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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 34 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Looking at the idea called 'system' again  (Read 10172 times)
Caldis
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Posts: 392


« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2009, 10:37:42 AM »


I think there are two discussions happening here and that's a big part of the confusion.  Contra, I think where we may be getting messed up is related to the example with the paintball guns.  Is shooting someone with a paintball part of system if everything in the SIS has already been resolved?  No, it's not part of system it's tangentially related like color in the earlier discussion that lead to this.  Do the people playing have a system? Yes if they are able to construct events in the SIS and resolve them and everyone agrees what happened then they have a system.  The paintball gun is irrelevant to system, it exists more on the social contract level.

Callan on the other hand is arguing that there is no system, even though there is evidence that things have been resolved.
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Marshall Burns
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« Reply #31 on: November 03, 2009, 10:57:10 AM »

This is probably the core dissonance here, Marshall - you've switched from 'something', to 'someone'. Treated them interchangeably, just as I was talking before about confusing and mixing up darwinistic system and man made system.

Is someone at the table causing gravity to exist? Is someone at the table causing momentum to exist?

For fuck's sake, this is getting ridiculous.

When I say "at the table" I mean "in the context of this thing that we call roleplaying." All the events that happens in-game? They don't exist. Nothing happens to the fiction unless the people imagining it (US) cause it to happen. The process by which we cause it to happen is what is termed "System." For there to be any possibility at all that System might not exist, you'd have to establish that things can happen in the SIS without people causing them to happen. Which is plainly impossible.

The only things that "just happen" (in relation to the System of play) physically, literally "at the table" are elements of Social Contract. Which may or may not feed into the actual roleplaying. If they do, it is because someone allowed them to.

Summing up in short form, if you treat both
A: Going into a store, handing someone money and taking from them some milk and bread
B: Going into a store with a knife, opening the till, taking money and leaving
as being 'system' in the same tone, equally, without caveat, then you are speaking about them as being equal and the same. As you treat them, so they become - either in other people that hear you or in your own eyes. If you treat them equally, so they, over time, will become equal.

A good System and a bad System are both a System. This does not make them equal. Both are Systems, but one is good and the other is bad. Ejecting bad Systems from the status of "System" is nonsense and accomplishes nothing.

Arrg. Callan, I don't mean to be uncivil, but, sometimes when I'm talking to you, I feel like I'm talking to Derrida programmed into a computer. Which I find incredibly aggravating.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2009, 02:57:31 PM »

Quote
When I say "at the table" I mean "in the context of this thing that we call roleplaying." All the events that happens in-game? They don't exist. Nothing happens to the fiction unless the people imagining it (US) cause it to happen. The process by which we cause it to happen is what is termed "System." For there to be any possibility at all that System might not exist, you'd have to establish that things can happen in the SIS without people causing them to happen. Which is plainly impossible.

"A shapely woman rushes up to you and rips open her blouse...."


What, where did your mind go? I didn't mention exposed bra or breasts. Nor did you decide to imagine bra or exposed breast...you just did. As much as if I crept up behind you and popped a baloon, you'd flinch without deciding to, so too can your imagination operate without anyone prompting it. Including yourself. And so yeah, people can keep talking at the table even without deciding too. Just as much as your dreams can come at night without you deciding they will, or deciding their contents.

Or it's plainly impossible.

Now my own 'Oh for fucks sake, this is fucking rediculous' is that this is like talking to someone who firmly believes wrestling is real, rather than talking to someone who knows it isn't, but enjoys humouring the idea it is. Rather than talking to someone who can enjoy that their imagination runs away with them, and understands that in running away, there's no system there except a biomechanical/darwinistic one, yet have found they enjoy it anyway. But I keep talking to people who, apparently, when their imagination lurches forward from stimulous, they call it their own decision to do so. They shake their chains and assert their imagination is one who's chained, to them...and hotly deny that when imagination yanks hard enough, imagination decides where they go and they are chained to it. Chain runs both ways.

Quote
A good System and a bad System are both a System. This does not make them equal. Both are Systems, but one is good and the other is bad. Ejecting bad Systems from the status of "System" is nonsense and accomplishes nothing.
If you must use some, to my mind, awkward method of calling them both system but then quickly following up with which is bad and which is good, fair enough! I think it's clumsy, but it'd probably get the job done most of the time, none the less, I will grant. But I've not been seeing that or anything like it happening. I've just seen a total lack of distinction made between people acting upon each other and acting with each other. You could write that off as repeated poor comprehension on my part, or alternatively perhaps I identified it correctly. I'm not interested in deciding which is the case for you or is merely humoured as the case and chewed over briefly for you, but I am interested in providing evidence.


Caldis,
Quote
Callan on the other hand is arguing that there is no system, even though there is evidence that things have been resolved.
Hold on, haven't you been saying raw physics counts as system?

If it did count, it wouldn't matter if things are resolved or even unresolved amongst people at the table. By that measure, it'd still be a system.

Or are you adopting some sort of view that raw physics are not enough to qualify as system? And now your speaking in terms of there being things resolved, as evidence of systems existance? Adopting just for this thread or such...I'm not implying your fully adopting it or anything.
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Caldis
Member

Posts: 392


« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2009, 10:09:46 PM »

Hold on, haven't you been saying raw physics counts as system?

If it did count, it wouldn't matter if things are resolved or even unresolved amongst people at the table. By that measure, it'd still be a system.

Or are you adopting some sort of view that raw physics are not enough to qualify as system? And now your speaking in terms of there being things resolved, as evidence of systems existance? Adopting just for this thread or such...I'm not implying your fully adopting it or anything.

I"m getting to the point Marshall mentions so I'll give this one last shot and I'm done.

If the raw physics resolves the imaginary events then yes it's part of system.  If it doesnt resolve the imaginary events it's not part of system.  So with the paintball, if shooting the player after his character has been shot decides nothing in the SIS then it's not part of system.  If shooting a player with a paintball and how the player reacts determines what happens in the SIS then it's part of system.  Alternatively you could be using the paintball gun to determine if a character has been hit by having the gm try to shoot the player.  If it decides what happens in the SIS then it is part of system.

It's all there in the Lumpley principle.
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Marshall Burns
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« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2009, 12:39:27 PM »

Callan,
I could start arguing that we can and do, indeed, control and decide our imagination and dreams, even if not always consciously (which, as far as I'm concerned, in no way absolves responsibility). That would be nothing but a big shitfight. Luckily, I don't have to, because it's completely irrelevant.

What I'm imagining, on my own, is not the thing here. What goes into the SIS, that's the issue. If you accept "roleplaying" as the act of creating and developing an SIS, then System (as defined by the Lumpley Principle) is the means by which a group decides what goes into the SIS and what doesn't. If I imagine something and someone else doesn't, then it ain't in the SIS, and is in fact not relevant to play, at all*, until I utilize System to introduce it to the SIS and make it relevant.

* Do some people get kicks out of imagining this stuff anyway? Apparently. I don't think it's a good idea. But that phenomenon isn't pertinent if we're talking about the group activity of "roleplaying."
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Callan S.
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« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2009, 06:20:31 PM »

Hmm, how does that tie in with the million and one AP accounts out there (and this is even noted way back in T&T) that go something like
"Hey, how'd the dragon breath fire on me? I'm standing way over here!?"
"No, your standing over there"
"If I'd known that I would have run way over here!"
"Well, your there and your burnt!"

I'd say that proves unshared imagination matters to play. Or are you saying if the player put his foot down and did not accept that he was standing over there/did not, along with everyone else, also imagine his PC was standing over there, are you saying he'd have no consequence. Ie he'd not be burnt by the dragon. And so your saying that unless everyone imagines it, it's not relevant to play?
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Caldis
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Posts: 392


« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2009, 09:35:15 PM »


Callan,

Can play continue if they never resolve where the character actually was?  Somehow that has to happen or else the game falls apart.  You cant have a player saying his character wasnt burnt by the dragon while the GM says he was.  Either they resolve it in some manner, negotiation, ret-con, someone gives in or else the game has reached an impasse and can not continue.  How they do that is the system in use.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2009, 04:00:26 AM »

Well, yes, play could continue. I'm imagining some mechanics where if the GM and player can't agree where the character is, he takes half damage from the dragon breath. Whether he's here or over there is not resolved at all, yet the procedure for gameplay can continue to be followed (he takes half damage), even though the imagined state is left unresolved.

What's really interesting here is the very different emphasis - compare the following:
* Play can't continue because we did not resolve where the character is, fiction wise
Vs
* Play can't continue because someone is not following the rules. Playing with a fractured fiction is fine (say that five times fast!), but if people wont follow rules, play cannot continue.

It seems to be the fiction first/rules first divide. Which kind of was discussed here, once.

I think I do understand what your getting at with the sense that play can't continue until this thing on where the guy is, is resolved. I can see that as being the hurdle to get over. But I can also switch perspective and see it as nothing all that important and it's whether people are following rules, assuming there are any to follow, that matters and the fiction can stay fractured and that's no biggy - the show/play goes on regardless. I can mentally flick between the two emphasis...though my own preference is the latter.

I imagine that if your emphasis is on the former where play can't continue until that fiction is resolved, my half damage rule from above probably seems anathema, perhaps provoking a responce like "Who cares if you can keep following some darn procedure! Where is the guy!? Where is he...you can't go on like that!". Indeed it's probably seen by many as the feature of roleplay as a hobby, in that play can't go on without an intact fictional package.

Maybe it is, historically, I don't know. Certainly this discussion of system seems very much fiction first/play can't continue unless the fiction is resolved.
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Caldis
Member

Posts: 392


« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2009, 07:03:54 AM »

Well, yes, play could continue. I'm imagining some mechanics where if the GM and player can't agree where the character is, he takes half damage from the dragon breath. Whether he's here or over there is not resolved at all, yet the procedure for gameplay can continue to be followed (he takes half damage), even though the imagined state is left unresolved.

This is resolving the events in the SIS.  It may not answer where exactly the character was but it does resolve what happened, he was at least partially damaged by the fire.  This is system and it works exactly as per definition and the same as your earlier example where you didnt agree with the gm's ruling but let it go.  Even here you have both parties agreeing on what happened or the game breaks down.  If one side doesnt agree with using your solution then the game still cant continue.
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Marshall Burns
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American Wizard


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« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2009, 10:38:19 AM »

Hmm, how does that tie in with the million and one AP accounts out there (and this is even noted way back in T&T) that go something like
"Hey, how'd the dragon breath fire on me? I'm standing way over here!?"
"No, your standing over there"
"If I'd known that I would have run way over here!"
"Well, your there and your burnt!"

I'd say that proves unshared imagination matters to play. Or are you saying if the player put his foot down and did not accept that he was standing over there/did not, along with everyone else, also imagine his PC was standing over there, are you saying he'd have no consequence. Ie he'd not be burnt by the dragon. And so your saying that unless everyone imagines it, it's not relevant to play?

That proves that those people weren't communicating and/or listening to each other very well.

By the way, I don't there is a fiction first/rules first divide. "Fiction first" is a rule, and an element of System when it is used.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #40 on: November 05, 2009, 12:01:34 PM »

Well, yes, play could continue. I'm imagining some mechanics where if the GM and player can't agree where the character is, he takes half damage from the dragon breath. Whether he's here or over there is not resolved at all, yet the procedure for gameplay can continue to be followed (he takes half damage), even though the imagined state is left unresolved.

This is resolving the events in the SIS.  It may not answer where exactly the character was but it does resolve what happened, he was at least partially damaged by the fire.  This is system and it works exactly as per definition and the same as your earlier example where you didnt agree with the gm's ruling but let it go.
There are two things in terms of fiction - where the guy is standing, and whether he gets fire on him. Only the latter is resolved. The former is unresolved, the two people do not agree and are not imagining the same thing at all. Play goes on regardless, as the procedure handles this. They both agree to that procedure, but fiction wise they do not both agree to where the PC was standing.

And with my own example, your starting to tell me what I agreed to. Your obviously not the one to tell me that. I didn't 'let it go' - I didn't agree with his fiction. I agreed with the golden rule invocation.

But I'm thinking your going to keep ascribing my agreement to the golden rule with some sort of fictional connection, and thus linking my agreement with fiction. But this is just you deciding what I agreed to.

Can you give me a short AP example of you playing any old boardgame - I'll point out you following the procedure in it, without getting some agreements on fiction. Then you'll know I was doing exactly what you did in the boardgame, at that point.

Quote
Even here you have both parties agreeing on what happened or the game breaks down.  If one side doesnt agree with using your solution then the game still cant continue.
Boardgames continue all the time without anyone agreeing on some fiction. That's exactly what I'm describing, but you keep wanting to say the game went on because we patched over the fiction together. We didn't. It was a boardgame moment. And I'll note how a number of indie games coming out are kind of boardgamey - it's indicative that total dedication to fiction perhaps isn't the be all and end all.
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Caldis
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Posts: 392


« Reply #41 on: November 05, 2009, 02:02:20 PM »


So once you agreed to the golden rule interpretation what happened with the fiction?  Your character wasnt able to shoot his gun at the same time as he loaded the weapon.  You may not have agreed with the ruling but you accepted it.  There is no your version of events that happened and the version the gm used there is only the version you both accepted, you werent able to shoot and load.  Likewise in the Dragon example you've both accepted the character was close enough to be damaged by the flames, we may not agree on where exactly the character was but if it doesnt affect the resolution or the action it's a disagreement about color not system.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #42 on: November 05, 2009, 08:20:02 PM »

Jeez man, you really are explicitly telling me what I've agreed with!

If some tribe had a law that said I had to wear a red sash upon first visiting their village, because otherwise bad spirits come, and I wear the red sash, does that mean I agree that their bad spirit exists? Or that I just agree to abide by their laws?

Your projecting spirits onto procedure, then telling me that as I've agreed to the procedure and it's resolutions, I've agreed to the spirits.

I agreed to the golden rule procedure outcome - I did not agree to some fictional level that anyone else projected onto it or it's outcome, or that you are projecting onto it right now. And the guys in my dragon example, they are doing the same - they do not agree on fiction, they just agree to the procedure to continue with. Your just blatantly making stuff up now when you say they agree 'he was close enough'. They did not. I should know as it's my example, but your actually telling me what the guys in it have agreed to.

Or are you gunna keep saying "You put on the sash! You've agreed there are spirits!"?

And your first questions a loaded one - "what happened with the fiction?". The questions asserting that one single 'the fiction' existed. It's like asking me "Where were you on the night of the murder you commited?"...bit hard to answer that one without simply admitting something that isn't true. Similarly I can't answer your question without admitting your premise that there was one single fiction, because the question is rigged that way.
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Caldis
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« Reply #43 on: November 05, 2009, 08:52:51 PM »


I cant add anything else here.  All I can say is what did happen in the game.  Was your character able to shoot and load at the same time like you wanted?  Did that happen?  Did you get to move on to the next step that would happen in a game if your character was allowed to fire his gun?  Did you roll to hit?  There is no multiple fictions here, I'm sorry but you are deluding yourself if you think otherwise.   Only one thing happened you loaded the rifle and continued with the game as the gm ruled. 
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Callan S.
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« Reply #44 on: November 06, 2009, 08:31:29 PM »

If X = 0, spend one Y to put the value of X at the value of Z.

X is given the tag 'ammo', Y is given the tag 'attack' and Z is the maximum value of X.

It's quite easy to follow that procedure without agreeing to any fiction anyone else has in their pretty little head. Just like it's possible to play the card game 'lunch money', following the instructions without any fictional level at all, or follow the instructions, studiously ignoring any fiction that pops into anyone elses head. Eg, the 'big combo' card in lunch money, which does X amount of points, the instructions encourage you to describe the move. Does that mean the other person simply must have agreed with the description as being the one and only fiction? Or are they just nodding through and humouring how your imagination goes, as they follow the instructions?

But ultimately I'll put it this way - if I knew someone else was going to be absolutely certain I'm agreeing with their fiction when I'm not and I'm actually telling them I don't agree? I don't want to give that impression - so I'd pack up and leave. That simple. Take the 'reloading' thing - if the other people involved wont accept at that very point when it came up I don't agree with their fiction and there are two seperate, disparate fictions, I'd just pack up and leave. Not because anyones done anything bad, I just don't want to give the impression, by hanging around, that I agreed to something I didn't agree to. If you can't see I don't agree with your fiction, but if I stick around you'll have the impression I do agree? Then I'll leave. As soon as the GM says actually it still takes an attack to reload, I'll just say bye and leave then. I wont stick around and humour or support what is a false and deluded impression. To be honest, if I knew, I wouldn't play with such people to begin with. Not because they are bad, just because I don't want to humour their deluded impression of what I have agreed to.

I'm really dreading that somehow someone will take this to a pythonesque "Oh, even if you leave, you agreed to the fiction". Which brings all sorts of absurd comedy skits to mind "What if I pulled a gun and shot them all?" "Still agreed!" "Nuke?" "Still agreed!". Which would basically mean LP and 'system' are hotel california. But hopefully this is just a probability of what someone will say and one that just isn't the RL case.
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