*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 16, 2021, 04:51:23 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 94 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Author Topic: Scope & what I mean by it  (Read 20611 times)
M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2005, 05:10:41 PM »

I'm not sure how "focus" is being used here that seems to have everyone confused. Some say it's the same as "scope" and some say that it's completely irrelevant to short games. So I must not be getting it.

Multiverser's scope, overall, is wide open. Everything exists. Arguably, though, its scope changes during play, to match the current universe(s).  That is, right now Adam is in a modern spy world, and the scope of play does not include dragons. A week ago (and for many months) he was in a post-fantasy world populated by elves, dwarfs, and orcs, and although I don't think I once considered a dragon it probably would have been within the scope of play. Meanwhile, teleporters are not within the scope of play for him, but they might be for Donna, who is currently in a future earth about a hundred years advanced of ours.

However, dragons certainly were not the focus of Adam's game before, and teleporters are not the focus of Donna's game now.  In a narrow sense, the focus of Adam's game is that he is living the life of a government operative, and Donna's is that she is trying to come to grips with a world that keeps repeating a single day (only she and her companions appear to be aware of this). In the broader sense, the focus of the game is what you become if everything familiar is stripped from you.  The game isn't "about" all the places you visit or the things you encounter; it's about how you respond to them.

So there are a lot of things within the scope of a game that have nothing whatever to do with its focus. Many of them might come to be part of the focus (as when one player in that post fantasy world bought an orc slave and turned him into a friend and companion who traveled with him to other worlds), but the focus arises from what actually interests the players, and not directly from what is possible in the world.

What did I miss?

--M. J. Young
Logged

Josh Roby
Member

Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite


WWW
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2005, 05:52:34 PM »

Multiverser's scope, overall, is wide open. Everything exists. Arguably, though, its scope changes during play, to match the current universe(s).

The second one, yeah.  The Multiverser book is not a game, it's a book; the game is when people play Multiverser, and in such a case, a specific scope will be determined.

I'm not sure how "focus" is being used here that seems to have everyone confused. Some say it's the same as "scope" and some say that it's completely irrelevant to short games. So I must not be getting it.

Someone proposed focus as a (new) concept similar to scope.  Nobody's 'getting it' yet. :)  What you outline seems to be more or less in line with how focus was proposed.

Admittedly, I'm showing my biases when I equate the two.  For my purposes, I don't want anything in the scope that isn't in the game.  From a Simmy background, there's going to be a big difference between scope (the set of all potential content) and focus (the set of all content being interacted with).  Otherwise there wouldn't be anything more to explore/celebrate/simulate.
Logged

M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2005, 08:31:36 PM »

Multiverser's scope, overall, is wide open. Everything exists. Arguably, though, its scope changes during play, to match the current universe(s).

The second one, yeah.  The Multiverser book is not a game, it's a book; the game is when people play Multiverser, and in such a case, a specific scope will be determined.
I think you missed the point.

Multiverser is an ongoing campaign system in which characters move from universe to universe during the course of play. That means for Adam, last week orcs and elves were within the expected scope of the immediate session, but this week terrorists with automatic rifles is the norm. This is the same game, continuous play, but the scope has changed for him--and only for him, as the half dozen other players in the same game are currently in other worlds in which the scopes for them are different yet again. Thus there is the scope of what is possible through the life of the entire campaign, the scope of what is possible in all the worlds currently being explored by players at this table, and the scope of the world in which I am currently playing.

Thus when you speak of the "specific scope" being determined by the players when they play the game, that misses the point here. Which "specific scope" is being determined? Remember, Multiverser is not GURPS; you don't create a character to play in a particular world, you create a character with the full expectation that he may land in any world anyone could possibly imagine, and leave it for an entirely different one at almost any moment. Nor is it Rifts; you don't have one universe where everything exists somewhere and sometimes wanders into some other part of the universe where it seems out of place, but nearly infinite discrete universes most of which have nothing "alien" (to them) in them other than the player character. If last week I was fighting next to Luke Skywalker and this week I've joined up with Conan the Barbarian, does that mean that light sabers are or are not part of the scope of the game, and that magic spells are or are not part of the scope of the game? The answer would seem to me that on one level all things are within the scope of the game (in that nothing can be said never to exist within it--it is a core rule that there is no fiction, that everything is real somewhere within the multiverse), and on another level there is a scope that covers all that might be allowed in any universe in play during this session, and yet a third level in which the scope is about what's permitted in the world in which I am right now exploring.

All of which are different again from the focus, which in all cases is who the player character is and who he is becoming through these experiences.

As to having nothing within the scope that's not part of the focus, that would seem to me to suggest that your characters can't have pockets in their pants, because I can't imagine the pockets being within the focus of the game. Either your concept of focus is too broad to have any practical meaning, or you're just not thinking it through clearly. All games have lots of elements that exist within the game world that are not within the focus of the game. Floors, for instance, on which people walk. You take it for granted that they are there, and thus they are within the scope; but you rarely pay any attention to their existence either way, so they certainly are not the focus.

--M. J. Young
Logged

Josh Roby
Member

Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite


WWW
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2005, 09:55:19 PM »

Ah, I did not realize that Multiverser had a Name of the Beast sort of setting behind it.  I thought it was "just" a generic toolbox.  I stand corrected.

By my understanding, then, a specific instance of a Multiverser game would have a very broad scope, but not an infinite one -- perhaps there is a "Toon" universe where everyone wears balloon shoes and falling flattens, never kills, but if we sit down for a game of Multiverser and we say to eachother we want a game that's gritty, noble, savage, or dramatic, then the Toon universe can be expected not to show its head.  Unless the players have no say in what universe their characters get thrust into by the GM?

As for my games, you've got to understand that I'm talking about one to three sessions, playing with a "no tomorrow" mentality.  If you want the game to involve something, you introduce it immediately and play it out.  Which, it turns out, creates some awesome play.  But as for pockets -- I suppose it's sort of like stage costumes, which often don't have pockets unless the character needs to pull a prop out of one.  Whether the characters have pockets is irrelevant unless pockets are necessary for the actual goals of the players.

Or actually I'll go all hoity-toity and use a Shakespeare example.  There's only one Shakespeare play with race in it: Othello.  (Yeah, hyperbole.  Moving on.)  That's why, in any other Shakespeare play, black actors can play any part: because it doesn't matter (you ever wonder how Denzel is related to Keanu?).  Race is not a part of the play's scope or focus.
Logged

Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2005, 06:33:44 AM »

I am tempted to retract my proposal about "Focus" as a term. But there's still something going on here. Essentially when you agree to play, say, Multi-verser, you're broadly agreeing to a particular scope that's implied by the rules. Going forward, some portion of that scope is actually employed in play. This is not quite like Josh's Macro/Micro, or maybe it is and I'm not seeing it. But, basically, let's say that in Multiverser you go to a fantasy world. Well, the originally accepted scope of "just about anything" is now narrowed to "anything that seems to fit in this fantasy world." Which is not the same as "we played our game in the king's court."

So I think Josh has said that Micro is not SIS, so how about this model:
Macro Scope - Everything that could be included in play by agreeing to play RPG X. In Multiverser we could play with sci-fi elements, but it might never happen.
Micro Scope - Everything that could be included in play once things like the characters, actual setting of play, and situation have been determined. In a fantasy world in Multiverser you could see a goblin entered into play, but it might never happen.
SIS - what's actually taken from the scope and entered into play.

Focus in this case merely means how narrow any of these are. In MLWM, the Macro Scope is pretty narrowly defined, so we could say that MLWM focuses the scope on the dysfunctional minion/master relationship. Or you could just say that the scope is narrowly defined in MLWM to only take into account things relevant to the dysfunctional minion/master relationship. But I think focus works as a shorthand here.

Focus, then, is tightening of scope. Just as focusing a telescope is about making the picture at the desired range clearer, ignoring other things around it.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Josh Roby
Member

Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite


WWW
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2005, 08:48:28 AM »

Mike, what if we're going to play Dogs, but as Jedi?  Where do lightsabers fall in your restructuring?  What I'm getting at is that 'by agreeing to play RPG X' seems to assume some sort of textual authority that exists above the players' discussion on what kind of game they want to play.  You're probably not thinking along those terms, but I wanted to make the issue explicit: scope is defined by players, not books.

I can see macro scope as the set of all possible content in the setting, while micro scope is the set of all actual content in the situation.  Actually it might be clearer to just call them setting scope and situation scope -- ditch micro/macro entirely.

I must admit I do like 'focus' as the procedure and 'scope' as the set.  So you focus the scope to change the parameters.  Determining whether something is or is not in the scope can be accomplished without focusing anything ("strict play" where something either is or isn't acceptable and that's that) or as an act of focusing in and of itself ("loose play" where the parameters change at will).  A game's procedures can endow GMs with focus over macro and micro scope, and players with focus over neither, one, or both.
Logged

Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2005, 01:06:00 PM »

I agree completely that scope is created by players. But there's some communication method by which this is done. What I'm saying is that if I say to you, "Lets play Paladin," and you agree, that this automatically sets up some limits on scope based on our reading of said rules. Which understanding will neccessarily grow and mutate as we continue to interact.

So just as we say that DitV supports narrativism, I think we can say something like "The scope suggested by MLWM is very tight."

The lightsabres in Paladin are players narrowing the scope by saying that the generic order that they've agreed to play by agreeing to play Paladin is now set as Jedi.

Situation Scope and Setting Scope seems sensible, but then how are these things different than situation and setting?

I agree with your other comments.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Josh Roby
Member

Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite


WWW
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2005, 01:25:29 PM »

Suggesting and accepting published rule sets don't give any authority to that published artifact -- otherwise our Jedi example would necessarily include Lucas as having some sort of input in the scope of our tabletop game.  Which I can see a case for, but I don't think it would be a particularly useful definition -- Lucas' input is just as mediated by the players of a Jedi game as my input will be mediated by the players of a FLFS game.  I like 'the scope suggested by' much better.

Situation Scope and Setting Scope seems sensible, but then how are these things different than situation and setting?

... that's a really good question.

Okay, here goes: The Setting Scope is the set of all imagined elements that will comprise the Setting.  It's the determining factor of what's in and out, it's the border around the Setting.  Setting Scope is "States of the Union" whereas Setting is "Alabama, Alaska, California... etc."  Setting Scope is the container; Setting is the stuff in the bucket.  Does that work?
Logged

Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2005, 01:38:18 PM »

You seem to keep wanting to make my point that I'm giving authority to the book or something. I'm not. So I'm not sure what the clarifications about that are about.

As for the scope being the set of elements in the setting...sounds of limited use, but not unuseful. Like saying that the city of Milwaukee has a border that contains it. Hmm. How about Scope is the set of boundaries set that contain the setting. Or the situation for the other one? Being that the boundaries are set one by one or in groups, but never seem to be all that contiguous.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Josh Roby
Member

Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite


WWW
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2005, 01:55:51 PM »

I'm just violently agreeing with you, Mike.  Pay me no mind. :)

Scope as a set of rules describing the boundaries around the Setting and Situation sounds intriguing, but might tip the concept into the overcomplex.  Let's try it out!

Setting Scope of Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
  • The main action never leaves the suburbs of Southern California.
  • Vampires and other supernatural horrors are tangible expressions of teenage and young adult issues.
  • Magic works, providing information and a little telekinesis at the cost of insignificant effort, greater effects like transformation only at significant costs (tied into the same issues as the vampires are).
  • 99.99% of the supernatural world is documented in one section of books in the high school library or via the internet.
  • There's one girl in every generation empowered to fight the Vampires.

Situation Scope of a specific scene in a specific episode:
  • At the Bronze -- therefore teenagers hanging out, guest star band in the background, pool tables.
  • Vampires attack!

...it's not really that simple, is it?  What am I missing?
Logged

Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2005, 12:44:22 PM »

Simple is good. Works for me. :-)

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2005, 07:15:03 PM »

I've a couple of follow-up points in regard to comments and questions about Multiverser, and how it connects to this discussion.
By my understanding, then, a specific instance of a Multiverser game would have a very broad scope, but not an infinite one -- perhaps there is a "Toon" universe where everyone wears balloon shoes and falling flattens, never kills, but if we sit down for a game of Multiverser and we say to eachother we want a game that's gritty, noble, savage, or dramatic, then the Toon universe can be expected not to show its head.  Unless the players have no say in what universe their characters get thrust into by the GM?
Technically, the referee has full control over what universes the players enter, particularly at the beginning of play. It is possible for players to get skills or equipment that allow them to control where they go, but this is very difficult and has never happened in any game I've run and only in one game of which I've ever heard. Practically, of course, the referee's task is to provide entertaining play for the individual players, and so should consider what sort of play would be most enjoyable for each of them. At the same time, I've never had a group so monolithic that they would all enjoy the same kinds of game worlds consistently, so I'm usually running them through a lot of very different things. (Remember multiple staging: player characters are frequently not even in the same universe although playing in the same game at the same time.)

Essentially when you agree to play, say, Multi-verser, you're broadly agreeing to a particular scope that's implied by the rules. Going forward, some portion of that scope is actually employed in play. This is not quite like Josh's Macro/Micro, or maybe it is and I'm not seeing it. But, basically, let's say that in Multiverser you go to a fantasy world. Well, the originally accepted scope of "just about anything" is now narrowed to "anything that seems to fit in this fantasy world." Which is not the same as "we played our game in the king's court."

So I think Josh has said that Micro is not SIS, so how about this model:
Macro Scope - Everything that could be included in play by agreeing to play RPG X. In Multiverser we could play with sci-fi elements, but it might never happen.
Micro Scope - Everything that could be included in play once things like the characters, actual setting of play, and situation have been determined. In a fantasy world in Multiverser you could see a goblin entered into play, but it might never happen.
SIS - what's actually taken from the scope and entered into play.
Yes, with a caveat that this leaves out something.

The originally accepted scope of "just about anything" has been narrowed to "anything that seems to fit in this fantasy world", but it has not been permanently narrowed to that. Death is a plot device, a means of advancing story by changing the parameters of the scope. Thus the player characters run into a dragon, who promptly bites one of them in two, and for him suddenly the scope changes--perhaps he now has those sci-fi elements. Then the dragon smashes a second character, who finds himself in the nineteenth century American west, where the scope now excludes dragons and goblins and includes revolvers and rifles, but certainly does not have sci fi elements. The breath weapon catches the remaining two characters; one of them escapes with his life, the other is sent to a prehistoric world, an ice age of neanderthals, mammoths, and sabertooths, but certainly not dragons or goblins.

Suddenly the scope of the entire game includes neanderthals and mammoths, dragons and elves, shootouts and roundups, spaceships and rayguns, all at once; but the scope for each of the four players is limited to part of that whole, because his world is not the entire multiverse. At the same time, the total scope of the game remains in the background, because at any moment any one of these players might be killed again, and find himself in any of those other worlds, including the toon world suggested, or that horror setting known as Teletubbies, or any other.

Thus the largest sense of scope is always present in the background, but is limited on an individual basis temporarily, always with the aspects both that things that are not possible in the vicinity of this character are still possible right now for other characters, and that things not possible right now for this character or any other might become possible for someone at any moment, although not without some warning.

So I agree that scope is useful, but I think that there are more levels to it (at least in the games I play) than are covered here.

I don't think it's just Multiverser that has this feature; it's merely more evident there.  If your OAD&D characters took a trip to the Elemental Plane of Air, there are a lot of things they might meet there that they would not find back on the Prime Material Plane, and a lot of things that exist on the Prime Material Plane that they would not find on the Elemental Plane of Air.  If some of the player characters stayed home, you would have two different scopes working at once, in terms of immediate possibilities.  It's less defined, perhaps, than with Multiverser, but it's the same principle:  one scope that includes the entire reality of the game world, another that includes only that which is in the local neighborhood, and the possibility of moving to a different local neighborhood.

--M. J. Young
Logged

Josh Roby
Member

Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite


WWW
« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2005, 10:52:16 AM »

MJ (do you prefer MJ or something else?  I feel like I'm Spiderman), I think what you're describing is the single Setting Scope (goblins, guns, and scifi) and the multiple Situation Scopes (goblins for Mike, guns for Tiffany, scifi for Rupert). Not all characters will be included in every Situation Scope (cause characters are either in or out of Situation Scope, too), after all.

Secondly, MJ, have you ever played in a game where you went to Teletubbieland or Toonville or anything else "silly"?  Mostly I'm curious whether this ever really happens, or only ever exists in potentia.
Logged

M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2005, 10:04:39 AM »

MJ (do you prefer MJ or something else?
In person, I prefer Mark. However, on forums I find MJ to be least confusing, and since my books bear the moniker "M. Joseph Young" Mark proves to be most confusing. At least with MJ it is almost always me (Hi, Mary Jane) and I don't have to try to figure out whether "Mark" means me or someone else.

Quote
Secondly, MJ, have you ever played in a game where you went to Teletubbieland or Toonville or anything else "silly"?  Mostly I'm curious whether this ever really happens, or only ever exists in potentia.
The only one I know has been played is what we euphemistically call The Land of the Benevolent Purple Dinosaur. It's usually used to refocus "suicide players", players who think that they can keep killing their own characters until they land in the specific world they want (we had some trouble with this in test play), because "aggressive and violent thoughts" including suicide are "power blocked", and thus impossible to choose to do. Thus it's a way of cooling someone down a bit so they understand that the referee is offended at the idea that this world won't be enjoyable just because it's not the one you wanted.

Since E. R. Jones is very fond of Toon, I expect he has run toon-based Multiverser worlds; he probably mentioned having done it back when we were writing the rules, but I don't recall pursuing or discussing it. I know that his playtests included a lot of crazy worlds (he was running early versions of the game for about five years before I became involved, and had someone running him in it at the same time), but I have no records of those.  I would also be pretty sure that he has by now run one of his many loyal players through a Teletubbies world of some sort, as it is so like him to do stuff like that, but I've seen him maybe four times briefly in eight years so we don't get much opportunity to talk.

I'm pretty sure Eric "Tadeusz" Ashley has run Toon-type games in his play down in Tennessee, but "World-a-Week" Eric runs so many different worlds I can't keep up with them.

So yes, those are realized possibilities. I've not tried my hand at them largely because I've got so many other things to try (in the last couple of years I've attempted my first genuine horror games and genuine mystery scenarios), and because I'm not sure what I'd do with them--but I think my son Kyler did something very Toon-like at the last convention, running one player through an entirely irrational sort of world for a while. I'll have to try to catch up with him and get the details.

--M. J. Young
Logged

Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!