Started by mcv, February 12, 2009, 07:01:36 AM
Quote from: JB on February 11, 2009, 07:43:18 PMMcV did mention Serenity RPG as a possible example of a narrativist game though, and I can say a little something about why/how Serenity isn't narrativist. Seems like we've likely moved beyond that on this thread though, and I don't want to threadjack,
Quote from: FredGarber on February 12, 2009, 02:09:51 AMI believe Too Much Analysis Kills the Fun. At some point, GMs and Players need to step away from the theory and say "knowing what I have learned, can I make my game session deliver more Moments of Awesome?" and try it out.
Quote from: FredGarber on February 11, 2009, 03:40:28 PMAlso yes: games based on TV shows (like Serenity) are often good vehicles for Narrativist Play. Unfortunately, they tend to be designed around a Gamist/Sim bias: Unless your group is created to be a rag-tag band living on the frontier fringes of a civilized universe, taking whatever jobs they can to stay free, then there isn't really a whole lot of rules to the rule book. What if the game was designed around, instead of a Guns rating, Jane has a Loyalty rating, and the dice roll isn't whether or not Jane can successfully shoot the Alliance guy kidnapping River, but does he shoot the bad guy or give in and turn over River? It'd be a very different sort of character sheet.
Quote from: FredGarber on February 12, 2009, 02:09:51 AMBTW: I think you nailed the important part of my hypothetical Serenity build: The challenge is directly about how the Story/Plot goes. Note that that's just an example of how to use System Mechanics to push a game into Story Now mode, instead of using the current Serenity Mechanics, which push the game into Step Up or Support the Dream category. You certainly can play any type of game with any System: But some Systems have a lot more pain and work on the part of the GM to reward different agendas.
QuoteSome basic themes can help involve the crew in the story you're creating in your role as Game Master.
Quote from: mcv on February 12, 2009, 07:01:36 AMI guess one interesting Premise could be: "How much of a good guy can you afford to be?" (Am I correct in thinking this sort of question is what Story Now means by "Premise"?)
QuoteHidden Secrets ... But while those are questions, I don't think they're premises. Or are they?
QuoteFreedom: The book says: "Freedom and what it truly means to be free is a strong underlying notion that should play a part in any Serenity campaign. What is the price of freedom? Should living safe be purchased at the cost of freedom?" Well, that was easy. The book literally mentions three interesting questions that might work as Premise: "What does it truly mean to be free?", "What is the price of freedom?" (and how about: "What price are you willing to pay?"), and "Should living safe be purchased at the cost of freedom?"All of those sound excellent as Premise (at least if I understand Premise correctly), but I'm still at a loss as how to address them during play.
QuoteLet's not forget the theme I added:Keep Flying: It's a popular quote in the game (it's the name of a chapter, even), and a theme of the TV show. Mal (the captain) feels like his land has been taken from him, and now he only has the sky left. "You can't take the sky from me" from the title song. In the pilot, he says "It's getting awful crowded in my sky." He wants to keep his ship flying, and to do that he needs a crew and money. But money is always a problem (and so is the crew, actually), and he often needs to resort to crime. That's easy when its a victimless crime (smuggling), or the victim is impersonal, evil and/or rich, but what if you find out that's not the real victim of your crime? Can you steal from hospitals, even if they're rich? What if you discover that the goods you were stealing are medicines headed for a poor, sickly community that really needs it? "What does it cost to keep flying?" and "Who are you willing to hurt?" Lots of moral dilemmas here, and moral dilemmas sound like a great way to address this premise.
Quote from: lumpley on February 12, 2009, 09:51:46 AMGot the bbcode for you.
QuoteOkay, so, a super-quick summary of Story Now play. Straight outta Egri.Passionate characters, in action according to their passions. They face opposition across the moral line(s) their passions represent. They're fit to take on the opposition, and the opposition is fit to take them on. They escalate, escalate and escalate, facing and going through the inevitable moral dilemmas that escalating against fit opposition across a moral line creates. Ultimately they reach a crisis, they break the opposition or it breaks them, and they resolve the drives of their passions.
Quote(This process can be layered, at different scales: in Firefly on TV, each episode follows this process, and each episode is also an escalatory step in the larger conflicts of the series. When Mal compromises his "stay the hell away from the alliance" for the sake of his "Shepherd Book is part of my crew, so I save his life," that's a moment of resolution in the episode, and a moment of escalation in the series.)
QuoteQuote from: mcv on February 12, 2009, 07:01:36 AMI guess one interesting Premise could be: "How much of a good guy can you afford to be?"To make "how much of a good guy can you afford to be?" stick as a premise, you'll need (a) characters who are passionately committed to being good guys, in (b) situations where being a good guy is incompatible with surviving financially, with (c) something to force the issue, to bring inescapable urgency to the question.
Quote from: mcv on February 12, 2009, 07:01:36 AMI guess one interesting Premise could be: "How much of a good guy can you afford to be?"
QuoteQuoteHidden Secrets ... But while those are questions, I don't think they're premises. Or are they?I don't figure they are either. They don't have much moral dimension, do they? Same with backstory questions like "why don't you fit into normal society?" Answering these questions is often, not always, part of revealing the characters' passions in action, and they're often, not always, fruitful territory to mine for conflict and opposition - but they don't make passionate characters in conflict with fit opposition across a moral line all by themselves.
QuoteQuoteFreedom: The book says: "Freedom and what it truly means to be free is a strong underlying notion that should play a part in any Serenity campaign. What is the price of freedom? Should living safe be purchased at the cost of freedom?" Well, that was easy. The book literally mentions three interesting questions that might work as Premise: "What does it truly mean to be free?", "What is the price of freedom?" (and how about: "What price are you willing to pay?"), and "Should living safe be purchased at the cost of freedom?"All of those sound excellent as Premise (at least if I understand Premise correctly), but I'm still at a loss as how to address them during play.The only one of those that really works for me is the last: should living safe be purchased at the cost of freedom. (That's because "should" brings the moral dimension, where "are you willing" leaves it out.) Anyway, to address it in play, you need (a) (b) and (c) above: characters passionately committed to their freedom, in a situation where their living safety is in genuine conflict with their freedom, with some internal or external force that makes the question immediate and urgent.
QuoteIt's really important, while we're here, to point out that for a premise to work, it has to be a genuinely open question. "We died for our freedom" has to be absolutely and genuinely a possible outcome.
QuoteYou left out loyalty! Firefly is a show all about loyalty. The whole crew is in a constant state of "to whom do you owe your loyalty? What should you compromise to stay loyal? How should you respond to another's disloyalty? To, worse, your own? When your loyalty to one person conflicts with your loyalty to another, what should you do?"
Quote from: Marshall Burns on February 12, 2009, 07:19:26 PMMCV, I want so much to say, "Use all the cool setting stuff from your Serenity RPG book (because it is pretty damn cool), and use my game The Rustbelt with the Frontier Suns mod included therein for everything else," because it presents so damn clearly a particular take on the Firefly thing (i.e. my particular take on the coolest, most cutting Premise that can be derived from it), with a built-to-specs system for that take. Because, even if it isn't your take, or a take you like, I think you'd find it helpful. But the damned thing isn't ready yet. That, and I'd look like a self-promoting ass.
QuoteSome of my players might answer up front: "Not a lot, really." or: "If there's profit in it." which is of course something that needs to be prevented. The up front part, at least. If during play they decide that being a good guy is just too hard in this setting, then I suppose that's their answer. Then I need to lower the bar, to figure out how low their standards for being a good guy really are. (a).
Quote from: sirogit on February 12, 2009, 11:57:15 PMTo start off, the game puts a lot of emphasis on "Then the GM decides what is best." This can be extremely obstructive to addressing premises, such as the concept of "How much of a team player/rat bastard can I be?" - The rules explicitly states that the GM decides how much the character must be adhering to a team - and thus there is no question about it by the time we get to play, because the GM has already decided it pre-play.
QuoteI would say that the rules imply that however much of a team player you've established your character to be is an informal contract with the GM, which means it can't be dynamic and change in response to meaningful game events - That premise, as a component of story that is composed in the moment, is effectively dead in the water.
QuoteLike most trad game systems, the disadvantage system is the most tempting to the story-now-drifter. Especially with a few key disadvantages like Secret. But Secret is pretty much drowned out in a sea of very generic disadvantages I'd be hard pressed to try to squeeze story out of, like being mildly whacky or antisocial.
QuoteThis more or less defeats the plot point mechanic as a meaningful story engine, as people aren't as likely to be getting brownie points for revealing secrets as they are for having a bum leg or being mildly irriatating or whatever.
QuoteI wouldn't peg it as impossible to drift the -game rules- in a Story Now direction, but I don't really see the benefit of doing so compared to just using the setting in combination of a game that is already a decent fiction engine.