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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)
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Author Topic: Clarifying Participationism  (Read 15230 times)
Callan S.
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« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2005, 08:58:39 PM »

Hi Mike,

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I'm not sure that's Force, or Illusionism. Player wants his character to go to the city, the character goes to the city. How has the GM forced the character to do something here that the player didn't intend? How is the player not controlling what happens here? This is an illusion, but not the Illisionism one. That is, in this case illusion is being used to give the player control, instead of taking it away. Quite the opposite effect. Illusionism is making changes to make it seem like the player has control of where things are going, when in fact the GM has this control.

Empahsis mine.

Whats basically happened is the GM has forced the player to have control of this, when the player doesn't want that control.

Forgive my clumsy writing on this: Imagine two levels of control, one above the other. The higher one controls the lower one. And example of use is in gambling. The lower control level controls what happens to your cash. The higher level says whether the lower level keeps that control. When you go to gamble, the higher level says "No, lower level loses control and we let the dice decide!"

In this case the upper level is saying we should let the map decide. But the upper level is being delt force, because it's wishes are not being met. The lower control level wants the city to be on the left, the higher level doesn't want the lower to be in control of that. But the GM is making the lower level be in control of that, regardless.

It's sort of like stealing from Paul to pay Peter. Taking control from the higher level and giving it to the lower level.

This might seem really picky or something. But from a gamist perspective it's vital - if that gambling table is rigged to give me a win on whatever I put my money on, then I have ZERO bragging rights about the guts I had in gambling that money.

I hope I'm not too fuzzy. But on a selfish side note, this is really helping me figure out some stuff, anyway! :)

Quote
No, not at all. In both cases, the GM controls what the plot will be, and he does it (assuming this is a coherent CA), for everyone's enjoyment based on what he thinks will be entertaining for all.

Hmm, I was thinking the GM puts himself in a servant position, when backloading/catering to what the players are invested in. When the master calls for a bowl of fruit, sure, the servant gets to decide what fruit is in there and carries it in. But I wouldn't say that he's in control.

Side point:
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You dig some deep philosophical holes sometimes Callan.
It's occured to me that rather than digging these holes here, I should write a game about it so I can actually play the digging with friends where I live. However, I have no idea how to write such a game...a game, which is essentially about having no idea how to write games like this and trying to figure out how to do so. Seriously though, encapsulating issues like this in a game...would be thrilling! :)
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #31 on: October 28, 2005, 09:13:37 AM »

All I can say, MJ, is to ask you to read here: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=4217.0

Nothing in this current thread is new, it is, in fact, merely me going over again what we discussed in the thread linked above. You can also see where Ron and I have differences in what Force means at first.

Yes, participationism is what you give examples of. Again, it being a spectrum, this would be rather the extreme end of participationism, but you forget to include the GM telling the players what their characters say. In fact, there's a point at which the GM simply plays all the parts and the players have no interaction with the game. At which point it's hard to distinguish from storytelling, except that, perhaps, the GM might be using second person: "You go to the smithy, and say, 'Can I get a sword?'"

Now, I've said that this is only a theoretical sub-mode of play on many, many occasions since I invented the idea (which happened just a bit prior to the illusionism thread above). That is, I can envision players in theory being satisfied with it, but in practice I've never seen anyone who likes it. I've seen GMs who railroad claim that their players like what they're doing, but if you ask the players the play amounts to railroading.

To recount the full version of why I came up with this definition of participationism, I had read a module that Marco had written for JAGS called "The Bell Tower" (IIRC). In it, Marco had put box text for the players to read in place of their own character's narrations, and it largely read like a script. I asked him if when he playtested it if the players liked it, and he responded in the affirmative. So taking him at his word, I had to assume that there was this odd mode of play that these people liked. Well, as it turned out, when he described how he actually ran the game, it wasn't scripted much at all. Yes they read the box text, but they had lots of places where they had input on how things worked out in the game. So participationism was invented out of a misunderstanding about a fictional form of play.

When confronted with a script for a scenario design, apparently GM's do one of two things. Either they run it as a railroad, and players hate it in all cases from what I've seen. Or they use it as a thematic guideline, and the play is much more Illusionism or other mode, and the players usually enjoy the play. So, again, I don't know that Participationism exists other than to hold down the end of the spectrum of "visibility" of GM force.


Callan, the only thing I can say about your post is that in your example that you may be correct that the player in question does not agree to the CA. So that makes it "Not Agreed To." So, lets see, Not Agreed to IntCon is....unheard of? You come up with a name for it.

Yes, gamism where the end result is fixed is common and dysfunctional (usually the result of gam/nar incoherence). And has nothing to do at all with anything under discussion here.

Mike
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Callan S.
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« Reply #32 on: October 28, 2005, 02:01:58 PM »

Callan, the only thing I can say about your post is that in your example that you may be correct that the player in question does not agree to the CA. So that makes it "Not Agreed To." So, lets see, Not Agreed to IntCon is....unheard of? You come up with a name for it.
I dunno either. What was the name of that old Kirk era star trek episode where they end up on a planet that makes all thei fantasies come true? That'd be a good name.
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Yes, gamism where the end result is fixed is common and dysfunctional (usually the result of gam/nar incoherence). And has nothing to do at all with anything under discussion here.
Really? I dunno how you fix a game without the illusion it wasn't fixed. Anyway, I've said what I've said and I'll leave it to be mulled over by everyone.
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