*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 25, 2014, 10:11:40 AM

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: 26 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Author Topic: What's narrativist about Zero RPG?  (Read 5643 times)
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3656


WWW
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2009, 01:31:50 PM »

I sometimes do have some theme or engaging question in mind when I design a character, but once designed, I play him (almost) entirely from  the character's own motivation, rather than mine. If I did my work right, the theme or question will come out. But what I'm doing is still mostly Sim, I think.

Nope! No sim at all. That's a perfectly good, easy, common, and natural way to do Story Now.

Deep in-character roleplaying is fully compatible with all of the creative agendas.

Hey, I have a request for you. I'm not the content mod, that's Ron, so just take this as the friendly request of a guy who's had this conversation a lot before. Please, if you can, use the current correct names for the creative agendas: Step on Up, Story Now and the Right to Dream. I think you'll find, especially, that "the Right to Dream" won't actively mislead you and others the way "simulationism" is doing.

-Vincent
Logged
mcv
Member

Posts: 34

Martijn Vos


« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2009, 02:20:45 PM »

You know what's really frustrating? I just explained to my wife what counterintuitive concept I just grasped, and before I finish talking, she finishes my sentence. What took me weeks, she understands in seconds, despite her having no roleplay experience whatsoever and wanting to have nothing to do with it.

She did come with some management theory and psychology, and from that point of view, she's extremely Simulationist and would send Narrativists on a training program.

Just thought I'd share that bit with you.

Anyway, back to my original question: what's narrativist about Zero? Allow me to make a guess:

The characters' history and personality in Zero is just too weird and freaky. You can't roleplay someone with no identity, no sense of self. There is no personality on which to base decisions. Instead, you address the issue of what makes a personality, what shapes your individuality, and you have the problems, dilemmas and decisions in the game shape your character's personality.

Of course that's not necessarily about moral dilemmas. I mean, you can still approach moral dilemmas from the viewpoint of your character, and that's still simulationist, not narrativist. You can have simulationism with moral dilemmas. What makes it narrativist is instead of tackling the dillemma's through your character, you're tackling your character through the dilemmas.

Is that it? Or is it close, at least?
Logged

Martijn Vos - gamer, coder, soon-to-be dad
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3656


WWW
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2009, 02:32:52 PM »

I know absolutely nothing about Zero, so I can't answer about that. All I can answer about is narrativism.

I mean, you can still approach moral dilemmas from the viewpoint of your character, and that's still simulationist, not narrativist.

Nope! Approaching things - anything, including moral dilemmas - from the viewpoint of your character is perfectly compatible with both Story Now play and the Right to Dream play.

Does your roleplaying have something to say about human beings (sometimes shortened to "moral dilemma")? Do you take on the question actively in play? Then it's Story Now. If you take on the question actively in play but limit yourself only to the viewpoint of your character, that's fine - you've still got the thing, and you're still taking it on. Thus: Story Now.

-Vincent
« Last Edit: February 11, 2009, 02:35:53 PM by lumpley » Logged
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2293

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2009, 02:47:19 PM »

Greetings, MCV. Welcome to the Forge! Let me interject quick with an observation of two of the underlying issues that are making this difficult.

One of the problems is your use of the "moral dilemma" idea -- I know where you're coming from, and the problem is your idea of what that encompasses is too narrow, I'm betting tied to a right/wrong or "hard choice" conception. "What does individuality mean?" is a premise/moral dilemma. That those are the same thing may not make sense unless you're familiar with authorial terminology and usage/understanding, so how about you stick with "premise" and forget "moral dilemma" for the moment. (In fact, you might go back through all your answers and swap out "moral dilemma" for "premise" then see if your questions still make sense or if your own answers/ideas change.)

Another problem I've noticed is a consistent confusion between Technique and Agenda -- and while it has been explained a couple times, I don't think what that really means has come through for you. Simply: ALL Techniques can be used for ANY Agenda. So when you say, "If I do this thing, say deep character immersion, is that Narrativism, or is that Simulationism?" the answer is "Might be." When you ask "Does rolling the dice this way make that Simulationist or Gamist?" the answer is "Might be."

The very same thing goes for "Is this game a Narrativist game? Is this a Simulationist game?" It COULD be. If it supports that Agenda. You know that premise I just mentioned? That's built into Zero. The game is literally ABOUT that...but that doesn't necessarily have to be explored in play. You could play Zero as a big old survivalist dungeon-crawl. This is because games aren't X-type game, they're X-facilitating games.

Quote
3. Luke needs to hit that deathstar

Is exactly the opposite of Narrativism. Whether or not Luke hits that Deathstar can not be a given. If he fails to do it, THAT has to say something about the premise as well. Otherwise, who cares if he hits or not? Also Star Wars is FULL of premise (this ties back to problem #1 above).
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Per Fischer
Member

Posts: 212


WWW
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2009, 03:35:25 PM »


Quote
3. Luke needs to hit that deathstar

Is exactly the opposite of Narrativism. Whether or not Luke hits that Deathstar can not be a given. If he fails to do it, THAT has to say something about the premise as well. Otherwise, who cares if he hits or not? Also Star Wars is FULL of premise (this ties back to problem #1 above).

This is important - I think Fred said quite the opposite earlier on in this thread, correct me if I'm wrong, Fred. But this, THIS, is addressing premise right there and of course we don't know the outcome, that's the whole point. If I played with a "right to dream" I'd know m character would succeed, even if he turned of the targeting computer.
Logged

Per
--------
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
JB
Member

Posts: 29


« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2009, 04:43:18 PM »

I can't offer much help in regards to answering the question posed in the title of this thread, as I also know less than zero about Zero.

McV did mention Serenity RPG as a possible example of a narrativist game though, and I can say a little something about why/how Serenity isn't narrativist.  Seems like we've likely moved beyond that on this thread though, and I don't want to threadjack, so I'll refrain unless it'd help to clarify what narrativeist/Story Now is for the OP.

-------

As an aside, I'll say this: At some point after reading Ron's GNS essays, I too went, "It's all Sim, man." I wrote a little essay and everything. 'Story Now' really is it's own thing though, and not a subset of 'The Right to Dream'.  Keep bashing at it, you'll get there.

Cheers,
Jim
Logged
FredGarber
Member

Posts: 95


« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2009, 11:09:51 PM »

Well, in the words of  Rorshach, hrrmm.  A lot to post about.

I do agree, swapping out "Premise" for "moral dilemma" is a wise move.   'Moral' is a word loaded with connotations, and it's confusing the issue.

I think the hypothetical Star Wars game is a little too hypothetical right now, and it's also confusing things.  If I played a Star Wars game where the Premise to be addressed is something like "Is a Neo-Budhhist Faith or a Technological Materialism a surer road to personal happiness?", then a conflict where the Hit on the Death Star is never in doubt might be an appropriate conflict.  In fact, Han is far happier when he receives his monetary reward, answering the Premise differently than Luke does.  If the Premise is something very similar, like "Can I protect my friends and family with my Faith and Will and Positive Outlook, or do I need to depend on Weapons and Strength of Arms?", then whether or not the Death Star is blown up might be in doubt:  Not blowing up the Death Star by depending upon Faith is a surefire answer to that Premise!  So what Premise is chosen to address in that hypothetical Star Wars game will definitely affect the gameplay.

So I think you can get by without #3. 

1. Dilemmas are about the Premise
2. Everybody makes decisions around what makes the best story.

That said, you can go WAYYY deep down the rabbit hole and get to Vanilla Narrativism, and Constructivist Sim Play, and I'm pretty sure 3:16 has a strong Story Now aspect tied right into the characters competing for Kills and Cooperating to Frag the Alien Menace, a very Gamist setup. 

I believe Too Much Analysis Kills the Fun.   At some point, GMs and Players need to step away from the theory and say "knowing what I have learned, can I make my game session deliver more Moments of Awesome?" and try it out.  RPGs can be like any sport hobby: the fun is in the doing of them, not necessarily in the training to do it better next time.  Running wind sprints and practicing layups is not nearly as fun as actually playing basketball, so I've been told.

-Fred

BTW: I think you nailed the important part of my hypothetical Serenity build: The challenge is directly about how the Story/Plot goes.  Note that that's just an example of how to use System Mechanics to push a game into Story Now mode, instead of using the current Serenity Mechanics, which push the game into Step Up or Support the Dream category.  You certainly can play any type of game with any System: But some Systems have a lot more pain and work on the part of the GM to reward different agendas.
Logged
mcv
Member

Posts: 34

Martijn Vos


« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2009, 01:20:50 AM »

One short issue before I tackle the moral dilemma dilemma:

I sometimes do have some theme or engaging question in mind when I design a character, but once designed, I play him (almost) entirely from  the character's own motivation, rather than mine. If I did my work right, the theme or question will come out. But what I'm doing is still mostly Sim, I think.

Nope! No sim at all. That's a perfectly good, easy, common, and natural way to do Story Now.

But in this case I'm basing my decisions on the personality I established for my character. The character was designed with story in mind, so I'd argue that character design was Story Now, but if in actual play, I'm not focusing on that story anymore, but hoping it will emerge automatically from the well-designed personality of the character (which it probably won't if the game, setting or other characters aren't what I expected), isn't that closer to The Right To Dream?

Now on towards a very real problem: the meaning of the term "moral dilemma". Unlike many of the other words you're using on the Forge, including Premise, Adressing Premise, Narrativism, etc, "moral dilemma" has a very old and very well established meaning. I know what premise means in logic and in movies, but your usage of the word is clearly different, and I don't quite grasp the concept yet. But I know what a moral dilemma is. It's a well known concept that most people can deal with, so when I'm given the option to use that instead of a vague term like Premise, I prefer moral dilemma. But now I'm getting the impression that even for that phrase, The Forge is using a completely different meaning than the rest of humanity, which, if true, would be really unfortunate, because moral dilemmas already have a very valuable place in RPGs.

A dilemma is a hard or impossible choice (Scylla and Charibdys). A moral dilemma, is a hard or impossible choice related to moral (or ethical) issues. Often the idealised ethical choice conflicts with practical considerations, so it boils down to "does the end justify the means?", although it's not strictly limited to that.

Since an example is worth a thousand words, here's a link with a fine selection of moral dilemmas: http://www.friesian.com/valley/dilemmas.htm

For a long time, "moral dilemma" had been my only hand hold while trying to understand Story Now, and Ron's insistence that that's basically all there is to it was a real comfort to me, although it did make me wonder what all the fuss was about. Now my new insight that instead of addressing the story, theme, dilemmas, through my character, I could also address my character through the story, theme, dilemmas, gives me the impression I've discovered a new way of roleplaying, but that insight has nothing whatsoever to do with the presence of moral dillemmas an sich. (You got me so confused I can't think of an English of a German phrase.) And your usage of "moral dilemma" in this thread gives me the impression you don't really mean moral dilemmas.

Does your roleplaying have something to say about human beings (sometimes shortened to "moral dilemma")?

While moral dilemmas usually do say something about the person making the decision, not everything that says something about people is automatically a moral dilemma.

One of the problems is your use of the "moral dilemma" idea -- I know where you're coming from, and the problem is your idea of what that encompasses is too narrow, I'm betting tied to a right/wrong or "hard choice" conception. "What does individuality mean?" is a premise/moral dilemma.

It may be a premise, but it's definitely not a moral dilemma. A moral dilemma really is a hard choice (but usually wrong/wrong; right/wrong wouldn't be hard at all).

Quote
That those are the same thing may not make sense unless you're familiar with authorial terminology and usage/understanding, so how about you stick with "premise" and forget "moral dilemma" for the moment. (In fact, you might go back through all your answers and swap out "moral dilemma" for "premise" then see if your questions still make sense or if your own answers/ideas change.)

I'm probably not familiar with authorial terminology, but I am familiar with philosophy, ethics, and the common and philosophic use of "moral dilemma". If you're using "moral dilemma" to mean something else entirely, then all the places in this thread where I thought I understood based on that phrase, I didn't. On the other hand, when it all started to make sense, except for the tacked-on moral dilemma part, the confusion is caused by a misunderstanding, which perhaps I should ignore, so I can just stick with the part that does make sense.

Another problem I've noticed is a consistent confusion between Technique and Agenda -- and while it has been explained a couple times, I don't think what that really means has come through for you. Simply: ALL Techniques can be used for ANY Agenda. So when you say, "If I do this thing, say deep character immersion, is that Narrativism, or is that Simulationism?" the answer is "Might be." When you ask "Does rolling the dice this way make that Simulationist or Gamist?" the answer is "Might be."

And that, I think, is also the case with moral dilemmas. You can have tough choices between two wrongs in any Agenda. Only when that choice is tied to the theme or premise that's central to your game, is it Story Now.

If I understand The Forge's usage of "moral dilemma", it's that usage, that drift of meaning, that's causing a lot of confusion. I've noticed a lot of words here have drifted quite a lot in meaning. Simulationism in GNS isn't quite the same as simulationism in the Threefold Model (but it's always been a vague term in RPG theory), premise here is neither the premise of logic, nor the premise of movies (but since premise has two totally different meanings already, so at least there's a precedent), and I'm sure there are other words that mean something diifferent on The Forge than in the outside world. But "moral dilemma" is where I draw the line. It has an old, well established meaning that most people already know, and it is a useful concept in RPGs already. If you mean something different, then use a different word. Leave "moral dilemma" alone, because fiddling with its meaning will only create confusion and misunderstandings.

I'll handle Luke and the Deathstar in another post.
Logged

Martijn Vos - gamer, coder, soon-to-be dad
mcv
Member

Posts: 34

Martijn Vos


« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2009, 04:14:47 AM »

McV did mention Serenity RPG as a possible example of a narrativist game though, and I can say a little something about why/how Serenity isn't narrativist.  Seems like we've likely moved beyond that on this thread though, and I don't want to threadjack, so I'll refrain unless it'd help to clarify what narrativeist/Story Now is for the OP.

I'm very interested in how it isn't Narrativist/Story Now, but I'm even more interested in how it could be. For that purpose, I've started a new thread: Establishing Premise in Serenity RPG. (What a terribly pompous title, now that I think of it. I'm getting infected by those GNS articles.)
Logged

Martijn Vos - gamer, coder, soon-to-be dad
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3656


WWW
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2009, 04:26:46 AM »

But in this case I'm basing my decisions on the personality I established for my character. The character was designed with story in mind, so I'd argue that character design was Story Now, but if in actual play, I'm not focusing on that story anymore, but hoping it will emerge automatically from the well-designed personality of the character (which it probably won't if the game, setting or other characters aren't what I expected), isn't that closer to The Right To Dream?
This is so good! This is so smart! Your boldface is the key, the capstone to the whole endeavor.

Okay. Ready?

IF, in actual play, the story emerges automatically from the well-designed personality of the character, because the game, setting, and other characters (and their players) work to make it so, that's Story Now. If it doesn't, it isn't.

Your attitude toward your own character isn't the point. Whether you create story, actively, as a group, in play, is the only point.

-Vincent
Logged
mcv
Member

Posts: 34

Martijn Vos


« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2009, 05:16:24 AM »

IF, in actual play, the story emerges automatically from the well-designed personality of the character, because the game, setting, and other characters (and their players) work to make it so, that's Story Now. If it doesn't, it isn't.

Your attitude toward your own character isn't the point. Whether you create story, actively, as a group, in play, is the only point.

So in order to get Story Now, all we really need is a setting that facilitates Story, and that everybody designs their character so that it ties into that. Correct?

Because that's what I have been trying to accomplish, particularly in a recently failed GURPS Traveller campaign. The problem is that nobody actually designed their character in such a way (especially not the new guy who wants more Narrativism), except for one player (our usual GM), and one character that I deisgned for another player (a disruptive deep character roleplayer who played the Mad Max in our little blood opera I mentioned earlier).

But I have trouble getting a story going even with those two characters and those two players. But I think that's because of two big problems:

  • I did everything wrong, forgot my original intentions, and went into full GURPS Traveller Gearhead mode. I was reading all my GURPS Traveller books searching for irrelvant details to make it a more realistic Sim, and for little missions and plot hooks that would get the crew going, but didn't affect them personally in any way.
  • 2. We hadn't agreed on a Premise in advance, so there wasn't a common theme. Especially not with the two characters that completely lacked story, obviously. The other two actually fit the "Outcasts & Misfits" and "Keep Flying" themes I identified in the Serenity Premise thread, and they even both had a "Hidden Secret", one of them identified (a mad scientist doctor who had participated in a horrible massacre on a nearby planet), and one them not (a Scout with uncontrolled psychic powers who had some unidentified tragic event while in the Scout Service).

Now that I read it, I think there should have been plenty to work with. At least with those two characters. But I didn't use it. Instead, I suckered them into a simple heist, executed it badly (one guy went in on his own, I wanted to get the rest involved, so I had the one guy shot), and then followed up with a few sessions of boring travelling and trading. The only one who addressed premise was the mad doctor. The simple heist did come with a minor moral issue (I hesitate to call it a dilemma): the gem they stole from a rich collector wasn't a gem, but an egg from a newly discovered sentient race, and trade in it is highly illegal. The player played the mad doctor just a bit madder than I'd envisioned, and murdered everybody who knew about the heist. Also, whenever the crew was about to pick up a cargo headed for the planet where he was involved in that massacre, he sabotaged it, sometimes by murdering the passenger.

One other error was that I allowed the doctor's player to do all his secret murders hidden from the other players (not just their characters), so the others never got the chance to appreciate his actions or his reasons for them. It was also probably a bad move to give a Dr. Mengele to a character roleplayer who loves any excuse to disrupt, dominate or twist. And yet, from what I read here, I get the impression he was more on track towards Story Now than anyone else (including the new guy who explicitly wanted narrativism).

My guess is that in order to fix this, we should agree on Premise before we design the characters, and remind ourselves every session that we need to address that premise. Is that correct?
Logged

Martijn Vos - gamer, coder, soon-to-be dad
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3656


WWW
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2009, 05:49:42 AM »

So in order to get Story Now, all we really need is a setting that facilitates Story, and that everybody designs their character so that it ties into that. Correct?

Correct! That's one way to do it. Here's a thread of mine from ... holy crap a long time ago, on precisely that point: Egri & the "Lumpley Principle".

Your GURPS Traveller experience makes a lot of sense to me.

Quote
My guess is that in order to fix this, we should agree on Premise before we design the characters, and remind ourselves every session that we need to address that premise. Is that correct?

Well, that can work, I expect.

If the game's rules bring focus to the premise by default, instead, unlike GURPS', you don't need to always remind yourselves. That's a driving principle behind Story Now design: to create game rules that help everyone make appropriate characters, and help the GM (or the group) to challenge them appropriately, all without too much explicit, social-level discussion about what we're going to do. (Ask my friends: explicit, social-level discussion about what we're going to do makes me all twitchy.)

Anyway, yes! Yes and yes.

-Vincent
Logged
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2293

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2009, 06:56:11 AM »

Looks like its coming together for you, mcv! That's great!

I'll drop back in quick with the term issue, then. I do understand the term usage confuses you, but in this case, you admitted yourself that you have no understanding of these term's usage in literature. To use a computer analogy for a moment, imagine you've called tech support because your computer doesn't work, and when the technician asks you if your mouse is working, you answer "huh?" (because you're thinking small, furry rodent), and when he tells you to open up a window, you ask "in the living room or upstairs?" (because you're thinking rectangular glass plane mounted on your house), etc.

Now, you can either tell the technician his terms are nonsensical and then go find a dictionary and look up "mouse" and "window" to show him how he's "wrong" because you feel you need to prove it to them and tell them how using those terms are confusing etc., or you can accept that the problem with the jargon in this case is not a case of "those crazy computer people using descriptions for words that don't mean what they say and just confuse everyone (ie: me)!"

I can assure you that these definitions are not a "weird Forge thing" at all, and are established literary terms with real and specific meanings, even if they are unfamiliar to you. And I think the best way to approach the issue you are having with them is to ask if you would keep in mind we aren't talking about philosophy or ethics, that the terms seem weird right now and that's OK, and for you to be willing to try to avoid confusing moral dilemmas and ethical dilemmas.

Though this is only going to work if you're going to trust me on the above. Deal?

Quote
Premise: In his seminal work, The Art of Dramatic Writing, Lajos Egri introduced the world of theatre to the idea of premise. Premise is very similar to theme but to Egri it is much more powerful, decisive and less open to misinterpretation. The goal of any good play must be to prove its premise and all aspects of the play must be focused on leading the audience to that conclusion. Offered as examples are premises such as: "great love defies even death", "Blind trust leads to destruction, "Jealousy destroys itself and the object of its love".

You can Google for more info on Egri's premise if needed, but with the above in mind, it should hopefully be clear the premise is the "moral" of the story in a particular work, like the moral of a fable ("slow and steady wins the race", etc).

The premise is a human issue and commentary on that issue, but it is not usually a single troubling ethical decision point. Which I mention because I sense you are thinking of such you hear "moral dilemma" and when you talk about them occurring in all sorts of games. For example: "Do I save the village or the girl?" <---- but this is not a premise.

Make sense?

As an author of fiction, one tries to show (or "prove") the premise you've already chosen ("love is blind", "fear destroys humanity", etc) by highlighting its effect on the protagonists. If you are a GOOD author, you don't throw the premise in the reader's face, they don't even really know it is there, and you make that outcome--that answer--that premise--that "the moral of the story"--seem uncertain, even while you keep hammering on it (foreshadowing) right up to the end.

That is, you write such that it seems the moral you're proving isn't decided ahead of time, so the premise isn't completely obvious until the end of the story when the premise you chose before writing is finally proven once-and-for-all (or perhaps revealed to the reader), and you find out what "the moral of the story is". (Example: "Oh, the hare won, because...{moral, ie: premise}")

So when an author writes a story, even though he's chosen the outcome, he presents a conflict between story-morals to the reader, where any particular "moral" seems like it could win out. This crates conflict and tension. So you have the protagonist wanting something and something else getting in his way, telling him "Nope, it's going to be THIS WAY instead".

For example, if we're writing about the jealousy premise above, then the main character wants to be jealous and not be destroyed by it (etc) even though all signs in the narrative are pointing to that being the outcome. You read and think, "He's going to destroy himself and his love if he keeps up with his jealous behavior!" which is put-in-your-head by the conflicts the reader sees reasserting and supporting that idea, with the protagonist braving jealousy and destruction to their (and his) ultimate end when the moral/premise is absolutely revealed ("Oh no! See! He destroyed himself and his love through jealousy!").

A well-crafted story presents an uncertainty about the success-correctness of any particular action and what that outcome means in that situation: it presents "conflicting morals", making the actual moral to the story both apparent and yet uncertain, such as in the story of the Tortise and the Hare (see below). So we, the reader, don't really know what the moral is going to be until the last page, until the revealing situation resolves (either the fast, cocky hare or the slow, steady turtle crosses the finish line first).

That's how premise works in fiction. Or at least it is a really quick and dirty version of it, but hopefully enough for you to understand the authorial perspective on the terms and get what this "premise" thing is.

Premise isn't much different in an RPG, with one alteration.

In a Narrativist game, the premise can't be already answered. Instead you have to ask "the question" of the premise, and gameplay proves or disproves the premise/answers the question: "Does great love defy even death?", "Does blind trust lead to destruction?", "Does jealousy destroy itself and the object of its love?", "Does slow and steady win the race?"

In the case of Zero, if that game were a work of literature instead, the writer would be writing "The price of individuality is..." and have slotted something in there which would be revealed and supported through the course of the fiction. So in literature, you would start with something like: "The price of individuality is NOT worth barely surviving." And then prove that true with what you show happening to your protagonists.

But with a Narrativist game, you're asking during the game, rather than before you start: "What is the price of individuality?" (or narrowing it down even further "Is the price of individuality worth barely surviving?" or etc). The answer--the triumphant moral arising from the conflicting possible morals--isn't known going in and won't be answered until the end of the game. It's what the protagonist is trying to figure out for the player through play: what's the moral here in this situation and what does it tell us about the human condition (or rather, this particular human's condition here-and-now)?

So, in a Narrativist RPG, the answer--the moral--becomes interactive, rather than set, with the players making the choices that will reveal the resolution to the dilemma/the premise/the moral of the story based on their choices and the results of those choices--and the GM takes the role of presenting situations that allow that premise to be explored and answered one way or another until the encompassing situation resolves.

Does the hare win, or the tortoise? Is the premise, the moral of the story, going to be "slow and steady wins the race" or "speed and certainty decide victory"? (see "conflicting morals" above)

Is it coming together for you, I hope?

Again: Through play, one answers the premise: (at its most simple) "does it?" "doesn't it?" The answer--the triumphant moral arising from the conflict issues--isn't known going in and isn't answered before play. The premise (the question, the dilemma) itself is known, and the GM keeps providing scenes and situations where that question can be explored and answered.

But another important ingredient here is the human connection of the premise. It's relation to the human condition, to human emotion or human drives like love, fear, desire, hate, jealousy, courage, etc.

That's what is being talked about when we say "premise" in regards to Narrativism. It's also why "moral dilemma" is interchangable with the term (though unless a light bulb went on as to why that is, really do just forget about the "moral dilemma" phrasing and use "premise" for the moment because the former is causing you more confusion and frustration than anything).

Also, mcv, thanks for the "right/wrong" correction. I was clearly typing faster than I was thinking at that moment. I should have said "an unclear choice of what's good and what's bad, or what the better solution is between equally unpalatable ones". "A hard choice" was probably sufficient!
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Pages: 1 [2]
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!