When the die roll does *NOT* determine what happens

123457

Comments

  • edited January 4
    (I'm also interested in that discussion, so include me if it happens.)

    (For what it's worth, my initial reaction is the same as Adam's, but I can see some potential for teasing things out, as well - basically, if "resonance" is about reinforcing some kind of elements of the "Standard", in the same way that Narrativist play addresses themes, then we can at least *imagine* play where that fails to happen.)

    (The interesting question for the purposes of this thread is how to identify those elements. In Tolkien, this has a lot to do with history, heroism, good and evil, and diminishing over time, perhaps. I don't know; it's worth pondering.)
  • Paul, I think Adam and I are just gonna discuss this the next time we see each other at a con. I'll let you know if we reach any brilliant conclusions. :)
  • (Or Paul could come to Dreamation.)
  • I'll ask Vinny about establishing a Canadian Jazz Musician Scholarship fund...
  • Man, talk about disappointing! I definitely want to talk to each of you about this, if you won't do it together...
  • Paul, feel free to start a thread to discuss with Adam. I just have limited interest in discussing this in writing, and Adam's in no hurry to hop on the phone, so there ya go.
  • We had a face-to-face discussion of this issue today, and I settled somewhat on the balance of "consonance" (or resonance) and "expansion" as elements of the "celebration" of the material.

    I'll let David chime in if he has thoughts on this, or takeaways from the topic.

    The basic gist is that much of the enjoyment has to do with dealing with fictional material, creating new content which resonates with or is consonant with the material established so far, and enjoying the ability to expand that material's scope while maintaining that consonance. As a result, the material itself grows and develops, and being an active participant in that is a joy as well as highly satisfying.

    Balancing "consonance" and "expansion" is an important part of the skills being used.

    ...

    I'll leave this short note here in case it spurs further discussion as well as a reminder to myself, later.

    As a musician, it also works reasonably well for me as a "jazz metaphor", alongside what Jay's been doing with those terms.

    Most importantly, these ideas can at least start to be turned into actual tools and techniques, which is a promising idea.
  • edited January 5
    The jazz metaphor gives me a few ideas on what players might do -- some tools in their toolkit at any given moment as they look to maximize their contributions in relation to some "standard". In rough order from emphasizing consonance to emphasizing expansion:
    - perfect - do the obvious to perfection (aesthetic satisfaction of skillful execution) (hit every note in the melody purely and on time)
    - amplify - do it bigger and louder (ramp up the emotional experience) (hit that overdrive distortion pedal!)
    - tweak - provide a new angle on the expected (novelty, specificity) (play that wailing melody staccato instead)
    - twist - provide an unexpected twist (surprise, curiosity) (instead of beginning the segue back into the main theme, take the jam farther afield)
    - shock - incorporate the counterintuitive (surprise and challenge) (go nuts on a quiet standard, lay back on a rockin' standard)

    In the example of negotiating with Elves about Balrogs, I think Jay's doing a bunch of these simultaneously and doesn't need his options called out in this manner. But, again, for purposes of introduction/instruction, I wonder if this sort of breakdown could be useful.

    So a newcomer might see "perfect/amplify/tweak/twist/shock" and think:
    - ask the elves for help as best befits this character in this situation, using maximum eloquence
    - break into tears while asking the elves for help, showing how hard "OMG Balrog" hits you
    - compare the slow-to-help elf lord to Isildur shirking his responsibility to destroy the Ring
    - swear yourself to the elves' service forever if you successfully deal with the Balrog together
    - go after the Balrog yourself and offer to duel any elf who stands in your way, hoping to shame them with your superior courage and determination
  • I like where that is going, as well. I'm not sure your examples illustrate the idea as well as you might wish, but the basic premise here is solid. It might be interesting to create a mini-game out of such prompts, for a proof of concept (kind of like you've done earlier in this thread, but to actually play).
  • edited January 5
    I feel like importing other metaphors, cliches, or tropes (and "transposing" them into that context, if we're really obsessed with musical terms for some reason) could be useful in this style of play, too.

    We talked a bit about Star Wars, for instance - it shows how fantasy adventures tropes an be given new light by placing them in a science fiction (or at least space exploration) context.

    "The Last Ringbearer" comes to mind as an examply of spy fiction in the Middle Earth universe (although that twists the Tolkien material into something almost unrecognizable, compared to Jay's groups far more faithful rendition), as well.

    For instance, what if I make reference to the David vs. Goliath story from the Bible, reframing it as a situation in Tolkienesque terms - a hobbit taking down a cave troll with a pebble to its forehead, perhaps, or flinging a Silmaril into the face of a Balrog?

    Jay, would that kind of thing contribute to "resonance" or "rightness" in your game, or be an unwelcome intrusion?
  • edited January 7
    Greetings gentlemen!

    David,

    You list of prospective "mechanics" is plenty workable as long as the following "instructions" are included.

    1. The list of mechanics is not a comprehensive list of all possible ways that a situation can be approached. IOW - the list isn't meant to limit player creativity/input to those examples only.
    2. The list of mechanics are indeed "training wheels" and will atrophy in time. IOW - they aren't truly resolution mechanics at all but rather pointers to a few of the ways the "world" works.
    3. Include a primer on bricolage/SJ.

    What you really want the players doing is engaging in the expressiveness, creativity and discipline of semiotic improv jazz. We don't want the players getting hung up on reifying what is essentially a mere exemplar pointer. (You know the hoary old adage - "Don't mistake the finger pointing to the moon for the moon")

    Other than the above it's all good.

    I don't know if you realized (I'm guessing you did but it bears noting anyway) that the very specifics of the mechanics you developed were drawn from my table's particular interpretation of LoTR. IOW the mechanics reflect the source material. This means each published game will have to have its own set of "rules" dependent of the source material and what the players are grooving on from the source material. IOW each table is going to develop, over long periods of play, its own set of "mechanics". (Just so you know, just typing mechanics wrt to SJ makes my fingers itch and my eyes twitch :wink: ) There can be no GURPS style "universal mechanics" system.

    Paul,
    Balancing "consonance" and "expansion" is an important part of the skills being used.
    Absolutely! Too much "consonance" and one might as well be playing directly off of sheet music. Too much expansion and you lose the "Standard" altogether. It is a critical skill. This is the primary reason why our table has a "vetting" process, as it were. A new player is invited to play with a rough explanation of how we play. A regular player is "assigned" to the new player to "mentor" him/her along. By limiting it to one or two new players at any given time the new player can see how the experienced players are playing and what expected play looks like. ("Expected" is a terrible word for what I'm trying to express, but I'm a little fuzzy headed at the moment). Too many new players and the reference for the play style gets muddled. It's actually surprisingly easy to see who has a "spark" and will likely do well in time from those who don't. I will admit there are, in all probability, false negatives but that will forever remain unknown to us.
    I feel like importing other metaphors, cliches, or tropes (and "transposing" them into that context, if we're really obsessed with musical terms for some reason) could be useful in this style of play, too.
    By all means. We're talking about a process that isn't well represented in Western thinking and less so in its vocabulary. If it helps, it helps!
    "The Last Ringbearer" comes to mind as an examply of spy fiction in the Middle Earth universe (although that twists the Tolkien material into something almost unrecognizable, compared to Jay's groups far more faithful rendition), as well.
    That may indeed be the case, but if that is what a given table is grooving on, then there is absolutely nothing to prevent that work from being used as the "Standard".
    For instance, what if I make reference to the David vs. Goliath story from the Bible, reframing it as a situation in Tolkienesque terms - a hobbit taking down a cave troll with a pebble to its forehead, perhaps, or flinging a Silmaril into the face of a Balrog?

    Jay, would that kind of thing contribute to "resonance" or "rightness" in your game, or be an unwelcome intrusion?
    We try to keep our verbiage consistent with Tolkien's writings but sometimes it just doesn't work out that way and another reference is used. It does happen on occasion. If it happens frequently then one would have to wonder if said player really understood the "Standard".

    As an aside, is not LoTR an instance of the David vs. Goliath story? Was it not Sam or Frodo who were the "least" who stood off against the greatest Goliath in Middle Earth? At least thematically? This is why you're particular example would not have been met with too much resistance at the table. It is precisely because they are such similar themes that even using a straight "David vs Goliath" expression would likely fly without too much distress.

    Best,

    Jay
  • edited January 10
    Hey Everyone,

    I thought I'd just throw this out for some thinkin' upon. Long ago there was a thread entitled On RPGs and Text [LONG]. Its dense - or at least dense for me. There is still much I need to work out about it, but the idea I wanted to point to was in a written work of fiction the part that we interact with is not the text put what a theorist called "syuzhet." I'd define the word here but the original post spent many words explaining the concept. And the poster was intimately knowledgeable on the topic and I don't fully grasp it, yet. Don't get hung up on the actual word but the general concept behind it. Something Paul mentioned and what Dave has been working on both deal with this concept.

    The "syuzhet" of a piece of fiction is the affective aspect that we feel when reading or recalling a piece of text. IOW (I think) its that part of the process where we react and feel about the work. I mention this only because when discussing SJ "standard" wrt to role-playing we're not really recalling the words per say, but those things that the reading of text made us feel - or "resonated" within us. (That's for you Dave! :smile: )

    I think this is important because this "syuzhet" experience is what we're trying to bring to life in our port over of a piece of fiction to an RPG. We truly cannot "play" the source text. It's the affective experience we had that we're looking to recreate. This isn't to say the Setting isn't important, not so. But rather, I believe, if we're trying to play in Middle Earth (FREX) it is in syuzhet that we need to mine. That also means that any mechanics that we wish to design must also follow out of the syuzhet.

    In using the jazz analogy, its that dimension of the Standard that moves and excites the soloist. I'm not referring to the sheet music but the actual aural experience that moves us interiorally.

    I don't know if this adds or helps in any way. It's just something that's been percolating in my mind the last day or two.

    Best,

    Jay
  • Good answers and comments, Jay! Thank you.

    Learning about your game in this thread has been all kinds of fascinating.

    Perhaps someday we will see a video/recorded instance of this kind of play, for reference. (Jay, if you ever make something like that, or, more likely, stumble across something similar out there somewhere, please share a link!)
  • edited January 9
    Hey Paul,

    I actually did a partial recording of a session we played about a week ago. The recording was done on an iPhone so the quality isn't that good, but one uses the tools at hand. It's about 2.25 hours long and about 123MB. PM with your email and I'll share the link on my Google Drive with you.

    Three things regarding the session.

    1. This is the first time we've played in about 8 months so we're pretty rusty.
    2. I started the recording about 15-30 minutes into the session. The DM may seem to be stepping on player agency a bit but it is a method of "drawing back the bow" on the session. Once out of the opening phases of the night (which may take an hour or two depending on many factors - not least of which is the amount of time since our last play session) this is then throttled down.
    3. This session ran somewhere between 8-10 hours which allows for a long "intro", as it were.

    Best,

    Jay
  • Jay, ok, sure!

  • 3. This session ran somewhere between 8-10 hours
    Oh wow. That's pretty wild to me!

  • Seemed a little short to me... :wink:
  • Jay,

    I have some further questions:

    It seems that any given player might play more than one character in this game. Can you tell us a bit about how this works?

    How often do you switch characters within a campaign? Within a session? How do we decide which characters are worth playing? Do you ever play minor characters (or non-recurring characters)?

    What do you feel is accomplished by doing so?
  • I'd love to hear it, Jay!
  • edited January 9
    Hey Paul,
    It seems that any given player might play more than one character in this game. Can you tell us a bit about how this works?
    The playing of multiple characters in a given nights gaming session is a relatively rare event. I'm not sure that I recall anytime this has happened at a players specific request. If memory serves the triggering event is usually the return to play after a lengthy hiatus. I don't know my DM's mind on this but I propose this is a way to refresh our relationship with the "world" and its events by touching on one or more characters in and around the world before settling in for the night's session. I also believe it also serves to whet our appetites as we are "reintroduced" to our characters and their various stories.

    Sometimes this is done to tie up loose ends such that a given character can be broken out of a previously played scenario and make them available for other scenarios. This can be due to a scenario that stalled out because we had new players that are no longer with the group. Sometimes a character needs some screen time to complete some important task but is not associated with other PCs so time is alloted for the event and then the rest of the night is spent with another character that is involved with other PCs.

    I'm sure there are other reasons but I can't recall any specifically at the moment. Did that shed any light at all?
    How often do you switch characters within a campaign?
    All the time? We don't play "adventuring companies" so we don't have campaigns in the most commonly used sense of the world. I suppose it could be said that we've been playing the same "campaign" in Middle Earth for 40+ years. That is, this "campaign" is not a specific story but the movement of all Middle Earth towards the war of the ring. Each player develops a folio of characters which grows ever larger as we play. My folder currently holds 24 characters stretching from a First Age Vanyar Elf, a Dunedain, a Paredhel, a Dwarf of the Withered Heath all the way down to a common human street thief, a human member of a crime syndicate and a simple nomadic bow hunter. I've got an exotic - a "Pocket Dragon" who had resided in Aman from before the time of the Two Trees. There are many reasons for this folio. One cannot play the same character for 40 years (or ~25 years in my case) without growing bored.

    Middle is a BIG place. There are many peoples and it should be experienced from many perspectives. Playing different characters allows a player to taste great power while reminding the player of just how great the heights of power are when life is experienced from the eyes of a humble street urchin. An elf is going to have a different perspective on the unfolding events of ME as would a Dunedain as would a barbarian as would an Istari as would a man of the Harad. These shifts in perspective keep the game experience fresh and lively.

    Along the same lines we don't play "adventuring companies". We play characters. Each one is unique, has his own history, desires, goals, competencies, etc. Yes there are cultural norms within which each character must navigate the world but in the end each is his own, to find his own way. Sometimes some characters will stay together for a period of time but usually personal goals or events will cause them to drift apart over time as they chase each their own goals. This is why our sessions frequently have relatively long intros as the DM is pulling the various characters together and getting them involved in the night's scenario. This does not mean that all the characters are there for the same reason. That is actually fairly rare. Rather we might all be involved in an event or location for very different reasons which makes for some really challenging and ultimately deeply satisfying play. During the course of a night each player could potentially have (and frequently does have) a completely different gaming experience.
    How do we decide which characters are worth playing?
    In the end all our characters are "worth" playing! Each is a different flavor. This doesn't mean we don't have favorites but the game experience is so personalized that we can have an 18th level half-elf and a first level human character and one would not diminish the experience of the other. That being said, if there is a character that we're hankering play we'll talk to the DM about it between games. This works best if the reason why you're wanting to play a specific character also comes with some goal that you're trying to achieve. This helps the DM build scenarios. The more you give the DM character motivation wise the likelier it is for a given character to be played.
    Do you ever play minor characters (or non-recurring characters)?
    Sure. While I have 24 characters in my folder about half are played substantially less often than others. I have my unique "pocket dragon" that rarely sees play but is a lot of fun to play. Sometimes we'll play a one off where any any experience we pick up (if we survive) can be transferred to another character in our folder. One time I was given the opportunity to play the major opposition NPC for a night. That was a rawking blast! I was given the general background of the NPC and his motivations and cut loose. Occasionally the DM would have the character do something he wanted to have happen but that was something that only happened two or three times that night. The character died at the end of the night as was explained to me ahead of the game, but it was really fun playing this irredeemable bastard.

    Not long before I joined the group all the players played field mice in a scenario that lasted 3-4 hours. I was also told that over 30 years ago one player played a sand crab for a few hours.

    When we haven't played for a while we do like to play our preferred characters. But if we've been playing regularly then we do like to move to some of our minor characters or trying something pretty far off the reservation.

    I don't know if anything I've written has been helpful or enlightening in any way.

    Best,

    Jay
  • Very. Playing together is much like what I hear of amateur traditional ensembles. The semiotic part is for the soli mostly, but the least skillfull still beat the tempo.
    Characters as viewpoints is great. Without player resources other than their social credit, I wonder what agency was left for the sand crab. Like if it was a tailor made situation with a wall to climb and a rope to cut, or if it was just viewpoint. I don't expect to get this answer, I am only lamenting that without the tools, this was left to GM fiat.
    I don't mean to change subject, just reacting to your "helpful or enlightening" with my "very much !".
  • That is a fantastic and enlightening answer, Jay! Wonderful. Lots to get at there, and very interesting. Thank you!

    A further question:

    You keep speaking of "the GM's scenario". Reading between the lines, it sounds like Cary plans a specific events or series of events, and then uses some "cutscenes" with a variety of characters to set it up or to give it a large room context. Does that sound about right?

    What are "scenarios" like, and how open-ended or scripted are they?

    It seems telling that the NPC you played had a fate (their death) which the GM knew before the game even began, for instance. That suggests some careful planning, which would be a good fit with the procedures of Spicy Dice play.

    Are the scenes involving other characters a way to touch on them (so we don't forget about their experience), a way to show the possible impact of the events in question on the world at large, or something else?

    I realize I'm asking you questions now about the GM's methods, which you might not have answers to. But, if you know, or have a guess, let me know!
  • edited January 10
    Hi DeReel,
    Without player resources other than their social credit, I wonder what agency was left for the sand crab. Like if it was a tailor made situation with a wall to climb and a rope to cut, or if it was just viewpoint.
    I don't remember much of the story as it was told to me long ago but while I was pondering your musings a thought or two did float up. One was that the situation was tailor made for the sandcrab. I think he had to protect his territory from other sandcrabs, went hunting for other shells and perhaps had to avoid a predator.

    You know, a day in the life of a sandcrab! :smiley: This was back when the DM was living on the Eastern Seaboard and they would play several times a week but much shorter sessions. This made taking a little bit of time away from ME was much less of a loss of opportunity than today when time between games can sometimes be measured in seasons of a year.

    The field mice scenario was tied into ME as they mice were avoiding and taunting an extremely young and thus clumsy Great Eagle as it was learning to fly and hunt. The Great Eagle was a special character for a player and that scenario was his introduction into play.

    I apologize that I wasn't clear about what was what. My post was getting long - yet again.

    Best,

    Jay
  • edited January 10
    Hey Paul,
    You keep speaking of "the GM's scenario". Reading between the lines, it sounds like Cary plans a specific events or series of events, and then uses some "cutscenes" with a variety of characters to set it up or to give it a large room context. Does that sound about right?
    I use the word "scenario" poorly and out of habit. The problem is I don't know of a better word of vocabulary to employ.

    Back when we played frequently the DM would often sit down at the table ask the players what characters they wanted to play and generate the game on the fly.

    Now that we play far less frequently the DM will spend time ahead of time generating NPC's, some motivations, a bit of scene framing and possibly what is now called a kicker so that the game begins with an impetus. Rarely is anything fixed as far as what the characters must do. But the world will roll on and the NPC's will do what they are motivated to do whether or not we choose to involve ourselves or not. I think back at the Forge I posted in the AP boards about when a dragon attacked Rivendale. One could argue that was specific event that was going to happen, period. Several year prior the DM hinted something terrible was about to happen when a player's character, an Istari, had a "vision" of himself riding in all haste towards Rivendell looking over his shoulder with a look of horror on his face. That was all we got and it was the last thing to happen on the week long gaming retreat we were on. What a cliffhanger!!

    Several years later when we finally got back to the event that the PC had seen in his vision was a dragon crashing into Rivendell. Long afterwards the DM had mentioned that he had waited 30 years to play out that "scenario". I guess that could be called a "specific event" but again it was more kicker than programmed plot. But consider, not too long before in game time, Turindir had slain Elrond's sons and grandsons in a terrible moment with Gurthang. For all his losses Elrond, brother to Elros first king of the Numenoreans who chose the mortal way and had been dead for nearly the entirety of the second and third ages would not forsake the Dunedain who had been living within the bounds of his demesne. Bilbo was also in residence. I had a character who was near and moving towards Rivendale in a completely unrelated scenario as was (PC) Turil, half-elven, in yet another completely unrelated scenario.

    So over the course of years and wildly different scenarios/game sessions the DM had been slowly maneuvering PC's into position for this hugely calamitous event. Mind you there was little that could be done to stop the dragon. Even the player of the Istari, who threw everything he had into 10x strength lightning bolt, dropping 10 "tomahawk 20's" merely caused it a scratch. An important scratch that would come into play later but did nothing at the time to slow it down. Elrond decided to retreat out of Rivendell and we headed down to Moria to seek refuge. In the same session all the Dunedain, under Aragorn (less one PC Dunedain who quarreled with Aragorn and refused to go) who had foreseen the need to pass through Moria to Durin's Gates at the west end. So in the same "scenario" we are elves retreating from a Dragon to Moria and Dunedain desperately fighting our way through Moria for whatever awaited us.

    In the end both parties met in the cavern just inside Durin's Gate. On one side was the Dragon and thousands of Orc and on the Moria side were many hundreds more of Orc. Now we get back to Bilbo and Turindir. Though grievously wounded from the "scenario" where in the end he had slain Elrond's scions, he made the trek to Moria with us. When coming to after losing consciousness Bilbo presented him with Gurthang "thinking he might have need". Gurthang, if you recall was the most powerful magic sword created in the whole history of Middle Earth and as we played it, it loathed dragons. In short Turindir demands the gates opened, he exits and orcs flee the sword and approaches Durudin, the Dragon. The dragon tries to beguile Turindir but due to the "scratch" to his eye delivered to him by the PC Istari earlier in the night, Durudin's ability is vastly diminished and Turindir shakes off the attempt. Stepping forward with the Sword the Dragon recoils but sword that was embedded in heel of its foot (when it stepped on and killed a PC earlier in the night) caused it to lose balance and it rolled forward as the sword was thrust upward. Both Durudin and Turindir perished. (Turindir's player back east, 30+ years ago) had been told when he picked up the sword that it would betray him 3 times ere Turindir's end. This was the 3rd time.)

    In all of the games I've played this was the most "plotted" I've ever played, by a looooong way. I would say the Dragon attack, both parties heading to the same place and the Death of the Dragon and Turindir were plotted. While this was the largest world event that I had witnessed, it did feel a bit forced in my heart. Both my elf and my Dunedain could have freely refused their roles but I would have missed out on something terribly world shaking. I had complete freedom to play my characters as I saw fit, yet I felt the resolution was a bit Deus Ex Machina. Aside from this very unusual event saving our collective bacons' is our own jobs. Which isn't to say that death wasn't a real possibility. One of the PC's had died to the Dragon when he was stepped on.

    Like I said, this was an extreme outlier. I was instructed by the DM when I took my hand at running for a while to make a sheet with quadrants. One section would hold the list of PC's. Another would hold at least one "test" per PC incase I couldn't think of anything on the fly. Yet another a list of encounters that the PC's might run into incase I couldn't think of anything on the fly. The last was list of possible treasures or other interesting finds.

    Ugh...blathered and gone waaaaaaaaaaay off topic. Sorry Paul. I'll come back to your post when I can and try to answer directly. I'd delete this outright but I've put a lot of time into it and maybe a few nuggets can be sifted from the dross.

    Best,

    Jay
  • The "syuzhet" of a piece of fiction is the affective aspect that we feel when reading or recalling a piece of text.

    . . .

    I think this is important because this "syuzhet" experience is what we're trying to bring to life in our port over of a piece of fiction to an RPG. We truly cannot "play" the source text.
    Jay,

    This is very important and something I have missed about Sim play for a long time. I am not sure that it's universal about Sim play or if it's only a priority when your Sim play is related to some external reference like Lord of the Rings. I suspect it's universal in some way though!

    Is this the first time you've seen this syuzhet idea expressed in the context of Sim play? It is for me.

    My interpretation of what you said is this:

    Reading Lord of the Rings made you feel a certain way. You want to get back there through an RPG, so all of your game techniques are designed to reignite that spark.

    How's that?
  • Adam,

    Interesting! I struggle with the idea of the "syuzhet" (because it's just an ordinary word, no different from "subject" in English, and it rankles me when people uses foreign words in an attempt to sound more intelligent), but I like where you're going with it.

    Jay,

    Don't apologize! That was immensely interesting and illuminating. I think the way Cary and the group worked failed attempts and prior events into the resolution of a larger event is a really neat technique (and seems like a perfect example of bricolage).

    I'm going to reread it later!
  • Jay is using "syuzhet" in a new way, different from the usual meaning from Russian formalism, where syuzhet means the technique of the story, or the way the plot elements are organized.

    Jay: "The 'syuzhet' of a piece of fiction is the affective aspect that we feel when reading or recalling a piece of text."

    That's a total misuse of the Russian formalism term (which is its own bit of jargon), but it's good enough for me, because he defined it.

    In English, we call this "getting lost in a story" or more formally, "transportation." I feel like the word "nostalgia" ought to do the trick, too, though that has melancholy connotations that don't apply.
  • edited January 10
    Hey Adam,
    That's a total misuse of the Russian formalism term (which is its own bit of jargon), but it's good enough for me, because he defined it.
    Whoops. Well THAT'S embarrassing! :(

    I knew that my grasp of the meaning of the word was tenuous but I hadn't figured on being completely wrong. Ugh...
    Is this the first time you've seen this syuzhet idea expressed in the context of Sim play? It is for me.
    It would have to be for me since that was the first time I ever used "syuzhet" in a post! :smile: I've never even seen it used outside of a thread from long ago that explored the idea of textuality and RPG's. I linked to the thread in an earlier post. I guess my complete misunderstanding helped in the end? I've never studied semiotics or the like, but I've been thinking on what it was that we're trying to capture in our games. I'm not married to the word and if a better word exists that is more accessible to readers without a bunch of connotative baggage I'm all for it. However, if it works then lets run with it.
    My interpretation of what you said is this:

    Reading Lord of the Rings made you feel a certain way. You want to get back there through an RPG, so all of your game techniques are designed to reignite that spark.

    How's that?
    Absolutely, ten ring, perfect!
    @Silmenume said:
    The "syuzhet" of a piece of fiction is the affective aspect that we feel when reading or recalling a piece of text.

    . . .

    I think this is important because this "syuzhet" experience is what we're trying to bring to life in our port over of a piece of fiction to an RPG. We truly cannot "play" the source text.
    @Adam_Dray said -
    This is very important and something I have missed about Sim play for a long time. I am not sure that it's universal about Sim play or if it's only a priority when your Sim play is related to some external reference like Lord of the Rings. I suspect it's universal in some way though!
    Though I've only recently formally stated the thesis, it's an idea that's been bumping around in my brain box for quite some time. I'm operating, for now, on the idea that it is universal to see where it takes the conversation. However, I do see the idea haunting an awful lot of posts (but not clearly articulated) about what people are trying to grasp at when trying to design or play in that CA. We'll see if the idea holds, eh?

    It is rather essential to my Semitoic Jazz analogy. What is it about the aural experience of the Standard the we are so excited about and want to riff on? Moving over to fiction it becomes, what is it about the source fiction that we are so excited to experience again in play?

    Best,

    Jay
  • edited January 10
    Hey Paul,

    I'm going to revisit this question as a conversation I had with my DM not long ago came back to me...
    You keep speaking of "the GM's scenario". Reading between the lines, it sounds like Cary plans a specific events or series of events, and then uses some "cutscenes" with a variety of characters to set it up or to give it a large room context. Does that sound about right?
    I don't recall how I formulated the question to my DM but I discovered his usage of "scenario" was very different from what I had assumed. I used "scenario" to refer to the events in a given night's play. His usage was turned a complete 180 degrees around from what I had understood. His "scenarios" are the major peoples, powers and cultures of the world and what they are doing. In essence his "scenarios" are what is happening in the whole known world quantified into a useful structure. From these "structures" are born characters and/or a given night's general outline/location/kickers.
    What are "scenarios" like, and how open-ended or scripted are they?
    That is a very difficult question to parse and answer. Sometime's an evening's "scenario" is group oriented (think a unit of Ithilien Rangers) yet far more frequently an evening's "scenario" is a congregation of individuals who happen to be at the same place for various differing reasons. It's tough to explain and I'll have to think back on specific games and give a list of examples. Typically the initial scene framing is fairly tightly scripted. The antagonist NPC's are considered and given motivations and resources so that they can be played as game play developments dictate. Sometimes the DM will have some ideas about a character's development and put those into motion during the evening's play while leaving the player free to choose how and in what manner to respond.

    So I guess it could be said the openings of "scenarios" are heavily scripted with some events prepared but not inevitable while play itself tends to be very open-ended. This doesn't mean the DM doesn't try to influence but the players have tremendous freedom. Once I described this a such.

    The Player's have much say over their character's but the DM does sometimes lay direct claim.
    The DM has much say over Setting but players' do sometimes lay direct claim.

    Ha! Now I remember! His philosophy regarding "scenarios" is simple plot, complex characters. IOW get the scene framing done so the characters have a vested interest, let the NPC's work on their plans and then turn up the heat. Many times he'll include an NPC or two in a group just so he can use them to stir the pot if the pacing starts to flag.
    It seems telling that the NPC you played had a fate (their death) which the GM knew before the game even began, for instance. That suggests some careful planning, which would be a good fit with the procedures of Spicy Dice play.
    I'm not sure how to answer this as I don't know exactly just how much thought he really expends prepping for a game. By nature he's extremely improvisational and is incredible for thinking outside the box. IOW he's an excellent bricoleur. Ironically he's terrible at Western style analytical thought. In this particular scenario the NPC I played died to an event that he had set into motion long ago in the "scenario". The NPC I played and three others had all killed the original gold miners in what would eventually become the hamlet. After getting the various PC's in place the game began with the death of one the children of the original four murderers. For the character I was playing the story was his decline and fall as the revenants of the murdered took their justice. So in a way it wasn't intended so much as a pre-planned plot moment as much as the natural outcome of the motives of the revenants. I don't know if I'm splitting hairs or making semantic arguments or not. You'll have to tell me. I will say that each individual PC is considered so that at one point or another during the night they will have their "test"/moment to shine.

    I hope this sheds some more light. (Much of what I'm writing is either me recalling that which was long forgotten or me just figuring something out while on the keyboard.)

    Best,

    Jay
  • The news of this 'troupe play' framework totally changed my perception of this game! Wow!!!
  • edited January 10
    Using different characters to showcase/explore different parts of/perspective on the world...

    GM keeping track of big world events and important NPCs and driving "scenario" developments through those...

    This is exactly what I used to do when playing for years in the same fictional world. I think these are extremely natural and sensible approaches. I don't think they are inherently tied to Semiotic Jazz... but the two do go nicely together. :)
  • 1. The list of mechanics is not a comprehensive list of all possible ways that a situation can be approached. IOW - the list isn't meant to limit player creativity/input to those examples only.
    Absolutely. That was my intent.
    2. The list of mechanics are indeed "training wheels" and will atrophy in time. IOW - they aren't truly resolution mechanics at all but rather pointers to a few of the ways the "world" works.
    I don't think I want the rules competing with player-GM interaction/improve at any point. That interaction (plus some spicy dice!) should always be the primary way to move forward, IMO.

    The "moves" I wrote are supplemental only -- "In addition to doing what you want, or what matters right now, here are some other things you can add on that would be appropriate."

    So I hope no one would mistake them for resolution mechanics.

    I imagine the list of moves might remain a useful reminder for a good long time, as long as it takes to internalize how to play Spicy Middle Earth optimally. But after that, yeah, the reminder probably wouldn't be needed (though it might be nice after a long hiatus).
    3. Include a primer on bricolage/SJ.
    I am not a fan of primers. The core agenda, techniques, principles, etc. definitely need to be communicated, but I'm looking for the most clear and effective way to do so. I've done a bit of that in this thread and plan to do more soon...
    the very specifics of the mechanics you developed were drawn from my table's particular interpretation of LoTR. IOW the mechanics reflect the source material. This means each published game will have to have its own set of "rules" dependent of the source material and what the players are grooving on from the source material.
    Yep! That was my intent. In this case, rules design would be codifying what y'all are already doing. In another case, though, rules design could attempt to codify a new thing people aren't already doing. :)
  • Hi @hamnacb,
    The news of this 'troupe play' framework totally changed my perception of this game! Wow!!!
    If you're willing to share some of your epiphanies I would be deeply grateful! I believe your doing so would help me explain my game better.

    Does your use of "troupe play" line up with my description of our folio/folder of characters? If not, I'm very curious what your take is.

    Best,

    Jay
  • edited January 10
    Hi Dave,
    Using different characters to showcase/explore different parts of/perspective on the world...

    GM keeping track of big world events and important NPCs and driving "scenario" developments through those...

    This is exactly what I used to do when playing for years in the same fictional world. I think these are extremely natural and sensible approaches. I don't think they are inherently tied to Semiotic Jazz... but the two do go nicely together. :)
    I think I would tend to agree. It is a technique well suited to for running a looooong campaign. I also agree that it is indeed a technique and not a process of play. My concern would be how to handle character death or that characters, unless held firm by some sort of unbreakable bond, will drift apart.

    One would think they are natural and sensible approaches but one just doesn't hear about it. Point in fact your post is the first time I've ever read anyone else doing such a thing. I will freely admit I'm not the most widely read of posters but my thought is that this technique should be spoken of more often so that people will at least be aware that this viable and useful.

    Best,

    Jay
  • So I hope no one would mistake them for resolution mechanics.

    ...


    I am not a fan of primers. The core agenda, techniques, principles, etc. definitely need to be communicated, but I'm looking for the most clear and effective way to do so. I've done a bit of that in this thread and plan to do more soon...
    Fair enough. You're the game designer and I defer to your wisdom, but allow me one last concern. Task resolution mechanics "modelling the physics of the world" is a design paradigm that is over 40 years old and is still employed by the largest game publisher out there right now. This isn't even the largest problem, SJ (mythic bricolage) is a type of thinking process that is utterly lost to the West. While it can be easy to pick up watching others play explaining, to readers, where text itself has been held up as sacrosanct, such "mechanics" are frequently treated as inalterable. Akin to describing music without an audio device so it can actually be listened to.

    I'm not saying it has to be theory with jargon but ingrained cultural habits are hard to think past.

    However, I'd say, you've been doing a wonderful job! I look forward to seeing your next efforts.

    Best,

    Jay
  • Hi Dave,
    Using different characters to showcase/explore different parts of/perspective on the world...

    GM keeping track of big world events and important NPCs and driving "scenario" developments through those...
    I think I would tend to agree. It is a technique well suited to for running a looooong campaign. I also agree that it is indeed a technique and not a process of play. My concern would be how to handle character death or that characters, unless held firm by some sort of unbreakable bond, will drift apart.

    One would think they are natural and sensible approaches but one just doesn't hear about it. Point in fact your post is the first time I've ever read anyone else doing such a thing.
    I've always been interested in this, too. I've tried it, and have seen other people try, but I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone really pull it off.

    (Two exceptions I can think of are Vincent Baker's free form Ars Magica game, which he's written about some, and the D&D campaign I played with Eero [another poster on this forum], which also had multiple GMs.)

    I was working on a game called Inconceivable for a while, which was designed to do this on a shorter timescale. I'm still unsure whether it was a success or not, but it was fun and interesting to try!

    A published game which shares some features of this approach is In a Wicked Age..., which does really lovely things in a long-term campaign.

    A Finnish designer, Petteri Hannila, is working on The Varangian Way, which is a game specifically designed to do this kind of "exploring an enormous world through a variety of character perspectives", but apparently he's finding it incredibly difficult to make that work.

    I have a question for you, Jay:

    "My concern would be how to handle character death or that characters, unless held firm by some sort of unbreakable bond, will drift apart."

    I'm trying to understand what your concerns are, here, but I can't quite follow this sentence. Can you maybe describe a quick example of how you see character death or characters drifting apart would hurt the game?

    It seems to *me* that characters dying and drifting apart is precisely something this format of play would handle better than other ways of structuring a game... so I must be missing something!
  • edited January 11
    Hey Paul,

    Thanks for all the examples you provided! Nice to have one's horizons expanded and to see the technique is not just something specific to an individual but is actually a viable possibility. Wow!
    I have a question for you, Jay:

    "My concern would be how to handle character death or that characters, unless held firm by some sort of unbreakable bond, will drift apart."

    I'm trying to understand what your concerns are, here, but I can't quite follow this sentence. Can you maybe describe a quick example of how you see character death or characters drifting apart would hurt the game?

    It seems to *me* that characters dying and drifting apart is precisely something this format of play would handle better than other ways of structuring a game... so I must be missing something!
    My concern was that to not use the technique (i.e., to not use "Troupe play", to borrow a term from @hamnacb ) would lead to problems in a long term "campaign" under the circumstances of character death or characters drifting apart. Did I read your question correctly? Do I make better sense now?

    Best,

    Jay
  • Hi @hamnacb,
    Does your use of "troupe play" line up with my description of our folio/folder of characters?
    Yes, definitely! I just assumed wrongly that you are doing adventure partying like the Fellowship. Now everything is much more cleaner and the pieces fell into their place!
  • Ah! I see! Thanks, Jay. That makes more sense, of course (and you are 100% correct - most long term RPG campaigns struggle with those things at some level).
  • Paul,
    I've always been interested in this, too. I've tried it, and have seen other people try, but I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone really pull it off.
    Aside from Vincent and Eero could you describe why you feel those other games fell short of the desired goal?

    On the other hand would you describe why or how Vincent (and if you can provide a link to the posts about his Ars Magica game) and Eero succeeded?

    I think the contrast and compare might be illuminating. I know I am asking for a lot of effort on your part, but I you could find your way to do so I would be mightily pleased!

    Best,

    Jay
  • edited January 13
    You can find Bakers free style AM around here

    Basically our problem with AM is that while it was a novel concept (you can play the life of a large community) its rules, the way it described PCs etc supported the pace and framework of traditional adventure gaming.
  • Jay,

    I've been thinking about this discussion for some time, and I realized I never answered your question here. The reason is that, perhaps, I don't really have a clear answer. I can't think of any particular and obvious reason for failure in those campaigns; I've just never seen someone actually pull it off. The social challenges (scheduling, etc), the logistical challenge of remembering what's happening and where and to who, the interest the players have in particular characters but not others... I've not seen a group overcome that yet, but I see no reason for it not to work, in theory (as it seems to be, in your game).

    However, I did just remember another example. Unfortunately, it's a long time ago, and I only participated in a handful of sessions, so I can't speak to it too much. I had a friend who ran a long-term Star Wars campaign (using the WEG rules, for what that's worth), and had players occasionally dropping in and out of the game.

    A clever thing he did was to make all new players take on the roles of minor NPCs who had already been established. It led to lots of interesting long-term developments across the tapestry of the campaign, as minor characters got reincorporated and then further developed. Like your game, it was heavily GM-guided, as opposed to handled through the initiative of the players, who were responsible for playing those characters faithfully within scenes and storylines, but not in any real sense in charge of creating the characters or the storylines themselves.

    However, that game also used a fair bit of D&D-style "PC glow" to function. (What I mean by the expression "PC glow" is that the players all reacted to characters differently depending on whether they were PCs or NPCs. So, for example, when I joined I (and another player who just joined) took on the roles of two thieves/burglars who had broken into the other PCs' demesne and were caught red-handed. However, now that those burglars were recreated as PCs, we were let out of our cells and invited to participate in their adventures, instead (something they would presumably never have done if the burglars had remained NPCs). This worked well in that particular game, but I can also imagine it being very jarring in other games or for other gamers.

    Which brings up an interesting question:

    Jay, in your campaign, how often (if ever) do PCs end up at odds, as opponents, fighting against each other? If so, is it handled any differently (in terms of mechanics, rules, or the way the GM adjudicates outcomes)?
  • @Silmenume, I do have a question (forgive me if this has been answered, this thread is quite lengthy!). Does the game have any rigidly-defined subsystems that are used? Think like D&D's combat: roll initiative, then you can move up to your speed and perform one action plus one bonus action (and those actions are Attack, Dash, Shove, etc.).

    If so, would you mind detailing them? If not, how do you handle conflict resolution in a way that leaves the players satisfied?
  • From what I've seen/heard, there are no formal subsystems at all, except for a "skill checks" system, which looks more like a loose experience system (it doesn't appear to factor into an kind of resolution, but just act as descriptive tracking on paper).

    But that's precisely why I'm curious how PC vs. PC conflicts might be handled!

    Jay will, of course, correct me if I'm wrong.
  • Paul,
    Like your game, it was heavily GM-guided, as opposed to handled through the initiative of the players, who were responsible for playing those characters faithfully within scenes and storylines, but not in any real sense in charge of creating the characters or the storylines themselves.
    I'm going to ask a question that I should wait for a response to before responding to this but I'm going to be foolish and bull ahead anyway. So here's the question - What do you mean by "in charge of creating the character[s]"? Do you mean character creation during roll up or do mean character development through play or both?

    I'm going to tentatively take the meaning of character development, but definitely tell me if I misunderstood you. During play it is definitely up to the players to determine how they have their PC's respond to the situations. How we respond is character development. Given that the GM is primarily responsible for the world that means he has primary responsibility for generating situation. This can make it difficult but not impossible to make a radical change in character but such changes had best make some sort of sense. IOW there needs to some sort of rationale even if it is entirely emotional. Outside of game we can talk to the DM about where we're looking to go with our characters so he can incorporate the proper situations into the next scenario with that particular PC.

    WRT creating storylines again I'm going to have to ask if you can give me an example of what you mean. Every decision we make creates the storyline. I will agree our GM employs aggressive "scene (scenario) framing" in the opening of a game session but after we're rolling that opens up quite a bit. Yes once the all chess pieces are laid out and put into play we are constrained by what's before us but we are free to choose what to do given the circumstances. Yes the freedom of our characters to choose is also constrained by who our characters are, but if they weren't they wouldn't be identifiable characters. FREX - John McClane in Die Hard did not choose to be in a building that would be taken over by thieves. Nor did he in the beginning choose to confront the bad guys as he first tried to use the phones to call for help and when that didn't work he used the fire alarm system. We learn about who and what John is capable of as the story progresses. The progression of which is affected by his choices and actions.

    Given how infrequently we play nowadays the GM tries to make the game big and exciting which does tend to require a heavier hand on the tiller. Back when he used to play frequently (back east 30 years ago) he played a whole session of Elrond in bed hovering near death from a (near) mortal wound sustained by Black Commando when the survivors of the massacre of Tharbad were taken to Imladris to heal in safety. He didn't have anything planned and the players were free to do as they wished. A much lower intensity game of pure character play. Back then they played several times a week but only for about 4 hours at a time so the GM could mix it up. Much harder today given how rarely we play.

    I suppose that I should say that character development does exist but it moves at much slower pace. As far as creating storylines we as players do not scene frame. We can and do put plans into play and they too take a number of scenarios to develop and come to fruition.

    Best,

    Jay
  • Jay,

    Keep in mind I'm just operating with guesswork here; if I am wrong, that wouldn't be a huge shock!

    In that brief quote, I am talking about the larger "architecture" of play, which makes a frame for the stories being told (but it doesn't mean that the characters can't make interesting and meaningful choices within it).

    My sense from what I know of your game is that it is the GM who frames new situations and storylines: "Let's find out what's happening on this island. You two can play two young boys, and you will be an old hermit living on the mountain. Here's what their situations are like, in brief..."

    The other end of the spectrum would be a player saying, "Ok, the next session is going to focus on a war in Near Harad. I know we haven't seen anything in that part of the world yet, but I think there is a violent conflict brewing there. I'm going to be playing the leader of a rebellion [which I just made up] near a long-lost city. We are opposed by a new cult worshipping some twisted old legends..."

    In other words, to use your Die Hard analogy, the GM is responsible for "the terrorists have taken over the building, and you're stuck in the middle of it. The phones aren't working". The player is responsible for, "I am John McClane. What am I going to make of that situation?"

    Is that close?

    One part I'm not sure about:

    In the Star Wars game I'm referring to, the GM largely decided the "You are John McClane" part, although the players had lots of freedom to create the character as they wished (assigning stats, skills, personality, and so forth, on top of the basic character concept - you could make your own, unique John McClane, in other words). I don't know how this falls out in your game, or how consistent it is (I wouldn't be surprised if it varied, from storyline to storyline, either).

    I'd love to hear more about how the multiple storylines and multiple characters for each player to play develop, who takes the lead on that, how many you end up with, and so forth. How does that whole aspect of play take shape? Who decides when new characters and storylines start and end, for instance, and how many character might you end up playing a) over the long term, or b) at any given time (let's say, within a handful of sessions)?
  • @Paul_T,

    Forgot to address this part -
    However, that game also used a fair bit of D&D-style "PC glow" to function. (What I mean by the expression "PC glow" is that the players all reacted to characters differently depending on whether they were PCs or NPCs. So, for example, when I joined I (and another player who just joined) took on the roles of two thieves/burglars who had broken into the other PCs' demesne and were caught red-handed. However, now that those burglars were recreated as PCs, we were let out of our cells and invited to participate in their adventures, instead (something they would presumably never have done if the burglars had remained NPCs). This worked well in that particular game, but I can also imagine it being very jarring in other games or for other gamers.
    I would agree that there is a fair amount of "PC glow" in our game. Most of the players (myself included) are loath to kill another player's character. That being said if a PC is obviously a problem or a "bad guy" they frequently would not be accepted into the group unless there was some extremely compelling in game reason for them to be allowed in. FREX - I've played a Ranger of Ithilien and have arrested PC's in the past as have other players. Not long ago I was playing a nascent cleric who for complex reasons was travelling with a group that contained a "magic user". The magic user was not Istari or any other special race, just a mortal man. My "intuition" was telling me that whatever he was doing the source of magic (which had alway been forbidden to mortal men - remember what happened to the Witch King?) it was not coming from a good source so I rode this guy hard. Another time I was playing a bad man in charge of a small town where strange events started to occur. I called a meeting of the three other men involved to figure out what was going on and plot a course of action. A PC took the opportunity to listen as the door and rolled a '1'. He was discovered. I kicked the living sh*t out of his character and was going to kill him when an emergency arose that demanded my immediate attention.

    Yes, there is "PC glow" but only if we can find a way to justify it. Another concern is that sundering a given night's group really slows the game down.

    Best,

    Jay
  • edited March 14
    Hi Paul,
    Jay, in your campaign, how often (if ever) do PCs end up at odds, as opponents, fighting against each other? If so, is it handled any differently (in terms of mechanics, rules, or the way the GM adjudicates outcomes)?
    Extraordinarily rarely. On the rare occasion that such a combat happens the difference in the combat is the GM pulls the players' "hero's saving throw." Like so much else in the game individual player skill is the predominant factor followed by relative weapon skills/character level.

    Hi @ValyrianSteelKatana,
    @Silmenume, I do have a question (forgive me if this has been answered, this thread is quite lengthy!). Does the game have any rigidly-defined subsystems that are used? Think like D&D's combat: roll initiative, then you can move up to your speed and perform one action plus one bonus action (and those actions are Attack, Dash, Shove, etc.).

    If so, would you mind detailing them? If not, how do you handle conflict resolution in a way that leaves the players satisfied?
    Hi @ValyrianSteelKatana,

    Like most things in the game how and what we can do is pretty much left up to the actual player's player skill as seasoned by secondary skills and their values. Using your example of combat it happens in "real time." There are no initiative rolls, no table grid map with movement allowances, fixed number of actions per turn/segment or what have you.

    That being said there is some "crunch" to the mechanics as to if you hit and when you are hit. The things that matter and are called into play are weapon plusses (these are numbers that are added to your D20 roll), Armor Class, Armor, Stamina, PBP (Personal Body Points - these represent your physical body and typically come into play when you run out of Stamina). But what you do and how you go about doing it is pretty much up the actual player's abilities. If an orc is charing you and you freeze up you're going to die. Now the DM slows the "clock" down for new players giving them time to think but the old players have to think and act on our feet. We have a few other modifiers like called shots which carry heavy penalties but have powerful effects and directional modifiers. Attacking from behind gets you hefty bonuses which decrease as you move around the clock until you are facing the person in which there are no modifiers. Finally there are smotes, full smotes, thrusts, and full thrusts which substantially add to damage but leave you out of position and with an increased vulnerability to a counter attack should one be forthcoming.

    For all the above I would say that our mechanics during combat are primarily bookkeeping ones and what we can or cannot do is primarily limited to our speed of thought, our imaginations and what is plausible given the circumstances. There are no "rigidly-defined subsytems" other than if damage rolled against you surpasses your stamina it goes into PBP. If a body part's PBP goes to zero is no longer functions. If it goes to zero you start bleeding out and if gets to a negative value the opposite of the positive value you roll your hero's saving throw and if you fail that you are dead. FREX you have 7 PBP in your arm and it gets to -7 you've bled out.

    I don't know if I've helped or confused the issue. If you have more questions please feel free to ask more questions!

    Best,

    Jay
  • Fascinating!

    How can combat be in "real time" if you have to reference, calculate, or handle numbers like Armor Class and PBP? I find this very hard to picture.
  • Hey Paul,

    As "real time" as possible. During combat the only number the players have to compute is adding their weapons plusses to the D20 role. I should note that much of our combat is mimed between the player and the DM with any additional emphasis spoken by the player as both are trading swings. If a player makes a move that catches the GM off guard he'll call for a die roll. If it's a hit we roll damage and percentile for location. When this happens we do our level best to expedite the search and handling time so we can get back to the fun stuff. Usually this is a matter of a handful of seconds.

    Conversely when the GM says we take a hit he'll say something like, "You take 30 stamina." We note the loss on our sheet and move on. Again its just a few seconds before we get back to the fury of combat.

    For myself when I know I'm heading into combat I'll write my weapon pluses, damage die and stamina on a separate sheet of paper so I can easily keep track of my numbers.

    If we do get into PBP damage area (our stamina has gone to zero) it's good that we slow down for a moment as we search for the PBP values on our sheet as we are getting perilously close to death.

    Sometimes the extra pause that comes from trying the calculate 1.5 damage from dealing a full smote can add extra drama to the moment! Just as in most of the play a natural '20' is exploding so though the combat has technically paused the drama of dice adds significantly to the moment.

    On the whole we spend vastly more time in the act of combat than we do in search and handling. Again we have to respond in "real time" to what the GM is doing or he automatically hits as if our character was standing there mouth gaping. If the GM swings we don't have minutes or even seconds to determine our response. It has to be immediate. And you know what? It's absolutely exhilarating! While all this is going on the GM is cross cutting like a movie from combat to combat so not only do we need to keep track of our own condition we have to keep track of the overall battle.

    Does that make any sense?

    Best,

    Jay
Sign In or Register to comment.