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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 169 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Cannot stand cutesipoo terms like "vanilla" and &q  (Read 18111 times)
MK Snyder
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« on: November 23, 2002, 10:09:06 PM »

Just for the record.

Applying them to *combat systems* is a pretty weird thing to do. The whole "mixing sex with violence" vocabulary does not sit well with me, not to mention that it isn't going to help all the gamers who are already embarassed about their hobby to use such sloppy (oops, sorry) terminology.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2002, 07:45:41 AM »

Hi Maryanne,

A bit ago, I went on a toot in the Adept Press forum about how stupid Star Wars is. The Force, blah blah, and so on. You know what Benjamin (bailywolf) said?

"Oh, pish posh poo."

It cracked me up. He'd nailed me. Although he was happy to acknowledge or discuss the limitations of the material, Benjamin neatly demonstrated that I was getting more interested in How It Looks or how We in this Forum are Mighty and Grand, than in making sense to one another.

I don't know you very well yet, but that's the only reason why I'm not simply quotin' Benjamin at you and stopping there. I shall, instead, go on and clarify the situation about these terms in particular.

I'm happy to change the terms Vanilla/Pervy - once we slam'em together a few times and work out the (um) kinks. Already several of my starting perceptions about them have altered through the current discussions, which is great. I think a lot of people have benefited from my initial presentation.

Terms don't get constructed in gleaming Kubrick laboratories; they come up through co-option and sudden discussion. I agree with you that attention to keeping them from becoming inaccessible jargon is a good thing. That's what we're doing right now. As I say, the terms in question may well change over the next few weeks, both in content and as terms.

I'll even give away a (whoooo) secret: That's why I brought them up.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2002, 10:38:51 AM »

Yeah, these terms were created via biogenesis; they just formed themselves over a few discusions and really started with someone wanting to use a self-depricating term for themselves. As such, I've been waiting for someone to propose a better set of terms for what these have come to stand for.

Accident is no way to create a set of terms. Nor do I think that anyone disagrees with that.

OTOH, the terms are, in a peculiar way, apt. They refer to the propensity for the players to go far afield from "Norms" to get the specialized strokes they are looking for. As such, any replacement terms should try to keep this feel. I am reminded of the movie "From the Hip" where Judd Nelson as a rising litagator decides to argue that the court include the term "Asshole" on the Transcripts because no other term quite carries the meaning as well.

Direct and Indirect? See the problem? The more I think of terms, the more I make the case for keeping what would othewise be objectionable terms.

Anyone want to take a stab at it?

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2002, 11:18:13 AM »

Hi there,

I like the "points of contact" terms that were proposed a couple of days ago. So far, they seem descriptive and helpful, as long as "contact" is understood as the interaction between rules-procedure and imaginative addition to "what's happening."

Best,
Ron
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J B Bell
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Posts: 267


« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2002, 11:36:04 AM »

OK, hopefully the Forge may be able to forgive the one time I've ever posted this brand of whining, but a little bit ago[1] I proposed "thick" (or "dense") vs. "diffuse", to mesh with the "points of contact" notion, and there wasn't any response.  I think my post was in the dreaded "last on a page" position, so just possibly folks missed it.

In any case, if you don't like it, I can take it.  I mean, I'll cry, alone, in my room, with my candles burning and playing The Smiths, but I'll keep a brave face here.

--JB

[1] here - not last, but second-to-last, as it turns out.

(edited to add URL of referenced post)
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Manu
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Posts: 57


« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2002, 12:21:12 PM »

I dream of a Forge where each concept created or debated in the threads has:

- a full blown article at least referring to it, if not explaining it in some depth, like Ron's essaysdid for GNS and related topics.
- a short, strict definition for Forgeites.
- a simplified, maybe even to the risk of being misleading to the profane explanation for total beginners or refresher course; further reading could clarify initial mistakes. A list of synonyms would help get our minds around it, but reading the true definiton would be essential, once again.

Now, if I had time, I'd do this myself, going thru every post and distilling the essence. But this damn real world interferes about 90% of the time. I can't even drop by here half as much as last year...:(

Mmm, not very constructive I'm afraid. But sometimes I get lost in the lingo , honestly, and I don't see myself as particularly dull or dense.
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Manu
Le Joueur
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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2002, 02:59:15 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
I like the "points of contact" terms that were proposed a couple of days ago. So far, they seem descriptive and helpful, as long as "contact" is understood as the interaction between rules-procedure and imaginative addition to "what's happening."

So I guess we're talking about "Full-Contact" and "Touch-Only" game systems?  Ooph!

Maybe somebody with a background in dead languages oughta give it a try.

Fang Langford
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2002, 09:58:16 PM »

Quote from: Le Joueur
Maybe somebody with a background in dead languages oughta give it a try.


Vernacular and Pedantic? Hmmm. Looking at those gives us som e synonyms and antonyms.

Natural and Ideosyncratic?

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2002, 08:12:55 AM »

Oh golly,

I'm thinkin' the "points of contact" is just fine, and keeping further designations restricted to (a) what aspect of the game and (b) relative to some other game. In all seriousness, anyone have a better idea?

To me, at this point anyway, "dense vs. diffuse" carries a lot of extra meaning to people, much like coarse vs. fine tend to mean god-knows-what-all when I see them on-line.

Best,
Ron
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J B Bell
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Posts: 267


« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2002, 11:32:07 AM »

I guess I'm cool with that.  Using the more verbose terminology encourages one to be more specific, too, and more comprehensible to those not up on the Forge's cant.

Quote
The Meet the Feebles RPG has a unique sexual-politics mechanic, which has many points of contact with the system before coming to resolution of a sex scene.


Quote
Though the core of Sorcerer is Humanity, the system has fairly sparse points of contact for resolving the issues of Humanity, leaving definitions almost entirely up to the playing group.  Some may find this freeing; others may flounder with the relative lack of stricture and direction . . .


Like that?

--JB
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2002, 11:53:24 AM »

Hi J B,

Yeah, pretty much ... except that for Sorcerer, I tend to think of the definition of Humanity as more of a Social Contract issue than a System issue. I'd say something like, um ...

"The points of contact in a complex Sorcerer conflict (like combat) are a little bit fewer and differently-ordered from those in Legend of the Five Rings. In Sorcerer, the first step is getting every character's intended actions stated among the group. The second is determining whether anyone receives any bonuses (and noting existing penalties as well); then everyone rolls simultaneously. The order is set by the highest to lowest values; each action may be considered "half completed" at this point. Each is then resolved in that order, with defending characters choosing to abort their intended actions or remaining with them, and with penalties accumulating as blows land.

"In Legend of the Five Rings, a more traditional initiative roll, per character, determines the order of actions. Actions are then announced from last to first, then resolved one by one from first to last. Each attack is countered by a Target Number with many modifiers to be determined, or sometimes by a rolled action like Dodge; in many cases, styles of swordsmanship and advantages/disadvantages provide modifiers as well.

"Little Fears has fewer points of contact than either game. The first step is to check which features of the character add dice to or subtract dice from the player's single starting die, and to determine whether the conflict is a Quiz or a Test. The single roll resolves the conflict."

That was more or less the idea I had in mind. I think an important point overall is that P/V [or, unless anyone really has any horrible problem with it, the "points of contact" concept] is best applied to direct system comparisons, in terms of similar things being resolved by the systems being compared. Above, it was the order and resolution of combat.

Best,
Ron
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Emily Care
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« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2002, 11:56:26 AM »

So, would we specify the "points of contact"? It works to make explicit the relative nature of what you're getting at.  ie: "Mechanic a of Game X has n points of contact, versus Game Y's n+3 points for a similar component."  But I'm not sure all games can be quantified like that.

Also, if Vanilla and Pervy ain't the terms of choice for the concept that Ron's talking about. (The following was about "Vanilla"]
Quote from: The Professor
The defining factor is that the System requires fairly little point-by-point correspondence from System Outcome to imagined event, and the system requires very little reference to secondary (modifying) rules.  
...then Vanilla and Pervy may be up for grabs with respect to different meanings. Vincent's thread Pervy in My Head could be one.

--Emily Care

edited to be less redundant...
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2002, 06:55:17 PM »

It's not that I don't like points of contact; it's good enough, as jargon goes. However, I think if I read that Vampire: the Masquerade has a lot of points of contact, I'd think that it meant the average person could easily relate to the setting and/or system because they could identify with aspects of it.

At the risk of derailing an otherwise acceptable phrase, let me suggest that what we're really discussing is (is it?) links in the resolution chain. That is, a resolution chain is a sequence of steps that must be followed from the moment you recognize that an outcome must be determined up until that outcome is determined. Thus in Multiverser, an attack would run something like this:
    [*]Player announces intent to attack opponent.
    [*]Referee gets sum of player attack numbers (which may be summed already, depending on group preferences).
    [*]Referee adjusts for bias.
    [*]Referee subtracts defender modifiers.
    [*]Dice are rolled.
    [*]Referee determines whether attack is successful.
    [*]Reading same roll, referee determines damage if successful, or degree of failure if failed.
    [/list:u]
    That's a chain; each event is a link.

    And I think that if anyone read "Little Fears as a very short resolution chain", they would have a pretty good idea what that meant; more so if it said "there are very few links in the Little Fears resolution chain."

    Well, I offer it; I'm sure there are problems with any term, but I don't see the flaws in this one yet.

    --M. J. Young
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    M. J. Young
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    « Reply #13 on: November 25, 2002, 07:08:42 PM »

    Footnote re: Multiverser Chain

    It occurs to me that the normal mode of play is a bit different. I think nearly every referee has done things this way, but doesn't realize it. The normal chain is more like this:
      [*]Player announces intent to attack opponent.
      [*]Dice are rolled.
      [*]If there is any question as to whether the roll is successful or not, referee gets sum of player attack numbers (which may be summed already, depending on group preferences) and then
      [*]Referee adjusts for bias (again if there was any question of success) and then
      [*]Referee subtracts defender modifiers (again if there was any question of success) and then
      [*]Referee determines whether attack is successful, if such determination was not already made.
      [*]Reading same roll, referee determines damage if successful, or degree of failure if failed.
      [/list:u]
      In four out of five rolls, most referees will know at a glance whether that is a success or a failure; and once those middle steps have been done for one attack, they will only change if someone does something different. Thus the system truncates its own chain.

      I think most people do this. Very few Dungeon Masters look at their screen on every roll, and few players wait for them to do so. I often hear players say, "I hit him with a 12 a moment ago; I'm sure I can hit him with a 14." But it should probably be considered in evaluating the chain of a system. Someone asked whether the attack numbers for Multiverser were already summed; and the answer is, they are if that's how the people want to do it. Some will do it when the skill changes; some whenever they first use it in a new world; some when they enter combat with it. No one will add them up every time, unless they're really entirely disorganized and don't know what they're doing. The chain may be a different length at different points in play, even for the same action.

      --M. J. Young
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      MK Snyder
      Member

      Posts: 116


      « Reply #14 on: November 29, 2002, 08:16:39 PM »

      Are we talking about *steps* here?

      How many steps there are in resolving combat?

      Or other situations involving random determinations (dice rolls)?
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