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Author Topic: Meeting old friends and promoting indie scene  (Read 6396 times)
pells
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Posts: 192


« on: November 02, 2006, 06:46:57 AM »

Being in vacations in my native land, I was invited to take part in a game. I wasn't the DM, this wasn't my product, nor my typical group of players, that was going to be a change. It was fun, I had a good evening. Here are some of my observations.

The context
I was going to play a main character in an ongoing campaign. I was the governor of the city and they would have to negociate with me. They had been playing this campaign for over a year and half, playing once every two weeks. Already a strong dynamic in the group, be it the players or their characters. The setting, Constantinople 12th century, was very nice. And the DM really worked a good plot, with a lot of characters.
They are playing a vampire like system, which they bend a lot. There's not much left of it. But, they've been using it since so long ...

The game
Quite short, three hours at the most. I only played a scene, the main one. But, it was really fun to see them play. We had a good time. And I had a very interesting character, the main scene was kind of a trial, with a lot of political matters.
I have to mention, and this is important, that there was two types of players at the table. Two players, out of five, were definitly gamist.
Some scenes were played only for them, where they would throw dices.

The DM
We're here in the context of a long term campaign. For the DM to manage it, it needs to be documentated. That was a real mess. But, he's almost there. He showed me something that was like a relationship map, but that was impossible to read for me. What I mean here, is that he's doing a pretty good job with his campaign, he managed to develop some basic tools to help him. And he came up with some pretty good concepts. But he`s quite alone. When I see the kind of tools, concepts, that are developed here, or elsewhere on the indie scene, it`s a real shame not to use them.

The system
Now, they find me very annoying. I really believe they should change their system, promoting TSOY. Even the DM says he`s there : I believe he is becoming unconfortable by his system. Some examples of how things are played :
1. Intentions are never stated. The player describes what he wants to do (things like a big sphere of light), then he throws dices, they look at how many success the player had and then the DM describes. But that`s a problem : this is where negociations begin. That`s becoming a problem for them I think.
2. The DM has found a way to transfer pools of dices from one player to the other, just like in TSOY, when helping someone out. But this is complicated and takes a lot of time to manage.
3. Their big gamist scene is where the characters play out their nature and gain some bonus for future actions. Franckly, the DM is no needed to describe those scenes.
4. I do feel players are screaming for narrative power. That said, they have a lot, but it turns out that each time their throw dices, they lose it, because it is the DM who describes.
Now, there are having fun. No problem with that. But, I really believe they could have even more, using the right system for they what they try to do. Now, three main problems :
- they say they can integrate 1, 3 and 4 (mentionned above) into their habit of play, without changing the system and simplify 2.
- the two gamists. They do consider it as a big problem.
- Old habits. They are so used to their system, althougth they have bended it even more over the years.
I'm trying to tell them, it changes a lot of things : it changes the way you perceive the game.

Coming up next ...
I had to take my responsabilities here, so I organised a game next week : I`ll DM a part of my campaign, using TSOY. I hope to convince them that way.
Yeap, system does matter.
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Larry L.
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Posts: 616

aka Miskatonic


« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2006, 07:33:17 PM »

Hi Sebastien,

This is always a situation I find interesting.

Why do they find you annoying? This statement seems to contradict the list of things they'd like to change. Are they not eager to hear these things? Are you just needling them, "Oh, this would be so much better if you..."? I'm not really clear here if they are receptive to your notions or not.

I think you're on the right track with running a new game for them instead of trying to persuade them to change the existing game. Let us know how this goes!
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pells
Member

Posts: 192


« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2006, 12:48:45 PM »

Well, well ... back from vacations and, what a shame, didn't have a chance to play with them as a DM, thought, I've played another as a player. That said, I've learned things ...

Quote
Why do they find you annoying?
Well, we talked a lot about rpgs. We discussed their ongoing campaign (which is very fine by the way), but I tended to bring back the rules on a recurring basis. Well, I guess I understand them, as I remind myself discovering the forge ... So, of course they find me annoying : they don't like what I'm saying !!!

Quote
Are they not eager to hear these things?
Yes, they do hear it. They even "understand" it I think. But, are they eager to change ? I think they do see the benefits but they think those are details.

Quote
Are you just needling them, "Oh, this would be so much better if you..."? I'm not really clear here if they are receptive to your notions or not
I'm bringing examples, right from our game. My main argument is simple : you're having fun, but this could be even better (and not so much better). They are very old gamers, using the same old system for so long...

Quote
I think you're on the right track with running a new game for them instead of trying to persuade them to change the existing game.
This is one thing I learned : you need to play with them !!! Talking is NOT enough. Too bad I wasn't able to play with them ... well next time.

That said, in the following game, something funny happened :
- one player, who played a mage, just decided at one point to throw some dices : "I'm throwing this on those stats ... Here we go : 4 success!". I (as the DM) never got a clue about his intention !!!
- a couple of minutes later, I stated an intention, asked for how many success I needed and then threw dices. Unfortunatly, I didn't succeed, so I didn't have the chance to take the narration stance by myself (and never threw a dice after that).
I had the chance to talk to the DM afterward, presented the above examples. He agreed that this was the way to play it ...

Another thing (because we talked a lot) : how do we (as indie designers) reach those people ? They are long time players (they are over 30, been playing for over a decade), they have their system (which is abashed) and they are looking for anything else. They are there, somehow playing in their corner. They don't know about the indie scene ; they're not even looking for it. The only thing this DM was looking was sources of inspiration for his own campaign (and this is not typical, linear prewritten plots).

Well, I guess the key is playing.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2006, 12:59:08 PM »

Hi Sebastien,

I have a different suggestion: don't try to convert people who aren't interested. In reading your original post, I could not understand why you would tell people they should play differently from what they are doing. It doesn't matter if you think they would have more fun, or would benefit, or anything at all. The question is only whether they want to learn about other ways to play.

I think this behavior doesn't help you, doesn't help them (they don't need help), and only causes problems.

All of the details you describe about the group reinforce, over and over, that they are happy with their methods of play and even utilize those methods as a means of enjoying their friendship. By challenging the methods, you devalue the friendship. That's the message you gave them, although you didn't mean it.

"How do we reach these people," you ask. My answer: Talk only to the ones who have reached out already. Don't bother people who aren't interested in being pulled anywhere.

Best, Ron
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pells
Member

Posts: 192


« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2006, 06:02:31 AM »

Well, I just hope I'm not looking like a fanatic here !!! That said, I agree with you Ron, but I'd like to explain a couple of things to put everything in the right context ...

Quote
I have a different suggestion: don't try to convert people who aren't interested. In reading your original post, I could not understand why you would tell people they should play differently from what they are doing. It doesn't matter if you think they would have more fun, or would benefit, or anything at all. The question is only whether they  want to learn about other ways to play.
Couple of things. They are good friends of mine (at least some of them), so they are not people I just met and try to "convince". Also, the DM and I share a singularity : we both have a degree in philosophie : so we're not arguing, but discussing. So, we're both used to discuss for the sake of it ; just for the fun of discussion, sharing different ideas, points of view. And I wasn't harsh on them : this has nothing to do, for example, with what happened to me when I first came in into this site.
Now, the question : were they interested ? As I was speaking of narrative mechanics, I've got a DM who's telling me "What a great idea !!! We're almost there, so close already !!! I'll find a way to integrate them into my existing system !!!".
Given his enthousiasm about those new ideas, I tried to explain that system does matter. That its existing system was becoming more and more complicated. That if he really wished to integrate those ideas, maybe he should simply change system. And that's the annoying part for them. Not the ideas, but the fact that their current system couldn't be stretched that much : that it wasn't meant (designed) for that.

Quote
All of the details you describe about the group reinforce, over and over, that they are happy with their methods of play and even utilize those methods as a means of enjoying their friendship. By challenging the methods, you devalue the friendship. That's the message you gave them, although you didn't mean it.
You may be right, but then again, there is a problem there. Common one to this site : play with people you enjoy playing with. They don't want to change system because two of the players, who are big fan of world of Warcraft, see the game as a video game. They don't care about political intrigues, they only want to fight and progress. So, when those two are enjoying themselves, the other three are not and vice versa. The DM is not that happy with its methods. Proof of that : he's always adjusting, changing his system.
And finally, about friendship : the game ended with player A attacking player B, not succeeding in killing him. So, player B killed player A in response, and player C killed player B. Strange ways to express friendship ... I'm not judging here.

Quote
"How do we reach these people," you ask. My answer: Talk only to the ones who have reached out already. Don't bother people who aren't interested in being pulled anywhere.
Let me rephrase : how do we reach out for people who would be eager to learn about those things, new ways of playing, that would be open to new ideas. And that's the case of the DM here. People who are willing to learn, but doesn't know there is something to learn.

That said, Ron, I totally agree with you. If the DM had told me "I don't want those kind of games, I don't want those ideas, they seem useless", then I would say as I was very wrong to continue talking to them about it.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2006, 07:20:27 PM »

Hi Sebastian,
Quote
That said, Ron, I totally agree with you. If the DM had told me "I don't want those kind of games, I don't want those ideas, they seem useless", then I would say as I was very wrong to continue talking to them about it.
I think Ron has suggested talking with those who have reached out - it sounds like the DM has reached out. But he can't do that for the rest of the group - only the GM's reached out - that doesn't mean you can now start talking over the rest of the group.. The DM isn't in charge of them in that way - he's only reached out for himself.

Consider running a side thing with just you and him. Then talk about how awesome it was in earshot of your friends and wait and see if any others reach out to know more.
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Philosopher Gamer
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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2006, 06:16:55 AM »

Sebastien,

There are some things in your last post that drawn my attention:

Quote
The DM is not that happy with its methods. Proof of that : he's always adjusting, changing his system.

Is there a possibility that this GM is continually adjusting his system not because he's really so unhappy with how the game works, but rather because he's actually having fun tinkering with the rules? It may be that he has a design knack, but being bound to one game and one campaign he doesn't really get a chance to fully realise and develop it (I noticed that big systems and neverending campaigns have the tendency to "bind" the participants to the point of keeping them from trying anything completely different - or maybe it's the other way around).

Quote
And finally, about friendship : the game ended with player A attacking player B, not succeeding in killing him. So, player B killed player A in response, and player C killed player B. Strange ways to express friendship ... I'm not judging here.

Could you elaborate on that? Was player A decision prompted by in-game or out-of-game motives? What was the reaction of the GM and the rest of the group when he tried killing other PC? Were the responses of players B and C marked with obvious grief, or maybe these were rather attempts to protect party integrity? Were they in-character motivated? Again, was the whole group ok with what happened? Did some out of game argument arise from the whole thing, or maybe there were signs people involved (or some of them) had fun? Do you know about a history of similar events in this group? Lastly, were the WoW players somehow involved?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2006, 07:03:40 AM »

Hi Sebastien,

I don't know what to do with your post. It disagrees with me at multiple points and then finishes by saying that you agree. At least one of your points is nonsensical, about "I didn't just meet them to convert them, they're my friends," which has nothing to do with anything I wrote. I have no idea what the thread you linked to is intended to indicate - what do you mean, "what happened to you"?

I stated what I think about your anecdote. When I get responses that, frankly, look totally cuckoo, then I think more is going on than what you reported, either regarding the group you're talking about and you, or regarding some kind of issue you have here at the Forge. If you think can clarify either of those for me, I'd appreciate it.

Best, Ron
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pells
Member

Posts: 192


« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2006, 12:16:13 PM »

Hi Ron !!!

Okay, I'll try to explain myself as best as I can (and asking myself "how am I going to get out of this without looking very bad). But first things first :
I started this thread after playing with them and discussing with some players, having planned a game of TSOY (using Avalanche) for the week coming. All the players (and myself) were pretty excited about it. It turned out we didn't play and I left the country (so I won't be playing with them anytime soon). And that's the problem.

A little history
Two years ago, last time I was in Montréal, I played with them a couple of games using Avalanche, with almost the same group (in fact this is the AP present in my teaser). At that time, I told them "we can use any system you want, it doesn't matter to me. I can do anything given any sytem." Turn out I was wrong about that, but still, we had fun. In the meanwhile, a year later, I discovered the forge (I'll come to that later) and what people were doing here.
At that time I was (and still today) playtesting Avalanche with my regular group of players, using d20. Having read a lot about narrativism system, I decided to give it a shot. But still, I was doubtful, as my players were. Was it worth it ? Would it change things in a good way ? Changing system in the course of a campaign is a real mess ! And I knew what the system was about, and read the rules. I play mostly with newcomers to rpg, except two players, and even them were doubtful ... But we had a pretty good idea of what we were going to try. Well, we tried it.
Everyone had more fun, it was a great game, we used the system as we never did before. That was great. Even more than we could have had expected. Was it worth it ? yes. Did it corresponded more to the way we wanted to play ? yes.
What I'm saying here, is that you can read about it, talk about it, as long as you don't play it, I don't think you can get it (I mean the real difference). At least, that was my case.

About the forge
Sometimes, here, people can be harsh on newcomers (that said, since theory and design are inactive, I believe this is less frequent). And this is not a complain, nor an issue for me. Well, at least, that's how I felt things, especially in this first thread of mine. What I mean is that my attitude toward those players was not the kind "you don't know anything about rpg" or "you don't play the right way". But, then again, maybe I see it the wrong way.
That said, it was quite useful. Just that I think I learn many things here, and among them, some the hard way. But this is no problem for me : I'm quite stubborn !!!

About the group
Yes, maybe I do have a problem with the two gamists players. But, they didn't even knew that I proposed a new system : they were not interested ; and fine with them !! I talked about TSOY with the DM and the three other players, and those were the four I was supposed to play with.
Also, from the conversation I had with the DM, I believe he really wanted to give away some narrative power to his players, as the resolution of some scenes did cause him some real problems.

About agreement
Maybe I feel defensive for nothing. Well, maybe this is mostly because I don't think I was acting badly. I really think I was exchanging ideas with people who were pretty excited about them. I didn't fell like helping nor rescuing anyone, nor pulling anyone toward any place. Being my friends, I felt it natural to talk about things, exchange about ideas that changed the way I see rpgs. And it wasn't like if they didn't want to play and I had to insist over and over ... Those weren't guys I meant for the first time from nowhere, telling them "let me tell you about things I know !".
Quite franckly, if I had been seated at a table with players using d20 (for what it does) and having fun, then it would have been my mistake to tell them to try other things, to judge the way they were playing, telling them that they got it wrong.
Finally, about new ways of playing : I read posts here at the forge everyday, and it becomes somehow so intuitive to talk/read about systems and related matters, that I forget sometime that some players know nothing about it. You're telling me : "The question is only whether they  want to learn about other ways to play". And I'd say yes, at least for the DM and the three other non gamist players. Like myself two years ago : I was eager to learn, but I didn't know there were other ways of playing. I wasn't even looking for it, because I couldn't imagine the kind of things that other people were doing regarding this aspect.


Well, well, well ... I hope I explained myself a little and don't look too bad on this !!!! (and sorry for the mess of this thread)
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2006, 09:39:53 AM »

Hi Sebastien,

You don't look bad to me! I appreciate you describing the situation and I think we've managed to understand each other.

I wanted to get back to the moments of actual play that you described, because I think they're interesting:

Quote
- one player, who played a mage, just decided at one point to throw some dices : "I'm throwing this on those stats ... Here we go : 4 success!". I (as the DM) never got a clue about his intention !!!
- a couple of minutes later, I stated an intention, asked for how many success I needed and then threw dices. Unfortunatly, I didn't succeed, so I didn't have the chance to take the narration stance by myself (and never threw a dice after that).

This reminds me a lot of the concept of "murk" that I proposed in the final page of Bangs & Illusionism - in which Ron beats down confusion. I suggested that in much role-playing, in fact pretty much as a standard feature of the activity, that the basic routines and processes of play are often not known, except for "islands" of specific situations (like a fight).

When do we roll dice? How is talking related to rolling dice? If we're in a non-combat scene, and I say "I hit him!", does that mean my character hits him, and I now roll damage? Or does it mean that the whole group shifts into combat mode, and we roll initiative for every character, and take it from there? In the middle of a complex combat resolution, if the GM says, "He gives up," does that mean we all now shift out of that rules-set and return to just talking?

I suggest that every group arrives at their own conclusions for these things (and hundreds of related things), and that in many cases, people find ways to exploit the uncertainty about them. I've seen the same behavior, or technique, that you described, many times. To roll first and then quickly announce the effect seems to me like a way to take advantage of the fact that no one really knows how announcements and dice-rolling are related. This doesn't really have to be a bad thing, in a given instance, but I find it enlightening to watch as a guest player.

What do you think?

Best, Ron
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pells
Member

Posts: 192


« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2006, 03:00:17 AM »

Quote
Consider running a side thing with just you and him. Then talk about how awesome it was in earshot of your friends and wait and see if any others reach out to know more.
That was exactly the plan. That said, I'm just asking myself : since there are somehow two different games at the table (the gamist and non gamist one), would it be possible to use two different systems at the same table ? I guess this would be a real mess, but is it possible in theory ?

Quote
Is there a possibility that this GM is continually adjusting his system not because he's really so unhappy with how the game works, but rather because he's actually having fun tinkering with the rules?
I believe it is more something like "patches". In fact, from what I understand, they are playing almost freeform, putting the system beside as much as possible. But sometimes, the DM wants to incorporate some new notions, and then, have to "twist" the system. He doesn't seem to enjoy that, because he really wants to get free of the system. Well, that is where I was a year ago : adding some variants to d20 to fit some of my needs, but in a very complicated way.
For instance, the DM managed to find a way to transfer pool of success to one player to another (because he needed it, somehow) : but it is very complex, and not usable in all situations. He told me clearly that he hates to rely on the system ...

Quote
Could you elaborate on that?
Quite franckly, I didn't get it all. I thougth the session was over and then, there was those PCs attacking each other !!! From what they told me, it was motivated by in game reasons : there had been tensions between those two characters for quite a while now. The DM didn't really react to this ("hep ... it's their characters !!") and the other players were discouraged. Player B wanted to take the leadership of the group, as A opposed him. That said, when A attacked B, I'm not quite sure he really wanted to kill him (in WW systems, there is willpower points you can spend to gain automatic success and A didn't use any). But, as B survived (and B is one of the gamist player, playing WoW), his immediate reaction was "now, I survived. You'll see what my character can do. He's quite more powerful than yours. Let me throw all my dices". And B spent all his willpowers, thus killing A. That really looked like PvP in WoW (at least from what I understand from video games). Then, C killed B. Now, the funny thing.
They are playing with destiny points (don't know if that's standart in WW systems), allowing players to go back in time and replay some scenes. Player A decided not to use any, but B gave it a shot. He needed all his three points, to finally get out of this alive. But, in my opinion, this really looked like a joke : almost like a saved game in video games. And you should have seen the face of player B after he finally survived : he was quite proud of it and mocked player A.
Beside that incident, I think they enjoyed themselves. But, all I know, is that I left with player A who was in a fury. As far as I can tell, I'm not sure they continued their campaign afterward (I don't know, since I flew oversea the next day).

Quote
You don't look bad to me! I appreciate you describing the situation and I think we've managed to understand each other.
Well, quite glad of it. Before going into the murk, I'd like to comment a little about the game.
The things that I really like about the game and the DM was :
- there was no railroading at all. The DM had prepared the NPCs intention/motivation/action but didn't planned anything about the PCs. They were really, really free. And so, they really oriented the game.
- the opponents of the PCs were not "tailored" to their strength. They encountered people weaker or stronger than them, and opposing them was based upon their judgement.

Quote
This reminds me a lot of the concept of "murk" that I proposed in the final page of Bangs & Illusionism - in which Ron beats down confusion. I suggested that in much role-playing, in fact pretty much as a standard feature of the activity, that the basic routines and processes of play are often not known, except for "islands" of specific situations (like a fight).
Ron, very interesting reading by the way. Maybe you should turn this into an article. And by the way, this kind of thougths, in my opinion, is more intuitive than, let's say the big model. From what I understand, those thoughts should occur before even choosing systems : based on how you want to play (ie assign tasks and roles), then you might be able to choose a system in an enlighten way. Am I correct on this ? Could you also provide me with a link toward your definition of plot/situation ... ?

Now, the murk. This is definitly the case here. They use the system mainly for battles and magic use, but still, everything is unclear. People are throwing dices, and then, we talk about it. But I think, in the way they play, too much is asked on the DM's part. For instance, a gamist player is throwing a spell over a sanctuary, saying "I make a big ball of light", then he throws dices and ask the DM, "what's happening ?". The DM decsribed this briefly (the ball of light) and then the player says "no, no, that's not exactly what I want. I want some curatives effect." Back to the DM : "People who were hurt, feel their wounds are being cured, but quite slowly." Then, the player "well, that's not it again. I want to provide some kind of protection." And then back to the DM. We spent ten minutes on this !!! And this was some kind of kickers : coming from the player, on his initiative; things that interested him. Now, two things, from my point of view :
- intentions need to be stated before to avoid those kind of arguments. Arguments should occur before.
- giving narration power to the player is very benefic here. It is his thing after all. And that way, players can really bring their imagination to the table : creating is not the DM's own reserved domain. That took me time to understand that, but I think it helps the flow of play and it is very benefic to the game in general (oh, the player had thougth of this : what a great idea !!).

Quote
I've seen the same behavior, or technique, that you described, many times. To roll first and then quickly announce the effect seems to me like a way to take advantage of the fact that no one really knows how announcements and dice-rolling are related.
Now, that's an important issue : taking advantage. The DM and non gamist players really think that the two gamist ones are always taking advantage in negociation. So, when I talked to them about giving narration power to the players, they told me it was impossible because the two gamists would take too much advantage of this. That the DM had always to restreint them. Now, I don't agree with them. If the players are taking advantage, it is because of the murk. Once you removed it, they won't be able to take advantage anymore. If they must state their intentions before rolling dices, how can they take advantage, even if they have narration power ("you didn't state that, you can't narrate it") ?
And of course, I agree with you Ron that this is thougth every group should have (even "we're going to railroad, is that alright with everyone?"), but to do so, groups must have already begun some kind of reflexions about their way of playing.

Quote
This doesn't really have to be a bad thing, in a given instance, but I find it enlightening to watch as a guest player.
Yes, very enlightening. I don't get the chance to be a guest player those days and seeing other ways of playing is very interesting. So much things I take for granted now (what's happening ? why is he throwing dices ? why is no one reacting ?), I do feel I'm much near the "reality" of most gamers there.

Last thing about reaching out
I'll be giving two odds examples about this :
- when I was younger, I wasn't satisfied by mainstream (hollywood) movies. So, I stop watching movies as a whole. But then, I met a girl who introduced me to indie and asian cinema, to my great pleasure. Was I eager to learn ? yes. Did I know where to look ? no.
- when I was a teenager, I began to think on the world on my own, unsatisfied, I guess, by the tools provided by my family and close friends at the time. But then, I met someone who introduced me to philosophy and I began reading Sartre, Camus ... I discovered I didn't have to build the world by myself, that others had done a good deal of work before me. I didn't have to rebuild the wheel.
I believe there are so many examples of this, in each and everyone's life. Being eager to learn might not be enough ...

That said, I really hope Avalanche might be a way to reach out to those people, as it will be a multi system setting/plot. I hope that some people will come to it, searching for a mainstream product (d20 will be available for it), and then, maybe realize that other systems are available, systems that would more fit their needs, their current way of playing. And I think this is where AP report are so important.
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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2006, 11:06:16 AM »

What strikes me is the whole "taking advantage" part. What I see here, is a group of players who I suspect were taught that they should moderate themselves in using the system for common good - most probably because whatever they had been playing up to this point were systems designed with an assumption that the mechanics won't really be used (or that it's ultimately GM's part to adjudicate stuff, and all the rules are there simply because "there need to be some rules in RPG, but ignore them, please"). The kind of games where it's actually not possible to functionally take advantage of the system, as it would invariably break the whole thing (due to unrealistic/unbelievable/comical results of using some rule by the book, infinite loops and similar bugs) or at least produce some serious mess due to mechanical inconsistencies and stuff. In such games (and I'd say lots of old WW games are of the kind), the moment anyone wants to actually use the rules during sessions without GM solving every problem by fiat, it's not possible to avoid "patching". But then, "patching" never ends, as it usually solves only the matter at hand, while the problems lie in the foundations.

It reminds me about playtests of one Polish game, in which the developers wanted to include special attacks emulating the kind found in Japanese console games. Everyone involved felt they should be reserved for spectacular finishing moves, and there were propositions for enforcing it mechanically. One of the playtesters reacted very strongly against it, though, arguing that he could simply talk with his players and ask them not to use uber-powerfull killing blows right on the start of every combat. "They will wait till the opponent gets on the brink of losing the fight, anyway" - he went on and on.

Now, the presence of "gamist" players, who don't have inhibitions against using the rules as they are, ruins fun for the rest of the group - and it's not really because of the "gamists" taking advantage, but because the group is defenseless. E.g. player A didn't use his Willpower and destiny points although he could, probably because he had some, ekhm, moral objections about going all out when it was needed, and maybe believed the over player will also play according to the "unwritten code of honor". No surprise the group objects against games that give more power to the players - they know that "gamists" would use the rules to the fullest, and see it as a sin against their strict code of self-moderation. I suspect that playing The Pool or something similar with the "non-gamists" would result in them consistently trying to fit their narration into GM's plans and downplaying the results of their successes, feeling it's wrong to simply reach for what they want as soon as the rules allow.

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That was exactly the plan. That said, I'm just asking myself : since there are somehow two different games at the table (the gamist and non gamist one), would it be possible to use two different systems at the same table ? I guess this would be a real mess, but is it possible in theory ?

I believe it is possible to use different rule sets at the same table, in the same game, in respect to different players. There would be some problems with mechanical interactions between the sub-groups, but this could be solved by simply making such interactions impossible. I think something like this could be done - the question is, would it be worthwile? It would boil down to playing two games at the same table, so why not simply play two games in different times, so that splitting time and attention wouldn't be needed? Also, this group seems pretty incoherent anyway, so I'm not sure if this would solve anything in the long run.
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