*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
June 26, 2019, 07:06:13 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
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)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Open Play for the Soul  (Read 8295 times)
John Kim
Member

Posts: 1805


WWW
« on: November 26, 2003, 10:09:51 PM »

Quote from: Paganini
  Narrativism is about setting up a specific kind of choice for the characters to face. Call them urgent choices. For one reason or another, an urgent choice can't just be waved away or ignored. Because of the situation or the character or *something* in the context of the shared reality, the choice must be resolved one way or another. It won't just go away. The characters can't just laugh it off.

*This* is what addressing premise is really about! To imagine situation in such a way that the urgent choice is presented.  


Inspired by Nathan's explanation of http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=8756">Narrativism for the Soul, I thought I would bring in my own emotional view on morality/ethics and my campaigns.  I have no GNS identification for this, but it seems GNS-relevant.  I really don't want to have pat answers of "Oh, that's Nar" or "Oh, that's Sim", however.  I would be interested in more extended comparisons with other people's experiences.  

As I explained in http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=6178">this thread, my developed approach to campaign-building has been an open setup, where I as GM work primarily from in-game causes.  I was quite influenced by Richard Garfinkle's Mirrorworld game, which I played in 1992.  It was an experimental form in that it was 100% player-driven.  There was an overarching problem that the PCs were trying to solve (a slow invasion of their world), but it was on a scale of decades.  In short, there was no urgency.  It was dull at times, but as an experiment I was intrigued at how it turned the plot over to the players.  My Worlds-In-Collision campaign was really my reaction to that, attempting a similar structure to great success and with much more momentum.  

My prior experience was that the GM is seen as the pacesetter and originator of the action.  As GM, I would design adventures -- or at least would arrange situations where the PCs are forced to make important choices.  Some external circumstance would force the PCs into action: typically being offered a contract job or learning about the plans of a villain.  The key was the idea of urgency.  As GM, I felt I needed to initiate the action and set the pace.  I would be flexible in responding to player choices, but I also would force the players to make choices.  

What I have found with several of my campaigns (particularly Worlds-In-Collision, Water-Uphill, and Vinland) is that I had a great time without this.  As GM, I designed a fairly stable setup (cf. my http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=6178">explanation for more details).  If there are enemies of the PCs, they tend to prefer peaceful settlement or compromise.  Also, the action physically is close the PC's home (i.e. within the Scope) rather than being wandering adventures.  While the PCs do face problems, I don't design with any solutions in mind -- it is open-ended what the PCs do about them.  The result is that conflicts are created by the PCs rather than by the environment.  This meant that action depended on the PCs, but I found that strong/aggressive PCs were worth occaisional false starts.  It also meant that events quickly become complex rather than neatly resolving, but that also is something of a strength.  Now, this is not absolute.  There are still some external events which force the PCs into conflict, but it is the exception rather than the rule.  

What I really enjoy about this is the sense of discovery.  Over time, arranged situations/conflicts tended to feel shallow to me, compared to those which happened spontaneously.  For example, it was far more interesting to me when a PC fell in love with an existing NPC (or vice-versa) -- as opposed to designing an NPC specifically to be a love interest for a PC, which I have never gotten to work.  

This is counter-intuitive in many ways.  One would think that trying to design a love interest would surely make for a better romance.  However, my experience is the opposite.  I have not (until http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/theory/narrative/paradigms.html">recently) had any narrative theory to explain why this might be so.  Rather, it was the result of playing in a variety of styles and following features which I enjoyed.
Logged

- John
Ian Charvill
Member

Posts: 377


« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2003, 12:40:28 AM »

I have similar experiences with player-led games being (a) more fun to GM and (b) more fun for the players.  I'm afraid my theoretical conclusions are very striaghtforward and I may not have much meat to offer for discussion.  My conclusions are:

(a) Allowing players the lead means more surprises for me as GM, which I enjoy.

(b) Because the players have originated stuff - be it creating an NPC or a plot - they have a greater level of investment in it.  They have a greater level of engagement with the cool plot because it is their cool plot.
Logged

Ian Charvill
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2003, 12:56:47 AM »

Hi John,

Ian has pretty much summed up my thoughts on this as well.  Why is it more interesting when the player chooses to involve his PC in a romance?  Well, because the player is clearly interested in the romance, so there's more interest right there in the action and choices of the player.

I'm not sure though, that this is counter-intuitive.  It's certainly counter to what we've all been trained for two decades to think: that the GM is the driving force of the "story"; that the players are waiting around (if not lost) without the GM acting as the guiding agent for their fun; that the GM role is to craft the encounters, world and events that the players will find interesting.

That's been the logic.  And if I'd thought about for five seconds in years past I would have realized that it makes no sense whatseover.  It's this  point of view -- manifested and disseminated in RPG rule books, game articles, published modules and chat boards -- is the one that's counter-intuitive.  How could it possibly be true that if the GM, alone and in anticipation of actual play, plans everything the palyers will be interested, that there will be more interest at the table than if everyone at the table is manifesting what's of interest at the moment?

Its embarassing to me it seems like such a no-brainer now, but I could never get my head past this obvious point years ago: How to keep interest strong at the table?  Ask, listen, pay attention, respond and deliver.  And when this is done, the GM invariably recieves the same in kind.

Best,
Christopher
Logged

"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2003, 07:46:35 AM »

John,

This is exactly the set up I've been using for my Narrativist 3E game, and so your post definitely strikes a chord with me. It clearly defines a few items I've been trying to put into words for a while about the differences between the first stretch of sessions and the rest of the game.

After a very difficult beginning, where I was still trying to run the game (GM as pacesetter and originator of the action), I finally managed to work my way into giving the players the job of guiding the action.

This had the results you describe: increasing complexity of events caused by player reaction to events. As I've said a number of times in my posts about the game in Actual Play, the game is going places I never imagined.

As an additional note to this, the player who "took the ball and ran with it" is also the newest to role-playing. It was the older, more established role-players who had trouble coming to grips with being the directors of the action, often waiting for me to "do" something or tell them "what happens next" while the other would quickly respond with what they wanted to do now.

(At least in this case, it supports Ron's theory that newer players have an easier time with this player-driven method of play than do experienced role-players.)

So, I don't have much to add except that "It makes sense to me."
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
John Kim
Member

Posts: 1805


WWW
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2003, 01:04:44 PM »

Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
  Why is it more interesting when the player chooses to involve his PC in a romance?  Well, because the player is clearly interested in the romance, so there's more interest right there in the action and choices of the player.

I'm not sure though, that this is counter-intuitive.  It's certainly counter to what we've all been trained for two decades to think:
...
Its embarassing to me it seems like such a no-brainer now, but I could never get my head past this obvious point years ago: How to keep interest strong at the table?  Ask, listen, pay attention, respond and deliver.  And when this is done, the GM invariably recieves the same in kind.  

Wow.  I'd be interested to hear more about your early style and how you changed.  It sounds like you had a very different experience than me.  I pretty much always considered delivering to my players important.  Indeed, this was (and is) central to non-open play for me -- i.e. if the players wanted romance, it was up to me as GM to support romance, generally by arranging an appropriate romantic partner.  If they wanted action, it was also up to me to deliver adventures with more action.  It's been rewarding at times, but I think the main problem is that it is hard on the GM.  

My shift to open play was away from this... I would to some degree cease to create in anticipation of the players.  So I would prepare  things (i.e. locations/NPCs/background) within a Scope according to what I found interesting.  The plot wasn't my job.  Instead, I made sure that the PCs were capable of taking a variety of actions within that Scope, and interesting plots would follow.  

To take the example of romance: it was always the case that I would only present a romantic sub-plot at the choice of the player.  The player would have a hand in this -- for example, by specifying a DNPC in Champions, and/or by OOC talk with me as GM.  However, the player being interested in a PC romance in general didn't mean that the specific match would actually be interesting in play.  My experience has been that if I design an NPC specifically as a romantic interest, the romance is uninteresting in play.  Even if the player is involved (perhaps especially so), there is no discovery.  

In contrast, I have had very interesting romances between pre-existing characters who were not designed as romantic partners.  (These are rare in any case, but I can think of five examples.)  A romance can perhaps be pushed or manipulated, but it cannot be created.  For example, Melnir the Skeptic was an existing character in my Vinland campaign.  A Whimsy Card was played that he was romantically interested in Silksif the Wise.  Various other romances had been suggested by cards, but this one actually stuck and has become interesting.
Logged

- John
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2003, 05:02:40 PM »

Hi John,

I should clarify.  There were two phases of my gaming career: high school, which was fun; and full gear sim mode (usually as a player) combined with working within the field of RPG publishing.

In High School, it was giving them what they wanted, following up what they seemed interested in and so on.  I did this intuitively, and without problem.

Once I got into publishing, well...  Remember, published modules that try to be "stories" (not gamist dungeon crawls), were "stories" with absolutely interchangeable protagonists.  It was assumed that the players would be interested because modules included hooks for the *characters*.  This flies in the fact of actually letting the session be built by the interest in the players becasuse the publishers never met the players.

However, I was trying to buck this the whole time.  When I worked on the design for Torg, I was the one who said, "We need to give the players more control, we need to give them a mechanic for helping shape the story to what they want it to be."

Thus, in the Trog Drama Deck, you had the Romantic Subplot card.  When you played it, you named an NPC and you and the GM were off and running.  (Note that this was desgined to throw the GM off as well, so that, to a degree he got to enjoy thinking on his toes just like players normally do.)

Once I spoke to another game designer about this.  He said, "If one of the PCs is going to have a romantic subplot in a game I'm running, *I'll be the one to make it happen."

I was stunned.  I didnt't know how to phrase the response.  Because the entire publishing industry was based on producing source books and modules that assumed "This is the way things are, you will be interested in this elaborate background, this mission from Mr. Johnson."  The idea was always to justify the PC interest in these things.  I knew this was wrong, but by this time my thinking had been so addled by the needs for publishing and the general habits of the groups I had played with, that I couldn't think in terms of the players.  For the most part, it was assumed that game world just sort of went on without any input from the players.  

I'm not saying everyone experienced this.  But I certainly did.

I tried in different projects to alter this: In Earthdawn, for example, a PC could dedicate himself to one of a dozen Passions, and clearly, if you were really into Home, Hearth and Healling, the GM might pick up on the clue and offer you more of it.  Or he could simply see it as "You picked these powers." I really couldn't camp out at every game.  

Hence leaving the hobby.  If I had firmly and consistantly argued the point I might have worn someone down.  But the truth is, the entire publishing model was built on the idea that the players just wanted to play -- and would play any damned thing as long as the "genre" color was correct for their taste.  That what mattered was the PCs involvement in the story, and not the players.

So, in short, this isn't how I ran my games at first, but, as I was paid to write material that sold, my thinking about games changed.

Bumping into the Forge, and Ron's blunt and aggressive observation that what matters is what matters to the players, not the characters, in terms of getting a story moving, was like an electroshock to the temples.

I had simply forgotten.  But, also, I was available to remember because I had no concern for publishing matieral for thousands of strangers, but just sitting around playing with a few people.

Christopher
Logged

"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
John Kim
Member

Posts: 1805


WWW
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2003, 05:42:36 PM »

Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
  I should clarify.  There were two phases of my gaming career: high school, which was fun; and full gear sim mode (usually as a player) combined with working within the field of RPG publishing.  

Aha!  I hadn't connected you with Torg -- but I look at my collection, and there it is.  I've got "The Destiny Map" (written by you), as well as Torg itself (with "Additional System Work" by you).  It gives me some insight, I think, into what you were reacting against.  

Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
  Because the entire publishing industry was based on producing source books and modules that assumed "This is the way things are, you will be interested in this elaborate background, this mission from Mr. Johnson."  The idea was always to justify the PC interest in these things.  I knew this was wrong, but by this time my thinking had been so addled by the needs for publishing and the general habits of the groups I had played with, that I couldn't think in terms of the players.  For the most part, it was assumed that game world just sort of went on without any input from the players.  

I'm not saying everyone experienced this.  But I certainly did.  

Just to compare, in my experience using pre-made adventure modules has been fairly rare.  This seems consistent with the few quantitative surveys I've seen, like the 1999 WotC survey and James Kittock's d20 Product Interest report.  It is certainly true for me, both as player and GM.  I'd say at least half of the games I have played or GMed in used completely home-brew setting and adventures, and even those in published settings only rarely used adventure modules (though they used other sourcebooks).  

I have used some published sourcebooks.  I guess the stuff I got the most mileage out of was my HERO system supplements (that being my most-used system).  I used them mostly for NPCs, villian or otherwise.  My favorite was Normals Unbound, along with Aaron Allston's Lands of Mystery.  

The few times when I have run adventure modules, they tend to be ones that focus on locations and NPCs rather than specifying an extended plot.  I use the locations and NPCs while adapting events to fit with the PCs.  I have run the Ravenloft and Ravenloft II adventures for AD&D (which were very well done, but hampered by the system), along with a few Champions adventures (including Champions Presents).  I'm fond of most of the Daredevils adventures, and several James Bond adventures -- but I've only run one or two.  

Now, I never played Torg, but from what I've read, Torg and Masterbook adventures seemed much more linear than ones I had used.  Their adventures break down into explicit Acts and Scenes  (I'm sure it was required by the company format).  In contrast, the modules I tend to like provided locations and NPCs (including their backgrounds), but were flexible in how those come together to form a plot.  So it was easier to integrate in connections and events which are relevant to the players.  This fits with my Open-within-Scope approach.
Logged

- John
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2003, 07:52:06 AM »

Hi John,

One more point: it wasn't just working for The Man.

Two groups I played with (who may or may not have been heavily influenced by modules, I don't know, I joined them after they were a "group") had a lot of influence on me as to what playing was "supposed" to be like.

The first was the Northwestern crew: programmers and physicists.  To them, it was all about the world. They wanted, and got, a multi-GM world running with five groups concurrently at the game club.  In in our private sessions, it was all about creating this thing that could keep going even if the PCs never showed up.  

The second group were what I call Story Simulationists: Justice Inc, CoC, and Star Wars were the games of choice.  The idea was to recreate all the genre trappings and what not and -- importantly -- make sure each PC fit into his or her "role" appropriately of "that kind of story."

Note that in the preceding two paragraphs, the concern was the PC -- not the player.  Everythere related to how the PC fit into the world or narrative.  The players job was to enable the PC to work propperly within the world or story.  It never occurredt to either of these groups to ask, "What really, really matters to you?  What matters to you that you want to co-create an evening of conversation about?"

Also, importantly, the second group obsessively, and the first group lightly, was into the whole "players only speak in character" thing.  It was seen as a sign of "experienced" sophistication.  I know I'm about to step on some toes when I say this, but I now see that habbit as pernicious and god-awful.

In light of this conversation, such a technique removes the voice of the player, leaving only the voice of the PC.  Again, we're left with only the PC and his interaction with the world or the GMs story.  How can the player matter if his voice can't be heard?  To me, and I know there are plenty of people who love this, its a horrible piece of the the "Shut up and learn your place" school of RPGs.

Finally, keep in mind that with the Story Sim, and even the Environmental Sims, there was no need to railroad or have a definite plot.  I know there was a lot of Illusionism going on with the Story Sim boys.  The point is, it was all an illusion to craft a story that felt like a story -- the shadow play of a story thing I referred to earlier.

See, for me a story actually, truly has to be about something that matters right now.  Emotionally and intellectually, right now.  Other than that, its fan fiction or eye candy CGIs.  When Antigone is arguing with Creon that her brother, who betrayed the State, has to be buried because he's family, and does this knowing if she doesn't shut up, Creon is going to kill her because he's set the law and he can't lose face -- that's a story.  (I suspect you might consider this "melodrama."  You and I work from different schools of story.  Mine is the older one that has lasted a long, long time.)

So, that's story.  When we sat around with my Story Sim group, with lots of great charcter work (really), and really great bits of color (really), it was still about nothing.  No choices were being made.  No issues that mattered to those of us at the table were really being laid out at the table.

Now, to a degree, I might just be missing the boat.  If these guys only wanted to make up stories that were like stories -- then everyone was being listened to as a player and all there needs were being met.

However, this was one of the most angry, fractuous group of players I'd ever bumped into.  I can sum it up this way: After leaving town for a while and stopping back, I spoke to one of the wives of one fo the players who had stopped playing with the group.  She was really happy.  I asked why.  She said, "Because Mitch doesn't come back really angry at Joe anymore."

All they did was get together to "play" -- but as far as I could tell the friendships were as thin as the winters' first sheet of ice.

I truly believe now that this is from sociallizing with folks who you never reveal anything to, and never learn anything about.  And this can only be addressed by actually revealing what matters.  Not in terms of what "kind" of story you want to create, not what sorts of "genre" elements you want, or clever bits or funny voices -- but to really, honestly, balls to the walls, set out in front of god and all, what matters to you, as a person, and establish the stakes, like a good story does, to make the stakes have consequences, and follow those consequences through to the end.

That would be, to me, respecting what the players want.  Creating an enviroment where everyone, in whatever calm or freaky way they want, can reveal who they are and explore all the passions, ideas, and feeling of being human.

Christopher
Logged

"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
John Kim
Member

Posts: 1805


WWW
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2003, 10:59:00 PM »

Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
  Note that in the preceding two paragraphs, the concern was the PC -- not the player.  Everythere related to how the PC fit into the world or narrative.  The players job was to enable the PC to work propperly within the world or story.  It never occurredt to either of these groups to ask, "What really, really matters to you?  What matters to you that you want to co-create an evening of conversation about?"

Also, importantly, the second group obsessively, and the first group lightly, was into the whole "players only speak in character" thing.  It was seen as a sign of "experienced" sophistication.  I know I'm about to step on some toes when I say this, but I now see that habbit as pernicious and god-awful.

In light of this conversation, such a technique removes the voice of the player, leaving only the voice of the PC.  Again, we're left with only the PC and his interaction with the world or the GMs story.  How can the player matter if his voice can't be heard?  To me, and I know there are plenty of people who love this, its a horrible piece of the the "Shut up and learn your place" school of RPGs.  

Unsurprisingly, I disagree with this.  Strangely enough, it makes me think of the commonly-bandied phrase on The Forge: "The PC doesn't exist."  If the PC is speaking, the player is speaking.  I find that in good games, the PC actions by themselves say a lot about the player.  Indeed, I think that PCs will often do or say things which reveal more than is shown in out-of-character (or even out-of-game) conversation.  The freedom of acting through a character means that the player can express different sides of themselves than they show out-of-game.  

For example, I am a fairly open person, but as I look back over my PCs I see that they reveal many different sides of myself.  Often, these are insights which are interesting even to me, let alone other people.  This holds true for the friends I have gamed with.  i.e. By gaming with Chris, I got to see Chris-as-Darbeloff and Chris-as-Desroges besides the Chris-as-Chris whom I chatted with out-of-game.  As I think back, I value the insights from PCs themselves more than any out-of-character commentary.  

It seems to me to be a trade-off.  The PC as a device means that there is an ambiguity.  The player can reasonably excuse herself by saying, "It's the character, it's not me" -- much as a fiction author can say "It's just a story, it's not real".  This means there is ambiguity which obscures the player's real views, but that very ambiguity allows the player to express things that they would not say about themselves.  Ultimately, someone's dreams, fantasies, and imaginings are about themselves as a person.  They might be harder to interpret than overt opinions, but they are incredibly rich with meaning when you look deeply at them.  Heck, even overt opinions rarely mean what they say at face value.  

Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
  When Antigone is arguing with Creon that her brother, who betrayed the State, has to be buried because he's family, and does this knowing if she doesn't shut up, Creon is going to kill her because he's set the law and he can't lose face -- that's a story.  (I suspect you might consider this "melodrama."  You and I work from different schools of story.  Mine is the older one that has lasted a long, long time.)  

Well, sure.  Everyone has different tastes in stories.  I'm not fond of classical Greek tragedies as a whole -- but I respect that your like them.  There are different traditions of stories, and many of them go back into prehistory.  Not all of them (even the old ones) are dramas about overt moral conflicts.  Much of world mythology is what would today be called action-adventure stories, where a hero slays a monster and so forth.  Does such stories lack meaning?  Of course not.  Mythology is rife with symbolism and many-layered meanings.  For example, when Hercules defeats the Lernean hydra, the purely physical conflict is brimming with symbolism and relevance.  

Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
  I truly believe now that this is from sociallizing with folks who you never reveal anything to, and never learn anything about.  And this can only be addressed by actually revealing what matters.  Not in terms of what "kind" of story you want to create, not what sorts of "genre" elements you want, or clever bits or funny voices -- but to really, honestly, balls to the walls, set out in front of god and all, what matters to you, as a person, and establish the stakes, like a good story does, to make the stakes have consequences, and follow those consequences through to the end.

That would be, to me, respecting what the players want.  Creating an enviroment where everyone, in whatever calm or freaky way they want, can reveal who they are and explore all the passions, ideas, and feeling of being human.  

Well, I will certainly agree that this is a valid preference.  I just don't think it is the only way of respecting what players want.  For starters, not everyone wants to put their balls to the wall in front of god and all (if they even have any).  For example, it doesn't sound like what I usually want as a player.  If I want to talk about my personal views, I prefer to talk about them during non-gaming socializing.  Do you game much with people who you never talk to outside of the game?  I tend to have both gaming and non-gaming contact with the players in my games.  Then again, I'm not a highly social person.  I'm the sort who usually prefers curling up with a good book to going to some mixer and meeting a bunch of strangers.
Logged

- John
John Kim
Member

Posts: 1805


WWW
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2003, 11:49:45 PM »

A bit of a follow-up to my own reply to Christopher...  As I read it, I think it may have come out as more opposed than it was meant to be.    

My preference is definitely to play with people whom I know, and socialize with outside of gaming.  Thus, I sympathize with disliking a group who insist on in-character and in-game interactions.  On the other hand, I have greatly enjoyed mostly in-character play with friends, where I do not commit to an out-of-character stance on what my PC is doing.  When I think back over the times that I really remember and enjoyed in gaming, it is times like these that I recall.
Logged

- John
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2003, 05:44:22 AM »

A really interesting thread.  I think the common theme being seen here is what I called Situation Driven Roleplaying

Its interesting to see all of the different routes people have taken to get there, and the different variety of techniques you employ while doing it.
Logged

Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2003, 11:13:26 AM »

There are two things going on here, it seems to me. The first is the appearance of Metagame in play. That is, John wants less, Chris doesn't mind more. The second thing is authorial control. Both John and Chris want more.

Now, John's method doesn't prevent authorial play. One can be just as Autorial in the first person, as in the third. So there's no conflict between your opinions, really. What John is saying is that you can have a coherent creative agenda with first person play and lots of authoring potential. Chris is saying that some play in the past has been marred because the texts that advocate first person don't make it clear that you should also be able to author. Which is to say that incoherence is bad.

Coherence is good. Incoherence is bad. We all agree. The only questions are to what extent certain techniques may tend to cause incoherence. And I'd say that it's mostly an issue of the way in which the techniques are taught to the players. Hence the importance of good texts, assuming that you use them. Note how you say, John, that you didn't use published adventures. Well, no surprise that you were more able to keep on track with your CA. But it's hard to imagine that companies put out gaming materials intending for them not to be used. So I do think they were to blame for the problems that did occur when people did use them.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2003, 11:33:55 AM »

Jonn and all,

Good points.

Christopher
Logged

"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
John Kim
Member

Posts: 1805


WWW
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2003, 09:49:48 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
There are two things going on here, it seems to me. The first is the appearance of Metagame in play. That is, John wants less, Chris doesn't mind more. The second thing is authorial control. Both John and Chris want more.

Now, John's method doesn't prevent authorial play. One can be just as Autorial in the first person, as in the third.   So there's no conflict between your opinions, really.

I think I agree -- but there does seem to be a point of difference between our (my/Christopher's/Ralph's) styles here.  In the rpg.net thread that Ralph started, he was quite vocal that as a player he demanded a hand in deciding current background (i.e. the situation).  In my approach (which I need a better name for), that's an option but not important.  As a player, as long as the situation is fairly open (i.e. the PC can do a variety of things), I don't feel any need to control much background.  To my mind, designing of my PC and controlling her actions is itself a huge amount of authorial control.  

Now, we all dislike it when the GM has a plotline in mind and actively tries to think up events to make that plot come about.  However, there are still important differences.  You imply, I think, that these are just different approaches towards the same goal -- but I'm not sure of this.  It could be that we are both going away from GM-railroading, but in opposite directions.  From what I've read, I'm not sure if either Christopher's or Ralph's style is something I'd particularly enjoy.  Conversely, I don't know if they'd enjoy something like my Water-Uphill game -- which seems to be an awful lot like what Ralph ranted against.  

Quote from: Mike Holmes
  Coherence is good. Incoherence is bad. We all agree. The only questions are to what extent certain techniques may tend to cause incoherence. And I'd say that it's mostly an issue of the way in which the techniques are taught to the players. Hence the importance of good texts, assuming that you use them. Note how you say, John, that you didn't use published adventures. Well, no surprise that you were more able to keep on track with your CA. But it's hard to imagine that companies put out gaming materials intending for them not to be used. So I do think they were to blame for the problems that did occur when people did use them.  

It's hard for me to say, since I haven't seen them used much either as a player or as a GM.  (And I'm more often a player.)  I don't really associate dissatisfying play with the occaisions of module play that I have had -- they haven't stood out to me as better or worse.  And some modules have been very good.  I loved Ravenloft & Ravenloft II, and am still fond of some Champions stuff like The Great Supervillain Contest.  

I would agree about the game texts being an important influence -- but I think the basic game is more important than adventures.  Two examples that I have had bad experiences with are Amber Diceless and The Lord of the Rings RPG.  Both of these I reacted strongly against when I read them, and the subsequent campaign bore out most of the bad (IMO) advice I saw in the book.  At this point, I don't have a particular good example that I would point to.  I think my favorite is still the HERO system as far as game text, except the learning curve is just too steep for many/most of my players.
Logged

- John
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!