the hang of conversing under the model so I'm trying to feel my way about the proper application of the terminology to my own experience.  In matters that involce parsing out human motivations, feelings and emotions all there are are fine lines.

Scott B.
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