When the die roll does *NOT* determine what happens

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  • I know it was for slightly other things but the words 'structured freeform' seems relevant for me. Maybe 'principled freeform?'
  • edited November 2018
    I know it was for slightly other things but the words 'structured freeform' seems relevant for me. Maybe 'principled freeform?'
    Oh, hey, that's right. Good call. There's some structure here, but not nearly as much as in tight-scenario freeform. So I'd favor "Principled Freeform Plus". :)
  • @Silmenume did you have any thoughts on my proposals above? Clearly your group doesn't need these tweaks, but if they were used to introduce a new group to this style, do you think they'd be on point? Having the GM roll, emphasizing the fluid nature of what matters, etc...
  • edited November 2018
    "Freeform" is one of those words that has a weird tendency to be used as an expletive regularly, mainly as a way of describing some assumed ( although doubtfully ever seen) role-playing game of primal chaos, where nothing makes even as much sense as a truly horrific acid trip.

    Goals posts moving? Nah, the goalposts morph into snakes which then become your mother as described by Sigmund Freud, and that's just in the first five minutes!


    Anything more constrained than that is clearly not "freeform" :wink:
  • What komradebob said.
  • Hi David,

    Regarding proposal 1: The need to sever inapplicable associations -
    I couldn't agree more. The single most important association to sever is the "task resolution" paradigm. "Task resolution" is typically best suited to promoting and rewarding the Gamist mode of play. Here's my admittedly kneejerk worry. People see "rules" in a book and suddenly they are inviolate gospel. As I've indicated I believe the overt mechanics system of the game 1. are not deterministic and 2. are truly part of the creation process themselves. If we get too hung up on printing up various of methods my concern is that the desire for one to become deterministic will kill the fact that the mechanics can and must evolve over play. Like I said this is my initial thinking on this. It may work just fine as you proposed but 40+ years of the hobby militate strongly in favor of my concerns.

    Also consider all the various reasons to roll jeph listed in his post earlier. There are just so many different ways to use the dice that putting even helpful constraints will, I believe, lead to the unhygenic use of non-deterministic mechanics. To borrow from jeph in short order such things as Tempo, Fishing for Licence, Signal (Ritual) all fall outside the purview of your proffered suggestions.

    Regarding 2: The need to sell the upside of this alternative. -
    Focusing on the "Spicy Die" alone as a plug in mechanic/systems fails because the scope is too small. It needs to be explained within the context of the whole of this particular Creative Agenda. The "Spicy Die" has it role to play (no pun intended) but to really make it work and to help those truly understand how it supports the Simulationist (Ugh) Agenda one must first understand what the Agenda is about. No one has to explain why deterministic resolution systems need to work for Gamist or Narrativist play they just create the various mechanics based on the understanding of the Creative Agenda that they are hoping the players will use.

    I think, but I'm not a game designer, that if one is really interested in running a game that uses non-deterministic mechanics the place to start would be with explaining the Sim CA first and then go into how the "spicy die" system supports and aids that mode of play.

    That's my take on it at the present. I'd have to spend more time in consideration to offer something more concrete. My apologies.

    Best,

    Jay
  • edited November 2018
    I've always liked "To Joyfully wallow in , and show mastery of, the Source Material" as the goal of Sim.
  • I've always liked "To Joyfully wallow in , and show mastery of, the Source Material" as the goal of Sim.
    Nah....that would be reading the book or watching the movie. Showing mastery in the material would be some sort of Trivial Pursuit game where displaying knowledge is the goal. Sim requires a certain mastery of the essence/themes of the material such that all we players can make aesthetically sound additions to said source (or the Standard to use jazz parlance) within the Shared Imagined Space.

    It is most definitely not passive. Sim is an active creation process....or you don't have Exploration/role-play, ipso facto. That's always been the problem with "Sim" discussion. Many people dismiss it outright because they don't or can't see the creation process. And for a game to be considered role-play something more must exist as a result of play than prior. Merely wallowing in the source material or showing off one's knowledge does neither.

    Hence, "Semiotic Jazz."
  • Sorry, I only know Dixieland Jazz.

    In any case, I wasn't suggesting anything at all passive. Not sure why you'd even think that was the case.
  • In any case, I wasn't suggesting anything at all passive. Not sure why you'd even think that was the case.
    I agree. Constantly recreating and upholding an 'external vision' requires a lot of focus and proactivity from the group, because it's not just the GM's job to do that.
  • Should games using the spicy roll method have character sheets? Or only the DM needs some notes on the PCs as it is nearly impossible to remember all of theír features all the time?
  • Hi Jay,

    Hmm, I see your point about how laying out an explicit procedure for how rolls are made wouldn't fully capture what actually happens at your table. Maybe that's okay, though? Do you think your table would suffer at all from being bound by restrictions like these?
    • whether the player or GM rolls
    • when a roll is made in the course of a player character action (before/during/after)
    • what information should be communicated around (before/during/after) a roll

    I agree that "always roll when your character does X action" rules would be ill-fitting. But I'm not seeing how "the GM always begins to say what happens before rolling" would cause problems.

    As for selling the upside, you're right, I meant the upside of semiotic jazz, not the upside of spicy die rolls. I was just hoping that the pitch would also make clear why deterministic mechanics weren't being used. But perhaps we'll see whether that falls out naturally or not.

    What do you see as the perks of semiotic jazz? I'm not looking for a description of what it is, just a list of a few top highlights (the more unique the better).

    When I pitch immersive games, I pitch what it's like to experience imagined events "from within", as if you're there. Do you have some sort of equivalent?

    Thanks,
    -David
  • ...In any case, I wasn't suggesting anything at all passive. Not sure why you'd even think that was the case.
    My apologies komradebob if I mischaracterized your statements or your intentions. I just used the dictionary sense of the phrases you employed and drew my conclusions from there. If you would be willing I would deeply appreciate it if you could explain to me how the descriptor of "wallowing" demonstrates the mechanism of what is actually going on at the table that demonstrates the creative construction process of more "world/character/imagined cultures/etc." That's the whole purpose of my musings. Not just what do we call Sim but rather what exactly is the Sim process.

    To me the dictionary sense of "wallowing" is not a word that connotes creative improvised construction. I freely admit that I could be too dim to make the connection myself so if you could help me understand that would be wonderful!

    Best,

    Jay

    Addendum - I know you also used "showing mastery" as a definition as well but I believe the same issues apply. How does "showing mastery" of the source material illuminate the process of game play that leads to the constrained creative construction improvisation?
  • Should games using the spicy roll method have character sheets? Or only the DM needs some notes on the PCs as it is nearly impossible to remember all of theír features all the time?
    Both, I should think. The key is to explain and use the character sheets as the starting point of play. IOW they should be the tool that the player and the DM use as the starting point for understanding the character. I truth one could even go so far as the not use numbers for attributes but abstractions i.e., for strength one could use extremely weak, very weak, weak, average, strong, very strong, near human maximum. The sheet helps construct the nature and perhaps the visual image of the character but what it shouldn't do is tell the player how to play in a deterministic fashion. For example smart play can result in new skills being added to the sheet during play.

    Again the character sheet is a touch point and should aid in maintaining some sort of consistency for the player but it most certainly should not prescriptive. What matters is most is who your character is not the specific value of numbers.

    Best,

    Jay
  • Hey David,
    Hmm, I see your point about how laying out an explicit procedure for how rolls are made wouldn't fully capture what actually happens at your table. Maybe that's okay, though? Do you think your table would suffer at all from being bound by restrictions like these?
    • whether the player or GM rolls
    • when a roll is made in the course of a player character action (before/during/after)
    • what information should be communicated around (before/during/after) a roll
    To answer your first question, sure! Whatever system you use that works best for your table and the type of gaming experience you'd like to facilitate is what you should be using.

    To answer your second question, I believe that our game play would suffer quite a bit.

    If the wording was changed from restrictions to suggestions I think that would be better, but I should note that in our game the DM rarely rolls. He tends to roll more in combat but the sense I get is he's "fishing" for the general gist of how the combat flow is going. Most checks are done by having us players roll to see if we succeed, not the DM. What I mean is that he rarely rolls against us but rather lets our rolls be the primary signifier of the outcome. This works because it puts the pressure on us players. We can modify the power of the roll by how we roleplay or explain exactly what we are trying to do. FREX - if we're trying to negotiate something with an NPC or talk down a potential fight it is primarily up to our ability as players to bring it to the table or our chances just won't be very good despite whatever skill we're trying to employ. We NEVER say, "I use my 'Fast Talk'" to get the barbarian leader to stand down his horde. We just start dialoguing with the NPC and roll when called upon. The better as players we handle the situation the more likely we'll get the outcome we're trying to achieve. However, on rare occasions the GM might say, "You don't want me rolling a 1, 2, 3 or 4" and then rolls in front of us. Again the timing of when or how he may call for a die roll or rarely rolls himself depends on the drama of the situation. Very difficult to codify explicitly when and who should roll and how.

    Most of the times when a roll is called for it is after a player has stated an intention. It is during combat when the coupling between intention and rolling is tightest but even here it is frequently less than 1 to 1. Often we are miming the weapon swings ("in real time") against each other and when one or the other misinterprets a mimed swing (and "misses") a die roll is usually called for. Sometimes (rarely) we can mime a swing so effectively or catch the DM so off guard we can dispatch a foe with no rolls at all. If there foe is significantly better than the PC more rolls tend to be called for.

    Sometimes skills rolls are called for when the circumstances for executing said skill are difficult or when the necessary skill required is very difficult. Conversely if our skill is very high and the difficulty is low a roll maybe just waved off. Or if the stakes of the success or failure are high a roll is called for. Sometimes a skill roll is called for as a way for the DM to communicate that "Hey, what you're trying to do is likely beyond you. Are you sure you want to continue?")

    Regarding what info to be provided before is entirely situationally dependent. Often times when travelling we are told to roll without any information. Can't tell a player to roll for surprise because by telling them to roll for surprise ruins the surprise! Sometimes we check appropriate skill checks if we roll "20's" during these travel situations. (Bushcraft, hunting, tracking, trapping, forest lore, mountain lore, horsemanship, weather sense, move silent, etc.) We have a skill called Intuition which is very similar to Spider Man's spider sense. He'll just call for a table roll and if anyone rolls either very poor or very high they'll get a "danger" feeling. Sometimes a player might be attempting something extraordinarily dangerous and the DM might just say, "Danger, danger." The player has a few moments to perhaps amend their action but if they don't are can't think of something else to do then the action proceeds and is resolved. Again, the warning is a way of intensifying the moment as the player who is taking action has a quick choice of backing off or doubling down.

    I suppose one of the things requires the players to really invest, dig in and pay attention to the world is that the DM drops hints without making out of game truth statements. IOW we have to "read" the DM much as we might have to "read" situations in real life. This deductive process requires us to keep the world firmly in mind so we can tell when there is a change in the status quo. This is especially true when dealing with NPC's who have their own desires, fears, goals and motivations. And by hints it may be as subtle as what he's doing with his eyes or what his finger tips are doing.
    But I'm not seeing how "the GM always begins to say what happens before rolling" would cause problems.
    I'll offer an analogy and hope this helps. We're all jazz musicians playing live at a gig. The one playing the solo changes key and then hands off play to another soloist. The DM making the truth statement about what is being rolled for would be akin to the first soloist about stopping play, turning to the soloist next to him and saying, "I'm going to change key to G-flat." Then resuming his solo with the key change and then handing off to the next soloist. If you are looking for that rapid, intense, fluid play then one would make the effort to not stop playing music as much as possible. It may be unavoidable but I would think minimizing the breaks in playing would be your goal. And here's the kicker, continuing with the analogy, if you can handle that key change (FREX) on the fly then all the more exciting it becomes. Here's another analogy, but not stopping the game to constantly explain the die roll is akin to tightrope walking without a net. Much more intense.

    Having to figure out what's going on rather than having the DM spoon feed everything to you demands much more of the players. It is also makes the act of role playing that much more rewarding. The fact you as the player may misinterpret the information and hints given forces said player to really shift gears towards a first person perspective and to be "in the moment." Juggling all this information and absolutely having to draw conclusions from it virtually guarantees that a player is using the same skills set as we do in our daily lives to make sense of the world. However, in our case, because the information is "fictional" then the player has to function those survival skills within that "fictional" game space. Kick up the stakes and pacing and emotions will quickly follow our "perspective".
  • What do you see as the perks of semiotic jazz? I'm not looking for a description of what it is, just a list of a few top highlights (the more unique the better).
    As I alluded to above. The perks to semiotic jazz are an intense, in your face, fast paced, easy to learn, easy to play gaming experience. Because the skills sets needed to play are very similar to our own daily skills learning how to play is almost intuitive. The only paper we have is the character sheet. There is no player's hand book. You don't need to read a huge book and memorize endless rules. Frequently we'll partner the new player with an experienced play to help them along - kinda like a mentorship. But learning to play effectively and well can take a long time (on the order of months to a couple of years). That is not a bad thing as "learning how the world works" frequently is the most intense play for players. Our DM is loathe to stop play but one time at a game store a new player's face was turning to red that the DM was afraid that said player was going to have a stroke. After the game the DM asked the player what he thought to which he replied, "That was the most intense gaming experience of my life. I will never do that again. I play to relax." His hands were trembling as he tried to light his cigarette.
    When I pitch immersive games, I pitch what it's like to experience imagined events "from within", as if you're there. Do you have some sort of equivalent?
    When we're trying to recruit a new player we sometimes tell the person that it's like actually being in their favorite movie, only they get to actually do things within it! Right now! Just like their favorite actor would.

    Best,

    Jay
  • edited November 2018
    I'm just catching up on this thread!

    Lots of interesting discussion here, but I am also a bit mystified, because it is also very familiar to me.

    The whole process of the charismatic, auteuristic GM who essentially runs a freeform, immersive roleplaying game for his/her friends, while being pretty vague about the actual rules in play (because s/he changes them as it suits the game, or simply improvises) is, to me, a form of naive roleplaying I've seen take place just about everywhere.

    (I'm using "naive" in the sense of "natural" or "untrained", like the term "naive art".)

    My experience is that the success of this kind of play is largely dependent on a) the charisma and creativity of the GM, and b) the ability of the players to truly buy into what's happening and engage with it emotionally, which largely depends on their trust in the GM.

    The actual *process* of play doesn't seem that mysterious to me (although, of course, any kind of freeform play is necessarily highly complex on the social level).

    Effectively, the GM's skillset and social charisma *are* the game in this kind of enterprise.

    For me to feel otherwise, I'd have to see an example of how this kind of play can be really effective even absent my (a) and (b), above.

    I've been thinking a bit about Critical Role recently, and wondering whether it might not have been better suited by something like the "Spicy Roll System": not only would that suit the viewers' interests better (and be more pleasurably to watch) but Matt Mercer seems like an excellent candidate for someone who can do it well (and, on top of that, it would make his job much easier, while still delivering the same results).

    The particular details don't seem all that important to me: for instance, it sounds like the Spicy Roll game we're talking about here uses characters sheets (presumably character sheets from a certain, specific published roleplaying game), but I can't imagine any way in which a character sheet with certain attributes or statistics on it is in any way a vital part of this kind of game. In short, if I joined the game in progress and my character sheet was a colour illustration of my character instead, the experience of play would be no different - for me, the GM, or the other players.

    I wrinkled my nose a bit at the amusing nod to the character sheet when the dward gained +1 Strength (as related earlier in this thread). It's a cute touch, but clearly has no real impact on the game - the incident itself and the fictional implications overshadow any number on the character sheet itself, which may as well be discarded.

    Writing down "this one time, I did this and my character discovered newfound strength!" would be much more useful and relevant. If the +1 Strength on the sheet helps the group remember that, that's great, but to say it's important to the game in any way seems pretty misguided.


    Jay,

    I think it's interesting that you dismissed the phrase "show mastery of the Source Material", but, to me, that's exactly what you're describing:
    But learning to play effectively and well can take a long time (on the order of months to a couple of years). That is not a bad thing as "learning how the world works" frequently is the most intense play for players.
    Perhaps it's because you're looking at "Source Material" as the books or other fictional touchstones which inform your play? (After all, it sounds like your game is based on/in the Tolkien universe.) But, of course, this style of gaming can work just as well without a literary touchstone, in a universe created from scratch by the group, so I have to take "Source Material" to mean "the combined knowledge of the game we're playing right now, right here, and everything we have established so far in playing it together".


  • I do wonder at how replicable the success of such a game is, and I think that the attempt to break down some of the principles, techniques, and assumptions is really fruitful. Some of Jeph's lists and suggestions in this thread are really thorough and thought-provoking, in that vein. I'll be rereading those before I start a game like this, for sure (if I ever do, that is).
  • edited November 2018
    Hey Jay,

    I agree that interrupting the flow of play to clarify procedures isn't a great Plan A.

    But I think allowing play to unfold in complete ignorance is way, way worse. No one can engage with a fiction that isn't solid to them. Before I decide, in character, what to do, I need to know what I can do ("Am I close enough to grab the thing?"), and communicating that information completely destroys any equivalence between real-person lived time and character lived time. Roleplaying is talking, and talking is way slower than directly sensing.

    So, given that the roleplay conversation is already slower than actually being there, and given that we absolutely can achieve an experience that feels fast-paced (I'm with you there!), I don't think this is about time at all. I think it's about energy and attention. If we are able to keep our attention on the fiction, and it is useful and rewarding to keep our attention on the fiction, and there are no breaks in that attention, then I think we achieve that momentum and flow you and I both love so much.

    Under that schema, although a break in play to discuss pure meta/procedural concerns is bad (e.g. dice pool construction), quickly relating fiction to such cues, IMO, is not. "10 will suffice oh look I rolled a 9" doesn't strike me as interrupting attention to the fiction. Or, perhaps better, "This looks about 50/50! I rolled a 9! What happens?" In that situation, I don't see how anything is lost by the GM saying, "Seems about 50/50!" and I think we do gain orientation, with the player, in character, aware of how their odds appear. (And if they have no information about their odds in fiction, then I'm completely happy for the GM to stay silent, and for that silence to carry meaning to the players.)

    Maybe your group communicates this already? Or maybe every player who ever rolls a die concludes literally nothing from the number rolled until Cary speaks thereafter?
    Having to figure out what's going on rather than having the DM spoon feed everything to you demands much more of the players.
    Can you elaborate? In a game in which you get in your character's shoes and inhabit their fictional environment, and in which the GM is the sole deliverer of that environment, I don't see any spectrum of spoon-feeding, nor any opportunity for figuring out. You know what the GM tells you, period.

    Are you just talking about paying close attention to what the GM tells you, and acting from confident deductions based on that, as opposed to making tentative deductions and inquiring? That sets off some alarms for me. I've seen no quicker way to totally break fiction-first play that for players to confidently act with incomplete information and then be told that their character did something which is clearly nonsensical in retrospect. That effectively means there's no shared imagined space to play in.

    My last thought is that maybe you're talking about the "read my NPCs" challenge. Which I've written long threads about and I think is very difficult to pin down.
    The perks to semiotic jazz are an intense, in your face
    I've heard slow brooding scenario LARPs about fraught topics described in the same way. How is your play intense and in your face?
    fast paced, easy to learn, easy to play gaming experience . . . You don't need to read a huge book and memorize endless rules.
    That's a nice qualifier to distinguish it from certain other RPGs. Not a reason to play in itself, though. I would never hand a kid a frisbee and go, "Enjoy having fewer rules than baseball!"
    the DM was afraid that said player was going to have a stroke. After the game the DM asked the player what he thought to which he replied, "That was the most intense gaming experience of my life. I will never do that again. I play to relax."
    This might be the most unique thing that you guys are doing. I dunno what the relationship is to semiotic jazz. I've run lots of games with a long, deep, immersive flow, but no one's ever looked like they were going to have a stroke. Perhaps our conversational pace is more leisurely than yours? Are you guys all, like, screaming over each other or something???
    When we're trying to recruit a new player we sometimes tell the person that it's like actually being in their favorite movie, only they get to actually do things within it! Right now!
    That's a decent intro to "What is roleplaying." :tongue:
    Just like their favorite actor would.
    Do you guys place an emphasis on acting ability? If so, I think that's important to note! I think that's an understated component of certain styles of RPG play. When someone asks, "What do the players really contribute in a railroaded Call of Cthulhu adventure?" my answer is often, "Portrayal! To bring it to life with their acting."

    I hope all these questions are interesting! Sorry this is getting a bit long and multi-pronged. I still like the idea of distilling your play into principles and procedures, but I keep discovering new things that make me wonder if I truly do get what makes it what it is.

    Thanks,
    -David
  • The moment where he "thought he was having a stroke" really jumped out at me, too. On the face of it, as David says, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the style of play, so it might be fruitful to talk about how that feeling or intensity is created.
  • Hey Paul!

    I'm totally with you that Spicy play is a very natural sort of process, that crops up in the wild frequently when people are new to the activity or isolated from other groups. I think a lot of folks start out playing this way and sort of unconsciously abandon it and drift away as natural instincts are overridden by the learned culture of How To Play RPGs.

    But I'm also mystified that you're mystified! From one breath to the next, you can say that the process of play doesn't seem at all mysterious and flows entirely from the GM's charisma and creativity... and that the lists and suggestions I've compiled would be a big help in effectively replicating this play style.

    So: It's natural, but it's not natural to me.* And once you've drifted away, it's definitely not natural to return to this style. And if you're already playing in this style, it's not necessarily natural to do so hygienically, or do so well.

    * My own naive play took a very different form, based on second-hand descriptions of D&D play from a friend whose dad had played D&D in college. About half a dozen of the neighborhood kids would wander through the back yards and parks in the area. We'd pick up sticks and stuff and say we were the wizard or fighter or whatever. One of the older kids, initially, and later me, would be the "DM": they'd describe the room, and monsters or obstacles or traps or treasure in it. We'd say what we did, including what part of the monster's body we were aiming for, and the GM would say if we missed or killed or injured the target, and then who the monsters attacked and if it missed or injured us (then we'd have to limp or not use a hand) or knocked us out. This was all resolved purely on GM fiat, with finding the monster's "weak spot" being the main pseudo-mechanic. Later, we got the 3e Monster Manual; we didn't know what the rules meant, but Sam, the older kid, used the pictures and special abilities to help him stock our outdoor dungeons. A little later, we moved from wandering around outdoors to sitting around a table, with dungeons sketched on graph paper, but still no real rules. A few months later we got the full set of 3e books and lost our naive method.

    By investing a lot of time and energy in learning what's going on at tables that do Spicy play well, I've learned to do it myself well enough to have a very satisfying gaming experience over the course of about a dozen, fifteen sessions.

    So it can be analyzed! Transmitted! Replicated! Learned!
  • edited November 2018
    Ah! I can clarify:

    The general form/shape of the process for this kind of play, and one's role in it as a player, seems fairly intuitive to me. I've seen a lot of groups do this at one time or another (sometimes without even noticing!).

    I'm not sure how the form of "naive play" you're describing there really differs from it, in any significant way (in terms of its procedures, anyway).

    (But, of course, you are also correct that there are other forms of "naive play" that are possible - probably an infinite variety. I'm just saying that this is one I've seen a lot.)

    What I find mysterious and interesting is two things:

    1. People's confusion about this topic, when it seems fairly natural and self-explanatory to me. It's rarely discussed in explicit terms, which is what makes this discussion fresh and interesting, but I'd guess it's familiar to many/most roleplayers.

    I think it's a very natural leap to make from D&D-like task resolution mechanics to more story-oriented play, as well.

    I'm trying to think of a D&D game where this DIDN'T happen at least occasionally, and I can hardly think of any. The way the rules are structured make it very easy to fall into "spicy die" play, even by accident - the whole "roll dice as an oracle, then furrow your brow and make something up" technique is very natural to slip in to in D&D play of most varieties, unless you specifically try hard not to (e.g. Eero's concept of "hygienic play").

    As a sidenote, I often refer to this kind of gaming as Mark Hughes's "Six Word RPG", which describes it quite well, in my opinion.

    I played a "non-naive" version of this when I GMed Fudge campaigns in the early 2000's. The adjective scale didn't correspond to any concrete details or rules, so I could use the outcomes of any roll as a handy oracle to interpret for narration - "You get a Mediocre outcome? Ok, I bet I know what that loks like..." - and I was pleasantly surprised by how "real" this made play feel, since we no longer had mechanics giving us jarring outcomes. Instead, I would mentally calibrate my mental image of the scene or situation to the adjective scale - Terrible would be the worst possible likely outcome, and Superb the best possible likely outcome, with rolls "off the chart" producing unlikely or strange outcomes - so that any given roll always produced a believable result. (Assuming the players buy into the GM's aesthetics of the fictional situation, which isn't always a given - that's what David_Berg is talking about in his comments above.)


    2. The internal mental processes of the GM who is highly skilled in this style of play. A great deal of it - perhaps as much as 90%! - as I said above, is simply charisma and earned trust, but some of it is a certain way of thinking or resolving things which allows her to make good calls and produces a good game over the long term (the real challenge).

    This part is rarely discussed openly (as it is being here), so delving into those details is pretty fascinating. (In my experience, most GMs who run games in this style are unwilling to divulge any details about how they do so, since they value the "illusion" of rules, fairness, and the "black box GM": the GM must appear inscrutable and mysterious, and maintain the illusion of fair play, in their minds, to make this work. This makes honest conversations about their actual methods impossible, sadly. It's nice to hear that there are some groups where the players are aware and acknowledge that it's all smoke and mirrors but are still willing to suspend disbelief and enjoy the game.)

    I think that, for instance, David's discussion of GM-side priorities is interesting. I've done the "pick a plausible outcome, and hopefully it's interesting, if possible" thing, with some success, but I've never really done "pick an interesting outcome, and aim for plausible". They're subtly different, but maybe the impact on long-term play could be very different.

    (Ultimately I abandoned this style of play for how little input the players had to the game, but that doesn't mean other people can't enjoy it, or that I wouldn't be willing to try it again sometime.)
  • (Thanks for clarifying Paul—I gotcha!)
  • edited November 2018
    I've decided to do an experiment with Naïve Gaming this X-Mas. I'm sending my nerdy friends' children ( and nieces and nephews in some cases) a box containing a bunch of fantasy toy people*, a set of dice, and a small blank book.

    I want to see if, with some description of RPGs from their adult nerd mentors ( some with a lot of experience with RPGs, some with almost none), they can essentially (re)create the wheel ( or at least something similar to the Brontes' games or HG Wells Floor Games, but with dice added).


    Hopefully this may also give pointers to other things, such as Naïve versions of source material creation and miniatures use.

    * Okay, half of the boxes are medieval style fantasy, the other half are modern style fantasy with monsters/zombies/aliens/humans. Spooky Kids/ Baby Baybats need attention too!

    If I get interesting reports back or observe something useful to this conversation regarding Spicy Dice in their natural environment ( :wink: ) , I will post about it.
  • "Unfortunately, we were forced to suspend the experiment for ethical reasons once we realized some of the subjects were starting to recreate the Palladium system." (I kid...sort of.)

    Was just reminded that my first "naive" play was LARP that was inspired by video game RPGs. We had hitpoints and levels that I think were probably largely arbitrary. I guess that's basically the LitRPG version of childhood pretend.
  • edited November 2018
    "Unfortunately, we were forced to suspend the experiment for ethical reasons once we realized some of the subjects were starting to recreate the Palladium system." (I kid...sort of.)
    I suspect a less-mean ( maybe?), less-game-y RPG version of Calvinball is the most likely result, but honestly, that's okay. I mean, those literary Names I name-checked basically created their own forms of Naïve RPG 100+ years ago without dice or other tools. I want to see what happens when the other tools are available. Maybe I will throw in some Itras By cards too.


    I'm more interested in what happens when there has been less RPG hobby contact through whichever adult ultimately gives the gift box to the young'uns. That and if there is any difference by gender of the young'uns.


    And, of course, if Spiciness of Dice Use occurs.

  • edited November 2018
    @komradebob my prediction is that the dice get ignored entirely until they are deemed necessary as a negotiation tactic, to get someone to accept a delayed chance of something they would never accept for sure, right now.

    (I suspect that "we don't need these dice, but let's roll them anyway to spice things up" is a fairly advanced technique in the realm of Playing Pretend.)

    Or maybe the kids won't play pretend, and the dice will foster the expectation that they should be re-creating Candyland or something...
  • Ooh I'm super interested in hearing about whatever happens with your calvinball boxes!

    (Actually I'm super interested in folks' formative naive play experiences in general.)
  • What I find mysterious and interesting is . . . People's confusion about this topic, when it seems fairly natural and self-explanatory to me . . . I'd guess it's familiar to many/most roleplayers.
    I think what's counter-intuitive is an articulate, experienced, and theory-minded player like Jay telling everyone that his group is getting Decades of Awesome out of this play style.

    Maybe everyone's familiar with "GM leads, roll dice for spice", but sometimes that sucks.

    So what exactly is Jay's group doing to make this awesome instead of awful?

    I really really doubt that "Cary is more charismatic than the GMs in those failed games" is the answer. I think there's a highly functional system of some sort in place, even if it's hard to write down and has always historically been taught by example.
  • I really really doubt that "Cary is more charismatic than the GMs in those failed games" is the answer. I think there's a highly functional system of some sort in place, even if it's hard to write down and has always historically been taught by example.
    For what it's worth, I've always assumed that it wasn't just just *charisma* in Cary's case, but also the fact that he's a professional screenwriter (IIRC) that helped make the game so emotionally engaging. It's not just the charisma and misdirection of a stage magician who makes you "believe" the magic is real, but he was also delivering legitimately good stories.

    I mean they're definitely two sides of the "skilled storyteller" coin, but I'm thinking about expectations that, "In a roleplaying game, we create a story," and what that actually means for people in practice. A sort of one-sided Story Now agenda? That is to say, if you as a player have minimal input, the sudden unexpected twists and turns are creating engaging story in the moment, rather than creating events that are shaped into a narrative after the fact.
  • edited November 2018
    the fact that he's a professional screenwriter (IIRC) . . . helped make the game so emotionally engaging
    Oh! I didn't realize that. Yeah, I suppose that'd make a big difference!

    That said, from reading Jay's actual play accounts, I don't remember anything like, "And then the GM hit us with this awesome [twist/reveal/turning point/etc.]!" If there is an awesome GM plot (as opposed to just great situations) that the players get to witness and inhabit and discover, I don't think Jay's gone into that aspect of play in the posts I've read...
  • (I think it's worth mentioning Jay's said that not only is Cary in the film industry, but so are a good chunk of the group's core members, including Jay himself. Everyone at the table is bringing a skill set and a mindset to make the game work, not just the GM... and they "fire" players who don't develop right skills and attitude. Is this style particularly fragile to players who aren't on board, or no more so than any other game?)
  • edited November 2018
    Wow! Lost of stuff going on here. My apologies for the tardiness of my returning. I will attempt to clarify as best as I am able the various questions and issues raised. Thank you all for participating in this discussion!

    @Paul_T
    I had thought after all you had explained to me about the jazz process (and just how richly detailed and involved that process is) I’d get less hand waving about the Semiotic Jazz process. Is Jazz “freeform”? I thought that not only did a soloist need a mastery of the Standard but they also had to have an intimate relationship with the piece. Does one not also need a strong knowledge (implicit or explicit) of music theory to inform the creation of the chords as well as help inform the actual solo effort? Is that “just” freeform? Finally does the soloist “simply” freeform without consideration and the constraints put upon him/her by all the above plus the style of the ensemble? Are the “rules” of Music Theory “pretty vague”?

    Perharps reading Chris Lehrich’s Bricolage APPLIED (finally!) , especially his second post, will perhaps help give a better context to what I’m trying but failing to communicate. This method of creative interaction is almost diametrically opposed to the Western (and Eastern?) abstract thinking processes. I don’t want to get caught up in the specifics of Bricolage as it is a physical art and we don’t have much in the way of understanding the guiding aesthetics as we do about Jazz. But as Chris pointed out the general principles of Bricolage stand in well for the “mythic” (concrete) logic process. Things that are or happen are given meaning by the culture and this accretive process uses what “is” however lumpy and problematic to create more explanations/meanings. Its messy, the “rules” are intuited by the membership of the “tribe” over time and apparently it is fun. There are instances where tribes have succeeded in explaining “everything” to satisfaction and scrap what they have created and start over. This is NOT how the West thinks with its abstractions. Nor is it a "naive" process but an extremely sophisticated if highly alien way of processing the world and what it means to us human beings.

    Re - characters sheets. They are original designs created in MS Publisher.
    I wrinkled my nose a bit at the amusing nod to the character sheet when the dwarf gamined +1 Strength....It’s a cute touch, but clearly has no real impact on the game - the incident itself and the fictional implications overshadow any number on the character sheet itself, which may in itself be discarded.
    You miss the critical and long established notion that ALL rewards function at some level as Social Awards. It was important because it was important to us. I mention the change to the sheet as it functions as a referent to what happened in play. It is also a sign with meaning that travelled up from the Ephemera level play all the way to the Social Contract level. On another level it also helped to spackle over the possible dissonance created by the extraordinary event that just transpired. It was a shorthand method of helping keep the continuity of the implicit “rules of the world” functioning smoothly.
    Jay,

    I think it's interesting that you dismissed the phrase "show mastery of the Source Material", but, to me, that's exactly what you're describing:
    But learning to play effectively and well can take a long time (on the order of months to a couple of years). That is not a bad thing as "learning how the world works" frequently is the most intense play for players.
    Having "mastery of the Source Material" is necessary but sufficient to play Sim or describe the play process anymore than having mastery of the Standard is the same as playing Jazz. You keep leaving out the process of choosing the chords from the Standard melody and all the Music Theory that one must also have a mastery of in order to do so. They aren't chosen by random. As you indicated to me that the choosing of the chords in not just a mechanic process but requires an "artistic (gift?) touch" to make something more than just a clockwork. Then follows on the actual creative act of the solo informed by all the above. Mastery of the Standard or Music Theory or even the instrument singly or even in any given pair of discipline is not sufficient for the production of improvisational jazz.

    If I want to try another analogy, admittedly a poor one, learning the "rules" of Chess or Go is easy, learning to play effectively/well is hard.
    Perhaps it's because you're looking at "Source Material" as the books or other fictional touchstones which inform your play? (After all, it sounds like your game is based on/in the Tolkien universe.) But, of course, this style of gaming can work just as well without a literary touchstone, in a universe created from scratch by the group, so I have to take "Source Material" to mean "the combined knowledge of the game we're playing right now, right here, and everything we have established so far in playing it together".
    Again - the "Source Material" is the "Standard" referenced in jazz. And, yes, the "source" does grow and evolve over time. It must. It is part of what the solos are adding to. What was a solo in one game gets added to the "Standard" via the constrained and informed improvisational jazz process. For the same reason I don't believe one can have such a game tabula rasa as one could not have jazz without its "Standard". I suppose it's possible but where does one look to inform the play? Where are the chords that the soloist needs to inform his/her play? Where is the single, complete statement of the melody?

    Best,

    Jay

    Addendum -
    If the +1 Strength on the sheet helps the group remember that, that's great, but to say it's important to the game in any way seems pretty misguided.
    I'm completely adrift my this assertion. First you make claims that you don't understand what we're doing and then comes this very definitive declaration of what is "wrong/bad" procedure or play. I apologize for just pointing to an already written essay (linked above) but I hope having read it what I am trying (but failing to communicate) will make much more sense. Just keep in mind that whatever transpires in play or at the table has many meanings not only in the present but many potential future one should someone find a way to work them in. Are you hung up because the DM used a "+1" (semiotic) symbol shorthand that can and was interpreted in many ways? This process of using a given symbol in many different ways is exactly what we want.
  • @komradebob my prediction is that the dice get ignored entirely until they are deemed necessary as a negotiation tactic, to get someone to accept a delayed chance of something they would never accept for sure, right now.

    (I suspect that "we don't need these dice, but let's roll them anyway to spice things up" is a fairly advanced technique in the realm of Playing Pretend.)

    Or maybe the kids won't play pretend, and the dice will foster the expectation that they should be re-creating Candyland or something...
    All of those are very real possibilities, and quite possibly all of them will eventually be tried. I don't have enough monkeys or typewriters available to me , so I work with what I have! :smiley:

    What I'm guessing is that all of the adult contacts that I'm going through to get this stuff to the test subjects will have some passing familiarity with RPGs. I'm also partly interested in what happens when say a lapsed RPGer gives this box to the test kids versus a friend who secondarily knew some gamers 3 to 4 decades ago and sat in on and observed a session once or twice. Basically, what gets created from a cargo cult method at a remove of two or so?


    Jeph:

    My own Naïve RPG experience involved a kids' magazine article about D&D* when I was in maybe third grade, a trailer for the Lord of the Rings cartoon, and a couple of CYOA books about a year or two later, and then, finally, a very confusing one session attempt at lunch by a friend to teach the game to me.

    Since I couldn't seem to acquire the rulebooks, I wrote my own game on a school holiday break. I had all of about one 30 minute play session and maybe two looks at a rulebook at all prior to this.

    That early game was somewhere between Monopoly and All-Spicy Dice All the Time, with a helping of Mother, May I ? thrown in.


    Later, we also did some outdoorsy style Naïve Gaming, but at that point I'd actually acquired a couple different rpgs.

    Our naïve version of The Assassination Game ( being gamers now, but only having heard rough rumors of TAG) was actually pretty sophisticated a couple of years later.

    *Naturally, that magazine article had pix, including a picture of a very nice Orc miniature. I think that alone made me forever more predisposed to look kindly on the use of minis in RPGs, even if we didn't use them almost alt all in practice.
  • edited November 2018
    I wonder if Spicy Rolling is also somehow related to early random roll tables.

    I mean, Spicy Roll results do remind me a bit of the fun of old D&D Random Treasure Charts and Random Wandering Critter Charts. With those things 90% + of the entries are all foreseeable results.

    But the you roll that one really whacky magic treasure,unexpectedly over-the-top Monty Haul hoard, or highly unlikely encounter by dungeon level ( Why exactly is there a White Dragon in your larder, Mr. Baggins?) and all of a sudden things get really interesting, really quick.

    A spicy roll result that we remember does something very similar.

    Also on a weird side note, I think Verdi is using what amounts to spicy rolls ( or at least something where mechanics are made on the fly with named possible outcomes stated just prior to a roll, much like what is discussed here) in the late 1800s in Kreigspiel.

    Hard to get much more simulationist than military training exercises.
  • Hard to get much more simulationist than military training exercises.
    They are anything but. They are Hardcore Gamist.

  • Hard to get much more simulationist than military training exercises.
    They are anything but. They are Hardcore Gamist.

    Are they?

    Certainly there's a whole lot of stepping on up going on, but isn't one of the major goals to also expose the participants to the way the "world" works? World in this case meaning the military environments and situations they're likely to encounter as officers at a given level of command, in a given time period.

    I would think that a commercial, hobby, wargame would be vastly more Gamist than an actual training exercise.

  • edited November 2018
    Jay,

    I am getting the sense that - perhaps based on prior experiences, which would not surprise me in the least - you feel the need to "defend" your game and its practices against perceived slights or insulting points of view.

    I want to say that this is not the case at all here - at least not from me, and I'm not seeing it from other posters. Clearly you've been participating in a really enjoyable and long-running game (which is an accomplishment by itself!), with skilled participants who bring a lot to the table. I see absolutely NO reason to doubt the success or quality of the game, since everything that's being reported about it is so positive.

    I hope that helps put my comments in perspective at least a little bit.

    For instance, I do not believe that calling something "freeform" means that it is simple or in any way unrefined. Rather, it just means that fewer parameters are defined or agreed-upon explicitly; instead, they are left to social and creative dynamics, whether conscious or unconscious. There can be tremendous complexity and skill involved in any freeform art or activity - no question.

    I also have absolutely no intention of calling anything anyone's doing "wrong" or "bad"; if something I wrote reads like I am saying so, I apologize.

    What I do find interesting is the mystique built up around this kind of activity/game/playstyle. Some aspects of it are very simple, and others are very involved or complex.

    For instance, on my comments about "+1 to Strength"; of course it was meaningful to the group - it's a common touchpoint and serves as a shorthand. But it's also a subjective and, frankly, funny sort of shorthand. Or is there some reason why you feel it's important to the game?

    Let me put it this way:

    If you were teaching another group to play in this style, how important would you feel it would be to tell them, "...another important thing: make sure each character has a Strength rating. Occasionally, when things happen in play, have the GM adjust these on the character sheet"? On a list of important techniques for this type of gameplay, how high would that rate?

    How would their game experience differ if you forgot to tell them that?

    From a similar point of view, if one day a magic fairy came to your group's table and erased the Strength ratings on each character's sheet, how would your game differ, going forward? Would it be a meaningful difference?

    How often does your group reference, look up, or in some way use these Strength ratings in play? How often does someone ask, "What's your Strength?", perform a procedure with the number, or something similar?

    (I'm honestly curious. From what I've heard about the game so far, I cannot see how any of this would change the game; but perhaps there are other details which I'm not aware of.)

    By the way:

    The whole "jazz" analogy, I think, is more likely to lead us astray here than to be helpful. Not only am I not sure the analogy is being used accurately (although that wouldn't be a huge deal), but, more importantly, I have literally no idea what it is being used as an analogy for. What are the analogues of the terms you're using in your game - the "Standard", the "solo", the "statement of the melody", the "chords", and so on? (I have no idea! The analogy, at least to me, is doing more to obfuscate than to help. If you have specific things in mind and can describe them, though - again, specifics of the game itself, not specifics of jazz perormance - that would be fascinating and insightful, I think!)

    For instance:
    Again - the "Source Material" is the "Standard" referenced in jazz. And, yes, the "source" does grow and evolve over time.
    I have no idea what you mean here! What is the "Source Material"? How is it "referenced"? Can you give an example?

    The best I can manage is some combination of established world facts (e.g. "Orcs are strong, but we now know that Beorn is stronger than most Orcs") and the aesthetic concerns of the group ("I see that Jay is really moved by stories of pity/the Middle-Earth aesthetic is often featured in stories about redemption, and we like those as a group, so I'll try to include more content like that, and support it when others introduce it"). Neither of those seem at all anything like a "Standard" song in jazz, note choice, music theory, or any of the rest - at least not in a way I can see, and we still haven't gotten to any practical examples.

    *: As a total sidenote, in the jazz world there is also a wide spectrum between heavily notated - and, even, sometimes ENTIRELY notated! - music and completely freeform, improvised music.

    Finally, where I might have a point of frustration with these discussions is that it feels, at times, more like a sales pitch than an explanation, demonstration, or discussion. Perhaps that's because, as I said, you may feel a need to "defend" its worth or value - that would be unfortunate, since I don't see any attacks being made, but I would not be surprised if there was a history of such slights which never entirely fade.

    All I really know of the game at this point is how the dice are used (in some detail), that it's a long-running game set in Middle-Earth, and that it's emotionally meaningful to all the participants.

    I found your comments - and, even more so, Jeph's comments - about the particulars of the dice and rolling *incredibly* interesting and helpful. (By "helpful" I mean that they could serve as a useful guide to someone trying to recreate this style of play and get some of the same benefits and features.)

    That's what I would like to hear more about: the specific techniques, attitudes, procedures, and principles which bring the game to life and make it work consistently.

    Breaking that down is no easy task, and sometimes examples are an easier way to go (then you can illustrate by example and let others do the analysis for you!), but, for me, at least, that's what I would love to see. If the same kind of attention and interest we've applied to the ritual of the d20 roll and its interpretation could be brought to other aspects of play, THAT would be an amazing discussion (and, eventually, resource).

    (cont'd)

  • For instance, you write:
    Is Jazz “freeform”? I thought that not only did a soloist need a mastery of the Standard but they also had to have an intimate relationship with the piece. Does one not also need a strong knowledge (implicit or explicit) of music theory to inform the creation of the chords as well as help inform the actual solo effort? Is that “just” freeform? Finally does the soloist “simply” freeform without consideration and the constraints put upon him/her by all the above plus the style of the ensemble? Are the “rules” of Music Theory “pretty vague”?
    Are the rules of music theory "pretty vague"? No, of course not - there are a lot of specifics we can discuss, demonstrate, and identify in recorded examples.

    I have no idea if that's the case in this style of roleplay, however - if the "rules" are not "pretty vague", that hasn't been demonstrated, discussed, or even illustrated. We've done a pretty good job of describing and illustrating how the "spicy die" rolls contribute to the game, and how they can be used, but, as far as I can see, have nothing at all on the larger format of play, what makes it work, or what makes it sustainable long-term.

    That's the stuff I'd love to hear more about. If it's like music theory, ok, great - now let's talk about what that means, how chords are built, how note choice operates, all the details.

    That's where I am coming from. No one is obliged to try to satisfy my curiosity, of course - but, if I could ask for something, that's what it would be.

    My suspicion, based on experience with similar playstyles, is that the vast majority of that falls on the GM, who may have a systematic approach or may simply operate on finely-honed instincts, charisma, and a solid familiarity with the genre, story structure, and the psychology of the players. I'd be curious to hear whether that's the case here, too, or not.


  • edited November 2018
    Paul, I don't think the jazz analogy is perfect, but I do think it's useful for the "structured improv with constraints from previous work" aspect.

    Basically the combo of "Tolkein + the group's prior play" works to create a shared sense of expectations, boundaries, values, etc. With that shared sense as the "standard", the group then strives to do with it exactly what many improv jazz groups do: play with it in an interesting and exciting way so as to balance fidelity & novelty, skill & inspiration.

    The jazz metaphor is not exact, but I think as half of "semiotic jazz", it works. The "semiotic" part, to me, communicates that we aren't emulating jazz improv in all ways, we're just doing something vaguely close in the pursuit of meaningfulness.

    IMO, "So what makes play meaningful?" and "What does successful meaning-making play look like?" are the crucial questions to getting value out of the metaphor. I have a vague sense of the answers there, but I'm not sure whether that's from something Jay's said or just my own instincts.
  • Yeah, I'm on the same page as you, Dave. My interpretation of it is the same as yours.

    When Silmenume responded, however, it sounded like he felt that was lacking, misguided, or otherwise not what he meant by the analogy. That's why I asked for clarification.

    In a vague sense, the analogy is helpful. But when, in his response, he started talking about specific analogies from jazz (instead of talking about the roleplaying), I got worried that we were losing touch with the conversation itself.

    We'll have to wait and see what he says, I suppose! I'm still quite interested to hear more about this game.

    I've been watching a little bit of Critical Role, as well, and it's very interesting to consider how different (and how similar!) it would look if it were being played using a "Spicy Die Roll" method instead of the canonical 5th Edition D&D rules.
  • When you're getting all Spicy with die rolls, doesn't the system ostensibly being played act as part of the "source material"?

    That's kinda why noting a +1 to strength noted on a character sheet actually does matter, right?


    We can still use a system to inform our play, even as we move further away from it in practice, going more and more spicy. Or maybe just use it from the get go with Spicy Dice, and the rule books more of color resource, cargo cult style.


    I mean, we still know that a character that we thought had a 16 strength ( and maybe what that means roughly in terms of carrying capacity, damage dealing, and dead lifting of weight) actually has a 17 strength ( better in all of those things) by that method, even if we never use any directly related mechanics from the rule book. We also know that an ogre with a 19 strength is stronger still.


    Does that make sense?
  • edited November 2018
    Neat, @komradebob ! "Let's find a cool way to riff off the ruleset as befits the moment!" I've never played that way myself, but I can see the appeal.

    Part of my brain initially goes, "No, terrible idea, we need something solid here!" but that's probably the part that hasn't truly embraced spice-only dice yet.
  • "Game rules as source material to riff on" reminds me of Vincent's old Ars Magica posts, which he sometimes called principled freeform:

    http://lumpley.com/index.php/anyway/thread/580

    ...Is this what happens when you have a Spicy game with no GM?
  • edited November 2018
    Re-reading some of those threads: No. That was definitively NOT a spicy game sans GM. But I can't shake the feeling that it's got a lot of similarities to Jay's Middle Earth game, despite all the manifest differences. EDIT: Maybe because it's got such strong "semiotic jazz" elements, even though the set of techniques used at Vincent and Meg and Emily's table has like zero overlap with the techniques used at Jay & Cary's.
  • Hi David,

    Re - play unfolding in "complete ignorance" -
    If I've given that impression then I REALLY suck as a poster. And I need to owe an apology to all here for my poor communication skills. Of course play does not unfold in "complete ignorance". Information is mostly, but not always, doled out as PC perceptions. So as to your example "Am I close enough to grab something?" can be answered in any of a number of ways without resorting to TRUTHS. FREX - "You're standing right next to it", or "Looks to be 30 to 50 feet away but it's hard to tell", or better "You've covered similar distances in the past but it will be a real effort to make it", or sometimes simply "roll".

    I was talking to my DM today about theory and die rolling as he said something to me that totally floored me. He said that for the old guard players that he frequently doesn't bother interpreting the roll as we players will frequently interpret the number ourselves. IOW frequently we look at the number and immediately make an action based on our perception of what the number means to us. If we roll poorly frequently we'll integrate some sort of assumption of lack of success and then attempt to correct for that immediately. Conversely if we roll a fairly high number we'll assume some degree of success and push forward with trying to accomplish our goal. This is the "acting from confident deduction" that you mentioned in your post.

    What happens is by allowing many, but not all, of "deductions" stand this reinforces our understanding of both "how the world works" (inductive logic) as well as our understanding of the situation (abductive logic). On the other hand an incorrect "deduction" is not a game/meta fail as rather than breaking us out of the moment we double down by re-examining our abduction/induction cycle of logic and try to make another deduction and keep moving forward. The bedrock assumption for this to work is that we don't come up to the social contract layer to say, "hey, you made a mistake" but we do what the bricoleurs do - you take the imperfect part (or the erroneous deduction) and you strive to make it work in game within the fictional world. I'm not explaining this well, but Chris Lehrich did in the link I posted in above in my post to Paul_T.

    Here is an example that unfortunately is vague as I read it long ago and I can't even off specifics but here it is. I read about a fairly famous jazz drummer who had some sort of palsy that he was managing with medication. However sometimes he would purposely take himself off his meds so that while drumming occasionally he would tic and strike his drum in a manner or a time that he didn't intend. Rather than stopping and saying, "oops, sorry guys" he said this "error" forced him to really dig in and become extra creative to work that unintentional drum beat in so smoothly that a listener would have no idea that a "mistake" had happened. So it is when we make "deductive errors." As long as we are "right" most of the time, being "wrong" occasionally actually enhances the feeling of the fictional world - because we work to make it so. Yes the occasional error crops up that can't be solved without breaking the fictional world and must surface all the way up to social contract level where we negotiate the error at the meta-level but the "guiding principle" is try and make the "errors" an example of the world working properly from within the fictional world (or the Shared Imagined Space).

    I'm doing a terrible job of explaining myself here. Let me leave a link here about how Bricolage (by way of analogy) works specifically WRT role-playing games. The 2 posts (especially the 2nd) explain how the process works and very emphatically demonstrates how system/mechanics do evolve during play. In Sim play we not only use Bricolage (by way of analogy) but we promote it. To quote Chris Lehrich directly from the linked posts above...
    The GM, in such a formulation, is emphatically not merely an arbiter, the mechanics guy who decides the implications of a higher-level set of concerns to the lower-level specifics of the moment. Rather, the GM becomes a facilitator of ongoing bricolage.

    Bolding added - Everyone who has an interest in this thread please, please, please do read the posts.
    Dave, I apologize but I'm a bit swamped at the moment but I will address the rest of your questions as soon as I can. I do hope after having read the link how you can see why I put mechanics into the pile of things that can be jazzed upon from within the SIS as opposed to talking about them at the meta-level. It can happen and sometimes we must but we want to prioritize working within the shared imagined space. To use Chris' emaple - the well engineered part while working admirably in the specific role it was designed for doesn't leave much left over to work with as a bricoleur.

    Finally I should note that I have failed to disentangle the semiotic part from the jazz part of my thesis. In short the semiotic side is the part I linked to but also includes the abductive, inductive, deductive logic cycle. The jazz side (by analogy) is that part which informs the aesthetics and constrains the choices. The semiotic side is the how and what were doing while the jazz side is why we're doing what we're doing (i.e., why we chose Middle Earth, FREX, and that which is about it that deeply resonates with in our group).

    Best,

    Jay
  • Hard to get much more simulationist than military training exercises.
    They are anything but. They are Hardcore Gamist.

    Are they?

    Certainly there's a whole lot of stepping on up going on, but isn't one of the major goals to also expose the participants to the way the "world" works? World in this case meaning the military environments and situations they're likely to encounter as officers at a given level of command, in a given time period.

    I would think that a commercial, hobby, wargame would be vastly more Gamist than an actual training exercise.

    On the whole I would have to say that I am in the wrong for making such a call. In truth I have no data from which to draw any sort of conclusion regarding what the "players" in the war game simulation were prioritizing and socially rewarding each other with. I presumed the whole point was to work out "battlefield" strategies that would lead to victory in the real world but that description does not encompass what the participants were "enjoying." I would have to wonder at some level if such an enterprise could even be considered a "story game/rpg" as I'm assuming there was no shared imagined space. For me to try and categorize it by Creative Agenda might just be a category error. The wrong tool for the wrong job, as it were.
    When you're getting all Spicy with die rolls, doesn't the system ostensibly being played act as part of the "source material"?

    That's kinda why noting a +1 to strength noted on a character sheet actually does matter, right?


    We can still use a system to inform our play, even as we move further away from it in practice, going more and more spicy. Or maybe just use it from the get go with Spicy Dice, and the rule books more of color resource, cargo cult style.


    I mean, we still know that a character that we thought had a 16 strength ( and maybe what that means roughly in terms of carrying capacity, damage dealing, and dead lifting of weight) actually has a 17 strength ( better in all of those things) by that method, even if we never use any directly related mechanics from the rule book. We also know that an ogre with a 19 strength is stronger still.


    Does that make sense?
    What komradebob said.

    Best,

    Jay
  • Despite what it may have sounded like Jay, I am very much interested in what you're talking about, and I apologize for being brusque earlier in the thread.
  • On the whole I would have to say that I am in the wrong for making such a call. In truth I have no data from which to draw any sort of conclusion regarding what the "players" in the war game simulation were prioritizing and socially rewarding each other with. I presumed the whole point was to work out "battlefield" strategies that would lead to victory in the real world but that description does not encompass what the participants were "enjoying." I would have to wonder at some level if such an enterprise could even be considered a "story game/rpg" as I'm assuming there was no shared imagined space. For me to try and categorize it by Creative Agenda might just be a category error. The wrong tool for the wrong job, as it were.
    Isn't that sort of a classic deflection of Step On Up style play, that you're not really "metagaming" because the character ostensibly shares the goal of succeeding by whatever means? I don't mean that to be critical, I think it's a really interesting question regarding Creative Agenda that arises in any sort of play where "challenge" is part of the fiction.
  • edited November 2018
    Re - play unfolding in "complete ignorance" -
    If I've given that impression then I REALLY suck as a poster. And I need to owe an apology to all here for my poor communication skills.
    No no no, that's me being unclear, not you. My point was that avoiding complete ignorance, which you agree is necessary, takes time.

    "Looks to be 30 to 50 feet away but it's hard to tell", puts the progress of fictional time on hold, reducing the sync between fictional time and real-world time.

    And this is okay. And if this is okay, then maybe the time taken to specify the fictional stakes of a die roll is also okay.

    That's all I was saying. You wouldn't suffer any new downsides if Cary were to communicate, "This thing you're doing looks like a 50/50 crapshoot!" as you're picking up your die to roll it.

    Any thoughts on that?

    The rest of your post was also super interesting and I'll reply to that later. :)
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