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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13299 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 50 - most online ever: 843 (October 22, 2020, 11:18:00 PM)
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Author Topic: System Transforms Situation... And Situation Informs System?  (Read 22937 times)
Callan S.

Posts: 4268

« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2008, 03:46:21 PM »

As I'd put it, theres only one conversation at the gaming table. To me, atleast, you are talking about where any thematic statements or dealing with real life issues (even obliquely) happen. They happen in conversation. If the conversation is dedicated to the SIS and there is only one conversation, then they don't happen.

For anyones particular game it's probably not dedicated to the SIS right now. That's why I added the bathwater comments, to make a suggestion against more dedication to the SIS as a way of dealing with the people/problem in the original post.


Posts: 1157

designer of Dirty Secrets

« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2008, 08:13:51 PM »


That is absolutely not off topic.  In fact, that's the very kind of "line in the sand" I'm trying to draw.  I don't think mechanics that can be re-purposed are necessarily a bad thing.  It does bother me when (a) people re-purpose them with trying them out in their original form and (b) when people re-purpose a mechanic and still assert they're playing the same game.

Like, to me, the phrase, "We played Dogs in the Vineyard set in the Firefly Universe" is an absolute false statement.  You can not play "Dogs in the Vineyard" without Town Creation, without The Faith, without understanding sin and the King of Life.  You can use the cool Rasie-See-Raise mechanic to resolve conflicts in a Firefly Universe inspired fiction, but you are not playing Dogs in the Vineyard.

Which is odd when looking at something like Sorcerer which is infinitely customizable but not easily re-purposed.  Although, CK is in the process of trying to do it using Traveler, so perhaps the operative word there is *easily* since the level of analysis and careful consider on CK's part goes above and beyond the simple knee-jerk, "Ooooo, I could totally use this to play X!" you see so often.

Okay, then let me ask a few leading questions to poke at this:

1) What would be necessary in a game for you to accept it as "Dogs in the Vineyard set in the Firefly Universe"? Or, alternately, "we played Jedi Knights using Dogs in the Vineyard", if the Firefly 'verse doesn't work for you?

2) What is the difference between "customizing" Sorcerer and "repurposing" it? Let's use CK's Sorcerer/Traveler game as an example.

3) Would escalating IWAMD to divorce be "customizing" or "repurposing"?

To give away where I'm going with this, I think that Nolan is on to something when he points at Creative Agenda being involved here. So, a game should communicate its "preferred" Creative Agenda as part of the text.

Though, at the same time, I'm wondering if a game with repurposable mechanics is useful from a design perspective to all the systems hackers out there. So, maybe "Dogs in the 'Verse" is a custom game being played at one person's table. (I say this for the sake of discussion.) Is that a bad thing? Couldn't this sort of hackable design be a useful thing? After all, this is common practice in many roleplaying groups. For example, I talked to someone the other day who was hacking the Palladium system to play Oathbound. Couldn't this be a valid and reasonable design goal?

And I've similarly considered the social ramifications of allowing Mara to be a ghost in A Flower For Mara as well.

Yeah, but then you'd be playing it wrong. *wink*

Or would you?

Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
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