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Author Topic: [Middle Earth - home brew] - last week - Repost  (Read 9998 times)
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« on: March 10, 2005, 01:32:34 PM »

(Apparently this post was lost in the hack attack, so I am reposting it.  Yeah for writing and saving posts in Word!  At any rate I know that one person had posted 3 general questions in response, but I don't remember who or what the questions were.  If who ever posted could do so again I would appreciate it.  Thanks.)

Hello everyone,

Thank you for staying with me this far.  I have another installment to make in the world of AP and I must again apologize ahead of time for the length of the post.  I am doing my best to “understand” what is relevant in these types of posts and part of that comes from your responses.  The first part is something I was faced with in my character and the other was something another played did that led to some discord at the table which I hope will be illustrative of our group dynamic in some way.  This record of the game was committed by another player at the table.

[PR 27, February, session III]

Leuca is helping to rebuild damaged buildings from the civil strife in Harandor. Creedy (his woman Elya’s brother) has disappeared. . . and it seems as though he was never really a part of the life of this town. At least not to the extent that Leuca has now become so.

Noone (Montana’s ‘inquisitor’) has gone underground in Harandor . . looking to infiltrate the Haradan resistance movement. Without supplies, he’s exhausted and starving when he and a little Haradan boy come upon a rabbit. . . and both manage not to capture it.

Down in Harandor, Noone enters a Haradan town. . . and takes work as a ‘busboy’ type in a tavern. He wears his apron for only a short while before infiltrating the local ‘rebel’ sympathizers. . . and even  begins ‘recruiting’ on their behalf.

Leuca’s town gets overrun by Gondorian brigands. . . and he winds up in battle, fighting in the streets. He kills several. . . dragging a wounded one back into the town square, shouting ‘Who knows this boy?’. . . and threatening to spit him with his sword. The brigands aren’t anxious to lose the boy. . . but he’s not their leader either. So while Leuca is speaking with their mounted ‘leader’, another brigand tries to sneak up on him from behind. A townsman cries out ‘Lena!’ (Leuca’s name among them) and the situation goes to hell in a hurry. Leuca is suddenly beset by a dozen brigands swinging sabers, whips and other weapons. Leuca is getting overrun – wounded several times – about to pass out when the last sight he sees is. . . I was getting my ass beat like a drum!  I couldn’t roll to save my life – literally.  I was getting hammered and could not effectively mount any momentum.  I was both angry at what was happening to the town, the townspeople, at my dice, and I was fearful that I was going to die.

Creedy galloping toward him – coming down the street with a number of ‘wild boys’ hellbent for leather. Just enough time for the image to register before. . . Leuca passes out. Leuca awakens much later, lying in a bed. Still alive. . . much-wounded. . . and needing time to recover, having weathered another after-echo of Gondor’s heavy handed occupation of Harandor.

Leuca realizes he’s not quite as badly wounded as originally thought. He learns that seven men are dead. . . two women have been taken and raped. Fifteen are wounded. . . plus a boy who got trampled, and dies shortly thereafter. Two buildings have been destroyed. . . but the bandits have been driven off. And fortunately for Leuca, Elya and Misha are unhurt.

Several days later Creedy and about 30 of his boys ride up to the house of Elya where Leuca is convalescing.  Leuca and Creedy exchange a few pleasantries after which Creedy drops the bomb that he knows that Leuca is (was) a Ranger of Ithilien and impassionedly pleads the case that Leuca, with his training in battle and Gondorian battle tactics specifically, should lead the rebellion against Gondorian occupation.

I am stunned by this turn of events and make several arguments against why I am ill suited to fulfill this request.  The DM starts pouring it on with Creedy saying that fewer lives would be lost if the rebellion was led competently and then Elya, my wife, starts in on me about wanting freedom and self-determination.  Finally I told Creedy that I was oath sworn never to raise arms against Gondor.  Now I never actually played out taking such an oath, but it struck me as something that would probably be very commonly done.  Creedy then counters that I don’t have to actually fight, but I could train them.  There is also the issue of aiding and abetting the enemy, but Gondor is not “at war” with Harandor…yet.  So as a player I am faced with the Situation whereby I try and save whatever vestiges of loyalty I have to Gondor and refuse to aid the people of my adopted country who are suffering under the occupation and the chaotic aftermath of war.  Or I aid Creedy and the likes and lead or teach them how to effectively engage the Gondorian military, some of whom might even be friends of old.  Whatever choice I made would certainly reflect on my relationships with Gondor, the Rangers, my oaths, my old friends, my new friends, my new country, my new wife and son, etc.

I asked Creedy for some time to consider his plea and he rode off.  Actually this was me as a player temporizing until I could figure some way out of this mess the GM put me in!  The next day, after the game ended, I decided that I would go for plan C.  I guessed that Gondor saw Harandor as weak and thus vulnerable to future Harradrim attacks so was building forts and fortifying the country.  Plan C would roughly entail empowering the local populace to fend off banditry, demonstrate the ability to self-govern and hopefully down the line remove the reason Gondor has for occupying Harandor.

OK – why this point?  To demonstrate that Premise was not on the table - at all.  There were many intertwined issues involved but Premise was not being addressed.


This following section details an event that led a breakdown at the table.

Gralin was played by Chuck.  Chuck was the one who wrote this chronicle and this is an important fact which will come up later.
Gili was played by Chris.
Angrim was played by Dave.

Beneath the Lonely Mountain, Gralin son of Gurin completes the first phase of his training with the axe master. Studying as best he can to forsake his physical strength in battle, learning instead to depend on better technique, agility and technical proficiency. He returns to his ‘home’ for the first time in months. . . and finds a dwarf waiting for him outside his chambers. . . as though a ‘watch’ has been ceremonially kept there, waiting for his return. He is taken to a domed chamber high above the main halls. . . atop the thousand stairs. . . where Dain himself is present for Gralin’s presentation of the ‘Red Armor’. Gralin bears the armor as he descends the Great Stair. . . to where many dwarves are waiting at the foot of the steps. But he goes first to his father’s tomb. . . where he goes to one knee and whispers ‘You were more deserving of this. . . but I will bear it in your name and honor for as long as I have breath in my body.’

Gralin returns to his home once again. . . where many dwarves are waiting to be ‘received’. Many bring gifts. . . and Gili presents a pair of matched writing quills of exceptional quality.  Gralin extends invitations to Gloin and his son Gimli. . . Urigal and his ‘master’ Gili This representation was actually inaccurate.  Chuck has a long history of avoiding having player characters involved in ventures that are important to him if he can arrange/justify matters effectively.  Chuck/Gralin did not extend an invitation to an PC, including Gili/Chris until Chris played out a scene where he went before his grandmother (Gili is son of Fili who was the nephew to Thorin II Oakenshield) who is very connected and claimed that he felt slighted by not being included in this socially prestigious event.  Logically speaking Gili should have been on the short list, he is of a prominent family and he is accounted (he has been on other adventures and is around 9th level).  Some strings were pulled and word filtered to Gralin that it would be politically beneficial that he include Gili on this venture.  Gralin is a hero of the realm, but is not from a prominent (read – rich) Dwarven family.  It was revealing to me upon reading this chronicle that the matter should have been recorded this way . . . Dwalin, brother of Balin. . . and a number of other dwarves for his upcoming journey to Thranduil’s realm in the Mirkwood. Gralin also meets with Mira’s father Nen. . . and asks permission to ‘call upon her’ in her father’s house.

The great gem which Gralin ordered crafted – a ruby of consummate beauty inlaid with mithril scrollwork. . . is presented by Adan, the craftsman who created it. Gralin pronounces it to be known henceforth as ‘The Fire of Adan’. . . and even Gralin is loathe to face the idea of parting with it. . . although that was the purpose of its creation. Secretly, even Holly (Gralin’s sister) is envious of it, knowing she will never own anything of such value. She takes her leave of it. . . leaving Gralin and Balin to stare at the gem through the night . . . thoroughly enraptured by it.

Gralin makes sure the jewel-box is closed and put away before finally going to sleep. . . afraid that others may fall too-much-in-love with the marvelous creation, as did Adan, who begged at its presentation to be allowed to pay ten times its purchase price in order to keep it, assuring it would never fall into elven hands.

Gralin journeys from the Lonely Mountain in the company of seven dwarves of his own choosing. . . including Balin, his brother Dwalin, Gloin and his son Gimli, Gili (Chris), Angrim (Dave). . . plus sixteen royal guardsmen, led by Drar. Their journey to the Mirkwood realm of Thranduil is uneventful. Once under the eaves of the forest, Gralin pronounces that he seeks audience with Lisivas, mother of Hithgal. After a time, a warden appears. . . asking why Gralin seeks her. Gralin explains that he has come to pay his respects. . . and to offer a token of his grief.  In the beginning of the character’s history Gralin was exiled from the Lonely Mountain (long story).  While in the Mirkwood he was beset by orcs and was being overrun.  Gralin saw evidence that there were elves nearby and called out for aid.  Only one Elf responded – Hithgal.  In the ensuing battle Hithgal was slain, but Gralin obviously survived.  When Gralin cleared his name and was returned to the Lonely Mountain as a hero he vowed that he would make a gift of sorrow for the mother of the slain Elf.  The gem, Naur Adan was to be that offering.

Gralin is informed that he, alone will be admitted. Gralin leaves his ‘red armor’ – symbol of the King’s authority – outside the eaves of the realm with Balin. . . and follows his escort into the woodland realm. After much travel, he comes to a clearing where a counselor informs Gralin that Lisivas is recently ‘gone’. . . headed westward (i.e. across the ocean). Gralin had already considered this as a possibility. . . and after expressing his grief, asked to be returned to his kin. He was refused. . . and told that the king (Thranduil) wished to see the gift he intended to bring Lisivas. Gralin refused the request. . . and was ‘summoned’ to the throne room anyway. . . where Thranduil walked ‘past’ him from behind to mount his throne, after which he poised his chin upon a fist, resting his elbow upon the arm of his chair.

Thranduil began by saying “You have brought us a gift”. . . and asked to see it. All of Thranduil’s words and questions were all ‘angled’ towards insisting that Gralin leave the ‘gift’ with him. . . insisting on his ‘right’ to take possession of it, which Gralin refused, attesting and ultimately proclaiming to all within the hearing of all that his property was to remain his property, once it became clear that to him that Thranduil was going to have the item seized to examine it. Gralin again confirmed and affirmed that which he was about to expose was and was to remain his property. . . then declared ‘Behold Naur Adan!’ (Behold the Fire of Adan).  Yes, Thranduil was angling to get his hands on the gem, but long before Thranduil starting “insisting” Gralin/Chuck was being petulant and haughty towards a king is his own throne room in front of his own court!  Very early on Gralin was “proclaiming” that his property was to remain his property.  This happened so early in the meeting that I was growing irritated with how arrogant the dwarf was being played.  This, in my opinion, was extremely egregious, as Gralin was not even answering questions put to him by the king but continued to make his proclamations in a very authoritative tone, as if one were addressing a person of lower station.  This was so out of control that I wrote a note to another player at the table about this and he sent one back saying that Gralin “needed a humble enema.”

Thranduil redoubled his demands for the jewel – which Gralin refused to assent to. Ultimately, Thranduil ordered Gralin conducted from the throneroom. . . along with the jewel. . . and once it was Gralin was being led at spearpoint down to the dungeons, Gralin screamed ‘Thief!’  Actually this is a slight misrepresentation.  While the guards did have spears they never lowered them nor ever made any sort of overtly threatening or aggressive move.  He screamed it again – followed by ‘Petty thief!’. . . whereupon an enraged Thranduil ran down the stairs after Gralin – snatching the jewel from Gralin’s tunic.  What was omitted from Chuck’s record was that Thranduil said, “If a thief I am called, then a thief I shall be!”  Gralin tried to keep it from happening but reacted too slowly – screaming ‘Thief!’ once again.  An enraged Thranduil was on the point of ordering his execution then-and-there. . . hissing ‘Say-it-one-more-time’. . . and Gralin bit his tongue. . . after which he was conducted to the dungeon, sans his treasure.

Out in the forest, the dwarves waiting for Gralin were informed by an elven messenger: ‘Good news! Your companion has done well and is spending time with the king. He wishes you to depart. . . and he will follow in a few weeks.’ More messages of a similar nature followed. . . each supposedly at the behest of Gralin, urging his kin in more strident terms to return to the Lonely Mountain without him.

Gralin was dragged before a counselor, who spoke of Gralin ‘breaking laws’ and ‘uttering curses’, accusing him of espionage, etc.  The charge of espionage, while obviously fabricated stemmed from the fact that Gralin changed his story during his audience with the king of the Elves.  Gralin originally explained his reason for coming so as to make a grief offering to Lisivas.  During the audience Thranduil disclosed that Lisivas had just recently left for the utter west and that he would be happy to take delivery of the gem and see that it got to her.  Gralin declined the offer, so then was questioned as to why he came in the first place, “Was it not to see that Lisivas received the gift?”  Gralin then answered, “No.”  So now, in his petulance, Gralin had removed the reason for his presence in the Elven realm and henceforth would not answer any question as to why he was then in the realm other than to proclaim that his property shall stay his.  They offered Gralin a chance ‘in their mercy’ to leave if he promised to gift the gem and think of it no more. Gralin laughed. . . demanded to be released with ‘his property’. . . and was returned to his cell, with the counselor promising that ‘Ere you see me again, you shall beg for the meeting.’

Eventually, the dwarves in the forest were told in a radical reversal that Gralin had offended the king – not in one way, but in many – and they were ordered to leave the forest. Informed in harsh terms that if they were still there in the morning, ‘Old hatreds will be rekindled.’ Balin is ready to launch himself into battle over the stream which marks the boundary-line of the realm. . . but Gloin calls him back, saying words-to-the-effect-of ‘Little good would twenty-three be.’ Then continuing in louder voice for benefit of the elves: ‘But know that we will return for our kin.’ Thus saying, the dwarves turned to go. But unlike the stately procession of their arrival, they run through what remains of the forest and out into the open plains at battle-speed, in formation with weapons at the ready. Running for the Lonely Mountain with thinly-veiled rage and thinly-veiled rage in their countenance.

Gralin is afterwards conducted before the counselor once again – without asking for the meeting -- where it is pronounced that he will be sent forth from the realm, with his name stricken from all records. Gralin smiles, knowing it’s a wonderful way for Thranduil to ‘cover’ his own guilt – to the very-limited-extent that a monarch need ‘cover’ anything within his own realm. The counselor then departs. . . leaving Gralin with four guards, who escort him from the chamber to the open-air world outside.

Ironically, they insist Gralin is to be blindfolded on the way out of the kingdom. Gralin comments ironically that it is customary to ‘hoodwink’ the victim before the theft, not afterwards. He also asks that since he expects to be delivered ‘naked’ on the eaves of the forest, without weapons, armor, his companions or any provisions, that some weapon is appointed to him. The request is denied. . . and Gralin considers appealing it. . . but decides against it. If this is the ‘justice’ of the elves, so be it. He is conducted to the edge of the realm. . . where he is unblindfolded. But before the guard departs, Gralin pronounces in a loud voice: ‘I have been thieved by the self-proclaimed King of All Elves.’ Thus saying, Gralin goes on his way.

Gralin’s mindset at this point is ‘All the good elves are gone. Dead in battle or gone over the sea. Those who remain are little better than orcs.

At this break point in the game the tabled erupted into questions that basically fell along the lines of, “What were you thinking?”  “Do you realize what would happen to the world, and the war of the Rings, if the Elves and the Dwarves went to war?”  “Do you realize that you were talking down to a king in his own throne room?”

Given that we are not there to make moral judgments in Sim, where did all this rancor come from?  This was not the first time that the player had escalated events and nearly suicided his character when he “felt” that he was facing a no-win situation.  That last time he did this the game ended with a near total party kill as the two sides went at it, because he egged them on once he “felt” that events had become hopeless.  The key here is that events had not yet become hopeless when the player decided they had become so.  The situation with Thranduil was not yet at a dead end when Gralin felt there was nothing left to gain and became offensive and rude towards the king effectively calling him a thief long before the king had started to exert his authority.

But what I think was most “telling” was that everyone at the table was very worried about what a disaster would befall the world if war was waged between the Mirkwood Elves and the Dwarves.  While all this was going on, the GM said we can discuss this matter, but you cannot “attack” the player for his decisions.

So there you have it.  Simulationism.
Logged

Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Marco
Member

Posts: 1741


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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2005, 01:45:54 PM »

Quote

I am stunned by this turn of events and make several arguments against why I am ill suited to fulfill this request. The DM starts pouring it on with Creedy saying that fewer lives would be lost if the rebellion was led competently and then Elya, my wife, starts in on me about wanting freedom and self-determination. Finally I told Creedy that I was oath sworn never to raise arms against Gondor. Now I never actually played out taking such an oath, but it struck me as something that would probably be very commonly done. Creedy then counters that I don’t have to actually fight, but I could train them. There is also the issue of aiding and abetting the enemy, but Gondor is not “at war” with Harandor…yet. So as a player I am faced with the Situation whereby I try and save whatever vestiges of loyalty I have to Gondor and refuse to aid the people of my adopted country who are suffering under the occupation and the chaotic aftermath of war. Or I aid Creedy and the likes and lead or teach them how to effectively engage the Gondorian military, some of whom might even be friends of old. Whatever choice I made would certainly reflect on my relationships with Gondor, the Rangers, my oaths, my old friends, my new friends, my new country, my new wife and son, etc.

I asked Creedy for some time to consider his plea and he rode off. Actually this was me as a player temporizing until I could figure some way out of this mess the GM put me in! The next day, after the game ended, I decided that I would go for plan C. I guessed that Gondor saw Harandor as weak and thus vulnerable to future Harradrim attacks so was building forts and fortifying the country. Plan C would roughly entail empowering the local populace to fend off banditry, demonstrate the ability to self-govern and hopefully down the line remove the reason Gondor has for occupying Harandor.

OK – why this point? To demonstrate that Premise was not on the table - at all. There were many intertwined issues involved but Premise was not being addressed.



How would this have looked if "premise was involved?"

-Marco
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Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2005, 05:29:46 PM »

Hey Marco,

Quote from: Marco
How would this have looked if "premise was involved?


Beats me.  There are so many issues/relationships/conflicts involved I am rather baffled as to how a single one could be culled out as being the Premise.

Like a bricoleur who is faced with a “machine” that was just knocked out of balance and only having a few rather wonky “objects” with which to “fix” the problem, I must consider which “object” I will employ (the choice that I will make) because each “object” carries its own baggage.  Thus, in making whatever choice of which “object” I will employ (make my choice on how to respond) I have to carefully weigh all of the implications of any choice I make on the “machine” as a whole since no “object” will “fix” the problem without introducing some other problems as well.  Like choosing where and how much weight to add to a given spot in a spider’s web, I have to take into account all the possible effects any such action will have on the whole rest of the web.  My choice lies in deciding which “fixes” are worth which “future problems” on the whole.
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Marco
Member

Posts: 1741


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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2005, 08:15:37 PM »

Well, I agree: I see lots of premises in play there. If a human experience problem gets too complex, when does it become Sim?

-Marco
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Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
Callan S.
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Posts: 3588


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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2005, 08:23:07 PM »

When the players let it? :)
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Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2005, 02:05:01 AM »

Hey Marco,

Quote from: Marco
Well, I agree: I see lots of premises in play there. If a human experience problem gets too complex, when does it become Sim?


When play does not focus on humankind experience problems.  Whereas you see Premises, I don’t see any at all.  It’s not because the potential does not exist, rather there is no focus upon the various conflicts as a vehicle for a statement beyond the SIS itself.  I am not interested, for example, in plumbing the nature of friendship, but rather in the expression or not of it as a quality of that character – which is one of the ways that meaning is imparted upon his relationship to his oaths, Ranger friends, his wife and step son, etc.

To me Narrativist play is where a Premise is (or several are) mindfully a continually/repeatedly “attacked” from many sides to create one “theme.”  In Sim the response to a given conflict has many ramifications that must (should) all be considered in that moment in order to mindfully create the increasingly complex web (history) of meaningful interrelationships of the elements being operated on within the SIS.  Think of Chris’ toaster or iron examples.

If you find the humankind issues interesting to you, then great!  You’re a Narrativist!  Hot dog!  But I know that I am not interested in exploring humankind issues, but rather in creating, expanding and living in the Dream called Middle Earth via that tool which is available to me as a player – the character.  How do I do this?  By making the kinds of decisions I think other Ranger’s, father’s, husband’s, ex-patriots of Gondor, men, etc. would make who actually lived in Middle Earth.  The point is that if you are seeing Premise there, it is because you are organizing/structuring the conflicts in a way that in not inherent to the Situation.  IOW this is merely an example of how three different players with three different CA's can look at the same Situation and have three incompatable approaches to it.

But what hasn’t been taken into account, which is partly my fault, is all the other elements of play that happen outside the SIS which are very important.  There after game “debriefs” where we discuss the implications (read meanings) in a kibitzing sort of way of the events and the decisions made during the game.  There are many discussions about the various cultures in Middle Earth, filling in holes in the original material or giving our interpretations of the original material.  In discussing a new character there is much thought given to his role and relationship to his culture.  There are discussions as to his skills, but the most fun is creating something that hasn’t been done before.  Many times these discussions are borne out of what transpired in play.  Often times there are discussions about how someone did this really cool new thing (added something new to the elements of Middle Earth) – how an elf sing an arrow from a tree, how a Black Commando used this wicked cool new killing move in play, or for example how (as the GM said – not to toot my own horn which I really am uncomfortable with) I played a Dunedain in the singularly best (“role-defining” was the phrase he used) performance he has ever seen it in 20+ years he has been running them.

I would post an example of that interaction and the important following game as well, but the general lack of interest (for whatever reasons - which may include my poor posting skills) is telling me not to expend too much more effort in this forum.

Hey Callan,

Quote from: Noon
When the players let it? :)


Lol. =oD

I know that someone asked a question about the player I was griping about and how we handled it before the hack erased the original post.  

In our game the GM typically prefers us to handle problems by referring them through him.  So we did.  Though there was some direct conversation with the “offending” player on the ride home.  He (Chuck) is fully convinced that he made the right choice; that there is no other possible/valid interpretation to the events.  My position is that one may choose to play their character, even to detriment, and that is fine.  It is very tough to make those kinds of decisions on the spot, which is why so much latitude is generally given when things do go badly.  However, to not even consider other points of view in discussion afterwards is, to me, problematic.  Part of the point of the game is to have varying points of view on the events that transpired.  This is why the post game “debriefs” are so much fun and really are important.  Not only what is said, but also how it is said and how long the topic is dealt with and by how many people the GM gets an idea of what is important (meaningful) to the players.

I should note in closing that the player of the dwarf (Chuck) is generally an excellent player, has been in the game almost from its inception, is typically is a real asset to the game.  Like bricoling, everything has baggage that must be dealt with – its an integral part of the process itself!  As long as we are in the net gain department we are in good waters.
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
James Holloway
Member

Posts: 372


« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2005, 02:23:00 AM »

Quote from: Silmenume

I would post an example of that interaction and the important following game as well, but the general lack of interest (for whatever reasons - which may include my poor posting skills) is telling me not to expend too much more effort in this forum.

Well, there was a lot of response to your previous post -- I think people are just catching up on all the stuff now that the Forge is back up.

As for me, I find these accounts of the game fascinating, but I don't know what to say. It seems like in some ways the player of the dwarf in the scene with Thranduil was being heckled for stuff that makes perfect sense to do from a Sim perspective.

Objects so beautiful that they inspire uncontrollable greed in whoever sees them are a perfectly fine component in Middle-Earth, as is disaster being caused by a conflict between haughty elves and overconfident dwarves. I'm not sure where the problem is.*

*Actually, one thing that keeps coming up for me when I run fantasy or historical games is that the players tend to come in with very modern mindsets, so the player may have been thinking "you can't do that! That's mine! I've got rights, y'know!" when of course he has no rights all.
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LordSmerf
Member

Posts: 864


« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2005, 04:16:33 AM »

Quote from: Silmenume
I know that someone asked a question about the player I was griping about and how we handled it before the hack erased the original post.

In our game the GM typically prefers us to handle problems by referring them through him. So we did. Though there was some direct conversation with the “offending” player on the ride home. He (Chuck) is fully convinced that he made the right choice; that there is no other possible/valid interpretation to the events. My position is that one may choose to play their character, even to detriment, and that is fine. It is very tough to make those kinds of decisions on the spot, which is why so much latitude is generally given when things do go badly. However, to not even consider other points of view in discussion afterwards is, to me, problematic. Part of the point of the game is to have varying points of view on the events that transpired. This is why the post game “debriefs” are so much fun and really are important. Not only what is said, but also how it is said and how long the topic is dealt with and by how many people the GM gets an idea of what is important (meaningful) to the players.
-emphasis added

I think that was me.  Note the bold quoted text.  What does that mean in play?  Latitude as in you can go back and retroactively change your decisions, or as in you are somewhat protected from the consequences of your decisions, or what?

Now take a look at the underlined quoted text.  Could you expand on how this works in play?  How do you consider other points of view (you seem to touch on this briefly toward the end of the quoted text).  Some examples of "seeing things from other points of view" would be cool.

And I'm not sure if this made it into the original post, but I think it's an important question... you said:

Quote
But what I think was most “telling” was that everyone at the table was very worried about what a disaster would befall the world if war was waged between the Mirkwood Elves and the Dwarves. While all this was going on, the GM said we can discuss this matter, but you cannot “attack” the player for his decisions.


If the player had kept pushing and kept pushing (let's say that he was looking for a war), who would have "won"?  The player, or the world?  Would you have shot down his contributions because of the disruption of the world, or would you have allowed the world to be disrupted?  Why?

Thomas
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Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2005, 01:49:40 AM »

Hey James,

Quote from: James Holloway
It seems like in some ways the player of the dwarf in the scene with Thranduil was being heckled for stuff that makes perfect sense to do from a Sim perspective.


In many senses you are correct.  That a dwarf would have no love or trust of the Elves, especially Elves of the Mirkwood and King Thranduil in particular is perfectly plausible.

The areas we other players had issues with lay along these lines –
    [*]Dwarves, as we play them, have a profoundly structured society.  They, probably more than even the Elves, have a deep and abiding respect and understanding for social hierarchy.  The player of the dwarf never treated with Thranduil as if he were a king. [*]Dwarves are not fools; of the free peoples in Middle Earth they are second only to Elves in wisdom.  They are also an incredibly intelligent and learned people.  The player quickly picked up, before he was even summoned to an audience in the King’s chamber, that something was afoot and rightly so.  However for all that intelligence and wisdom the player immediately torpedoed any possibility of salving the King’s ego while holding onto his gem.  The dwarf would have known and the player certainly new that this situation was a powder keg and he went immediately about lighting the fuse. [*]This is not the first time the player has lit the fuse in what was desperate, but not an impossible situation.  In another game, sometime in the last year, the player in question was playing a man of Dale with his brother who was another PC.  The set up was in the land of Dorwinion which is constantly pressed by attacks from Easterlings.  The PC and his brother were visiting cousins in Dorwinion where my character lived.  I was playing a “half-breed” scout/tracker/hunter (half Dorwinion, half Easterling) who was called in when the young daughter of the cousin of the PC’s was taken by “somethings that were bi-pedal.”  I was not popular with everyone in the area, but I knew my craft better than anyone there and was friendly with the particular family, so off I went.  The locals gathered some men and followed as best they could.  Along the way I found tracks that indicated that the perpetrators were ambushed, killed and the girl taken by things that were larger than men.  At this moment I came across a small encampment of Easterlings that I was friendly with – their leader was a PC who’s Character was not terribly enthused by the brutality and infighting of his people (the Easterlings) and was somewhat interested in “advanced society” of the people of Dorwinion.  I established an agreement with the Easterlings for their aid in this venture.  However, when I brought the two groups together there was immediate tension with hatreds and mistrusts.  Part of this was stoked by the GM via NPC’s, however Chuck saw how one of the NPC Easterlings was getting in the face of one of the PC’s (a new player who was a Dorwinion related to the missing girl).  Seeing the situation as impossible (where as the rest of us saw it as extremely difficult) started a fight that basically ended up in a total party kill.  Everyone was stunned and we asked him what he was thinking.  He claimed that he felt he was going to betrayed at some point and that the situation was hopeless so better to get rid of the Easterlings and then move on.  However the situation was not hopeless and his opinion resulted in everyone’s death.  (I had left saying if all they were interested in was killing each other then so be it, I have a little girl to try and save.  I was hoping by getting the ball rolling that for a brief while the tensions would be on hold – Chuck thought the reverse and ultimately consigned everyone to death.)  Basically it boiled down to that he had no faith in the other players at the table to be able to contribute to the management of the situation and took it upon himself to execute whatever desperate measure was possible.  (He denies this up and down the line, but there are too many other pieces of “data” about his feelings regarding other players to give his defense full credibility.)[*]Which brings me to the fact that the King had not demanded the gem though he was certainly suggesting that the dwarf deliver it up.  The player had already concluded the gem was already “stolen” so it didn’t matter what he said, which in my opinion is pure bull.  Once again he was in a very tight situation which he felt was hopeless and so heaped gasoline on the fire quickly moving a bad situation to absolutely devastating.  As it turned out in the following session which I have not yet posted, King Dain did put the word out and summoned all able dwarves from all the kingdoms and mustered for war.[*]To this day he refuses to consider that there are other points of view about how events unfolded.  For all the above, which is really moot as you had indicated, the real issue lie in that he put the two realms on a war footing and he refuses to accept any responsibility for that fact.  He still claims that he was an innocent victim – and truth be told he was being manhandled, manipulated and lied to.  No one disagrees about that.  We all play our characters, for better and for worse.  He refuses to accept the fact that in this case he did play for the worse.  Its OK to play for worse!  That he refuses to see that it could not necessarily should means he is dismissing the point of view of the other players – and that is a major problem.  In a grayish sort of way that is a social contract violation.  Part of the point of play is the in between game discussions of the “meanings” of what happened.[/list:u]
    Quote from: James Holloway
    Objects so beautiful that they inspire uncontrollable greed in whoever sees them are a perfectly fine component in Middle-Earth, as is disaster being caused by a conflict between haughty elves and overconfident dwarves. I'm not sure where the problem is.*


    I agree.  There was much note passing and murmuring among the “off camera” players about the incident of the Nauglamir.  Regarding the “problem” I hope that I have in some way touched on some of the issues.  Let me know if you have additional questions where I was not clear.

    Quote from: James Holloway
    *Actually, one thing that keeps coming up for me when I run fantasy or historical games is that the players tend to come in with very modern mindsets, so the player may have been thinking "you can't do that! That's mine! I've got rights, y'know!" when of course he has no rights all.


    Actually I think the exact opposite was in effect.  Chuck knew that he had no “rights” and that Thranduil could do anything he wanted to him while he was alone and deep in the Elven realm.  This is part of what I think “panicked” him into hopelessness.

    Hey Thomas,

    Quote from: LordSmerf
    Latitude as in you can go back and retroactively change your decisions, or as in you are somewhat protected from the consequences of your decisions, or what?


    Latitude as in a player is fairly strongly protected from the social, out of game, consequences of his actions.

    Quote from: LordSmerf
    Now take a look at the underlined quoted text. Could you expand on how this works in play? How do you consider other points of view (you seem to touch on this briefly toward the end of the quoted text). Some examples of "seeing things from other points of view" would be cool.


    How “seeing things from other points of view during play” would work out in play is difficult to fathom.  First of all, “the other points of view discussion” refers mostly to the after-game post partum.  Because everyone is, for lack of a better term, immersed in their Character their “take” (point of view) on the game events is going to be slightly to greatly divergent and this comparing of notes is lots of fun.  During this post partum many ideas are discussed and very very importantly the significance (read – meanings) of what transpired is hashed out.  This is totally informal but is critically important to keeping everyone on the same page.  If one is unwilling to consider other points of view then they are in essence rejecting the input of the other players outright.  This does not mean that must all agree to each other’s point of view, but the outright refusal to consider is, in my opinion, as serious problem.  Much of what the game is “about” is the mulling over and the chewing on in these bull sessions.  In a sense much bricoling occurs here as well as in game if only that we are contemplating the “meanings” of what did happen.  This could mean saying, “Hey he really played his dwarf exactly as I would have imagined a dwarf would have reacted” or “I don’t know, that seemed a little out character for a dwarf.”

    Eventually all this discussing and debating does impact the game down the line as these meanings are fined, refined and at different points put back into play.  If a player, after all these discussions decides that indeed his actions were not “dwarflike” then maybe at some future time he would take all these “points of view” into consideration when deciding what to do.  There is a very difficult line to draw here between player freedom and the constraints of the established world.  We the players are the living memory of that established (historical) world so in a fashion we do have a stake in how anyone plays their character as we are all sharing in the construction of the Dream.  IOW how one player plays a dwarf affects how another player plays their dwarf in the future.

    At the table after the Character was ultimately released from the dungeons the game came to a natural stopping point and we all spoke up about what happened.  This was very unusual, as we usually like to keep playing, but what had happened was potentially world shaking.  We immediately started discussion about what happened and the player (who has been playing for over 20 years) was absolutely unyielding in his position and things did start to get heated.  The GM stepped in and said discussion was fine, but “attacks” which really meant judgments on his play, were not allowed.  Things cooled down, play continued and when we met after the game at a local Denny’s we all apologized for “getting in his face.”  We all felt bad because he felt a little persecuted.  However, he has yet to admit that he could have approached the matter differently – IOW he is so far absolutely unwilling to consider another “point of view.”

    My “point of view” was that he was exceedingly arrogant and rude to a king in his own chambers in front of his own people.  I also felt that he lit the fuse and made matters much much worse than they warranted at the time.  He knows better and dwarf certainly whould or could have considered where his actions were taking his people.  He doesn’t have a trust in the other players and it manifested itself in how he played his character.  In a way I would say that he shifted from Actor to Pawn Stance, but that is only my opinion as he maintains that he “stayed in Character.”

    Quote from: LordSmerf
    If the player had kept pushing and kept pushing (let's say that he was looking for a war), who would have "won"? The player, or the world? Would you have shot down his contributions because of the disruption of the world, or would you have allowed the world to be disrupted? Why?


    I’m not sure what you mean by “won.”  In a sense I would say that everyone would have lost, which is what I think the main complaint that all the other players had.  Now the GM says that we must all take the good with the bad, and I strongly agree with him.  So while I was upset about what transpired, I’m OK with letting it pass as just another event in the world that needs to be dealt with.  What I am more concerned about is his (in my and a couple of other players opinion at the table) lack of faith in us other players.  This is an issue that has been floating around for a few years now and has been discussed on a number of occasions.

    Regarding “shooting down his contributions” we would have allowed the world to be disrupted.  That we cannot “undo” our actions makes every decision we make that much more “meaningful.”  “Undoing” would totally undermine the intensity of the game, as well as the feeling of Dream.  Just as in real life I can’t “unmurder” someone, thus making that decision to do so so harrowing, so it is in our game space.  To even think that we could possibly undo something, even if it hasn’t happened, is like opening a pressure escape valve.  It would severely deplete the decisions of their finality and thus, ultimately, their value.  I should note that there is “hacking” as I tenuously understand the term, but the more important the decision the less likely “hacking” would be allowed.  However, once we are past a decision and onto a new one there is no going back.

    If I have misunderstood or not answered your question about “winning” could you please rephrase it so I can answer you more fully?  Thanks!
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    Jay
    James Holloway
    Member

    Posts: 372


    « Reply #9 on: March 15, 2005, 02:30:26 AM »

    Quote from: Silmenume


     In a sense I would say that everyone would have lost, which is what I think the main complaint that all the other players had.  


    Hey Jay! Thanks a lot for your answers -- it almost sounds like your biggest problem is not with what the player did during the game but with his subsequent attitude about it, particularly considered in light of an ongoing pattern of behavior. This player sounds like a bit of a hellraiser, which was tougher to tell from one instance of play.

    So here's the one other question I had, regarding the whole "everyone would have lost" thing: are you guys trying to create happy endings?
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    ffilz
    Member

    Posts: 468


    WWW
    « Reply #10 on: March 15, 2005, 09:33:03 AM »

    Quote

    Dwarves, as we play them, have a profoundly structured society. They, probably more than even the Elves, have a deep and abiding respect and understanding for social hierarchy. The player of the dwarf never treated with Thranduil as if he were a king.


    Quote

    Basically it boiled down to that he had no faith in the other players at the table to be able to contribute to the management of the situation and took it upon himself to execute whatever desperate measure was possible.


    Sim game, gamist player?

    Frank
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    Frank Filz
    LordSmerf
    Member

    Posts: 864


    « Reply #11 on: March 15, 2005, 09:52:58 AM »

    Jay,

    I think you nailed all my questions.  For clarity when I talked about "winning" I was asking who's authority would win out: The Established World or the Player's Choices.  Seems pretty clear that player choice wins, which is cool.

    Now, let's get down to the real nitty-gritty:

    Quote from: Silmenume
    Basically it boiled down to that he had no faith in the other players at the table to be able to contribute to the management of the situation and took it upon himself to execute whatever desperate measure was possible. (He denies this up and down the line, but there are too many other pieces of “data” about his feelings regarding other players to give his defense full credibility.)

    and
    Quote
    At the table after the Character was ultimately released from the dungeons the game came to a natural stopping point and we all spoke up about what happened. This was very unusual, as we usually like to keep playing, but what had happened was potentially world shaking. We immediately started discussion about what happened and the player (who has been playing for over 20 years) was absolutely unyielding in his position and things did start to get heated. The GM stepped in and said discussion was fine, but “attacks” which really meant judgments on his play, were not allowed. Things cooled down, play continued and when we met after the game at a local Denny’s we all apologized for “getting in his face.” We all felt bad because he felt a little persecuted. However, he has yet to admit that he could have approached the matter differently – IOW he is so far absolutely unwilling to consider another “point of view.”

    and
    Quote
    What I am more concerned about is his (in my and a couple of other players opinion at the table) lack of faith in us other players. This is an issue that has been floating around for a few years now and has been discussed on a number of occasions.

    and, finally, taken out of order
    Quote
    Latitude as in a player is fairly strongly protected from the social, out of game, consequences of his actions.


    I'm going to ask some questions first, and then I'm going to make a preliminary analysis without waiting for the answers.  Let me know if I'm off-base here.

    When was the last time this player made a decision that you strongly agreed with?  Are there any other players who consistently make decisions you strongly disagree with?  Could you give an example or two of other players makming decisions that most of the players disagreed with?

    Now, analysis.  It seems to me that while you are talking about this guy not trusting the other players, you and some portion of the players don't trust him.  In fact, you've discussed your lack of trust with each other.

    I'm also getting the impression that you've never said any of this to his face.  My guess is that he knows you don't trust him.  People tend to be pretty perceptive about that kind of thing.

    Further, while you say that you're "okay" with what happened, my impression is that you are emphatically not okay with what happened.  You (and some of your other players) think that this guy played, not just poorly, but wrong.  That's fine, in fact, the impression I'm getting is that he very well may have been violating accepted social contract (which would be wrong).  But again, I bet he knows this.

    Thus, when you say you want him to "consider other points of view" you are saying (to me) that you want him to consider the possibility that he was wrong and that you are right.  This may be entirely valid within your Social Contract, in fact I get the impression that it is.

    So, here's what I think: you are playing with different understandings of the Social Contract.  You have said that he has violated the rules (Social Contract) multiple times and that he doesn't seem to understand why it's a problem.  There are two possibilities: 1) he's a jerk, or 2) he's playing by a different set of rules in which his bahavior is okay.

    As far as I can tell there's only one solution to this problem.  You're going to have to all sit down and hash this out.  Face to face, no holds barred.  Put it all on the table: bring up every action he's taken that indicates that he doesn't trust the players and explain why you think it means that.  See if you can get him to explain why he was thinking that way.

    This is hard stuff to do since it has to be completely (or almost completely) non-threatening.  Threatened people get defensive, and probably won't tell you why they really took an action.  If you aren't close enough friends for this to work (and it's entirely possible that you aren't) then I'm not sure that this can be fixed.

    Finally, let me try to get inside the head of this guy I don't know and point out some of the things he may have been thinking, but didn't say for social reasons.

    "This whole trip to the Elven kingdom thing got boring fast.  I want something cool to happen, so I'm going to spice things up."

    "The GM is a bastard.  I had all these cool ideas about the presentation of the jewel, and he robbed me of the oppurtunity to use any of them by having her gone already.  Well, if he's going to ruin my fun, I'm going to express my anger."

    "Hmm, perhaps this wasn't the best set of choices after all, but all those jerks think I suck anyway.  I'm not going to give them the satisfaction of admitting that I'm wrong here."

    All three of those are ways that I have thought in the past.  I hope that some of this is helpful to you, and that it isn't too rambling, and that it doesn't make too many false assumptions.  Also, I hope that it isn't offensive, as that wasn't my intent.

    NOTE: Crossposted with Frank.  He may be on to something, but I think he's over-simplifying things.  As evidence by my long rambling above...

    Thomas
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    Silmenume
    Member

    Posts: 467


    « Reply #12 on: March 16, 2005, 01:55:25 AM »

    Hey James,

    Quote from: James Holloway
    So here's the one other question I had, regarding the whole "everyone would have lost" thing: are you guys trying to create happy endings?


    That is a tricky question, because I am not exactly sure what is meant by “creating happy endings.”  To directly answer your question about how everyone would have lost – simply put a game world without Thranduil’s realm and the Dwarves would quickly succumb to the Dark Lord.  On one level we all love the world very deeply and would like it to stay free of the shadow of Sauron.  So we would all like to aid in that struggle in whatever plausible way that we can.  IOW if we had a character who was not vested in the “grander scheme of things” said Character would not be played with an eye towards the coming war of the ring.  However, the Dwarves, the Elves and the Dunedain have not fallen asleep regarding the threat of Sauron so any Character of those lines does have an understanding that their actions do have a wider import.  This is part of the reason that such Characters are coveted – they allow us more latitude in the prevention of the world of falling into shadow.  I suppose one could say that preventing the world from falling under the sway of Sauron is “trying to create happy endings,” but that particular assessment does not strike me a quite right.  (In review it also occurred to me that all of us have Characters as well as NPC friends whom we would probably lose to this battle that would rather not lose.)

    Conversely there are “tragic” characters whose end will probably not be happy.  I have a half-uruk, half-peredhil who in all likelihood will end in a tragic manner.  He is no “good-guy”.  In fact he is rather dark with no love of any person though he does have two boon companions – a “dark” elf (not in the D&D sense) and a swindler street urchin boy.  One of the really hard parts of playing this character is that should any of his two companions be in serious need, he would in all likelihood not make heroic efforts to save them.  Life is a dog eat dog world and if one doesn’t have what it takes to survive – then too bad for them.  This is totally against the grain of what we like to “celebrate” at the table, but it does provide a nice foil.  IOW because this character is not “heroic” it makes playing those that “heroic” that much more exciting!  It’s a different flavor, as it were.  However, I suspect in my mind that the Character will actually die while trying to do the only noble thing in his life or be killed by those whom he is actually trying to help in some fashion.  We shall see what happens though…



    Hey Frank,

    Quote from: ffilz
    Sim game, gamist player?


    Interesting notion, but I don’t believe that is the case.  First he is mostly conflict avoidant.  In fact there is a running joke that if Chuck had is way he would play a hobbit in his hole drinking tea, eating cookies and never leaving.  Second he does not exhibit a particular interest in rewards, especially social rewards.  It’s strange, it just seems that every once in a while something gets under his saddle and he just loses it.  Again I would peg it at situations where he has few if any options other than to blindly trust in the actions of the other players at the table.

    Hiya Thomas,

    Quote from: LordSmerf
    When was the last time this player made a decision that you strongly agreed with? Are there any other players who consistently make decisions you strongly disagree with? Could you give an example or two of other players makming decisions that most of the players disagreed with?


    That night, prior to his entering the Mirkwood Forest, he made many decisions that I agreed with strongly.  On a strategic level he makes many very shrewd decisions that I frequently stunned by in their subtlety and reach.  In my first post in the AP about my July 4th week game last year, the GM had Aragorn assign the planning of the assault on Aria to Chuck’s Dunedain.  He had his Istari Wizard go to the isle where Maglor had isoltated himself to try and persuade him to give of what turned out to be one of the 9 rings of men.  His wizard is also trying to convince King Dain to prepare basic weapons and earthworks for the men who will come to the Lonely Mountain during the coming war of the rings.  All these and more I agree with strongly.  I think that my focus on this one circumstance is creating a somewhat myopic understanding of what transpires in the game as a whole.  I was trying to demonstrate how things do “go wrong” so as to shed some light on the internal workings of our group at the social contract level.  IOW this post was not meant to be bitch fest about a player per say, but another type of window to our inner workings.

    As far as other decisions that most of the players disagreed with I’ll have to put on my thinking cap.  One that comes to mind rapidly was when one of the PC Black Commando’s killed their brand new political officer who had just barely starting laying down the “new rules.”  Now this NPC was a world class asshole and everyone who was playing a Commando in his unit wanted him dead on the spot, but to kill him was to kill all the Commandos in that unit, so the shit really hit the fan there.  As I didn’t have a Commando and that I personally despised them I was actually quite delighted by this turn of events, but for those players who had Commandos there it was a colossal f***-up.

    Quote from: LordSmerf
    I'm also getting the impression that you've never said any of this to his face.  My guess is that he knows you don't trust him.  People tend to be pretty perceptive about that kind of thing.


    Actually we have discussed it with him on a number of occasions.  Make no mistake; he has pulled our collective bacon out of the fire many times.  Part of problem is that situations are so intense that players tend to fall back onto who they really are, and he tends to be a bit slow to warm up to people.  That is, he is slow to let people in which means he does have some trust issues.  He is also brilliantly smart with a near photographic memory so he tend to think and respond more quickly than those around him typically do.  This I think fosters an idea of “I am the only one who knows what is going on and thus I am the only one who knows how to resolve this situation.”  Frequently he is pretty much spot on, but this leads to problems where his himself is left with little personal maneuvering room and then he panics because he feels hopeless.  Given such a thought process it would make sense for him to feel hopeless under those circumstances, but there is a problem in his thought process.  We are not incompetent or incapable and we will work the best we can to support and aid him as per the circumstances.  The thing that gets us, or at least me and one other player, is that he apparently does not positively include us other players in his planning processes.  Seeing as this game is a social process, this can and does lead to some problems.

    Quote from: LordSmerf
    Further, while you say that you're "okay" with what happened, my impression is that you are emphatically not okay with what happened.  You (and some of your other players) think that this guy played, not just poorly, but wrong.  That's fine, in fact, the impression I'm getting is that he very well may have been violating accepted social contract (which would be wrong).  But again, I bet he knows this.


    Actually the only “wrong” way to play is play in which one does not take responsibility for or does not recognize (for whatever reasons) the consequences of their actions.  The very and I mean very grey part in determining if a social contract failure occurred along CA lines lies in trying to determine if a player did make an effort to recognize the consequence of their actions.  This is why the after game discussions are so vital to the health and well being of the game group.  This is also why it is important for a player to at least consider other points of view because it demonstrates an effort to “recognize the consequences of their actions”.  How can a player know all the consequences of their actions without input from those very players who were directly or indirectly affected by their actions?  In a very real way this sharing of notes makes the game very much richer experience and a “refusal” to engage in this post game dialogue (and he does talk, but when the specific topic comes up he just defends but does not engage) can create a problem.

    So, like you suggested, I do think he is operating under a slightly amended Social Contract.  However, I do not think he believes himself to be in violation of the contract.  I tend to think he just plain doesn’t believe we know what we are talking about (with regards to his actions) and thus doesn’t give much credibility to other positions.  Most of the time what he does is very good, but sometimes it’s just plain off.  Typically this isn’t a major problem, but it does crop up from time to time.  This time the consequences were so enormous the whole group wished to attend to it immediately.

    Quote from: LordSmerf
    All three of those are ways that I have thought in the past.  I hope that some of this is helpful to you, and that it isn't too rambling, and that it doesn't make too many false assumptions.  Also, I hope that it isn't offensive, as that wasn't my intent.


    No offense taken!  You’re intentions are seen as being very helpful and deeply appreciated!  However, I will have to disagree on the three proposed thought processes mainly because they don’t fit his personality.  He loves the world deeply so he wouldn’t do anything to damage it in person anger or spite.  As I mentioned above, he tends to be so conflict avoidant that we have a joke about it, thus it does not make sense that he would stir the pot to the point of “world war” just to “make things interesting.”

    Thank you all for all your time an input!

    On closing I should note that there is always some sort of grumbling on at some level about who did what.  Rarely does it get to this level where the game shuts down.  In my eight years at this table I have only seen it happen 3 or 4 times.  Let’s face it, everyone has their own interpretation of what happens at every game and no one person can be “right,” including me!
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    Jay
    LordSmerf
    Member

    Posts: 864


    « Reply #13 on: March 16, 2005, 09:10:05 AM »

    Jay,

    Sounds like you guys have fun even with the rough spots.  And it's those rough spots that remind us that this is a social activity.  Seems I made a lot of assumptions that turned out to be wrong, oh well...

    Quote
    Actually we have discussed it with him on a number of occasions. Make no mistake; he has pulled our collective bacon out of the fire many times. Part of problem is that situations are so intense that players tend to fall back onto who they really are, and he tends to be a bit slow to warm up to people. That is, he is slow to let people in which means he does have some trust issues. He is also brilliantly smart with a near photographic memory so he tend to think and respond more quickly than those around him typically do. This I think fosters an idea of “I am the only one who knows what is going on and thus I am the only one who knows how to resolve this situation.” Frequently he is pretty much spot on, but this leads to problems where his himself is left with little personal maneuvering room and then he panics because he feels hopeless. Given such a thought process it would make sense for him to feel hopeless under those circumstances, but there is a problem in his thought process. We are not incompetent or incapable and we will work the best we can to support and aid him as per the circumstances. The thing that gets us, or at least me and one other player, is that he apparently does not positively include us other players in his planning processes. Seeing as this game is a social process, this can and does lead to some problems.

    and
    Quote
    Actually the only “wrong” way to play is play in which one does not take responsibility for or does not recognize (for whatever reasons) the consequences of their actions. The very and I mean very grey part in determining if a social contract failure occurred along CA lines lies in trying to determine if a player did make an effort to recognize the consequence of their actions. This is why the after game discussions are so vital to the health and well being of the game group. This is also why it is important for a player to at least consider other points of view because it demonstrates an effort to “recognize the consequences of their actions”. How can a player know all the consequences of their actions without input from those very players who were directly or indirectly affected by their actions? In a very real way this sharing of notes makes the game very much richer experience and a “refusal” to engage in this post game dialogue (and he does talk, but when the specific topic comes up he just defends but does not engage) can create a problem.

    So, like you suggested, I do think he is operating under a slightly amended Social Contract. However, I do not think he believes himself to be in violation of the contract. I tend to think he just plain doesn’t believe we know what we are talking about (with regards to his actions) and thus doesn’t give much credibility to other positions. Most of the time what he does is very good, but sometimes it’s just plain off. Typically this isn’t a major problem, but it does crop up from time to time. This time the consequences were so enormous the whole group wished to attend to it immediately.


    Have you discussed this explicity (in roughly these words) with him?  I remember I used to "discuss" problems with my gaming groups, but I'd just dance around what was really bothering me hoping that someone would pick up on it.

    If you haven't done this, then all I can recommend is that you do it.  Put all this on the table, and make sure that he understands what you're saying.

    If you have done this I would be incredibly curious to know what his reaction was, assuming that you don't feel that you would be violating someone else's trust or airing dirty laundry in public by discussing it.

    Isn't it interesting how roleplaying, like all other social activities, benefits from full disclosure from all parties?

    Thomas
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    « Reply #14 on: March 21, 2005, 10:59:47 PM »

    Quote from: LordSmerf
    Have you discussed this explicity (in roughly these words) with him?  I remember I used to "discuss" problems with my gaming groups, but I'd just dance around what was really bothering me hoping that someone would pick up on it.


    We have spoken to Chuck about his needing to “trust” and “invest” in the other players at the table more and we have complained to him about his only making an effort to “invest in NPC’s” in those quoted forms.  The problem is that he himself has “trust” issues that he doesn’t see in himself, making this an especially difficult problem to discuss.  However, it is not a deal breaker, and as I have said before, nothing is ever going to work perfectly smoothly and this issue only becomes a problem infrequently.  Yes, I will continue to talk to the GM about this, if for no other reason to shore up my case should it become an issue in the future.

    Quote from: LordSmerf
    If you have done this I would be incredibly curious to know what his reaction was, assuming that you don't feel that you would be violating someone else's trust or airing dirty laundry in public by discussing it.


    He tends to turtle up.  Remember in all of this he is not trying to steal the spotlight, he’s trying to do what he thinks is best for the world.  I can respect that, but there are ways and there are ways!  When he does respond he usually does so with a very in depth logical defense of his actions.  He is brilliant and stubborn, which is not always a good combination!  Generally he is a nice guy if somewhat opinionated and very helpful.  But talking to him directly on such matters is not easy.  This does not mean we shall not continue to try, but neither is the difficulty now going to end the game.

    Quote from: LordSmerf
    Isn't it interesting how roleplaying, like all other social activities, benefits from full disclosure from all parties?


    Absolutely!
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    Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

    Jay
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