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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: non-play  (Read 7249 times)
Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 771

roll-player


« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2011, 11:22:07 AM »

Doesn't the RAW contain the (dumb ass) golden rule? So technically by chopping and changing, doing whatever the hell, the GM is playing by the RAW? And indeed, as much as I don't want to advocate this, the person pushing to play by RAW is actually pushing not to play the rules as written. To skip the hallowed golden rule. Really you've got TWO people who 'just wanna have fun' in that regard, not one person. Except one of them actually has a rule behind him, even if it's a stupid rule like the golden one.

Based on memory, I don't think 4e text really supports your opinion. I don't own the books though, so I'm unable to confirm.

Either way, it's sort of tangential to the general topic.

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Tons of materials with this sort of shitty golden loop hole, which, I hypothesize, actively encourages this non serious stuff you and Ron mention.

I seriously don't think it's a case. You can have as much or as little of it in the manual as you want, and it won't matter when people don't read and/or understand it. They will do things their own way not because the rule let them, but because they never cared what the rules said in the first place.

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Do you honestly think you feed these people wreckage and your going to see anything other than wreckage?

I honestly think even if you feed these people something that isn't a wreckage you are not going to see anything other than wreckage too.

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But do we work off simply thinking it the case, or running some sort of scientific test, actually exposing them to such rules and checking the results?

Ding, dong!

In your posts you work off by simply thinking your opinions are the case. Now, I must invite you to go and conduct this scentific test you have in mind and present your results.

I think I'm having a little deja vu as far as discussions with you go, actually :)

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Anyway, given where I've placed my bet, my problem seems to be the lack of cultural connection to latch onto, taking fiction to be a largely cultural thing. Very much indeed "what fiction?" - it's all kept hidden, because the activity is so shit at handling it they sensibly keep their fiction hidden (perhaps a sort of defence against brain damage, eh?). So what fiction do they find electric and hot? Not 'Vampires and/or zombies and/or steampunk' - if you take moving fiction as the cusp of cutural change, where is the movement they currently find hot? Or have they lost track of that and been left to cultural stagnation? Okay, this is all a second topic. Just raising it to give one idea of where else to go.

What if all they find electric and hot is actually "vampires and/or zombies and/or steampunk"?

I don't think it's common for people with no academic background to think about fiction in deeper terms. I think it's common to lack the language and tools necessary to operate past superficial genre tropes. Or perhaps it's just common not to need much past that.
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Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 771

roll-player


« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2011, 12:17:35 PM »

I recently went through this with a game of PTA where one of the players was extremely passive, disengaged from play and unwilling to contribute in a meaningful way. Admittedly, PTA requires a lot of player effort, but this player would not contribute at all.

Week after week, for a five episode series, the rest of the players would have to coach him through scene creation. Generally, his scenes would just be a continuation of the previous scene. He seemed to be playing the game as though it was D&D and it was just his turn to act.

The final straw for me was when it came to his turn and he sat silently, apparently thinking about his scene. This went on for so long that everyone else got bored and started a side convrsation, at which point he "woke up" and got involved in the chat. At that point, I decided his behaviour was deliberately destructive to play and stopped the game, which was a pity as everyone else was really enjoying it and bringing a lot of energy to the table.

When I first played PTA several years ago, the other player behaved exactly like that. The game lasted for half a session I think.

Me and the GM soon tried PTA with a different person, and our second attempt also went like that. This time however the player was genuinely trying to learn the game, he just lacked the rudimentary ability needed to do so. It was remarkably different than with the first guy. Some years later, our fifth attempt at PTA was with the same person and it actually worked.

However, the first guy? We played some other games with him as well. Some were more like D&D in terms of "your turn to act" and it didn't work either.

For example, in one game which I believe was Exalted ported to whatever ruleset seemed like a good idea at that time, his main and only concern seemed to be having some cool "Naruto tatoo" with some cool Naruto powers. Having as in: having it written on his character sheet, because he didn't use those powers anyway, because he didn't do much at all. We had to prod him in order for him to take even the most basic actions.

It was the more strange that apparently the guy was the regular GM in his former group. How did he manage to run anything with his level of dedication is beyond my imagination.

Obviously, the guy didn't want to play PTA or any other game we tried with him. He just wanted to "play some RPG, any RPG", that's all.

We stopped bothering with him eventually and he didn't even try to contact us. Until several months later, when he suddenly asked me to run Neuroshima or Wied?min, which he should have known I would never do, because while he still played with us we used to bitch about these games and games like that in his presence. Perhaps he didn't even register my seething dislike for those systems, or perhaps he was just accustomed that gamers tend to regularly do things they dislike. I guess I'll never know.
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Callan S.
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Posts: 4268


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« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2011, 03:37:16 PM »

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In your posts you work off by simply thinking your opinions are the case.
Your opinion on this is, of course, the case!
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Now, I must invite you to go and conduct this scentific test you have in mind and present your results.
But there's two invitations here...and one has your name on it as well!

I am writing something, but it feels like it's for an audience who are uttely silent (and so possibly non existant, as you say). It'd be nice to have some company - RPG design culture is still in love with "Well, just use whatever skill you think is appropriate and whatever difficulty number (unsaid: And dogmatic SC will handle the rest)". So writing something with hard procedure feels like writing moon language no one will care about. Funny thing is, Capes seemed to have a complete procedure, escape from tentacle city 99% had a complete procedure, Spione (as far as I've technically read it) seems to have a complete procedure. Complete procedure games are coming out, yet the talk still hovers around anything but boardgame like procedure.
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Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 771

roll-player


« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2011, 07:37:08 AM »

But there's two invitations here...and one has your name on it as well!

Yes, but apparently you're the one with a scientific degree in games and a well-equiped scientific institute ready to conduct your scientific tests. I think I'll pass and stick to actual play analysis, as it seems that's the only tool I have at my disposal that even remotely approaches "scientific". However, please let me know when your scientific thesis on the subject is scientifically published and I'll gladly give it a scientific look.

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So writing something with hard procedure feels like writing moon language no one will care about. Funny thing is, Capes seemed to have a complete procedure, escape from tentacle city 99% had a complete procedure, Spione (as far as I've technically read it) seems to have a complete procedure. Complete procedure games are coming out, yet the talk still hovers around anything but boardgame like procedure.

Hah, Capes. Now, we are getting somewhere.

First, how many people know about Capes these days?

Second, what's your own actual play experience with Capes?

Third, here's mine.

Capes was a big eye opener for me when I first learned about it from some rpg.net flame. I wanted to play it as soon as I've read the quickstart. It seemed to solve lots of my gripes with systems I used to play in that period. Sadly, it didn't generate much interest in my immediate gaming environment at the time. Similarly to Dogs, Universalis and some other Forge games that I was impressed with, I had no means to play it back then. It did however impact my design hobby and prompted me to tinker with stuff of this sort, which in retrospect was a waste of time, unless as a learning step.

I first played Capes in 2006 on IRC. I was too happy being able to finally play Capes to notice how those games sucked. Living on the opposite side of the planet, I had to stay up the whole night to play, and it usually took over four hours of typing and waiting and typing and waiting just to finish a single scene. Player turnover was massive and apparently most people didn't know or care what happened the week before, so we played a completely unrelated scene every week. It all just didn't connect and didn't lead anywhere. However, being new to games of this sort I didn't even notice the problem at the time and the slowness of IRC still seemed worth it. Dunno about other people involved, but I suspect their payoff was mostly low, judging by the turnover.

All in all, I learned how to play the game and acquired the pdf for free (and legally at that, har har har). Then, for the first time in my life I went through the trouble of ordering some games overseas and proceeded pushing Capes face to face. As you can imagine this wasn't easy, the book being everything but a thick and copiously illustrated full color hardcover.

That was my last year in Cz?stochowa, and the last year of face to face gaming before moving to Skype. I still managed to play the game with about 7 or perhaps 8 people total. Some were from my regular group (which was no longer as regular as it used to at that point), one was a regular's wife, one was recruited for Capes specifically (but turned a fucking asshole after a while, on a purely personal level) and some were random guests he invited.

Now, face to face it wasn't that different from IRC, only faster and more dynamic overall. It was still a random scene or two each session, it all still didn't connect, still didn't lead anywhere and there was still no stable group.

My memories of those games are a bit blurry unfortunately. My old-time regulars were mostly card and board gamers and seemed to "get it", but opportunities to play with them were increasingly rare so I have no idea how they would react to prolonged exposure. The asshole guy played it pretty often and seemed really into it. His pals not so much, none of them played more than once, and I have a vague recollection of at least one appearing ostensibly clueless and bored.

However, the regular's young wife. It was my last or second to last game before leaving the city, and I remember it fairly well. The other two players were her husband and a friend, both my regular players/GMs. The latter played Capes before with me, the former did not. Both grasped the rules quickly and looked like they were having fun, so I believe my teaching job wasn't all that bad. The girl however didn't seem to get anything. She had to be prompted and presented with options each and every time and she had difficulty choosing. She was also very reluctant to narrate anything. Mostly, she was just sitting there clueless and laughing occasionally, but seemed to like the panda assassin and that was probably her entire payoff from the game.

We played one scene, which would normally be enough for everyone to learn the basics and the game fizzled.

I also played Exalted in the same group once, either soon before or after that attempt with Capes. The girl was very passive, but seemed like she sort of started having fun when tentacles or something came up.

She was from the same social environment I describe here, but I've never seen her gaming there, just hanging out with the yaoi crowd. I doubt she had any tabletop gaming experience before meeting her husband, but apparently they were gaming a lot together. All she learned about gaming she must have learned from him, and the guy was a real sticker to the rules.

Despite this and despite Capes procedure being 99% complete, nothing. Not a sign of a light bulb over her head. I seriously doubt she ever read anything gaming-related or even heard about golden rule. She just didn't seem to care. She was gaming with her husband socially and anything went. Whatever they played together, its procedure was meaningless, it's her husband who was the procedure and why would it even occur to her to challenge that?


Either way, I left the city and moved to Skype gaming, some years passed, and eventually I played another game of Capes. This time, a fully satisfying campaign that wasn't at all like those early attempts. There was a stable group of dedicated players, scenes started connecting, some overall story started emerging and it resolved over the course of several sessions. However, I think it worked thanks to social contract level assumptions we acquired playing other GM-less games, as Capes scene-level procedure simply doesn't lead you there and you either know what to do with the game as a whole or you don't. There actually is some advice about that in the manual, but advice is all that's there.

Oh, and there was one more Skype game of Capes at some point before that, with my regular Skype player and some random guy he invited. It was another case of things working procedurally but the new guy appeared clueless regardless (and frankly, he wasn't even fun to play with socially).

There are precious few pen and paper games available that feature as complete procedure as Capes. Still, a 99% complete procedure "only" helps in having a game where the procedure does not suck. It does not help in having players who know how to best enjoy the game or, for that matter, who care to enjoy the game at all.
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czipeter
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2012, 08:50:18 AM »

Hi Filip,

this thread really scratched my itch. I could very much empathize with most of the situations and feelings described (not with the yaoi chicks goodness part, sadly :-) ). When I started reading this, I was before the first and right at the moment I am just over my second session of trying to play with my old bunch of "gamer" pals in my hometown (I usually play in the capital of my country (I am Hungarian)). I tried to recollect the first session in an AP thread.

I am grateful to you and Ron for the idea of this can be a problem above the Big Model, or to say otherwise, deep under the foundation of the structure of play (I remember vividly Ron's metaphor of painted wood Exploration upon which can stand the tower of a Creative Agenda). Probably most people in this group of mine just wants to "have fun", too, while I have much more interest in their creativity so the problem is totally not CA difference.

My two pence: probably this is not a digital thing with people wanting to play a game or just wanting to hang out. I can easily think that some of them would really play putting their hearts in, if only they had the chance, if only they knew what they can / should say freely in that current system (even if they don't know we call the implicit rules and guidelines of the conversation as such). This is something that Callan wrote, regarding rules encouraging play instead of non-play. My naiveté also suggests that if someone in a group gets his fun out of playing the game instead of the xbox for example, then the non-playing ones are very much pulled towards having fun like his/her. So I still believe in setting a good example even if it certainly seems like a chore sometimes for me. If they see me enjoying the use of a system (thus conversing (and rolling dice) in some way), then they will try it at least, I think.
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My real name is Peter.
Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 771

roll-player


« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2012, 11:28:38 AM »

My naiveté also suggests that if someone in a group gets his fun out of playing the game instead of the xbox for example, then the non-playing ones are very much pulled towards having fun like his/her. So I still believe in setting a good example even if it certainly seems like a chore sometimes for me. If they see me enjoying the use of a system (thus conversing (and rolling dice) in some way), then they will try it at least, I think.

Indeed, I fully agree that this sounds rather naive on your part.
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Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 771

roll-player


« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2012, 01:04:22 PM »

Now, as for myself and what I got from this thread throughout the past five months:

I carefully examined my regular player pool, paying particular attention to weakest links in the chain. I considered their gaming motivations, what valuable things they brought to the table (if any) and the results we were getting. Then, for the first time since summer 2010, I started actually putting established members of the group off the screen.

-4 regular players off the screen
-4 non-regular players off the screen
+7 new players recruited
-6 new recruits off the screen
+2 old contacts re-established

Left with eight regulars and no gaming related frustration. Still gaming two or three times per week.

My specific reasons for putting those 14 players off the screen?

2 cases of confirmed mental disorders that, in the long run, impeded gaming with no real hope of improvement.
2 cases of proving a stupid dick.
2 cases of proving a stupid cunt.
8 cases of acute non-play as described in this thread.
7 cases of continual unreliability for silly reasons, almost always coinciding with the above.
2 cases of insufficient reliability for perfectly legitimate and understandable reasons, tough luck.

Obviously, there was overlap in many cases. Like, one of the most problematic players suffered from a mental disorder that affected gameplay, eventually managed to piss off most other regulars due to also simply being a dick, and I count him as a case of non-play as well (month after month it was more and more obvious that he was only playing with us or at all to gather blogging material). Good luck with other groups, I say!

In some cases it was difficult to give up on gaming with the person due to purely social reasons. I do miss those, since apparently it universally resulted in cutting or diminishing our social links. Still, it seems we didn't have that much in common after all, if ceasing to game together also impacts our non-gaming connections and activities. Either way, for now I do not regret my decisions as far as gaming itself is concerned.
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Callan S.
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Posts: 4268


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« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2012, 03:09:54 PM »

I think there is obviously a point where construction/the completeness of the game does not matter - the other person is just disruptive in some way or other. And maybe that's the situation that applied in this specific instance, not the one I mentioned. I'm just pretty sure that with some people if you A: played them through a boardgame, they'd be fine but B: if you rewrote that boardgame to be like most traditional RPG's, that person would become irritating and disruptive.
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