A Foreword

edited August 2009 in Story Games
So I'm looking through this old architectural composition manual from 1923 and the foreword says something I think should be present in some form in every rpg text. Most times though it seems we either take this simple idea for granted or treat it as some sort of design flaw. Anyway, here's the foreword, with the important bit in italics:
This book is a collection of architectural compositions, arranged and grouped in convenient reference form with the express purpose of furnishing suggestion and inspiration to those interested with the solution of architectural problems.

Only the fundamentals, and their simplest variants are shown; as the final development is directly dependent on individual interpretation and invention

I mean, if it works for architects and architecture it can work for us, right?


  • I suppose it depends if you think drifting (intentional or not) counts as development.
  • edited August 2009
    From a designer's standpoint, once the text leaves your hands the play that happens is not going to be entirely predictable, the players are in many ways an unknown variable, as are the circumstances surrounding play. Just to go back to architecture for a moment, I've been in and out of the building trade for most of my life. It's almost unheard of to not have to adjust what is in a set of blueprints to fit the actual circumstances posed by location, materials, and practicality (among other things).

    Gaming is similar in a lot of ways. You have these instructions you're supposed to follow to get to a pleasing end product. But those instructions can't take into account the needs of every person that is ever going to use them, all the circumstances under which they will be used, or even the level of skill of the people following those instructions. This assumes that the instructions themselves are incredibly clear. Drift is not only unavoidable, it's a necessary and often implicitly assumed part of realizing those instructions through play.

    So, it's only development in the sense that deciding to substitute one ingredient for another in a recipe is development. You adjust for what you need, what you have, and who's partaking. At least, that's the way I see it. Putting such ideas up front where there's no mistaking the nature of the sort of pastime you're about to engage in is a good thing. Drift is an accepted part of lots of other endeavors, so I think embracing and making it explicit is the way to go. Even if it's just in a simple little foreword.
  • Don't many mainstream games already carry this assumption about drifting? I remember reading a few books that said quite explicitly, "If these rules do not suit you, change them", or something in that vein. But there must be a more elegant and purposeful way of validating or enabling these behaviours.
  • Woah, guys.
    I don't read that and see a statement about drifting.

    I read that and see a statement about social dynamics, techniques, emergent properties and grey area.
    It says: to demonstrate to you every possible iteration of these principles, our page count would approach infinity. In the end, you're creating something out of our foundations, and you'll bring something of yourself to that creation. That's okay, and good, and what is necessary.
  • I like this a lot. I included something that (I think) is very similar in Ocean.
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