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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 77 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Simplifying Nine Worlds  (Read 7279 times)
Matt Snyder
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« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2003, 12:23:02 PM »

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What it means for me, in terms of your particular game: Reconsider using a set mechanic for this.

You said it yourself: This game is Narrativist. If the players want to play, then bring them on board before play starts. Hash out with them what they believe the Eternals want, the "thou shalt nots" and the "thou musts." Figure out how the individual Eternals relate what part of reality they manage to the goals of the overall group. A good way to get them in that frame of mind would be to read the Incarnations of Immortality series by Piers Anthony, or Nobilis if they have it. Then solidify it, and make sure the Eternals don't budge. After all, the Eternals are the pillars upon which rest the whole of reality. That way, no mechanics are needed. Then re-introduce what you hammered out to the characters as needed in play. If you come across a situation you didn't cover and can't extrapolate towards, have the players vote or use a random draw mechanic similar to what I outlined.  

If you can actually build an impartial mechanic that makes things flow as smoothly as that, without devolving into randonist absurdity, my hat is off to you. Otherwise, please take my suggestion seriously. After all, if you can't trust your players to do this, why are you gaming with them?


Excellent, SF. Thanks for the post. As you know, I've been giving this some serious thought. Too serious. That's because in my much-needed simplication of the game, I threw the baby out with the bathwater.

In the old division, I separated the two metaphysical "halves" of character between the natural and the supernatural. The natural is doing anything the gods decree is "what mortals should be doing." They don't want any magical, reality bending antics from their would-be minions. The supernatural, then, is taking the power of the immortals as one's own. It is hubristic, but perhaps necessary and refreshing (remember, Hubris is not necessarily a bad thing, though it could be).

This division between effectively mundane conflict resolution and arcane conflict resolution was crucial to what the game was about, and I forgot that in my clumsy amputation of all things complicated. Now, the way it works is something old, something new.

Players enter a conflict and decide whether they'll resolve it by normal means (though possibly quite extraordinary) or by supernatural means. The issue is context and what meaningful result occurs from your resolution. It's up to the players, the group to derive theme and meaning from the choice of whether an action was viruous and natural or hubristic and supernatural.

By the way, there's no relevance in disguising one as the other. Either your action was magical or it wasn't. Coincidence to the perceiver is irrelevant here. You, the demiurgist know what you did. The universe "knows" what you did, naturally or supernaturally. That's all the matters.

The difference or rule of thumb should be pretty clear. If you can conceive of an event happening, however extraordinary, then it's "natural." If there's just no way an event can be rationally explained without some supernatural influence, then it's an hubristic resolution, a supernatural one.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Mike Holmes
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« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2003, 03:10:27 PM »

Quote from: Matt Snyder
The difference or rule of thumb should be pretty clear. If you can conceive of an event happening, however extraordinary, then it's "natural." If there's just no way an event can be rationally explained without some supernatural influence, then it's an hubristic resolution, a supernatural one.


That's problematic for me. There is a calculable chance of pretty much anything happening at random, naturally. Really. For example, it's a simple affair to calculate the chance that you will rise up off the ground and hover there for ten seconds. All a matter of energy.

The odds may be such that the event will be somewhat unlikley to occur in the period between the Big Bang, and the eventual heat death of the universe. But there's a chance.

Mike
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2003, 03:22:49 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote from: Matt Snyder
The difference or rule of thumb should be pretty clear. If you can conceive of an event happening, however extraordinary, then it's "natural." If there's just no way an event can be rationally explained without some supernatural influence, then it's an hubristic resolution, a supernatural one.


That's problematic for me. There is a calculable chance of pretty much anything happening at random, naturally. Really. For example, it's a simple affair to calculate the chance that you will rise up off the ground and hover there for ten seconds. All a matter of energy.

The odds may be such that the event will be somewhat unlikley to occur in the period between the Big Bang, and the eventual heat death of the universe. But there's a chance.

Mike


Fair enough, but there's no reasonable chance. How can anybody rationally explain such an event without reaching for a supernatural explanation. It defies our understanding of the existence, and is therefore supernormal. IOW, it's magic. Your example is highly existential, if we take it from the issue of mathematical inevitability. I'm not interested.

It's a fair observation that this "rule of thumb" is pretty poorly worded here, and needs more carfeful consideration in any text. I'm keeping this in mind!

Oh, and it should go without saying -- there is neither a Big Bang, nor heat death of the universe. There is Chaos and there is Cosmos. Everything else you know is a lie, mortal. ;) We're not working with imperial science -- we're working with the universe governed by (greek) gods/immortals or by (demiurgist) mortals -- each inflicting their will upon existence, not being subject to existence.
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2003, 08:08:20 PM »

Quote
By the way, there's no relevance in disguising one as the other. Either your action was magical or it wasn't. Coincidence to the perceiver is irrelevant here. You, the demiurgist know what you did. The universe "knows" what you did, naturally or supernaturally. That's all the matters.

The difference or rule of thumb should be pretty clear. If you can conceive of an event happening, however extraordinary, then it's "natural." If there's just no way an event can be rationally explained without some supernatural influence, then it's an hubristic resolution, a supernatural one.


So it's left to common sense, without some mythical 'third party common man' to be the judge? YAY!!! Thank the gods there won't be half as much of that BS as there was with Mage. The other half, though, will come from players arguing what is realistic and what isn't especially if you have chemistry/biology/physics majors in your game. If their character chooses to do it realistically, and the player can spew off something that sounds scientific enough, do let them call it Arete and be done with it?

Yeah, yeah you should. If it's entertaining and you know you can trust the player, why not? After all, at least half the BS is lopped off, and for that I'm grateful.
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« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2003, 04:01:40 AM »

By the way, you are going to provide some "common-sense" guidelines in the game, just to remind people that Jet-Li/ Jackie Chan movies are not realistic portrayals of street fights, aren't you? Some pertinent examples from The Guinness Book of World Records might be a good idea. In fact, I'd recommend to Nine Worlds GMs that The Guinness Book might become their best friend when they run a Nine Worlds game.  

Also, you mentioned earlier that, in Arete-driven challenges, Hubris can help. How? Is the reverse also true?

Now that the logjam is broken, I'm moe eager than ever to actually see this bad boy in print.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2003, 12:28:39 PM »

Yeah, sounds shakey to me. I can't get two people to agree on Coke or Pepsi, much less what's supernatural or real.

Why not rework it so that it's a player choice? That way, I can do seemingly supernatural things and explain that I'm actually using esoteric mundane forces, or I can do mundae things but explain that I'm using supernatural force.

Perhaps the GM could assign some rating that would make it more expensive to do one way or another.

Mike
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2003, 01:20:17 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Yeah, sounds shakey to me. I can't get two people to agree on Coke or Pepsi, much less what's supernatural or real.

Why not rework it so that it's a player choice? That way, I can do seemingly supernatural things and explain that I'm actually using esoteric mundane forces, or I can do mundae things but explain that I'm using supernatural force.



They do exactly that, Mike. That is, if I understand you correctly.

Here's how:

Characters have two key characterisitics (and four others, not relevant right now). One is Arete, the other is Hubris. They're called virtues. When the character enters a conflict, the player decides which of the two virtues to use. When the player selects, his chosen virtue becomes sacrosanct -- it can't be altered by the conflict. The other, however, is jeopardized and most definitely can (and very likely will) be altered in the conflict.

If a player selects Arete, his participation in the conflict will be mundane and natural. Conversely, if the player chooses to resolve conflict using Hubris, the action will be supernatural. The player decides this, not the DM or another mechanic. Further, the player narrates the effect of his (successful) conflict resolution. So, it's entirely up to the player to describe -- and to judge -- what's natural and what's supernatural. There's really no way to argue with him. At that point in time, he's the narrator, and what he says goes.

That's pretty much it. In a sense, the difference is color. As in "Bam! Using Arete-based effects, I shoot him dead with my gun!" or alternatively "Bam! Using my Hubris, I make his bones explode!" Same effectiveness. Same results, likely.

But, it's not just color. The player's narration must address the premise of the game. The game does not determine whether it's better to follow the natural order set forth by the gods ("natural" stuff) or to bend the rules to your own will and reshape the universe, even slightly ("supernatural" stuff). That determination is entirely relevant to the context. There might be a good damn reason to do what, I dunno, what Apollo says you should do. And there are some really awful, immoral things one could do as a Demiurgist in reshaping the worlds. Sometimes Hubris is a bad thing in this game.

SF is right, the logjam is busted. I need to get typing like crazy and get those playtest rules ready for download!
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2003, 02:50:42 PM »

Quote
Quote from: Matt Snyder
Quote from: Mike Holmes
Yeah, sounds shakey to me. I can't get two people to agree on Coke or Pepsi, much less what's supernatural or real.

Why not rework it so that it's a player choice? That way, I can do seemingly supernatural things and explain that I'm actually using esoteric mundane forces, or I can do mundae things but explain that I'm using supernatural force.




They do exactly that, Mike. That is, if I understand you correctly.

Here's how:

Characters have two key characterisitics (and four others, not relevant right now). One is Arete, the other is Hubris. They're called virtues. When the character enters a conflict, the player decides which of the two virtues to use. When the player selects, his chosen virtue becomes sacrosanct -- it can't be altered by the conflict. The other, however, is jeopardized and most definitely can (and very likely will) be altered in the conflict.


Aha! So if the player decides, there's no need to get out the Paradox-ruler like in Mage and check for real-world compatability. Excellent. That's 95% of the BS removed; anything else is up to the GM and players. Just the way (uh huh uh huh) I like it.


Quote
SF is right, the logjam is busted. I need to get typing like crazy and get those playtest rules ready for download!


You have no idea how happy I am hearing you say that...well, seeing it on a CRT, anyway. ;-)
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