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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 221 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Top 5 Begins!  (Read 9220 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2001, 01:24:00 PM »

Marco,
Yep, I've read through most of the JAGS stuff, and, yes, simulationist all the way so far. I'd like to comment on The Belltower. Some of what follows is not a nice assessment, so if you don't want to hear my criticisms please stop reading now. But I'm really tring to understand.

The Belltower is not an RPG scenario in my opinion. Or rather I can't see anyone running it or playing it as an RPG. Reading through it, it was an interesting story. But you are right when you say that the players cannot lose the scenario. From what I can see, they cannot have any effect on the direction that the scenario takes. Is this what you mean by ensuring that a story turns out "right"? Have you ever run the scenario? Or more importantly, played it? Are those player cards actually meant to be read verbatim by the players? Why not just make a play of it and put it on stage, and have actors ad lib the dialog that you haven't already included? That is what you have in The Belltower. There are some CoC adventures that are written somewhat like this, but none that I've ever seen which go this far.

This seems very odd to me, and at odds with what you've said elsewhere. There would be no dramatic moments in The Belltower due to die rolling. Very quickly players will realize that they have no power to control the direction that their characters go in, much less the game as a whole, and that any die roll is just for color as they were handed from godlike being to godlike being. The satisfaction that I get from roleplaying (and I'd hazard a guess most others as well) is from being able to contribute to the world at least as far as controling my own character's actions and having those actions have some significance. Even if it is failure, that's better than no significance at all. Even in the most extreme railroading games, most would agree I think that the players should at least have some illusion of ability to add to the game.

I am truly puzzled. Most simulationists these days are working towards mechanics to simulate their genre and make it more "realistic" so that they can appreciate the natural outcome produced. They do this by giving the player an environment in which the decisions he makes will tend to produce appropriate effects or even by limiting the range of the decisions in some cases, but not by making those decisions for them. Similarly, with narrativism, people are working towards giving the players power to create story and letting them loose, not forcing them to make good stories. And there is no challenge; as you said, the players can't lose, so there are no gamist elements to it.

Sorry, I don't get it at all.

Mike Holmes
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Marco
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« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2001, 03:54:00 PM »

Hey! You don't need to 'get it.' Firstly, I did run it and the players *loved* it (two other groups have loved it as well). Appearently they liked the story direction, the story telling, etc.

The player-cards are a way of controlling play-flow without the GM saying "You see the new night-club that's opened in town and want to go in." Instead the GM hands them the card (which says "you've kinda been interested in that new club and think it might be fun to go with your friends.") and they look it over and then play in character (or not, a player can certainly ignore the card--but why would they do that?)

A couple of other points:
1. The Belltower has a *WARNING* on it. It warns the reader that it's weird and not to waste time on it if they don't like that sort of thing.

2. It's not a simulationist game. It's the second JAGS module we did (we didn't advertise it anywhere but the site--and with the same warning). It's an interactive story. The pleasure comes from roleplaying your character in a very werid situation.

The PC's (and I play with some gamist-munchkins) got a real kick out of it. Some of it came from digressions that aren't in there (when the PC's were looking for jobs a character with photographic memory tried to get a local bartender to hire himself out as a ringer in a card game). Some of it came from trying to figure out what was going on. Some of it came from enjoying the story.

It doesn't contain any dramatic dice-rolling. That's not the point of the module. It most definitely *is* an RPG adventure (at least three groups have played and enjoyed it). One group just loved making characters with all the special 'slacker' abilities.  One guy is writing a sequle to it.

So you might not like it and it might not fit your idea of what JAGS is (or whatever) but the feedback's been more good than bad.

As far as the PC's having no effect on the outcome: I don't know if they do or not. The way it's written they don't, really. The way it played they could have changed a lot of things. IMHO The Belltower is for the right group of players in the right mindset: looking for the experience.

Since it's more or less a story, I'd say that's narrativist with the players more or less observing and playing in character rather than directing.

Hey, I'd like to know what you think of our cool cyberpunk game StarPower!
-Marco

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JAGS (Just Another Gaming System)
a free, high-quality, universal system at:
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Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
Marco
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« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2001, 04:01:00 PM »

Jesse,

You're right. I knew (should have known) that dice-fudging wasn't narrativism (I meant that the GM was trying to keep the 'plot' on track).

I agree with your assement.
-Marco
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JAGS (Just Another Gaming System)
a free, high-quality, universal system at:
http://www.jagsrpg.org
Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2001, 05:22:00 AM »

Marco,

All assessments of JAGS or the module aside, your references to what Narrativism is are truly hair-raising - even your "corrected" ones.

Dialogue at the Forge is based on at least provisional agreement on definitions, or, if that can't happen, debate about the definitions. Please feel free to contact me by private e-mail, or to begin a GNS thread about basic Narrativism or other definitions, 'cause currently your use of the terms is setting up roadblocks rather than helping us to discuss things.

Best,
Ron
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Ian O'Rourke
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« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2001, 06:16:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-10-04 19:54, Marco wrote:

Since it's more or less a story, I'd say that's narrativist with the players more or less observing and playing in character rather than directing.



Narrativist design/playing style and the phrase 'players are more or less observing' don't belong in the same sentence!

This is what narrativism isn't - the whole point is the players drive and create the plot, the GM just exists cut/edit and keep it flowing (not get bogged down) as per their player driven direction.

They don't have to be having director stance, but they control the direction of the story.

Ron's suggestion was probably a good one.
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Ian O'Rourke
www.fandomlife.net
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Valamir
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« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2001, 12:03:00 PM »

If nothing else this thread is trumpeting in loud brassy tones the necessity for a complete and useable FAQ, or manifesto, or shoot...at least a damn glossary.
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