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Author Topic: GNS and Hierarchy  (Read 4979 times)
Ayyavazi
Member

Posts: 128


« on: August 11, 2009, 06:16:06 AM »

Hello all,

I know Ron will probably want an actual play example and to have this thread moved, but since I am lacking an example (that I know of or am willing to type out right now), I am putting it here for beginning discussion. Also, I am sure this has been discussed before, so any help finding relevant threads would be great.

I was reading the Simulationism aside thread, and had this little brainstorm: what if Hybrid play between the different agendas is not only possible but common. You can also find a discussion progressing along these lines in the Actual Play forum under Gamism and Narrativism: Mutually Exclusive.

Here's my thinking. What if, instead of having one agenda as the point of play, all of them were present for a group, but set up in a hierarchy.

So, for players that prefer narrativism, Narrativism is at the top. This means that all decisions go through a kind of Nar filter, and if the decision has nothing to do with premise, it goes to the next filter down, which would be either gamism or simultionism, whichever is more important to the group (or perhaps player, in incoherent play). If it still does not apply to the next level, it moves down to the third, where it is made based on that, since no matter what, it is in accord with the other two. In this way, all decisions the players make, at any level, will always provide the maximum enjoyment for what the group wants.

Here's an example. Within the fiction, say a character has a choice. Say that this choice has three possible outcomes. One outcome (A) results in doing what the character would do under these circumstances. Option B results in a risky fight with plenty of chances to Step On Up. Option C results in a dramatic addressing of Premise. Applying the filter in the order above, the character will act in a way that is not consistent with his own, but which increases the drama, which is what the group wants more than they want character accuracy.

This way of looking at things may help to explain some splay in which the group is not happy. Lets say that one intrepid and hopeful group sets all agendas at equal priority. Now we have a problem. Given the situation above, all choices are equally valid. However, a sinister thing lurks in the darkness of the players' souls. Say the character, for lack of a better option, decides to go with option A. Maybe it was a die roll. Now, if the players agreed to the die roll, all would be fine. But, lets assume there is no roll. The player makes the decision. Now, I personally believe that whatever decision the player makes will be the one he deems most important to his individual goals at the moment. Say he takes Option A, because at the moment, he wants to play out the character more than he wants to experience gamism or narrativism (yes I know, few here believe in GNS operating at this small level, almost like physics). What happens when the other players disagree because they lean toward a different agenda. I have most commonly observed this when a player makes a decision that does not fit the character's motives in order to create drama or an oppurtunity to Step On Up. When that happens, the players diagree, and the idea of what is most important needs to be discussed in order to preserve coherent play, and enjoyable play for everyone.

The problem is that in the moment, this hierarchy can shift as well. If it is cemented and everyone agrees to it ahead of time, it is both blessing and curse. It makes decisions easier for players, but makes them frustrated when their own desires conflict with the cemented hierarchy. In essence, it all comes back to Ron's basic idea: if players are united in goal, they will have more fun. That is, if you are lucky enough to find players just like you, you will have the maximum amount of fun. To me, this means we can design games in one of two ways: Either we design games for specific agendas, and assume the group playing it  will match up perfectly (or tell them to), or we can design games that alleviate these small-level frustrations by being flexible enough to suit different styles of play and still maintain enjoyment amongst players (though even then, it would seem that the entire problem comes in at the social contract level, which to me seems impervious to adaptation unless the players themselves are willing to adapt.) I suppose that if the social contract the game requires were laid out right next to the rules, perhaps that would alleviate most of the pain, assuming the flexibility-in-contract was preserved throughout play. But then again, maybe I have just re-defined system.

Any thoughts?

Cheers,
--Norm
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Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 547


« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2009, 06:56:09 AM »

Norm, why you are lacking an actual play example? If role-playing really worked like this, every single decision you made in your role-playing history would be an example...

Anyway, the forum for this wouldn't be "first thoughts"  in any case: this is for first thoughts about new games, not about new theories...

I am going to assume that you will post an actual play example in the next post and Ron will simply move this thread to "actual play".  In this case we could continue this discussion with examples and in more depth.  But, for starters, I think (from your post, lacking examples) that you did misread the articles about GNS.  It's ALWAYS been about priorities, not about presence. There isn't a rpg game ever played that completely lacked any step on up or any kind of thematic decision, no  matter how little. You can't define a Creative Agenda on the basis of "what is present in play", you have to see "what has the precedence in play", and considering not a single decision, but the entire game (to be more precise, you have to consider the biggest reward circle in the entire game).  So, in this part of your post you are saying nothing new.

But, in the following past, you mis-represented the three creative agenda. Probably because you still talked about single decisions, but when you said "
Quote
Here's an example. Within the fiction, say a character has a choice. Say that this choice has three possible outcomes. One outcome (A) results in doing what the character would do under these circumstances. Option B results in a risky fight with plenty of chances to Step On Up. Option C results in a dramatic addressing of Premise. Applying the filter in the order above, the character will act in a way that is not consistent with his own, but which increases the drama, which is what the group wants more than they want character accuracy."
You did not talk about Creative Agenda at all.

"Within the fiction, say a character has a choice. Say that this choice has three possible outcomes. One outcome (A) results in doing what the character would do under these circumstances. ": this is simply "playing the character". Apart from always playing in Pawn stance, like in a boardgame (something I don't even consider role-playing at all) you ALWAYS choose this, in every Creative Agenda. The creative agenda is about what THE PLAYERS do, not the character. It's the players that, choosing between the many, many things that any character "would do under these circumstances" (and doing other things in the games where you are not limited to "play your character") express the group's Creative Agenda.

"Option C results in a dramatic addressing of Premise": you don't address premise in a single scene. This is one example of why there discussions NEED actual play examples. If you would have had to make an actual play example of adressing the premise every single scene in a real game you played, you would had noticed this.

I have other things to say, but it's better to concentrate to these points at the beginning.  And in the "actual play" forum.
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Ayyavazi
Member

Posts: 128


« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2009, 07:15:26 AM »

Well, you have (possibly inadvertently) cleared up some murky waters for me. As for your request, I will give a bare-bones example (as I lack the time for anything else).

When I have played D&D (3.5 and 4th) I have run into many situations where the character would likely do something that would be uninteresting, and so went against character to do the interesting thing. I was just reading about this example, so I'll adapt it. Assume a character is generally cowardly (ignore that playing such a character in anything but a drifted DnD game is pretty much a bad idea). This character should run away from a big scary monster. However, doing so removes the character from the encounter, and results in the player sitting there with his thumbs up his butt. Sure, he may be enjoying that he acted according to character, but will the enjoyment last for the hour or so it takes the party to deal with the threat and then go find his character. Hopefully, the answer is yes, but I have rarely seen that happen. So, in order to avoid boredom, have the character stay and fight. Sure, maybe you could justify it in some way so that you convince others (and yourself) that this is what the character would have done, but sometimes, I just feel like I betrayed the character in order to make sure I was still able to enjoy the situation at hand. Is this incoherence? Is it possible I was seeking one type of play, but playing in another?

The point remains that I believe that not all decisions are made based on what the character would do. In fact, the various stances seem to address this rather well, and I have seen the issue discussed in many of the foundational essays Ron has given me to read about GNS. But this only addresses things on the character level.

And what do you mean when you say you cannot address premise in a single scene. If that is the case, I have a gross misunderstanding of what Premise is and how and when it gets addressed. Possibly this clears up all of the confusion in some of my other threads, and so it is probably worth exploring, along with the rest of the calls of, "GNS is not in the small stuff!" Its kind of like physics. The theories break down when you get to the really small stuff. Buit if that were the case, either the theory is incomplete or wrong. Either way, I'm interested in your response and the other things you have to say. Also, I am wondering why I haven't seen your username as a common name in the other threads. Generally, people with a lot to say have said it before, and I would have noticed. I am only curious as to what about this post made you respond that my other posts did not. Its interesting to me.

Thanks again, and cheers!
--Norm
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Adam Dray
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2009, 08:10:16 AM »

If the theory is like physics, then you're trying to guess the shape of the galaxy by looking at subatomic particle interactions. It just can't be done.

You've been posting for a while now, so you're really gonna have to cough up examples of actual play that supports your ideas. Right now, it's all just discussion about what could be and what should be with no connection to anything that actually happened.

I personally welcome the discussion! I'm very interested in creative agenda and how it relates to groups of interacting techniques.

Here's a bit of actual play from one of my D&D 4e games. Tell me the game's creative agenda...

In the first game, Jody's character (a woman changeling disguising herself as a male Anglican priest in metrocalyptic Oxford 1605) encountered a raging goblin. The PC's first reaction was to scream and do nothing when Jody's turn came up because his priest wasn't used to facing monsters. The rest of the group played their characters in an "optimal" tactical manner. Discussing things after the game, Daniel asked people how he could "make other people awesome." He wanted to know what powers people had and stuff for synergy and party building for combat. Most of the rest of the players said they wanted to play out tactics from the viewpoints of their characters (actor stance, not author or director stance, essentially).
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Ayyavazi
Member

Posts: 128


« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2009, 08:34:26 AM »

Thats a great point Adam. I couldn't tell you the agenda. I could take some guesses, which I'll do for posterity's sake.

The player of the priest seemed to be pursuing a Simulationist agenda that the group did not share. The rest of the group seemed to be gamist with subservient simulationism, or Simulationism with subservient Gamism (which if I am correct is either downright improbably, or an anomaly, according to the forge). That is with the exception of the person who apparently wanted pure gamism, through only caring about tactical options.

Again, this is only a guess. But my thought here is that just because you can't guess the shape of a galaxy from only its subatomic particles, just like ascertaining creative agenda from the individual techniques, doesn't mean there is no role they play, and it also means that perhaps you can tell, if you have other parts of the equation. Perhaps parts we don't even know exist yet, and so can't look for or use to tell. Plus, for me, it seems that play agenda can morph over time within a group, switching from one to another. But I still have a lot to learn, so I don't know for sure.

Thanks again, and when I have time, I'll post some actual play, though I sure wish we could just talk theory for a little first.

Cheers,
--Norm
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Adam Dray
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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2009, 08:45:22 AM »

Here's the thing. I don't know the agenda of this game myself. I am trying to get people to lean towards Simmy stuff. It's a bit drifted D&D with a VERY strong Setting and Situation (in 1605, Oxford, England, gets sucked into the D&D world where jungles clog its streets and monsters eat most of its citizens; a few special citizens gain D&D races and classes and all those powers) and strong Character (who were you before the metrocalypse event? how are you reacting to the transformations you are going through?). Right there, that suggests Sim but the 4E rules reallyreallyreally want Gamist play.

Daniel enjoys the tactical combat aspects of 4E and was pushing for that stuff. The rest of the group -- especially Jody -- are really grooving on the setting+character=situation aspects. We've talked about approaching tactical combat stuff from actor stance. That is, best tactics your character can manage, not the best tactics your player can manage. Does actor stance vs. author stance make or break a creative agenda? I don't think so.

Only time will tell. We need to get through some adventures and see where the real rewards come from. Maybe drifting 4E this way will result in a horribly incoherent game. The players are having tons of fun, so I suspect it's coherent. I think they're getting their rewards from exploration of the world, but it could turn out that the real meat of the reward for them is how their character changes and transforms. That'd be more of a Narrativist CA, right?
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Ayyavazi
Member

Posts: 128


« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2009, 09:17:14 AM »

Thats good to know Adam. I would be happy to work with your play examples, especially since they would be much more recent than my own.

As for how I look at agenda, I am not the one to be asking about that. Just when I think I understand it, I get told that what I think isn't accurate for a host of reasons. I am still learning about GNS, and have a lot of ideas that rub folks the wrong way, mostly because the ideas seem to stem from my inaccurate knowledge. That said, I can answer some of your questions.

I think you have the idea right about which player wants what and what Narrativism would be, in broad strokes. The thing is, 4th edition is only good for a handful of play styles without some kind of revision.

Here's the deal. The primary reward mechanisms in 4th ed are Exp (arguable as a pacing mechanism, but a reward from player standpoint) and treasure. Both work back into character effectiveness. So, characters are good at fighting monsters, and they acquire more abilities and stuff that make them even better at fighting monsters. They get this stuff from...fighting monsters. Looking at the Exp especially, it takes about ten average encounters to level up. A big quest reward, according to the designers, is equivalent to only ONE of those encounters. which means either ten big quests (thats months of investment) or ten monster encounters (two and a half weeks for the average group). Treasure is easy. If you want to encourage a type of play, make the rewards fit the bill. So for simulationism, Award bonus experience to the tune of half an encounters worth or a full ones for playing in character even when it means choosing tactically sub-par options and getting hurt. Offer treasure more for exploration rather than as stuff the monsters were carrying.

Of course, awarding experience this way means that when the character levels up they need to have something that feeds into something they care about. If you are putting a lot of effort into rewarding sim play, they may not care how many levels they gain, since all that does is make them better at fighting, something only one player seems to crave. It would have to make them better at exploring (arguably fighting fits the bill, since it helps them survive monster encounters, but thats not all they are looking for). So, perhaps making the skills significantly more important (more skill challenges than encounters) and giving more skill bonuses at level up (say +1 to two skills every level, beyond the normal bonuses) would help. All of this helps to reinforce playing the character as the character, which can spill over into character development if they want it too, though the only reward they will get will be their own enjoyment.

Keeping the player who wants fights happy means giving them fights. Try giving him one-on-ones occasionally, which 4th ed does fairly well sometimes.  This way he can hold off the monster while the party goes exploring (or running).

But all this GM advice still shows my whole hierarchy point of view. You want Sim at the top. From there, Gamism should probably be the next priority, since all the players seem to like tactical combat, within the limits of what makes sense for their character. Then, character development and premise can occur. Others might ask for more details on the play example, which I think would make a great Actual Play thread. There you could get a lot more theory out of it. Perhaps two threads functioning off of the same play example, one that explores my hierarchy idea (which is probably not new) and one to help you understand agenda. Though now I am probably being too selfish and should give an example of my own, huh?

Thanks again, and cheers!
--Norm
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Adam Dray
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2009, 10:10:11 AM »

You'll also find a lot of conflicting information about GNS for a host of reasons. The articles aren't authoritative or up to date about every little detail. People misrepresent stuff about GNS here and other places. It's a tough thing to get your brain around. The best way is to post your own actual play and talk it over with some people, especially Ron or Vincent or one of the other folks who were around for lots of the discussions.

My questions are not for my own sake. They're for yours. I thought any AP example would aid this discussion and I happened to have a useful one at the ready. I have a decent grasp on creative agenda and the Big Model.

Regarding my play, consider that we are double the number of XP awarded, making use of skill challenges for non-combat fun (and XP), and leveling up ever character at the same rate (even if the player did not show up). If this campaign turns out to have a Narrativist focus, I would expect the D&D reward system to supply a means of character change as a reward. Not just getting stronger, but allowing the player new avenues to showcase the transformation. But that could be true of a Gamist campaign and a Sim campaign, too, right? So this technique/reward system isn't a "tell" for creative agenda on its own.

When you start talking about hierarchy, you're talking about primacy. Something ends up on top as the primary reason for play. That's all we're saying Creative Agenda is. Maybe you're saying something really similar to what we are?

Now to show that a secondary reason for play even makes sense, you need to figure out if G and N and S are so different /as creative priorities/ that they cannot coexist in any meaningful way.

Like Ron's analogy, eating the pig is not compatible with petting and loving the pig. You can come up with theoretical situations where pig lovers are petting and loving the pig, then eat it, but they're kind of ridiculous situations, right? That's why we need actual play--to keep this from being a discussion about ridiculous possibilities that never happen.
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Ayyavazi
Member

Posts: 128


« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2009, 10:18:52 AM »

I do so hate analogies, because people can get caught up in them and argue them just for the sake of breaking them. But the funny thing is, there is an elegant answer to the pig dilemma as it is commonly put.

Tribal culture often venerates the animals they eat. So, we have loving the pig and eating the pig. Domesticating it is pretty common for our culture, so you have petting the pig and eating the pig, sometimes even loving the pig. Whats so unrealistic about it? It only becomes weird when all three aspects are set to 11 and attempted at the same time. Essentially, in their full-fledged form, no agenda is compatible with another, because of the way it is structured. But at lower levels, it all works just fine. Native americans can love, eat, and pet pigs all they want.

What I am saying is that hybrids can exist, but they can't if people insist on being purists only, which makes sense. So hardcore gamists won't enjoy narrative-gamist hybrids, but thats fine, because the point of play for the hybrid is different than the point of play for gamism.

Cheers, and I hope to post more soon. Thoughts welcome!
--Norm
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Alan
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2009, 10:44:48 AM »

Ayyavazi, can I ask that you start using the current terms for the creative agendas? These are "the right to dream," "step on up," and "story now." You'll find they hit the meaning of creative agenda much better than the GNS terms.

Domesticating it is pretty common for our culture, so you have petting the pig and eating the pig, sometimes even loving the pig. Whats so unrealistic about it? It only becomes weird when all three aspects are set to 11 and attempted at the same time.

Here you have just stated the defining point of creative agenda. CA is not monolithic or exclusive, it includes all activities necessary to roleplaying. It is defined, however, by which choice dominates play. Ie, if we're going to eat the pig, the other elements take a back seat overall or else people get upset. Just as the goal of raising a pig to eat it means that it's not wise to pet it and play with it too often, so a particular CA means that we invest less in some techniques.

But just because you see someone treating the pig like a pet does not mean that's their final purpose. You can't tell the goal from an isolated event. You have to observe a period of time to see the frequency and importance of particular elements.

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- Alan

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Alan
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2009, 10:48:44 AM »

I should clarify my request to use current CA terms -- I have assumed that we're building on current CA theory. It's possible Ayyavazi means to build a parallel theory on the basis of the old GNS meanings. If that's the case, I'd like to know so I can see the discussion from that angle.
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- Alan

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Caldis
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Posts: 392


« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2009, 11:11:35 AM »


I think the Hierarchy of Agenda preferences is entirely possible in a group and maybe in an individual.  It however is not an aspect of functional play rather it's incoherent play where shifting priorities are likely to create problems between the individuals at the table.  Take your example in the Gamism and Narrativism: Mutually exclusive thread.

Quote
I think (key word) that Everyone enjoyed watching me grapple with personal loyalty and my loyalty to the state. The damage-dealing is fun I can have in any campaign. What made this one stick in my mind is that it was so customized to the characters that I actually felt like my decisions had more consequences than just success or failure. Killing something wasn't always a path to victory, and it always complicated things.

To get that to happen you needed a GM creating situations that were full of consequence.  In return you had to react to the situations in ways that werent just attempts to "win" the situation but something that made a statement about your character.  You both had to be in sync on this which would be incredibly difficult if you had varying ideas on what the point of play was.

To put it in big model terms Creative Agenda is the arrow that goes through all levels of play.  The first level it has to go through is Social Contract, the arrow piercing the contract makes it part of play and brings it into all the lower level.  Therefore the CA has to be a contract, an agreement on the part of the players as to what the point of play is.
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jburneko
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Posts: 1429


« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2009, 03:30:21 PM »

Norm,

I think what you might be missing are that competition, thematic dynamics and, uh, imaginative verisimilitude double as Techniques.  And has been stated that individual Techniques alone can not define a creative agenda.  If a game contains a moment of extreme fierce competative-ness that's exactly what you have, a moment of extreme fierce compative-ness.  You don't have a moment of Step On Up (formally known as Gamism).

To try another analogy (different from the Pig one), if I tell you I saw a movie in which there was a passionate kiss can you tell me with confidence that I was watching a Romance?  No.  All you can tell was that there was a romantic moment involved in whatever I was watching.  It might have been a Horror movie for all you know.

So how about an example of actual play.  II'm GMing Mouse Guard right now.  My friend Colin is a Burning Wheel expert and most of the group defers to him during conflicts because he's a master of the scripting system.  I'm not as good.  That means that Colin and I can get fiercely competitive during conflicts.  There's a lot of, "Oh, FUCK YOU!" and "HAHA!  OWNED!" being thrown around.  Does that mean we're playing Step On Up?

Actually, no.  Because if you look further you'll see the reason we're so invested in "winning" is something other than the constant one-upsmanship.  There's no sense of looking for payback.  There's no sense of escalation or "pushing" each other.  There's no social points being kept.  I don't go home after the game and consider how I get him "next time."  The social dynamic of the game AS WHOLE isn't building or revolving on those moments of competition.  Beyond the self-satisfaction of those individual victories there's no "stepping up" to the on going challenge because there isn't any.

Instead you'll see that the reason we're so fiercely competitive in those small isolated moments is because of our emotional investment in the conflict at hand.  It's my job as the GM to add pressure to the character's Beliefs.  I do that by introducing conflicts, pushing for my goals and in the event of success presenting the players with choices in the aftermath.  Colin is pushing hard because he (and his fellow players) are standing up for their Beliefs.  When they succeed it's a moment of resolution, a point at which the characters have made a thematic stand.

The dynamic of pressure and thematic stand is what the social dynamic of the group AS WHOLE revolves around and those brief competitive clashes are just a Technique to get that into play in an emotionally engaging way.

Jesse
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Callan S.
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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2009, 03:46:21 PM »

Hi Norm,

Just addressing this point, which isn't directly associated with CA
Quote
but makes them frustrated when their own desires conflict with the cemented hierarchy
This just seems a childish frustration? If you include someone who can't master their frustrations on this matter, then as a group you'll never really achieve a consistant, comfortable CA, because the whole group needs to be focused on it and this guy can't manage that. CA chain is as strong as it's weakest link and all that.
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Moreno R.
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Posts: 547


« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2009, 03:47:18 AM »

Hi Norm.

Also, I am wondering why I haven't seen your username as a common name in the other threads. Generally, people with a lot to say have said it before, and I would have noticed. I am only curious as to what about this post made you respond that my other posts did not. Its interesting to me.

Two reasons, mostly. The first one is that I write very slowly in English, and when a thread go very fast (like this one, now) I tend to avoid it because usually I am not able to keep the pace of the conversation (and if I try to, it become a very time-intensive activity). Fast threads become usually very confusing, too, because they tend to go all over the place instead of staying focused on the topic

The second is simply that this thread was much simpler that your previous ones (this, at the time I wrote my first reply...)

Quote
When I have played D&D (3.5 and 4th) I have run into many situations where the character would likely do something that would be uninteresting, and so went against character to do the interesting thing. I was just reading about this example, so I'll adapt it. Assume a character is generally cowardly (ignore that playing such a character in anything but a drifted DnD game is pretty much a bad idea). This character should run away from a big scary monster. However, doing so removes the character from the encounter, and results in the player sitting there with his thumbs up his butt. Sure, he may be enjoying that he acted according to character, but will the enjoyment last for the hour or so it takes the party to deal with the threat and then go find his character. Hopefully, the answer is yes, but I have rarely seen that happen. So, in order to avoid boredom, have the character stay and fight. Sure, maybe you could justify it in some way so that you convince others (and yourself) that this is what the character would have done, but sometimes, I just feel like I betrayed the character in order to make sure I was still able to enjoy the situation at hand. Is this incoherence? Is it possible I was seeking one type of play, but playing in another?

Yes, it seems like incoherence. Now, as I said, Creative Agenda is about the players, not the characters, and it's at the entire game level, not about a single scene. So, in this case, the incoherence isn't in the cowardly character running away. It's at the beginning, in the player choosing a cowardly character. 

This is too little, by itself, to categorize the entire game as incoherent (maybe he had other reasons...) so I will have to suppose that this behavior is characteristic of this player in the entire game. It''s a big assumption, so please don't forget it: I am still talking about the entire game, not about a single choice. If so, what I can suppose is that this player wanted to play a very different game. He wanted a game where he could explore his character, maybe show how, little by little, he would have overcome his cowardice. Or maybe he simply thought the idea of playing a coward funny. But, if he is not someone who think that ruining games is "fun", he made a mistake. He didn't know, maybe, that the game would have been all about "stepping up" and now he can't contribute to the stepping up with this character.

What he do, if he combat with the others, is simply betraying the initial idea of his character, to be able to play the game (and not running away every time). It can be conscious (the player ask the GM to remove his cowardice trait, for example, or something happen "in the fiction" to remove it), or everybody simply "forget" that that character was coward.

But soppose that the player still want to play a cowardly character. In this game.  The player want to play ANOTHER game, with a different CA. He think that the GM should use the character's cowardice to create something for him TO DO. (maybe, running away, he meet somebody. Maybe he is captured and meet the queen of the underworld and fall madly in love with her) and should still give him his share of "screen time".. But the GM don't think so, the GM created some opposition for the party, and if someone run away instead of stepping up... he doesn't deserve "screen time".  That useless waste of ink on paper will return after the fight.

The GM and the other player thinks that that player is playing very badly and he is useless in a fight, and maybe want to ask him to stop playing with them. The player thinks that the GM is not a good GM and the orher players are only able to roll dice and don't know "what true role-playing is".

This is usual. When a group who played always with a CA see someone play with another CA (or "not in tune" with the group CA) what they think, almost always, isn't "they play a little differently", they think "this is not role-playing". Because for people who never experienced different CAs, the CA is not an agenda, is "how role-playing works".

It's not possible to play with different CA at the same time, because it would mean playing thinking that "people who don't care more about A than B, play very bad, and I don't want to play with them" and "people who don't care more about B than A, play very bad, and I don't want to play with them" at the same time, and in the mind of every single player. When people experience play in different CA they usually see this very easily, but a lot of people simply played with different techniques (immersing, not immersing, talking in character, not talking in character, etc.) but always in the same CA, they see that the techniques can cohesit, they think they are CA, and think hybrids can exist.

(after playing with true different CAs, by the way, you learn to recognize them and learn how to voluntarily "switch" them when you change game)

(I think that it's possible that, in a group who play with a CA, for example "Story Now", there could be a list of "preferences", so that the difference between the third choice for a CA and the second is noticeable. Some years ago I called that "secondary CA", meaning that it was subservient to the primary, that always "won". But I don't use that term anymore because it confuse people (and it confused me when I used it). A Ca can't be "secondary", it's a contradiction, (that give way to things like the existence of "hybrids").  It's simply the preference for some combination of techniques in service of the only CA, that resemble the techniques used for other CAs

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And what do you mean when you say you cannot address premise in a single scene. If that is the case, I have a gross misunderstanding of what Premise is and how and when it gets addressed. Possibly this clears up all of the confusion in some of my other threads, and so it is probably worth exploring, along with the rest of the calls of, "GNS is not in the small stuff!" Its kind of like physics. The theories break down when you get to the really small stuff. Buit if that were the case, either the theory is incomplete or wrong. Either way, I'm interested in your response and the other things you have to say.

Maybe I was confusing there. What I meant was that you can address a premise in a scene, but you did it in the previous one, too, and in the following one, too. It's an ongoing process and HOW you address the premise will be clear only at the end.

For example, let's say that the premise is about the relative worth of life and love. In a certain scene, your character has to decide if saving himself of his loved one. He choose himself, condemning his loved one to death. Did you address premise here? Yes, but only here? How it could happen that you had to make that choice? I think that it could happen only if the entire game, from start to finish, was build to make you adress premise. The GM has to try to oppose you with "thematic" choices, not only  tactical ones, and this isn't a choice you do in a single moment. It has to be built.
More than that, THE GAME IS NOT STILL FINISHED. The story has still to run his course. If you look only to that choice, the theme of the story seems to be "life is better than love everyday". But it is? Maybe that is simply what the CHARACTER would do. But remember, "CA is about what the PLAYERS do".
Suppose that, at the end of the game, the player use some metagame resource (like fan mail in PTA or bonus dice in TSOY) AGAINST his own character, or that he choose to add to the character a trait like "remorse" that hinder him and cause him to die at the end...  at the end, the Theme of the game would have been that that choice was WRONG.

The choices of the players build one onto another. You address the premise from star to finish, with every single choice, but no single choice determine the theme (the answer to the premise). No single choice can answer the premise, only the entire game do.
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
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