Addition to GNS Model

Started by Nexus6, July 06, 2009, 08:57:19 PM

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Ahey, :)

I keep waiting to see Ron jump in with more insightful questions and all... :)

Anyway, to get back to your example of play, I fail to see how this whole thing isn't simply squarely inside the Simulationist agenda.

The whole "I wonder what'll happen if I do this", "wow, really? The centaur makes friends with us? Cool.", "Hey, I wonder how the world will work when I poke it like this... How bout this... and this..." All of that is right at the ehart of Right To Dream.

João Mendes
Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon Gamer

Ron Edwards

You guys are all doing fine without me. It's been a very good thread. Everyone, please remember that threads here cannot be aimed at making someone else agree or concede or in fact to react in any specified way, but rather, and only, about whether you think you've made your case and/or critiqued someone else's as well as you can.

Morgan, if you want to do a whole Ron-Big-Model interaction about how you played, let me know, but as far as I could tell, that wasn't the goal of the thread, and in any event, it'd have to wait a bit. I'm in the middle of at least one other such thread right now.

Best, Ron


Quote from: Nexus6 on July 08, 2009, 07:04:28 PMBut why can't the idea of events forming themselves inform the entire campaign?

If you consider "events not forming themselves" does not define any of the CA's -- though it does define a technique (Illusionism) -- "events forming themselves" would similarly appear to be technique rather than CA. Events that form themselves are events that can and do occur in any of the three agendas as part of the expression of a given CA (unlike a CA, which can not occur simultaneously with another CA), so it simply can not be an agenda by itself.
Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio

Daniel B

Quite frankly, I can't imagine an alternative to the situation the OP posed, without straining credulity. "The centaur suddenly whips out a magic wand and teleports himself out of the PCs grasp, reappearing five feet away to shut the portal!" I think must simply be a prerequisite to good gaming, of any CA.

Arthur: "It's times like these that make me wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was little."
Ford: "Why? What did she tell you?"
Arthur: "I don't know. I didn't listen."

Jasper Flick

Daniel, I think that's a highly subjective boundary, depending on a lot of factors. In some games I would balk at it, in others I would expect it.

But the heart of the matter is that people playing a game should be on the same page about that boundary, lest it brakes down. As such, in general I totally agree with you.
Trouble with dice mechanics? Check out AnyDice, my online dice distribution calculator!

Daniel B

Quote from: Jasper Flick on July 09, 2009, 06:56:11 PM
Daniel, I think that's a highly subjective boundary, depending on a lot of factors. In some games I would balk at it, in others I would expect it.

Hmm.. good point X-)
Arthur: "It's times like these that make me wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was little."
Ford: "Why? What did she tell you?"
Arthur: "I don't know. I didn't listen."


I've just reread the whole thread and I'm having trouble understanding what Nexus and Joywriter are getting at.

The phenomenon discussed seems to be about how the system brought the contributions of the participants into collision and sparked a creative response that was then reincorporated into the fiction of the game. I can see that different game designs will have different ways of guiding these moments and different ways of gatekeeping input from different players, but how is this different from plain old Exploration, the basis of all roleplay?

Can someone summarize for me how "emergentism" is distinct from Exploration?
- Alan

A Writer's Blog:


Quote from: Alan on July 10, 2009, 06:09:49 AMCan someone summarize for me how "emergentism" is distinct from Exploration?

I dont think it is but I do think it's an interesting form of exploration brought about by a series of techniques.  That could be an interesting discussion in it's own right, probably one that's been done before but worthwhile.  If anyone has links to previous discussions they would be appreciated.

The biggest requirement to pull this off is to be open to possibilities, not preplanning and forcing things along one route.  Steer away from the plot point railroad and move to a more open reactive style.


Yeah, after a bunch more reading, I can see how this can be a technique and not a CA.  I do believe that an argument can be made further about it being a CA, but I'm already starting to get tired of thinking about labels and classifications.  I DO think it is different than exploration, but I'm too tired at the moment to write up a full post about it.  Maybe later...

As someone mentioned, this idea is helped out by having a system that's capable of some random generation.  I'm interested in systems that do this well (and with a good deal of possibilities for a random outcome).  So far I'm looking at After the Bomb for random character creation (which I am really enjoying), and Traveller for random setting creation.  Anyone know any more games that have good random generation?  And is there any game that randomly generates events?  Not just creatures for events, but complex, even non-combat events?

Marshall Burns

Quote from: Nexus6 on July 08, 2009, 07:04:28 PM
-Marshall Burns posted a (very funny) example of some actual play he thought was relevant to this topic.  I'm not sure it is, but I can't tell by the description.  Marshall, how did those events arise?  Did the GM know the temple of rats was there?  Was there anything surprising to all parties?  A random element is key in the idea of Emergentism that I'm talking about.  But random in the sense of a dice roll, not "I just thought of this random thing" so much.  But that's a sticky area, because too many random rolls and you take away all choice.  There has to be a balance.

I am glad to elaborate!

In Super Action Now!, there is no GM. Authority is portioned out to all participants in particular areas (at specific times of play, or, in specific ways, upon spending TILT! points – which are gained by making people laugh). For instance, we found out that a temple to the rat god was there because Stephen (I think) said so, at a point where he was empowered by the system to say so.

Most often, in SAN!, it is random because "I just thought of this random thing." The dice are relatively minor in this game, limited to a Fortune-at-the-End conflict resolution mechanic, which is itself subject to the TILT! economy. But we also put such random things into a hat, and draw from them whenever someone needs an idea; this is essentially the same thing as rolling on a table.

However, allow me to point out that "random in the sense of a dice roll" and "random because I just thought of this random thing" are different only on the Technique and Ephemera levels. They accomplish the same things by different means, and thus the distinction is utterly one of style and taste.

If you're unconvinced, look at it this way: in SAN!, when I introduce a random thing, it goes on to have repercussions that I could have no way imagined. For instance, I once introduced a pirate ship in order to give Stephen's character some trouble. Imagine my surprise when his character bought the pirates' loyalty and sent them after my guy, prompting a small adventure all on its own.

From the hat, we once drew a burning bush. My character, Jimbo the Barbarian, who was under a curse, immediately understood it to be an oracular bush, and so asked it how to remove the curse he was under. It was Stephen's turn, so we all looked at him to decide what the bush said; he was stumped. Courtney said something like, "Come on, just think of something. Like, he has to drink a goat's blood while jumping off the Grand Canyon." And Stephen said to me, "Hey, you heard the bush!" And this little thing prompted a huge and ridiculous adventure, the first (and only) SAN! scenario to be played out in more than one session.

QuoteThe randomness sounds pretty like your example Marshal, (which is really funny in an absurdist kind of way) only I'm a bit older now and I want to upscale the principle to bigger, more adult things. I like guessing and being proved wrong, in a way that turns red herrings into the main plot and obvious next steps into nothing at all, but in a way that makes sense with hindsight.

JoyWriter, I want to point out here that the absurd craziness of SAN! is purely a matter of Color. You can use the same principles for something far more urbane and mature, and even thematic. (For that matter, SAN! does have theme. It's the same theme everytime, frontloaded by the System, and I summarise it thus: "Life's a bitch, then you get hit by a flying ice cream truck driven by a beat-boxing gorilla who is dating your mother.") You could even, with players dedicated to doing so, do that very thing using SAN!.

Ron Edwards

Hi guys,

Great discussion. I think the topic itself has been worked through well enough for the original purposes of the thread. Nexus6, send me a message if you think this is premature, but it's probably time to close the thread. Everyone else, please treat it as closed unless otherwise notified, and just as Caldis suggested, please feel free to spawn new threads about the issues raised here.

Best, Ron