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Author Topic: principled play Vs. lawful play and the "players contract"  (Read 11465 times)
Tyler.Tinsley
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Posts: 52


« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2009, 01:24:53 PM »


It's the designer's job to use principles, to expect normal people to be able to translate principles into functioning law is ludicrous, law is a very tricky and hamfisted tool but it is a critical component to presenting a complete game.

Hmm, have you changed your definition of principle here? When you are going "principle vs law = GM advice vs rules" I can totally get behind that, but I don't quite get this bit.
maybe I'm expanding it a little? I'm not sure,

GM or player's advice, suggestions for player behavior are all principles. A designer also uses these principles when writing the rules, hopefully crafting law that encourages these principles in some way. A player (or GM) should not be expected to translate the principles into law.

If you are saying the GM advice is "challenge the players" and the law is "here are the limits to stop challenges would be absurd", then I can see that making the limits would be about time, experience and testing, pretty hard. But if you get given example challenges and encourage the GM to shift them a bit, making something similar but different within the heuristics given, then the game designer has helped the GM make a fully functioning part of the rules, the rules for a new challenge. That seems totally legit to me, extrapolating from a case to make a new bit of rules, expanding the game appropriately.

As I'm using the terms the law would be the hard rules regarding challenging something and how that challenge is resolved, the principle behind when and how often you should challenge something is stated in the contract.

-challenge and be challenged in the pursuit of greater awesome.
-boldly explore the fantastic while suspending disbelief.
-create a tale worth remembering and retelling.
-grow and reach greater friendship.

all of these can be used as guidelines for when you chose to challenge or not challenge someones narrative, if I wanted to I could enforce hard limits using rules, to an extent the challenge system has built in fail safes to discourage bad behavior. These are an example of how rules are designed to encourage the principle.

These same methods of design are used for board & card games. In principle, poker is a game of great chance and great skill, the rules enforce these qualities. Players who understand this principle have a better time dealing with momentary losses and understand the strategy that plays out over many hands of poker.

Maybe this helps explain what I'm thinking about?
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Callan S.
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« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2009, 03:22:03 PM »

I think I know what your saying - there's this TV program on here where they show 'mystery items' and quite often they are tools - but they don't tell you what the tool is for. There was one which was this curly, ornate bit of fashioned wire...it was a clothes peg (an old school clothes peg). But without being told that principle, it was just an funny little object. Is that what your saying, Tyler?

Quote
To speak openly I don't know why hobby RPG's are usually so grievously incomplete. But I'm fairly sure it has nothing to do with RPG's needing a certain amount of incompleteness in order to function. I know they don't need to be incomplete because I have played RPG's that were complete. Games like werewolf or even scholastic's old star wars adventure sets are examples of what I consider a complete RPG's.
I share the same question about typically greviously incomplete RPG's. But I will say alot of people insist they aren't incomplete - upon being questioned they start adding stuff but insist that's how you do it, "so it's adding nothing".

I know a little about werewolf and in terms of it's procedures it seems to have gaps - if you drew it up as a flow chart, some parts of the chart don't connect to the rest. And with other parts, like with what skill a GM could invoke, there are dozens and dozens of options spreading from the one point, which gives very little guidance on what to choose - it may as well be disconnected as well. I'm surprised you call it a complete game - why do you say it is?
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Tyler.Tinsley
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« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2009, 01:07:28 AM »

I think we are on the same page about principle, that is a very good analogy.

by werewolf I mean the very light party game usually played with a stranded deck of cards, some times called "are you a werewolf" and mistaken for a board or card game. to me this game represents the elements of role play distilled. It's rules are solid and clear, it sets an objective for the players, and the rules play directly to a resolution and the most important part of the game is your ability to play a role. how well you role play in this game is a matter of life and death!

Most role playing books are not games but designers notes and rules for making a game. Character creation rules are a whole lot like the systems used to generate a miniatures stats in a miniatures game. In a very real way the method these games are presented is exactly what makes them incomplete. This incompleteness is why it's so hard for average people to get a game together and to an extent can be blamed for how tiny the market is for RPGs. basically the role of the GM is far too demanding with incomplete games.



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Callan S.
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« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2009, 02:35:03 AM »

Ohhhh, sorry sorry! I thought you meant the whitewolfs 'werewolf: the forsaken' RPG, the guys who made vampire and mage and such. I've vaguely heard about the werewolf and peasants game - sounds like it rests heavily on bluff and perhaps a certain amount of imagined fiction can/does enter into that bluff? But I don't know about it really - my comments were about the 'werewolf: the forsaken' RPG. Okay, getting you more now - and as a minor side point, I'm now curious about those scholastic's old star wars adventure sets you mention. Never heard of them?

Can I ask, what do you think about the old pick a path books, in terms of structure? If you took the same sort of structure, but say that certain rules ask a GM to judge the players fiction and give out a set bonus (set by the book) if the GM judges the fiction warrants it, is something like that what you mean by a complete design (not specifically what you mean, but would it be one particular example of a complete design)? Or too odd a question?
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Tyler.Tinsley
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« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2009, 04:35:56 AM »

Depending on how it's played werewolf has varying degrees of fiction, i have played games where each person develops the character they play in the village, and games where were not concerned with the fiction at all, however my strongest plays in the game have always revolved around the theme, i got my accuser lynched and turned the whole room away from me by calling to attention his "image of trogdor" (he was wearing a trogdor shirt) the enemy of all peasants! any veteran of the game knows excessive body hair will often get you lynched. even if you remove the fiction entirely your still trying to play the role of someone who is not holding the werewolf card.

Pick a path books would be an example of a complete game, modules for traditional rpgs are a kind of complete game though their context usually hinders an effective presentation. And that's basically what scholastic's old star wars adventure sets were, a chose your own adventure book but you also had a character sheet listing different skills and at various points your choices would have you roll some dice add your skill and your success or failure would also drive the story. This sort of thing is just one example of what I would call a complete RPG.
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JoyWriter
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also known as Josh W


« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2009, 03:57:18 AM »

Most role playing books are not games but designers notes and rules for making a game. Character creation rules are a whole lot like the systems used to generate a miniatures stats in a miniatures game. In a very real way the method these games are presented is exactly what makes them incomplete. This incompleteness is why it's so hard for average people to get a game together and to an extent can be blamed for how tiny the market is for RPGs. basically the role of the GM is far too demanding with incomplete games.

I can agree with you here! One of my biggest objectives is to reduce needless effort on the part of the games master, or indeed the players. Having said that, I do believe that there are objectives people can have playing rpgs that cannot be met by adventure paths and "choose your own adventures". Insuring that the events have emotional resonance in that amazing personalised way cannot be done unless the structure of events actually echoes or mirrors the memories or event patterns (Will Wright calls them "schemas") that have that same resonance. In other words, many of the amazing personal experiences you attribute to rpgs may be attributed to the GM and other players working within the incompleteness of the system, adding in real dynamic structure

The game you mention, although fun, and although it includes "playing a role", is constrained to the interpersonal dynamics of a lynch mob. It reminds me of what they call the "attitude of the knife" in Dune; chop of the incomplete and say it is complete because it's ended here. You definitely can do that, but I'd insure that your not cutting out those experiences that you have most valued in order ot make "rpging" accessible. How to do that? Look very carefully at what you have enjoyed most, and explore where that came from. Then don't chop those bits out! Instead support them so other people can replicate them.
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Tyler.Tinsley
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« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2009, 05:09:30 AM »

I can agree with you here! One of my biggest objectives is to reduce needless effort on the part of the games master, or indeed the players. Having said that, I do believe that there are objectives people can have playing rpgs that cannot be met by adventure paths and "choose your own adventures". Insuring that the events have emotional resonance in that amazing personalised way cannot be done unless the structure of events actually echoes or mirrors the memories or event patterns (Will Wright calls them "schemas") that have that same resonance. In other words, many of the amazing personal experiences you attribute to rpgs may be attributed to the GM and other players working within the incompleteness of the system, adding in real dynamic structure

Anyone who plays JPRG's would strongly disagree. granted not everyone digs that experience but it certainly earns enough money to be valid. Like I said "pick a path" is just one possibility of creating a complete game. There is a vast difference between presenting a complete game and only giving hints as to what may possibly be a game.

Other industries make it a point to sell complete games, in video games the only people who use tool kits are actual developers or people who make mods, the RPG industry is currently only selling to that tiny fraction of potential the market.

The game you mention, although fun, and although it includes "playing a role", is constrained to the interpersonal dynamics of a lynch mob. It reminds me of what they call the "attitude of the knife" in Dune; chop of the incomplete and say it is complete because it's ended here. You definitely can do that, but I'd insure that your not cutting out those experiences that you have most valued in order ot make "rpging" accessible. How to do that? Look very carefully at what you have enjoyed most, and explore where that came from. Then don't chop those bits out! Instead support them so other people can replicate them.

Yes the game is specific, still it ranks highest in my favorite experiences. The fact that it's not generic is one reason it's such a complete game. Many people here are looking for games that are not generic or hate games that seek to be generic.

I will tell you my worst experiences at the game table have been when a game is improperly constructed from hints in a book.

What do the other people on this board think about this discussion? is it compelling enough to continue?
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Callan S.
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« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2009, 04:09:41 PM »

Well, its so compelling to me atleast, that I was giving it time to properly form a post for it. I'm still not sure I've given it enough time, as well!

It's funny in that I slightly disagree with your post about pick a paths (or I think I do). You didn't mention anything about the bonus assigned by GM, that I mentioned. I'll call this an imagination coupling device, for this thread. I see this as pretty pivotal in order to engage an imaginative space that's typically made at the table, during play. Pick a paths engage an imaginative space that was made when the author wrote the book...its not engaging an imaginative space  that bubbles into existance upon play itself. Not that that's a vital quality to have in some galactic sense, but it is nifty (feel free to challenge this and I'll continue on it)

To keep it simple, a really basic, fairly dull imagination coupler might be like this - the play so far has been pick a path like, but then the book instructs some person  with a ref/GM job to judge the players description of his actions as to whether he gets a bonus (a set amount, determined by the book and not the GM) on a certain skill roll the book has instructed the group to make.

That way the GM references the current imaginative space that happens to exist in play at that moment, and assigns the bonus if it seems fit. It's a complete game, but it also has an imagination coupler that makes the current imagined space, part of play itself (well, to the degree the GM lets himself be influenced by the current imagined space).

What alot of traditional RPG's do is be completely loose assed and incomplete, as their means of having an imagination coupler (then the crowd utterly embraces incompleteness as the only means they percieve as accessing the imagined space). Here's a typical example
You want to do something that sounds like it involves a skill.
The GM decides if you can roll at all on the matter, or he just says you can/can't.
The GM decides the difficulty, from o to a million.
The GM decides any bonus you get, which is totally redundant given the above step.
What the fuck a passing or failing roll results in, in terms of narration or in terms of other invocations of 'mechanics' like this, is up to the GM.
Note: Most groups will defend or deny this, as they say it is not up to the GM - the group will burn the GM at the stake if he actually decides this on his lonesome, even if the text the group agreed to says he does decide it. It gets to be a lord of the flies situation.

What do you think about the imagination coupler I described before, Tyler? I know it's a dull one, but I'm keeping it straight forward. And does the second one seem familiar from traditional RPGs?

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I will tell you my worst experiences at the game table have been when a game is improperly constructed from hints in a book.
I'll just argue this a little - if there are only hints in the book, then there is no proper way to construct the game. That's part of the problem - people have a bad experience and conclude that must mean it was not done the right way. Hell, that's part of my history as well.

Really there is no right way when there are 'hints' - someone just spews out what they 'see' amongst the hints and funnily enough the result of spewing something out is typically...spew. Sometimes, rarely, it's a gem.

Effectively reading and especially trying to comprehend a traditional RPG is alot like taking a halicinagenic drug and then creating stuff from the visions. Except while I'm sure some painters have taken drugs then known the visions they saw and painted were just visions, roleplayers as a culture seem to think the vision they saw really are in the text.

It's a real pain in the arse, because some of what roleplayers see are gems, but they can't distinguish that it's not in the book, so they never write down this gems properly and thus no one else gets to experience them. It's been going on for about thirty years, it seems.

It's that notion that the game was 'improperly' constructed, that keeps it going.
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Tyler.Tinsley
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« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2009, 09:46:53 PM »


What alot of traditional RPG's do is be completely loose assed and incomplete, as their means of having an imagination coupler (then the crowd utterly embraces incompleteness as the only means they percieve as accessing the imagined space). Here's a typical example
You want to do something that sounds like it involves a skill.
The GM decides if you can roll at all on the matter, or he just says you can/can't.
The GM decides the difficulty, from o to a million.
The GM decides any bonus you get, which is totally redundant given the above step.
What the fuck a passing or failing roll results in, in terms of narration or in terms of other invocations of 'mechanics' like this, is up to the GM.
Note: Most groups will defend or deny this, as they say it is not up to the GM - the group will burn the GM at the stake if he actually decides this on his lonesome, even if the text the group agreed to says he does decide it. It gets to be a lord of the flies situation.

What do you think about the imagination coupler I described before, Tyler? I know it's a dull one, but I'm keeping it straight forward. And does the second one seem familiar from traditional RPGs?

I think those steps all sound like the job of a game designer and not the job of a GM. The trouble here is not that the rules are too vague for the situation but that they are too specific. If you want a game that exercises freedom of narrative your rules should probably govern the narrative it's self and not the specifics of what it's talking about. The frame work of attributes and skill is not the best match for that kind of freedom.

While not perfunctory the GM is a useful and interesting role for a player to fill, however the harder you lean on this player the fewer people who will be able to do the job correctly and thus your market will remain very small.

A player's ability to be engaged in the story and to feel like a part of the events I would argue, has little to nothing to do with their control over the fiction. the fiction can remain totally static (like in a JRPG) the trade off for a player being able to guide the fiction is that the fiction can have the best possible writing and execution. the attachment JRPG players gain with their characters is just as intense as the most free form rpg.


Quote
I will tell you my worst experiences at the game table have been when a game is improperly constructed from hints in a book.
I'll just argue this a little - if there are only hints in the book, then there is no proper way to construct the game. That's part of the problem - people have a bad experience and conclude that must mean it was not done the right way. Hell, that's part of my history as well.

Really there is no right way when there are 'hints' - someone just spews out what they 'see' amongst the hints and funnily enough the result of spewing something out is typically...spew. Sometimes, rarely, it's a gem.

Effectively reading and especially trying to comprehend a traditional RPG is alot like taking a halicinagenic drug and then creating stuff from the visions. Except while I'm sure some painters have taken drugs then known the visions they saw and painted were just visions, roleplayers as a culture seem to think the vision they saw really are in the text.

It's a real pain in the arse, because some of what roleplayers see are gems, but they can't distinguish that it's not in the book, so they never write down this gems properly and thus no one else gets to experience them. It's been going on for about thirty years, it seems.

It's that notion that the game was 'improperly' constructed, that keeps it going.

I think were in agreement

"tools and advice to make a game" are equatable to hints. An experienced game developer can take hints and make a game from them and it can be good, but most people wont be able to do so. So there would possibly be both right a wrong ways to play a game made from those hints. but if a game requires this talent it means there will be very few people who get any real use from it. I think most RPG's or what people think of as RPGs require this talent and as such are mostly useless.

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Callan S.
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« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2009, 03:16:29 PM »

I pretty much agree as well. But what I want to get at is do you think an RPG has to have something like the following, or is something like a JRPG or pick a path sufficient?
Quote
To keep it simple, a really basic, fairly dull imagination coupler might be like this - the play so far has been pick a path like, but then the book instructs some person  with a ref/GM job to judge the players description of his actions as to whether he gets a bonus (a set amount, determined by the book and not the GM) on a certain skill roll the book has instructed the group to make.

And I just realised I myself said 'has to have' like there's a right way, which bugs me no end when other people do it (usually to greater extents, though). I'll rephrase it - which way are you going at the moment? More like a JRPG/pick a path, or like a JRPG/pick a path but with stuff like the above quote spread throughout the game?

It's just that, JRPG/pick a path books do not draw on/have a means of drawing on fiction that was made (by more than one person) during the act of play itself (play does tap into fiction made before play started, but not during). It's an interesting quality to have, where the game mechanics tap into fiction that is being made at the same time as play itself. Is that something that interests yourself as well?
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Tyler.Tinsley
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« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2009, 06:30:03 PM »

i'm not sure what an rpg has to have or what qualifies something for the label. I think overall the distinction between board games, card games, miniatures, and RPG's is mostly artificial and modern hybrid products continue to blur the lines. So i don't really want to get into what is or is not an rpg,

It's just that, JRPG/pick a path books do not draw on/have a means of drawing on fiction that was made (by more than one person) during the act of play itself (play does tap into fiction made before play started, but not during). It's an interesting quality to have, where the game mechanics tap into fiction that is being made at the same time as play itself. Is that something that interests yourself as well?

It interests me deeply and is to some extent what draws me to rpgs, but to me if a game is going to try to tell new and interesting stories as part of the game play then the game needs to focus on creating a story, not simulating a reality in order to force realistic character choices. There is a reason traditional RPG's have been around for 30 years and never truly escaped the dungeon, the scenario's limited nature presents players with just the right amount of control to feel important but not so much that they become lost, unpredictable, or uninitiated. trying to adapt these kinds attribute/skill rules for broader scenarios is far more demanding on the players and so is inherently limiting the market.

The game I wrote the contract for is something that simply provides a framework for group narration. It's rules address when a player may narrate, how that narration may be challenged by other players and what the goal of that narration is. it's a game made to inspire and help people tell stories of outlandish fantasy. If I finish the game and execute it properly it will hopefully allow for an interesting form of narrative freedom, however it will still consistently produce stories in line with it's core principle of outlandish fantasy.
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JoyWriter
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also known as Josh W


« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2009, 05:13:08 AM »

Cool, we've got a nice clear tradeoff here: I want to make the most banging mod engine the world has ever seen, that not only allows people to mod the game before play begins, but during too, but in a way that is stable and plays in a way the players all want.

You want to spread the awesome experiences you have had to more people, by making it very easy for them to replicate what happened with you, through a mechanism equivalent to jrpgs or choose your own adventures.

What I'm saying is that generating a character is a bit like modding the game, "suddenly mentioning trogdor" is like modding the game, to me they are on the same continuum.

I've played jrpgs I've liked them, but I moved from computer game mods and "complete" games towards where I am now, because what I wanted got missed out. I've already been on this journey, in the opposite direction, almost:

I wanted to make more choices, and change more stuff. Now when you have choices you should also have information. Playing right in a strictly defined game can just be about "doing what the book says". But that is because the person who made the book has put hours of his life into making an experience that people will be happy with. So correctness is actually not about the rules, but the enjoyment and challenging of the people at the table, and in a game that is less complete, the objective should not be to divine the "right way" in some abstract sense, via cattle bones or psychic powers but to understand that the game designer was trying to make a game for you. He sat far away and tried to work out how to make a game fun for you, based on certain principles and objectives, and those bits he couldn't specify exactly where he was he left as options and frameworks for you, for you to decide based on your knowledge of each other.

This agreement between players and designers stops people being abusive with "designer authority", and clues up designers to the stress they are putting on players to do their job! That's why I love explicitly declaring the principles of the game, and the roles and attitudes of the players.
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Tyler.Tinsley
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« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2009, 08:31:27 AM »

What I'm saying is that generating a character is a bit like modding the game, "suddenly mentioning trogdor" is like modding the game, to me they are on the same continuum.

were basically in agreement but i would make one distinction.

I don't think bringing up trogdor is modding the game. none of the rules changed, and the game still played to it's natural conclusion. i think it's a very natural kind of player action for werewolf.

Games inherently involve some form of player action, a good game will make this action interesting enough that people keep playing. I feel there is an important distinction between player action and designing a game.

When I design a game I do my best to account for player action, play testing the game again and again with various groups and players to try and understand what actions a player is likely to make. some of my playtesters even role play as problem players to see how the game can be broken.

With the way traditional character generation rules work your correct, making a character is very much like modding the game. In the same way the books give you hints on what to run as a game they also give just hints as how to make playable and interesting characters. Most games allow for uninteresting or non-functioning (rules wise) characters to be created To me the traditional methods are too demanding, the use of computer software for a table top game is clear evidence that something is wrong.

If your going to allow players to create characters then creating characters becomes just another set of player actions that needs to be tested. when designing a miniatures game much thought is usually given into how forces are constructed or how a deck of cards can be built with a tcg. These processes are just extra games that can be played.

Player action places some demands upon the players, some people may find a game demands to little (candy land) or too much (advanced squad leader) and for others these games are perfect match.

This agreement between players and designers stops people being abusive with "designer authority", and clues up designers to the stress they are putting on players to do their job! That's why I love explicitly declaring the principles of the game, and the roles and attitudes of the players.

I feel exactly the same way.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2009, 03:33:37 PM »

In terms of the agreement Joywriter describes and formality, I don't think that agreement has ever existed between designer and end user/players, except at a consult the cattle bones/psychic level.

The idea of that agreement, if expressed on the cover or blub, and also repeated inside, seems fine and functional. It's just never been there in an RPG product.

Ever heard the story of stone soup? It's funny, I've heard it with two inflections - one is that the two soldiers who started the pot of stone soup were conning the village. The other inflection is that the village learnt that sharing their ingrediants enriched them all.

Personally I go with con job - in a world of formal games, if a product wants to be a make your own content moddable game, it needs to say that on the cover or blurb, and in the text. However, alot of gamers seem to think that roleplay is so much about modding, they don't actually have to tell anyone it is. Even if someone hasn't roleplayed before and is joining their game, they apparently don't have to tell them. For some reason it's vital to perpetuate this bait and switch con job.

But by the same turn many gamers, like JW, may have found that wonderful sharing of ingrediants to enrich them all, in the midst of something a bit sleazy. And it might be hard to seperate the wonderful thing from the con job - it might seem if one part of it is wonderful then the whole thing is wonderful/not telling anyone in advance its about modding is wonderful. No, some of it is sleazy and missrepresentative. But we get the opposite of throwing the baby out with the bathwater - instead the sleazy bathwater is prized as much as the baby is. And that's my charitable reading - I could just read it that alot of roleplayers are basically con artists themselves and roleplay culture is a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

So in terms of formality, I think in a world full of formal games, you do have to show on the cover or blurb, your selling a modable/user makes the content game, rather than a formal game. I'm saying 'have to' as in these are some of the typical duties (ones which seem to have worked fairly well for a few thousand years) involved in looking after your fellow man.
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JoyWriter
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« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2009, 01:06:23 PM »

In terms of the agreement Joywriter describes and formality, I don't think that agreement has ever existed between designer and end user/players, except at a consult the cattle bones/psychic level.

The idea of that agreement, if expressed on the cover or blub, and also repeated inside, seems fine and functional. It's just never been there in an RPG product.

Unfortunately you may be right, unless the product includes the designers website/conversations at conventions etc. In more recent games, it's becoming more explicit, thank goodness, but not everyone realises how important this is to say.

Some of it just tone; people not knowing how to express their game, and not really hitting on this subset of what you should mention, some of it is people not being comfortable with the anarchic rebuilding involved, and try to shove it under the carpet. For the most part I think it's just people having a culture to fill in the blanks, if they met some pre-existing group and got involved with it. Assuming it's obvious they write their own books in a similar style. When I say "assuming it's obvious", obviously they know it is not obvious to everyone, (people speaking another language for example) but they do not write an introduction that is accessible to you.

There is an element of cross-culture stuff going on, with the art-improv people and the formal-games people meeting. You may be appalled that people don't mention this stuff, they may be appalled that people actually try to spell this stuff out and loose interest!

You get the idea; you must be clear enough to the people who do not understand, while not turning your book into Euclid's geometry or english for beginners. Some median way. Or maybe selling the short form and the long form to different people.

On a more serious note, do you have experience with people who consider abusive power games and stealing the credit for other people's ideas as a part of the game to be cherished? Or is it just something you think people somewhere think? If it's the latter I wouldn't get too worked up about it, but if the former, whoo, we seriously need to get to the bottom of that! How do you think those people see those things that they find them them acceptable to support?
 
I don't think bringing up trogdor is modding the game. none of the rules changed, and the game still played to it's natural conclusion. i think it's a very natural kind of player action for werewolf.

Well you added a new form of argument for people to accept; he is a werewolf because ---- (I'm not going to spoil the comedy of your scene by turning it into formal logic!) It was a choice of how to play the game, a choice you added that whoever made the game up ages ago didn't think of, but that fitted into the previous framework they had created. This choice was not something they could playtest, except in general terms, and those people who started playing by those rules with you trusted you to do something like you did with that freedom, rather than something abusive and un-fun. They did this rather than wholly trusting the designers to remove abusive stuff from the game. (Equally I'm not going to spoil your fun by suggesting how people could be abusive in such a game) You may even find that you don't enjoy such strategies, but feel compelled to use them because you can think of no other.
etc etc, player freedom means players can spoil things, and finding a path for themselves through those possibilities is a form of design, especially if none of those possibilities are previously delineated.

D'you know what I mean? I'm trying to mix in your last post's kind of language to show the similarity in where we are coming from.
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