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Title: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on July 31, 2010, 11:03:14 PM
Not really much to say - I was commenting in another thread that if 'fiction' decides what rules can be used/deployed, then it doesn't matter how awesomely you design. If fiction says your rules don't get used, then those rules don't get used. Precisely because they come first. So fiction can, and perhaps if 'it' decides, always will throw all structure to the wind.

And it struck me perhaps this is what Ron's called murk, or what I've called molasses?

That there is no structure, unless this 'fiction' decides it's okay to use. And this 'fiction decides' is as bullshit as the planchette is moved by spirits on the ouja board.

Okay, before I lay too heavily into that, let me say this. I think, like watching a magic show and humouring the little feeling in oneself that maybe it's real magic, one can humour the idea that the 'fiction' decides something. Of course it doesn't - were back to the point where in the past people would say 'What do the characters want' and we'd tell them the characters don't exist to want anything. Here, the 'fiction' doesn't exist to decide anything. There's just people. Okay, BUT we can enjoy humouring the idea that the 'fiction' decides things, like we enjoy humouring the idea 'magic' makes that rabbit appear out of the hat.

But oh boy, are some of you serious about 'the fiction' actually deciding.

Anyway, how do you get anywhere when there is no structure? Exactly - well, to me that sounds like murk (which makes me think of swamp mud and walking through it) or mollases (again, wading through it).

Of course in the old days you could write a standard rant and that was a pass. So for a token actual play example - I've played in many games where the GM called on skill rolls because it 'sounded right'. Oh wait, that doesn't sound specific enough because pretty much everyone does that, right? Well it is specific, but I'll try some more.

Okay, I've played in games where the GM had some notion of a plot or something, where bad guy had done X, perhaps left remnants (read: clues) behind of that. But what did we engage - well, it'd go from 'okay, a guy is hiring you' to whatever we did, then a roll that 'makes sense' based on what we did, then we'd do something else and that'd get a roll that 'makes sense' to the GM, or the GM would start to get a slightly constipated look as the very skism between what structure he had in mind and what happened at the table divided not so much directly to our actions as players, but divided instead to how HE was determining what rules happened next. Ie, he was letting 'the fiction' determine what happened next, and the fiction pretty much let things disapear up their own arse because it HAS NO STRUCTURE (worth a damn). Letting the 'fiction' decide is a bit like narrativistically playing a nut job and letting the actual character decide what rule is used next/letting the psycho run the asylum.

Actually that's a bit of a generalisation, but hey, it basically puttered - waddled - waded through molasses to get anywhere, many, many a time. I'll dare to say - every time. I wont say it didn't get places at times in the session - sweet memories. But it was like a raft on the open sea.

So, fiction first? Take it out the back and shoot it in the head?

Well, as I said in another thread, there is no binary state on the matter that I'm aware of. Like a board game is allllll mechanics first. But then roleplayers try and make it alllll fiction first. And weve had threads about before and after traits (STILL hate the name, btw, even if I get the idea). You could quite possibly define some rules as coming before fiction, being rules first, and yet also define some rules of the same game as being fiction first - the 'fiction' decides if they can be applied. Clearly define which is which, and your dandy. It doesn't have to be all fiction fetish or all boardgame steel and oil.

And hopefully we leave the age of roleplay myth, and get past where the fiction gets to practically faux religion levels. Whoa, did I say that - I'll use the 'did I sound scary' get out from Spiones text to excuse myself...hehe.

But basically here's the big idea - if 'fiction' decides what rules will or wont be used, if any, it DOES NOT MATTER how well you design them (or for that matter, how badly you design them...perhaps). If the 'fiction' decides (for ALL rules) if they get used, you may well go whole sessions (plural!) without using them. What was the point of writing any rules in that case?

Gah, and now I know I'll get a counter point that they 'work' as suggestions. And I'd agree in that if you were on the titanic and paddled furiously on one side, you could affect the titanics course...to a degree.

I'm almost outta booze, so I'm done :)


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: dugfromthearth on August 01, 2010, 07:01:12 AM
just about every game I know of has rules for making a perception test.  you don't normally use it when the character's walk down the street to see if they notice the cars or step in front of traffic.

in every game I've played the GM decided when to use tests and when not to.  They don't apply the mechanics to every action and every situation.



Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: greyorm on August 01, 2010, 12:25:15 PM
Callan, ranting while drunk isn't exactly the best way to post responsibly here, nor is flippantly flaunting board rules about discussing topics grounded from Actual Play and carelessly making up a scenario that fits your assertion or half-assedly posting AP just so you can post two cents about whatever crusade you're on this week.

And here's why all that is a problem: if you have ever played any RPG ever in the history of RPGs you realize that fiction does indeed decide things and comes first. "I'm in a room with monsters" is fiction, as compared to the fiction "I'm in an empty field." The fiction does indeed decide what rules can be used. You can't use combat rules in an empty field, just like you can't swim when not in the water. (I think if you had posted a moment of actual play, this would have been shockingly and immediately apparent.)

There is, in fact, a balance or a position you're willfully ignoring in order to rant about the evils of "fiction", which is exactly why I ignored your attempt to drag my thread off-topic with posts about it. Because if your character in my game is a mile away tied to a stake buck-naked, then the fiction says you can't contribute dice even though the rule says you can, and you can't for what should be obvious reasons, And "OMG! FICTION! BLARGH!" was a pointless response that did nothing to help or contribute to my design.

What it comes down to is that the problem you're describing isn't even with "fiction first", not if you have ever played and enjoyed any RPG ever. It's with something else entirely that you are choosing not to try and identify, instead you're focusing on a convenient-but-transparent scapegoat in the form of "fiction decides".


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 01, 2010, 06:50:36 PM
Sigh.

1. Raven, you're out of line. I ask that you not participate in the thread at least until some substantial back-and-forth occurs, if it does. Your post makes it about a hundred times harder to deal with the various minor faults in Callan's.

2. Callan, please do not reply to Raven's post. It will be remotely possible to have a discussion based on your post, but you're going to have to deal with some moderator comments.

3. I'm trying to get ready for GenCon, and this is not helping. I'll get to the moderator comments later.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 02, 2010, 04:50:18 PM
Stepping over wreckage and moving on
just about every game I know of has rules for making a perception test.  you don't normally use it when the character's walk down the street to see if they notice the cars or step in front of traffic.

in every game I've played the GM decided when to use tests and when not to.  They don't apply the mechanics to every action and every situation.
I'm not sure, but I think your making the arguement that not applying the mechanics to every action and situation makes sense, and thus there's no problem here.

But as you've said yourself (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=29957.msg278103#msg278103), making sense doesn't mean making a game.
Quote from: dugfromearth
1. determining what is likely or "realistic".  We often think something like "a corporation would have a security camera in an area like that".  But being fiction, the GM often has to have the enemies doing dumb things to make a game possible.

Does making sense == having fun, always? I remember a review of the riddle of steel on rpg.net where the guy said he didn't think much of it at all. Turns out, in the comments section, he didn't use spirtitual attributes. They didn't make sense to him.

Now imagine if he didn't put his sense of fiction first and played them through and just for examples sake, lets say he and his group actually have alot of fun with the spiritual attribute rules (as many have).

Well in that case putting 'what makes sense'/fiction in charge of what rules can be deployed made the game considerably less fun. It's 'fiction decides' to blame here.

I'm trying to work up a set of evidence here, like if I were trying to prove some scientific point - I'm not trying to assert it by sheer personality or such. So I'd appreciate people looking at the evidence I've presented and trying to find holes in that evidence and destroy it, rather than just try to ignore it and argue the point directly. If my evidence collapses I agree my point does as well. Attack the evidence!


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Frťdťric (Demiurge) on August 03, 2010, 07:34:53 AM
Hi Callan !
I'm just wondering if this kind of system isn't working because exploration is driven by scenario prepared before the play.
This make the GM puts rythm, conflict and dramaturgy to the play (so the structure is planted before the game for the best part of it), letting rules state about what is doable or not, getting a part of credibility of the EIP.

Am I in the subject ?


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 03, 2010, 10:38:29 AM
All right, now I'm stepping in as moderator.

1. Callan, please provide references to threads or other sources in which someone uses the term "fiction first." Readers can then use their own judgment to decide whether what you're criticizing, calling by that name, is actually what those people were talking about.

2. If they're not the same threads or sources, then provide references to anything which shows that "some people" as you call them are so devoted to the principle in question.

For purposes of full disclosure, I fully agree with your criticisms of what you are talking about. My favorite is more small-scale, when my character takes some damage and then, for my next action, the GM tells me that "You can't get to him, you're too far away where he slammed you." Even if the previous narrations had established that my character had been knocked away, and given that we're not playing with miniatures and hexes, where did that decree come from?

I suggest that this is two things, Murk and Railroading, with the former at the service of the latter. I further suggest that the GM is not playing "from the fiction," as you suggest, but rather "toward his current intended outcome." (Clip out my extended rant of hatred for this way of playing, including frantic jig.) I currently suspect that you are confounding "fiction first" as a term or idea with playing in this fashion, as opposed to what I think others have used the term for.

But until you point to sources as I call for above, then there's no way to assess that, because maybe this is what others have supported, and maybe it's not. I want to distinguish a valid and coherent topic of discussion from some bug up your ass about who said what, and who supported them, and how you don't like it. Or rather, to distinguish between your criticisms of certain ways to play vs. your desire to show up somebody you really want to scream "wrong wrong" at. I am currently unable to tell which this is. Providing those sources will solve the problem.

I hope that you can see I am not slapping you down. I am trying to make your thread possible.

Best, Ron

P.S. Everyone, please do not exploit my relative absence from the forums over the next week to play rats'-dance in this thread. Post fair & reasonable, and no passive-hostility either. If you fuck with me about this, the thread gets closed.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 03, 2010, 04:59:10 PM
Hello Ron,

Quote
1. Callan, please provide references to threads or other sources in which someone uses the term "fiction first."
This is my term. I'm trying to get what you want in saying this - getting context from here
Quote
I currently suspect that you are confounding "fiction first" as a term or idea with playing in this fashion, as opposed to what I think others have used the term for.
No, this is my term - other people would probably just say they 'are playing', as much as prior to the coining of the term 'lumpley principle' people would just say they 'are just playing'. I'm making up a term as a placeholder name for a behaviour that's essentially a game procedure. A behaviour they perhaps would not recognise they are doing (again, as much as say the LP). Am I given room here to suggest there are as yet unidentified behaviours, then invent a placeholder name for the suggestion/hypothesis?

I hope this covers what your getting at (I invented this term - I perhaps didn't make that clear enough, but I thought it was).

2. I could pull pretty much every thread on the front page of actual play and ask 'Why did that particular rule get called up/why didn't that rule get used?', but I'll keep it simpler for now and give a link to one of my own threads (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=28222.45). I think you know if I pull other peoples threads, it can get personal. It's already done so once already. So I'm just giving my own account for now, but I do see this elsewhere. Whether anyone wants to see it in their play or just wants to see it in mine, whatever.

Quote
I suggest that this is two things, Murk and Railroading, with the former at the service of the latter. I further suggest that the GM is not playing "from the fiction," as you suggest, but rather "toward his current intended outcome." (Clip out my extended rant of hatred for this way of playing, including frantic jig.) I currently suspect that you are confounding "fiction first" as a term or idea with playing in this fashion, as opposed to what I think others have used the term for.
Again, I don't think anyone else has used the term.

But let's get some mutual ground on the term 'railroading' and what your refering to in using the word. When you dream at night - if you've ever had a 'been chased by monsters' dream or similar, for example, would you identify that as railroading yourself (as there is no monster - it's an invention of your own mind), even though at the time you were sleeping, it all made perfect sense?

If you wouldn't call it railroading yourself, then your not talking about what I'm talking about at all. That's an entirely different avenue.

I'll pitch it this way - dreaming (asleep at night stuff) is perfect 'fiction first' behaviour. The 'fiction' utterly dominates what 'happens' next. The fiction deciding is you deciding, of course, whether your aware of it or not. Or atleast 'you' as much as your willing to claim the parts that make the dream as part of yourself. They are in your skull, either way.

If it feels disturbing and incorrect to say this behaviour can manifest at the gaming table - okay, I'm talking about something disturbing and feels/is seemingly incorrect. I'm talking about this behaviour, when it's allowed to control what rules are deployed, making even the most brilliant rules designs moot. See my riddle of steel example above - spiritual attributes didn't make sense to the guy who wrote the review on rpg.net, so he cut the spiritual attribute rules entirely from his actual play. Was he trying to railroad anyone? No. Was he letting his 'sense of what makes sense' determine what rules get deployed? Yes.

(I'm trying to find it - I'm finding similar, where they refer to everyone as average, with no mention of the big boost from SA, so it sounds like they skipped using them...oh wait, here  (http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/10/10048.phtml)s the exact one I refer to - though I'm not sure in which comment he said he didn't use SA)

It seems fairly clear cut to me. That doesn't mean it is clear cut or true by itself, of course - but if it gives some insight to my position - for as much as I can see it, I don't know why you guys can't and thus for seeing it clearly, I don't know how to describe it to anyone who apparently can't. (or maybe none of it's true, of course, to engage a bit of scientific doubt and skepticisms of even ones own claims)

And if you would describe dreaming as railroading yourself, that's really interesting and you are getting toward what I'm talking about.

Quote
Or rather, to distinguish between your criticisms of certain ways to play vs. your desire to show up somebody you really want to scream "wrong wrong" at. I am currently unable to tell which this is. Providing those sources will solve the problem.
Well no, you wont know. You've got your life to live on what evidence you have, as we all do, but you wont know. Sorry to make a point of this, but it really bugs me when people act like they somehow really know that persons intent better than the person themselves, I suspect because they don't like stomaching the idea they are sanctioning someone for something they were not doing (though obviously I don't know this either), so they tell themselves X evidence will really prove it.

If it helps, if this were a programming forum and someone was using an if statment along with a random number generator call that would bypass a huge chunk of their lovingly crafted code on a semi regular basis, I might try to be a 'clever bean' and say so. I've seen this, done this and had this done to me on programming forums, and it works - people actually say thanks and so have I. Nobody tries to tell others they have a personal problem for pointing out a possible error in the logic of the code. What I'm trying to do is atleast productive elsewhere. Or so I describe it.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 03, 2010, 05:13:49 PM
Hi Frťdťric, welcome to the forge!

Hi Callan !
I'm just wondering if this kind of system isn't working because exploration is driven by scenario prepared before the play.
Kind of - like a dam can only leak through holes in it if there's water behind the damn, kind of. Sorry, probably not a good description.

Imagine this - you write some really nicely designed rules.

But then you put an extra rule in front that you flip a coin at the start of the session. If it's tails, those nicely designed rules don't get used during that session, at all. This also means you might go several sessions without using them.

Okay, now take away the coin flip and replace it 'Use these rules only if they make sense in terms of the fiction'

Your going to get a similar outcome - sometimes the rules are cut from play, even for sessions at a time.

This can indeed tie into what your talking about, if I understand it - a GM prepares before the play. The rule is he doesn't use these cool rules unless it fictionally makes sense. What he has prepped doesn't fictionally make sense with the cool rules, so he cuts loose the rules, as per the accepted procedure.

What do you think?


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Jim D. on August 04, 2010, 06:16:35 AM
The problem with this concept is that it's so completely subjective.  It feels like the "fiction first" quandary, as you phrase it, is rooted in the same nebulous decisionmaking as the "+2" debate from a couple of months ago.  Ron's got a point, I think, when he says that using "fiction" to railroad your players or make the action go the way you want is bullshit. 

That said, Callan, per the "+2" thread, you know how I feel on the concepts of "expectation" and "consistency", and for that matter, on whether the game as played even needs to conform to the rules on paper.  But I suspect, between your original post and Ron's reply, we've raised a good point regarding the inconsistency of how rules are interpreted.  In very nearly every tabletop experience I've had, the GM had a particular set of skills or rolls he relied very heavily on, while ignoring others to the point of irrelevance.

At a local university convention, a GM I played with essentially disallowed any attempt to do anything without having its parameters strictly defined.  Character knowledge didn't exist, essentially; you had to know what you were doing.  I played in another game that same con year, this time under the Dead Reign system (*shudder*).  My character had a high Electronics skill, and I attempted to disable an electronic keycard lock.  I was asked by the GM, "Well, how do you plan to do that?"  Hell if I knew, I thought; assuming he meant I couldn't apply the skill, I clammed up.  Another party member, with the same skill, explained the engineering details on exactly how he would manipulate the lock, and got the opportunity to check for it.  In this case, because I, as a person, didn't know how to break open a keycard lock, my character didn't either, and couldnít apply the knowledge he ďshould haveĒ had.  The rules on applying a skill, in this case, gave way to the GM's exhaustive knowledge of engineering principles.

The examples I provided are perhaps tangential, but they stem from the same dilemma -- a GM that refuses to apply the rules where he "should".  The first GM didn't have rules in front of him to tell or even suggest when his rolls should apply, where the second GM had rules that laid out a strict procedure, but refused to follow them.  The ďfictionĒ suggested I should have been able to attempt a roll, and the GM ignored it.

Now, there's always "Rule Zero" floating around; you know, the "ignore all rules" rule that appears, in some form or other, in every RPG rulebook in the known universe?  The other side of that coin is pretty much "What the GM says goes".  It's clear from our earlier discussions that you have different ideas from me about how rules work in RPGs, and we have very different reasons for roleplaying.  But let me try something here -- I'm going to present a devil's advocate point of view, and see if perhaps it can bring to light the "real problem".

Let's assume, for the purposes of what I'm about to type, that "fiction first" is correct -- that is, GMs should consider whether the SIS supports a particular interpretation and application of the rules before they are used.  For reference, let's flesh out Ron's example a bit.  An ogre packing a big, big club just whaled on our fighter, dealing a lot of damage.  Fighter stands up and goes to take a swing, and the GM says, "you can't get there, you've been knocked away."  Let's also assume that we're not playing a grid-based system, so the rules of movement and such aren't rigidly defined.  Is the GM's interpretation correct here?  If there's no rule saying the character is knocked away, but similarly, movement is vaguely defined enough that there's no rule saying he isn't, we're in a quandary.  Is it possible that we could step away from the idea of GM as sole aribter of the SIS?  Maybe the players (and I'm including the GM here) can determine whether the player got knocked away, and just go with whatever makes the most sense at the time -- whatever consensus can be reached.  Let the fiction win, whatever that is, but don't leave it up to just one person to determine.  I've played in games where the player steps in front of the GM and says "I probably wouldn't attack right now, as my head's spinning from the blow and I probably couldn't stumble to the ogre in time to strike, let alone strike effectively."  (As an aside, I love players like this -- they roleplay their character so heavily that they're willing to make suboptimal decisions in service to the story.)

All right, let's change things up a bit, and probably (finally) get to the meat of your particular question.  What if we're instead playing D&D 3.5, where there is a grid-based system, and the assumption is that characters are not moved around by attacks unless the text of the attack specifies that?  Well, to then tell the player that his character is sent reeling and can't get to the ogre to attack him his next turn is more tenuous.  The rules, of course, say that's not how it goes, and the player is where he stood the previous turn and is free to start swinging.  But is it fair, if the GM and his players agree that the fighter got knocked on his ass, to tell them that they're wrong?  I argue no in this instance.  But it's no more wrong to say that the fighter isn't moving.  Hence, the challenge.

So I just spent nearly 1000 words to come to the conclusion, "it depends".  Well, on what?  Those same two damn words I keep blathering on about, I argue -- "consistency" and "expectation".  What you, individually, expect from a situation during a game, and what I expect, are two different things.  So there's no way we're ever going to come to full agreement on this topic, just like we (amicably, I think) agreed to disagree on the "+2" point.  In a funny way, Callan, I agree and disagree with you simultaneously.  The sticking point is how we define "rules".  If we define the rules of the game as explicitly what's written on the paper or in the rulebook, then I disagree, since I believe there are applications wherein a decision that goes against them is more reasonable.  If we define the rules as the combination of what's written on the paper and whatever modifications the players agree thereto, whether explicitly or implicitly, then in that case I do agree.  What's important to me is that the GM doesn't pull some reasoning out of his ass and tell me, essentially, that I can't attack because he said so, and then never use that same justification again.  If I'm the only fighter that gets knocked spinning for a round, and everyone else has no problem during that same session, I'm going to be a little pissed.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Roger on August 04, 2010, 08:39:14 AM
Vincent Baker has written a bit (http://www.lumpley.com/comment.php?entry=430) about this:

In my imagination, a rule is like if you take a nail and scratch a line in dry dirt, and what people actually do is like where the water actually runs. Some water will run down the line you scratched, because you scratched it. Other water will run down the line you scratched but would have run there even if you hadn't. Other water will go wherever it goes. And (and here this picture breaks down, now I'm talking about bizarro-world water) some water will respond perversely to your line, bouncing off of it or testing its limits or sliding around it or flowing in the opposite direction out of plain orneriness.

So, yeah -- there's rules, and there's people, and some people will use some rules, and some people won't.

Is this inherently problematic?  I'm not so sure.

It's been years now since I've played a game in which we used the encumbrance rules, even though I've played lots of games with those rules.  I don't recall thinking to myself, Dang, if only we'd been using those encumbrance rules, our experience would have been better.

Can disregarding rules be used for evil?  Sure.  Just like everything else.

In light of all that, does rules design matter at all in a strong Fiction First group?  I would suggest it does -- some rules are going to come into the conflict with Fiction First more than others.  If a rule states that horses are really good at climbing ropes (which at least one popular ruleset does) then that will tend to introduce more dissonance than a rule stating that ungulates are really bad at climbing ropes.


Cheers,
Roger


Title: Actual Play and ... The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed"
Post by: Erik Weissengruber on August 04, 2010, 08:47:38 AM
Here is an actual play report of someone who is trying a "fiction first" approach on a hacked 4E game:

http://www.enworld.org/forum/4e-discussion/278034-d-d-4th-edition-hack-fiction-first-playtest.html

I am one of the players ("E").

I whiffed an attack roll and the GM narrated the result. He described how my staff was caught up in the facial pincers of the Ankheg, it really helped me imagine the situation. Then when my turn came, I picked up that bit of fictional detail to justify a +2 to my next attack.

I used the publicly articulated fiction to justify a bonus.  I don't remember anything in the rules about Ankheg jaws and exactly how wide they are.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 04, 2010, 04:49:15 PM
Jim and Roger,

You seem to be raising the same idea as each other. Let me say your idea that 'it depends' or 'some people use rules and some people don't' - this is like you saying you have a pyromaniac at the gaming table who in real life sets fire to things. And your saying, hey roleplay is sometimes about the drapes catching on fire. Because sometimes the drapes do just catch on fire.

No, the drapes don't just catch on fire - you invited the pyro. Or you invited the person who is the 'water' that ignores the line. You are the origin of why the drapes catch on fire or why rules are ignored. It's not what roleplay is, it is just your own doing for inviting this guy.

I'll give an example I remember Ron gave (using him as he's probably taken more credibly than myself), where he had a potential player, as I recall, who kinda had a wishywashy character concept for the upcoming game and indeed was kind of trying to leave it up to Ron to make the character. Ron politely said not to turn up, IIRC.

What you guys and the Lumpley quote are effectively saying to me is instead that roleplay is sometimes about making your players character for them. Because you'd still invite this guy along, and the guys who only want to work from their expectations, and the guys who ignore rules, and the little dog with a black spot who was snuffling around outside.

And cool, whatever is cool for you. But that you do that doesn't mean roleplay is about that or that all designs and design discussions must revolve around all the people you'd invite. Your treating what you do out of habit as not something of your own doing, but 'how roleplay is'.

I don't know what to say in terms of inviting anyone, no matter what they do or wont do - I think it's another subject entirely, really?

On that side topic, probably worth reading this (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=26413.msg253291#msg253291) as well. And as a happy ending towards not inviting people if they aren't going to do the required tasks, IIRC, the guy rung Ron back a week latter with a character he'd really thought out and put alot effort into. Being uninvited drove him to put his nose to the grindstone a bit. Sound good?


epweissengruber,

Coincidence on the parralel use of the words 'fiction first', it seems.

On top of that odd coincidence - your specific example does not seem to be the fiction determining rules use ignoring the rules at all?? There is a rule in the texts, IIRC, for the GM assigning a +2 if in his reflection upon the spoken fiction so far, he thinks it should apply. Whether the GM gives you +2 or not, he is still following the rule in either case as that is exactly what it says to do. Or so I would think - are you trying to say you all didn't care about rules at all and only by chance what you did happen to match the rules? That's getting rather complicated - are you trying to say that?

Because otherwise your describing mechanics first play, as I'd call it, not fiction first. You mechanically failed to hit and...you missed. The GM did spoken narration - maybe hinting through it to you, I dunno. Then following the mechanical procedure on turns, he follows the mechanics on +2 and whether it is mechanically assigned or not. The mechanic is that he listens to the spoken fiction, and he decides.

Sorry, this all appears to be following the rules utterly, rather than the procedure being consulting 'the fiction' to decide if a rule is used or ignored? Indeed to me it's system mattering - mechanics are followed utterly, and the imagination sits itself around those mechanics - so the mechanics are worthwhile in the way they will help you imagine something you otherwise would not have. You might never have imagined the staff tangled in the Ankheg pincers without the mechanics, thus the mechanics assisted your imagination to go to a new place - by simply following rules (rules that are quite followable as much as 1+1 is quite followable) and fitting ones imagination around them.

Sorry, I'm just talking up the possitives of mechanics first now.

I do have a hypothesis that alot of gamers...their imagination hates the idea of conforming and shaping itself around mechanics and instead exults instead in mechanical things being shaped around it. Usually so much so it eventually has the group perhaps rolling one die a session, if that, and calling it great roleplay. Having shaped mechanics so much around itself, it's destroyed them all. Having run out of mechanics to exult in the deformation of, it turns towards pe...nm, it's mainly a hypothesis right now.

Back to earth, you seem to be describing a mechanics first situation, as I would name it? Do I make sense in saying that? Do you have any examples of where your GM said 'Well, the rules say this would apply, but it just doesn't make sense because of (insert fiction here), so I'm tossing it for now"? Not that I like that play, but this thread is looking at it technically. Though it's great to have what I call mechanics first examples to contrast it with.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Jim D. on August 05, 2010, 06:15:28 AM
Callan, you make a valid (and profound) point regarding the presence of, for lack of a better term, undesirable players at the table, who attempt to shift the table dynamic, and by extension, the "rules" of the game.  Thinking about the example you mention in passing about disinviting a disruptive player, your point on that count is absolutely right -- if you have a player who tries to turn the game into something it isn't, and the group as a whole doesn't want that, there's no reason to placate the guy.  Finding someone else to play with in that instance is the right choice, I believe.

However, I want to make sure we're not confusing my application of the term "expectations" with another -- in short, what's more important, the desires of the individual or the desires of the group?  The disinvited player example makes clear that we both believe the group comes first.  I do not intend to suggest, however, that this also means a GM and roleplaying group should naively allow anyone's desires to change the game.  Fire does just happen, but it only happens when you let it.

Referencing the same convention from earlier, I also attempted GMing a Dogs in the Vineyard session.  All things considered, it went quite well -- I had three players who were spot on, loved roleplaying and really dug the conflict system.  Unfortunately, I was saddled with a fourth who had the attention span of a gnat, latched on to each and every distraction available, and disrupted the game repeatedly.  We were lucky to play one complete minute without having the flow broken.  Seeing this wasn't going anywhere, and not wanting to be a jerk and call the guy out, I dissolved the session and we played again in private, the three other players and me, and loved it.

I dare say the link you provides to Ron's post illustrates both of our points.  His 1-3 there do well to explain your idea that in the best case, the players should convene, utilize an established ruleset, and learn to play the game, even if it doesn't come naturally.  However, the following passage, I think, illustrates GM versus player (in the context of "player character") expectation:

Quote
I recommend thinking about something that you wrote: your goal to convert  the other players. That makes me less confident about the whole endeavor. It's not the same as the more positive situation of people gathering to do what they want even if some of them aren't sure about how to do it exactly. It doesn't lend itself well to the points listed above.

As far as I can tell, the GM in this case has a desire to shift a group's dynamic entirely in his favor by playing another system, when the group wants something else.  It's a more extreme version of the disruptive player situation above.  The party could try to convince him of the desires of his party, or failing that, simply find a new GM.

To bring this back to the main point:  I believe the goal in a roleplaying session is to play within a world and ruleset adjusted to meet the collective expectations of the group, players and GM both (not blindly folding everyone's desires into an incoherent mess).  If one player thinks differently, the group (as a whole, including the "offender") should evaluate it and make one of three adjustments:

  • Explain the ruleset and world they're operating with, and convince the loner of their opinions
  • Eject the offending player if he patently refuses to play the game the group has convened to play
  • Preferably, I think, adjust their expectations as a group so that a compromise is struck

Where the real difference lies in our points is whether the group should deviate from the written rules as they choose, or not.  And that choice does strike me, at least, as subjective.  If you want to play by the rules as written, and give the designers the benefit of the doubt in all cases, by all means do so.  If I sat down at your table and played, you'd expect me to go with that, and I would.  But for my groups, I remain open to suggestions on adjustments, as long as my opinion is given time.  In either case, the crucial element is consistency.  As long as everyone knows the rules in play and is on an equal footing, at least in terms of understanding, then I think we're both right.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: contracycle on August 05, 2010, 06:39:13 AM
Well, this emphasis on "use of rules" is new, I think, and I have not had that perception that this was what Callan was arguing against before, and I'm frankly surprised to see Callan accept the idea that a public statement (narration) turns fiction into sufficiently concrete material that rules can be activated or affected by it.

But now I also don't know what it is that Callan is objecting to.  I thought the ankheg face-barb example was precisely the sort of thing to which he was opposed.  So I'd like to second the call for a clear play example, whether real or made up, but an example of play and not an analogy to some other aspect of life.

At present it looks to me that "murk + railroading" serves as a description of what Callan is objecting to, but then "fiction first" is probably an unfortunate way of describing it as it includes the ankheg example as well.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Erik Weissengruber on August 05, 2010, 07:33:12 AM
Coincidence on the parralel use of the words 'fiction first', it seems.

On top of that odd coincidence - your specific example does not seem to be the fiction determining rules use ignoring the rules at all??

Yes, it might just have been parallel phrasing.  That said, folks might want to use that AP discussion in further discussions on this thread.  I don't have much to add on this score, just offering a possible point of reference for those folks who want to work on this definition.  Heck, even if everybody looks at this AP and says "right, that's what we DON'T mean" it will have been a useful point of departure.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: oculusverit on August 05, 2010, 10:26:49 AM
It seems that we're arguing two different types of scenarios here.

In one scenario, the GM decides before the game starts that he "doesn't like those rules". This goes with Callan's earlier example of the GM that doesn't like the spiritual rules in Riddle of Steel. He decides they have no place in his "fiction" so decides to ignore them. However, I'm sure that either before play or during character creation, such a GM would have to state to the players, "We're not using those rules. They don't make any sense." Thereby, he's "house ruling"--we're playing a game that's like Riddle of Steel, but without the spiritual rules.

In the other scenarios, the GM creates "fiction" on the fly. "Well, let's see here, the ogre's pretty powerful. It would make sense that a hit from him would send this warrior character flying." So when the players says, "I attack," the GM rules, "No, you can't, you got knocked too far away." The GM did not make this decision before play with this rule set began, he did not announce to the players that ogre attacks would be ruled as capable of knocking characters too far. So here, he's created a house rule on the spot that wasn't included in the original game. The only way for play to continue and still "make sense", however, would be that the players accept this rule and play consistently like this from here on--ogre attacks will always knock you too far away to strike back immediately.

If the GM is creating this house rule for actual purposes of the logic in his head, then we can at least ascribe to him noble purposes. If, as often happens, however, the GM is creating this house rule in order to "increase the drama" (which is code for 'let's make this scene more interesting so that the warrior doesn't just plow through this thing and we can extend the conflict a little longer") then that's railroading.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Jim D. on August 05, 2010, 12:39:45 PM
"oculusverit": (Sorry, did you ever provide a real name?  That seems to be what we go by around here.  You can change your display name or have it appear in your signature.)

Yeah, that's absolutely true.  Although I think your situations aren't as dissimilar as you think.  I argue that the quality of play in a roleplaying session is directly proportional to how clear and consistent a picture the participants have in mind of both the fictional situation at hand, and the rules in play at any given time.

In the ogre scenario, I don't think it unreasonable to suggest that the GM should've explained his ruling at the time it would've naturally occurred ("The ogre hits you so hard it knocks you flying!", immediately upon the successful attack roll, so that the player and his party knew it and could react to it), but if the GM can explain his reasoning and the player characters buy it, it's okay, as long as now the ruling does remain consistent.

In the other scenario, the players, by necessity, have it in their mind that the spirit rules are not in play -- of course, if the GM didn't announce this, and he simply never called for spirit combat or related checks, there would be fundamental ambiguity and lack of clarity, and the player who built a spiritual powerhouse would be (rightly) peeved!


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 05, 2010, 03:54:38 PM
Jim,

Quote
The disinvited player example makes clear that we both believe the group comes first.
It may be disappointing, but no, the group doesn't come first. My expectations,  as originator of the game come first as in following these (presumably easy to follow) rules. Let me be clear, I'm not lining up for a bait and switch where I act like I'm all for whatever the overall group wants, but then try and train them my way. I don't try to train, I just wouldn't invite, much as I imagine Ron wasn't trying to train when he disinvited that guy. Though as much as I know most of the people I come across in Australia just follow the line, as best they can.

I actually dislike the 'it's that one guy who done wrong' idea - why, because it's that one other guy making an accusation of it, if you follow the pointing finger not toward it's target, but towards the pointer.
Quote
As far as I can tell, the GM in this case has a desire to shift a group's dynamic entirely in his favor by playing another system, when the group wants something else.  It's a more extreme version of the disruptive player situation above.
I mean, who would be calling this one player disruptive? The group or...you, as a single player yourself?

But I'm going off topic - I don't use this method or the 'what the group wants' method.

Now I'll admit there are plenty of times I've caved in on my own principles - like one time a player in D20 modern was jumping between buildings and made a nat 20 on his skill check. IIRC, nat twenties don't do anything special. But the player said 'Aww, come on' and everyone else looked and it'd save time and look up on the jump rules for what would likely be a pass anyway...so I caved. No, I don't think this is a good thing - it drives me to work out rules I'll actually stick to rather than something like have this extreme end of the random spectrum result and still not actually know if that's a pass or not right away (I had table location and look up to do).


Gareth,
Quote
Well, this emphasis on "use of rules" is new, I think, and I have not had that perception that this was what Callan was arguing against before, and I'm frankly surprised to see Callan accept the idea that a public statement (narration) turns fiction into sufficiently concrete material that rules can be activated or affected by it.
Was that said by epweissengruber? For a start, he doesn't describe rules being activated or affected as far as I can tell - the rules were just being followed regardless of fiction or not. Or atleast as far as I can tell. The +2 isn't a rule activation if you get it - you might be confusing that. If you get dealt an ace in poker, the ace rules aren't suddenly activated, they were always there whether your delt an ace or not.
Quote
Then when my turn came, I picked up that bit of fictional detail to justify a +2 to my next attack.

I used the publicly articulated fiction to justify a bonus.
I kind of meant to comment on this but forgot.

I don't know if epweissengruber meant 'justify a bonus' as in he should get the +2 or someones breaking the rules or breaking SC or breaking something or other, or whether he means justify as in made it sound like a good idea (and things being a good idea doesn't mean it's wong not to do that thing).

Quote
But now I also don't know what it is that Callan is objecting to.  I thought the ankheg face-barb example was precisely the sort of thing to which he was opposed.
HOW it's done is what I'm opposed to (on the principle of avoiding absurdity).

Someone trying to say "Look, my staff is totally in his face - your a big cheat or a big understanding breaker or something if you don't give me +2!" I'm opposed to for absurdity reasons and more.

Someone operating from the idea "Hey, my staff is in his face - sounds like +2 would be good! But obviously by the rules it's up to you to decide - you could flip a coin and give me +2 if it's heads, and that's valid by the rules and SC weve got between us. Whatever way you choose is valid" works and I think is the only way it works.

Perhaps I'm reading the latter into epweissengruber's example when it doesn't apply - I'll admit that's possible. But definately your reading an approval for something into my comments which is just your own invention. I described in fine detail the idea of rules telling the GM to listen to the spoken fiction, to contemplate it, but then it's up to him whether he hands out the +2. The GM could consult chicken bones or call his great aunt and it's valid by these rules. I don't know why your reading some concrete element into that idea? I described those rules in fine detail and your kind of ignoring the rules regardless - I have no real capacity to disinvite someone to a thread here, but if I could I would as I described above.

And I'm quite tired of this 'unspecified actual play account' from a number of people. Ask for something a bit more specific, like "were you ever in a game where the spoken fiction had you in a field and enemies far away" - that shouldn't be hard to do. This whole barked 'you put more effort in cause I judged you should...no, I'm not going to put in any effort, you do it all' is just a one sided talking at me affair (that even Ron participated in last time).


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 05, 2010, 04:41:09 PM
oculusverit,

If I understand you, I think your reading something into it I used to read into it - ie, he's tacking on a new house rule.

A house rule is the pure mechanical assertion that we follow this rule because hey, we follow the mechanics.

This isn't what the riddle of steel guy is doing. His idea of 'what makes sense' gets first priority. That's the procedure he's running under. They aren't house rules, they are the decrees of 'the fiction', which is just that GM's own personal whim, whether he recognises its his own whim and not some galactic standard on 'sense' or not.

Imagine this - you flip a coin. If it's heads, you use the spiritual attributes. Tails you don't.

Is the coin making a house rule? No.

Now the GM has forced in the rule that 'what makes sense' decides what rules will or wont be used. As much as the coin flip decides. Is he making a house rule any more than the coin did? No.

Actually I'll kinda agree - if there is no rule in riddle of steel that says 'what makes sense' decides what rules are used, when he forces in the rule that 'what makes sense' does indeed decide, he is forcing in a house rule. But after that he's not making any more house rules when he effectively drops spirtiual attributes. It's interesting to note that the current playtesting document of blood red sands (not related to riddle of steel, though) does actually have this 'what makes sense (addition by me: to the supposed) group is what mechanics can be used' rule in its text.

Quote
If the GM is creating this house rule for actual purposes of the logic in his head, then we can at least ascribe to him noble purposes.
If I understand you, I used to think this. That people were designing. No, they are not - they are working from the principle of what makes sense determines what is done. This isn't designing, it's...exactly what's on the tin - what makes sense (to them) is what's done.

Anyone else thinking they are making house rules or designing, like I did for quite some time, is mistaken.

You might think they are making a house rule. But have you just assumed?


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Anders Gabrielsson on August 06, 2010, 04:10:05 AM
Callan,

I'm not sure I understand your position so I'll try rephrasing it. This isn't meant as an attack or a barb or anything other than an attempt to figure out what you mean, so if I'm wrong, please correct me.

"Murk is when you change the rules without that being explicitly permitted by the rules."


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 06, 2010, 02:08:35 PM
Hi Anders,

Not really, as the process isn't changing rules, it's putting one control rule ahead of them all, which turns them on and off like a lightswitch (it's as much changing rules as turning a lightbulb on is changing a lightbulb) - were looking at an additional rule being added, essentially, like I spoke with oculusverit about - the rule being something like if the GM thinks another rule 'doesn't make sense' to use, he does not use it. He switches it off.

With the addition of this rule, 'what makes sense' can pretty much veto every other single rule that exists. Because it's placed before all other rules.

The thing is, 'what makes sense' is just in the persons head, and there is no guarantee what's in their head will get the game going anywhere, like in my mollases (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=28222.0) example. Rules can get the game rolling, but if they are vetoed by 'what makes sense' well then they are vetoed and wont.

Do you get what I mean - say rule X would make your game great, but you have a rule that says if it doesn't 'make sense' to use rule X, you don't. With the corresponding result that 'making sense', if it so determines rule X is not to be used, makes your game not great. It would make your game miss out on the great rules.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: oculusverit on August 06, 2010, 04:55:05 PM
So Callan, how does this Rule "X" that says "You may ignore any rule that does not 'make sense', or at your whim" compare to the earlier mentioned "Rule Zero" which is found in nearly all mainstream games that states "If your particular gaming group finds that any of these rules don't work for them, you can ignore those rules for the purposes of the fun of your group"? Or are they the same rule?


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 06, 2010, 09:10:38 PM
So Callan, how does this Rule "X" that says "You may ignore any rule that does not 'make sense', or at your whim" compare to the earlier mentioned "Rule Zero" which is found in nearly all mainstream games that states "If your particular gaming group finds that any of these rules don't work for them, you can ignore those rules for the purposes of the fun of your group"? Or are they the same rule?
Yeah, good question.

The thing is someone who ceases to use rule zero(of which there are many words, I'll note) or ceases to put it in games they design , even if they've stopped using rule zero they haven't stop using 'fiction/what makes sense decides what rules can be used'.

Indeed your very point that they are similar adds weight to this - what's the point of giving up rule zero when your still implimenting another process which is practically the same thing?

But to describe a difference, I guess the main difference is conciously recognising what process one is applying. I haven't heard many people actually apply rule zero in game (even though the possibility hangs in the air, I grant). And when they do, everyones abundantly aware of rule zero being clubbed about.

But people thinking you can't use rule X because certain sound waves were made at the table, even though by the text its procedurally valid, it's rampant, yet seemingly invisible for how I point at the elephant and eyes scan all around it.

I'll grant, once you can see it, it's practically the same as rule zero.

But if you can't see it - well, rule zero is a big, clumsy and obvious process, while this 'fiction decides what rules can be used' is seemingly an invisible process to folks?

Does that describe an adequate difference?

I'll disclose that I thought it was rule zero application, same as you might be doing - till I realised they seem to genuinely believe that certain spoken words/sound waves mean that certain rules can't be invoked or applied. Walking through a desert is the spoken fiction/sound waves, apply a swimming check or drown? Impossible to do they say. While to me it just seems a bit boring to do but well within the rules of many a traditional RPG's.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: contracycle on August 07, 2010, 01:05:36 AM
I'm not going to get distracted by other issues, metaphoirs, or anaologies.  So:

HOW it's done is what I'm opposed to (on the principle of avoiding absurdity).

Someone trying to say "Look, my staff is totally in his face - your a big cheat or a big understanding breaker or something if you don't give me +2!" I'm opposed to for absurdity reasons and more.

Someone operating from the idea "Hey, my staff is in his face - sounds like +2 would be good! But obviously by the rules it's up to you to decide - you could flip a coin and give me +2 if it's heads, and that's valid by the rules and SC weve got between us. Whatever way you choose is valid" works and I think is the only way it works.[/quote]

Fine.  However, I don't see how the difference between these two constitutes "putting the fiction first".  One is attempted blackmail or bullying, the other is not.  I think we can all agree agree that this is A Bad Thing.  But in both cases, it is what is imagined in the fiction that inspires either the attempted blackmail or the polite request.  Decision arose from the game fiction.

So whatever distinction you see between these too, describing that difference as "putting the fiction first" doesn't seem to really illustrate the issue.

Quote
And I'm quite tired of this 'unspecified actual play account' from a number of people. Ask for something a bit more specific, like "were you ever in a game where the spoken fiction had you in a field and enemies far away" - that shouldn't be hard to do. This whole barked 'you put more effort in cause I judged you should...no, I'm not going to put in any effort, you do it all' is just a one sided talking at me affair (that even Ron participated in last time).

Look, you wrote us an essay, and I am telling you that you didn't get your point across becuase I have no idea what it is that you are criticising.  If you give us a clear and unambiguous example of the problem, instead of trying to tell us why it is a problem, that would be useful.  Indeed, it would be useful to you, because you're the one who wants to communicate this thing, right?  Now, I've read your OP, and I've read the post in which you first raised the issue (which contained no actual AP so I still don't what this thing is), so it's not as if I've made no effort.  But this whole exercise is pointless if you don't in fact care whether you are understood .

Again, you discuss the TROS "not-using-SA" thing and this only confuses matters.  You're describing a thing that happened before play began, but if I use the term "fiction" on this board I'm specifically referring to the narration-established contents of the shared imaginary space.  Some guy deciding to use this or that rule is irrelevant to fiction in this sense, because there is no game being played, and hence no fiction has been created.

So perhaps the label you have applied to this thing is actually an impediment, because it seems to have nothing to do with the game fiction at all, as far as I can see.  And therefore, I really don't know what you meant by "fiction first" - so can you provide an illustration of the actual happening of the problem as you see it?


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: David P. on August 07, 2010, 09:28:20 AM
I've started through this thread before, and just read through the whole thing today. I decided I would give the whole thing a look before I made any comment. But the more I look at it, the more I feel that either people are missing an underlying point to the matter, or I'm imagining it.

That point would be that by saying that there should never be a time when fiction comes before rules is essentially saying that rules are infallible on strength of the fact that they are rules. It is saying that any given rule is always right, even if it doesn't 'make sense' despite the fact that the rules are there for the purpose of 'making sense.'

'Making Sense' is basically affirming structure of the narrative. Rules exist to give structure to a narrative. If a rule isn't affirming the structure of the narrative in a given instance, shouldn't a ruling that goes in line with said narrative supplant the rule?

Perhaps I'm not grasping the issue at hand though. I just fail to understand why "What makes sense" shouldn't be first priority.

Basically my viewpoint is that the assertion that Fiction should not determine Rule is flat out wrong. Rules exist as a service for Fiction, not the other way around.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 07, 2010, 10:40:24 AM
Gareth,

Well, I said from the start epweissengruber example seemingly to me wasn't a good one.

I think I've given you unabiguous examples already. The problem is this is discussing the persons intents and process of thought they go through before they act, but you judge the persons intent by their actions, and your sure your judgement is 100% correct. You judge by their actions and your sure their intent is blackmail or bullying, or you judge by their actions are are sure their intent is just using this or that rule.

And your not the only one - Ron before said the guys railroading - he looked at and judged the actions and is 100% sure he knows the intent from it.

I'll quote from the blog  (http://rsbakker.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/a-question-of-character/)of an author I like
Quote
The primary problem, it seems, is that we judge ourselves according to our intentions, and others according to their actions. So everybody literally sees everybody else falling short of what they would do, were they in that situation. And of course, research has shown that we are rarely so generous, upstanding, what have you in act as we are in intention.

So are you seeing what the persons intent and process of thought really was, or just how they fall short of what you'd do?

I'm trying to suggest there's another possibility beyond the judgement you or Ron made, a possiblity to perhaps consider right next to your own prior conclusions if you'll humour it for awhile.

It's that the intent and process in the person is that they really believe their own reaction to the spoken fiction must come before written rules. Looking at this example.
Quote
Because if your character in my game is a mile away tied to a stake buck-naked, then the fiction says you can't contribute dice even though the rule says you can, and you can't for what should be obvious reasons
Now, I don't know the intent and process here 100% certain myself, of course. But I hypothesise the process is that fiction, ie the 'tied to a stake a mile away' and more specifically that persons reaction to that spoken fiction comes before the rules which say you actually could contribute, from what I'm seeing in the text.

So as not to single out anyone with examples, here's something from the current text of blood red sands
Quote
You canít control what actions your opponents choose to take, but you can require them to frame their actions firmly within the fiction. If they do so in a way that makes the action feel more appropriate and alleviates your concern, great, if not, Challenge the fiction until they come up with something the majority of the group can enjoy (or, if they canít, until they decide to do something else.)
It's actually made the intent and process I've described into a hard coded, written rule.

There - either stick with your own certainty on what the persons intent is from you judging their actions alone, or stick with it but briefly humour this secondary hypothesis of what it might be. The BRS rule text gives a pretty explicit, unambiguous version of what I'm refering to.

Peoples intent and the processes they think by are largely a black box that can't be shown unabigously.




Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 07, 2010, 11:21:02 AM
Hi David,

Well, I'm thinking more you should dialog with Ron about his giant knocking away the character - I mean, a giant! Would it make sense to be hit, yet not budge an inch? And dialog with Gareth's(contracycle) notion something is bullying or blackmail, when the staff was just described right in the pincers of the creature, etc.

Maybe if you'll dialog with each other, you'll realise your working with different underlying intents and processes from each other when it comes to written rules texts.

Honestly, when I say a bunch of gamers seem to think what I'm saying - well, your post, coming out of the blue, is perfect evidence of it! I think there are tons of people who operate from what your post succinctly describes. You'd probably agree there are tons of people who do to.

And yet I try to describe the elephant in the room, and eyes scan all around it!?

Now, some clarifications
Quote
That point would be that by saying that there should never be a time when fiction comes before rules is essentially saying that rules are infallible on strength of the fact that they are rules.
I've not handed out any proclamation on what people 'should' do. I've said, consider as a second option, not putting 'what makes sense' ahead of rules. Just consider it as another valid option. Particularly if 'what makes sense' would make the game fail to meet your goals (like if your design goal was to not have someone sit there, doing nothing and bored, then if your 'making sense' is cutting them off from contributing, using the process of 'making sense' comes ahead of rules is failing to meet your design goal. That simple).

And there are some notes I'd give on personally taking responsiblity for the rule set one applies (much like taking responsiblity for the condition of a car one drives), but I'll leave that undescribed for now, unless asked, cause it takes up space.
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'Making Sense' is basically affirming structure of the narrative. Rules exist to give structure to a narrative. If a rule isn't affirming the structure of the narrative in a given instance, shouldn't a ruling that goes in line with said narrative supplant the rule?
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I just fail to understand why "What makes sense" shouldn't be first priority.
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despite the fact that the rules are there for the purpose of 'making sense.'
Are they?

But there I go again when really I think you should chat with Ron and Gareth - they think as a practitioner of the process you describe (important caveat: assuming I'm understanding you correctly), you don't exist or something and that I'm ambigious on what I mean.

While you seem to have grasped what I've said quite clearly enough to throw a succinct counter point to me. Ironically you have a counter position to my own, yet you understood what I'm saying with far more clarity than others are. Thanks for your post :)


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: David P. on August 09, 2010, 05:38:38 AM
To me it seems like this is basically just an argument of Form Follows Function, and different people have different ideas about which is form and which is function.

To some people, it's quite obvious that Rules are Function, as they determine how events unfold. So thus, Fiction should seek to follow the rules.

To others, it's quite obvious that the Function is the act of creating fiction. Thus, rules, are simply products of that function and are treated as form.

It's basically an argument such as this:
Did man begin to stand upright in order to reach higher things without climbing? Or did man begin standing upright, and as a result become to reach higher things without climbing?

Both are potentially valid interpretations (for sake of this hypothetical, as I don't want to get into an argument about the evolution of man,,, or lack thereof).

It's basically a chicken or egg argument.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Roger on August 09, 2010, 08:58:19 AM
Upon further review, I don't think this has anything inherently to do with "the fiction" at all.

I would suggest it rests on two factors:

1.  Responsibility for the quality of the play experience

2.  Faith in System


Responsibility for the quality of the play experience:  The classic approach is that this responsibility falls entirely upon the shoulders of the GM.  It's written write into the job title:  Game Master.  If there is some failure in the quality of the play experience, it is necessarily a failure of the GM.  One of those failures of quality can be a failure in the quality of the fiction, which is the scenario originally presented by Callan.  However, any quality of the experience that is considered important by the play group can be subject to failure.

This is relevant insofar as the greater the responsibility and pressure here, the harder it becomes to have:

Faith in System:  This lies at the heart of the problem.  I don't use Faith lightly here -- this really is about a blind leap of trust based on little-to-no evidence.  Does the group have Faith that a System like RoS' Spiritual Attributes will result in a successful play experience?  Do they have Faith in PTA's narration mechanics?  Do they have Faith in hit points?

Making the GM ultimately responsible for the quality of the play experience is asking him to make this leap of faith over a chasm.  The  consequences of misplaced Faith quickly become unacceptable for many people.


In my experience, this has been one of the unexpected joys of taking new games out for a test drive.  Our group decides, hey, let's give Lady Blackbird a whirl, and there's no responsibility placed on anyone to ensure anything about the play experience.  Maybe we have a great time, maybe we fail with spectacular misery.  System becomes a safety net across the chasm -- it's not we who failed, but the rules.  Faith becomes a virtue.


Cheers,
Roger


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: David P. on August 09, 2010, 09:13:42 AM
Roger, maybe I'm missing something from your post, but I don't understand what the responsibility for the quality of play experience has to do with the arguement between conforming fiction to suit a ruleset or conforming a ruleset to suit the fiction. Could you elaborate for me, because I'm not grasping the connection.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: masqueradeball on August 09, 2010, 05:17:30 PM
What I get from this, if there's any reason to throw another voice in this late in the game, is that Callan thinks its unfair for what I would call "in game content" (the shared understanding of what exists and what is happening within the SIS) to come before the rules. This is not to say that in game content should or should not determine how rules are applied.

Example: We were playing a D&D game set aboard a ship, and one of the PC's was playing a dwarf. The DM, in order to express the prowess of an NPC we were suppose to be scared of had this NPC push the dwarf over easily. Everyone thought, "okay" except for me. There are a hell of a lot of rules in D&D that say when and if someone can push someone else and how hard and how far, and some that specifically say that dwarves are harder to push than other people, but because the DM assumed/thought that having the PC be pushed down would make for better fiction, the rule was ignored. Now, I guess D&D has a 'rule 0' but this wasn't explicitly invoked...

So, Callan, is that play example one that was 'fiction first'?
 


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 09, 2010, 06:09:50 PM
To me it seems like this is basically just an argument of Form Follows Function, and different people have different ideas about which is form and which is function.

To some people, it's quite obvious that Rules are Function, as they determine how events unfold. So thus, Fiction should seek to follow the rules.

To others, it's quite obvious that the Function is the act of creating fiction. Thus, rules, are simply products of that function and are treated as form.
David, I'm not arguing one is true and one is false. I'm saying if for people who are into the latter one, perhaps consider trying out the former in terms of how you design. Just try it out, even if you go 'nah' and never try it again. Particularly if you don't want players to sit bored, but using the latter means they will. Try out the former.

Do I still seem to you like I'm arguing one is true and one is false, or do I seem to be simply describing the merits and faults of either approach? I'll grant I'm biased toward the former, but I'm not saying it's the true method. It's just a method I think is really great! My strong preference! Do we have an understanding on this? :)

I still think you should read and respond to Ron's, Gareth's and oculusverit's posts rather just talk to me. It's like they are all on one side, arguing with me they don't get the certain priorities I'm describing, then someone who practices those priorities is arguing with me about the other practice. Just turn and have a gander at each other. :)


Roger,

I think what you've tried to describe might be related to what I'm saying, but has a few degrees of seperation between it and the topic. I'll ask that your careful in how you describe it so as not to overload this thread (though start a new one if you wish, of course). Perhaps a good place to start is explaining why in one RPG the GM is responsible and why, in the actual written text of Lady Blackbird, no one is responsible like that. The textual distinction between the two. I hope I'm not being pushy in saying this.


Hi Nolan,

Quote
Example: We were playing a D&D game set aboard a ship, and one of the PC's was playing a dwarf. The DM, in order to express the prowess of an NPC we were suppose to be scared of had this NPC push the dwarf over easily. Everyone thought, "okay" except for me. There are a hell of a lot of rules in D&D that say when and if someone can push someone else and how hard and how far, and some that specifically say that dwarves are harder to push than other people, but because the DM assumed/thought that having the PC be pushed down would make for better fiction, the rule was ignored. Now, I guess D&D has a 'rule 0' but this wasn't explicitly invoked...

So, Callan, is that play example one that was 'fiction first'?
It seems a very high likelyhood of being 'fiction first', where the integrity of the fiction (to some individuals mind) comes ahead of the ruleset. Indeed, to that individual, that's the procedure of play - rules follow this function, as David put it in his latter example.

But I'm not arguing 'it's unfair!'. I'm saying instead, in terms of certain design goals, using this process may fail to meet them (on a regular basis, even).

For personal disclosure, rather than 'it's unfair!' I'm inclined to see a text that resorts to this, or play where someone has forced this in and is clearly adamant on keeping it, and go 'Really done this all before, not interested, not for me, see ya'. It's like BDSM - being flogged isn't unfair in it's practice. That doesn't mean it's something I want to do.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 09, 2010, 07:05:48 PM
No one is to post further to this thread until I moderate in my next post.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 11, 2010, 02:11:32 PM
All right, that was delayed and took longer than it should have. My apologies for inadvertently closing the discussion, which was not my goal.

Several things need moderating. Callan, they all have to do with you.

1. Quit whining about how you're so persecuted and misunderstood. You get plenty of attention and respect, in this thread and at this site.

2. You've invented enemies. According to your posts, other people explicitly advocate this whatever-it-is you're calling fiction-first. You've used the phrases "Some people around here" who apparently intensely support it, or that "people at the Ramshead forum would" fight irrationally to support it. This kind of phantom opponent talk is beneath you. You seem determined to call people out on a logical fallacy or at least some particular unacknowledged factor in their play and game design. Since they're so explicit, call them out, chapter and verse, names and claims. If I'm one of them, as you keep hinting, then that's OK.

3. You're dodging the call for some kind of understandable, specific example that really happened in your experience. None of your excuses hold any water and this lack is making people guess. Never mind what anyone else posted as possibilities. Freaking do us the respect of talking about your role-playing experiences.

The following isn't a moderation point, but an addition to the discussion if anyone is interested. After the traits discussion a year or so ago, I have kept an eye on the issue of how traits are "called in" during play across several groups and games. I decided the before/after distinction doesn't hold. Exactly how traits are "called in" in a logically-coherent fashion, I am currently not sure, or if it's logically-coherent at all. So the points raised by Markus remain open as far as I'm concerned.

The discussion is not being closed or even under threat of being closed. It's interesting stuff to read. But #1-3 are needed to make it actually valuable.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 11, 2010, 06:47:28 PM
Ron,

If someone told you to quit whining, you'd take it as a mark of respect? Assuming your aren't hypocritical and would take it as respectful, I don't. That's wreckage to me. By my culture your just being rude here (I would expect an apology, but that'd probably be imposing my cultural expectation just as much). I'll be continuing in spite of it rather than because it gets my nod of valid social interaction.

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2. You've invented enemies.
And you've invented this as being my primary issue, when it isn't. I've had a look and I think I talked about over reactions 'from people' in my first post only. That's as a pre notification that I'm not in a 'believe everything/every responce I hear as something to take to heart' mode in writing it. Read it as my first priority and your just renumbering my priorities. It's a mudguard, plain and simple.

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You seem determined to call people out on a logical fallacy or at least some particular unacknowledged factor in their play and game design. Since they're so explicit, call them out, chapter and verse, names and claims.
David P. pretty much understood what I'm saying, if I'm reading him right. And he, as he describes quite aptly in his posts, goes by the process where fiction decide what rules are used.

Is anyone else reading his posts? Is anyone else reflecting whether they go by the same process and is willing...I don't want to use the word 'admit'. But willing to claim it as what they do?

Other than that I can't 'out' people on the matter. It's up to them to come forward.

No one wants to? It applies to David and no one else at all, ever? Then the post just floats to the bottom of the screen.

I would get onto the actual problems with it, but I've only got one person so far who acknowledges it as what they use, and that seems by chance for him to come along. I'm thinking of just rolling back to just suggesting it's a process, as identifying it AND discussing it's merits/flaws seems to much at once.

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3. You're dodging the call for some kind of understandable, specific example that really happened in your experience. None of your excuses hold any water and this lack is making people guess. Never mind what anyone else posted as possibilities. Freaking do us the respect of talking about your role-playing experiences.
I've posted the link to the warhammer mollases thread (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=28222.0) previously. I'm pretty certain there were many instances where 'what makes sense' drove what mechanics were deployed, if any.

If you want specific instances where I really truely know it was the intention to use that process...if you believe you can definately know someones intent from gross physical evidence, then freakin' prove that to me! I don't think you/anyone can and if that doesn't hold water with you, then it must be really easily to prove you can figure someones intent on a matter, so hit me with it. Your possibly moderating me on a fantasy you have that you can really determine their intent to use a particular inner process when you have as little idea as I do. How do you determine it, because I don't know it? I'm serious in asking that - I'm not trying to dodge, I really don't know how to do that, and I really think you don't know either. Am I wrong in some way - I'm willing to listen to methods and see if I can apply them to my previous actual play.

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The following isn't a moderation point, but an addition to the discussion if anyone is interested. After the traits discussion a year or so ago, I have kept an eye on the issue of how traits are "called in" during play across several groups and games. I decided the before/after distinction doesn't hold. Exactly how traits are "called in" in a logically-coherent fashion, I am currently not sure, or if it's logically-coherent at all. So the points raised by Markus remain open as far as I'm concerned.
Were the traits textually and explicitly seperated at the table into before and after? Or they weren't and you were watching for some sort of pattern of one trait being used the same way repeatedly over many instances?

If the latter, I don't understand - did you originally propose 'before and after traits' just as a biological process, like a tap on the knee initiates a reflex process?

Practically all rules are an imposition upon the biological process - assuming the latter investigation method, I'm not sure why we'd just look at what people would organically and naturally do in instances where no mechanical rules structure is imposed on them?


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: contracycle on August 11, 2010, 07:19:37 PM
I've posted the link to the warhammer mollases thread (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=28222.0) previously. I'm pretty certain there were many instances where 'what makes sense' drove what mechanics were deployed, if any.

If you want specific instances where I really truely know it was the intention to use that process...if you believe you can definately know someones intent from gross physical evidence, then freakin' prove that to me! I don't think you/anyone can and if that doesn't hold water with you, then it must be really easily to prove you can figure someones intent on a matter, so hit me with it. Your possibly moderating me on a fantasy you have that you can really determine their intent to use a particular inner process when you have as little idea as I do. How do you determine it, because I don't know it? I'm serious in asking that - I'm not trying to dodge, I really don't know how to do that, and I really think you don't know either. Am I wrong in some way - I'm willing to listen to methods and see if I can apply them to my previous actual play.

Well then hang on a minute.  If this is all based on "intention", then of course its hard to identify, and hard to spot, and may not even exist, because as you acknowledge both here and up-thread intention is only a guess you make as to what's going on in someone elses head.  So I don't get how this fits with the rest of your stuff.  Eityher there is a specific behaviour to criticise, or there isn't.  But anyway, I have tread your Warhammer mollasses thread, and although I see you saying that there was a problem, I don't see a clear description of what that problem is.  To the point that it doesn't even necessarily seem to jibe with the content of this thread.

FWIW, yes I've read Dave P's posts but I'm not yet convinced you and he are describing the same thing until we can get a clear demonstration of the issue.  Plus,. that seems to be heading in a "matter of taste" direction that doesn't much like your initial claim that this was a sort of error. Again FWIW, I once ran a game that had no written or discussed rules at all, and was done entirely by GM fiat.  Is that putting the fiction first?  I'm still not sure.  I'm not saying that is a style I'd recommend, but it seems to me that it is viable in it's own right.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: masqueradeball on August 11, 2010, 08:22:01 PM
Wow, this thread seems to be bring up some bad blood, but maybe it can be salvaged.

Callan, if its not too forward of me  to say so, I think you're being too precise in your criteria. Can you give us an example of an instance of play where you think that was the intention of the other person/people to put 'fiction first', based off their actions and what you know about the players in question. We can all agree that maybe thats not what they meant, but I'm pretty sure in the D&D example I gave, its a fair guess that 'fiction first' was what was happening there. If it was, or we can agree to treat it as if it was, then maybe the discussion could move forward to addressing what are the pros/cons of that play style or whether or not it even is a separate phenomena.
I think this idea is really interesting, and I think the hypothetical 'ogre knock back' example is something that I've encountered before and that really upsets my sense of fun during a game session, so I would love to be able to identify this behavior and address its ramifications.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 12, 2010, 01:04:57 AM
Callan, none of this has anything to do with intention. I despise intention-based arguments and I think the others posting do too. For instance, my reference to railroading was not an intention issue, because I think that behavior is an observed, identifiable thing. Nor am I demanding that you demonstrate anyone's intention. I'm talking about observable behavior only and most crucially, I am not demanding actual play as proof but rather for a touchstone so everyone can communicate.

You're still twisting and dodging. I'm not talking about your intentions here either, but about your words in your post. For instance, you're creating false claims to fight, such as this notion that I said that the "some people said" is your first priority. This is silly posting on your part and I can't fathom why you're doing it.

Gareth (contracycle) isn't fighting you either. He's trying to understand what you're saying. Why don't you work with him instead of defending and striking back?

(masqueradeball), there is no bad blood here. I am fully committed to getting Callan's points into the light, which begins with me making sure that I understand them. I think his foundational claim is correct. What I don't think is correct, is that either a number of newer game designs or the discussion participants he's hinting about subscribe to what he's criticizing. However, both "I thinks" have to be subjected to rigorous thought. I cannot say I understand that foundational claim yet. And maybe he is correct about the game designs and/or the attitudes of specific participants, including mine.

To pick one useful example about the designs, maybe successfully playing Blood Red Sands does rely on the thing he's talking about. I do not know. It would be good for people who've played it, or who are playing this particular version, to participate here. Also, since it's a game currently in active playtest, and since I'm well aware of how Ralph's games in deveopment tend to go through cycles of including ideas then field-stripping them, the game itself might well benefit from that. Or maybe a close examination of this version in play would show that Callan's reading is incorrect, and again, my experience has shown me that reading alone is a terrible way to understand a game.

I'm being very patient because talking about RPGs at this level is an emotional issue, and the internet medium lends itself to excessive private complications for all participants.

And finally ...

Callan, this site is moderated. Like it or not, when I say you're whining, and for that matter, flinging provocations, that's the moderator's social and intellectual judgment and, regardless of whether it's right or wrong to you, you either modify the way you're posting or you have to make a choice about where you want to spend your internet time.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 22, 2010, 03:52:35 AM
Ron, being a mod of a web forum doesn't mean your incapable of being rude or that somehow you have a right to be rude to someone and they only get to decide whether they turn up for more or not. If your moderation can't be said in an objective way and only relies on an emotive word, it's probably BS to begin with. You want specific technical qualites to what's written, cool, I'm listening - but 'whining' is not a technical word. Or not one I'm aware of. I'm saying that as a partial concilliatory - I hope I'm joined in it. I'm skipping the 'what I actually said' stuff.

Getting back to the workbench...
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For instance, my reference to railroading was not an intention issue, because I think that behavior is an observed, identifiable thing.
How is it observed and identifiable? You just 'know' when it's railroading? The guys take the left for in the road, it's washed out - then it has bandits, then bigger bandits. I'm recalling an account Kevin Sembieda gave in the rifts adventure guide, IIRC. He said it was railroading - but how did he know? Perhaps it was set up like this?

So what's the mechanism, the objective measure for determining whether it's railroading? And I can use that.

Looking back to my warhammer example, in terms of when rules were actually initiated by the GM, I think it was the combat rules that were eventually brought up. When were they initiated? You can see in the example I try to say 'lets go' and we...don't go. Indeed even if we did go, we started with the spoken fiction we were in a city, then after the hiring, to a coach in, then after that, more spoken fiction of traveling. Even if we did go, from the spoken fiction of the city we would have just hopped to the spoken fiction of the coach inn. Here, any actual structure to the game rules waits on whether it makes sense to start using rules like the combat structure. And even in combat, because it doesn't make sense a certain rule cannot be evoked 'I sling a stone at him' 'you don't have line of sight'. If it makes absolute sense and seems no issue of note that you can't use the 'sling stone' rules when 'there is no line of sight', then you can't see how much of a practioner of this process you are for how doing it so reflexively. Note: In D&D 3+ you can determine line of sight on a battle grid with a piece of string - this is an entirely non fiction based determination, just to seperate the two LOS's determining procedures.

Particularly here
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Even just crossing a room with mini's and a grid - I think I moved my mini (not in combat) across a room and we then had to go into everything that happened before that
I can't even evoke the rules on movement until things fall into place or some such, spoken fiction wise.

"See, you could have said that example before"
No, none of this proves the intent to use a process, as much as really you can't prove it's railroading, above. I'm describing a situation where a certain intent to use a process could be happening - I cannot definately describe a situation where it's happening (unless the person comes up and says that's how they play). That's what you keep asking for.

I think the warhammer link counts as an example, yet I can't really point to a particular point and say 'yeah, definately there what I'm saying was how the GM was thinking'. But you keep asking for those definate points, as far as I can tell (am I wrong in reading that?). So I still have no idea what to point out in it, except to say 'hey, do you think this intent to use process X could have been happening at one or more points in my warhammer play?'

Does it? What to look for - there's a rule in the text. But whether it's evoked or not is determined by whether it 'makes sense' to the GM (or someone).

How to give a contrasting example...hmmm...take Capes or Spione. Now I'm pretty sure both have a complete procedure, from what I've read (I may be wrong, but I'm 95% sure). Now imagine instead someone in capes goes 'It just makes more sense for captain X to save the hostages - so going with that' and skipping the conflict rules (can't remember the right name - conflicts, right?), or in spione, they just know how it'll turn out from the spoken narration, so they just bypass this fiddly card thing?

"It would just 'make sense' for X to happen, so really why apply rules that get in the way of what makes sense, hey? That doesn't make sense to do!"

That's the motto of fiction first, as I call it.

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To pick one useful example about the designs, maybe successfully playing Blood Red Sands does rely on the thing he's talking about.
I don't understand how you could say 'maybe' - it's in the rules that you must do this!? You will do it (or your ignoring the rules)
Quoting from the current rules text
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During the game there will be times when another playerís actions just donít feel right. Maybe you think a particular tactic is dirty pool, or a particular action is a cheap shot. Most of the time when a move feels cheap or lame or uninspiring itís because it was not properly embedded in the fiction.

When you have the right lead in, the right foreshadowing, the right justifications, then that very same move will feel right. It will feel like it belongs, like itís a natural next development in the story.

When it doesnít feel right, Rise Up and Challenge it. You canít Challenge the move, after all itís a competitive game and your opponent can act as he likes within the rules. But you can Challenge the fiction surrounding the move. Itís a rule of the game that every player is responsible for embedding their mechanical choices in the fiction according to the story aesthetic appropriate to your group. Failing to do so not only produces lame play, itís against the rules.
Bold mine.

There can't be a 'maybe' in 'successfully playing Blood Red Sands does rely on the thing he's talking about'. Your either doing it, or your not actually playing the game. If the rule somehow doesn't 'embed' in the fiction, you can't use the rule (someone will challenge you and if it hasn't embedded right, the challenge will be backed - you have to choose some other rule to invoke). That fiction comes ahead of the rules use. All of the other rules.

If the process I'm describing sounds ambiguous, it might be easier to just play blood red sands. You will be doing one version of the process I'm describing (or you wont be playing BRS). BRS's text is actually a very well written out procedure for doing one version of the process I'm refering to, as far as I can tell.

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Or maybe a close examination of this version in play would show that Callan's reading is incorrect, and again, my experience has shown me that reading alone is a terrible way to understand a game.
I don't understand chess by any means, but I do understand it's procedure and can even look a few moves ahead, from reading it. I don't think not understanding a game means one hasn't read it correctly.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: David P. on August 22, 2010, 06:12:46 AM

Quote
During the game there will be times when another playerís actions just donít feel right. Maybe you think a particular tactic is dirty pool, or a particular action is a cheap shot. Most of the time when a move feels cheap or lame or uninspiring itís because it was not properly embedded in the fiction.

When you have the right lead in, the right foreshadowing, the right justifications, then that very same move will feel right. It will feel like it belongs, like itís a natural next development in the story.

When it doesnít feel right, Rise Up and Challenge it. You canít Challenge the move, after all itís a competitive game and your opponent can act as he likes within the rules. But you can Challenge the fiction surrounding the move. Itís a rule of the game that every player is responsible for embedding their mechanical choices in the fiction according to the story aesthetic appropriate to your group. Failing to do so not only produces lame play, itís against the rules.
Bold mine.

There can't be a 'maybe' in 'successfully playing Blood Red Sands does rely on the thing he's talking about'. Your either doing it, or your not actually playing the game. If the rule somehow doesn't 'embed' in the fiction, you can't use the rule (someone will challenge you and if it hasn't embedded right, the challenge will be backed - you have to choose some other rule to invoke). That fiction comes ahead of the rules use. All of the other rules.

I'm confused as to what you're getting at with this. The way I understand what you're saying is that the above section is an example of Fiction coming first, but my interpretation of that section of rules seems a bit different from what you're saying.

What I'm taking away from that is if your move is challenged, you're not forced to use a different rule, but rather to change the fiction until it allows the rule to be 'successfully' embedded, which seems to be completely counter form what you're saying.

However, if you were arguing that it was an example of the mechanics first, then we're on the same page, and I simply misunderstood what you were saying. Could you clarify which is your stance?


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of m
Post by: Alfryd on August 22, 2010, 01:00:52 PM
The problem with this concept is that it's so completely subjective.  It feels like the "fiction first" quandary, as you phrase it, is rooted in the same nebulous decisionmaking as the "+2" debate from a couple of months ago.  Ron's got a point, I think, when he says that using "fiction" to railroad your players or make the action go the way you want is bullshit.
It's possible I'm jumping in too late here, but I think that Callan may be conflating two entirely different priorities here.  I mean, the initial examples that Callan gave with respect to, well, maintaining some modicum of respect for in-world plausibility seemed to be plain-and-simple maintenance of Exploration or suspension of disbelief (and, if that's your topmost priority at all times, Simulationism.)
But the later example given here seems to contradict that substantially.
Quote
Example: We were playing a D&D game set aboard a ship, and one of the PC's was playing a dwarf. The DM, in order to express the prowess of an NPC we were suppose to be scared of had this NPC push the dwarf over easily. Everyone thought, "okay" except for me. There are a hell of a lot of rules in D&D that say when and if someone can push someone else and how hard and how far, and some that specifically say that dwarves are harder to push than other people, but because the DM assumed/thought that having the PC be pushed down would make for better fiction, the rule was ignored. Now, I guess D&D has a 'rule 0' but this wasn't explicitly invoked...

So, Callan, is that play example one that was 'fiction first'?
It seems a very high likelyhood of being 'fiction first', where the integrity of the fiction (to some individuals mind) comes ahead of the ruleset. Indeed, to that individual, that's the procedure of play - rules follow this function, as David put it in his latter example.
I think the 'integrity of the fiction' in this case refers, rather, to a given individual's (i.e, the DM's,) conception of 'how the story ought to turn out', and has nothing to do with maintaining in-world plausibility.  AFAICT there's nothing about the hypothetical situation, considered in 'real' terms, which wouldn't allow the dwarf PC a fair chance to resist being pushed, so breaching the rules which model that would actually undermine suspension of disbelief. 

Now, this example might well be largely harmless, if the DM didn't take particular advantage of the dwarf PC being knocked down, but I think this definition of "fiction first" conflates Sim priorities with whatever metagame agenda (Positioning?) the players might have.  Of course there's nothing wrong with metagame per se, but "fiction first" here seems to amount to 'ignore any rule that interferes with 'fun''.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: masqueradeball on August 22, 2010, 06:43:32 PM
I don't think the question is about railroading or about CA, I think its about procedure, which has president, the RAW or the fiction. Its not the same as railroading because its not about GM limiting player authority, and its not about CA because it could be used to support or detract from any. It seems like its a basic social contract issue: How much do I have to "narrate" my use of the mechanics into the story before I'm allowed to use them and how much power does Player X's vision of the narrative allow them to override the mechanics (when interpretted in their most simple or direct way, that is to say, is the in game narrative that decides if the "spirit" trumps the letter of the law). If this isn't understood as part of the Social Contract, than its really hard to identify because where the fiction:mechanics split happens is entirely within a given players head.

I'm sure Callan will tell me (and everyone) if I'm not getting his point.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of m
Post by: Alfryd on August 23, 2010, 05:48:36 AM
I agree with Nolan that this is a basic problem of procedure, but I'm not certain this can really be separated from railroading.

This is why I mentioned the 'golden rule' of white wolf games- as Ron observed, it's a covert way of saying that the GM may ignore any rule, or any player who invokes it, that interferes with his or her idea of what should happen.  Oh, it all sounds very well-intentioned- who in their right mind could object to "fun"?- but the problem is that it gives no useful guidelines for mediating disputes when two or more players disagree about what constitutes 'fun' in a given situation.  Given the GM often has the most power at the table, s/he is most likely to get his/her way.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: masqueradeball on August 23, 2010, 12:32:04 PM
Alfryd: probably the GM isn't necessarily the GM. Though I'm sure he's the most likely culprit. Plus the GM could be allowing the fiction to trump the mechanics to give the players what they want, or to open up there options, which would still be "Fiction First" but wouldn't be railroading. Also, I could use game mechanics, without consulting the fiction, to railroad my players. This is actually a classic bad-GM tactic, penalizing the players with the rules as harshly as possible when they don't do what the GM wants.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 25, 2010, 03:52:37 PM
What I'm taking away from that is if your move is challenged, you're not forced to use a different rule, but rather to change the fiction until it allows the rule to be 'successfully' embedded, which seems to be completely counter form what you're saying.

However, if you were arguing that it was an example of the mechanics first, then we're on the same page, and I simply misunderstood what you were saying. Could you clarify which is your stance?
Well, that's an interesting interpretation. I was calling it fiction first. I've been showing this rule in chunks because it's rather a big piece of text, and perhaps I've spoiled context in doing so. Forgive me for the big quote I'm going to do :)

Quote
Challenge the Fiction

During the game there will be times when another playerís actions just donít feel right. Maybe you think a particular tactic is dirty pool, or a particular action is a cheap shot. Most of the time when a move feels cheap or lame or uninspiring itís because it was not properly embedded in the fiction.
When you have the right lead in, the right foreshadowing, the right justifications, then that very same move will feel right. It will feel like it belongs, like itís a natural next development in the story.

When it doesnít feel right, Rise Up and Challenge it. You canít Challenge the move, after all itís a competitive game and your opponent can act as he likes within the rules. But you can Challenge the fiction surrounding the move. Itís a rule of the game that every player is responsible for embedding their mechanical choices in the fiction according to the story aesthetic appropriate to your group. Failing to do so not only produces lame play, itís against the rules.

You canít control what actions your opponents choose to take, but you can require them to frame their actions firmly within the fiction. If they do so in a way that makes the action feel more appropriate and alleviates your concern, great, if not, Challenge the fiction until they come up with something the majority of the group can enjoy (or, if they canít, until they decide to do something else.)
Bold mine.

Now I interpret that 'decide to do something else' to mean until they use another rule (and for anyone who think that contradicts the 'you can't control what actions your opponents choose to take' notion, I do too).

In your interpretation, what happens when one person is sticking with a mechanic, but someone else keeps challenging, over and over and over, no matter what fiction the other guy says? Or would you say this challenge loop could not happen? How it looks to me, you'd have to decide either the mechanic choice comes first. Or the fiction comes first and he has to choose another mechanic. So I'd need to know more about your interpretation. And tell me if you think I'm presenting a false dichotomy or that the loop couldn't happen. I think they would, but I'm not trying to simply force discussion along the lines that they would.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of m
Post by: Callan S. on August 25, 2010, 05:12:40 PM
Hi Alfryd,

Quote
but I think this definition of "fiction first" conflates Sim priorities with whatever metagame agenda (Positioning?) the players might have.
I think some people can play universalis without ignoring the rules, and others would ignore the rules of universalis on certain occasions 'because it makes sense' or whatever fiction reference they give. I don't think it's an agenda vs meta-game thing.

In terms of railroading, it's a word with alot of emotive gamer history. I'll go with what masqueradeball said. This isn't about railroading - you can use this process I'm refering to facilitate a railroad, I'll grant. But in itself it isn't railroading. It's about two processes and which one is being used. One is that all rules are followed as they instruct. The other process is that that someone decides whether any rule is used, based on their own internal judgement - this latter one can be used in various ways. Using it to railroad or not doesn't somehow change the process in some way. It's still the same process.

Hi masqueradeball,
Quote
I don't think the question is about railroading or about CA, I think its about procedure, which has president, the RAW or the fiction. Its not the same as railroading because its not about GM limiting player authority, and its not about CA because it could be used to support or detract from any. It seems like its a basic social contract issue: How much do I have to "narrate" my use of the mechanics into the story before I'm allowed to use them and how much power does Player X's vision of the narrative allow them to override the mechanics (when interpretted in their most simple or direct way, that is to say, is the in game narrative that decides if the "spirit" trumps the letter of the law). If this isn't understood as part of the Social Contract, than its really hard to identify because where the fiction:mechanics split happens is entirely within a given players head.
I think your getting it, but it doesn't have to be a social contract issue at all, the game itself can be designed in advance to cover this. So rather than a social contract issue, it's a game design issue, to my mind. Not much different to what your saying, but centered on the games design. It sounds pedantic of me, but I think it's important.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: masqueradeball on August 25, 2010, 08:27:42 PM
Callan, cool, I think I understand, so whether or not Fiction First play is a good or bad thing goes into the big bag of player tastes and game-by-game priorities. Strangely, my own game design actually addresses this a lot, where Fiction First is totally true (you just "free form" while modifying some point totals based on what happens in the narrative) until a player decides they want dice, and then its not quite "Fiction Second" but something close, as all of the fiction for that segment of play is derived from mechanics. This reminds me of Vincent Baker's clouds and boxes over at anyway... just talking about where and how fiction and mechanics feed into one another.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 25, 2010, 10:25:51 PM
Quote
Callan, cool, I think I understand, so whether or not Fiction First play is a good or bad thing goes into the big bag of player tastes and game-by-game priorities.
No. Using the process of fiction first has ramifications, rather huge ramifications, upon the rest of a design. You can undercut your own priorities by using the fiction first process. Apart from that, yes, it's a taste thing. I suppose.
Quote
Strangely, my own game design actually addresses this a lot, where Fiction First is totally true (you just "free form" while modifying some point totals based on what happens in the narrative) until a player decides they want dice,
If the written procedure is that you narrate alot and occasionaly, as decided by someone, modify point totals, it's not fiction first. Your following the written procedure. Atleast at that point.

Actually a question on that, is there a written procedure on when and how you get from that to the giant snake fight, for example?

Now if your talking about your playtest (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=30144.0) - where the player had 'impervious to harm' but you denied its bonus dice because you thought it didn't apply against the giant snake - if the written procedure is you as GM decide if the traits extra dice are applied or not, your following the procedure in deciding. If it isn't in the procedure and the trait dice are supposed to be added every time, then you were operating from fiction first process, ignoring the rules in favour of 'what makes sense' in that the snake could still grapple the guy even if he's impervious to harm. Which way is it in the written procedure?


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: masqueradeball on August 25, 2010, 10:46:00 PM
The rules state that Traits can be used when applicable in the fiction, and that GM has final authority over when a trait is applicable, so I guess this isn't fiction first.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of m
Post by: Alfryd on August 26, 2010, 03:12:16 AM
I think some people can play universalis without ignoring the rules, and others would ignore the rules of universalis on certain occasions 'because it makes sense' or whatever fiction reference they give. I don't think it's an agenda vs meta-game thing.
I can't comment on Universalis, since I haven't played or researched it, but the point I'm making is that the later example you agreed with- pushing over the Dwarf PC- has nothing to do with "making sense" in the way that your earlier examples would imply.  Nor do I see what it has to do with a particular 'fiction reference'.

I'm not certain what you mean by agenda vs. metagame, because to my understanding 2 of the 3 CAs are essentially defined by metagame agenda (i.e, winning, or story.)

Look, here's the thing- what happens when two or more players agree that the rules should be broken, but disagree about what should happen in the absence of rule arbitration, either momentarily or in general?  What guidelines or standards would you give to ease negotiation of this kind?

I mean, if you're talking about 'internal plausibility' and/or 'fidelity to genre convention' (WRT a particular 'genre') as the foremost priority of play, then go ahead and say so.  What you'd have there, AFAICT, is straightforward simulationism, and I don't think you need new terms for it.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: masqueradeball on August 26, 2010, 06:33:18 AM
Alfryd, because its not an agenda, its a technique (I think). Fiction First is something that a person or group does during play, internally, not something that they would necessarily want to do, and "making sense" even in a Sim sense can be seen as best supported by strict adherence to the rules when the rules are carefully designed to simulate something in particular. Pushing over the dwarf is Fiction First (the technique that arises in that given instance) because the rules say (with the exception of "rule 0") that this cannot happen. If you want to push someone over you'd have to roll Initiative (which occurs whenever anyone has harmful intent towards anyone else), make a touch attack, etc...


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on August 27, 2010, 03:42:36 PM
Alfryd,

I uses a bit of a short cut on a jargon term - prolly a double error on my part. By saying agenda I'm refering to 'creative agenda', a term used to describe nar, gamism and sim at the forge.

Quote
I mean, if you're talking about 'internal plausibility' and/or 'fidelity to genre convention' (WRT a particular 'genre') as the foremost priority of play, then go ahead and say so.  What you'd have there, AFAICT, is straightforward simulationism, and I don't think you need new terms for it.
On a side point, I'm not sure sim is by definition about ignoring the rules if plausibility or fidelity wont apparently be adhered to if you follow the rules. But that's a side point.

Quote
but the point I'm making is that the later example you agreed with- pushing over the Dwarf PC- has nothing to do with "making sense" in the way that your earlier examples would imply.  Nor do I see what it has to do with a particular 'fiction reference'.
The thing is, I'm throwing both the pushed dwarf and the genre convention adherance you mention, in the same basket. I'm also throwing Rons railroad example in the same basket, too.

I think you want to differentiate fiction that has been...I dunno, sullied by overt meta game agenda, as seperate from...I dunno, 'pure'(?) genre convention and maintaining plausibility.

They all go in the same basket, to me. For what I'm describing it doesn't matter what reason your trying to describe and push a certain fiction, to me. If your ignoring the rules for the sake of 'maintaining' that fiction in some way, it's fiction first. Whether the reason is you wanna railroad toward a fixed fictional description, wanna push around a player at the table by fiction proxy, or whether you wanna maintain 'plausibility'.

Now maybe you've had awesome sim sessions and don't want it associated with this sullied stuff. Fair enough. I've enjoyed milk and I don't like to think of milk with puss and hairs in it as being in the same basket as pure milk (or was this an awful analogy? I'm trying to show sympathy, however awkwardly)

But for technical discussion here, they are all in the same basket.

Or am I missing your point entirely and taking a long post to do it?

Quote
Look, here's the thing- what happens when two or more players agree that the rules should be broken, but disagree about what should happen in the absence of rule arbitration, either momentarily or in general?  What guidelines or standards would you give to ease negotiation of this kind?
How I deal with it in terms of designing a new game (that moves on from the way past RPG books have been layed out)? I don't have people agreeing the rules should be broken, to begin with. The game you design says you don't. Otherwise your not actually playing the game and instead your own invented derivative.

What to do when your just playing a regular RPG and this crops up?

I dunno, your question implies I think there is a happy ending to arrive at and it's just a matter of finding the way to it. I don't think there is, by default, a happy ending to arrive at in such a situation. Because nothing I'm aware of guaratees a happy ending to exist.

Once people walk off the trail, so to speak, I see nothing that guarantees a happy ending to it all.

Now granted that with traditional RPG's, like D&D (though slowly less so in each new incarnation), it's really, really easy to fall off the 'trail'. Often because the 'trail'/procedure to follow ran out before the average human senses noticed it. But people would think they were still on a trail/playing the game and not lost in a wilderness...making it twice the wilderness it was, really.

Jabber jabber jabber on my part...any of this seem to have a place with you?


Nolan,
Thinking on it, I'm not sure about the forges common use of the term 'technique'. If it means using it through the whole session and everyone who is about to play knows then yeah, it's a technique. Apart from checking where we are on that word, I'd say your post hits the nail on the head. :)


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: David P. on September 08, 2010, 04:16:44 PM
Well, I would have replied sooner, but I've been at the hospital and been very busy the last week because on  Sunday my baby girl was born. (<--- Shameless plug for congratulations..)

Callan, the idea that I'm trying to illustrate is that there are many different causes that could have a given effect, and that once a player says that X is happening, they must frame the situation so that X is plausible. I think it's best illustrated by referring to, of all things, a movie...

In The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, Joan is having a conversation with a man (presumably her conscience, or God), about whether or not God has sent signs to her. She brings up the fact that the sword she found in the field was a sign, and he offers many other explanations for how the sword could have ended up there.


     
Quote
                    JEANNE
          No, but... he sent me so many signs!

                         MAN
          What signs?

                         JEANNE
          Like... like the wind... and the
          clouds... and... the bells... and
          what about that sword lying in the
          field... that was a sign...!

                         MAN
          No.  That was a sword in a field.

                         JEANNE
          But... it didn't just get there by
          itself.

                         MAN
          True -- every event has an infinite
          number of causes -- but why pick one
          rather than another?  There are many
          ways a sword might find itself in a
          field...

FLASH:  A group of soldiers on horseback trot across the
field of Jeanne's childhood.  The last soldier's sword is
coming loose, and ends up falling into the long grass...

                         MAN
          Seems a perfectly valid
          explanation... but how about this
          one...

FLASH:  Two young children are hurrying with the sword
when an old man calls them from far away --

                         OLD MAN
          Hey, you little devils -- come back!

The two children drop the sword in the long grass (in the
same spot as before) and run off...

                         MAN
          But then again, there are other
          possibilities...

FLASH:  A man is being chased across the field by a couple
of English soldiers out looting.  His heavy sword is
slowing him down -- he flings it into the long grass...

                         MAN
          ... or even faster...

FLASH:  The same man running across the field is suddenly
hit by an arrow from nowhere.  He drops the sword in the
long grass, but manages to stagger off into the forest...

                         MAN
          ... and that's without counting the
          inexplicable...

FLASH:  A man crosses the field.  For no apparent reason
whatsoever, he drops the sword and keeps on walking...

                         MAN
          Yet from an infinite number of
          possibilities, you had to pick this
          one...

Basically, the idea is that given a certain effect, a player can be asked to frame the situation so that the end result is plausible, rather than causing a new effect from the initial action introduced.

Quote from: Callan S.
If your ignoring the rules for the sake of 'maintaining' that fiction in some way, it's fiction first.

My question is this: If fiction first is ignoring a rule to maintain fiction (rather than fiction determining which rules are applicable in a given situation), then what's the point of having a mechanic that makes the mechanics first mandatory? Wouldn't a group that has adopted a fiction first mentality simply ignore that rule as well?


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on September 09, 2010, 05:48:44 PM
Hi David,

Congratulations on starting the race, with your new baby girl. It's very mind changing!

Quote
the idea that I'm trying to illustrate is that there are many different causes that could have a given effect, and that once a player says that X is happening, they must frame the situation so that X is plausible.
I think your mixing up potential as existant. Yes, that's the idea your trying to illustrate. Is that idea actually being used in the rules or not? Potentially you could take the words of the game text and do that - it might be subtle drifting. The symantics of the wording are bendable.

I'll look at the brief snippet of wording
Quote
until they decide to do something else.)
Is it actually going by your idea? Or by 'somthing else' it means use another rule? I understand your idea - me saying it's not happening here doesn't mean I don't understand your idea.

Regardless, I am talking about people who use a process, perhaps not even a conciously recognised one, of having to choose another rule. I thought the blood red sands was a textually accurate example, but you brought me to notice some ambiguity in it's text.

Also regardless, your idea still has an unresolved challenge loop built into it. Someone keeps challenging the other guys fiction - the other guy sticks with the same mechanic and keeps making up new fiction, which is rejected again and again. Everyones getting sick of it and are getting more tempted to a full blown social contract resolving of this waste of time. This is what I call a 'leak' in a ruleset, where play leaks out to the greater social contract bubble (traditional RPG's are chock full of leaks - basically sieves. Some people find that hot, for some reason).

Regardless of whether the rules manage it to begin with or it goes to an uncomfortable social contrat thing, either the first dude just has to accept the damn mechanic choice and entailing fiction, or the second dude has to change what mechanic he chose.

So with your idea, you need to outline how you end that loop, because how it's ended determines if it's fiction first or rules first. The way you were thinking of it, the other guy can stick with the mechanic he chose and just makes up a fiction, so it appears to you it's rules first. But until you get rid of that loop, which it is is not determined.

Quote
My question is this: If fiction first is ignoring a rule to maintain fiction (rather than fiction determining which rules are applicable in a given situation), then what's the point of having a mechanic that makes the mechanics first mandatory? Wouldn't a group that has adopted a fiction first mentality simply ignore that rule as well?
Good question.

The point of this thread is to make concious and obvious the existance of that rule ignoring.

If someones not aware they are ignoring something, they can't stop doing it. They have no choice on the matter for being blind to it (see the prince of nothing novel 'The darkness that comes before (http://www.amazon.com/Darkness-Comes-Before-Prince-Nothing/dp/1585675598)' for an idea of being controlled by something your blind to).

Now maybe for some folk even if they know, they'll decide to keep going with it. Okay, cool - they now know, and have made their choice. And indeed I think it'll help in terms of them finding other folk who play that way, since fiction first and rules first aren't compatable. Seems a good ending to me.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think alot of gamers are habitually fiction first. I'm merely offering a red pill (I guess describing it as red pill makes it sound the better choice - for me atleast, it is). Though I think it's technical fact that with fiction first, system doesn't matter. But system not mattering doesn't have to matter to anyone, either, of course. It's not heresy for it to not matter.

So I'm not describing something that works to a fiction first person as yes, as they currently are, your right, they'd just ignore the rule. I'm instead describing how they could change, and describing what they'd be changing to (in fair detail). If they want.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: David P. on September 11, 2010, 09:27:58 AM
I understand your logic pattern with regard to the idea of the continual loop. That being said, I think it is wrong. For one, the "Well, what happens if someone keeps challenging and it keeps getting rejected?" could happen whether the fiction was being changed to suit the rule, or a new rule being used altogether, so I dont see anything inherently different between your interpretation of the rules and mine, in that regard.

However, I also challenge the idea that there is even a continual loop in the first place.

The fact that the rules end with, 'until they decide to do something else' seems to support the idea of offering new fiction to suit the rule as opposed to offering a new rule for a given situation. The rules state that a player can be challenged to reframe their action to embed in the fiction.

 
Quote
Itís a rule of the game that every player is responsible for embedding their mechanical choices in the fiction according to the story aesthetic appropriate to your group.

To me, this says that after a choice of mechanics is made, it needs to be properly fit into the fiction. When challenged, the challenge isn't directed toward the rule, but rather the implementation of it within the fiction. When combined with 'until they decide to do something else' seems to mean that a player that is challenged can either reframe their implementation of the rule to fit the fiction, or choose a new rule to implement.

Either way, the loop isn't an inherent flaw in the system. It's the flaw of a stubborn player, either one who is adamant about using a certain rule, or another player's continual filibustering. However, considering that the rules state that the group determine whether the new fiction is appropriate, it's more likely to result from a stubborn player trying exploit a mechanic that doesn't fit within the story aesthetic that the group wanted (like trying to build a pistol in a game where it's been agreed that there are none, despite whether a system has rules for firearms.

At any rate, a single player can't control the actions of another's character anyway, since at the end of the day, it comes down to group consensus. Further, even if it wasn't determined by a consensus, this rules is not allowing one player to control any actions, just bar actions that don't fit the aesthetic. It's not someone saying, "No, you do this instead." It's more like saying "That doesn't work quite that way. Try again."

The way I see one of the loops going would be like this:

Player 1 states they want to do something.
Player 2 challenges.
Player 1 alters the specifics of his action.
Group consensus.
If denied, start with step 1, where a can choose to pursue a different action altogether, or try to fit the action within the fiction.

On a separate note, if I were designing a system like this, I would have a consensus to immediately follow a challenge and if the group decides that the act shouldn't work like that, then it goes back to the initial player to reframe, but if the group as a whole determines that the action is suitable, then they simply move from there.

I feel as though I'm ranting though, so I'm going to stop here for now.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Callan S. on September 11, 2010, 11:29:11 PM
Quote
For one, the "Well, what happens if someone keeps challenging and it keeps getting rejected?" could happen whether the fiction was being changed to suit the rule, or a new rule being used altogether, so I dont see anything inherently different between your interpretation of the rules and mine, in that regard.
Yep. I didn't say the fiction first interpretation of the did any better. Just that in the end, textually the fiction wins the tie.

Quote
Either way, the loop isn't an inherent flaw in the system. It's the flaw of a stubborn player, either one who is adamant about using a certain rule, or another player's continual filibustering. However, considering that the rules state that the group determine whether the new fiction is appropriate, it's more likely to result from a stubborn player trying exploit a mechanic that doesn't fit within the story aesthetic that the group wanted
Your supposed to be judging the fiction, not judging the player. If you start determining what you challenge based off the player, you are simply not following the rules any more. All you've done is crash the loop by ignoring the rules yourself. If you don't ignore the rules, the loops still there.

Quote
At any rate, a single player can't control the actions of another's character anyway, since at the end of the day, it comes down to group consensus. Further, even if it wasn't determined by a consensus, this rules is not allowing one player to control any actions, just bar actions that don't fit the aesthetic. It's not someone saying, "No, you do this instead." It's more like saying "That doesn't work quite that way. Try again."
I'm not forcing you to take a particular card, I'm just saying not that one. Try again! Nor that one. Nor that one. 49 to go...gosh you are stubborn, aren't you!

Quote
The way I see one of the loops going would be like this:
I don't understand - your examples seem to be the same loop prone stuff? They look exactly the same? Am I missing something? I need to know how your loop ends. You just seem to be operating off some sort of good faith that it'll all just work out on it's own (and equally if it isn't working out, it's because someones being stubborn). If you want to believe some sort of good faith will work it out and only some bad apples can stop that - in conversing on it I'll only attempt to dismantle that notion. If you want to hold onto what you believe, I wouldn't engage in conversation on this matter with me. I'll just keep cutting and stabbing at that. But I wont do so without permission from you. You've room to let this lie, if you wish.


Title: Re: The rule "'fiction' determines what rules can be deployed" - definition of murk?
Post by: Ron Edwards on September 12, 2010, 06:37:58 PM
All right, Callan, that's enough.

You're not cutting and stabbing at flawed points. You're claiming others are making flawed points that you articulate, and then cut and stab at that.

Even without that, it's time to end. In all these pages, you've either made your point for readers to appreciate and consider, short term or long, or you haven't. Looking at the discussion as it stands, it's there to be decided. I see no reason for continuing with what appears to be a bear pit, Callan in the middle, even if you're happy with it.

Moderator's call: the thread's over. Anyone is free to start new ones based on anything raised here, abiding for forum rules for content.

Best, Ron