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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 191 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Art Deco, GNS and Narritivism, and the Bad Thing  (Read 3173 times)
furashgf
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Posts: 55


« on: November 06, 2001, 09:18:00 PM »

It looks like the Art Deco demo thread turned into an implcit discussion of GNS theory.  The question for Ron and Ron-like Sorcerer naritivists out there is how far does it _have_ to go SOAP style?  If I, for example, toss out a relationship map, let the players play actors or directors as they fell, but maybe have some metaplot (for Armmageddon-style play), does something horrific happen.  When I was a kid, I used to run Champions games this way (ignoring 90% of the rules) and things went very well.  I will push this heavily in my Indian Summer thing (I finally found some gamers) - there's no way as a GM I'm going to come up with 30+ years of history and small-town places and people -- I'll let the players do some of the heavy lifting, but... something horrific happened to them in the past (where they got their Lore), and that thing is connected to both the past and future.

In addition to SOAP potentially helping encourage the narritivism/director stance, I've found that PBEM has done that - since you're not face to face, I end up making up stuff myself (e.g., I'm at a hotel, I make up a driver, give him some mannerisms, the GM takes over, etc.).   There was still a plot going in, some engine started before I showed up, but I can cruse around as I want and pretty much make up anything reasonable.  This might be a preference thing.

I was trying to come up for a humorous joke about a Narritivist GM's screen (does everyone bring pieces?  Does everyone have one?  Does it work like the Get Smart "Cone of Silence"?)
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Gary Furash, furashgf@alumni.bowdoin.edu
"Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans"
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2001, 09:47:00 PM »

Hi Gary,

I'm going to ask for some clarification, because I really don't understand what you're asking.

I understand your point about Soap in general, I think.

But you ask, "How far does it HAVE to go ..." and that makes little sense to me. It (by which you mean, playing Sorcerer, right?) doesn't HAVE to do anything - the precise mix of who provides "content," GM or players, has a lot of potential variation in Sorcerer.

It's written with a pretty strong traditional approach, such that the GM provides pretty much most of the back-story and general content. But the Kicker stirs in a lot of player input, and the techniques described in the new version of Sorcerer and Sword stir in a LOT more.

If you wanted to play it more Soapily, you could, but I think that statement applies to D&D3E or to Call of Cthulhu or even to RoleMaster, just as well as it does to Sorcerer.

Or am I misunderstanding your question entirely? And what's the Bad Thing in the title of the thread? I know you're asking something, but put the linking sentences in there so we slow people can follow.

Best,
Ron
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jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2001, 09:23:00 AM »

Hello,

I feel that your observation, although I'm almost as confused as Ron is on what exactly you're saying, is largely my fault.  That whole last bit about the psychiatrist and how much he should be planned went in a direction it shouldn't have.  The original reason that whole conversation started was me simply staring in awe at Ron's bold planning technique.  I was simply expressing a great deal of surprise at the fact that the Kicker was not more firmly rooted in interesting things and instead was left flexible for actual play.  I was fishing for an explination on HOW exactly Ron gets this to work for him.

Instead, the conversation shifted from me looking for an elaboration on Ron's technique to a defense of my insecurities about running blind improv and for that I apologize.

Hope that at least clears up why the thread went in the direction you're discussing.

Jesse
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Blake Hutchins
Member

Posts: 614


« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2001, 11:08:00 AM »

Hello,

There is a good part about implementation of principle that falls into the category of art.  Analyze it all you like, but when the curtain rises, I think the Dionysian trumps the Apollonian.

Best,

Blake
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furashgf
Member

Posts: 55


« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2001, 08:20:00 PM »

Apologies.  I need to get more sleep before I post.

What I was asking about was sort of what the thread was implying - that other than the backstory with hooks, the GM just let (and encouraged) the game to take off, and everyone did the Narritivist thing (story got made up by everyone as it went along).  Having the GM take action to shape the story, provide a mystery, etc., was imposing something on the players (forcing them into an Actor stance).

The bad thing I was referring to was the "metaplot" comment: e.g., some big story happening before and after the game started (the sort of Armageddon version of Sorcerer).  This would be something the _GM_ puts in (imposes).

Expanding on this, what I was trying to say was that I'm not sure that those are mutually exclusive in a good game.  I was pointing out a great PBEM I played, which seemed to be a super mix of Narritivism and whatever it is you call it when the GM provides some direction.  For example, my character worked in a hospital morgue.  I could just make up pretty much anything I wanted (assistants, a history for the hospital, etc.). The GM clearly had a metaplot and started to weave my ideas into her own (the hospital had some wing where something was going on).  This was, for me at least, a nifty mix: I was invested in creating a good story and had some power, as a director, to do things, but the GM, as metadirector (not a word), was weaving it together.

Great demo story setup though.

(Please note the complete sentences :wink:.  Thanks!

Gary
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Gary Furash, furashgf@alumni.bowdoin.edu
"Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans"
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2001, 08:34:00 PM »

Hi Gary,

I think you're laboring under a common misconception: that Narrativism is largely defined by improvisation.

This is not the case. I, as GM, not only provide a lot of back-story, but also a ton of ongoing content. As time goes by, many decisions made between sessions become iron-clad declarations during play.

Early this year, I decided before run #4 in our series of Orkworld, that all the player-characters would be killed in #5. I maintain that it was a Narrativist decision.

Granted, a lot of what you're seeing in the Art-Deco example includes my willingness to improvise, especially in reference to Sorcerer (e.g. demons are easy for me to play, always have been). But a great deal of that rests on the power of the relationship map, in which such improvisation is not really "making it up as I go" so much as "coloring in" and "building bridges as they seem most sensible at the time."

And even more importantly, just because this is the way that I'm comfy running Sorcerer does NOT mean that it, as a set of GM techniques, defines Narrativism.

Don't discount the Narrativist GM, in the Vanilla version (OK, maybe butter pecan). He's still a player and contributing author, and a very powerful one at that.

Best,
Ron
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