Scene-Framing Games

edited August 2011 in Story Games
I'm just looking for a list of games that have scene-framing rules built into them. If this has been explored elsewhere, I'd love to know about it.

The ones I can think of:

Primetime Adventures
Burning Empires


There's gotta be more, yes?

Oh, and I'm not looking for games where you've bolted on some type of scene-framing yourself, just for games where it's in the book.

Comments

  • Mouse Guard, to a lesser degree than BE.
  • Misspent Youth
  • Fiasco
    A Penny For My Thoughts (which has unusually fine-grained rules for framing)
    Polaris
    Dogs in the Vineyard instructs the GM how to start each scene
    Happy Birthday, Robot! has precisely one scene framing constraint, and it's always the same
  • If we're talking about mechanical rules and dice-rolling conventions that enforce scene framing, then shock: and the various Story Bones/Story Engine games also have scene-level resolution mechanics.

    If we're talking about procedural advice on how you should frame scenes, Vampire: The Masquerade lists scene-length durations for most powers, and Apocalypse World gives you some different options for framing scenes and asking questions of the players.
  • Microscope is about as direct an example as one could hope for.

  • We are not talking about advice! I'm looking for examples of hardcore "you have to do this next" rules.
  • Wait, so does a game that has a rule that says, "and then you frame a scene," but doesn't give you much concretely beyond that count for your purposes here? I'm a little confused.
  • Posted By: Hans c-oWait, so does a game that has a rule that says, "and then you frame a scene," but doesn't give you much concretely beyond that count for your purposes here? I'm a little confused.
    Uh, sure. What game would that be though?
  • Chronicles of Skin has an explicit, four phase scene framing structure.
  • edited September 2011
    Breaking the Ice
    1,001 Nights
    Mars Colony
    Perfect
    Spione
    Grey Ranks
    The Shab al-Hiri Roach
    Grover Cleveland
    Schizonauts

    uhm, maybe Drowning and Falling?
    edit:
    Danger Patrol
  • I would say that 90% of peer/gm-less games use scene framing as a central element.
    There is a thread here in story games with a humungous list.
  • Posted By: jessecoombsPosted By: Hans c-oWait, so does a game that has a rule that says, "and then you frame a scene," but doesn't give you much concretely beyond that count for your purposes here? I'm a little confused.
    Uh, sure. What game would that be though?

    No game does that exactly, but I needed to know, as a metric, what you were looking for, if that makes sense.

    My Life with Master has scene framing.
  • Carry has two different kinds of scenes that the GM picks from and explicit, different procedures for how each is resolved.
  • Posted By: ivanI would say that 90% of peer/gm-less games use scene framing as a central element.
    There is a thread here in story games with a humungous list.
    And then there's the typical scene-framing-in-all-but-name that goes on in lots of games with GMs...aka asking "Where are you going now?", "What are you going to do?", and "What are you going to do next?"-type questions to find out where the characters will be and what they will be trying to do in the next scene.

    I think that's particularly interesting stuff (especially when teaching a new system with explicit scene-framing rules to people familiar with other games), but it's also outside the "list of games that have scene-framing rules built into them" that the OP is asking for.
  • I was most impressed by the rules in 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars. Build a platform, followed by the tilt that turns the situation into a Bang. Enough that I stole it for my own game.
  • Smallville.

    Cheers,
    Cam
  • Ganakagok has my favorite rules for scene framing.
  • Posted By: jessecoombsUh, sure. What game would that be though?
    Any game with a GM, for one.

    I question your inclusion of Primetime Adventures on this list.

    There are three questions which a player whose turn it is must answer about the scene.

    Then the instructions to the Producer are "frame the scene!"

    So it doesn't have the kind of systemic scene-framing procedure I think you're talking about?

    The questions answered by the other player are different from the responsibility to frame the scene.
  • Posted By: JDCorley
    Then the instructions to the Producer are "frame the scene!"
    Jesse just said a game had to include "scene-framing rules". If the rules tell you to "frame a scene", then the game has scene-framing rules.
  • Posted By: JDCorleySo it doesn't have the kind of systemic scene-framing procedure I think you're talking about?
    You might want to re-read your comment there, hoss. You just outlined its scene-framing procedure.

    - Ryan
  • Well, then D&D has scene framing rules, because it has a GM who says where the action takes place?
  • No, I think what the others say is: there is scene framing, like any other rpg, but there isn't scene framing rules.
  • edited September 2011
    Jason, interesting. I'll try to clarify.

    If the rules didn't tell me how to frame a scene or what that means I don't think it quite works. I haven't looked at PTA's text in a while (2nd or 3rd), so I'm not sure what it says.

    Ryan may be on to something to, as there seems to be half of the scene-framing rules: on the player's turn they say where the scene is, who's there, what it's about. Then the GM starts by describing the scene. But if then the book says the gm then frames the scene, then I am confused. Didn't the player frame the scene?

    Maybe a clearer definition of scene-framing is needed? I was looking for games that tell me how to set up the next scene. I thought that was scene-framing? Then the gm (using PTA as an example here) starts by describing stuff and role-playing, like they do in most rpgs.

    I guess the scene-framing in a more traditional rpg would happen when the gm finally decides to end what's going on in a location. That's the best I can figure it out.

    Thanks for the comments so far, by the way. Feel free to continue debating or listing more games. I'm starting to get a lot out of this thread!
  • Posted By: jessecoombsRyan may be on to something to, as there seems to be half of the scene-framing rules: on the player's turn they say where the scene is, who's there, what it's about. Then the GM starts by describing the scene.
    Right, and in D&D, the rule is the GM decides where characters are and whose there. (Nobody decides what it's about.) The GM describes the scene and what's happening.

    I still don' get the distinction, but if you do, it's cool.
  • Posted By: JDCorleyPosted By: jessecoombsRyan may be on to something to, as there seems to be half of the scene-framing rules: on the player's turn they say where the scene is, who's there, what it's about. Then the GM starts by describing the scene.
    Right, and in D&D, the rule is the GM decides where characters are and whose there. (Nobody decides what it's about.) The GM describes the scene and what's happening.

    I still don' get the distinction, but if you do, it's cool.

    Well, D&D doesn't look at it in filmic terms--"scene"--whereas PTA does. D&D doesn't assume the arc and logic and segment-of-play of a scene, even though what a DM does to say where people are and what they're doing looks a lot like what happens when someone is scene framing. Does that make sense? Since there's no end of a scene in D&D, there's no scene framing.
  • Ohhh!

    Okay, I see what you mean.

    White Wolf games, by contrast, all use scenes as the main division of fictional time. So Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, all those.
  • If we're having trouble figuring it out, let's go to the text. What do different editions of D&D (or whatever) say about scene framing?

    I'd be fascinated to find out.
  • White Wolf games use the scene as a unit of time, but (at least in old Vampire) don't enforce it very much. Like, when you use your Presence discipline, it lasts for a scene, but there's no point where you have to end the scene and frame a new one. As opposed to:

    -- In-game time in Vampire IS enforced, because you lose 1 blood point every day (in practice, I found this greatly overshadowed scene duration, but it's also unique to Vampire--I can't really speak for other WW games).

    -- Scene-framing in PTA is enforced because you use scene-level resolution. Any game where you use randomness to finish out the scene requires you to frame a new scene after you use the resolution rules.

    So I would put Vampire in the "advice about scene framing" category, along with Apocalypse World and Dogs in the Vineyard (and a lot of other games, too). You are not required to frame scenes at any point except the very beginning of play, but the game talks about doing so, and might provide very good advice as well.

    In the games I listed above, you are required to frame new scenes during play, although the game may not necessarily tell you exactly how to do that.

    Of course, this distinction may not mean anything to you (YMMV, IANAL, etc etc), I only bring it up because:
    Posted By: jessecoombsI'm looking for examples of hardcore "you have to do this next" rules.
  • Well...I still don't get it then, I guess.

    What's the difference between a game that says "The SceneSetters job is to set scenes, which are the normal unit of play. Here's a long list of cool ways for them to do that." and "The SceneSetters job is to set scenes, which are the normal unit of play. Here's a long list of cool ways for you to do that. NOW DO IT." Like, are we looking for games that specifically use the imperative?
    Posted By: JohnstoneScene-framing in PTA is enforced because you use scene-level resolution. Any game where you use randomness to finish out the scene requires you to frame a new scene after you use the resolution rules.
    But in PTA2, you may not use randomness to resolve the scene. There may not be a conflict, the scene might just go until it doesn't. In fact, you might have several conflicts in one scene, or the conflict resolution might take place early in the scene. The Producer (and table) decides when the scene is over in the same way a GM decides when the scene is over in Vampire.
  • Yeah, that's true. But if you do decide to use randomness, then you finish the scene and move on to the next one. So the option to not end a scene and not use randomness exists, just like the option to end and start scenes exists in Vampire. But if a day goes by in Vampire, you are required to lose a blood point, and if you draw the cards in PTA, you are required to go to a new scene. So, not optional, but only one of those two makes the scene-framing not optional.

    (Right? I'm not super-familiar with PTA, actually. In, say, shock: and Perfect you're required to set goals at the beginning of scenes and only roll dice at the end, although there's no hard-and-fast time-frame for a scene.)

    Think of it this way: In Vampire, you know your power has worn off because the Storyteller frames a new scene, but the Storyteller doesn't frame a new scene just because your power has worn off. Whereas, if you use randomness, you have to wrap up the scene and frame a new one, but you don't use randomness just because you decided to frame a new scene.

    Or, it's the distinction between a rule that says "use your judgement, and here are some suggestions" and a rule that says "if x, then y."
    (Which are both also different from "here is a rule that you may or may not want to use.")
  • Posted By: JohnstoneBut if you do decide to use randomness, then you finish the scene and move on to the next one.
    No, that's not true in PTA2. (I don't think.)
  • What do you mean by "PTA2"? I know there have been two editions of Prime Time Adventures — the first actually seeing little diffusion while it was the second one to spread like wildfire — and a third is now on the way. Do you mean the PTA most people play today, then, or the upcoming one?
  • The PTA most people play today.

    (I've playtested the upcoming one, things are a little different there.)
  • Oh. So, I've seen scenes-without-conflict in PTA, but not multiple conflicts in a scene — I don't even think that's legal, and I can think of some reasons why, but I'll probably postpone this and just re-read the manual sometimes (it's been a while).
  • edited September 2011
    It may not be (I could be remembering it wrong too!), but even if it's not, don't forget you still are playing sometimes a very significant part of the scene after the conflict is resolved. Really. The group/Producer decides when a scene is actually over.
  • edited September 2011
    As much as I hate to admit it, having checked the PTA2 rules again, in this instance, Jason Corley is quite correct: the difference between scene framing rules in Vampire and Primetime Adventures is mostly one of emphasis and advice, not hard-and-fast procedures and mechanics. And I would have to even go as far as saying the two games are quite compatible.

    It's the person who requested the scene who decides when it's over (although the group/Producer has more influence on that decision than the use of randomness, as I stated above--obviously I'm thinking of other games like shock: and Perfect and just projecting that onto PTA). "Most often it will end following the resolution of a conflict," but that's advice, not a procedural rule. There's actually no rule against multiple conflicts.

    It's the Producer who introduces the first scene (just like the DM/GM/Storyteller!), and then you take turns requesting scenes and you "should" do this and you "should" do that (the book says), so obviously you have some leeway. The person requesting the scene says what it's about, although if you're requesting a scene in Vampire like "I go to talk to the Brujah elder about going to war with the werewolves," well, you just did the same thing, didn't you?

    And the rules say "The producer takes the three pieces of information from the player and establishes the scene, describing what the audience sees when the scene begins" (my emphasis, page 56). The focus, agenda, and location (the 3 things) are part of the framing, a word that Matt Wilson doesn't use anywhere in the book, I don't think. So the requester and the Producer frame it together, although hey! See the paragraph right before this one.

    The main difference being that PTA only has rules for playing a hardcore scene-framing game. There aren't really any alternatives. Vampire has a whole crap-load of other rules, and even alternate rules for tracking and measuring time in-game. Plus, the writing about scenes in PTA is basically superior in all way to what's in Vampire: clearer instructions, more concise, better advice, easier to follow, easier to implement. So really, even though Jason's right about this, it's still another piece of evidence that Vampire is broken.
  • PDQ, though it's not a hard and fast rule, players allocate damage to their skills. The first point allocated is supposed to be used as an emphasis or element of the next scene. There are no rules for when scenes must begin and end though.
  • Posted By: JohnstoneVampire has a whole crap-load of other rules, and even alternate rules for tracking and measuring time in-game. Plus, the writing about scenes in PTA is basically superior in all way to what's in Vampire: clearer instructions, more concise, better advice, easier to follow, easier to implement. So really, even though Jason's right about this, it's still another piece of evidence that Vampire is broken.
    If having a lot of rules, or having a lot of different ways of doing things, means a game is broken, instead of being flexible and easily customizable to the experience the group desires, yes.

    In other words, no.
  • Ha! Trolled ya sucker! ;P
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