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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 39 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Heroquest 2: what does the system add?  (Read 4187 times)
Alexander Julian
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Posts: 9


« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2009, 11:25:49 AM »


"Choose what you do, then roll" is a pretty solid systemic framework for Story Now. "Roll, then find out what you do" is most assuredly not.


This makes me think that ‘story now’ covers two distinct creative agendas.

Story epiphenomenalism
Story essentialism

Story epiphenomenalism: Theme is given to events in the SiS –after- they have happened. Theme arises from the fictional events. Cognitively the player is saying ‘I’ll commit to this fictional action and see what occurs and that will give rise to theme.’

Story essentialism: Theme is given to events in the SiS at the same time as they happen. Cognitively the player is saying ‘this fictional action addresses premise in it’s totality.’

In story essentialism I want to directly answer theme through the actions of the SiS.  ‘Choose what you do and roll’ is never quite satisfying because the dice have determined the theme from between two outcomes. The GM finishes the theme off by adding consequences. I’m too greedy for that, I want the GM to be there just to provide opposition. I want to answer theme all by myself.


...it seems to me that you might not be getting to address premise because the GM veto is there as a buffer, keeping the system from actually affecting the course of play. 

Yeah you’re right. I think in this case the GM was the one who answered the premise. It was trying to figure out why this is acceptable that led me to think ‘story now’ is two separate creative agendas.
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Joel P. Shempert
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Posts: 484


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« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2009, 02:58:38 PM »

I'm scratching my head a bit at that distinction, Alexander. If I squint I can kinda see that you're pointing toward two possible interpretations of the "Now"? Like, "action now" versus "meaning now?"

All I can think to say is, Story Now is about action now (epiphenomenalism) because roleplaying is a social activity. "Answering theme all by myself" isn't Story Now because it's not engaging the group. It's simple authorship. And a single player authoring an answer to Premise/Theme is counter to Story Now activity, whether that single player is a "GM" or not.

There's a weird twisty-turny logic thing I'm seeing in your argument, which looks semantically sound but doesn't sit right. Yeah, I guess turning "how did your action work out?" over to dice does surrender thematic meaning in a sense. But you're still choosing what to do. There's no clockwork absolving you of responsibility by saying "Oh you rolled a 1, I guess you weren't compassionate after all." Surely that's a FAR greater surrender of Theme-authorship? Have you heard the old canard that parodies the movement of Story Now-facilitating games? It goes, "Roll to resolve your grief. *roll* you have absolved your grief." But that ain't Story Now from where I'm sitting. It's a caricature. It's valuable inasmuch as it can warn us not to head down that path.

A final thought on the "answering theme all by myself" issue: it also occurs to me that you may be pursuing a red herring in "who narrates the results." You can do Story Now with a variety of arrangements. It may be solely the GM in Heroquest, but that's hardly the only functional arrangement. It's an issue of technique, not agenda. But in terms of this particular Technique, I find it a useful component of "providing opposition" to be able to state consequences; otherwise it tends to get a bit masturbatory.

Peace,
-Joel
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Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Alexander Julian
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2009, 03:56:00 AM »

I'm scratching my head a bit at that distinction, Alexander. If I squint I can kinda see that you're pointing toward two possible interpretations of the "Now"? Like, "action now" versus "meaning now?"

All I can think to say is, Story Now is about action now (epiphenomenalism) because roleplaying is a social activity. "Answering theme all by myself" isn't Story Now because it's not engaging the group. It's simple authorship. And a single player authoring an answer to Premise/Theme is counter to Story Now activity, whether that single player is a "GM" or not.

I think you get the distinction just fine, in fact you’ve furthered my understanding of the difference. Story Now is fundamentally social with it’s attribution of meaning. Part of where I’ve been going wrong is not playing well with others.
In light of this I’m not sure I want Story Now. I need to go and do some actual play and experiment with what I’ve learnt.
Which I think brings the thread to an end.

Thanks everyone


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