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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 52 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Multiple Premise?  (Read 3457 times)
Paganini
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« on: October 22, 2002, 06:14:44 PM »

I've been discussing narrativism with Mike in the Synthesis playtest. That thread is only indirectly related to this, but that discussion helped me to identify something that's been vaguely bugging me about narrativism as it stands: That is, the implicit assumption that there's only ever a single narrative premise in a narrative game.

Some premises (premi?) are of a nature that character choices involving them might arise infrequently over the course of a game, while others are almost certainly to be addressed constantly. Why shouldn't the time not spent addressing one premise be spent addressing another?

I'm specifically thinking of the Pool Banana Republic game. I characterize that game as narrative: the players as a group created the story by intention, and the story is identifiable as such (i.e., it has clearly recognizeable literary elements, like climax, exposition, character development, etc.)

But I'd be hard pressed to find a single thematic question that the game deals with. The game is a morass of interpersonal conflicts and relationships. There are interesting moral dillemas right and left involving betrayal, loyalty, family, money, power, lifestyle, you name it.

Any thoughts on this?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2002, 06:20:47 PM »

Hi Nathan,

Victor asked a question a while ago which was a bit different, but I think my answer to him contains my answer to your question as well.

Check out:
Is Narrativism rightly restricted to Premise?

Best,
Ron
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Paganini
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« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2002, 07:20:32 PM »

Okay, Ron, I read that thread, and I'm going to spring one on you now. Have you read the Banana Republic transcripts? I'd love to see what kind of premise you identify in that game, because I honestly don't even know where to start with it.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2002, 07:08:13 AM »

The idea of Vanilla Narrativism and Abashed Narrativism is that a player can play in a Narrativist fashion by just adopting a premise (a game only needs to reinforce play about a Narrativist Premise, if it wants to be "fully" Narrativist; and even then it can be broad to start and narrowed down by players). The game does not have to provide such a Narrativist Premise, the player can add his own.

Why does there just have to be one overall premise? To the extent that player selected premises are dissimilar to each other, you might get sorta fractuous play. But it'll still be Narrativist play, as long as the player is addressing a narrativist premise.

Now, some of our more radical Narrativists out there (that would be Paul et al) will claim that the premise has to be something that engages the other players. And I can see the point. But I think you can still get individual stories by addressing individual premises. To the extent that you do want to "please the audience" and make for a more consistent story overall, however, the premises selected should at least be well condsidered, if not actually discussed. And an agreement to keep them all under one umbrella may go a long way. But I still don't think it's absolutely neccessary for Narrativist play.

To be specific, The Pool is Abashedly Narrativist. It provides no Premise, and relies on players to do so. That said, I think we could identify some overall premises and themes if that became important.

Mike
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Paganini
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2002, 08:17:31 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes

Why does there just have to be one overall premise? To the extent that player selected premises are dissimilar to each other, you might get sorta fractuous play. But it'll still be Narrativist play, as long as the player is addressing a narrativist premise.


Ah, I dig. So each player can be addressing a separate, individual premise with no problems, as long as his premise doesn't conflict with another player?

Quote

Now, some of our more radical Narrativists out there (that would be Paul et al) will claim that the premise has to be something that engages the other players. And I can see the point. But I think you can still get individual stories by addressing individual premises. To the extent that you do want to "please the audience" and make for a more consistent story overall, however, the premises selected should at least be well condsidered, if not actually discussed. And an agreement to keep them all under one umbrella may go a long way. But I still don't think it's absolutely neccessary for Narrativist play.


Yeah! This makes sense with the Shadows game from the other night. I wasn't specificaly thinking of playing in a narrative mode (actually, I was thinking more about color), but the guys seemed to be focusing on a premise involving the facing of fears. Almost every roll they made involved their characters getting their pants scared off by something nasty (living underwear, drain monster, Something Under The Bed, etc.) We didn't formalize this before or during play, and it was only the sheerest luck (and a really brilliant play by Chris) that we ended up with anything resembling a literary story.
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