Started by C Luke Mula, August 20, 2011, 07:35:31 PM
QuoteThose connotations concern setting as skin, i.e., a completely trivial aspect of scribbling perhaps-elaborate but ultimately inconsequential Color onto a totally-consistent System which has its own features that really drive exactly what play is like no matter what setting is concerned. Whereas for Sorcerer, the Color is supposed to integrate with Setting in such a way that the Character-centric concepts are highlighted even further.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on August 24, 2011, 04:28:32 PMHi Dan,I think a lot of progress has been made on setting as a productive feature of play in the past decade. But to talk about that, I think we should work on clarifying the term.Looking over your points, it seems to me as if you are using "setting" for too many things. It's useful to break out the concept of Situation, which is to say, these characters in some particular part of the setting, right at that time when something specific happens. As I see it, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is a setting, or rather, the Federation and its starships are, as conceived for that show. Situation is this particular crew in this particular ship at this particular planet right when the thing that's happened to the people there is close to critical mass, or what's going to happen to it is about to happen to it.I agree with you regarding the moral ambiguity, but I think the term applies to situations by definition, and to say that setting is morally ambiguous is only short-hand for describing frequent situations in it. One can have a setting which isn't especially morally ambiguous, overall, but here and now, the situation is. Or vice versa.Your distinction between episodic vs. campaign play strikes me much more of a situation issue too, in terms of situations' closure. Episodic means they close out and are done, "campaign" that they continue to evolve through play-driven changes.But all of this is quibbling, really, because unless I'm very mistaken, you're working from the idea of a setting which does in fact, without qualm, raise intense conflicts for pretty much anyone in it. So I'll carry on with that as the assumption.And in that light, your final point, about tabula rasa characters in conflict-rich settings, is a damned good one and a perfectly reasonable design strategy. One of many, yes, but a very good one. One of the best games to work with this concept is HeroQuest, in which one of the character creation options is to start with a blank character sheet, with the exception of a name and a home culture. But even if you use the more standard character creation option, starting player-characters in that game tend to be pretty ordinary (if interesting) members of their home cultures, who develop into highly distinct individuals with heroic-level consequences through their contact with the setting's famously charged conflicts found in any location.Now, in relation to Sorcerer, it's all backwards: Sorcerer is a game in which situational conflict is deeply, deeply character-centric, with setting being present almost exclusively to frame that conflict and (occasionally, as I mentioned about the outlaws riding into town) to supercharge it. So it's quite the opposite of what you're talking about. In Sorcerer, you don't really have a setting until after you've played.Best, Ron