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Author Topic: [Middle Earth - home brew] - A first, another group with the same play style!  (Read 10148 times)
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« on: December 18, 2005, 10:15:09 PM »

What I had started to despair as the impossible has been demonstrated to me to be utterly possible!  Through a strange and convoluted series of incidents my GM and I were put in touch with another role-playing group that was very similar to ours in many deep and structural ways.  Almost immediately we had found each other kindred spirits.  This is the first time that has happened since my GM starting running over 20 years ago and the first time that has happened to me since I starting playing in my GM’s game 9 or so years ago.  I had started to despair because as I was digging deeper and deeper into theory (i.e., trying to understand the principles of Sim play) I was growing ever more panicked by the fact that my data set was exactly – one.

After an initial round of emails, my GM and I decided to “interview” with the GM of the other game – Myranus.  We had scheduled ourselves to talk for less than two hours, but found ourselves yapping for over four!  Both groups were utterly amazed at how similar our game priorities and methodologies were.  I wish I could find the original email sent to my GM from the Myranus group so that I could post it here.  Perhaps with a little luck…

I do not recall all the details of the conversation as it was long and ranged over a good number of topics, but there were a few that stuck with me as particularly interesting.

The first was the Myranus group was highly selective about its players, hence the interview.  Though they were not aware of role-play theory they were obviously fishing for players who had a Sim CA.  I should also note that on top of that they were looking for a certain level of (for lack of a better term) skill in their players.  From what I could discern the Myranus group had a very prominent Social Contract where it was made extremely clear that not all players had what it took to play their game and that any new players understood that their first few games were probationary.  We came back to this topic several times and again from what I understood the GM was very adroit about this process that he called “firing” as many of his friends had cycled through the game but did not make the cut – and their friendships were not negatively affected.  Kudos to that GM!

This brings me to my next point of interest.  During the Character creation process, which apparently is fairly extensive (mostly personality and back story stuff) a player is presented a list of “skills” which they may choose from.  The skills were labeled with two icons, the first of which I can’t remember, but the second icon was the face of a pig.  He explained that these skills required the players to play the skills out (act – ham it up).  IOW one could not say something like, “I use my ‘fast talk’ skill to get past the guard.”  Oh no.  Having the skill meant that the player was allowed to “fast talk” and if he chose that skill, the player had best be good at it because it was the player’s skill that made that particular skill work – not the mechanic.  I was floored by this as this lined up very nicely with the notion I had posted on the theory boards sometime past where I said our skill system is really more of check on what skills the player’s can bring to bear, not so much an indication of the Character’s skill and an even less important part of the mechanical resolution system.  This explained the Myranus GM’s strong interest in the player’s skills and the interview process and the Social Contract stipulation of the GM having the ability to “fire” new players if they couldn’t make the cut.  While we haven’t institutionalized the probationary process and don’t use the term “fire” both our groups do weed through potential players with the ultimate goal of finding highly “skilled” players. 

Before that ugly and hoary old specter of “Immersion” gets dragged out front and center and beaten to death again – the ability to play a skill is not the same as “immersion.”  Just as a Gamist player must show ingenuity when facing a Challenge I claim that the demonstration of said skills is the Sim equivalent thereof.  The use props, we don’t.  The use accents, we don’t.  The dress up, we don’t.  They rarely speak out of Character, we speak more frequently out of Character.  The key to understanding this is grokking the idea that the portrayal of such skills in the face of a difficult situation is exactly where the demands on the players’ creativity and ingenuity are made.  (Just as they are when the Players are addressing Premise or addressing Challenge.)

I have not yet played in the Myranus world, but the GM and one of his players played in our game last night.  In the after game debrief, which I think is a critical element of successful Sim play, the Myranus GM commented how he felt that didn’t get as much time to stay in his Character as much as he would have liked while I felt that last night’s game was pretty standard fair.  IOW, the whole jumping up and down with the accompanying finger pointing and hooting about “immersion” in my game and about Sim games in particular is bogus.  The point is that the game I play in has far less “immersion” than at least one other Sim game.  Staying in Character is a dial setting, an aesthetic choice locally made, not an underlying or defining principle of Sim play.

Going back to the interview I want to draw forth one last moment that really stood out in my mind.  The Myranus GM made an off the cuff remark about how he sometimes wished that system (what he meant is described here at the Forge as Resolution Mechanics here) would just go away.  Fascinating!

Finally to really gum up the works I will end with a quick note about the actual play sessions where both the new players just seamlessly slipped right into the game process and our system like they had been in our game for years.  It was absolutely uncanny how effortlessly they took to “our way of play.”  Never have we had players come up to speed so quickly that a “first game” ran just as quickly as when strictly populated by our core members.  It was awesome, and I can’t wait to get more data points to see where our styles differ (what the variables are in Sim play) and where the common elements lie (the underlying process and principles).

I don’t know if I have provided enough information to be worthy of comment, but I was so excited that I felt compelled to share my experience with others.
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Caldis
Member

Posts: 359


« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2005, 08:11:21 PM »

My only comment is that there's little mention of the famed bricolage in this post yet a whole lot about shared goals of play.  The unifying aspects of your play seems to be the commitment to certain expectations from the players, the weeding out of those incapable or unwilling to play in your manner.  To me this suggests that Ron's idea of "The Right to dream"  is correct, play is about dreaming in the right way.   I'd also add that there are other ways of making the dream right, through mechanics such as personality mechanics that dont allow the player to choose a wrong option.  This option would use a different technique then the one your group prefers.

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Supplanter
Member

Posts: 258


WWW
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2005, 02:31:07 PM »

Jay, it's an interesting account, thanks. The pig symbol is an especially good use of System clarifying social contract, I think. It also interests me that it implicitly or explicitly sets performance standards for play, no? Is it a "Step On Up" cousin? Is there a group interest in seeing players succeed or fail gracefully at pig tasks? It seems that a "fumble" - a bad performance - could risk people's sense of the integrity of the fiction (jeopardize the Right to Dream, I mean).

Here's something I'd love to learn from your next report - maybe you could ask the GM. Has anyone ever "taken a dive" on a pig task, that is, purposefully done less than optimal hamming because they felt their character "should" fail?

Best,


Jim
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Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2005, 04:40:56 AM »

Hi Caldis,

Long time, no talk – mea culpa!

My only comment is that there's little mention of the famed bricolage in this post yet a whole lot about shared goals of play.

That’s because I didn’t bring it up!  Most of my post attempted to settle around two basic ideas.  The first was a ringing endorsement of Ron’s of view of how desperate groups or individuals can get when searching for others that share a similar CA.  Both during the “interview” and after our play session we were practically gushing with excitement and praise for one another.  While I had understood what Ron was talking about in his essays this is the first time I had viscerally experienced it.  We practically clung to each other like survivors of shipwreck in a howling nor’easter gale!

… yet one of our shared goals was to engage in Bricolage – though for all but myself no one know a thing or had ever heard about Bricolage.  But then how many Nar prioritizing gamers out there have ever heard of Address of Premise?  As Ron clearly states in his articles, one does not need to be consciously aware of what they are doing, players need only mindfully engage that (unexamined) interest.

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The unifying aspects of your play seems to be the commitment to certain expectations from the players, the weeding out of those incapable or unwilling to play in your manner.

Exactly!  Just as those who prefer Addressing Challenge to those who either Address Premise or Bricole we seek to find those who share a similar CA interest!  Everything I said basically lines up with Ron’s notion that players are typically much happier and have more satisfying game experiences when everyone is on the same page CA wise.  This was the first time that has happened – and guess what?  All of us, old players and new, were ecstatic as a result of the experience!  We all shared the same general priority of play.  Again, I am not saying anything new, but rather relating an experience for me that really demonstrated on a first person basis the soundness of Ron’s arguments.  Hurray for the Big Model!  Woot!!!

You see, we prioritize Bricolage and have stripped down much of the rest of the game process to eject what wasn’t strictly necessary or didn’t support that priority.  We found others who shared not only the same beliefs, but practiced them.  Of course we weed people out, that’s not so unusual – there are lots of anecdotal evidence here at the Forge that demonstrate that Gamists don’t mix well with Narrativist and Sim players, Narrativist players don’t mix well with Gamist and Sim players, etc.  What was so astonishing to me was that I had grown rather defeated in the hopes of being able to get evidence that such an event could ever occur with Sim.  Not I did get evidence but it supported the Big Model beautifully!  I hope, now that I have some points to compare I hope to be able to start to do some analysis and find some interesting and revealing trends.

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To me this suggests that Ron's idea of "The Right to dream" is correct, play is about dreaming in the right way.

Much as in Story Now is about addressing Premise the right way as well as Step on Up is about addressing Challenge the right way.  IOW on is not likely to get Story Now by addressing Challenge nor, for example, is one likely to get “The Dream” by addressing Premise.  In such cases as trying to get Story Now by addressing Challenge said players would not be considered to be Addressing Premise the right way either.  I’m not following your statement as diminishing my arguments or somehow demonstrating that I am in error about something.  I fully agree that Addressing Challenge or Premise is certainly not the right way to go about dreaming.  It follows, doesn’t it?  That’s what the articles state – so I’m a bit lost as to the point your trying to make.

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I'd also add that there are other ways of making the dream right, through mechanics such as personality mechanics that dont allow the player to choose a wrong option.

Absolutely disagree.  That is as damaging to the CA as would having mechanics dictate to Nar players what responses they can make regarding Premise as well as mechanics that prevent Gam players from making a choice that isn’t strategically advantageous.  There are no right and wrong answers when it comes to dealing with an intra SIS problem, only interesting and dull ones. 

Let me ask you this Caldis - Could you play and enjoy a Gamist facilitating game that prevented you as a player from making “wrong” choices with regards to Challenge?  To say such a thing about Sim play is to flatly and baldly promote deprotagonization of player choice.

…and I suggest thinking about that a bit before defending your assertion.  What am I, Jay, as a poster suggesting?  I certainly bow to your knowledge, insights and long history of Gamist play as an authority on a great deal of matters concerning Gamism.  I have been playing Sim on and off for since middle school.  This does not mean my arguments are sound or correct, but you might want to spend a moment or two considering what I am trying to say, not just regurgitate party line.  If you can’t comprehend what I am speaking about, then ask me before tearing down.  I might have some additional information in my long history that you may not have that I should share and am willing to share if only if my memory were jogged by questions.

So gather some data from me.  Engage me.  Ask me questions about what I am trying to say to demonstrate that you first really understand what I am trying to say before engaging in what might be misinformed criticism.  Walk through my arguments to demonstrate that you have a handle on my position and then point out logical or other flaws.  Don’t gainsay me right off the bat.  Nothing that you have presented other than your one assertion above about personality mechanics has in any way been in conflict with what I have written.  In many cases your apparently rebuttals are nothing more to me than aggressive acts of agreement!  So far we have agreed on a great number of you seeming (to me at least) counter points.

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This option would use a different technique then the one your group prefers.

No.  It is not just a “Technique option,” it would be a CA violating Technique.  One that deprotagonizes Sim players.  You can certainly ask me why I think this way, as that would be the opening in a potentially fruitful discourse.  To quote from Monty Python – “An argument isn't just contradiction!”

Hey Jim!

Jay, it's an interesting account, thanks. The pig symbol is an especially good use of System clarifying social contract, I think. It also interests me that it implicitly or explicitly sets performance standards for play, no?

Yes it does, if I am reading you correctly.  What it signifies is that for the players who are considering choosing such a skill they had best be able to perform that skill effectively in play because the mechanic will not be substituted for actual player ability.  For example, the GM of Myranus clearly stated if that a player wished to use a bow in game as a weapon then he had best be knowledgeable about bows because what the player brings to the table will be the basis of the determination of the Character’s effectiveness with the bow.  He said that he has told players in the past that they should at the very least read some books on bows if they play to be effective with the bow in game.

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It seems that a "fumble" - a bad performance - could risk people's sense of the integrity of the fiction (jeopardize the Right to Dream, I mean).

If you mean that if the player “fumbles” (and that is not a result of a mechanic) then yes, it very well will likely damage the integrity of the Dream.

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Here's something I'd love to learn from your next report - maybe you could ask the GM. Has anyone ever "taken a dive" on a pig task, that is, purposefully done less than optimal hamming because they felt their character "should" fail?

I will actually forward your question to him!  If you are interested I can give you an answer from our group’s perspective in the interim.   It all depends on why they player felt he “should” fail.  Let me give a quick example why a player might think it would be beneficial to his game play experience if he chose specifically to fail in such a category of skill (pig).  A player’s Character is in an archery context with a vain, short tempered and powerful lord – the kind of lord who does not like to lose.  Especially in public!  In such a case a player may decide that it would in his and by extension his Character’s best interest not to do his best to actually fail in his efforts to say shoot the 10 ring on a archery butt.  Such a reason is fairly sound because beating the lord might lead to all sorts of nasty events befalling our hapless hero!  Like C3P0 suggesting  R2D2 lose the game of “chess” he is playing against the Chewbaca – when it is clear that the driod is clearly superior in his play abilities.  Perfectly acceptable.

Now if the player were to fail because he felt it might make an interesting “ethical or moral statement” or because he thinks that the play feels that this moment would particularly interesting if he had his Character fail on purpose then, no, such play would be looked down on fairly severely.  He would in all likelihood be called on for trying to “manipulate” the game.

I hope that answers your questions.  Feel free to ask more!
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Caldis
Member

Posts: 359


« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2005, 07:14:32 AM »


Merry Christmas Jay

I have a few points and clarifications to make I dont really want to go line by line to address your concerns so I 'll first start with an actual play example and the try to work around to as many of the points your raised as I can.

The gurps campaign I'm in does use personality mechanics and it's a very simmy game.  I'll show two uses (or actually one use and one non-use) of the mechanics so you can see how it works and why it is sim. 

First off the non-use.  My character has the disadvantage greed.  He will do almost anything for money.  I actively portray him as greedily taking up any opportunity to gain extra coins.  The game has progressed to the point where he is a wealthy businessman but someone comes along and offers him a small sum to kill an important individual.  I gave the explanation that the risk of killing the individual would cause more monetary damage then the killing would gain me so I turned down the offer.  The GM did not make me roll because I've actively portrayed the character as greedy and framed the decision as being influenced by greed.

Another character in the game has the flaw bad temper.  She was in a situation where an npc in the game acted in a derogatory manner towards her.  The player hesitated not sure how she wanted to respond, the gm stepped in and forced her to roll against her bad temper.  She failed her roll so she had to react in an angry manner.  The gm didnt force her action but it did eliminate many possible choices for her.  She was a tough warrior woman so she slugged the guy.

So you see Jay the mechanics worked to reinforce the elements of the game that were sim,  They made the fact that her character had a bad temper show up in play.  Was it deprotagonizing?  Not in this instance, did the player lose some choice of how to handle the situation?  Yes absolutely.

To me this does the same thing as your groups weeding out of players who cant react properly, or the other group requiring people to know about bows if they intend to use them.  It keeps the exploration functioning in the right manner, it treats these elements as sacred.  Of course not being part of your group maybe I misunderstand the criteria for dropping people.  Can you think of examples of people that you have dropped and what the reasons were?  I believe I read of them in your first actual play example but my interpretation of them may be wrong.


This is the difference between Sim and Gam and Narr.  In Sim there is a right way, those elements like greed and bad temper have meaning and must be portrayed correctly. There is no right way to address premise or challenge there is only the active pursuit of either.  If greed and bad temper show up in nar we dont worry that someone who has that trait is portraying it properly we see it as an opportunity to make a statement about greed, whatever that statement will be.  That last bit about nar is poorly phrased but I cant think of a better way to say it at the moment. 




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Callan S.
Member

Posts: 3588


WWW
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2005, 07:19:10 PM »

I wonder about personality mechanics - to me they say "No, you don't get to make the choice about how this works". Which is cool - the player isn't supposed to make choices about that.

Jay, are you concerned about what the player is explicitly stated as having a choice on (like how their characters personality works)? But if their choice is deemed incorrect by someone else at the table, THEN the personality mechanics are brought out by this someone to correct that? Do you think at this point we have simulationist deprotagonisation?
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Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2006, 01:26:38 AM »

Merry Christmas to you as well, Caldis!

I apologize if I came off as cranky in my previous post, but I just changed meds and my head is still literally spinning.

The gurps campaign I'm in does use personality mechanics and it's a very simmy game.

That’s not an argument – that’s a tautology!

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So you see Jay the mechanics worked to reinforce the elements of the game that were sim,  They made the fact that her character had a bad temper show up in play.  Was it deprotagonizing?  Not in this instance, did the player lose some choice of how to handle the situation?  Yes absolutely.

Red highlighting added.

This is interesting to me on a number of levels, and I think bears some further investigation!

The most notable is the notion that one MUST be forced into acting in a very specific manner in order to “fulfill” the CA requisites.  While I can similarities with mechanics that, say, bring the Address of Premise front and center in an unavoidable way I do not think the example you presented functions on the same general principle.  I.e., bringing the central game process inescapably to the fore and dropping it square in the players’ lap.  IOW I don’t see your example as an instance of system compelling the player to make a CA relevant decision, but rather said mechanic is an instance which removed/negated the player’s decision.  To my understanding, such an act clearly fits the definition of “player deprotagonization.”

Again, by analogy, the way your mechanic would function in Nar would mean that a player would be compelled/forced against their will to choose a certain way when faced with the Premise question.  In Gamist play this would the equivalent to a mechanic which forced a player to employ a specific tactic when faced with a Challenge against said player’s interests and will.

Another interesting notion that popped up earlier in your post was the mechanically driven value judgment placed upon a personality trait – “disadvantage.”  What is meant by “disadvantage?”  Much more importantly why was “greed” treated as a “disadvantage?”  If the player chose of their own free will to play their character a certain way, how could that be disadvantageous in Sim?  One plays their Character, yes?  The whole notion of “disadvantage” smacks of a strategic Gamist tradeoff, but something that is categorically opposed to the Sim paradigm.  If one wants to play a greedy Character, then do it, right?  Conversely if one chooses to play a Character who is generous then they should do so, yes?  So if one does fancy playing a Character as greedy why is that “penalized” by the value judgment of “disadvantage.”  Even more troubling is the root – “advantage.”  There are no “advantages” or “disadvantages” in Sim; there is only the Character as played – no more, no less.

Sim isn’t about value judgments regarding the human condition, that is something in which Nar excels at quite effectively.  Gamism also has its own value judgments, but that is only measured against the ability to Address Challenge.  IOW something might be considered a “disadvantage” if it hindered the player’s ability to Address a Challenge in a manner he deemed fit.  Given that such value judgments in both Nar and Gam would be measured against Premise and Challenge respectively in play then it follows that such value judgments should be measured against the player’s ability to create and sustain the Dream.  The very concept of a “disadvantage” mechanic as part of a Sim “game system” is in itself a disadvantage upon the player’s ability to express the Sim CA – i.e. it has a crippling effect on said player’s ability to create and sustain the Dream as they deem fit.

I think the Dream is created by the player’s choices – it is not something that is imposed upon the players by mechanics.  So yes, the mechanic enforced a version of a Dream, but it most certainly would not have been the Dream as envisioned by the play upon whom the mechanic was enforced against.  That shouldn’t be a controversial idea.  Theme is created by player decisions as “the winning strategy” is also created by player decisions.  Taking a CA relevant decision out of a Player’s hand cannot, by the terms of the Big Model, be considered to be CA expressive.  It’s a contradiction.    I am curious as to why this particular contradiction is allowed to stand without challenge.  Hmmm….

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To me this does the same thing as your groups weeding out of players who cant react properly, or the other group requiring people to know about bows if they intend to use them.  It keeps the exploration functioning in the right manner, it treats these elements as sacred.

I don’t buy that argument at all.  While all mechanics can be said to be a subset of Social Contract what your statement implies by extension is that Social Contract level issues can be handled by a system of 3rd party decision making.  If I don’t like player A because he’s hitting on my girlfriend I can resolve that by going to page 18 in the 4th addenda rules appendix and make him stop if I roll a better than a 15 on a d20.

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Can you think of examples of people that you have dropped and what the reasons were?

Sure.  One player was dropped from the game for cheating on his die rolls.  Another was dropped because he consistently fired his bow into combat killing some PC’s.  Many are dropped because the game simply moves too fast for them to keep up.  Another bunch are dropped because they just aren’t that interesting.  Note the following admittedly shameful nicknames that have been generated over the years – “The rock with lips, Captain Xanex, Cardboard Mike, Mike 38, Jurassic flute.”  We’ve had to drop players because the game got too intense for them.  One ended up being named, “Purple Ernie,” because his face got red and then moved to purple while a vein starting throbbing on his forehead as a play was progressing.  Another 1st time player was standing out side the game at the end of the night smoking a cigarette literally trembling and said, “That was the most intense experience of my life!  I’ll never do that again.  I play to relax…” We’ve dropped players because they just didn’t “get” the Dream we’re trying to create.  Once or twice we’ve had to drop players because they just couldn’t visualize what was being described and were constantly slowing the game down.  I remember one player was dropped because he just couldn’t phrase his actions as declaratives but would just ask question after question.  I don’t know if I’ve addressed this last question to your satisfaction.  Please let me know!

Hi Callan,

I wonder about personality mechanics - to me they say "No, you don't get to make the choice about how this works". Which is cool - the player isn't supposed to make choices about that.

That to me is the equivalent to saying, “The player isn’t supposed to make choices about the Premise this way.”  Or its like playing a Gamist game in a western setting and then having a mechanic saying the player can’t use firearms – especially when such a rule is not supported by anything within the Setting.  If a player chooses to play greedy then he should play greedy.  If on another day he chooses not to play greedy then why must he?  Individuals are neither Turing Machines nor are they finite state machines.  How one plays a Character is an aesthetic issue, not one of mechanics in Sim.

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Jay, are you concerned about what the player is explicitly stated as having a choice on (like how their characters personality works)? But if their choice is deemed incorrect by someone else at the table, THEN the personality mechanics are brought out by this someone to correct that? Do you think at this point we have simulationist deprotagonisation?

I’m having some difficulty parsing these series of questions, so if I completely miss the mark let me know, steer me the right way and I will try my best again!

If I read your series of questions correctly, then I would answer your last question in the affirmative.  That is, I would state that we do indeed have player deprotagonization going on (in Sim that is).

Let me ask you this.  If you, myself and Caldis were sitting at table having a discussion and both Caldis and I knew you had a history of being hot tempered, yet in this particular touchy conversation you kept your cool – do you think it would be weird if Caldis or I stood up pointed at you with a trembling finger and uttered, “Dude, you have to get angry because that’s the kind of person you are!”  Why?  Why does a hot head have to get hot headed at a specific moment?  Isn’t that for said individual to decide?  Then why is it so different in Sim?  I can understand how such a feature could be employed in the address of a given Premise or Challenge but in Sim “the meta” is player creation via Character during play.  There is no right or wrong way to play in Sim, there is however aesthetically or non-aesthetically pleasing play – just like there is in Nar and Gamist play – and that is decided at the local level by the game participants.

Gee whiz!  I mean if someone is playing Darth Vader, he’s dying, his son is standing over him and he says, “I want to see you with my own eyes,” is some one going to point out a personality mechanic and say, “You can’t play Vader that way!  He’s evil to the core!  Take that back and do something completely evil!”

Having Vader make such an unusual choice makes for interesting play.  Yes there are norms of behavior, but they are not straight jackets nor are they programs.

Now let me give an example of player where a certain type of behavior might be expected from a player and what could happen if said player opts out of the culturally expected behavior.  Let’s say I am the champion of barbarian village.  I am the baddest, toughest, bravest warrior in the tribe.  My character has fought his way to this position through many a bloody and gruesome battles.  I am called forth by circumstances to represent my chieftain in a trial by battle.  As a player I know this foe is a virtual death machine.  I should have the ability as a play to choose not to engage in battle.  However – this does not mean such an action would not be read as cowardice or treason and I have no reason to believe that my character would not be humiliated, executed outright, exiled or what not.

IOW I have a very strong responsibility to be and act brave, but that is my choice as a player, yet I must also understand that there are and will be repercussions for my choices (Chris’ entailments.)  I think what most people misunderstand is that just because a player chooses not to express a personality trait that also means that said player does not have to deal with the consequences of such a choice either.  That is absolutely, patently and utterly false.  I can choose to act differently than is expected, but I also must understand that there will be consequences for such a choice.  Dealing with the consequences of choices is very much at the heart of the Sim play process.  To remove player options here is to remove or deprotagonize CA relevant player input.

If it becomes apparent to other players at the table that said player consistently changes his character’s personality to get out of trouble or avoid danger then I think that would most likely to be read as “cheating.”  However that is an aesthetic issue (Social Contract level stuff) that would need to be ironed out.  This would be akin to dropping a player off a team in Gamist play because they constantly blunder causing your side to “lose.”

Let me know if I have answered your question to your satisfaction Callan!
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Caldis
Member

Posts: 359


« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2006, 12:26:51 PM »

Merry Christmas to you as well, Caldis!

I apologize if I came off as cranky in my previous post, but I just changed meds and my head is still literally spinning.

No prob, my comment was short and off handed may have seemed more inflammatory then it was intended.

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The most notable is the notion that one MUST be forced into acting in a very specific manner in order to “fulfill” the CA requisites.  While I can similarities with mechanics that, say, bring the Address of Premise front and center in an unavoidable way I do not think the example you presented functions on the same general principle.  I.e., bringing the central game process inescapably to the fore and dropping it square in the players’ lap.  IOW I don’t see your example as an instance of system compelling the player to make a CA relevant decision, but rather said mechanic is an instance which removed/negated the player’s decision.  To my understanding, such an act clearly fits the definition of “player deprotagonization.”

One isnt forced into acting in such a manner one has accepted this restriction to their choices when they created the character.  It's the same as accepting that your character may be killed if he enters combat due to a bad dice roll, what could be more deprotagonizing than that?  A player can make a decision to swing a sword in your game but he doesnt get the right to decide that it hits and chops off someones arm, similarly a player can decide in gurps they want to do something contrary to their outlined personality but they cant just do it they have to make the roll.  It's what is accepted in the game the player expects to have to take that limit into consideration and if the dice roll against him then he has to come up with another option.  The mechanic enforces taking that aspect into consideration, just as your group takes into consideration Tolkien and realism.

This is not a problem for sim because that is the heart of what sim is, getting the play right. Accepting constructive denial as Ron put it in one of the last few posts in the GNS forum.  The dream is created before the play even begins it has nothing to do with their decisions creating it, the dream is simulated in play.  In your case it's Tolkiens world, Sim play is focused on getting that play right, making it like Tolkiens world or maybe more like being someone in Tolkiens world.  The players agree to accept limitations on their actions to make it so.  In gurps the player accepts that if he takes the greed disadvantage he may have to accept being bound by it in play.  Notice my first example where the gm didnt require a roll since the aspect was being taken into consideration, that's what I'm talking about.


Consider what you do roll for in your game.  Combat is the only thing I've seen you mention but there may be others I'm unsure.  If it was all just players creating a dream through their decisions then why bring dice rolls into combat?  Why not just let them decide how the combat turns out?  If it's just to provide uncertainty why not roll just to see which side wins?  Typically Sim games deny players the opportunity to make the decision of what happens and enforce considerations of elements like skill, weapons, range, armor types, and all the other factors that go into combat.  Are these remnants of gamist design? no they are constructive denial in action, it's getting that combat right that's important.  Those elements hold meaning in and of themselves and they must be respected.


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I don’t buy that argument at all.  While all mechanics can be said to be a subset of Social Contract what your statement implies by extension is that Social Contract level issues can be handled by a system of 3rd party decision making.  If I don’t like player A because he’s hitting on my girlfriend I can resolve that by going to page 18 in the 4th addenda rules appendix and make him stop if I roll a better than a 15 on a d20.

No that's not what I've said at all.  What I've said is that your group has accepted the idea that removing players who dont live up to your standards is socially acceptable.  Whether it's because they dont have the same agenda or there not on the same page with you as to what the game is about the answer is the same.  In other groups dropping people is not socially accepted, therefore they have adopted other means to get people on the same page,  personality mechanics being one of them.
I can see some of the examples of people dropped being related to CA differences but many of them dont seem to be.


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Gee whiz!  I mean if someone is playing Darth Vader, he’s dying, his son is standing over him and he says, “I want to see you with my own eyes,” is some one going to point out a personality mechanic and say, “You can’t play Vader that way!  He’s evil to the core!  Take that back and do something completely evil!”

Having Vader make such an unusual choice makes for interesting play.  Yes there are norms of behavior, but they are not straight jackets nor are they programs.

See Jay that's a narrativist choice right there. Being free to make that statement is narrativism, developing the story to the point where he makes that choice is narrativism.  It's not sim.  Sim is making that choice if it's a plausible outcome of what's happened before or if it's a part of the story structure being simulated, and it can be regulated by personality mechanics but it doesnt have to be.  The main thing is that what we know of Vader is respected he doesnt just turn on a dime, several scenes and much of Luke's dialog is focused on Vader not really being as evil as he has always appeared.   

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Now let me give an example of player where a certain type of behavior might be expected from a player and what could happen if said player opts out of the culturally expected behavior.  Let’s say I am the champion of barbarian village.  I am the baddest, toughest, bravest warrior in the tribe.  My character has fought his way to this position through many a bloody and gruesome battles.  I am called forth by circumstances to represent my chieftain in a trial by battle.  As a player I know this foe is a virtual death machine.  I should have the ability as a play to choose not to engage in battle.  However – this does not mean such an action would not be read as cowardice or treason and I have no reason to believe that my character would not be humiliated, executed outright, exiled or what not.

That is a possible way of handling it a personality mechanic that forced the battle is another, what about sim makes you claim that only one of these options is the correct one?  Where in any of what Ron has written on sim is support for your suggestion that only one way is possible?  Given that he expressly lists two subtypes, high concept and purist for system?


I really think you are a strong advocate for your style of play, but I dont think that style of play is indicative of all sim play.  What other games have you played that you would identify as sim? 


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Callan S.
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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2006, 05:53:57 PM »

Hi Jay,

I don't think it's deprotagonisation occurs in narrativism if, in advance of making an address, the rule is made that certain address types can't be made. Like if I'm playing Ghandi and the rule is I can only use peaceful protest, that's fine. However, if that rule isn't agreed to in advance it's different. If I have Ghandi go violent and someone says "No, that's no good and has to change, he's non violent!", I'll tell them they can go stuff themselves in no uncertain terms!! Surely you can't have a problem with this? If you don't feel you can agree to a 'peaceful protest only' type rule, then you don't play that game. If you feel you can stick to it, you do play?

I have to wonder if your actual problem is with people who will calvin ball terms along with the mechanics which help them do so. In these cases you didn't agree to a personality mechanic restriction, but the other person uses slimy tactics to try and enforce that restriction on you. It might be cutting to the core a bit, but perhaps you see personality mechanics as ripe for abuse?

BTW, are we staying on topic enough here? Has this sort of discussion come up/will come up with the other group?
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Christopher Kubasik
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2006, 06:32:22 PM »

Hi all,

Touching back on the original post, here's my question:

Jay, what is the "interview" process like?

Please, tell me, what happens? How does it happen? What sort of metric is used to determine who is in and who is out? Who's there when it happens? Who gets to decide?


I'm fasincated.

Christopher
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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2006, 07:05:29 PM »

Yes it does, if I am reading you correctly.  What it signifies is that for the players who are considering choosing such a skill they had best be able to perform that skill effectively in play because the mechanic will not be substituted for actual player ability.  For example, the GM of Myranus clearly stated if that a player wished to use a bow in game as a weapon then he had best be knowledgeable about bows because what the player brings to the table will be the basis of the determination of the Character’s effectiveness with the bow.  He said that he has told players in the past that they should at the very least read some books on bows if they play to be effective with the bow in game.

Wow. With *bows*? THAT'S hardcore. I was thinking the "pig" skills would be things like "Fast Talk" and "Courtly Graces" and such. What about other combat skills? If you want to be a swordsman do you need to read books etc. on swords? Now I'm wondering two things: 1) What ISN'T a pig skill? 2) Why not? That is, the criteria for "pigginess" are apparently a lot broader than I thought. So what is the dividing line between Pig and . . . "Kosher"?

Let me stress that I don't have an a priori problem with the approach. If Swordsmanship is a pig skill, so be it! I even see the advantages from a "right to dream" perspective - it's one expression of the "responsibility TOWARD the Dream" flipside, isnt' it? It's also an approach to distributed credibility specifically tailored to support Sim, don't you think? That is, if boning up on bows actually earns you credibility in-game. Does the GM defer to a player's pig knowledge? IOW, can I get successes or bonuses toward same by making authoritative statements about bow capabilities?

Can I add directly to the fiction (Director stance stuff) by using my bow knowledge to make fiat statements? e.g. "They can't reach us from here. I've seen that kind of bow in action and I know." and it becomes true because I said it? Or is that kind of thing still GM territory?

Sticking with bows and pigginess, what effort of mine as a player earns me what benefit in play?

I'm rambling, but this is fascinating stuff. Fascinating. Because I'm thinking of how it seems like it flouts the assumptions behind a particular class of complaint/GM advice in "trad" sim/incoherent designs. The classic example is presented as: "You're the GM. One of your players is a martial artist. Here's how you deal with THE PROBLEM of him trying to overwhelm you with his knowledge in play." (e.g. he describes some super-cool move that should foreclose any response you personally can think of. My own solution to this problem was always, "Cool. Now tell me what a competent enemy's response should be. Cause that's what your opponent does.")

It sounds like your particular social contract is saying, "Problem?? No, that's good stuff!" (For local values of reinforcing the texture of the fiction as opposed to hijacking play, I assume.)

All of which is a longwinded way of saying, Do tell!

Best,


Jim
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2006, 03:37:15 AM »

Hi Caldis,

I’m going to save my response to you for another post.  I hope you don’t mind.

Hey Callan,

Like if I'm playing Ghandi and the rule is I can only use peaceful protest, that's fine. However, if that rule isn't agreed to in advance it's different. If I have Ghandi go violent and someone says "No, that's no good and has to change, he's non violent!", I'll tell them they can go stuff themselves in no uncertain terms!! Surely you can't have a problem with this? If you don't feel you can agree to a 'peaceful protest only' type rule, then you don't play that game. If you feel you can stick to it, you do play?

I see the distinction you are making, but from a bricoleur’s point of view such “rules” are an inherent problem.  See, the very nature of bricolage is such that the very “rules” (governing the interactions of the objects – Ghandi is peaceful) themselves can and more importantly will evolve over time as a result of the bricoleur’s efforts.  Even if the players/bricoleurs are not mindfully seeking to “change the rules.”  This morphing/evolution of the “rules” is an integral part of the bricolage/Sim process.  To legislate an immutable/unwavering “rule” of behavior is to “freeze up” a part of the Sim process – i.e., it weakens the effective expression of the Sim CA.

I am not saying that one cannot create a Character who is “said to be” extraordinarily peaceable, but to say that such a trait (or any personality trait for that matter) is unfailing in its expression is not only problematic from a human personality/condition point of view, but is generally antithetical to the bricolage process.

How is one known to be peaceable?  By acting peaceable in a situation where many if not most people would resort to violence or hatred.  Do this often enough and others will recognize and label said individual as peaceable.  Thus the characteristic of “peaceable” is recognized, via said player’s actions, by the other players at the table and not something that is legislated into play by mechanics.  (By the way I know that I am not explaining myself well, but I am doing the best that I under the circumstances.)

However, please note, that I am not advocating that such “breeches” of character should slide by without in game repercussions (entailments).  Quite the contrary!  A player who does make that breech in the example that you provided should understand at the outside that there will be “a price to pay,” (consequences/entailments) within the SIS for said character.  This “cost” is what makes such choices so difficult and why they need to be so carefully weighed by the acting player (as well as just plain interesting for the rest of us players at the table!)

So to your question – “Surely you can’t have a problem with this?”  My answer is, “Yes – and stop calling me Shirley!”

I have to wonder if your actual problem is with people who will calvin ball terms along with the mechanics which help them do so. In these cases you didn't agree to a personality mechanic restriction, but the other person uses slimy tactics to try and enforce that restriction on you. It might be cutting to the core a bit, but perhaps you see personality mechanics as ripe for abuse?

That’s a great question, and I hope that my answer helps illuminate my thoughts some.  It’s not that my problem lies with that personality mechanics are ripe for abuse (though I do think that is a distinct possibility in play) but rather their very nature is antithetical to Sim expression.  To the same extent that firm, fixed rules are crucial to Gamist expression; firm, fixed personality rules are antithetical to a similar extent to Simulationist expression. 

I know that sounds very odd, but please take a moment to consider how bricolage works before dashing off a rebuttal!  I’m not implying that you are rash or anything like that, but that what I am suggesting is a little difficult to make that conceptual shift if  one comes at it from a rules-first point of view.  You see, bricolage makes rules!  It also bends, folds, spindles and mutilates rules in the process!  To drop a static point in there somewhere will water down that bricolage/Sim process.  From a certain point of view what is referred to as Calvin Balling in Gamism is acceptable in Sim, but it had better be supportable via the history of the SIS somewhere or it will be regarded as “cheating!”

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Has this sort of discussion come up/will come up with the other group?

I have yet to play in the Myranis group so I don’t know for sure.  But I do know that the GM did say that he wished on occasion that mechanics (and I interpreted that as resolution mechanics) would sometimes, “just disappear.”  IOW the play and the consequences of play trump mechanical resolution systems which in his opinion (and mine) can interfere with (i.e., degrade Sim) expression.  When we expressed similar sentiments I do know that both the GM and the player present at the interview from that group practically jumped out of their seats in joy.  Other than that I have no other data to offer at the moment.  I would like to note that one player from my group is making the commitment to join the Myranis group and I am eagerly awaiting the feed back!

Hello Christopher,

Jay, what is the "interview" process like?

Please, tell me, what happens? How does it happen? What sort of metric is used to determine who is in and who is out? Who's there when it happens? Who gets to decide?

In our interview with the Myranis GM, he had his one remaining player join in the process.  Apparently over the last several months the other three players moved out of state for various reasons and this was the impetus for his search of new players.  As there was only one player remaining I don’t know if he would have had others present or not.  I should note that the GM and the player were living together and had a relationship, so I don’t know if the presence of the player was an exception to the Social Contract of the group or just an extension of their own personal out of game relationship.  I don’t know if the decision is the GM’s only, the GM and his life partner/player or something that is typically open to the whole group.

How the introduction came about was a little odd.  A player who did not “make the grade” in our game was interviewing with the Myranis GM and player and not only suggested us to him, but also made the initial introductions via email.  I must say, “What a phenomenal good sport.”  After an initial round of emails we set up the GM of Myranis overtly talked of an “interview.”  He invited my GM, who invited me along, to go meet with this upstart GM ( ;oP ) understanding that we would not be playing but “meeting each other” for the intentions of determining if coming to his game would be a good idea.  Apparently this interview process was a regular part of how he managed his game.

As far as the metric by which he decided who was compatible with his group’s play style and who was not – I am not certain.  Truth be told, my GM came to the interview with the intention of “raiding” players from the Myranis group.  <G>  Nevertheless a time was set and my GM and I arrived at their apartment.  We were met at the door and led to the game room.  It was plainly obvious that the game room was a place of pride and importance to those we met.  They went to great effort to decorate the place and hats off to them for their efforts.  The entire room was “blacked” in some sort of material, including the ceiling.  Two sets of specially constructed soft lights were at each end of the room to provide comfortable lighting.  There were several glass cabinets of miniatures as well as a wall covered in weapons and replicas of various sorts.  The GM had a monitor and keyboard at his station for music and sound effects.  There was a decently sized flat table in the middle of the room with comfortable seating for about 6 people.

Introductions were made and we started off on the easiest topic of conversation – the person who made the email introductions…and things just “went from there.”  In this particular case, I think that we had a player in common was important because it made it possible for the Myranis GM to evaluate our take on said player and match it to his impressions of the player.  Near as I recall there was some GM “strutting” in both camps, but it was good-natured.  As more and more experiences were shared regarding GMing styles and techniques it became increasingly obvious that both groups shared the same CA though we did have differences in our local aesthetics.  It was both fascinating and exciting.

I have no idea how the Myranis GM “fired unsuitable players,” but however he did it, it was tactful and carefully handled as he claimed that he continues to remain friends with those friends of the he had “fired” from his game.  We never got the chance to ask then and I have not had the opportunity to ask since.

Hi Jim!

Wow. With *bows*? THAT'S hardcore.

I too think it is “hardcore,” i.e., that such play ought to be regarded as hardcore Sim with respect to the Big Model.

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Now I'm wondering two things: 1) What ISN'T a pig skill? 2) Why not? That is, the criteria for "pigginess" are apparently a lot broader than I thought. So what is the dividing line between Pig and . . . "Kosher"?

I am very embarrassed to say that I don’t recall!  However, as a friend of mine is going to give the game a whirl I will ask him to ask the GM.

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Let me stress that I don't have an a priori problem with the approach. If Swordsmanship is a pig skill, so be it!
  • I even see the advantages from a "right to dream" perspective - it's one expression of the "responsibility TOWARD the Dream" flipside, isnt' it?
  • It's also an approach to distributed credibility specifically tailored to support Sim, don't you think?
  • That is, if boning up on bows actually earns you credibility in-game. Does the GM defer to a player's pig knowledge?
  • IOW, can I get successes or bonuses toward same by making authoritative statements about bow capabilities?


Formatting altered for ease of addressing.

  • Yes it is!
  • Yes I do think.
  • From what I understand about the Myranis game, he does defer to the player’s pig knowledge.  I know my GM does.
  • Yes one could and does get “successes or bonuses” for making authoritative statements regard said skills!  Point in fact – such play is stongly encouraged (and rewarded) in the game I play in.

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Can I add directly to the fiction (Director stance stuff) by using my bow knowledge to make fiat statements? e.g. "They can't reach us from here. I've seen that kind of bow in action and I know." and it becomes true because I said it? Or is that kind of thing still GM territory?

Yes, though there might be other extenuating circumstances that the player may not know about and must be flexible regarding.  However, this not only happens reasonably frequently, but on a certain level it is necessary in order to “plan ahead” or think “tactically.”  That a player can make such assertions is a demonstration of the regularity of the Dream as a whole, it also allows said player to “strut his stuff,” as it were!  Yet, while it does happen more than one might think, there is a rhythm to when this option is available and when it isn’t.  Just for clarification’s sake, I should also note that such statements are always subject to the Lumpley Principle.

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Sticking with bows and pigginess, what effort of mine as a player earns me what benefit in play?

Knowing the rate of fire of bows reduces the risk of fumbling when firing rapidly or just reducing penalties to hit when shooting very quickly.  Knowing how bows are made can mean being able to make a bow in the wild or crafting a bow of quality.  Knowing how to maintain and care for bows.  Simple things like allowing for the ballistic flight of the arrow gains bonuses to hit and range.  Accounting for the energy loss to the arrow due to drag in flight grants increased likelihood of actually hitting the target or gains you a better chance of ranging properly.  Understanding tactically that one could use a bow for suppressing effects to allow melee fights to close.  Knowing to unstring a bow when not in use preserves its operational life span (thus reducing penalties for wear and tear).  Knowing that one could introduce noise suppressors to the bowstring can make you harder to find.  Knowing how bow strings are made can make it much easier to replace broken or otherwise non-functional strings.  Knowing the difference between flight arrows, sheaf arrows and under what circumstances they are employed gains certain situation bonuses to hit, to damage or arguing against an arrow getting through one’s own armor.  Knowing how to make a self-bow can mean the difference between replacing a bow when in the wilderness and having to wait to return to a settlement.  Knowing the properties of different woods can make a difference in whether success is achieved when crafting a bow.  Etc.

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Because I'm thinking of how it seems like it flouts the assumptions behind a particular class of complaint/GM advice in "trad" sim/incoherent designs. The classic example is presented as: "You're the GM. One of your players is a martial artist. Here's how you deal with THE PROBLEM of him trying to overwhelm you with his knowledge in play." (e.g. he describes some super-cool move that should foreclose any response you personally can think of. My own solution to this problem was always, "Cool. Now tell me what a competent enemy's response should be. Cause that's what your opponent does.")

It sounds like your particular social contract is saying, "Problem?? No, that's good stuff!" (For local values of reinforcing the texture of the fiction as opposed to hijacking play, I assume.)

You assume correctly!  The proviso being that it is reasonable for said Character to have such knowledge/skill.  This is exactly where the players create and expand the Dream!  It is not mimicry, but creation!  It is not mechanical modeling, but player protagonism!

I was just concluding this post when I realize that this is just the exact opposite of Callan’s arguments about personality mechanics.  In Sim the players decide how to run their individual Characters, but the nature of the world is open to negotiation via the introduction of new “facts” as well as protection/reinforcement through player interjection.  “Hey!  You just can’t dive off a 150 foot cliff onto boulders and just walk away!”
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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2006, 08:02:29 PM »

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To legislate an immutable/unwavering “rule” of behavior is to “freeze up” a part of the Sim process – i.e., it weakens the effective expression of the Sim CA.
I'm glad you said this, because I totally agree. Except I see it as a feature, not a bug. It's a creative focus - yup, that part of the sim process is frozen - because this game will be about exploring issues other than that.

It may be too much stick though, not enough carrot. Personality rules which propose a certain character reaction (like rage), with a reward as an incentive is probably better.

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It’s not that my problem lies with that personality mechanics are ripe for abuse (though I do think that is a distinct possibility in play) but rather their very nature is antithetical to Sim expression.  To the same extent that firm, fixed rules are crucial to Gamist expression; firm, fixed personality rules are antithetical to a similar extent to Simulationist expression. 

I know that sounds very odd, but please take a moment to consider how bricolage works before dashing off a rebuttal!  I’m not implying that you are rash or anything like that, but that what I am suggesting is a little difficult to make that conceptual shift if  one comes at it from a rules-first point of view.  You see, bricolage makes rules!  It also bends, folds, spindles and mutilates rules in the process!
Okay, understanding you a bit more. And I think I understand a sim address. It's the players active declaration of a rule that determines how part of the world works. But I think your treating book rules as if really their just the same as setting. For example:
Setting: Sally's hair is red.
Book rule: Sally's hair is red.

The former is open to change - if you pour blue ink on her head, her hair changes colour. With the book rule in place, her hair doesn't change colour - it remains red. I'm pretty sure at first this rubs a simulationist back the wrong way - "There's no causal reason - her hair just remains red? Regardless of all the other stuff in the universe? What if we nuked her/atomised her - would she even exist so that her hair is still red? What!? It would! That's freakin' rediculous!"

I think if you are treating rules as if they are setting, this is why - the book rules create causal impossiblities. Thus, instead of being treated as unbending (which just screws with your agenda), they become treated as setting and open to bending, folding and spindling.

And that's all I've got, so I'm going to bow out on this issue (hope it wasn't a waste of time for you or other forge members). I think sim play can and probably needs to benefit from the structure rules give. But this is a difficult problem to overcome, should you want to. All I can think of is that there were some threads in the past on 'creative denial' & simulationist play. Anyone else got links to that?
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contracycle
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« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2006, 01:10:36 AM »

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I see the distinction you are making, but from a bricoleur’s point of view such “rules” are an inherent problem.  See, the very nature of bricolage is such that the very “rules” (governing the interactions of the objects – Ghandi is peaceful) themselves can and more importantly will evolve over time as a result of the bricoleur’s efforts.  Even if the players/bricoleurs are not mindfully seeking to “change the rules.”  This morphing/evolution of the “rules” is an integral part of the bricolage/Sim process.  To legislate an immutable/unwavering “rule” of behavior is to “freeze up” a part of the Sim process – i.e., it weakens the effective expression of the Sim CA.

I don't agree rules are an inherent problem to the bricoleur; there is nothing about this process of implicit and impressionist change that requires that all things be changeable.  In fact I would suggest that contradicts the idea that objects formed or altered by bricolage are then whole in their own right.  For this to be true they must have implications of their own, consequences to other objects, all of which is to say: they impose limits on what else can be done.  They construct rules of permissable future change.

The point of establishing such a statement about a character goes far beyond that they are "said to be" X, but in fact are known to be X, have been observed to be X from the past.  It is one of the properties of this object.  That does not imply that the object is unchangeable; but it seems, the mention of "entailments" related to "violations" assumes too much of the gamist use of personality mechanics as a punitive measure, rather than a sim-appropriate use for portrayal.  Wanting to change a character hitherto, and correctly, labelled as awlays peaceful is quite valid if carried out during the course of play - and this does not necessarily contradict existing mechanical statements if for example they can be "bought off" by some action of system.  And it does not imply any punitive measure are required unless such adherence is part of the social contract - which it will not be among Simmers, I don't think.

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That’s a great question, and I hope that my answer helps illuminate my thoughts some.  It’s not that my problem lies with that personality mechanics are ripe for abuse (though I do think that is a distinct possibility in play) but rather their very nature is antithetical to Sim expression.  To the same extent that firm, fixed rules are crucial to Gamist expression; firm, fixed personality rules are antithetical to a similar extent to Simulationist expression.

I fear thats an overextension to an illogcial degree - the presence of personality mechanics does not imply they are necessarily immutable.  I suggest that it is far more common to have some kind of escape clause rule about possible changes than it is to find a system asserting that a choice once made can never be altered by anyone or any act of play.

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I know that sounds very odd, but please take a moment to consider how bricolage works before dashing off a rebuttal!  I’m not implying that you are rash or anything like that, but that what I am suggesting is a little difficult to make that conceptual shift if  one comes at it from a rules-first point of view.  You see, bricolage makes rules!  It also bends, folds, spindles and mutilates rules in the process!  To drop a static point in there somewhere will water down that bricolage/Sim process.  From a certain point of view what is referred to as Calvin Balling in Gamism is acceptable in Sim, but it had better be supportable via the history of the SIS somewhere or it will be regarded as “cheating!”

No I disagree; Calvinballing is an inherently dishonest act and I cannot see how this can be construed to be important to sim.  That would make sim the domain of the best liar.  I would also think its directly contradictory to the general process of bricolage on which you base your argument, because calvinballing is the construction of claims that are NOT based on the properties of the objects of their history of manipulation in play, but instead on the opportunistic desire of ther play to achieve some goal by rationalisation.
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2006, 03:43:21 AM »

No I disagree; Calvinballing is an inherently dishonest act and I cannot see how this can be construed to be important to sim.  That would make sim the domain of the best liar.  I would also think its directly contradictory to the general process of bricolage on which you base your argument, because calvinballing is the construction of claims that are NOT based on the properties of the objects of their history of manipulation in play, but instead on the opportunistic desire of ther play to achieve some goal by rationalisation.

I was going to ask a similar question on the Pig skills.

What's to stop someone lying to fake expertise?  I can be a damn good bullshitter.  I could unscrupulously fake an expertise in something to gain advantage.

Or less brokenly, what happens when there's two experts and they disagree?  When it's something like bows, it's reasonably concrete.  If I were playing in such a game, I'd probably want a Pig skill related to the functioning of the criminal justice system, or psychology, since those are areas that I'm both interested in, and possess some expertise.  But someone with a similar expertise could have very different views and dispute the statements of authority I might make because they fundamentally disagree with the particularly theories I subscribe to.  Who decides who has the authority?  And if my view is rejected, on something I consider I do well enough to take as a Pig skill in a game that explicitly takes knowledge from real life to inform game reality, that's probably going to ruin the game for me.  (I may be mean spirited on this.)

Or take something even more obviously controversial, like history.  There are major splits in the study of history over how things work or should be interpreted.  And I'm sure that even in the concrete example of bows, there are experts with different views who can have major spats over exactly how something was made or used.

I'm not trying to knock the technique, just see what it's limitations are so I understand it.  Basically what happens when someone lies, and what happens when there are multiple experts?  Both come down to the question of who decides what is sufficient expertise and what is the right expertise?
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