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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 166 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: GNS  (Read 11374 times)

Posts: 11

« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2005, 02:19:57 PM »

Hi Ron. No need to apologize; it’s not like I’m paying you for your time. My posting of abandonment issues was meant to be taken as an instance of levity.

So we’ve established that CA is an individual and group affair, but to distinguish between those aspects is a waste of time. As I understand it, you are saying that a better tool to diagnose and correct breakdowns in the social contract would be by examining instances of Incoherent and Dysfunctional play (or Abashed play).
Coherence then is the “holy grail”, but to try and achieve it by honoring all play styles (or CAs) at once leads only to Incoherent play, if not Dysfunctional play. This is in direct opposition to Law’s “egalitarian” constructions.  Correct?

You made the analogy to sporting activity, which I understood. The same analogy could apply to musicians who play together but enjoy different styles of music. They might dissolve into bickering over how jazz is loftier than rock, or they may put their individuals tastes aside and jam, but it’s unlikely they’ll come together and form a coherent and lasting band unless they share the same creative agenda (in terms of music style). This second analogy better addresses diversity in taste, if I’m following your argument correctly.

Social clustering in the context of the musicians analogy above concerns compromise (or lack thereof) in the styles of music preferred. As you might say, they might be able to play together and have some fun, but the “magic” doesn’t happen unless you have a bunch of people playing a style for which they all feel a passion. I bet your terms would translate well to the problems many garage bands face...Incoherent play through each player aggressively “pulling” in the direction of his own musical preferences (‘no’ said the drummer, ‘I don’t think any song should be played at that tempo’). The second type of clustering (I like jazz best...I like rock) is not so much a problem if everybody can compromise. This group is not doomed, but certainly vulnerable to it, right? So too with various preferences in an RPG group.

I understand now that you’re not creating a personality type matrix. It’s good to see that you don’t hold one type of play above others. As you said, you simply liked one sort more than the others for a while. I guess after reading “Robin’s Laws of Good Gamemastering” I’ve been heavily indoctrinated in the cult of Dysfunctional play. ;)

I’ll read the blog you pointed me to, but you might you consider writing some articles on creating ideal option sets? I bet those would be popular? Or am I missing the point about the mammals? I might take a damn long time, but it sounds like a great PDF product you could sell on RPGNow.
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Posts: 16490

« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2005, 03:26:07 PM »

Hi Dan!

The band analogy almost works. The trouble with it is that at least all the bands you're talking about are interested in playing music. I'd put CA on an even more diverse level of human priority ... maybe more on the level of "making tons of money" vs. "playing best music possible" vs. "getting chicks." These aren't directly analogous to role-playing CAs, but they are really different, as first priorities. I'm putting CA way up there at that level, when people are really going to disagree about where the final 15% of group effort is going to go.

That's also why I don't use the word "style" to discuss Creative Agenda. To me (rightly or wrongly), the word concerns superficialities, like what sorts of hats people want to wear. Or maybe not total superficialities (hats may indicate what gang one belongs to, for instance), but still versions of basically the same thing, rather than different things altogether.

This guy wants to ride his motorcycle, this other guy wants to show his motorcycle in contests, and yet this other guy wants to sell his motorcycle. That's not a matter of "style." That's agenda. (ah! best analogy so far, I think; better than my band one)

As for this whole "option set" thing, I decided to address it mainly through game design itself. Sorcerer, Elfs, and Trollbabe are pretty lean & focused as far as RPGs go, and I am fairly proud of them in terms of whittling thousands of role-playing design options into integrated packages. Maybe my real answer to you regarding "sets" of Techniques is to gesture vaguely toward the various games across the Forge - from fully developed and published titles to the one-page summaries currently sparking and crackling in Indie Design.

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