Setting expectations, resolving conflicts, and other Rx's for dysfunctional play

Started by Double_J, January 02, 2012, 12:15:58 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Callan S.

Hi Jason,

I think that 'go with the flow', to a certain goal, is poison. With a certain goal of play, the way the different players (the different authors) at the table conflict with each other and do not go with each others flow is a rich seam of creativity driven by cultural dissonance. Granted with a traditional ruleset (ie, the ones I describe as having broken procedure and poor technical writing) it's difficult or impossible to do this, because you will conflict over the very structure of interaction itself, which is a waste of time. Thus it seems getting everyone to go with one flow is the only right way to roleplay.

QuoteWhere does one draw the line between "bad procedure/writing", and inadequate reading comprehension and/or lack of contextual understanding?  Who determines that?
Everyone as an individual does. Whether they read the rule set first and if they think it's vague, they don't play. Or they don't read it, but in play find play does not match their understanding of the written rules when they check, and they cease to play at some point, probably after the session ends, to be polite. Of course, the people who do that have mostly left roleplaying as a hobby and those who remain are mostly rule set apathetic, who ignore making a discriminating choice on ruleset and instead make emotional appeals directly to whoever seems to be controlling things. Granted, given a bulk of ruleset apathetics, yeah, even if you wrote a complete procedure with good technical writing, they'd still be apathetic so there'd seem to be no point to doing so. But that's kind of a vicious cycle that keeps the ruleset discriminators out of the hobby.


Quote from: Double_J on January 16, 2012, 03:01:34 AM
One trend I've noticed is "character-centric" design/theme/narrative.  I could go on quite a rant here; but I'll just leave it at that I am partial to a more "traditional" plot-centric model that is reinforced by the setting, and the characters explore/interact with plot through the setting.

Sounds like the original concern of this thread has been resolved, being your problems with this Fred fellow.  A few thoughts though (with the caveat that none of this is meant in a judgemental way, but rather as a critical analysis):

First and foremost, the quote taken from above makes me suspect that you've mischaracterised both Fred and yourself in saying that you are interested in a Narrativist Creative Agenda.  My understanding is not the best, but a primary focus of narrativist play (and part of the reason why the moniker "Story Now!" is used to describe that agenda with greater specificity) is the idea that plot, them and narrative emerges from the actions of the character, rather than being a thing that is presented to them to explore.  What you describe sounds a great deal more like Simulationist ("Right To Dream") plot exploration. And your friend Fred seems to prefer a heavily Gamist ("Step On Up") Creative Agenda.  Both can be satisfying ways to play, but they're very different from Story Now.  In your own way, you can be a very demanding DM: Your players need to prioritise the plot that YOU think is interesting, otherwise the game goes nowhere.

But it's a very different type of demanding than that of Fred.  The description you provide does seem to suggest that there was a lot of bad going on at the social level that was being played out in the fiction:  Fred has an undeniable need to be in control at all times, you had two players at the table that were showing little to no personal agency, and you had a need to "make this work" that was driving a lot of the conflict beyond just the differences in opinion in what the game was about.  Without directly addressing those issues, even before talking about CA you were pretty doomed to fail.  And frankly, it sounds like Fred was too invested in "My way is right" to be willing to give it up.  I cannot imagine playing with anyone who is that dismissive of the other players.  You're friendship is much better off with the two of you not playing together.

My real name is Timo.