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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Bobby G  (Read 8909 times)
joshua neff
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« Reply #30 on: November 02, 2001, 09:00:00 AM »

Okay, Gareth, I think I see your point now.

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What I am wondering is whay this cannot be applied to the Bobby G scenario. What if the intent behind Bobby G is to act as a catalyst for the characters, to force them to come off the fence, make a decision, take a position. I fully understand why railroading is antithetical to narrativism, but I don't understand why such a pinch point cannot be explicitly used by narrativism as a narratavist tool. Surely this can be seen as nothing more then enforcing the crisis; mandating that the story must go via Bobby G could be one of the methods the GM employs to control the pace, for example.


The whole idea of the Bobby G scenario as Ron put it (& as I've played or ran it far too many times) is that Bobby G isn't a catalyst for conflict, he's a stonewall--the players can't move forward through the story until they meet Bobby G & interact with him in a way that's been predetermined by the GM. Now, it's entirely possible that you could change it, & make Bobby G just another point of conflict, a Bang, that the players can, but don't have to, encounter. But then it wouldn't be the Bobby G scenario, it would be something else. The way the Bobby G scenario works is the PCs can't confront the Big Bad Guy until the meet Bobby G & get the information from him--which is railroading.

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Done right, the story won't be a floundering series of meaningless scenes because everybody is grooving on the Premise. Everytime the PCs interact with an NPC, the Premise is right there in the conflicts.

Well, maybe - but fuckups happen.


Sure, but that applies to everything humans do, & as far as I'm concerned isn't a terribly useful point. Besides, I happen to like fuckups. Some cool stuff comes from mistakes. And I'm not asking for or expecting perfection. But communication can go a long way towards making sure everyone is on the same page concerning goals & expectations. Plus, I'd say too many people have seen the kind of narrativism put forward on the Forge work well to start worrying that it isn't possible. It's very possible.
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
Mike Holmes
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« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2001, 09:19:00 AM »

Yeah, I think that we're all on the same sheet of paper now. Bobby G as defined isa railroad, and was proffered as an example of the sort of scenario that is sometimes mistakenly thought to be Narrativist. But Bobby G as a character is not a problem.

There is a fine line here. What some call railroading and others call Bangs definitely have some similarities. In Ron's setup for the Sorcerer game he has a murder that is going to occur as a catalyst for the plot. He will have to force it's discovery somehow for it to be effective. This force is similar to what happens in Illusionism. The only difference between the Bang in this case and Bobby G is a point of implementation. In the case of the Bobby G scenario, the GM refuses to allow other things to happen until Bobby G is discovered. This can be a Soft Railroad if you will. The GM does not force the players to Bobby G so much as making Bobby G the only game in town.

The problem, of course, is that the player feels this railroad. In the case of a Bang, the information is usually brought to the character, or discovered during the course of play, which makes it just more of an occurence, not something that the player has been forced into.

Again, though, this is a fine line. Just like convenient plot twists in movies there is a point at which even an informational bang can be seen to be directing the plot in a certain direction. This could get intrusive after a point. So, determining what is a Bang and what is a railroad can take some skill.

I'm now much more comfortable with my illusionism. It is subtle, and bears a lot of resemblance to introduction of bangs. I think that I keep it at a level at which my players don't feel abused, yet produces some story despite my players heavily Sim/Gam play. Yes, I'm definitely comfortable with that.

For example, I would never run Bobby G as described. I always remain flexible enough to allow my players to come up with their own solutions to problems. I might interpose Bobby at some point in an unobtrusive manner, just cause I like Bobby and want him to get into the picture, but I wouldn't make the particular solution of going to him the only game in town.

Mike
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joshua neff
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« Reply #32 on: November 02, 2001, 10:25:00 AM »

Mike--

I'd say the difference between a Bang & railroading is this: a Bang offers up a conflict, but with no resolution preplanned--it's up to the players how it's resolved. Railroading offers up a conflict that has to be resolved in a particular way (or there could be different possible ways--the "all roads lead to Rome" plan)--but the GM has already decided on how the conflict can & should be resolved.

So, telling a player "Okay, your character is in a bar, facing Bobby G & his goon sidekicks." Isn't necessarily railroading--if there's no resolution preplanned, the GM is just setting up conflict for the player to resolve. If the player has do a particular action to resolve things, it's railroading.

Setting up unresolved conflict is very narrativist. Setting up conflict with a planned (or "predicted") resolution is inherently anti-narrativist.
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"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
Mike Holmes
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« Reply #33 on: November 02, 2001, 10:44:00 AM »

Right, Josh. That's more or less what I was getting at. These things may look similar, but it's a matter of implementation. Are they there for the characters to pass through perfunctorily, or are they there to give a starting place for players to have someting to do with their characters.

Mike
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mahoux
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« Reply #34 on: November 02, 2001, 01:55:00 PM »

Wow, you people are blowing my mind. And since I can't go on without addressing "Bobby G." (hmmm.... who set me up in this), my two cents is this - most GMs I know have a story set up; A leads to B which leads to C. I myself set things up to end a certain way, and I have fallbacks to help the characters along if they need them, but I am learning that flexibility leads to more enjoyment for everybody in the game. If the characters can come up with a more entertaining way to get where they are going then don't use Bobby G. as a main plot device. Gamers can be very imaginative if given half a chance, it's just the 12 million dungeon crawls that have stifled them. It's our task as GM to set up the story and let players run with it. Otherwise, we might as well write crappy screenplays.
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http://home.earthlink.net/~knahoux/KOTR_2.html">Knights of the Road, Knights of the Rail has hit the rails!
Paul Czege
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« Reply #35 on: November 02, 2001, 02:07:00 PM »

Hey mahoux,

Wow, you people are blowing my mind.

Ron Edwards blew my mind late last summer, and I think he did the same thing to Josh Neff a month or two later. You might consider taking a leave of absence from work; I think you're going to find yourself doing a lot of online reading now.


Smiley


Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
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