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More Adventures in Shared Character Vision

Started by lumpley, January 09, 2004, 01:11:21 PM

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We're talking about the three Old Men of Tremere - my Lucere, Em's Unamo and Meg's Lachesis Mutus - and I'm whiny.

" I mean," I'm saying, "you all just totally blew off how evil I wanted Regere Lux [who fucks corpses] to be.  I wanted him to be creepy and you snickered.  I don't want you to belittle or laugh off Lucere [his father] too."

"Well," Emily says.

"Except," Meg says, "they're, y'know, laughable.  Also small.  Also kind of ridiculous and not that scary."

"It's true," Emily says.  "But we'll, y'know, try not to."

I pout.  Conversation moves on.  Meg talks about how her Old Man, Lachesis Mutus, envisions a future where the world is entirely ruled by House Tremere.  He's not evil, just ruthless.  I listen to her and participate at three quarters, turning my own problem over and over in my mind.

"Aha!" I say.  I have the good sense to wait until Meg's finished talking and also to not whine.  "Check this out.  The whole Satanism thing?  You're right.  It's silly.  We all know it's silly, I don't actually intend anybody to take it seriously.  Otherwise I'd want it to be true, right?  But we know that it's not true, it's some fairy or demon fucking with them.  But check this out - where Lucere is really evil?  It's in how he abuses his apprentices."

I do a quick glance from face to face and they're with me.  Yes!

"They're just these little kids who come into his care," I say.  "And he, I mean, he -"

"He tortures them," Emily says.

"Yeah.  He forces them to do horrific things, endure horrific things.  He fucks up their consciences, their sense of self, he tortures them and forces them to torture other people.  They grow up absolute wrecks.  Look at Pharus Oriens [who used to read the entrails of the villagers to find out whether it was yet time to assume the mantle of Antichrist, until his own apprentice murdered him and fed him to the dogs], Accendere is howling in the desert, Regere Lux..."

Meg does a skeptical face.  "Regere Lux fucks corpses because Lucere was mean to him?" she says.

"Well.  Not exactly.  What Regere Lux really wants?  Why he fucks corpses?  What he really wants is to fuck Lucere's corpse."

They both don't say anything.  Meg isn't doing a skeptical face any more.  They're both like: oog.

Outwardly I'm like oog too, but inwardly I do the dance of victory!


Ron Edwards


Ian Charvill, are you there? Is this the kind of Premise-analytical discussion that you speculated (in The Dream vs. Story Now) might diminish the Dream past the point of enjoyability?

'Cause, as long as we're talking about personal taste, I'm the kind of guy who would rather nail the other players' interest/insight by having Whatsisname demonstrate that desire in play. Perhaps in some kind of dialogue while, um, indulging himself, or something like that.

The fully-disconnected dialogue-approach that you're describing, Vincent, is not off my radar screen entirely in terms of how we play, but it does represent a minority-event for us, maybe once every few sessions or so. How common is it for you three?



Ron, about the same, maybe less, occasionally more.  This was part of setting the stage for what's gonna happen for the next, oh, half-dozen sessions, and very much represents our approach to introducing new situations.  This was the only time to date we've explicitly talked about our engagement with a particular character, too, and it really was whiny on my part.

These upcoming sessions, Regere Lux (the corpse fancier) isn't going to be present at all.  He just wasn't going to get the screen time I'd need to a) figure out what I see in him and then b) communicate it to Meg and Em.

Oh!  But check this out.  Lucere (the father, my Old Man) has a youngest son Meg's playing, who will be present, Clarus Sol.  My fear was that the silliness of the smokescreen Satanism would make their relationship stupid.  Dropping the tidbit about Regere Lux introduces, I hope, oog between Lucere and the boy - and that, we will develop and express fully in play.  Of any of them, Clarus Sol's the one who might be in the spotlight, so we haven't discussed him much at all.


C. Edwards

Hey Vincent,

QuoteOf any of them, Clarus Sol's the one who might be in the spotlight, so we haven't discussed him much at all.

This sounds like Clarus Sol becomes the spindle of the wheel, the center of the Story Now. I assume that you aren't discussing him because, more than the other characters, you want his issues to be discovered and explored during actual play? Clarus Sol becomes the epicenter for thematic questioning?



Chris, yes.

There's a bunch of other stuff going on at the same time.  Clarus Sol might not figure much at all, as it plays out - but if he doesn't, that almost certainly means that the evilness of Lucere won't directly either.

How about this?  They're a little branch of a (pretty damn big) relationship map.  This little branch's influence reaches fairly broadly through the map, but Clarus Sol is most likely where our PCs could encounter it directly.  Whether our PCs get drawn into it in particular depends on Clarus Sol and them in play.  He might even emerge as a (possibly short-term) protagonist in his own right; that also depends on how Meg plays him.

At least that's my take on it.  Meg's and Em's might be different, and of course what'll finally happen is anyone's guess.


Emily Care

Yup, I see Clarus Sol pretty much how Vincent does.

Would this kind of conversation kill "the dream" for most folks, if commonly done?

I find it pretty valuable. Especially for our style of play.

The "disconnection" allows enough space for us to work out a feasible direction we all want to head, before we commit it to play. If we'd done this more carefully before the original corpse-fucker misfire (that Vincent referenced above), we might have avoided it.

Emily Care
Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games

Ian Charvill

Quote from: Ron EdwardsHello,

Ian Charvill, are you there? Is this the kind of Premise-analytical discussion that you speculated (in The Dream vs. Story Now) might diminish the Dream past the point of enjoyability?

No - I mean there are subject matter issues, but everything's functioning in a building consensus within the shared imagined space kind of a way.  The discussion would have to hit levels of "I want to have Lucere function as a metaphor for child abuse - and the satanism/corpse fucking is just a metaphor for the transferrance of an abuse victims feelings of anger from the abuser, against whom they feel powerless and unable to express anger, to another place".  And then the next time Lucere appears he's not a character, he's a metaphor for child abuse and we're all consciously aware of that and acting on it.

For me, if I trusted the people I gamed with enough to hit on child abuse issues, I'd expect there to be a lot of discomfort and anger going on.  It would kind of freak me if there wasn't.  I wouldn't expect people to be reacting to Lucere as a metaphor but as a real agent of these things.  And I'm not talking about immersion, I'm just talking about the way people engage emotionally with fictional works.  I think an overly analytical approach could put people into an intellectualised frame of mind which diminishes the emotional engagement with the shared imagined space.

It would be like, with Sorceror, all of the Sorcerors are women, the demons are boyfriends who have needs like Sexual Gratification and desires like Impress My Boss and rituals are things like Contact - write a singles ad and Bind - go on a date.

I don't think metaphor is an optional extra in fictional narratives - it's central and if the metaphors become too transparant then fiction will always come a weak second to journalism.  It's precisely the ability to access metaphor that makes roleplaying worth doing - and it's precisely the worry that accessing these things too directly would diminish their power that makes me leery of narrativism.
Ian Charvill

C. Edwards

Quote from: Emily CareWould this kind of conversation kill "the dream" for most folks, if commonly done?

I find it pretty valuable. Especially for our style of play.

It seems like lack of these discussions could result in being kicked from "the dream" during play. Taking the time to align participant expectations concerning story direction prior to play seems to work particularly well for you guys.


Jason Lee

The way I see it, this kind of dialogue is actually serving the dream.  It's all about trying to maintain character integrity.  Vincent is trying to integrate his character vision into the shared imaginary space.  The explored element fails validation through Emily and Meguey, so he has to redefine/elaborate and pass it through validation again before it can be integrated as he originally envisioned.
- Cruciel