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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 148 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Power (split)  (Read 5662 times)
Valamir
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« on: February 24, 2004, 06:18:27 PM »

Quote
For example, the players in my James Bond 007 game are mostly (2 out of 3) accustomed to Illusionist play. However, they pretty instantly got into taking charge to a degree. This wasn't because of any narrative power (they didn't even have Hero Points yet), but because of character power. As 00 agents they have powerful status within MI6 and outrageous competance to do what they want -- and they are quick to use it. It remains to be seen what will happen with that game, but I think of it as a good sign.


That's an interesting concept deserving of its own topic.  Is this really an example of player empowerment?  Or is it still traditional character-centric focus just with a character powerful enough to give the illusion of player power?  Or, when characters become so powerful is that illusion really an illusion, or does it become real power by default...
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Callan S.
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2004, 08:55:21 PM »

What is real power in a game? I can only imagine it as the power to create something out of nothing at all, like creating matter. All other powers like hitting something real hard, etc, rely on what has been made before (in the imagined space). Generally players are given powers to manipulate material, not to create it from nothing. Is creating it from nothing, real power and the other (just manipulating it) lesser power?
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Philosopher Gamer
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pete_darby
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2004, 05:01:07 AM »

Real power in a game? Narrative control... or, rather, NC as shorthand for narrative rights and accompanying determination rights.

Now, it looks like in John's 007 game, that power is very much in the hands of the characters: they are personally competent enough to accomplish much on their own, and have enough clout in their organisation to get more done... or rather, to say what gets done.

In games where the characters are less powerful, the players can gain narrative control through "metagame" devices like whimsy cards or hero points, or through expressed rules regarding the apportion of narrative control, or through socially agreed systems that player led detail creation is welcomed. But in a game of empowered characters, the players are similarly empowered without recourse to non-3fold sim mechanics.
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Pete Darby
contracycle
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2004, 06:00:15 AM »

I tend to see the SIS as a data structure, and so I think the categories of power over data permissions are applicable: Read, Write with their subcategories Change and Delete (both of which are forms of Write).

That is, a player has the power to Change an enemy NPC from alive to dead, but not to airbrush them out of history, only the GM can Delete, usually.
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pete_darby
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2004, 06:06:47 AM »

What about changing from dead to alive?

Only partly facetious... "So, Mr Bond, you thought you had killed me?"

Hmmm interesting analogy, though I'm sure quite fragile... Would illusionism consist of giving players RO access to the world?
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Pete Darby
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2004, 06:16:46 AM »

Hello,

Thread fragmentation! Very ugly. Guts all over the place.

Folks, let's start new topics with specific questions isolated in each one.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2004, 07:22:34 AM »

Sorry Ron, I had thought my "worthy of its own topic" would have detered this particular tangent.  

Would you split off my last comment to John and those that have followed.  I think this is the beginning of an interesting discussion on its own.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2004, 07:40:38 AM »

All of the above split from Mike's standard rant #7: you can't sneak up on mode.

Best,
Ron
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John Kim
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2004, 01:01:11 PM »

Quote from: Noon
What is real power in a game? I can only imagine it as the power to create something out of nothing at all, like creating matter. All other powers like hitting something real hard, etc, rely on what has been made before (in the imagined space). Generally players are given powers to manipulate material, not to create it from nothing. Is creating it from nothing, real power and the other (just manipulating it) lesser power?

Well, that depends on how much is done through creation and how much is done through manipulation.  For example, in theater there are closed-room dramas where the same characters interact throughout the course of the play.  In that case, the power entirely rests in manipulation, since no new characters or locations are introduced.  A role-playing example of this might be a game where the location is fixed and all the characters have players.  The game proceeds as intrigue among the PCs.    

Now, in a game, there is also a distinction between potential power and expressed power.  For example, as a GM of the above example, I might technically have the power to introduce new NPCs into the locked room.  However, what if I don't and instead let intrigue among the PCs drive the game?  Conversely, in most games it is trivially possible for the players to thwart the GM's plans -- by, say, suddenly deciding to drop everything and go to Zanzibar.  But if they don't and they instead do what the GM would like, what does that mean about power?  

So I think it's a tricky question.  However, I think that relative power and independence of the PCs compared to typical surroundings is important.  Access to information is also vitally important.  In my James Bond game, the setting is more-or-less the real world in 1983 -- so as GM I am strictly limited in what I can introduce, and the players know roughly as much about the setting as I do.  The players knew that they can go to the airport and buy tickets to Australia, for example.
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- John
Ben Lehman
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2004, 12:05:18 AM »

Quote from: Valamir

That's an interesting concept deserving of its own topic.  Is this really an example of player empowerment?  Or is it still traditional character-centric focus just with a character powerful enough to give the illusion of player power?  Or, when characters become so powerful is that illusion really an illusion, or does it become real power by default...


BL>  If a character retains control of his character's fate and actions, character empowerment is player empowerment.  Straight lumpley, and credibility.

yrs--
--Ben

P.S.  Okay, for the anal, character empowerment *relative to the rest of the world* is player empowerment.  No good being a 40th level anti-paladin if everyone you talk to is 50th level or higher.  That's what we call "power escalation," "deprotagonization" or, some of us, "GM cheating."

P.P.S.  Interestingly, in the "traditional RPG," this is the *only* method of player empowerment.  If I have a 40th level anti-paladin, I have earned the right to say "I cast a Greater Defilement" and have the credibility to back that up.
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