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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Scene Framing  (Read 15592 times)
Delta1
Member

Posts: 24


« on: May 31, 2003, 05:41:35 AM »

I have heard this term bandied about in relation to Sorcerer.  I have no clue really what it means?  Would anyone care to elaborate? Is someone reading a different set of rpg's/books to me?

Thanks in advance

Sean
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C. Edwards
Member

Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2003, 07:58:37 AM »

Hey Sean,

Here's a link to a thread where scene framing is covered. There are a few more you can find by doing a search, but this one should get you up to speed.

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=313&highlight=scene+framing

-Chris
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Delta1
Member

Posts: 24


« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2003, 05:49:50 AM »

Quote from: C. Edwards
Hey Sean,

Here's a link to a thread where scene framing is covered. There are a few more you can find by doing a search, but this one should get you up to speed.

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=313&highlight=scene+framing

-Chris


Thanks Chris.  I have read the thread and have a stronger impression in my mind of what scene framing is.  Still not 100% Will keep reading.
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Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2003, 07:16:03 AM »

Hi Sean,

Joe Murphy and I have been doing the PM thang on this subject, I asked his permission to put something up, so here's something that may help you out:

I say:

Quote
Ok, I'll try to summarize Scene Framing for you. First I'll start with a comparison of what it isn't:

Traditional play is location based. That is events occur or don't occur based on the location of PCs. This is a holdover from Dungeoncrawling, and the trick becomes either herding PCs to a particular spot or trying to get the interesting stuff to come to them. Players become particularly possessive over the power to control where "my guy goes".

This is not unlike a typical videogame. You end up having to "walk through" areas in order to get from point A to point B. This eats up a god-awful amount of time in play, and represents the "boring" part of play.

So consider this scenario: The PCs want to catch a boat over to another land.

Under location based play, they go down to the docks, have to look around, and ask questions to see who is going where, then they have to waste anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days until the ship takes off, etc.

Now let's jump over to scene framing. Scene Framing works just like movies and tv. You cut, cut, cut out anything that doesn't need to happen.

This is where people get confused. "Need to happen" gets confused with the location (above). So, if the party wants to get on a boat to the other land, by use of scene framing you'll cut to one of the following:

-Negotiation over price of passage(it is assumed they asked around, and now are getting the tickets)
-The boat ride(They handled all that)
-or, the boat arriving at the new harbor, and the PCs hopping off.

What determines where, and what you cut to? Simple: Interest. Whatever is interesting takes priority as to where you cut the scene, and location is pushed to the side. This is also how you set up Bangs in the traditional sense, because you now are setting up the location, the general gist of the scene, instead of trying to herd PCs into it. It requires trust on the parts of players that you will put their characters in interesting scenes, and some hot water, but not hose them.

At first, this will feel like railroading, because suddenly you'll be declaring where their characters are at, a general idea of what they're doing, and setting up a situation that they'll have to react to. But by being hands off about the reactions, that's opening up the door for protagonist play.

So to give the example that introduced me to scene framing, Clinton was running TROS for me and some guys. He opened the game by describing a scene where my character was in confession and another PC was inpersonating the priest(w/o my character's knowledge). And then he said, "Go!"

What he did was scene frame a situation where you just know something interesting is going to happen, but no one knows what the hell it is.


Chris
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Bob McNamee
Member

Posts: 685


« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2003, 03:16:53 PM »

Hey, thanks for posting this kind of stuff. Its a help to my Trollbabe-Demigods game! (I keep having to resist the old location based play)

And that old thread is great to reread now that I've played around with games and scene framing!.
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
Malechi
Member

Posts: 186


WWW
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2003, 04:12:55 PM »

Sorry if this has been asked before, but when you say:

Quote
But by being hands off about the reactions, that's opening up the door for protagonist play.


What exactly are you meaning?  What/Whose reactions are you referring to?  I think I get what protagonist play is.. play whereby the PCs are the movers/shakers/decision makers, in the sense of the storyline that is...

Once again I apologise if this has been brought up before...could someone point me to a good thread on this if it has been covered (no doubt) :)

cheers

Jason :)
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Katanapunk...The Riddle of Midnight... http://members.westnet.com.au/manji/
Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2003, 08:03:00 PM »

Hi Jason,

No problem.  Since I lost the PM to Joe that was my followup, I'll try to hit some of the salient points and help you out...

He brought up his idea of "Scene Trimming" which is the idea of cutting out the boring stuff, which was recommended in Feng Shui, and by a few other folks regarding GM advice in general.  My point was that Scene Framing is not just a "trim" but also puts things in motion, so that the players are given some incentive to DO something.  From my Ball analogy, its a set up or a hard pass.

To give you a comparative example:

Standard Play

GM-Where do you go?
Player- Batman goes from his cave to the docks to rough up some guys for info
(scenes ensue, info is gathered)
GM-Where do you go?
Player- Batman goes to the warehouse to wait for the shipment.
GM-What do you do?
(etc.)

Scene Framing

GM- 4 hours, 3 contusions, and one cracked rib later, you find yourself damn well freezing crouched upon a rafter in a seedy warehouse.  Down below, you see the weapons shipment is a bit more heavy powered than you anticipated...must be the Army's new android soldiers...What do you do?
Player- (See response examples below)

Notice that if we're talking the typical Illusionist/Sim sort of play, the point of the GM asking, "What do you do?" is pretty pointless because there's really only a couple of "right" answers that will get the PC to the next event in game.  With Scene Framing, there's not need to "lead" Batman to the action, you just throw him right in.

Quote
What exactly are you meaning? What/Whose reactions are you referring to? I think I get what protagonist play is.. play whereby the PCs are the movers/shakers/decision makers, in the sense of the storyline that is...


Ok, so check the first example.  The GM is wasting game time asking "What do you do?"when, in effect, the answers are limited or predetermined.  The player really doesn't have any kind of input.  The second example, yeah, the player doesn't have any input into "how he got there", but the input comes into, "What happens next..."  So let's go into some possible responses on part of the player....

Scene A
Player- Batman throws down smoke bombs and jumps from the rafter, smacking people left and right, tossing batarangs, etc.!

Scene B
Player- Batman carefully sneaks up and places a tracer on the shipment!

Scene C
Player- Batman decides to call in the Bat-jet and "nuke it from orbit...it's the only way to be sure"!

Scene D
Player- Batman decides to call it a night and make it back in time for his date, and let the cops handle it.

So, here we have 4 possible examples, out of an infinite amount of possibilities.  The key point here is that the GM shouldn't limit what is the "right response" for the player.  Granted, C & D are uncharacteristic of Batman, but if we had another similar character put in, one who is either a bit more ruthless, or less driven, one could easily see those as possible results.

For protagonistic play to work, the players have to be free to make any kind of response to the situations you present to them, including to drop it completely("We're in the tavern, and you expect us to take a job, involving danger, from a person who won't show his face, and won't tell us who we're really working for....right....").  The responses the players make, make a statement about  who that character is.

So, response A shows you guts and glory Batman.  Response B shows you careful calculating Batman.  Response C shows you ruthless vigilante Batman.  Response D shows you a Batman no one familiar with the character would recognize.  If you remove Batman as the character, and swap "Heroman", each of those responses tells you something very important about "Heroman".  

In other words, for a player to be able to express what their character is about, they need to have the freedom to make whatever decisions, or responses to what happens, that they desire.  

Second, by not limiting the player's choice in responses, you've effectively given the players the "Ball".  You've said, "Here's the set up, now tell me what happens next?"  

If the player chooses A, action happens now.   If the player chooses B, action happens later, tension builds, etc.  If the player chooses C, most likely the crime syndicate will be after his ass hardcore, plus the police and military may step in.  If he choooses D, then obviously the social roleplaying is more important to the player.

You set up the scene, the player reacts and tells you where this game will go by reaction and simultaneously tells you about his or her character.

Chris
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clehrich
Member

Posts: 1557


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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2003, 08:21:38 PM »

Sorry, I'm now confused.  I would have thought that with scene framing, the question "Where do you go?" would be valid, but intended not as "Do you go to the right place or not?" but as "Where would you like the next scene to take place?"  Am I totally lost here?
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Chris Lehrich
Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2003, 08:49:30 PM »

Hi Chris,

Apparently I've made myself unclear-  

Yes, giving the player input as to "What kind of scene happens next" is one option(see Trollbabe for an explicit example), but is not necessary.

What I was doing was comparing traditional Illusionist/Sim play to Protagonist play based Scene Framing.  With the former, you are herding the characters along an event path.  With the latter, you do not.

What I am saying is that if you're going to put the character in Situation X, no matter what, why ask the question?  (in Sim/Illusionist play).  If the character is going to go to Situation Y, afterwards, no matter what they do, or because you "force" their hand via railroading tricks, why ask the question?

Now, if you ask the question, and leave it completely in the players' hands to answer it whatever they will, and roll with it, you have no idea what Situation will come up.  Give them Point A, let them choose Point B-Z as they will, and then put them there, and let them choose another point.  

Am I still being unclear?  

Chris
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Delta1
Member

Posts: 24


« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2003, 01:06:22 AM »

Bankuei,

Thank you for your explantion.  I found it quite clear.  I think I actually do a little Scene framing without realising it.  

Scene framing and Bangs.  Are these similar, are they the same?.  With bangs you are supposed to be getting to the point - to the action, framing a scene so that the players have to react?

Thanks again.
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Malechi
Member

Posts: 186


WWW
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2003, 01:13:37 AM »

I can see one "revolutionary" thing that will eventuate from me putting these techniques into practice.  I'll either have very short game sessions, or normal length sessions with more action than normal.  With all the time cleaved with "and then you travel over the Plains of Azura-kesh till you get to Kanda...what do you do now?" kind of things I'll have to come up with a lot more to keep the players active it seems.  This can only be a good thing I'm thinking.

One thing that comes to mind however, sometimes the bits in between the action or scenes have provided the most interesting roleplaying we've had, and unexpected revelations like "that npc is actually really interesting and might be cool put into the story more deeply" etc... my GMing style is mostly "on the fly" with R-Maps done in my head or on paper (rarely)...
More precisely...How does exposition and character development work in the context of Scene Framing, Bangs etc?  Does character development come out in these scenes that are tailored specifically by the GM?  Does the fact that the protagonist angle is now clearly at the forefront provide the player with enough opportunity to develop his character, or am I mixing my apples and oranges and thinking Sim instead of Narr?

Jason (loving these boards)
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Katanapunk...The Riddle of Midnight... http://members.westnet.com.au/manji/
joshua neff
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Posts: 949


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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2003, 04:08:51 AM »

Jason--

Quote
I can see one "revolutionary" thing that will eventuate from me putting these techniques into practice. I'll either have very short game sessions, or normal length sessions with more action than normal.


That second one.

Quote
With all the time cleaved with "and then you travel over the Plains of Azura-kesh till you get to Kanda...what do you do now?" kind of things I'll have to come up with a lot more to keep the players active it seems. This can only be a good thing I'm thinking.


It's a very good thing. I enjoy my gaming sessions SO much more now that all of that "filler" has been cut out.
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2003, 04:31:42 AM »

You can see some of the same ideas behind Scene Framing in how action movies have changed over the past couple of decades.

Take a typical Dirty Harry movie.  Clint discovers the identity of some body he needs to question.  We watch Clint walk out of the stationhouse.  We watch him get in the car.  We watch the car drive down the street.  We get a cut to the interior where we can watch Clint get all squinty.  More shots of driving down the street.  A red light.  Losing a hubcap going around a corner.  We watch Clint get out of the car.  He shuts the car door.  He walks up to the house.  He rings the doorbell.  We watch Clint wait for the door to be answered...etc.

No think of how that scene could go with more aggressive scene framing.

Clint discoveres the identity of somebody he needs to question.
Cut to scene in interrogation room.
Woman says "why have you brought me here, I don't know nothin"

or
Cut to scene at front door
Woman says "what do you want, I already talked to the police"

or
Cut to scene at front door
Something doesn't feel right, theres a smell of gas in the air
BOOM.


Its amazing going back and watching some of those older movies, how much STUFF is in there that we rarely see in movies any more.  It really boils down to a question of pacing.

In RPGs its both a question of pacing and a question of getting to the points where the PCs actually matter and the player's decisions actually make a difference.
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Walt Freitag
Member

Posts: 1039


« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2003, 07:12:18 AM »

Good points, Ralph. Along similar lines, I use the example of Law & Order, the TV show. They use aggressive scene framing and they're unusually overt about it, with the distinctive two-beat sound effect and where-and-when screen titles marking each scene jump. Once a character announces an intention to pursue any course of action or inquiry, the scene changes within a sentence or two later. And when we already know what question is going to be asked or request made, we jump into mid-conversation so that we don't have to listen to the part we already know is going to happen.

"I think we should have a chat with this Clinton guy. Where does he live?"

[Bump-Bum][Screen title: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, 9:30 AM]

"I tell you, I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

That's how they manage to portray a whole investigation (with at least one false lead or wrong suspect or major complication) and the ensuing trial (with at least one surprise legal maneuver or major twist) into one forty-minute "hour."

- Walt
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Wandering in the diasporosphere
Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2003, 08:27:18 AM »

Hi Delta,

Quote
Scene framing and Bangs. Are these similar, are they the same?. With bangs you are supposed to be getting to the point - to the action, framing a scene so that the players have to react?


They aren't necessarily the same, you could Scene Frame a scene without a Bang, without momentum.

GM- Its raining hard on a muggy July night, the four of you are sitting in a seedy hotel room just outside of town....

Nothing's happening here, there's nothing to react to, and not necessarily anything to "do".  Notice that this also gives folks a chance to sit down and plan, discuss, or take a breather if you want.  

As Ron would put it, this is the Bassist putting the tempo into downtime, giving folks a break.  But for most of the game, you'll want to be driving action via bangs, making things happen, and giving breaks less often, as opposed to the opposite which is usually the case.  Notice that in most games, the players go along with a clue to a clue to a clue because they're driving for that action, as opposed to taking a well needed break from the action.   Like Ralph put it, watch movies, it will give you an excellent feel for what I'm talking about.

Quote
One thing that comes to mind however, sometimes the bits in between the action or scenes have provided the most interesting roleplaying we've had, and unexpected revelations like "that npc is actually really interesting and might be cool put into the story more deeply" etc... my GMing style is mostly "on the fly" with R-Maps done in my head or on paper (rarely)...


Jason, you'll note that you can always insert a downtime scene at will, which may be necessary if your players are very big on the cross interaction stuff("talking heads").  If you've got a group of players who can make interesting dialogue scenes between themselves(think the hitmen from Pulp Fiction), then you've got something nice going on.  What may be a good pacing decision is 1 downtime scene for every 2 Bangs, allowing them to comment on the action as they go.

Quote
More precisely...How does exposition and character development work in the context of Scene Framing, Bangs etc? Does character development come out in these scenes that are tailored specifically by the GM? Does the fact that the protagonist angle is now clearly at the forefront provide the player with enough opportunity to develop his character, or am I mixing my apples and oranges and thinking Sim instead of Narr?


Check out the Batman example.  What's very interesting about "Hands-off the PCs" style play is that it allows the characters to speak with their actions, more than just their words.  Consider this scene example, and what it says to you about the character:

John and Jill are standing in the rain, Jill has a gun...

A) Jill-"I love you" drops gun, hugs John
B) Jill-"I love you", cries, then shoots John
C) Jill-"I love you", hugs John, then shoots him
D) Jill-"I love you", shoots herself

Notice that she says the same thing, but her actions have serious meaning because they either solidly reaffirm her words, or give different light to them, or contradict them completely.  Her words and her actions complement each other, either saying she really loves him, loves him but has to kill him anyway, is a ruthless bitch, or loves him but can't deal with the situation.  Notice that the 4 examples don't map 1 to 1 to what is being said(more context is necessary to figure out which is which).

The only real apples and oranges being mixed here is confusing the issue of character development with the character speaking only.  The character making actions, tells you a lot.  Consider the Man with No Name, or Snakeeyes from GI Joe.  Say little or nothing, but they definitely have character.

Chris
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