Started by Andre Canivet, May 22, 2010, 03:10:13 AM
QuoteI suppose I'm really just trying to wrap my head around the idea that the game and the text are two separate things. In other words: What is the "game," really? It's not the text, but it's also not totally independent of the text.
Quote2). Is the supposed generation gap I mentioned between the 1st generation of gamers (who started at the beginning with basic D&D, etc.), and gamers who started the hobby with later games... is that anything other people have noticed? What I mean is, the GM of this game really loves the Palladium rules. He says they're really innovative and flexible. Whereas, my own experience with the game is that the rules are rather bizarre and idiosyncratic, at least when compared to a lot of other games that came along even a couple of years later. I'm just curious about any thoughts that more experienced gamers would have on the matter.
Quote from: Andre Canivet on May 30, 2010, 02:54:52 PMWhen I was asking what the game actually is, I was grappling with the idea that the game is this phantasmal thing--a kind of living imaginary process that resides strictly in the minds and the conversation of the players. The written text of the game---even the unwritten "text" or system, and things like maps, miniatures, artwork, dice, etc., can all represent and interact with the game... but they are not the actual game. It's like music. A CD or an MP3 file isn't music; lyrics aren't music; sonic vibrations aren't music; only the experience of music in the mind & body of the listener is the music. The music might be generated by all these other things, but is not identical to them. It's a little different to a board game. When I play a game like Monopoly or Risk; I'm absorbed in the physicality of the game--the board, the tokens on the board, the dice, the cards, etc. Even the rules, as you point out, are generally unambiguous in a board game and point directly to acceptable behaviour. At least, that's how it is for me. I've never really asked my friends where their attention is when they play, but perhaps it's time I did.
Quote from: Andre Canivet on May 30, 2010, 02:54:52 PMThank you for pointing that out, as it is a really good point. If I may, I'll try to synthesize your and Ron's views: There really is only a system when it's somehow explicit / agreed to by social contract, and even though it may be unwritten, it still constitutes a "text" of a sort, which behaviour is expected to follow. Random mistakes and misinterpretations aren't system---unless of course, everyone agrees that these behaviours are "canonical" and appropriate.
QuoteBut not to get off topic, I'm bound to run into areas where my ideas of system conflict with the GM's. In this case, our systems are "implicit" in that I have one, and he has one, and presumably the other players have their own, and yet we haven't yet had occasion to resolve the differences in these ideas and expected behaviours.
QuoteIn response to your questions, they don't seem far out at all. In fact, I'm afraid my answer may be a bit far out. When I was asking what the game actually is, I was grappling with the idea that the game is this phantasmal thing--a kind of living imaginary process that resides strictly in the minds and the conversation of the players. The written text of the game---even the unwritten "text" or system, and things like maps, miniatures, artwork, dice, etc., can all represent and interact with the game... but they are not the actual game. It's like music. A CD or an MP3 file isn't music; lyrics aren't music; sonic vibrations aren't music; only the experience of music in the mind & body of the listener is the music. The music might be generated by all these other things, but is not identical to them.
Quote1 & 2) I do consider myself an authority on my own experience, and for me the experience of a role-playing game is an internal and ephemeral one, whereas a board game is much more external and material.
QuoteI interpret what you said about "unless of course, everyone agrees that these behaviours are "canonical" and appropriate" as saying that if before a game starts either the DM writes a "rules addendum," or the DM and players hash out an agreed upon set of rules changes, that would then be "part of the rules."
QuoteIf you played Zork or similar early text based computer games, you probably remember a lot of frustration because you came up with good ideas, and the computer wouldn't let you do them because the designer of the game didn't think of them. As I see it, that is the advantage of RPG's.Now, how many systems have rules for grabbing a chandelier rope at the top of the stairs, swinging over the fight, and landing on a foe? And yet, a player who has just come to the game from watching Errol Flynn movies may reasonably want to try this...At this point the system has "failed," by my interpretation of your definition
QuoteThe DM looks at the rules, makes an ad-hoc decision, and play continues.
QuoteThe player will be happier hearing "OK, that isn't in the rules, but roll this, then this, and if you succeed you do it," than "That isn't in the rules, so you can't try it." 99 times out of 100... The DM will be happier making up a rule and keeping the game running than looking up rules trying to find out the "right answer," and the other players will probably agree.
QuoteIn fact, the "rules as written," for most published game systems have something like "But if the player tells you that he wants his character to knock over a brazier full of hot coals into the orc's face, you (as the DM) have to make some snap judgements." (4th ed DMG page 12).
QuoteI just want to get a feel for how "flexible," you see the rules as written.
QuoteI would argue that no system can cover every situation
QuoteI guess my question becomes something like "so what if we do change the game?"
QuoteIf your gaming system seeks to keep the players "on track," then again, I think it is fighting against player improvisation.
QuoteIf your goal is to have the world story stay "on track," then PC improvisation can certainly knock you "off the rails."
QuoteI have a fear that you and I are at diametrically different poles of gaming.