Murk, or beating down confusion

Started by Moreno R., August 31, 2010, 01:59:23 AM

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Moreno R.


I am compiling a little "reading guide" on the concept of "Murk" for a Italian forum, prompted by Ron's recent postings and by the absence of that word from the Provisional Glossary. Having to do the work anyway, I thought to post it here, too, thinking that it will be useful even for the Forge readers.

The first time "Murk" is used on the Forge is in this post, in the thread "Bangs&Illusionism - in which Ron beats down Confusion", and the title of the thread, in hindsight, is really well chosen: because after a while it become apparent that the discussion in the thread (between Ron Edwards e Josh Roby) is not about Bang, Illusionism and Force after all, but about "Confusion".
Anyway, the first part of this thread is a good recap of the concepts of Bangs, Force, the difference between Bang-based play and Hint-based play, the game problems that can happen between a GM and a player with different expectations about the ranges of choices allowed in the game (this post break down an example in four possible ways), illusionism, partcipationism, railroading, GM authority, GM task...  it's a really good recap thread for a lot of these concepts, examined one by one searching for the source of "confusion" in the title. At the end "Force" is shown being a red herring, and the thread turn around about...  here. This is the first of a series of posts that touch a lot of issues: among them, The Czege Principle, "can of peaches" example,  the so-called "GM's tasks" and the narrative authorities. (Trollbabe and InSpectres are cited as example of breakout game designs about these issues). And finally... murk

That thread spawned another, with a request of more explanation and examples:  Ongoing failure to understand. This thread contains a really great comment about the "giving" rule in Dogs in the Vineyard, and why some people don't use or understand it.

After that, "Murk" as a word appeared in a lot of thread. The more interesting ones in my opinion are:

[Half-Baked Spin-off] How Does the Book Carry a Message?, about the game texts and how the bar was raised by DitV and other games.

So, Mud Planet 2 Sorcerer?: murk, GM fiat, and Sorcerer

The next big "murk" thread is this:
Mother-May-I and 20 questions: Games GMs play

and, after that:
Warhammer; Chaos! Order! Molasses!

This is Ron described these threads here
A few years ago, I coined the term "Murk" to describe a phenomenon which I hadn't been too familiar with myself, but seemed to be widespread in the hobby. I focused strongly on when and how a role-playing, collectively, could not manage to know when to apply any particular rule, especially those concerned with resolution. Joel's thread Mother-May-I and 20 questions: Games GMs play helped clarify the issue a lot. Callan's thread Warhammer; Chaos! Order! Molasses! is a great introduction to it, including his term "Molasses," meaning what it was like actually to get anywhere or do anything during play - slow, sticky, attention-draining, and often pointless. Also, the embedded threads in that one provide a good background.

This last quote is from the thread that, at this point, I think the best breakdown of the "murk" issue:
Roll-Playing Versus Roleplaying
It's not a post in the archive (it was posted today) but seeing that it was the cause of this "recap", it had to be cited...

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