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Author Topic: [Silence Keeps Me A Victim]Narration limits and general feedback. (adult)  (Read 22497 times)
Clyde L. Rhoer
Member

Posts: 391


« on: September 14, 2006, 06:40:10 PM »

Hello everyone,

So I've been giving consideration to my game, Silence Keeps Me A Victim, and am in a place I'd like to get some feedback.

The color/setting is of a somewhat magical place where The Abuser takes the voice of the communities babies. There are no adults as the loss of voice slowly turns the children from a vibrant robust color to gray and they fade into nothingness around 13 years of age.

Here is an overview of how I see the game working. The game has players and The Abuser (G.M.). The Abuser plays The Abuser and The Community. (Yes I know that's recursive) The players play characters who are absolutely undifferentiated from each other at the beginning of the game. They each have two characteristics of Mask and Voice. I'm am not trying to nail down mechanics yet, so those values are presently unknown. The player's can not speak except under certain circumstances, that will become clear soon. The Abuser is not limited in speech.

The Abuser sets up scenes and then proto-pre-narrates two possible outcomes. One outcome corresponds with what The Abuser wants and what The Community wants. Ideally the abuser should be trying to make the players/PC's do something they don't want to do, and the community should want to make the players/PC's to do something they want to do less, or is at least safer.

The players decide to either support The Abuser, The Community, or try to win themselves and create a third option. These three winning options are separate from narration. They also need to decide how much they want to narrate, or how much they want to win declarations. The Abuser also makes these choices, however The Abuser narrates as the The Abuser, and declares as The Community. So after what ever mechanic I use we have a winner, either the player/PC, The Abuser, or The Community. We also have a Narrator, and a Declarer. These can all be the same person but I would like that option to be rare so the choices are meaningful and provide tension. Each choice will be identified with a color, likely The Abuser will be Black, The community Yellow, the players win option Blue, narration will be Red, and declaration will be Green. (note: besides Black this matches my Mechaton dice so I'm thinking of using D6's)

The Narrator narrates from where the scene was left off, either following along with The Abuser, or Communities stated goal, or a third unstated path if a player won. The Declarer will declare the traits that will be added to the PC's, based on what happened in the scene. This should follow the narration, but can be twisted a bit based on stance.

Example:

The Abuser narrates a scene where the PC's are in a hunting party and come across two young boys caught up in mutual sexual gratification. He then states that he wants the PC's to stab them with their spears, bash their heads in anger, and spread their brains all across the clearing, and place their hands in each others pants so the other children will know this is not acceptable behavior. The Abuser states The Community wants the PC's to separate the boys and to keep them separate so they can't behave in this manner. So the players choices are between those two options and a third option that should not lie between those two, narration, and declaration.

So Narration shouldn't need a lot of explanation, so let's hit declaration. Let's say the Abuser won, a player (character B) Narrated, and now a third player is declaring. Say the narration was one player (character A) did the Abusers dirty work, while the rest stood there stunned. The declarer could state the player who did the dirty work gained the trait, "I will do whatever it takes to defend the community", or they could state the player gained the trait,"Sometimes The Abuser controls me," or some other option. The Declarer might state the players who were not involved gain the trait, "I'm scared of character A." Also notice how the narrator can use narration to protect themselves from being the agent of The Abusers winning condition.

The second part of the game is where a character discovers their voice, which causes the position to shift such that The Abuser will have rules about when The Abuser is allowed to talk and the declared traits will be able to be used in the game. This part isn't thought out much yet.

So what I would like to discuss is:
  • What problems may occur as resolution is outside the realm of normal conflict resolution.
  • Problems that occur since a player can win but might not get to narrate
  • General feedback or questions on color/setting or procedure
  • Questions to clarify what I'm describing... on reading this post I'm fairly sure I'm leaving holes in the description.

What I don't want to discuss:
  • Mechanics ideas.
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clyde.ws, Clyde's personal blog.
Aussigamer
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2006, 06:45:35 PM »

The use of childern and "abuser" seem IMHO to be to much. This seems to feel like child abuse.
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Clyde L. Rhoer
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Posts: 391


« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2006, 06:59:04 PM »

Hi Aussigamer,

I can respect that you feel that way. The game is about examining the silence that society inflicts on people who have been molested and raped like myself, and what that silence does to us. My hope is for people to feel uncomfortable. Thanks for being honest about how it makes you feel.
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Isbo
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2006, 07:55:10 PM »

Hi Clyde--I'm glad to see this project unfolding.

First, clarification questions:

There seem to be three basic roles in every scene.  Does this mean that no more than three players are ever participating in one scene?  Or does it mean that no more than two players (Abuser/Community as one player; child as another) are ever part of one scene?  Or is there some other arrangement that I'm not quite seeing?

I'm a little unclear how the children frame their third opportunity.  Again, following from the above question, is it one child per scene that gets to 'take point' on that, with others aiding or not aiding?  Is there some mechanical element involved in determining how chidren frame?

Just to be clear--Can a child player who narrates basically tell another child player that their character did something terrible during a scene as a result of the abuser's win?

My first response to color / setting: I like it.  It's haunting and eerie.  It evokes the claustrophobia of the abusive situation well.  The example you give of play...hmm, I kind of wonder if there might not be a corollary for your game to Ron's recent discussion of the erotic in regard to Bacchanal.  You may want to encourage players to work with their own boundaries, rather than jump into situations like this which are way past their boundaries.  Games that jump right in, well past a player's threshold, seem to encourage players to start treating the game with a certain 'anything goes' over the top black humor, which seems to run counter to the game's underlying goals.

Ian
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Aussigamer
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2006, 08:53:37 PM »

Clyde I am sorry to read that you have been personal affected like that, but I feel that issues like this need proper therapy.
Though this could be used by those professional persons as a, most likely, great healing tool. I think that this could be also used incorrectly and could lead to more truma (sp!) or be used by those "of a sick mind" for personal gratifaction.

I hope that you are able to step lightly along those very personal lines and come up with that useful tool to aid others.

Rick
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2006, 10:13:01 PM »

Clyde, I'm happy to see this start coming to light.

I don't understand how the dice relate to the players' choices. Can you give a short, concrete example with dice in play? I realize you don't want to discuss mechanics, but it's a game. That's what it's made of. So when you ask,

Quote
What problems may occur as resolution is outside the realm of normal conflict resolution.

I need to understand how the resolution really works. In fact, all of your questions are mechanical.

Quote
Problems that occur since a player can win but might not get to narrate

This is dealt with effectively in Prime Time Adventures and Shock: I've never seen it cause problems. What typically happens is that there are really interesting outcomes because the narrator doesn't have in mind what the players had in mind when they called for their stakes. The stakes are resolved, but the details around them are often different.

I'm eager to see this develop.

Rick, Clyde's doing what he has to do. Fretting about hypothetical people hypothetically misusing a yet-hypothetical game isn't really helping Clyde or The Children.
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Aussigamer
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2006, 10:34:23 PM »

Just pointing out the moral aspects to his idea. In the end he will make it or not, but everyone should be aware of the impact of the things we do on others.

As I said
Quote
I hope that you are able to step lightly along those very personal lines and come up with that useful tool to aid others
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2006, 10:36:41 PM »

Given Clyde's previous posts on the matter, I have confidence in his intentions and will to do good.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

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Callan S.
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2006, 10:46:53 PM »

Hi Cylde,

Your setting up an examination of what comes next (the bashing in of brains, etc), rather than what came before (what in the heads of the hunting party makes them think of bashing in brains?). Is there something you want the game to look for in what comes next, that you can't find in what came before?
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Aussigamer
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2006, 11:08:17 PM »

Given Clyde's previous posts on the matter, I have confidence in his intentions and will to do good.

I am sure that is intentions are 100% pure and I do hope him the best of luck.
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Clyde L. Rhoer
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Posts: 391


« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2006, 05:24:13 AM »

Hey Ian,

The way I am envisioning it, in the first part of the game every player's character will be in each scene, but they will have to struggle to get to either; not have anyone do bad things, describe their and everyone elses actions, or describe how they are effected. It's basically railroading to instill a distaste to their non-verbal unempowered state. Also you can think of the first stage of the game as a extended character creation if that helps you wrap your mind around it.

I'm unclear about your question about framing. That may be my lack of understanding of everything the term framing entails. The Abuser frames the scene and establishes a conflict between The Abuser and The Community. The players then either assist one of those sides, or an unstated side (they can't talk). They also will likely be wanting to win Narration rights and perhaps Declaration rights.

If the Abuser wins and a player wins narration the player who wins narration can indeed say another child did the bad act, or that all the children did the bad act, or some combination thereof.

I'll read the thread you cite. I might have read it already. Anyway my example was purposely extra brutal to judge the reaction it receives. I don't see the game starting at a place quite like that, but I might go to places like that as the players get close to gaining their voice. I also think that not talking is likely to strongly combat the black humor tendency, but that's all words at this point.

Let me know if I've left anything unclear.
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clyde.ws, Clyde's personal blog.
Clyde L. Rhoer
Member

Posts: 391


« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2006, 05:37:52 AM »

Hi Rick,

My personal experience is that professional help was not very helpful for me. I also want to make clear that you should not feel uneasy about challenging what I'm doing, or saying. I don't want my prior abuse to be seen as a verbal club used to silence dissension. The whole point of the game for me is a creative way to try to induce conversation about these issues as it is my belief that secrecy and silence greatly exacerbates the problem. If when the game is done you still feel uneasy about the game I would heartily encourage you to state that to anyone you might talk to about it. That would still be accomplishing my goal of increasing open discussion of these issues.
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clyde.ws, Clyde's personal blog.
Isbo
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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2006, 05:42:31 AM »

Clyde--

Okay, now I'm starting to get it.  I hadn't quite processed how far the 'no child talks' injunction went.  Calling it an extended character creation helped me out, fwiw.  Let me see if we are on the same page before I ask anything else:

The only way for a *player* (who is not GM) to talk during this time is for them to win narration or declaration rights.  And they cannot speak while the GM describes the two options, only rearrange their dice to indicate what they are supporting.  The third alternative is literally unknown until whoever wins narration rights actually narrates it.

Ian
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Clyde L. Rhoer
Member

Posts: 391


« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2006, 06:07:31 AM »

Hi Joshua,

The reason I didn't want to discuss mechanics is I can't, or we don't mean the same things by mechanics. I am writing this like a computer programmer and this is pseudocode stage. To translate; I'm setting up how I see the procedure and later I will write the code or mechanics. I'm not doing this deliberately that's just how my brain has been working. I may be able to explain better though.

What I want to do is to set up a struggle between not doing bad things, and protecting oneself, or others. Not doing bad things is achieved by beating The Abuser, and to a lesser extent The Community. Protecting oneself or others can be done through Narration or Declaration. The players should have limited but flexible resources that allow them to get one or if lucky two of those options. The reason I mentioned dice colors is because the players will use the colors to signal what they are doing, so they don't need to talk. I should have mentioned the colors only and not the dice to avoid confusion. At this point it could be poker chips or colored sheets of paper. Is this helpful to you understanding?

There is one difference I imagine between Shock, Prime Time Adventures (haven't got to read either yet), and Silence Keeps Me A Victim, in that the player hasn't stated any stakes or intention. The only thing that's really indicated by their trying to "win" is that they want a third option. This is what I was wondering about causing problems.

The other thing I was worried about is Declaration is outside of normal conflict resolution. The idea seems to work fine in my head but there may be something I'm missing. I hope those two paragraphs better state my worries.
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Theory from the Closet , A Netcast/Podcast about RPG theory and design.
clyde.ws, Clyde's personal blog.
Clyde L. Rhoer
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Posts: 391


« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2006, 06:09:56 AM »

The only way for a *player* (who is not GM) to talk during this time is for them to win narration or declaration rights.  And they cannot speak while the GM describes the two options, only rearrange their dice to indicate what they are supporting.  The third alternative is literally unknown until whoever wins narration rights actually narrates it.

Yes, exactly right Ian.
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Theory from the Closet , A Netcast/Podcast about RPG theory and design.
clyde.ws, Clyde's personal blog.
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