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Understanding Roleplaying - Outline

Started by lumpley, October 21, 2004, 09:16:19 PM

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My first and fundamental question is: is this model descriptive or prescriptive?  Based on "the gold standard of RPG theory: actual play" I'm inclined to think it is intended to be descriptive.

If it is descriptive, I'm not entirely sure I buy the "all Colourfully" section.  Yes, sometimes characters are doing things Colourfully.  But I'm not sure it's a consistent or required part of this model.

Maybe I'm just unclear on what you mean by "all Colourfully" here.



Ah! "Colorfully" means "concretely, with details." My character attacks your character: that's our Characters Situated relative to one another. My character attacks your character with a gun, the gun's color. With a sword, the sword's color. With her fists, that's color too. My character's weapon doesn't define their Situation - her attack does - so her weapon's color.

Make sense?



Vince, good luck. I think you're gonna need more than 4 hours.

But, a couple of things.

As far as the GM stuff goes, I assume that you'll cover traditional GM duties, and how they can be spread around. I suggest mentioning SOAP. As much as I like Universalis, it's an Actual Game - and therefore somewhat expensive - and it's bit hard to get your head around if you've never encountered anything like it before. SOAP, on the other hand, has a free HTML version that you could even print out and use as a handout example.

As far as combat system games go, you gotta mention TROS. (It's got the PDF quickstart and combat sim, so people can check it out without having to buy.) Actually, TROS is good for a lot of things - Stats, and so on. In fact, it's a good transition from "mainstream" to "radical."

I also think it might be a good idea to work a couple of main-stream games into your lecture to sort of situate your audience before you go diving into radical things like Shadows, the Pool, Trollbabe, Otherkind, etc.

If you can kind of point out how these concepts exist in games that your audience is already familiar with, they might have an easier time understanding the more radical implimentations. I'd suggest using d20, d6, and Storyteller as reference points, since those games are traditionally *viewed* as typifying Gam, Sim, and Nar.


That makes sense, Vincent, but I think I'm getting hung up on scale and resolution.

For a statement such as:

"My character attacks with his sword"

Depending on the game, this could either be:

1)  Far too abstract and not concrete or detailed enough.  How does he attack?  What part of his opponent is he aiming for?  Is he chopping or thrusting?  Etc etc.

2)  Far too concrete and detailed.  In a game where most actions occur on the "My character kills them all" scale, specifying individual targets and weapons might be irrelevant or cumbersome.

3)  Just the right amount of detail.

I think this balance between abstraction and detail can potentially lead to problems.  For example, some players would be perfectly happy with

"I solve the riddle.  Look, I've got nigh-superhuman intelligence, so I solve it."

while some other players would be very unhappy with that approach.

I can appreciate that the model at this point isn't trying to address every potential issue, but I guess I'd like to see it dealt with at some point.  I think a lot of the value of this sort of modelling process is seeing where our underlying assumptions are and just how valid they are.


Per Fischer

Quote from: Paganini
As far as combat system games go, you gotta mention TROS. (It's got the PDF quickstart and combat sim, so people can check it out without having to buy.) Actually, TROS is good for a lot of things - Stats, and so on. In fact, it's a good transition from "mainstream" to "radical."  

That is so true. TRoS is a game I wouldn't have touched with a stick 2 years ago due to spasmic misconceptions of my own CA and role-playing preferences ("It's got a detailed combat system and flames on the website? Bah, that's definitely not for me, I'm a Storyteller" -kind-of-reaction). The game is a direct lever to get more than one thing about GNS.

After encountering the avalanche that is the Forge and GNS and all the games it spawned, TRoS is the next game of my must buy-list, and I am already playing it from the quickstart-version. Why didn't we have this stuff when we played WFRP in the 1990s? Sorry if I rant ;)

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Roger: Well, sure. The scale of the Situation is going to dictate the scale of the Color, easy as pie. If the Situation is "my character is trying to destroy your character's army and occupy your character's homeland," that calls for Color at that scale. If it's "my character is trying to murder your character without getting caught," that calls for Color at that scale instead.

Procedurally speaking, in resolution, the balance between abstraction and detail fits pretty nicely into IIEE. Believe it or not.

My illustration of Color is, alas, not well-built. "My character attacks yours" is an action, not a Situation. One or more actions make up a conflict, like "does my character stabs yours to death?" The resolution of the conflict depends on the resolution of its actions. One or more conflicts make up a scene, like "that night, my character tries to kill yours." The resolution of the scene depends on the resolution of its conflicts. And finally, one or more scenes make up a Situation, like "my character hates yours and wants her dead." Like the old lady who swallowed the fly:

The resolution of a Situation depends on the resolution of one or more scenes, each of which depends on the resolution of one or more conflicts, each of which depends on the resolution of one or more actions.

The gun or sword or fists remain color, of course. It's just that "my character attacks yours" is one of the teensy component parts of the dynamic Situation between them.

Nathan: Soap, TRoS, check, good call.

d20, d6, Storyteller ... no way. I'd just start fights, I know this about me.



In case anyone's wondering how it went...

It didn't. I spent the weekend home sick, alas, alas.


Joshua A.C. Newman

Quote from: lumpleyIn case anyone's wondering how it went...

It didn't. I spent the weekend home sick, alas, alas.

Then I think you're morally obligated or something to hold an online conference where we talk about this stuff.

And by "morally obligated", of course, I mean "making me happy".
the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.


Sorry you were sick-- I suspect there'll be other cons for another shot at this.  I am interested to see how it goes, especially whether there's a big desire for this stuff, or if it'd just be fellow forgites who'd pack the room.
Hey, I'm Scott Martin. I sometimes scribble over on my blog, llamafodder. Some good threads are here: RPG styles.


hi lumpley, and commentators,

I completely missed this development, but it's certainly inspiring as our society committee have decided to finally give this idea of "roleplaying and LARPing workshops" a go (the memes have been floating around for *at least* the last five years)

lumpley, I haven't seen a thread that suggested how this was organised - are there any specifics of interest? who was the intended audience? (anyone who pitched up?) was there a suggestion of numbers? what was your timeslot in competition with?


Well, it didn't happen, so I don't know how much there is to learn from it. Here's the entire history of it, start to finish:

Dan Brace said, "hey Vincent, wanna do something cool at UNY-Con?"

I said, "sure!" I whacked out the short description ("let's open roleplaying up and muck around in its guts...") and emailed it to him. "How about this?" I said.

"Sure!" he said. "Submit it as an event at our website!"

So I submitted it as an event at the UNY-Con website, just exactly as one would sign up to GM a game. I said "3-20 players." I said "may include adult material," on account of how much it matters to a game who's sleeping with whom and who wants to. I wrote up notes - practically all of which you can see in this thread - over the next couple of weeks.

Then I ditched out like a ditchin'-out loser.

Dan tells me that "a tidy number" of people signed up for it. I have no idea who or how many. I was in competition with just the usual mix of Saturday AM games and maybe a miniature painting workshop.

The end!

So: no organization to speak of, no process to speak of, no assessment of audience, just me winging it and seeing who's interested.

edit: 17 people signed up for it, Dan tells me.