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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 218 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: frustration with "enigmas"  (Read 8342 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters

Posts: 10459

« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2001, 12:39:00 PM »

"Fake Role-Playing"? C'mon, Ron. "Brownian motion"? I can see it...

GM: OK, you come to an intersection, roll randomly to see which way you go. Oops, wait, this is a special intersection, roll your character's Intuition to see if you go the right way. OK, everybody, make a shoelaces check, it's been another hundred feet.

Alright, I'm exaggerating. But even in a game that is heavily slanted this way, players at least get to make decisions that determine when they get to roll to find a secret door (D&D: "I search") and what direction to take when they come to an intersection of a corridor. Is this not exploration in a basic sense? In fact, for myself, it was imagining exploring dungeon corridors in what you describe as "Brownian motion" that got me hooked on RPGs (as, I suspect, it was for many). I'm not an atom; I'm a free man!

Sure, this may not be the most complex form of play, but I think it still fits the bill. I can see why you want this  to not be a GNS issue. GNS is supposed to be accepting of stylistic differences. But allowing for a system to simulate the a larger part of character interactions is "Fake"?

I must be missing something.


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Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Posts: 16490

« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2001, 12:53:00 PM »

Hi Mike,

You are indeed missing something. You're missing that I am specfically looking at that mode of play AFTER it has crossed the line of "not Exploring any more." As long as the imagination is engaged and the group creation of "what's happening in the game world" is going on, then I'm cool with it. That would be a mode of role-playing.

However, the whatever-it-is that people do that *I* am describing does not involve that Exploration. I've seen people do this. I've seen them NOT have fun. I've been invited to join groups like this, and fled like a deer.

So don't give the benefit of the doubt to the activity I'm describing, and then claim that my description is unfair. I'm talking about something WAY past merely modeling behavior with the system. I'm talking about an activity for which that benefit of the doubt is not possible.

Gordon C. Landis

Posts: 1024

I am Custom-Built Games

« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2001, 10:55:00 PM »

First of all, everything folks have said about this not really being a GNS issue makes sense to me.  But I'm left wondering - aren't there ways of managing the player vs. character gap, or the task vs. conflict resolution issue, that DO get in the way of a particular GNS goal?  Are there ways that are particularly well-suited for a particular goal?

Back when I used to GM regularly (a very spotty occurence of late), I remember using the "riddle" issue as a way to help players get "into character".  The riddles/puzzles/etc. were always presented in the terms of the game-world, so by having the players figure 'em out (via rolls vs. the appropriate stat/skill/whatever), I was able to explain bits and pieces of, say, the theology of a (invented) culture.  It seemed to work well - since it was
clear the characters would know more about the religions of their world than the player did/could, the "disconnect" of a character-based mechanic wasn't so jarring, and it helped the players understand the context in which future events/actions/etc. would unfold.

I can clearly see using that for a Sim goal, and it's not too hard to imagine a Gamist or Narritive use . . . so may "best trick" in this area seem sto have no particular bias.  On the other hand, it's hard for me to imagine a Narritive value in Clinton's invented language puzzle, or Ron's Fading Suns puzzle.

hmmm - not sure where to go from there.  I seem to have answered my own questions by saying "well, yes and no - it really depends".  And maybe that's all we can say - it depends upon additional details, like (as Ron said) the airlock situation, before you know what the best approach would be in a particualr game, with particular people possesing particular goals.


www.snap-game.com (under construction)

Posts: 2807

« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2001, 02:21:00 AM »

[ This Message was edited by: contracycle on 2001-11-27 07:17 ]

Impeach the bomber boys:

"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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