*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 22, 2014, 01:48:24 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 36 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Re: The players’ role in Participationist play  (Read 3495 times)
Frank Tarcikowski
Member

Posts: 387

a.k.a. Frank T


WWW
« on: January 01, 2008, 03:31:36 AM »

Hi Callan, I guess Ron will explain himself once he gets around to it. But for a start, I think the reason Ron chose wood (green wood, as it were) for both the platform and the thing on it was to illustrate a source of confusion. Many people have confused "Simulationism by Habit" or dysfunctional play were there is just a lot of attention to Exploration (because the players don't know what else to do) with "real" Sim. Because it's made of the same material. But it's not the same thing.

Hi Caldis, in our game, there was no need for force to keep thematic choices out. In all modes of Sim, including but not limited to Purist for System, single moments of thematic choice may be present and may contribute, even significantly, to the group's enjoyment of play, as long as they do not conflict with the main goal (i.e. the Sim CA). But I guess you'll rarely find them in Participationism.

Let me give an example. One of the PCs in our game was Vic, played by Mirja. Mirja was one of those girls who used to play soccer with the boys and then grew up to become a breathtakingly beautiful young woman without realizing it. And Vic was a little like that, too. She was a smuggler, and Mirja really emphasized the "I'm only in for the money" part. Mirja adored Han Solo, but she always thought that he didn't fit with Leia. You see? Her Star Wars.

My understanding of Mirja's character was that she would eventually turn out to believe in the good cause and all that. So, after we all had played for quite some time, I set it all up for the big decisive moment. The Empire had discovered some ancient defence system on a distant planet, home of some long gone species, which was about as dangerous as the Death Star, and they were studying it to use what they learned in building the Death Star. Then the crime ring Vic owed money to showed up once again. They offered Vic a deal: Get us a copy of the construction plans and our debt will be settled.

And then Vic gave them the plans.

I was totally surprised by this. And it's a very good example of how looking at a single instant instead of an instance of play is no good for identifying CA. Because if you did, you'd say that this "thematic choice" was a Nar telltale, wouldn't you? But it totally was not. I just had misjudged Mirja's idea of how her character worked. I thought (and still think) that it was kinda breaking a genre convention, but I would never have told her what to do. That was her character, her choice. And breaking genre conventions can be part of the fun in Sim play in that you explore the boundaries of your "package" and see how it still remains intact.

The other PCs found out and the relationship with Vic (not with Mirja, mind you) cooled down a lot, but for their personal friendship that had been established over many sessions, they didn't tell the Alliance. However, the young senator (a PC) who had been Vic's lover broke up with her. That would be another thematic choice, by the player of the young senator, and it was cool and fun and it did not conflict at all with our Sim CA. See?

When the PCs were finally retired, it was clear that Vic would not stick around to become an honorable naval officer in the New Republic. She would take the money and leave. Because that was just what that character was like.

Happy new year to all of you! (No, I'm not writing posts like this after getting home from the party, I'm in Europe, s'all.)

- Frank
Logged

BARBAREN! - The Ultimate Macho Role Playing Game - finally available in English
Caldis
Member

Posts: 392


« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2008, 08:36:29 AM »



I liked your example and it's giving me mixed thoughts Frank so understand I'm still trying to puzzle this out for myself. 

I've seen a few of these wrong thematic choices in Sim games and often they cause big problems.  I notice you felt that the choice was breaking genre convention but I wonder about the other players.  When I've seen situations like this a game will usually either explode or else people will ignore the choice and compromise.  I wonder if that's what was going on here.  It might not equate to full on Participationism but the power to react as they would have the characters actually react may have been compromised by the need to compromise and fit this back into the game structure, i.e we're a group of players we stick together even if what she did was wrong so we let it slip and ignore the action as much as possible.

So whereas in a game like Dogs this conflict between the characters can become a full blown conflict and go wherever the players end up taking it, in a Sim game the constraints of the game force the players to avoid turning it into a full conflict instead doing their best to accept it and deal with it.
Logged
Frank Tarcikowski
Member

Posts: 387

a.k.a. Frank T


WWW
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2008, 02:51:08 PM »

Caldis, I need to clarify something about my example: None of us (as players) was uneasy with Mirja's choice to give the construction plans to the crime ring. It was unexpected and it provided for an unexpected plot twist, but we did not feel it was "wrong". Sure, it went beyond classic genre expectations. So did other things we did. So did some of my pre-designed plots. We played this game for several years, and once a week for quite a while, sessions lasting between 4 and 8 hours. We would have become bored long before if we had never ventured beyond stereotypical George Lucas plots. So, to pick up Ron's phrasing in the post linked above, these things were additions to the package, not violations of it.

My point is: It was a thematic choice, and it was part of a Sim game. It was fun, it was alright, it was just not the point of play. No big deal.

- Frank
Logged

BARBAREN! - The Ultimate Macho Role Playing Game - finally available in English
masqueradeball
Member

Posts: 346


WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2008, 05:54:43 PM »

This might be a little beyond the keen of this thread... but where I fall apart on this whole Narrativist/Simulationist thing is that a more Narrativist approach to the "that smuggler just sold out the Alliance" would be appropriate if what the players were simulating wasn't Star Wars. In the movies, the characters move on rather quickly from major disasters and emotional distress. The reason it was better, from a "simulating Star Wars" POV to ignore the out of genre bump, is that by having the characters pay more attention to it breaks from the source material. Now, say the same thing happened in a game that was trying to simulate the feel of Firefly/Serenity, or Dune, wouldn't the outcome be a lot closer to what is typically thought of as Narrativist play? So, in effect, isn't Narrativism simulating a type of literature/storytelling. I think I see how this breaks from the traditional big model constructs here, and I think I understand the big model, but...
Logged

Caldis
Member

Posts: 392


« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2008, 09:38:57 PM »


I'm right with you Frank and totally realize your group was ok with Mirja'a action. I was going to continue with this but anything I could contribute was stated much better by Ron over in the thread on Werewolf Simulationism.

I was simply postulating that when the other players in your game accepted what Mirja had done and didnt take any actions against her character they may have been taking part in constructive denial.  This may or may not have been the case, it may be more my read of the situation based on my past experiences. 
Logged
Callan S.
Member

Posts: 4268


WWW
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2008, 02:36:32 AM »

Hi Nolan,

It's a bit like having a 'License to kill', James Bond style. When you don't kill, sure the outcome is like you didn't have a license at all. It's just like living normally without such a power. So sure if you do the sell out in a dune game, it doesn't seem to break the genre. Even seems to support the imagined space. But you still have a license to...make the choices your character would make, regardless of how much that kills genre. At any point during that dune game, BAM! Genre is lying dead in cold blood at the feet of your PC, gun still smoking in his hands! And it's licensed.
Logged

Frank Tarcikowski
Member

Posts: 387

a.k.a. Frank T


WWW
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2008, 04:59:16 AM »

Hi Nolan,

As far as Sim goes, it’s a question of what your “package” is. In our case, it was “the Star Wars universe as per the three original movies, with loads of made-up planets, species and technology of our (my) own, and certain general genre expectations.” However, breaking the cliché sometimes was part of the fun. The genre expectations were secondary, they colored our picture of “the universe”, but the main idea was “these guys in this universe”, and not “this kind of space opera story”. Other groups may have a very different package.

What you say about Firefly vs. Star Wars is kinda thin ice when it comes to Big Model terminology, but I see what you mean. Firefly is much more ambiguous and the conflicts and personal relationships are more complex than in Star Wars. Choices are more of a statement. So yes, Firefly works very well in a Nar context and Star Wars works very well in a Sim context.

- Frank
Logged

BARBAREN! - The Ultimate Macho Role Playing Game - finally available in English
Frank Tarcikowski
Member

Posts: 387

a.k.a. Frank T


WWW
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2008, 06:45:37 AM »

Oh hey, and I forgot to mention (do I even need to mention?): Of course, the dramatic climax of the session was blowing up an entire squadron of Imperial class star destroyers using said defence system. (Alien technician: "No, don't do that, the chance of causing a chain reaction that will destroy the whole planet are..."--PC (waves hand): "We have no choice!") Now that's Star Wars, big time.

- Frank
Logged

BARBAREN! - The Ultimate Macho Role Playing Game - finally available in English
masqueradeball
Member

Posts: 346


WWW
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2008, 11:35:49 AM »

Gail Simone (the comic book writer) talks on her blog about dealing with super heroes that everyone knows. What she has to say is that each time she starts on a new project, everyone yells foul when she takes the character from their established base. Its only then that Simone can then reestablish the character, by confirming the most persistent ideas behind the character in the face of the new situation. All of this seems remarkably like what people are talking about with bending and breaking genre conventions... both here and on some other threads. That what people want is to see the genre bent, but not broken, because by being bent its tempered, with the genre being more firmly reaffirmmed in people's minds.

Oh, I guess it should read "accepted basis for shared SIS" wherever I put genre...
Logged

Frank Tarcikowski
Member

Posts: 387

a.k.a. Frank T


WWW
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2008, 02:39:52 PM »

Right on, Nolan! Plus, it's not only reaffirmed, it's also made more complex and interesting, at least to my taste.

- Frank
Logged

BARBAREN! - The Ultimate Macho Role Playing Game - finally available in English
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.16 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!