Narrativism vs traditional techniques

145791014

Comments

  • Are you @2097 and @Paul_T actually disagreeing? Is my brain fried?
    Paul didn't really understand my position at first and then he sometimes forgets it. Punctuated by the occasional glimmer of agreement♥
  • Notably that in Jeph's example, it's not using the no-myth principle of "only things that have been stated are true, before things are stated they are in a fuzzy Schrödinger's box, held lightly, or just doesn't exist at all". Instead he is describing things that are as real as 15 + -7 = 8
  • edited June 2019
    x
  • A question for the blob-people:
    How do you deal with players bored or uninterested? It's possible that you just designed a boring scenario or dungeon and players don't seem too engaged in terms of fun, even if they're invested in it because of their characters' goals. So they won't just go do something else.
    We just had a talk at the end of previous session during which touched two points: The first is for players to take initiative if they want more to happen, and the second is for me to be more streamlined when they are approaching a dangerous location.

    I have not really faced the situation you specifically ask about. I guess the core game of D&D of going into dangerous situations and trying to survive is fun and interesting enough. A couple of times when the players did not really know what they were on about they just went into a nearby dungeon and did some basic dungeoncrawling. These expeditions often affect wider events, in turn, and make them more meaningful. For example, a goblin tribe deserting the dungeon and swearing vengeance, or a respected member of a bandit group being humiliated and losing status, to take two recent examples.
  • The first is for players to take initiative if they want more to happen
    I've good experience with getting those kinda talks to actually work♥


  • I think the infinite chess board example has a point, but I would start elsewhere.

    Nowadays there are several fantasy adventure board games with miniatures. Heroquest is the old classic and I am not familiar with the new ones. Descent, maybe?

    I played through a tutorial of one of them with a friend. I had a hero figure I moved through a short corridor and there were skeletons coming from front and back. Maybe some timer. Thinking about it as a roleplayer, the first question was if I could jump over or run through the skeletons in front of me, rather than the long slog of rolling dice to kill them. The game did not have rules for this, so no.

    What if I wanted a similar experience, but where I could jump over or sneak past the skeletons or crush them by toppling a pillar on top of them and so on? That is what OSR play gives to me, though the fact that social situations and interaction are also part of it is very important. (That is, the domain of play or game arena includes social interaction with non-player characters.)

    Maybe this is relevant to the storytelling discussion; I have to admit to not being quite sure how it relates to the interesting claim of Sandra.
  • the fact that social situations and interaction are also part of it is very important. (That is, the domain of play or game arena includes social interaction with non-player characters.)
    Yes, in terms of minute spent at the table this is probably the biggest slice of that time pie

  • Sandra understands the Invisible Chess example perfectly of course! Though I was hoping I could get the point across a bit to people who don't know linguistic pragmatics already.

    So I'll explain some more pragmatics. Specifically, Reference and Common Ground.

    I'll do it in another thread.
  • Is this exactly how you play? How is a hypothetical, non existent example more relevant than actual play?
    Also, please don't be pedantic, there's no need. I wasn't talking about pragmatics, and neither were you, when you asked if this is a story. This isn't university. But yes, of course it is a story: it's a recount of events. It has a narrator, it has characters, it's fictional, because you removed the board and gave names to places in the board and attached verisimilitude rules to what happens in the story: physics, causality, etc. Why then all those extra steps? Explain please the need for names to places and characters and "physics" for a board game. If those steps aren't needed, they could be removed without harming the play experience.
    Would a chess player recognise your game stemmed from chess? Probably he wouldn't, since that's not chess anymore, it's something entirely different. Is roleplaying still wargaming? No, it isn't.
  • It was you that said "from a linguistical perspective".
    Explain please the need for names to places and characters and "physics" for a board game.
    Because we think those names are cool! It's just like in real life, why is Times Square not named E4, why is The Eiffel Tower not named F6…?

    And even in chess, why is the F7 square called the fried liver square, why is the B5 pawn sacrifice called the "son of sorrow" etc? Because we think it's cool af♥

    In go which is literally just a ternary dot matrix why is there the crane's nest tesuji? because we think it's cool! why is our +3 sword called BLACKRAZOR? because we think it's cool af!!

    in real life why is a tennis racket not called a C2? why is a toaster not called a W4? why is a pair of jeans not called a A9? because we like cool names for things, places, characters!

    it's also easier to remember.
  • edited June 2019
    Just as an example, I went back and looked how many times "diegetic" was used during this thread. More than 15 in a single page, many times by Sandra and others who now all of a sudden are claiming the "story" component of an rpg is unimportant or even non existing. Well, then that kind of renders all those statements about "diegetic coherence" invalid, don't you think?
  • Khimus, stop tryna “win” a debate. Please listen to us and try to understand us. Ask questions for clarification rather than to try to “get” us or try to put us in a bind, because there’s just no need. It’s not that we’re in some sorta unassailable crystal fortress of “we can’t be wrong so nuh-uh”, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that we don’t have to be enemies. We are trying to teach each other here. We are trying to research and find out things about how we play games.

    Just as an example, I went back and looked how many times “diegetic” was used during this thread. More than 15 in a single page, many times by Sandra and others who now all of a sudden are claiming the “story” component of an rpg is unimportant or even non existing. Well, then that kind of renders all those statements about “diegetic coherence” invalid, don’t you think?

    Diegetic coherence is the core of this sort of play.
    That’s why I talk about it 15 times per second. That’s not something I’ve backpedaled on at all.

    Let’s break it down to the core trip up here with this whole “what is a story” semantics quagmire that we’re drowning in right now.

    Blorb

    The idea is that there is an imagined space—what we call a diegesis—and that imagined space is “on”, all the time.

    Blahonga

    There is another, incompatible way of playing roleplaying games, called “no-myth”, where the imagined space is only the part that has been actually stated at the table, everything else is just suggestions, flux, ideas, maybes, quantum ogres, “whatever road they go down that’s the road the castle is” type bull.

    The rivalry between blorb and blahonga

    Whether you want to call those two things

    • different instances of story
    • different styles of story
    • different genres of story
    • different mediums altogether
    • one is a trip the other is a story
    • one is a travel ticket the other is a movie ticket
    • one is a telephone the other is a CHR FM radio station
    • one is issue number 63 of spectacular spidey the other is issue number 64
    • one is Klockwerk one is no-myth
    • one is OSR one is int-con
    • one is tangible one is narrativium

    is ultimately just you putting the label “blorb” on one and the label “blahonga” on the other. Or whatever labels you choose. I don’t care, Jeph doesn’t care, Thanuir doesn’t care. You pick whatever names you are comfortable with. Because we’re trying to not trip you up with semantics.

    All we care about is that we want to be able to talk about those two things separately and discuss the differences between them in order to be able to learn from the advantages of the two disciplines and how you can make the one as easy to run as the other or vice versa and what presentation best suits the two and how one presentation might better suit the one and another suit another (for example, I have put forward the unproven hypothesis that the five traditional techniques better suit the “always on diegesis” [a.k.a. blorb] and more hippie disruptive techniques better suit the “no-myth” [a.k.a. blahonga].

  • Gonna try another way:
    Just as an example, I went back and looked how many times "diegetic" was used during this thread. More than 15 in a single page, many times by Sandra and others who now all of a sudden are claiming the "story" component of an rpg is unimportant or even non existing. Well, then that kind of renders all those statements about "diegetic coherence" invalid, don't you think?
    Because the blackrazor sword exists and the venomfang dragon exists just as much as the F7 square in chess exists. That doesn't mean that we want a non-diegetic all-dice-layer math game. "Air chess" was just an analogy just as the "phone grocery shopping" or the "phone bike fixing" was. In my minds I picture the frozen peppers right next to the frozen peas and frozen corn that I ask my friend to buy. And those frozen peppers are real.

    That doesn't mean we should be worried about the planet al-Toril invading Earth any time soon. It exists in the imagination. But it exists a-priori [in the, uh, "prep"] and isn't just produced ad-hoc as part as a narrative.
  • edited June 2019
    Ok, I'm pulling out of this thread, since I can't keep up with all this rethorical athletism just to deny such an obvious point. Asking for diegetic coherence in activities that are not stories is just too much for me.
    For the record, I never accused anybody in this thread of not knowing linguistics or whatever, so I find it shitty that those disrespectful comments just slipped by undetected.
  • edited June 2019
    For the record, I never accused anybody in this thread of not knowing linguistics or whatever, so I find it shitty that those disrespectful comments just slipped by undetected
    "Shitty", "blob people", "deny such an obvious point", listen… you aren't being the most respectful person yourself right now. I am not trying to treat you as an enemy or trying to "win a debate", I am trying to answer the questions you had and explain how this works.
    Asking for diegetic coherence in activities that are not stories is just too much for me.
    Because you have very strong pre-existing connotations to some of the words in that sentence. I don't know exactly which of the words in that sentence is tripping you up or why you'd find that sentence self-contradictory.

    Yes, we are asking for diegetic coherence in an activity blorb that is significantly different from another activity blahonga; we've often used the word "story" or "narrative" for that second activity blahonga but obviously the words "story" and "narrative" are extremely broad and if you want to apply them to blorb also, we can't really stop you.
  • I don't even understand what was the "disrespectful comment" :bawling:
  • All we care about is that we want to be able to talk about those two things separately and discuss the differences between them [...]
    I think most people here appreciate the difference between those two things, but when you present it like "there is one thing which is like this, and the other thing which is full of this type bull", it's not unexpected that people who like that other thing get defensive.

    To comment on what you actually want to talk about...
    (for example, I have put forward the unproven hypothesis that the five traditional techniques better suit the “always on diegesis” [a.k.a. blorb] and more hippie disruptive techniques better suit the “no-myth” [a.k.a. blahonga].
    Without disagreeing, I wonder if this is just a matter of expectations set by history, i.e. since the original RPGs had a GM playing the world and players playing single characters at a time, and the original RPGs favoured always on diegesis (or at least a pretense of it, even though no-myth elements were present behind the scenes from the start? fairly early?) we associate the GM/players split with always on diegesis? Even if it's not technically inappropriate for no-myth?
  • I think most people here appreciate the difference between those two things, but when you present it like “there is one thing which is like this, and the other thing which is full of this type bull”, it’s not unexpected that people who like that other thing get defensive.

    Oh, thank you! Honestly. Yes, I can see that. That was a big faux pas. Thank you so much shimrod. I wish I had you available to do an editing pass on my posts before I put them.

    I let the whole 90s game resentment shine through and how I feel it’s deceptive to the players and incoherent. Which, uh, are controversial statements to say the least. I’m not that obtuse; just obtuse enough to let that sentiment slip through.

    Much apprec. Even though I wish I had gotten that insight earlier before @Khimus left :bawling:

    (for example, I have put forward the unproven hypothesis that the five traditional techniques better suit the “always on diegesis” [a.k.a. blorb] and more hippie disruptive techniques better suit the “no-myth” [a.k.a. blahonga].
    Without disagreeing, I wonder if this is just a matter of expectations set by history, i.e. since the original RPGs had a GM playing the world and players playing single characters at a time, and the original RPGs favoured always on diegesis (or at least a pretense of it, even though no-myth elements were present behind the scenes from the start? fairly early?) we associate the GM/players split with always on diegesis? Even if it’s not technically inappropriate for no-myth?

    The big thing is that the blorb experience requires the five traditional techinques to work:

    • information separation
    • resolution mechanics
    • each player character is only being run by one player each
    • identifying stance
    • GM plays world

    You need them to have blorb. It’s hard to have blorb without all five of these. [Note that “lethal combat” or “lethal ice mooney astronavigation” aren’t necessary components. {Sure, I do enjoy them, but that’s a separate story}.]

    Some of these techniques (not “resolution mechanics” obv) are direct obstacles to collaborative story telling and you need specific, direct subversions (such as “the mountain witch trick”) to put the techniques aside in order to get the non-blorb really going. I know Emma is with me on that part at least.

    If you have bothered to put up all five of those elements and you’re not doing blorb, it’s just such a waste. It’s either a waste of a good chance to do blorb (you had the guitar out of the case, might as well pick out a li’l ditty), or it’s a waste of a clean & efficient way to do non-blorb (why did you bring the guitar into the kitchen?).

  • Of those five, why are #3 and #4 necessary for blorb?
  • 3 is necessary for 4.

    So either both are necessary or neither are necessary.

    More experiments & research is needed but I'll lay forth my reasoning for including 4 (and with it, 3) in the hypothesis:

    This trip is about being there.

    You [the character, which is who I'm addressing here] have one job, taking actions in the game world. If other people [other players] are interfering with that job by taking turns controlling you [the character], you [the character] can't do that job properly.

    Your sense of self and integrity is disrupted. C.f. Microscope, Final Girl.

    Of course, if you have several diegetically different states (you might be a werewolf with one player controlling you during full moon nights and another during the rest of the month) that's another story. It's still one player per "soul".
  • The flipside of that coin is that if you love 1, 2 and 5, doing hippie stuff with the 3 and 4 techniques (uh, can we rename them a, b, e, and doing hippie stuff with the c and d techniques—to get less confused with the three tiers of truth), can be a fruitful way to do non-blorb games like no-myth or "half-"myth, while taking advantage of the best of both.

    C.f. the mountain witch
  • Listen my friends.

    I just want your game designs to be purposeful. Put in elements and techniques that are consistent with your approach to blorb.

    If you're not doing blorb, find ways take advantage of that freedom on the technical level, with radical new stances, radical new takes on information separation, radical new takes on the various roles participants have?

    If you are doing those five traditional techniques, find ways take advantage of that technical scaffolding by maintaining an "offscreen canon" diegesis and gloracularly introducing *solid* diegetic elements (people/items/places); porte-monstre-trésor / places-problems-goals. I.e. doing blorb.
  • And that is why, even though I think @John_Harper is a brilliant designer from whom I take ideas for mechanics on the daily pretty much, I think Lady Blackbird isn't a good game. (The setting & mechanics & layout & typography are super cool though. Uh, not so sure about that tags math…)

    In one of two ways.

    Either the game fails to take advantage of the game design freedom that the lack of blorb provides the designer by radically changing some of the five techniques.

    Or, the game fails to take advantage of the scaffolding provided by five techniques, since it's not being ran full blorb.
  • Thank you so much shimrod.
    It's nice of you to say that. :smile:
    I let the whole 90s game resentment shine through and how I feel it’s deceptive to the players and incoherent. Which, uh, are controversial statements to say the least.
    I don't think they're that controversial. I guess it depends on how exactly one interprets "90s game", but I feel it's pretty clearly being used around here as shorthand for something like a game that presents itself as blorb (to make all those best moments feel real) while using plenty of no-myth behind the scenes (to avoid slow deaths on icy moons and make sure those best moments come quickly and often). Which is deceptive by definition and incoherent by definition.

    Actually, maybe it's incoherent only if you value blorb, or value no-myth? If both are subordinate to a third goal, then maybe mixing them and compromising both isn't incoherent at all? See Silmenume's game.

    In fact, my experience has been that for a lot of people who come into RPGs, this is the default preference.
    The big thing is that the blorb experience requires the five traditional techinques to work:information separationresolution mechanicseach player character is only being run by one player eachidentifying stanceGM plays worldYou need them to have blorb. It’s hard to have blorb without all five of these.
    I know you started the thread mostly from the other direction, that using these for no-myth doesn't work that well, but I think this is interesting since you're mostly talking about your love for blorb from the GM side: do you need a GM for blorb?

    With good enough prep, couldn't you get rid of that role entirely?

    Isn't that what RPG-like board games like Frostgrave or Myth do? Or computer games?
  • What's information separation? Does Lady Blackbird have it?
  • Can you explain how these 5 techniques specifically hurt No Myth design?

    I understand you think that if one is using them in a non-blorb game one "isn't taking advantage" of the opportunity to make the game full-blorb, but that's like saying that eggs are required to make an omelet, so anyone using eggs to make a quiche is making an incoherent meal because they're not taking advantage of the scaffolding for full-omelet that eggs provide.

    What specifically about having one player per character or a GM role makes no-myth play incoherent?

    Or, to be more precise: Why would Lady Blackbird be a better game with no GM and shared authority over characters?
  • I'm really just frustrated at the dismissal of half-Myth stuff, since I love it so much. "Draw maps, leave blanks" is exactly what I love most of the time in RPGs.

    There are a few key elements that need to be in place to make half-Myth work (just as for any other level of Myth). First off, obviously, the stuff that is pre-prepped can't just be ignored willy-nilly (for the sake of "story" or whatever). Second, you need to have some sort of veto process whereby people can't contradict that which has been introduced before. Essentially, you need good improv rules (this is true for no-Myth as well). When players author new facts about the setting, they have to f e e l r i g h t for that world or story or for those characters.

    One time when I was running my Burning Wheel Three Musketeers Scenario (a solidly half-Myth scenario in a solidly half-Myth game engine), two of the players created an NPC Spanish swordsman named Inigo. He was co-created by two players because he was a low-ranking guy that both the manipulative Baron and his seductive daughter were trying to use as a spy. He hadn't "existed" before the contested Circles roll that brought him forth. However, because characters like that fit so well with the genre, it was no problem for anyone's sense of immersion. Furthemore, Inigo's presence didn't undermine any of the Myth elements that are present in that scenario.

    Now, here's the even trickier thing. You have to have an organizing principle for play that is orthogonal to blorb concerns. BW's principle of "fight for what you Believe" actually needs amount of both blorb and anti-blorb to really hum. There's no way to go full Myth with BW: it would rob players of too much agency, their characters of too much protagonism. But going full no-Myth is also impossible, except maybe in an initial session where you're all collaboratively establishing the conflicts and the setting. Full no-Myth is too... airy... for what BW is trying to do. (If you don't like BW, I'd say MLwM is similar.)

    So, in the case of a well-constructed half-Myth game, what you have is not some failure to pursue an opportunity for blorb. Nor is it a full-on hippie game, though! (Those are cool, to be clear!) I never really realized before this thread just how crucial half-Myth is to making certain games work. Maybe it needs its own thread?
  • edited June 2019
    Excellent, Matt (Deliverator).

    I’ve been trying to get at that for some time in this thread, but you said it in perhaps a much clearer way than my attempts so far.

    I consider “half-Myth” (or whatever we want to call it*) to be a really key and important playstyle and super fun as well as tremendously functional.

    It’s extremely popular among a new generation of gamers and they play it REALLY well.

    As usual in these discussions, I find the laser focus on Technical concerns to be distracting us from the “why” or guiding principles behind play itself. “Full blorb” or “full Myth” are somewhat illusory anyway, best seen as platonic ideals we as humans will never reach (and I don’t think it would produce functional gaming even if we could!).

    Any of these techniques can be used successfully when they are employed in the right ends (the proper creative goals), and any of them can totally suck when they are not guided by a clear idea of what role they’re serving in the game (as in my ice moon story, which is as rigorously blorby as anything out there but absolutely miserable gaming).


    *: I’m not sure I see this label as representing a meaningful category of game techniques, rather than just describing something that’s not either of the other two types of game we’re talking about, which we’ve been referring to as something like “full blorb” and “90s Rule Zero GM storytelling”.
  • I'm pretty much nodding along in agreement to that whole post, Paul.
  • (Lots of replies while it was night here in Europia! Will try to get to them all!)
    What’s information separation? Does Lady Blackbird have it?

    Information separation is when one or more participants (the “GM role”) are trusted as custodians of a part of the game state that is true but not known to everyone.

    Examples are:

    • Which card is the real card in the board game Dixit?
    • Which is the correct location for each player in the board game Mysterium?
    • How much dragon steam does a steam dragon produce in the RPG Lady Blackbird?
    • Does steam dragons [or any other non-player diegetic element] even exist in the RPG Lady Blackbird?

    Sorry AsIf not to pick on your game♥ I understand that it was a satisfying session and I am grateful for your detailed report and how you’ve followed up with more details both on how it was ran and how the participants reacted. Just grabbing a random non-pre-existing diegetic element that a LB GM introduced.

    Scouring the Lady Blackbird PDF for some more examples of information separation (beyond just “create obstacles such as goblins”) what do I accidentally stumble upon instead…? Some mild stance disruption like “Do you know anything about the Crimson Sky rebels? What are they like? Is it normal for them to be this far into the Empire?”

    Are these type of disruptions enough to jar it out of being a five-technique game? I dunno, for me it’s not really enough, it’s more of an annoyance than an effective affordance. It’s more like that tiny “push” word on the side of a door that’s otherwise completely designed to look like it’s gonna be pulled. For me. All of those questions are phrased as something that the character could conceivably know or is conceivably the right person to answer. “Can you control the fire as it spreads?” would’ve been an even more in-stance take on that partic question but as far as the other four questions go…

    With good enough prep, couldn’t you get rid of that role entirely?

    Isn’t that what RPG-like board games like Frostgrave or Myth do? Or computer games?

    I’m not super familiar with those two specific games. Hero Quest (the board game, not the Laws game) has classic information separation. Which furniture goes into which room is kept behind a screen and the info is fetched from a tiny li’l booklet, another example of offscreen game state.
    The “Adventure System” series (Castle Ravenloft and the like) emulates the role through a booklet that the players read together but are not supposed to read too far ahead in, and through cards that the player are supposed to shuffle and read out randomly.

    The crossroads deck in Dead of Winter is perhaps an even cleaner example of that role being distributed.

    Tech around this is just getting started.

    In my view, the relationship blorb has to these techniques is that they are the scaffolding that you use in order to do blorb. Just like a shaman uses her drum or whatever (uh unless that’s cultural appropriation, in which case let’s change it to a punk slamming on a busted up old Ludwig kit).

    I kinda love the existing toolset: it’s minimal, it’s open source, it’s DIY, it’s moddable, it’s flexible, it’s nostalgic (I love office supplies), it’s the “the Russians used a pencil” method of taking you on a trip to another world.

    So far, I haven’t seen a fully blorb game that doesn’t use these five tools. But who knows, right? It’s cool that cutting edge game design is going on. Like a war game dork in the 90’s being all like “hex, counters, tables in books etc are necessary for a war game” and the now people are like “but semantics on cards that you can shuffle up though?”

    What I’m saying is that these five techniques are tools you use for blorb. If you have ’em, do blorb, blorb’s awesome. If you’re not doing blorb, no need to do be shackled down to all five these techniques.

    Can you do blorb w/o these five techniques? I haven’t seen it… yet. Hope that’s a good enough answer for ya!♥

    (I know of a board game that I’ve never played that’s called The Alchemists or something similar. You use an app or you use a poor non-player human that just mindlessly [but carefully, because it’s tricky] performs the scripted actions by hand. That, or you could play Zendo where the puzzles can be a lot more out-there and creative.)

  • edited June 2019

    Can you explain how these 5 techniques specifically hurt No Myth design?

    I understand you think that if one is using them in a non-blorb game one “isn’t taking advantage” of the opportunity to make the game full-blorb, but that’s like saying that eggs are required to make an omelet, so anyone using eggs to make a quiche is making an incoherent meal because they’re not taking advantage of the scaffolding for full-omelet that eggs provide.
    Not that that’s a bad argument. Quiches are worse for the environment and require much more resources per calorie than omelets, because producing cheese is more resource intensive than eggsNot that I advocate eating eggs at all.

    ← uh, sorry about that, maybe that was a bit of a Corporal Carrot answer.

    But let me try again.

    Let’s use the analogy but switch the two. Quiches use more ingredients than an omelet. Omelet need eggs and spices. Quiche need eggs, spices, milk, cheese, flour…

    It’s like when you’re making an omelet and you’re taking out the milk and cheese and flour, just as if you were making a quiche, and you just throw the milk, cheese and flour straight into the garbage.

    Can you explain how these 5 techniques specifically hurt No Myth design?

    Beyond them just being a hassle to maintain if you’re not actually gonna use them, let’s get into specifics…

    Let me give two answers. One if you’re doing classic no myth:

    The five techs and no-myth

    information separation
    heh heh, this is great, trick the players into the expectation that off-screen gamestate is real when you’re really changing things all the time
    resolution mechanics
    heh heh, this is great, trick the players into believing that their actions have consequences beyond just your whim
    each player character is only being run by one player each
    heh heh, this is great, trick the players into believing that they have some influence over their character’s actions in the game world
    identifying stance
    heh heh, this is great, trick the players to not look up beyond their own noses so that they don’t see that the plot on a macro level is being guided by you completely, Gromit-train-track-style
    GM plays world
    heh heh, this is great, trick the players to trust that what ever you say is true so that you can control the game state at will, only making things true that you want to be true

    Oh, OK, I see, I guess there is no conflict between the five traditional techniques and no-myth after all. Hmm, I’m starting to see how the 90s could’ve happened…

    But what I meant to say before with the no-blorb and not needing the five techniques was more that if you aren’t doing blorb (taking a trip to the other world) then it’s prob because you wanna tell a story together.

    And here’s the answer for that:

    The five techs in a hippie game

    information separation
    this limits player creativity/participation. instead, let all the participants in, trust them, create it together
    resolution mechanics
    you can use much simpler resolution mechanics when you’re all equal participants with the same goal&role in the scene, c.f. Microscope
    each player character is only being run by one player each
    if you’re not doing the trip to another world anyway, you can add a lot of nuance to the characters by adding some more cooks to their broth. C.f. beast commands in Svart av kval, vit av lust
    identifying stance
    so many story games depend on disrupting this technique in particular. if players contribute to the story beyond just their own actions the story becomes a lot richer
    GM plays world
    scenes with multiple NPCs can become richer by distributing those NPCs to various participants, not just one. Same goes for items, locations, other problems and goals etc.

    And for completeness:

    The five techs in a blorb game

    information separation
    enables the “20 questions with a door knob”; there is an off-screen game state and discovering that game state (or the fallout from that gamestate) is a big kick of blorb play
    resolution mechanics
    the fact that things can end in a bunch a different ways reminds/forces the DM to prep widely and enables the DM to prep more shallowly
    each player character is only being run by one player each
    part of making the trip to another world work; the job of the character is to perform actions in the game world
    identifying stance
    helps immerse you in the character and experience the “being there”
    GM plays world
    giving a participant the job of maintaining all the out-of-stance stuff, the off-screen gameplay, adjudicating the resolution mechanics, runnning NPCs etc is the easiest and most straight-forward way to do it.
    Why would Lady Blackbird be a better game with no GM and shared authority over characters?

    I would’ve gone the other way and made it full-myth / all-blorb. 6000 pages on the ecology of space squids A few pages that makes a bit more of a “world” there, akin to a traditional module like B2 or B4 or LMoP. Random encounters instead of just “DM create obstacles”.

  • I’m really just frustrated at the dismissal of half-Myth stuff, since I love it so much. “Draw maps, leave blanks” is exactly what I love most of the time in RPGs.

    This is gonna be hard for us because that’s what I hate the most. Maybe we mean kinda different things by this…? But when I read that rule in Dungeon World I was like “…ewww!”.

    “Hi, welcome to the dungeon! Some magic mirrors are real, some are just made up on the spot, hope you have a nice day!”

    When players author new facts about the setting

    Oh, hold on, you were talking about the players doing that! Well, in that case… you’re obviously not doing the five trad techniques, you’re off in hippie land, and you’re good to go! [You’ve disrupted four of the five techniques! All five if you add in the bonds stuff from Dungeon World!]

    It’s def not one of my fave ways to play because of how I value the stance consistency for the purps of the full-blorb trip.

    For player-authored content like this, I’d like it to be done in character creation, or during a sorta session zero (this is why Apocalypse World [not talking about all other PbtA games here, but AW2e] might maaaybe be a blorby game after all–if you treat “first session” as a really different kind of session and play the upcoming sessions more blorbily).

    Then you can go all in on the stances & on the five techniques.

    One time when I was running my Burning Wheel Three Musketeers Scenario (a solidly half-Myth scenario in a solidly half-Myth game engine), two of the players created an NPC Spanish swordsman named Inigo. He was co-created by two players because he was a low-ranking guy that both the manipulative Baron and his seductive daughter were trying to use as a spy. He hadn’t “existed” before the contested Circles roll that brought him forth. However, because characters like that fit so well with the genre, it was no problem for anyone’s sense of immersion. Furthemore, Inigo’s presence didn’t undermine any of the Myth elements that are present in that scenario.

    Ugh you’re making me have to go dig out the Burning Wheel books, to double-check Circles, from my shoe closet but wilco!

    But before I go do that, my spontaneous answer is that it doesn’t sound any more unblorby than any other tier 2 truth. For example, I, very early on, put wandering monster checks in the hands of the players. (They don’t see the encounter table, but instead of me rolling and rattling some die behind the screen, I say “make an encounter check; it’s an unmodified d20 and on a 1, 2 or 3 let me know because that means something happens”.) Isomorphic to any encounter check. Diegetically / stancewise it represents them them waiting, listening, spending time… [And/or you could make a case that I should actually reverse this ruling; lower buy-in immersion but gain mood-immersion / stance-immersion.]

    OK now I’m gonna go dig out the BW boox.

    Man, the art & format & layout of these books are so great! Type design on the microlevel is what it is but these books as artifacts, wow, I can see why they are so beloved. I upgraded my revised editons to the gold edition just before they made the new revised edition, which, uh… :bawling:

    Circles, 378, 386. Again, I have the old gold, not the new gold.

    Page 378 I don’t see anything unblorby. Do you know an NPC in this town yes/no?

    Oh, wait, the example… Thor creates an Abbess specifically. That’s not really blorby.

    And that also really fucks up the stances and some more of the Five Techniques.

    Outside of the example text I don’t really think it’s that problematic? Reading the rules text itself on page 380, it’s “who are you looking for” (a stance-appropriate question). There’s another unblorby example text where it’s like “I think he has a villa here”.

    God, this game… :bawling:

    Let me bring up as examples some similar mechanics in other games.

    Locating a caster or other specialist in ACKS

    We play 5e obv but I use these rules from ACKS (gradually replacing them with 5e stuff as 5e starts covering more and more of this ground). What’s the probability of me finding someone selling a potion of healing in this town? How many level 5 characters are there in this place?

    What’s the chance of me finding someone who can repair sails in a population 2000 village? It’s a market class V… so 40%.

    Rolling up friends & family as you do your life path in XGE

    In D&D 5e XGE as you do the life paths (and even in the normal backgrounds in the D&D 5e PHB) you can create some weird people that are rolled up! I think this is fine because it’s not in the middle of an actual session. Since you aren’t in character while creating your character, it’s easier to justify doing ooc stuff such as creating your aunts & uncles. The DM is involved in this too, which I like.

    There’s no way to go full Myth with BW: it would rob players of too much agency, their characters of too much protagonism.

    Can you go into some more detail with this?

    My thinking is the experience would be improved [maybe that’s just me being very set in my ways] if either:

    • these character-specific NPCs were created in a more blorb-adherent fashion instead of disrupting the game, or
    • the game itself was much more disruptive and non-traditional throughout and not just in these brief “glitchy” moments

    So, in the case of a well-constructed half-Myth game, what you have is not some failure to pursue an opportunity for blorb. Nor is it a full-on hippie game, though! (Those are cool, to be clear!)

    Would you reevaluate that statement in light of my answer to Neurotrash, above? How I go into detail on the five techniques in a hippie game?

  • I’ve been trying to get at that for some time in this thread, but you said it in perhaps a much clearer way than my attempts so far.

    And we’ve also been working with some of the other issues around it in email.

    I consider “half-Myth” (or whatever we want to call it*) to be a really key and important playstyle and super fun as well as tremendously functional.

    It’s extremely popular among a new generation of gamers and they play it REALLY well.

    Maybe you’re thinking of something else?

    A lot of the kids these days are playing a mix of 90s style with some solid elements. I’m really not into that! The awesome parts of their games are the solid (a.k.a. “blorby”) elements.

    Having some rigor around the roles/jobs of the participants make for better & crisper games? I.e. making the game more modal:

    “Now we are in session zero / creation mode! What type of world do we want, what are the characters’ goals, how do they know each other, what NPC relatives do we have etc? DM you better take notes because we want this stuff to be part of the game!”

    “Now I am Alice the paladin! I hold my torch to try to shine a light down the stairs, what do I see?”

    Completely different modes… and clarity about when you’re in which mode. Crisp, awesome, recommended!

    As usual in these discussions, I find the laser focus on Technical concerns to be distracting us from the “why” or guiding principles behind play itself.

    I disagree; having a grasp the guiding principles (in the case of blorb, “take a trip”) lead us to specific technical concerns. Again see my answer to Neurotrash just above.

    Full blorb” or “full Myth” are somewhat illusory anyway, best seen as platonic ideals we as humans will never reach (and I don’t think it would produce functional gaming even if we could!).

    I wouldn’t exactly use the word “illusory” for this kind of beacon to guide your play priniciples since the word illusory also means another thing in this context.

    And… the process is in the trying. Just as how in impro you try to hold your ideas lightly and not force them, in blorb you’re doing the opposite: what’s true is true. Both those processes are difficult and there is the occasional gap. Just like zen. But that’s fine. You bring yourself back to the now. And that’s the process, that’s the practice, that’s doing the work.

  • I really enjoy having a solid fiction, but do not care so much about immersion. The immersive techniques (one character per player, identification with the character's perspective) are by no means necessary for having a solid fiction.

    I am not quite sure what "blorb" precisely means here; maybe it is a combination of a solid world and classical character immersion?

    Sandra, is your claim (in other words) that any game aiming for character immersion should have as solid a fiction as possible?


    (Sidenote: I think "blob people" was a misspelling of "blorb people", not an insult.)
  • I really enjoy having a solid fiction, but do not care so much about immersion. The immersive techniques (one character per player, identification with the character’s perspective) are by no means necessary for having a solid fiction.

    Huh… maybe you’re right! I just… uh, part of the appeal for me in the “mirror story” was how everything suddenly and vertiginously became real.

    Sandra, is your claim (in other words) that any game aiming for character immersion should have as solid a fiction as possible?

    Yes! That’s a consequence of my claims and radical enough to qualify as a claim in and of itself.

    Before “mirror story”, I had played in extremely “immersive” games (on the surface level) in the past. No dice, no out-of-character talk, no numbers, just narration in character in the dark. All diegesis all the time.

    With the mirror story the game felt orders of magnitude more real. A thousand times more!

    It’s sorta like this guy’s video (which came out like three years after than my “mirror story” experience):

    Immersion… this video is a pretty good summary of a bunch of theories from other fields [video games] on immersion; I disagree completely with that guy’s other videos but that video is pretty good! Emma our resident immersion hater might dig it♥

    What he is talking about is how solid mechanics are more appealing than realistic graphics.

    By the time that video came out I had already split immersion up into two types myself: “buy-in immersion” and “stance immersion” [sometimes I’ve called that “‘mood’ immersion”]. (Because 2097e is an in-person game and not a video game.)

    Transparency of method increases buy-in [regardless of blorb presence… just knowing how the game is set up helps you buy into the stakes and premises] but distracts from stance immersion. I’ve been thinking of making some sorta verifiable game record behind-the-screen app so you can postpone all the transparency of method to after the session. No more “roll a twenty-sided”, instead we get all the benefits of my olden candle-lit days but with also having all the benefits of the actual gloracle. Maybe such a game would’ve benefited from being simpler than D&D 5e with its litany of spells and maneuvers and class features.

    I was hoping to run Cthulhu Dark in a hyper immersive way, because it had simpler mechanics that could handle all cases situations, but I realized that the insight clock in it was kinda fighting against the finchian/lawsian resolution I value. If I were to play it again I’d add in a “be finchian/lawsian or roll the dice” rule. A “look to Karma before you look to Fortune” rule. Huh, that makes me think that maybe Everway is a better game for this experiment than Cthulhu Dark because it doesn’t have the players making any kind of dice-level choices at all. You do all diegetic level choices and then your stats says what’s happen.

    These days I have better knowledge of IIEE and how to “set up moves” (“the ogre is drawing back his arms, swinging his fist directly at you, what do you do?”), and better knowledge on how to prep porte-monstre-trésor instead of prepping story. Drawing from a deck of shuffled, but selected and familiar, vision cards instead of rolling from an encounter table. Now I want to try this. IDK maybe that’s dumb. There’s certainly some value in having D&D’s library of “physics outcomes” available to give us very specific and satisfying answers.

  • Suppose you have played with the same game master for a while and you trust them so be as neutral an arbiter as possible, and they have a solidly prepared game setting available. They suggest that you use the d6 system: Whenever there is uncertainty, he draws from his knowledge of the game world and sets the probability (5/6 that this will work), announces it and someone rolls in the open. Would this be a satisfactory a rule set?

    A random thought: A lot of the classic immersive play (we played for three sessions and only rolled dice twice) is focused on relationships. There is a lot of focus on characters talking to each other about their emotions and relationships. The wider fiction provides context for this, of course, and significant non-player characters there are important, but I would imagine that a much larger part of the game world is more inconsequental than in OSR-type challenge-focused play. Is there less need for a solid fiction in relationship-based play?
    An example might be characters organizing a birthday party for one of them and figuring out whom to invite and what kind of decorations and programme to have. Then playing out the party. We might want to know the layout of the building, because it might give creative input due to restrictions of space or force some characters to take more prominent positions during the festivities, but it all is far less important than a dungeon layout. A random encounter table is probably not necessary, though one could be used; a random party accident table might be useful, but I do not see it adding that much when compared to just considering who the characters are and coming up with something based on their personalities and quirks.

    Immersive play; is a solid fiction of great importance?
  • edited June 2019
    Suppose you have played with the same game master for a while and you trust them so be as neutral an arbiter as possible, and they have a solidly prepared game setting available. They suggest that you use the d6 system: Whenever there is uncertainty, he draws from his knowledge of the game world and sets the probability (5/6 that this will work), announces it and someone rolls in the open. Would this be a satisfactory a rule set?

    Only if there is solid prep (i.e. gloracle). Including a consistent ways to set the DCs from 0 to 7. In this case it’d have to take the character’s capability into account.

    A random thought: A lot of the classic immersive play (we played for three sessions and only rolled dice twice) is focused on relationships. There is a lot of focus on characters talking to each other about their emotions and relationships. The wider fiction provides context for this, of course, and significant non-player characters there are important, but I would imagine that a much larger part of the game world is more inconsequental than in OSR-type challenge-focused play. Is there less need for a solid fiction in relationship-based play? An example might be characters organizing a birthday party for one of them and figuring out whom to invite and what kind of decorations and programme to have. Then playing out the party. We might want to know the layout of the building, because it might give creative input due to restrictions of space or force some characters to take more prominent positions during the festivities, but it all is far less important than a dungeon layout. A random encounter table is probably not necessary, though one could be used; a random party accident table might be useful, but I do not see it adding that much when compared to just considering who the characters are and coming up with something based on their personalities and quirks.

    Yeah, I’ve written about this upthread:

    “really strong player characters colliding hard against each other in a tight space”

    “Tension, drama and uncertainty arise from tangible elements (such as player characters) colliding with each other. There’s no real tension, drama and uncertainty to collide with something that just melts into air upon impact.”

    Immersive play; is a solid fiction of great importance?

    In my experience, solid fiction diegesis/prep/game-state absolutely vital. We went deep into the Turku school rabbit hole in the 90s and yeah. Compared to even sloppy play in a brightly lit room with snacks but with solid game state… it’s pretty much no comparison. It’s like comparing a chickpea to the sun itself.

  • We went deep into the Turku school rabbit hole in the 90s and yeah. Compared to even sloppy play in a brightly lit room with snacks but with solid game state… it’s pretty much no comparison. It’s like comparing a chickpea to the sun itself.
    I would really like to hear from Mike Pohjola, Juhana Petterson or some other committed immersive player/GM/designer. I do not doubt your preferences, but I do doubt their universality.
  • As an example of fully Blorb games that do not use 1-player-1-character or Identifying Stance, I submit Strategos and Braunstein.

    Admittedly, these are not exactly RPGs. But they are very much the direct precursors of RPGs!
  • I would really like to hear from Mike Pohjola, Juhana Petterson or some other committed immersive player/GM/designer. I do not doubt your preferences, but I do doubt their universality.
    Hey I was a cowriter on the Knutepunkt book back in 2010! (A few years before the "mirror story".)

    Yeah, a dataset of one is just an anecdote but that's just as true for them describing their experience as it is for me describing my experience. :bawling:

    I did a bunch of larps and tabletops chasing this "immersion" for decades. Playing with, and running for, a bunch of the Knutepunkt dorks. Not the two you mentioned though♥
    But people who knew them
  • edited June 2019
    And working with Lina Persson now who is committing to months of time travel kayfabe♥
  • I'll ask my friend about it. He might be willing to come register here and start a thread about it.
    I'd be interested to hear it!

    @Vivificient, how much do you know about what the GMs did to make DW more strict? That sounds challenging. If you know more, have you written or posted about it anywhere - or have they? Would be interesting reading (but should probably be kept out of this thread).
    Hey, I'm that friend GM @Vivificient mentioned. It looks like my account was approved here today, so if you're still interested I could answer any questions you have about my campaign, either here or in a new thread. Let me know :)
  • That's super appreciated Jon! A new thread might be good since this one is so ginormous but if you prefer doing it here I don't mind♥
  • Ah, cool, I see you've made a thread for it. Looks like around here people change threads a lot for new topics so I'll post my responses in there.
  • Hi Sandra,

    I seeing a lot of One True Wayism being propounded and it's been my experience that way invariably leads to heated acrimony. Perhaps dialing back on that will facilitate a more fruitful dialogue of your important underlying arguments.

    The five techs and no-myth

    information separation heh heh, this is great, trick the players into the expectation that off-screen gamestate is real when you’re really changing things all the time

    resolution mechanics heh heh, this is great, trick the players into believing that their actions have consequences beyond just your whim

    each player character is only being run by one player each heh heh, this is great, trick the players into believing that they have some influence over their character’s actions in the game world

    identifying stance heh heh, this is great, trick the players to not look up beyond their own noses so that they don’t see that the plot on a macro level is being guided by you completely, Gromit-train-track-style

    GM plays world heh heh, this is great, trick the players to trust that what ever you say is true so that you can control the game state at will, only making things true that you want to be true

    Seriously? This isn't an argument. Its pure editorializing and indirectly an ad hominem attack of those GM's who don't play blorb or Klockwerk or what have you. Worse it is a Strawman argument fallacy. The "heh heh"'s indicates malice of intent on the part of the GM and that all such games are Participationist at best and Illusionist at worst.

    For myself, I agree with you that sort of play can and does exist, but to claim all no-myth games are run this way is a terrible smear on all GM's who do not. It is synecdoche of the worst sort.

    The big thing is that the blorb experience requires the five traditional techinques to work:

    information separation
    resolution mechanics
    each player character is only being run by one player each
    identifying stance
    GM plays world

    You need them to have blorb. It’s hard to have blorb without all five of these.
    I tried to keep your formatting but I could not manage it.

    Two things. First I'm getting confused by the use of "blorb". In one presentation we have blorb presented as very specific type of game preparation technique. In another "blorb" is being offered as game construct much like Story is employed in Narrativism. Finally we have "blorb" being used as a method or process of play. Is it all the above or one or more or something completely different?

    Second - we use all the above bullet points on your list in the game that I play in. I would like to point to you of a case of non-rpg case of immersion. When the TV series "The Fugitive" ran in the 60's people used to call the police when they saw the actor David Janssen on the street. Some members of the audience had so bought in to the fiction aired (immersed) that they failed to make the distinction between fiction and real life. These were not people who suffered disassociative personality disorders but your average persons. And they were totally passive in the process. They were nothing but audience members with absolutely no agency to affect the fiction space. I understand that watching a TV show and playing an RPG are not the same but my point is that "blorb" was not required to achieve a mental state where people thought the fiction was "real" and "tangible".

    "Blorb" might be a valuable technique that works for you and your group and likely many others but it is not the only path to "immersion".

    I also in agreement with @Deliverator about "half-myth" which is really closer to how we play. We play in ME but the books did not detail everything square mile of ME. To just blanket assume that because the books or maps made of ME don't show every detail before play that nothing can ever happen or be in those spaces doesn't follow. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

    WRT formalizing every possible mechanic I did follow the link to Vincent's blog (lumpley) and noted the following -
    33. On 2008-04-16, Vincent said:
    Does formalizing rules rob them of their goodness? Absolutely yes, 100% of the time.

    You want formal rules for the places your informal rules don't cover. I've never heard of, and can't imagine, a roleplaying group taking its working informal rules and imposing formality upon them.

    I don't know any game designers who've successfully formalized their group's informal rules, either. My groups' informal rules have informed my game design, of course, but for none of my games have I ever just written down what we already do.
    While his general gist is that while formal mechanics help push players to unwelcome and unwanted events they also have the drawback of -
    I think it's inevitable that playing by formal rules will mean that some of the things you want to happen in a game, can't. They cut off welcome events, whole domains at a time. That's one of the biggest strengths of freeform play - that's why I say that live negotiation and honest collaboration is more robust and flexible than any given formal ruleset.
    I think, though, that his arguments are aimed specifically towards Narrativist play. In game negotiation of scenes is antithetical to Mythic Bricolage and, I presume, to Challenge based play.

    I'll state this again Mythic Bricolage play does have a resolution mechanic - it's called Bricolage and it is not deterministic. This is the very hang up that most people have with the idea of this mode of play. Yet real world native tribes use this method to create their cognitive frame of reality. If real humans beings do this for real purposes that underpin the totality of their cultures then why must it be any less able to create a "tangible, real" game experience?

    What "blorb" seems to be is a Social Contract convention between the players and the GM. It is promise between the players that the GM will precreate everything that will happen in the game, will make their note available upon request after the game and not interfere with the Klockwerk. Great! It's a technique of play that really jazzes you and your players. Can't argue with success. But saying "blorb" is the only or even the best way to immersion is "One True Wayism" and that claim falls apart in light of my own experiences.

    Best,

    Jay
  • Playing a true protagonist in the literary sense is very much the goal of BW and many of its relatives. You need, as a player, to have sufficient agency to be able to author facts about the world. Not anything and everything, as in a true story game, but fairly frequently, IME. That's why the Circles rules being used to "create" a new NPC ex nihilo isn't some weird glitch, without which BW could be a blorby game. There are lots of things in there that allow player authorship, even after play begins. Wises and other knowledge skills, for example.
  • Playing a true protagonist in the literary sense is very much the goal of BW and many of its relatives. You need, as a player, to have sufficient agency to be able to author facts about the world. Not anything and everything, as in a true story game, but fairly frequently, IME. That's why the Circles rules being used to "create" a new NPC ex nihilo isn't some weird glitch, without which BW could be a blorby game. There are lots of things in there that allow player authorship, even after play begins. Wises and other knowledge skills, for example.
    Yeah, I was dreaming about BW. It's just a difficult game for me to come to grasp with because it requires a stance that from a distance do not appeal to me. You "are" the author rather than the character, but you have one character that is your primary responsibility. There's something that makes me kind of uncomfortable around that.
  • edited June 2019

    About “half-myth”… A “no myth” game was defined as a game where things weren’t true until they had been established in play; hadn’t entered the SIS. Opposite of blorb pretty much. That’s exactly how you described your game the other day, @Silmenume. Of course yes you’re using the maps and languages and families of the ME. That kind of setting knowledge or genre expectations aren’t contradictory to “no myth”.

    What is blorb? A way to prep and then apply that prep in play.

    Hi Sandra,

    I seeing a lot of One True Wayism being propounded and it’s been my experience that way invariably leads to heated acrimony. Perhaps dialing back on that will facilitate a more fruitful dialogue of your important underlying arguments.The five techs and no-mythinformation separationheh heh, this is great, trick the players into the expectation that off-screen gamestate is real when you’re really changing things all the timeresolution mechanicsheh heh, this is great, trick the players into believing that their actions have consequences beyond just your whimeach player character is only being run by one player eachheh heh, this is great, trick the players into believing that they have some influence over their character’s actions in the game worldidentifying stanceheh heh, this is great, trick the players to not look up beyond their own noses so that they don’t see that the plot on a macro level is being guided by you completely, Gromit-train-track-styleGM plays worldheh heh, this is great, trick the players to trust that what ever you say is true so that you can control the game state at will, only making things true that you want to be true
    Seriously? This isn’t an argument. Its pure editorializing and indirectly an ad hominem attack of those GM’s who don’t play blorb or Klockwerk or what have you. Worse it is a Strawman argument fallacy. The “heh heh”’s indicates malice of intent on the part of the GM and that all such games are Participationist at best and Illusionist at worst.

    “Resolution mechanics” was kinda dumb of me to put in there. Many games use resolution mechanics. It’s traditional… but a little too traditional. Let’s look at the other four.

    information separation
    If there isn’t a solid “offscreen” game state, there’s no need to hide notes, hide a map or whatever.
    GM plays world
    And if there isn’t a solid “offscreen” game state, there is no need for the definition of what’s true or not to be the sole domain of the GM. We can have a player say “I enter the house at night and steal the watch from the top drawer” even though it’s not been established that there is a watch in the house.
    each player character being run by only one player each and identifying stance
    These are flipsides to the “GM plays world”. The players have one job and are expected to focus on that job: Their characters making actions in the game world.

    For example, in the game Feng Shui, players are expected to stay out of the identifying stance in order to be able to invent detail about the SIS that matches their character’s intent. “I grab the plates from the table and start hurling them at the orc” without first asking “Are there plates here?”

    This is a subversion of, or a hippiefication of, a traditional technique.

    Similarly circles in Burning Wheel, as explained to me by @Deliverator, subverts/hippifies all four of these techniques.

    If a game strongly&strictly maintains these four techniques, my understanding was that one of these three things is going on:

    • It’s a blorby game and there is a solid gamestate.
    • It’s a role division kept out of inertia/tradition rather than necessity
    • It’s a participationist game (or possibly illusionist, if it’s being presented as a blorby game, but you’re right, let’s not assume malice and stick with participationist)

    Sometimes the last two points can kind of show up together. There used to be a solid game state, there isn’t anymore, but there’s still this role division.

    I am frustrated/jarred by Burning Wheel because it whips me back & forth between two different modes of play. There is so much in the game normally that puts me into the role division. Scripting my fight actions, making my character from the bottom-up in terms of life paths, hyper-diegetic skill improvement… so many things make me think “OK I’m the character” but I always have to remember this whole other out-of-stance ability.

    Could you please clarify what the difference between a participationist game and the mythic ME game is?
    Participationist games can have “stakes questions” / Kobayashi Maru moments, can’t they?

    I’m sorry for the wonky formatting. Paul pointed it out the other day how hard it becomes to quote me. The problem is that S-G messes up the line breaks. I’ll try to change my scripts to implement another solution when I have some more time.

  • The example of participationism on the Big Model wiki uses a game where the players are participating in a prewritten Big Story.

    But we've found that there are two kinds of "the GM is running the show" games; pre-written railroaded stories, and improvised Gromit tracks making it up as we go along stories. Arguably if the stories are awesome people will line up to get tickets, to paraphrase Elizabeth McCoy's old pro-railroading stance.

    The way of a game to not be that, is for it to be "play to find out". There is some question, stake, entity, porte-monstre-trésor, character, dilemma, intrigue and we want to find out what happens rather than make up what happens.
  • We play to find out what the new situation is compared to the old one. We do that by making stuff up.
Sign In or Register to comment.