The Big "Stakes" Controversy

Started by Moreno R., April 24, 2012, 12:33:44 AM

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Moreno R.

It's a FAQ, or at least it should be. Because I can't count the times I did read some actual play reports about games with explicit stake-setting before the conflicts... and I had to say "You are playing this wrong".  I don't know what it is, but there is something in the word "stakes" that seems to push people to pre-narrate their conflicts.   So I thought that it could be useful to post some links about this...

I don't know when people began to play these games in that way, but I know when that way of playing was denounced, and when the controversy started: with a discussion at GenCon 2006.
These are the threads that talks about that, and explain the problem:

The first rumblings, march 2006, before the Gencon: [Sorcerer] questions about stakes

The first post-gencon discussions that talk about it: Just a cool Dogs scene

But the big question-and-answers thread is not on the Forge, but at storygames:  Big Gencon stakes discussion

The issue resurfaced many times in other threads. Too many to cite them all. I will list only two thread:

[Dirty Secrets] Simple Rules Question where that error is discussed in reference to the "Dirty Secrets" game, because it's short, right to the point, and give a sort of description of how the issue is still a problem in new games in 2008, two years after the previous thread.

[PTA] Players wanting their PCs to fail? where the issue is framed in the bigger picture of what conflict resolution is, character advocacy, and passionate play. One of the most useful threads in the history of the Forge, IMHO. Indispensable for people who want to better understand  how "Primetime Adventures" works (and not only PTA...).
I could have directed you directly to this thread if i wanted only to show you how to play this kind of games, but I think it's important to understand how it permeated the actual play practices, so I added the previous link to show the history of the controversy.

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

Ron Edwards

I have lost the original file for the conflict resolution diagram, both Word and PDF. I'm still looking in secondary storage, but I went through two terrible hard-drive crashes and an unexplained catastrophic loss of the Sorcerer site contents in the late 2000's, so I'm pessimistic. If anyone could recover the file through internet magic, or if you happen actually to have saved it yourself, then I will hug and kiss you. Uh, or rather, please post it here, and I will be grateful.

Best, Ron

Ron Edwards

Found! Happiness is a warm download, or better yet, With a little help from my friends: Conflict resolution.

Best, Ron