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Author Topic: "Situation Creation" mechanics - and Sim  (Read 57734 times)
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2005, 03:31:53 AM »

heck, Alignment is a Situation creation mechanic, since it can affect whether an encounter will be innocuous Color or a hostile Situation.

History does not beget fitness.  I have long argued that such “personality” mechanics are quite antithetical to Sim expression.  A Player is free to act any way he wants the proviso being that the world will react accordingly.  I have never seen effective use of alignments and I believe to be a relic from the earliest days of “role-play” as an effort to enforce “role-play” in a game not much evolved past tabletop war gaming.

all of these are examples of non-metagame Situation creating mechanics that have actually been used in D&D, GURPS, and The Fantasy Trip. early D&D could be played either Gamist or Sim, as could TFT, and GURPS is obviously intended to be strong SIM. there are similar mechanics in other games as well. there's really a very long tradition of Situation creation mechanics in Sim.

I have not played The Fantasy Trip, but with regard to D&D and GURPS I do believe them to be incoherent designs that have not effectively supported the Sim CA.  I think they strive for the Sim CA but have been blindsided by an incomplete understanding of role-play, Exploration and Sim bricolage specifically.  A well designed game trying to facilitate the expression of given CA will not be easily hijacked/drifted to another CA.  That D&D and GURPS are so regularly and easily turned toward Gamism suggests a design that is poorly designed to support Simulationism – such games are obviously more suited towards Gamist supporting play.

Any who, I have run out of steam here.  Thank you all for your patience.
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Jay
LordSmerf
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Posts: 864


« Reply #31 on: November 09, 2005, 02:57:21 PM »

Jay,

I think it might be useful to get a clear definition of "situation" on the table.  From the glossary, situation is "Dynamic interaction between specific characters and small-scale setting elements...".  This is, I believe, perhaps a bit confusing in its presentation.  I take you as reading this as being "Situation is the interaction between a character (or set of characters) and the setting."  I, on the other hand, read this as saying "Situation is an interacting involving: a character and at least on other character, or at least one character and the setting."  This means that the fact that two characters are brothers is situation (assuming that it meets the "dynamic" criteria anyway), or the fact that one character murdered another's family, or whatever else.

Under my interpretation, situation is often generated during character generation, often using the very mechanics of character generation (Think about all those "Has an enemy/ally" traits, that sets up an interaction between characters right there).  These do not seem at all antithetical to Sim play, at least from where I sit.

In a slightly different direction, and I think this one is important, you say
Quote
To me having a Player create Setting during play is the equivalent to a person playing chess against himself.  I would say that it is leading towards incoherent play – that being towards Zilchplay.  I believe that just like Gam and Nar, that the product of play in Sim is born out of the process of addressing the problems posed and answered via the SIS.  If Sim is the dialectic between Setting and Character, as I am proposing, then having a Player on both sides of the dialectic waters down the process as well as product.  Again this is a dial setting locally set, but the more often the Player are mechanically creating Setting then the more watered down the Sim process becomes.
This seems a bit narrow.  What if I'm the player creating the tower for the benefit of some other player?  What if I'm shouldering, in some sense, the duties of the GM.  I'm clearly not playing chess against myself, and I think the analogy is flawed.  This point doesn't seem to speak to your main point  (That a player can not create a satisfying situation if he is in control of all elements, either by controlling all the characters involved or by controlling the setting and character involved).  With all that in mind, do you see how it's unclear that allowing players to control the setting, at least in certain controlled instances, does not violate at all what you seem to be getting at?  Or have I missed something key somewhere in there?

Thomas
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #32 on: November 10, 2005, 04:31:40 AM »

This seems a bit narrow.  What if I'm the player creating the tower for the benefit of some other player?  What if I'm shouldering, in some sense, the duties of the GM.  I'm clearly not playing chess against myself, and I think the analogy is flawed.  This point doesn't seem to speak to your main point  (That a player can not create a satisfying situation if he is in control of all elements, either by controlling all the characters involved or by controlling the setting and character involved).  With all that in mind, do you see how it's unclear that allowing players to control the setting, at least in certain controlled instances, does not violate at all what you seem to be getting at?  Or have I missed something key somewhere in there?

I think you are right on the money with this.  As you say, in certain controlled instances, the player can exercise quite a lot of control over situation, albeit primarily through the agency of the character in sim games.  Certainly, in my high school AD&D games, there was a lot of designing of castles and so forth with the rules that were found in the DMG.  Now some may point out, this is not strictly situation per se, but lets imagine then that the GM takes advantage of the players development of a castle or similar and then gives them in-game problems to do with bringing this about, then the overall situation established by the players choices and actions becomes the venue for the GM's intervention and plot.

Another potential case, I think, may be if you wish to use the mechanics to portray social mores for sim purposes.  Perhaps you are playing a character from a society that practices a blood feud, and some relative of your PC has been bumped off.  Now falls to you the duty to avenge their death.  But, being as we are twentieth century  people and creatures of our time, this social imperative is unlikely to be as pressing to the players as it should be to the characters.  So perhaps we might then formalise, through system, a rule that in such circumstances a scene that resolves this blood-feud MUST be conducted.  We can do that without necessarily dictating that the character must seek actual bloody vengeance; but as long as the issue is not shuffled off the board, but is instead addressed in actual play, then the Sim ambition of exploring other realities has been reinforced.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #33 on: November 10, 2005, 11:31:26 AM »

This all flies in the face of every conclusion that this community has come up with previously.

1. Character means that somebody plays a character. Which can be anything remotely animate, and doesn't mean one-player to one-character relationship.
2. Stance and mode are not linked. One can play sim as well in director stance as play narrativism. You're calling it incoherent without explanation doesn't refute any of this.
3. By your definitions tons of functional coherent play is relegated to simply being zilchplay. Exploration of the elements, previously thought to be possible for any of the five elements in any mode (questions of common-ness aside), you're now saying can't happen in some cases. Exploration of mechanics can't be simulationism. Has to be zilchplay. In all cases. Or maybe gamism or narrativism. But not sim.

This simply seems to be a damaging redefinition of sim that puts a hole in the overal model by declaring whole types of play as zilchplay.

Mike
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talysman
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« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2005, 12:30:33 PM »

Jay, in light of what people have been saying in this thread, and in particular in relation to Mike's last post, can I ask: is there a particular reason why you are so insistent that Sim play can only be the subset of techniques you use in play? we aren't telling you your play isn't Sim play or that you have to play with different techniques, but you seem to object very strongly to allowing other Sim techniques to exist. why?

also, why have you redefined what "Situation Creation Mechanics" means, this late in the thread? I didn't see where Vincent or anyone else defined Situation Creation Mechanics to include forcing characters to have specific emotional or other responses to elements introduced during play. why have you added that to the definition?
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Jason Lee
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« Reply #35 on: November 10, 2005, 10:21:11 PM »

Jay,

If you create a definition of Sim that requires the GM to have a different agenda (one that engineers things) than the players, then by the group level definition of Creative Agenda that play is Incoherent.  Meaning, defining Sim as such means coherent Sim play is only possible when everyone is sitting around staring at each other and no one is creating any new elements, and functional Sim play is Incoherent.  Just a little logical trap.

Color affects Situation in all play.  Many elements we might refer to as genre are classified as color.  Color is instrumental in determining character motivations and how players resolve Situation.  There is no Situation outside color in Nar and Gam either.  It affects all aspects of play, even System.  The divisions of Exploration are purely artificial.  The categories don't actually exist in the sense of having boundaries.

I get the impression, as I often do, you are seeing Nar and Gam play as having discrete little chunks - Premise over here, Step on Up over there, Situation by the table, Character in the cookie jar...  Then Sim as being more fluid, with play just naturally flowing out of Character and Situation.  I don't know.  Maybe that's not how you see it, but if it is, it's just not true of Nar or Gam.  In fact, Sim has traditionally been regarded as the agenda more amenable to force and manufactured situation.  You may not regard Sim as such, but that’s okay.  It doesn't matter.  The point is that Nar nor Gam are very compatible with force.

I'm also not getting why this style of play you're talking about has to be called Sim.  Can it be called something else?  I'd just as soon the discovery definition of Sim not be called Sim either.  It's just confounding.  This often leads to "Sim is this.  No it can't be Sim is that" dialogues and no one is even talking about the same thing even though they are all using the same word.   Like saying I have to take my grandma into the shop. What the hell am I talking about?  A car, a piano, the doctor, what?  Even with a different name I would still point and yell "Techniques!", but then I'd at least know if we were talking about causality, bricolage or chicken soup.

Anyway, I think I'm straying away from topic.
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Marco
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« Reply #36 on: November 11, 2005, 06:21:35 AM »

I'm also not getting why this style of play you're talking about has to be called Sim.  Can it be called something else?  I'd just as soon the discovery definition of Sim not be called Sim either. 
I think a closer term is what, here, was called here Virtuality--the players completely immerse in an highly-internal-cause-based imaginary reality (although Jay leaves the door open for a lot more GM manipulation towards the dramatic than Virtuality did, IIRC). I will note that as contrary to canonical GNS as his take on it is, it's an extremely common interpertation of it--with some of the same conclusions even (GURPS is badly designed for "its own mode of play," players of Sim games have no use for meta-game mechanics, adherence to genre conventions is paramount).

-Marco
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #37 on: November 11, 2005, 07:13:21 AM »

I think your definition may be good Marco, but as for the term, are you using John Kim's definition? Or is that definition local to this discussion?

Mike
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Marco
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« Reply #38 on: November 11, 2005, 07:37:11 AM »

I think your definition may be good Marco, but as for the term, are you using John Kim's definition? Or is that definition local to this discussion?

Mike
I am attempting to use John's definition. John was refering, IIRC, to GDS-Sim wherein:
1. The game is internal-cause driven.
2. There is a lack of dramatic coincidence arranged by the GM and (I think) little authorial perspective from the players.
3. The situation may adhere to genre conventions if the game is "in genre" so long as those conventions are rationalized by the fictional reality (i.e. again, dramatic coincidence, even if in-genre will not be common unless there is some mechanism, like The Force, present in the game's imaginary reality that causes it).
4. There is a notable lack of meta-game or strong directoral power on the part of the players in terms of their activities (and I would expect actor-stance/immersion/channeling to be a common mode of play--but I have nothing to back that up. It's just my expectation).

I think where Jay diverges from canonical Virtuality is that he would say the GM is empowered to set up dramatic situations as needed.

Where Jay diverges from GNS is that Virtuality can be Sim or Nar (although, again, that was hotly contested--including by some long-timers who, I assume, are still not convinced).

-Marco
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Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #39 on: November 18, 2005, 04:12:58 AM »

Hi Thomas!

I think it might be useful to get a clear definition of "situation" on the table.

Right on!  I fully agree that a Situation can exist between two Player Character’s.  The problem lies in my phrasing.  Much search-fu has failed me, but some months ago I had made a proposal about the various Elements of Exploration.  Since I can’t find the post I’ll try and recap as best I can.

From an individual Player/Character’s perspective all that matters is self and not-self.  Self is one’s Character/Avatar/whatever at the moment.  Setting, by default, would then cover every thing else within the SIS.  This would include other PC’s, NPC’s, animate and inanimate objects, sentient and nonsentient beings.  I know this particular formulation may seem a little odd but stay with me a moment.

Within the SIS there is that which “I am” and that which I can try and influence/interact with via the agency of what “I am.”  That can be PC on NPC, PC on PC, PC on bear, PC on avalanche, etc.  From a theoretical point of view it does not matter what we are interacting with but rather that we are interacting and the nature/quality of said interaction. 

That “interaction” is Situation.  That “interaction” is the “dynamic” referred to in the glossary – at least as I understand it.  The nature of that interaction can be viewed via various lenses including Premise, Challenge or the aesthetic of the Sim game that is being celebrated.

This particular incarnation of “Situation” is highly fleeting and is something that can only happen during Exploration.  This is - when you have real people sharing their imaginings right now.  Its not something on a piece of paper, its not in a mechanic, its what is going on between the Players via the SIS during actual play.  We can label that interaction, we can quantify it, we can talk about it, but it ain’t Situation unless it’s the Players dealing with it right now.  Story Now!  Challenge Now!  Bricolage/Structure/? Now!

Quote
To me having a Player create Setting during play is the equivalent to a person playing chess against himself.  I would say that it is leading towards incoherent play – that being towards Zilchplay.  I believe that just like Gam and Nar, that the product of play in Sim is born out of the process of addressing the problems posed and answered via the SIS.  If Sim is the dialectic between Setting and Character, as I am proposing, then having a Player on both sides of the dialectic waters down the process as well as product.  Again this is a dial setting locally set, but the more often the Player are mechanically creating Setting then the more watered down the Sim process becomes.
This seems a bit narrow.  What if I'm the player creating the tower for the benefit of some other player?  What if I'm shouldering, in some sense, the duties of the GM.  I'm clearly not playing chess against myself, and I think the analogy is flawed.  I'm clearly not playing chess against myself, and I think the analogy is flawed.

If you don’t have a Character that is in the current location or cannot come across it at some point in the future then there is no problem.  First the player is indeed donning the role of GM at that moment and second he is not “playing against himself.”  If both of these conditions are met then indeed there is no “watering down” other than the role of GM certainly carries far less “buzz,” as contracycle coined the term, than for that of a non-GM role bearing Player.

But to go back to your question, “What if you’re the player creating the tower for the benefit of some other?”  Indeed.  What if you were creating a tower - just chock full of magical item goodness – and you had a Character in the campaign that was friends with the Character you’re creating the tower for?  Conflict of interest, maybe.  If you had a Character right there were you going to sit out the tower and anything that might happen as a result of it?  Would you create a tower that contained almost Certain Death® for said Character and would that be seen as a benefit to the other Player?  And while these may seem like Social Contract issues, they really mess with the Players ability to sift through the unfolding events for structure, meaning and causality.  IOW these issues can deeply interfere with CA expression.

Have I addressed your concerns?  Let me know…

Hey contracycle,

I think you are right on the money with this.  As you say, in certain controlled instances, the player can exercise quite a lot of control over situation, albeit primarily through the agency of the character in sim games.

Not only do I not disagree that Players can exercise a lot of control over Situation but I believe they exercise an enormous amount of “control” precisely because it is how the Players react to the Setting elements that determines what said Situation ends up being.  This is based upon my reading of Situation as being the dynamic of right here right now.  That being the case of course Players, via their Characters, are going to have an enormous say.

Certainly, in my high school AD&D games, there was a lot of designing of castles and so forth with the rules that were found in the DMG.  Now some may point out, this is not strictly situation per se…

Which it isn’t; strictly speaking…

Quote
but lets imagine then that the GM takes advantage of the players development of a castle or similar and then gives them in-game problems to do with bringing this about, then the overall situation established by the players choices and actions becomes the venue for the GM's intervention and plot.

I don’t see this as an issue.  Because they “play” said castle into being via the SIS then they have bricoled said castle into play.  The castle did not exist until the Players’ Characters went through the in game process of building said castle, etc., which is not in conflict with the Sim CA.  Actually similar things happen all the time in the game I play in all the time be it creating a new culture or a new type of Character or what not.  We’re always bouncing ideas off the GM between games.

Quote
Another potential case, I think, may be if you wish to use the mechanics to portray social mores for sim purposes.  Perhaps you are playing a character from a society that practices a blood feud, and some relative of your PC has been bumped off.  Now falls to you the duty to avenge their death.  But, being as we are twentieth century  people and creatures of our time, this social imperative is unlikely to be as pressing to the players as it should be to the characters.  So perhaps we might then formalise, through system, a rule that in such circumstances a scene that resolves this blood-feud MUST be conducted.  We can do that without necessarily dictating that the character must seek actual bloody vengeance; but as long as the issue is not shuffled off the board, but is instead addressed in actual play, then the Sim ambition of exploring other realities has been reinforced.

Again I don’t see this as a deal breaker either, as I understand things.  Point in fact; I think that such in game “social issues” are a vital part of Sim.  The Jedi have their code of conduct, the Federation has its prime directive, the Istari have their own restrictions on the use of their powers and their role in Middle Earth, etc.  These “codes of conduct” as it were, are structures as well are right at home in bricolage.  In fact, myth, (a bricolage-like process) frequently results in just such “social modes or demands on individual and group behavior/responsibilities.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that there can’t be such “social rules,” I’m just saying to be “Sim” they need to be “socially enforced” within the SIS – not by a mechanic that lies outside the SIS.  Given your example of the “blood-feud” issue, I have faced that very problem in the game I play in.  I HAD to deal with that problem, but the manner in which it was “enforced” was via the consequences within the SIS.  If I did not pursue my filial responsibilities I would have faced all sorts of negative consequences that went any where from tribal expulsion, humiliation of my family, to the loss of my status as a man and a warrior in my tribe, to constant and relentless hazing from other member within my clan to loss of status in the tribe as a whole to the possibility that since I wasn’t willing to avenge my family that my whole family might be killed along the reasoning that if I didn’t value my family enough to avenge its loss – then no one else ought to value it either.  Such situations are just bursting at the seams with possibilities!  This is where things really start to get juicy – and this is exactly where one’s skills as a bricoleur really come forward.  To go to a “mechanic” to resolve or enforce this type of issue is to gut the game just as its starting to get hopping.  Using a mechanic to enforce a behavior at this moment seems to me to be the equivalent of rule forcing a chess player to “play” right in the middle of a game.  It’s exactly here that things are just getting at their juiciest best!

If one doesn’t want to face the “blood-feud” issue that’s to me like saying one doesn’t want to face Premise or Challenge.  Why bother playing at all?  Or why bother playing this culture at all?  If one is “celebrating” barbarian culture by playing a barbarian then such a “blood-feud” responsibility is all part of the cultural package, yes?

I do think that the Character must seek bloody vengeance, but that does not mean he will do it.  However, there will be dire consequences for failing to do so – and that is exactly the complications (read – entailments) one faces with any type of decision.  There is lots of pressure, but the decision is ultimately up to the Player but no matter which way he goes there will, nay there MUST be repercussions of some sort or it won’t be bricolage.

Hey Mike,

This all flies in the face of every conclusion that this community has come up with previously.

No.  Every conclusion this community includes myself and I have not concluded one and the same with every conclusion “this” community has come to.  Nor have other prominent and long time posters.  Sim has not come an effective or useful “conclusion.”  However, you’re arguing straw men for the following reasons -

1. Character means that somebody plays a character. Which can be anything remotely animate, and doesn't mean one-player to one-character relationship.
2. Stance and mode are not linked. One can play sim as well in director stance as play narrativism. You're calling it incoherent without explanation doesn't refute any of this.
3. By your definitions tons of functional coherent play is relegated to simply being zilchplay. Exploration of the elements, previously thought to be possible for any of the five elements in any mode (questions of common-ness aside), you're now saying can't happen in some cases. Exploration of mechanics can't be simulationism. Has to be zilchplay. In all cases. Or maybe gamism or narrativism. But not sim.

1.  This argument is based on a number of assumptions that have not been fully argued out to “conclusion” regarding the Sim process which has not been ironed out.  It is a category error to firm conclusions about something that is not well understood.  I fully understand what a “character” means.  I don’t know how you fail to recall that I have agreed, many times in the past, that Character can mean anything remotely animate.  I have NO issue with that.  How many times do I need to defend myself on this issue?  Nor am I particularly sure what you mean by the notion of Character doesn’t mean one-player to one-character relationship?  I can fully understand how that works out when addressing Premise.  I can even understand how that can work when addressing Challenge if one considers “the Party” as a single functional “entity.”  Everyone at that point can be discussing the various means their various Characters can work together to address Challenge X.  Both of those modes of play have been “proved” as functional as a result of examining what the driving aesthetic interest is and demonstrating how such player-Character relationships can be altered without causing difficulty to the addressing process.  In fact through some particularly insight designs games have been produced where “many address one” has been proven to be highly functional.  Sim is not a focused addressing process.  In fact I think Sim process is exactly the reverse of G/N – which is one of the reasons why Sim has proven so stubborn to classification.  I think Sim is “one faces many (at the same time).”  And right now there is absolutely no reason in the Model to say why this cannot be.  None.  I think this is a worthy direction of investigation and simple gainsaying isn’t going to prove me wrong - it’s only going to slow down the investigation process to see whether my thesis has any merits.  The current dogma of Sim is as shaky as was Ptolemy’s model and merely pointing to it more emphatically isn’t going to make its shortcomings go away.  The data isn’t agreeing with the model and the model is inconsistent to itself.

2a.  I agree Stance and mode are not linked.  I have never argued stance equals mode.  Period.  Another strawman.  I have argued that in bricolage the Player’s INPUT is limited through their agency/avatar/Character but NO WHERE have I said that one must “never talk out of Character” or one “must immerse into Character.”  By the logic argued so far I could be talking about 2 stances – actor and author/pawn.  How come no one is accusing me of arguing pawn stance?  Because, people want to see me as arguing for “one specific stance as CA” because it makes a wonderful target for broadsides.  Hell, the only stance I can legitimately be accused of actively referring to is an argument against director stance in Sim.  Now that assertion is certainly open to debate but this bullshit of accusing me a saying Stance = CA needs to stop here and now.  Would it be easier if I put a disclaimer in my sig?

2b.  “One can play sim as well in director stance as play narrativism. You're calling it incoherent without explanation doesn't refute any of this.”  What do you mean I haven’t explained why this is incoherent?  I have argued and argued and argued that the Sim process of play is bricolage – which I have then argued puts the Player in the position of having to use ONLY what already exists as part of that aesthetic.  You may disagree with my definition of the Sim process and propose another process in its stead, thus also keeping with the Model, but to say I have not explained my assertions is again complete and utter bull.  I HAVE explained why I think the “definition” of Sim is incoherent – or at least have made numerous efforts to do so.  I must say it is rather difficult to “refute” the current “definition” of Sim simply because there is no “encompassing” process definition of Sim to refute.

3a.  “By your definitions tons of functional coherent play is relegated to simply being zilchplay.”  I think this statement is also specious.  First is that many descriptions of Sim play are frequently lumped into the category of “30 minutes of fun crammed into 5 hours of playing.”  Second there is the idea that has been floated a number of times that functional Sim game are rare.

    That throws a lot of observed play into non-GNS land: Incoherence at best, Zilchplay as well (and for the life of me I don't know why I resisted the concept of Zilchplay for so long when it's patently obviously common). A lot of what I might have tagged as Sim play four years ago, I would now call Incoherent, Ouija Boarding, Zilchplay, or Bitterest Gamer.

    So yeah, I wouldn't doubt that a lot of people don't "find" Sim. Its functional manifestations are probably quite rare.
    [/list]

    3b.  “Exploration of the elements, previously thought to be possible for any of the five elements in any mode (questions of common-ness aside), you're now saying can't happen in some cases. Exploration of mechanics can't be simulationism. Has to be zilchplay. In all cases. Or maybe gamism or narrativism. But not sim.”

    For the most part that is correct.  Oh it can happen, but it’s not an expression of CA.  Given that Exploration is defined as the “sharing imaginings” using a specific set of tools (the elements of Exploration) then Exploring the Elements of Exploration is a nonsensical statement.  Furthermore the definition of Nar roleplay is the addressing of Premise via the vehicle of Exploration and the definition of Gam roleplay is the addressing of Challenge via the vehicle of Exploration.  Exploration is the means by which a CA is expressed.  Exploration is a tool used for the service an aesthetic end beyond itself – CA.

    Exploration of mechanics can’t be Sim.  Absolutely.  It is Zilchplay if it is the mindful subject of the Exploration process.  In all cases.  Certainly neither Gamism nor Narrativism can “Explore mechanics,” simply because they are clearly defined as the mindful process of addressing Challenge or Premise.  I mean, what “imaginings” could be “shared” about mechanics (a credibility distribution system) via a Player’s Character actions within the SIS as he dealt with some conflict?  Is that even possible?

    This simply seems to be a damaging redefinition of sim that puts a hole in the overal model by declaring whole types of play as zilchplay.

    Damaging?  Are you kidding?  It would finally allow Sim to drop all the dead weight, which it has languished under, and finally be invigorated.  It would be to Sim as dropping the notion that Nar play is “about” a Story.  Also I don’t think, given the recent quote above, that Ron has too many troubles with the idea that a lot of play is indeed in non-GNS land.  I fully agree with his assessment.  What you call damaging I call liberating.  CA != fun.  Zilchplay != dysfunction.  Part of the reason that Sim hasn’t been able to be identified as a process is precisely because so much “play” has been lumped in with it that is not relevant to the “process.”

    I guess your right; such a formulation would “damaging” to the current definition of Sim.  But then that’s like saying chemotherapy is damaging to cancer cells or liposuction is damaging to fat cells.  Yes, to that which is chaff, it would remove it from GNS land as per the definition of the Model.  But to what remained it would be clarifying and liberating.  Again this smacks to me of a straw man argument.  To actual Players such a reclassification within the Big Model would mean absolutely nothing.  To game designers it would help a huge amount.  It’s a win/win proposition.

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    Jay
    Silmenume
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    « Reply #40 on: November 18, 2005, 04:13:50 AM »

    Hi John,

    Jay, in light of what people have been saying in this thread, and in particular in relation to Mike's last post, can I ask: is there a particular reason why you are so insistent that Sim play can only be the subset of techniques you use in play? we aren't telling you your play isn't Sim play or that you have to play with different techniques, but you seem to object very strongly to allowing other Sim techniques to exist. why?

    I am not insistent that Sim play can only be a specific subset of Techniques.  Simply because bricolage is not a Technique – it’s an approach to problem solving just like addressing Premise or addressing Challenge are approaches to solving problems.  To classify bricolage as a “Technique” is to commit a category error.  In fact at this point in time I would have one hell of time just trying to figure out just what a “Sim Technique” just might look like at the moment.

    I cannot answer your “why” because the question itself is illogical and makes incorrect assumptions about my aims and inaccurate claims about my actions.  I have no interest in arguing CA via Techniques, as Techniques do not define a CA.  Nor am I arguing such a thing.  Complete waste of time.

    also, why have you redefined what "Situation Creation Mechanics" means, this late in the thread? I didn't see where Vincent or anyone else defined Situation Creation Mechanics to include forcing characters to have specific emotional or other responses to elements introduced during play. why have you added that to the definition?

    Because the definition of Situation was in question and I clarified my position to line up with that of the glossary.  If you go back through this entire thread you will note, as I made that very effort myself to double check my claims, I have not made nor implied a single argument about “emotional” responses.  I fully stand by my position, as I have argued above, that Situation is a derived quality of an interaction and cannot be something manufactured or declared.  I do not believe this to be at odds with the glossed version of Situation.

    Hey Jason,

    If you create a definition of Sim that requires the GM to have a different agenda (one that engineers things) than the players, then by the group level definition of Creative Agenda that play is Incoherent.  Meaning, defining Sim as such means coherent Sim play is only possible when everyone is sitting around staring at each other and no one is creating any new elements, and functional Sim play is Incoherent.  Just a little logical trap.

    Not in the least.  To save myself lots of what little grey matter I have left, I will simply quote from Chris’ Bricolage Applied thread -

    There are always, somewhere deeply embedded in the vast nightmarish mess of little fiddly bits of a game as it gets actually played by actual people right here and now, a great many possible ways to chewing-gum-and-twine any disagreement whatever without referring upward in the hierarchy.  Many of the GM techniques discussed here over the years clearly demonstrate this.  The GM, in such a formulation, is emphatically not merely an arbiter, the mechanics guy who decides the implications of a higher-level set of concerns to the lower-level specifics of the moment.  Rather, the GM becomes a facilitator of ongoing bricolage.  His job, and it is a difficult one, make no mistake, becomes rather to see in every disagreement the possibility of a choice: to refer up, or to tweak across.

    Red highlight added

    Players “create” Situation through their actions as they interact with the Setting and the GM’s job is to facilitate their bricolage efforts – and that can certainly mean he is adding new Setting elements to the SIS/bricoleur sheds.  A Gamist GM is not typically in direct Step on Up with his Players, so why is it incoherent for the GM in Sim to make available the various “objects” that the Players could potentially use?

    Color affects Situation in all play.  Many elements we might refer to as genre are classified as color.  Color is instrumental in determining character motivations and how players resolve Situation.  There is no Situation outside color in Nar and Gam either.  It affects all aspects of play, even System.
     
    In Nar and Gam color is specifically something that does not have an effect on Situation –

    Quote
    Color
      Imagined details about any or all of System, Character, Setting, or Situation, added in such a way that does not change aspects of action or resolution in the imagined scene.

    Color can amplify and enhance the game experience as a whole, but it is by definition inert with regards to Situation.

    The divisions of Exploration are purely artificial.  The categories don't actually exist in the sense of having boundaries.

    What’s ironic here is that to the bricoleur you a correct.  Everything is open to use and change and makes no distinctions about what is open to use – via the bricolage process.  However, theoretically I think you are in error.  System cannot be mistaken for a Setting element right?  My Character cannot interact with a System element can he?  Nor is my roll of a die to distribute credibility among the Players with regards to a damage amount to be confused with Color, is it?  You’re right in that during role-play itself the totality of all the Elements of Exploration is certainly greater than the sum of the individual parts, if that is what you are getting at.

    I get the impression, as I often do, you are seeing Nar and Gam play as having discrete little chunks - Premise over here, Step on Up over there, Situation by the table, Character in the cookie jar...  Then Sim as being more fluid, with play just naturally flowing out of Character and Situation.

    I think as long as the Players are facing relevant conflicts they are always Stepping on Up or getting Story Now.  But in the Gamism essay Ron makes many references to “Go Lengths” and in the Narrativism essay he frequently talks about rising tensions, ticking time bombs and climaxes – all things that suggest a certain quantization.  This is not to imply that Step on Up or Story Now happen at discrete moments during play, far from it.  What it means is that these modes of play do have certain inherent boundaries/delimitations that do have significance on the overall play process.  All I’ve been saying is that Sim does not have these inherent delimiters.

    In fact, Sim has traditionally been regarded as the agenda more amenable to force and manufactured situation.

    Well while that idea has held sway, Sim has also been described as the least satisfying mode of play and with such notions floating around its no wonder.

    The point is that Nar nor Gam are very compatible with force.

    …….hmmmmm.  Not that I’ve read.  Sure it can happen, but compatible – I don’t think so.

    I'm also not getting why this style of play you're talking about has to be called Sim.  Can it be called something else?

    Beats me.  You’ll have to ask Ron that one.

    Hey Marco!

    I think a closer term is what, here, was called here Virtuality--the players completely immerse in an highly-internal-cause-based imaginary reality (although Jay leaves the door open for a lot more GM manipulation towards the dramatic than Virtuality did, IIRC).

    Just a quick point of clarification.  When I describe Sim as bricolage, I am most certainly not arguing for immersion as definitional.  Heck, there’s all sort of out of Character things going on at the table, its just not effecting, interfering or competing with the Exploration at hand at the game I play.  We just don’t let such activities interfere with whoever is Exploring/on camera at the moment.  However, if I read you correctly and at this hour I’m not sure that I am, I do agree that it is a common interpretation the Player’s “must” immerse, but I don’t believe that is definitional or strictly necessary to the process of Sim.  My main point is that in Sim, as a bricoleur, one’s hands into the SIS are limited to those of one’s Character.
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    Jay
    LordSmerf
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    « Reply #41 on: November 18, 2005, 12:07:12 PM »

    Quote
    Just to be clear, I’m not saying that there can’t be such “social rules,” I’m just saying to be “Sim” they need to be “socially enforced” within the SIS – not by a mechanic that lies outside the SIS.

    Given your example of the “blood-feud” issue, I have faced that very problem in the game I play in.  I HAD to deal with that problem, but the manner in which it was “enforced” was via the consequences within the SIS.  If I did not pursue my filial responsibilities I would have faced all sorts of negative consequences that went any where from tribal expulsion, humiliation of my family, to the loss of my status as a man and a warrior in my tribe, to constant and relentless hazing from other member within my clan to loss of status in the tribe as a whole to the possibility that since I wasn’t willing to avenge my family that my whole family might be killed along the reasoning that if I didn’t value my family enough to avenge its loss – then no one else ought to value it either.  Such situations are just bursting at the seams with possibilities!  This is where things really start to get juicy – and this is exactly where one’s skills as a bricoleur really come forward.

    To go to a “mechanic” to resolve or enforce this type of issue is to gut the game just as its starting to get hopping.  Using a mechanic to enforce a behavior at this moment seems to me to be the equivalent of rule forcing a chess player to “play” right in the middle of a game.  It’s exactly here that things are just getting at their juiciest best!

    Now, I've split your one paragraph into three parts.  Parts one and three go together, and part two is anecdotal, and I think very important.

    Jay, I think this is where most of the confusion is coming from.  What you keep seeming to say is that "each player (including the GM) has absolute control over their pieces of play, and that when it really comes down to it the fun is reached through some means other than mechanics."  But "Each player has absolute control over their pieces of play" is a mechanic.  We tend to call it "fiat" or something like that, but it turns out that it really is a formalized way of interacting with the game in the exact same way that Universalis' "You have (almost) absolute control of the components that you pay to have control of." is a mechanic.

    You keep saying "You can't have mechanics interfering", and then seem to turn around and say "Unless it is this specific set of mechanics."  Now, you're a smart guy, and I think you've got some good ideas, but you're presenting this one in a terribly confusing manner.  You say on the one hand that there should be no mechanics intervening in these circumstances, but then you present an actual play incident in which the situation is constructed out of a set of mechanics (namely fiat*).

    While you say "There are no situation creation mechanics in Sim" you also seem to be saying "The GM creates situation" which seems to be a mechanic.  This is where all the confusion is for me, it sounds like you're saying that it's only Sim (or perhaps Sim is always best realized) if it uses this narrow set of mechanics for situation creation, and that strikes me as simply untrue...

    Thomas

    *Note: Despite its often negative connotations, I do not intend "fiat" in any negative way.  Most games have it somewhere, and that's okay.
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    Mike Holmes
    Acts of Evil Playtesters
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    « Reply #42 on: November 18, 2005, 01:12:48 PM »

    Note: crossposted.

    \
    This all flies in the face of every conclusion that this community has come up with previously.

    No.  Every conclusion this community includes myself and I have not concluded one and the same with every conclusion “this” community has come to. 
    By this statement, we have concluded nothing as a community, as there's bound to be somebody who disagrees with everything one might throw up as a conclusion. I'm saying that the majority of the community has come to agree on this.

    Quote
    Sim has not come an effective or useful “conclusion.”
    That's your opinion. It works as defined just fine in my estimation, and have provided arguments as to why. From what I can tell, the only problem with the definition is that it doesn't empower a small minority here who would like to have a mode to call their own.

    Quote
    I don’t know how you fail to recall that I have agreed, many times in the past, that Character can mean anything remotely animate.  I have NO issue with that.  How many times do I need to defend myself on this issue?
    Only once. I'm only responding to what I believe I've read. Apparently I didn't understand what you'd written.

    Quote
    Nor am I particularly sure what you mean by the notion of Character doesn’t mean one-player to one-character relationship?  I can fully understand how that works out when addressing Premise.  I can even understand how that can work when addressing Challenge if one considers “the Party” as a single functional “entity.”  Everyone at that point can be discussing the various means their various Characters can work together to address Challenge X.  Both of those modes of play have been “proved” as functional as a result of examining what the driving aesthetic interest is and demonstrating how such player-Character relationships can be altered without causing difficulty to the addressing process.  In fact through some particularly insight designs games have been produced where “many address one” has been proven to be highly functional.  Sim is not a focused addressing process.  In fact I think Sim process is exactly the reverse of G/N – which is one of the reasons why Sim has proven so stubborn to classification.  I think Sim is “one faces many (at the same time).”  And right now there is absolutely no reason in the Model to say why this cannot be.  None.
    That's a lot of text sans argument. I understand what you're trying to say. But we've argued a lot about this, and came to the conclusion that character doesn't have to mean one-to-many. Could you either refute our arguments or provide one of your own? Why must this be so? Yes, I'd agree that GNS doesn't say it must not be so. The burden of proof is to prove that there's no form of sim that includes multiple character play, since that's the prior conclusion.

    If you've made such argument before, just point me to it.

    Quote
     I think this is a worthy direction of investigation and simple gainsaying isn’t going to prove me wrong
    Nor is you gainsaying us. Our argument is the same one we've been making with you for a long time now. Would you like me to refer back to it's many instances? I'll reiterate it here in short form.

    The GNS model has a certain predictive value that's valuable, and part of that is based on the modes in question following Ron's description of them as decscribing all of RPG play in three broad categories. Your definition takes a portion of functional play and says that it has no mode. Wrecking the functionality of the model. Your have not said why this is either not so, or why the replacement is superior enough to ignore this. The only answer we get is that it makes more sense to you without argument.

    If we can't get past the defintion of sim, then all of the questions of how things like character relate to it are going to be meaningless. That is, we're going to disagree perforce until there's agreement on the original problem. To say that we're not making arguments against your position is to willfully ignore the arguments made.

    Quote
    - it’s only going to slow down the investigation process to see whether my thesis has any merits.
    I see, we should merely accept what you say because you say it. To do otherwise is obstructionist. I see.

    We've more than charitably read your posts. And have provided arguments that say why we disagree. To say otherwise is insulting.

    Quote
    Hell, the only stance I can legitimately be accused of actively referring to is an argument against director stance in Sim.
    That's what I was refering to. As in...

    Quote
    2b.  “One can play sim as well in director stance as play narrativism. You're calling it incoherent without explanation doesn't refute any of this.”  What do you mean I haven’t explained why this is incoherent?  I have argued and argued and argued that the Sim process of play is bricolage – which I have then argued puts the Player in the position of having to use ONLY what already exists as part of that aesthetic.
    This is a tautological response. Sim is bricolage, which doesn't allow for director stance, so therefore director stance cannot support sim. As I've said, prove that sim is bricloage.

    Quote
    I HAVE explained why I think the “definition” of Sim is incoherent – or at least have made numerous efforts to do so.  I must say it is rather difficult to “refute” the current “definition” of Sim simply because there is no “encompassing” process definition of Sim to refute.
    You've refuted the essay on sim? There is, in fact, a definition of simulationism that's widely agreed to and functional. Just because you don't like it, doesn't make it not agreed to, or non-functional. I use it daily, as do many others here. Do I have to provide examples?

    Ah, but we're just deluding ourselves. I see.

    Quote
    “By your definitions tons of functional coherent play is relegated to simply being zilchplay.”  I think this statement is also specious.  First is that many descriptions of Sim play are frequently lumped into the category of “30 minutes of fun crammed into 5 hours of playing.”  Second there is the idea that has been floated a number of times that functional Sim game are rare.
    Not by anyone that I credit. This does happen. And it's a sign of the narrativism bias that this site has. The people who say this stuff are demonstrably wrong.

    All you're doing here is proving that you have an axe to grind. "I play sim, people are saying sim is bad, therefore they must not be defining it right." Attack the notion that sim isn't fun. Not that the definition is wrong.

    By the way, your definition of sim sounds like 5 minutes of fun crammed into 5 hours of play to me (whereas the other sim stuff that you leave out from your definition is fun when I play it). That's just my preference, however. Doesn't mean that it's not fun for others.

    That throws a lot of observed play into non-GNS land: Incoherence at best, Zilchplay as well (and for the life of me I don't know why I resisted the concept of Zilchplay for so long when it's patently obviously common). A lot of what I might have tagged as Sim play four years ago, I would now call Incoherent, Ouija Boarding, Zilchplay, or Bitterest Gamer.

    So yeah, I wouldn't doubt that a lot of people don't "find" Sim. Its functional manifestations are probably quite rare.
    "A lot" is not the same as "All Sim" and these forms of play are not what I'm talking about in my definition. Ron also admits that there are bad forms of gamism and narrativism. Are you going to say that nobody who ever persued a sim agenda ever failed to do it well? That's all that Ron is saying.

    Quote
    3b.  “Exploration of the elements, previously thought to be possible for any of the five elements in any mode (questions of common-ness aside), you're now saying can't happen in some cases. Exploration of mechanics can't be simulationism. Has to be zilchplay. In all cases. Or maybe gamism or narrativism. But not sim.”

    For the most part that is correct.  Oh it can happen, but it’s not an expression of CA.  Given that Exploration is defined as the “sharing imaginings” using a specific set of tools (the elements of Exploration) then Exploring the Elements of Exploration is a nonsensical statement.  
    Er, that would be exploring the element of mechanics. Which is not non-sensical. You're basically saying that system is not an element of exploration here. From what I can tell.

    Quote
    Exploration of mechanics can’t be Sim.  Absolutely.  It is Zilchplay if it is the mindful subject of the Exploration process.  In all cases.  Certainly neither Gamism nor Narrativism can “Explore mechanics,” simply because they are clearly defined as the mindful process of addressing Challenge or Premise.  I mean, what “imaginings” could be “shared” about mechanics (a credibility distribution system) via a Player’s Character actions within the SIS as he dealt with some conflict?  Is that even possible?
    CA isn't only about the imaginings, but all of play. That is, in determining incoherence it's not merely what's produced in the SIS that's important, but how it's produced. Expoloration of system, as opposed to, say, exploration of color where you wouldn't use system mechanics, is one way to do this.

    I think it may be pricisely in focusing only on the SIS as the only determiner of Creative Agenda where you go wrong. Certainly some players will object to some mechanics in some games (you say that sim rejects mechanics generally, so this must be true). So that's Creative Agenda in action.

    Quote
    Also I don’t think, given the recent quote above, that Ron has too many troubles with the idea that a lot of play is indeed in non-GNS land.  I fully agree with his assessment.
    I don't disagree either. Just because zilchplay exists, doesn't mean that the forms of play that I'm describing must be zilchplay. I'm talking about fun, functional play. Which must have a CA by definition.

    You simply won't address that I have not only been a part of, but seen tons of examples of this sort of play that were fun. If they weren't sim, what were they? If "zilchplay != fun" then they couldn't be zilchplay. So what are they?

    Or am I lying to you?

    Quote
    I guess your right; such a formulation would “damaging” to the current definition of Sim.  But then that’s like saying chemotherapy is damaging to cancer cells or liposuction is damaging to fat cells.
    Do you even read what you're writing? You absolutely hate the current definition. How can you be objective? I don't have the slightest dislike for your definition - it just isn't a step forward from what I can see.

    Quote
    Yes, to that which is chaff, it would remove it from GNS land as per the definition of the Model.  
    Well, if you think we're beyond redemption, then write this as a manifesto and revolt. Seriously. One of two things will happen. Either people will agree with you and follow you, or they'll agree with us.

    Of course, then you'll claim that the following is institutional...odd, though, that "Indie-rpgs" would be seen as "institutional." When we throw each other into the fire on each alternate Thursday. But if that's your POV...

    Mike
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    Jason Lee
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    « Reply #43 on: November 20, 2005, 03:26:51 PM »

    Drilling down here.  The other stuff I either don't disagree with or looks like a sentence structure miscommunication (the force thing).

    In Nar and Gam color is specifically something that does not have an effect on Situation –

    Quote
    Color
      Imagined details about any or all of System, Character, Setting, or Situation, added in such a way that does not change aspects of action or resolution in the imagined scene.

    Color can amplify and enhance the game experience as a whole, but it is by definition inert with regards to Situation.

    The divisions of Exploration are purely artificial.  The categories don't actually exist in the sense of having boundaries.

    What’s ironic here is that to the bricoleur you a correct.  Everything is open to use and change and makes no distinctions about what is open to use – via the bricolage process.  However, theoretically I think you are in error.  System cannot be mistaken for a Setting element right?  My Character cannot interact with a System element can he?  Nor is my roll of a die to distribute credibility among the Players with regards to a damage amount to be confused with Color, is it?  You’re right in that during role-play itself the totality of all the Elements of Exploration is certainly greater than the sum of the individual parts, if that is what you are getting at.

    Greater than the sum of the parts isn't what I was getting, at least that's not how I would word it.  I mean each element isn't actually distinct from another in play.  I'm thinking of paints lightly stirred together in a pot - invididual colors are discernable, but without boundaries.  Sure, players may make characters, choose a setting, pick a rule book, and setup a senario all as separate tasks, but once those elements hit play they fuse.  The Setting, System, Situation and Color all become part of the Character, and you can't just pull the character out of the game, stick him in another game, and have him be the same character.  The same is true with any element.  When System sets the feel (like swashbuckling versus gritty action) it defines Color, it sets the effectiveness of characters and makes actual statements about who those characters are, it defines the physics of the world and hence Setting, and so forth.

    As I read the quoted definition of Color, I'm wrong.  That might be because this part: added in such a way that does not change aspects of action or resolution in the imagined scene, is just trying to say "Color is a different category from System and Situation" and not "Color is inhert in regards to Situation."  I could very well be wrong, and the definition does mean Color is inhert.  I which case, I think that definition sucks and I reject it based on Actual Play.

    However, as we are working within the context of the Big Model, I can't reject it.  He's the rub though, you can't then reject it either when describing Sim.  Creative Agenda is contained within Exploration, Nar/Gam are defined under Exploration, and saying Sim is not using the same definition of Exploration makes it no longer a Creative Agenda.  In other words: to reject my view on Color, which shows this unique property you attribute to Sim is not unique, is to reject that that property exist, and hence can't be part of Sim.  Catch 22.  That definition of Color doesn't do either of us any good and matches with neither of our play experiences.  So, we're probably misreading it.

    The above is similar enough to the logical loop the exploration squared/dream/verisimilitude/causality definitions get stuck in to make me think the play you are trying to describe is similar enough to the play the dream definition is describing that you're just rewording the dream definition in terms of techniques.  That's just kind of a hunch though - not a point I would bother to defend.

    Quote
    I get the impression, as I often do, you are seeing Nar and Gam play as having discrete little chunks - Premise over here, Step on Up over there, Situation by the table, Character in the cookie jar...  Then Sim as being more fluid, with play just naturally flowing out of Character and Situation.

    I think as long as the Players are facing relevant conflicts they are always Stepping on Up or getting Story Now.  But in the Gamism essay Ron makes many references to “Go Lengths” and in the Narrativism essay he frequently talks about rising tensions, ticking time bombs and climaxes – all things that suggest a certain quantization.  This is not to imply that Step on Up or Story Now happen at discrete moments during play, far from it.  What it means is that these modes of play do have certain inherent boundaries/delimitations that do have significance on the overall play process.  All I’ve been saying is that Sim does not have these inherent delimiters.

    I think this is a good place for me to agree to disagree.  Take my view on Exploration above and apply the same logic to theme and challenge.  Would it make sense that if I see the same lack of delimiters in all play that I would be of the opinion that you're not getting Nar and Gam if you feel that that fluidity is a distinction between them and your play?  When I watch a movie, like Braveheart (because it's been on my mind for some reason), I don't see the theme as separate from the character motivations, or that the characters are defined independent of the setting, or that the moral of the story is driving the situations.  I don't see those nice little chunks in my play either.
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    « Reply #44 on: November 21, 2005, 08:14:43 AM »

    Sil wrote:
    Quote
    Just to be clear, I’m not saying that there can’t be such “social rules,” I’m just saying to be “Sim” they need to be “socially enforced” within the SIS – not by a mechanic that lies outside the SIS.  Given your example of the “blood-feud” issue, I have faced that very problem in the game I play in.  I HAD to deal with that problem, but the manner in which it was “enforced” was via the consequences within the SIS.  If I did not pursue my filial responsibilities I would have faced all sorts of negative consequences that went any where from tribal expulsion, humiliation of my family, to the loss of my status as a man and a warrior in my tribe, to constant and relentless hazing from other member within my clan to loss of status in the tribe as a whole to the possibility that since I wasn’t willing to avenge my family that my whole family might be killed along the reasoning that if I didn’t value my family enough to avenge its loss – then no one else ought to value it either.  Such situations are just bursting at the seams with possibilities!  This is where things really start to get juicy – and this is exactly where one’s skills as a bricoleur really come forward.  To go to a “mechanic” to resolve or enforce this type of issue is to gut the game just as its starting to get hopping.  Using a mechanic to enforce a behavior at this moment seems to me to be the equivalent of rule forcing a chess player to “play” right in the middle of a game.  It’s exactly here that things are just getting at their juiciest best!

    You've leaped to an assumption - nowhere did I mention the use of force, in fact I specifically excluded it.  But that wasn't really the point I wanted to address.

    You see, you say here that these issues were dealt with within the SIS.  Well, I'm sick to death of doing that.  The problem is then that I-the-GM have to do even more thinking for the player, second guessing for example, how much they even know about the blood feud principle. 

    Previously, you suggested that players engaged with a particular topic can be taken to know something about it, but why should this be?  Surely, people primarily try to explore things they do not already know - or they explore things they do already know in search of unexpected and unpredictable emergent phenomenon.  So not only do I think it is unsafe to assume the players are well equipped regarding the topic of exploration, but worse, its probable they will be badly equipped.

    For this reason I think having a systematic intervention can work as a representation of social expectations and mores.  Lets say my player balks at the taking of revenge and says seomthing like "violence doesn't solve anything".  My problem then is this: that sounds like such an ahistorical position to take, what does it mean?  doe it mean the player is knowingly violating the social mores to see what happens?  Or does it mean the player simply doesn't understand those mores?  I can;t tell, and so its difficult to judge how to procede.  But if this expeation were mechanically articulated, that confusion would evaporate - the players statement will HAVE to have been informed that a certain course of action is demanded by the setting.

    Thats the kind of explicatory role I could see such mechanics serving, and I would suggest they would arguably be more valuable in sim than for any other agenda, as it is the agenda in which people are most likely going to be exposing themselves to unusual inputs, I would think.
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