Narrativism vs traditional techniques

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  • Have we defined "traditional techniques" in this model?
    • information separation
    • resolution mechanics
    • each player character is only being run by one player each
    • identifying stance
    • GM plays world
  • Resolution mechanics scratched, because we found that plenty of post-traditional and pre-traditional rulesets still have resolution mechanics of some kind.
  • Question:

    What is the overlap, in your mind (if any) between these "traditional techniques" and "proper blorb"?
  • There is a mechanical interaction that makes clear that the GM introduces challenges to player beliefs (through events and NPCs): end of session rewards.

    In Torchbearer, if a player didn't have an opportunity to act on a belief, then they should consider rewriting it. The GM doesn't change circumstances to respond to it. (So the system is more amenable to Klockwerk play).

    In Burning Wheel, if a player doesn't have an opportunity to act on a belief, the GM and player talk through where possible points of friction are, etc. The GM can then talk out loud about what a challenge to this particular belief might look like. This isn't an out-of-game conversation, since the rewards cycle is part of the game.
  • my (arguably unproven) thesis
    Ah, well, this is my whole question:

    What arguments do you feel support this thesis?

    I tried to list them above, but you didn't tell me whether I got them right or not.

  • edited June 3
    In Torchbearer, if a player didn't have an opportunity to act on a belief, then they should consider rewriting it. The GM doesn't change circumstances to respond to it. (So the system is more amenable to Klockwerk play).
    Yes♥

    Btw thanx for clarifying about BW
  • Gladly!


    I actually think this difference in the design of Torchbearer and Burning Wheel is a failure point for some people. Torchbearer and Mouse Guard have a reputation for being Burning-Wheel-lite, since the have similar mechanical features (skill lists, dice pools, fate points) but the nature of prep and narrative authority are totally different. I've read of people moving across these systems (without examining these differences) and having a hard time of it.
  • edited June 3
    my (arguably unproven) thesis
    Ah, well, this is my whole question:

    What arguments do you feel support this thesis?

    I tried to list them above, but you didn't tell me whether I got them right or not.
    Did you miss a couple of posts, Paul? You had the wrong guess about what my thesis was, first of all! Still waiting for an ack on that / reaction to that. Then you also hadn't answered my question.

    You put forth arguments for a thesis I do not agree with so I wanted to double check with you that you now understand my thesis. Which is… what? Pop quiz!
    Question:

    What is the overlap, in your mind (if any) between these "traditional techniques" and "proper blorb"?
    Here is the relationship:
    Blorb needs them, unblorb is harmed by them.
    I wrote as much a couple of times, including in that last post

    Here is my detailed walkthrough on the traditional techniques and unblorb, which @Silmenume (reasonably enough) took offense to, so I rewrote the most inflammatory part of it here, but it's more of a "patch" on the original post which has the more thorough walkthrough.
  • edited June 3
    Nope, I'm reading along. Your thesis is now "unblorb with traditional techniques is a bad idea" (but hopefully you can understand where I got my idea - "Narrativism with traditional techniques is bad" from, since that's the way you started the whole thread, and its topic ;) ).

    So, now, what is "unblorb with traditional techniques"?

    I *think* you're defining "traditional techniques" as those five pillars (now four pillars).

    I don't know what "unblorb" means. I would guess it's "not committing to salient world facts before the players have to make decisions regarding those facts", but that's my own idea and wording, not yours. Close enough or no?

    [deleted unnecessary bit.]

    I'm still mostly interested in some explanation/description/examples that support your thesis, so I can understand where you're coming from.

    Hopefully that helps!
  • edited June 3
    Nope, I'm reading along. Your thesis is now "unblorb with traditional techniques is a bad idea" (but hopefully you can understand where I got my idea - "Narrativism with traditional techniques is bad" from, since that's the way you started the whole thread, and its topic ;) ).
    Right, I was unaware that you could do fully-blorby narrativism until Alexander convinced me that you could. I though the priorities of "addressing premise" and "maintaining blorb" were incompatibly (you could only have one *highest* priority). But my new take is that you can select "address premise while maintaining fully blorb" as your *highest* priority and thus do fully blorby narrativism. And that's why I changed the phrasing in the very second post of this thread and... we've had this exact same convo a couple of times in the thread already (here is one example). Not to be ablist, I have some memory issues too.♥♥♥ Edit: not saying that you have memory issues or if you have that they are to blame for my poor writing and me being hard to understand
    I *think* you're defining "traditional techniques" as those five pillars (now four pillars).
    I wouldn't call them pillars though, but yes. Those five-now-four techniques.

    (The three pillars are "conflict, discovery, interaction", the three principles are "three tiers of truth, wallpaper saliency, saliency time zoom", the five four techniques are "information separation, max 1 player per character, identifying stance, GM plays world")
    I don't know what "unblorb" means. I would guess it's "not committing to salient world facts before the players have to make decisions regarding those facts", but that's my own idea and wording, not yours. Close enough or no?
    Yes, the old thread about four mirror scenarios and two groups has the clearest explanation of blorb vs unblorb.
    The issue is that I'm trying to avoid getting mired into a line-by-line definitional debate, but I disagree with so many of the things you're posting (like those five/four pillars - it seems to me that only one of five really holds!) that I'm not sure how to proceed.
    Your care & diligence is much appreciated!
    I'm still mostly interested in some explanation/description/examples that support your thesis, so I can understand where you're coming from.
    The detailed walkthrough on how each of the five techniques help blorb and harm nonblorb and the follow-up post
  • How much of that is necessary if all the players are already 100% clear that the game is not blorb, and have bought into that reality?

    This is basically what I'm asking you in the other thread, too: is this all about managing expectations? (Which is a fair point, but it's an awfully big leap from "this can set the wrong expectations" to "this is bad and you shouldn't do it".)
    For the part that's not about managing expectations, in that walkthrough post, the section labeled "The five techs in a hippie game" is especially relevant on how a non-blorb game could benefit from disrupting or hippiefying the traditional techniques.

    But the expectation management issue is nothing to scoff at either. I believe conveyance & affordance are parts of the design that can't be neglected just because there's an "Read the manual, we told you the set up in the disclaimer at the bottom of the license agreement"
  • I’m getting kinda sick of my own thesis (“Unblorb with traditional techniques is a bad idea”), I’m getting worn down by the constant disagreement even though I’m not really hearing any arguments against it…?

    And I’ve tried to put forward plenty of arguments including the technique walkthrough.

    And here’s another one. It’s also an analogy. Kind of a variant on @Jeph ’s air chess argument, which was a great argument too btw.

    On a bus there are four passengers. Old W, old B, kid W, kid B.

    Old W and old B are playing a chess game. They have good memories so they can keep the board in their imaginations, they don’t need a physical board. Old W says “E4”, old B says “C5” etc etc. They’re playing chess in the one, true way.

    Kid W and kid B thinks this “memory chess” sounds cool. They think it sounds smart & clever and they want in. They don’t know anything about chess nor do they have particularly good memories. But that doesn’t bother them, they have understood the basic rule: you say a letter, then a number. Occasionally you say some more letters or numbers.

    “E5” kid W starts. “K9” kid B replies. They’re playing memory chess! “E29” kid W goes on. They’re playing chess in the bad, wrong, and fun way.

    In the analogy, the algebraic notation is the “traditional techniques”, the GM player separation. The “real” (except not physically real) chess board in the oldies’ game, and the adherence to it, is blorb. The completely made up moves in the kids’ game is unblorb.

    Not only does the traditional technique set up the wrong expectation, it’s also kind of the wrong task for the job. The kids are… playing that they are playing chess…?

    Obv you’d get into even more complex nuances of this analogy if you’d have the winners of each of the two chess games face of against each other. One person tries to play chess, the other just goofing around because it’s all just a make-believe game anyway. “We’re both just playing pretend, right?”

    I don’t know, I’m getting sick of the topic, of my own idea. It nestled itself in there like a vancian spell that day I found that magic mirror in the “mirror story”.

  • edited June 3
    I think the most exhausting part is the fact that I think that something that is widely beloved and considered brilliant is bad. I feel like a complete dumb head that's raining on everyone's parade, like some sorta killjoy.
  • I personally was like the kids in that chess game when I, as a kid, tried to understand roleplaying games from reading game examples that were mere transcripts. I was pretty lost... Mere being a player can't teach how to run the game nor can reading mere transcripts. You need someone to show you how things work under the hood, behind the screen.

  • But the expectation management issue is nothing to scoff at either. I believe conveyance & affordance are parts of the design that can't be neglected just because there's an "Read the manual, we told you the set up in the disclaimer at the bottom of the license agreement"
    This is very true!

  • I think the chess analogy is great!

    One important part is that the creative goals of those two chess games are entirely different. The old couple are playing proper chess. The kids are playing a fun "pretending to play chess" game, but, realistically, there's something else they're getting out of it, or they'll get bored of it pretty fast (maybe they're trying to make their numbers and letter rhyme or something).

    Switch partners and they're both screwed!

    I still think the most useful way to proceed is to lean on actual play, or, failing that, made-up actual play examples. How does not committing to full blorb ruin our hypothetical traditional-technique Narrativist game?

    Your walkthrough was... interesting, but it doesn't in any way address what Deliverator was saying: in your mental model of various roleplaying types, you've omitted a fourth option, which is what we're talking about. That type wasn't included in the walkthrough, and, unfortunately, it's what we're trying to discuss.

    I do think it's entirely possible that you've never experienced that type of play, as one possible explanation (that kind of thing is entirely possible in a lot of these discussions!).




  • (The three pillars are "conflict, discovery, interaction", the three principles are "three tiers of truth, wallpaper saliency, saliency time zoom", the five four techniques are "information separation, max 1 player per character, identifying stance, GM plays world")
    Love this! It's great. :)
  • edited June 3
    I still think the most useful way to proceed is to lean on actual play, or, failing that, made-up actual play examples. How does not committing to full blorb ruin our hypothetical traditional-technique Narrativist game?

    My thinking is that it’s hard to get invested when what you’re colliding with isn’t solid, when it just melts into air.

    Your walkthrough was… interesting, but it doesn’t in any way address what Deliverator was saying: in your mental model of various roleplaying types, you’ve omitted a fourth option, which is what we’re talking about. That type wasn’t included in the walkthrough, and, unfortunately, it’s what we’re trying to discuss.

    The intent was that the “five techs in a hippie game” would cover that ground, just as it did for Lady Blackbird.

    You also said you weren’t that familiar with BW yourself, Paul, so…?

    But I’ll go through it again and add in BW specific comments.

    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. BW specific: instead, players could be joining in when it came to creating entities designed to challenge beliefs. (moconnor indicated that some groups already played this way)
    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 BW specific: Obv the detailed resolution on the micro level (“fight”, “battle of wits”) adds to the “play to find out” appeal of BW so this can stay. I already said that this one was dumb, all kinds of games are allowed to use resolution mechanics. In Burning Empires specifically, the dispo on the macro level was very disappointing and and made the whole campaign work in a way that was very dissatisifying to me.
    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 BW specific: e.g. giving over responsibility of each other’s instincts could be a cool technique.
    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 BW specific: The Circles already does this but to me it’s jarring that it’s only then; I get motion sick that I can’t be in a consistent stance, I approach the activity of creating the game world very differently from the activity of living in the game world i.e. performing actions in the game world; in a blorby game I want very separate modes for these (character creation mode vs game day mode); in an unblorby game I’d want the creation part of the brain to be always engaged
    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. BW specific: see introducing entities under “information separation” above

    Those are for the line of argument saying that BW wouldn’t be good as a fully blorby game…. Conversely, one could argue that BW would be better if it were more blorbified, or that it can be considered fully blorb already, that the introduction of elements is analogous to map keys and encounter tables. I am not making that latter claim though. I just don’t know.

  • I think Burning Wheel is far closer to a blorb game than a hippie game, by your criteria (and most people's). If you make it less "traditional", that will make it less appealing to a lot of the game's fans.

    You're right that it asks you to "switch stances" sometimes, in limited and circumscribed areas. So do PbtA games.

    Some people are bothered by this. Some people aren't bothered by it at all - they love it! Still others are a bit bothered, but they accept it because they like the effects on play, and that's a worthwhile tradeoff for them.
  • edited June 4
    Hello,

    I just had an epiphany while reading @moconnor's description of Klockwerk in the "Half-myth" (why Burning Wheel is a no myth game) thread.

    This is no way meant to disparage or in any way cast shadows on Sandra's game style but I think what she's attempting to create is the anti-Turing Machine Test experience. Rather than programming a computer to converse with people for the purpose of trying to convince the user that he/she is talking to a human Sandra seems to trying to a human using blorb/glorical/Klockwerk trying to convince humans at the table that she's "not there." Or to be more specific not exercising her human agency. If she isn't "there" then what the players are experiencing must be the result of a "real" alternate reality.

    I'm neither endorsing or not endorsing this as effective, but it certainly ties a lot of the disparate pieces together in my (rather simple) mind.

    Just a thought.

    Best,

    Jay

    Edit - changed "Machine" to "Test" because I'm an idiot and Sandra corrected me because she's cool like that!
  • How far in advance do highly detailed blorborriffic areas get created, when a big part of play is actual exploration?


    The next dungeon/town over? One in each cardinal direction, plus the ones from each of those?
    When inspiration strikes, when I happen to read a suitable adventure or city description, when something seems relevant for player character background, or when the players seem to be on the way somewhere.

    Railroaded modules are scrubbed clear of rails - preset events turned into random ones, mostly, and random encounter tables need to be added. Once triggered (players interact or choose to not interact with a location), it starts living its own life, which breaks the railroads quite effectively and creates new content for play, too.

    How does it work with, say, a science fiction genres, as opposed to fantasy genre, where you're dealing with the issue on a multi-planet, planet-wide scale?
    You ask the players what they are planning to do and prep based on that. Have good random tables or develop them in play. It would be more challenging, but I do believe there is a fair amount of pre-written scifi content already available. If you go for more fantastic scifi, then there is Star wars and Starfinder (scifi Pathfinder); with harder scifi, there might be stuff for Traveller and probably some Star frontiers things would also work. Then there are all possible movies and computer games - Starcraft campaign scenarios would give fine pieces of overland maps, for example. Some locations/space ships in Alien movies could be used.

    How do you avoid playing into your players' interests in the name of a consistent world?
    By using random tables, thinking how likely things would be and rolling dice, and by having a varied set of players.

    And, while I can see a single person committing to it as designer/GM, I just don't see how that works out well in the long-term for that person, nor do I see how it encourages anyone else to take up that same level of commitment.
    I have been running a sandbox world for several years now; sometimes with different rules systems, sometimes at cons. I have moved twice, and occasionally still run a game for the people in the city and country where I started the campaign/world.

    Many parts of the game world are quite familiar and have layers of history.

    What do you do to confine play within an area to allow better blorbiness? I mean, at the campaign level.

    How does it impact play if players seem intent on ignoring content and going off the map, so to speak.

    How do you react to that? In game, out of game?

    What kind of setting works best with blorbiness? Is there a point at which a setting is effectively mined out for your purposes?

    At what point is it legit to re-use unexplored blorbied-up areas? Or is it really never legit, and the temptation to do so is treading on thin ice?
    Explicitly talking to the players is a good option. Another is to plop a suitable map/adventure to fill the empty place, if you know of any; and if you know of several that would be good fits, roll a die.
    Here, "suitable" means that it fits with what has already been established in the fiction.

    The setting would have to be quite small and isolated to really become empty - someone will grab power, creatures will move in from elsewhere if there is unclaimed space, etc. There are neighbouring regions.

    Of course, any given group of player characters might settle in and retire, which establishes yet another set of non-player characters that will shape the world further and can be interacted with by new characters.

    ...

    For me, the important thing is to consider the game world as a larger thing, and the given set of player characters as an incidental disruptive force that changes things and acts.
  • edited June 4
    Hello,

    I just had an epiphany while reading @moconnor's description of Klockwerk in the "Half-myth" (why Burning Wheel is a no myth game) thread.

    This is no way meant to disparage or in any way cast shadows on Sandra's game style but I think what she's attempting to create is the anti-Turing Machine experience. Rather than programming a computer to converse with people for the purpose of trying to convince the user that he/she is talking to a human Sandra seems to trying to a human using blorb/glorical/Klockwerk trying to convince humans at the table that she's "not there." Or to be more specific not exercising her human agency. If she isn't "there" then what the players are experiencing must be the result of a "real" alternate reality.
    Anti-Turing Test, not Anti-Turing Machine (yeah I know, confusing, but Alan Turing invented several things).

    That is definitely a big part of my DMing style and a big goal I have, yes.

    And yeah, there's a big overlap with, but not exactly the same as, my other big philosophical goal which is that the dungeon room (or whatever) should be a precommited, "real" thing and not something I make-up as we go. In this room there is a big, vertical, flat object under a moldy yellow curtain. What that object is (a mirror) and what properties that object has (it's dangerous, in a specific way, to look at) is already set way before you even knew about the room.

    Edit. I think you are even more right than I originally gave you credit for. Considering my reaction to this post of Paul's about disclaiming decision-making on introduction of entities in Apocalypse World.
  • @Thanuir

    Thanks for the post but it does leave me wondering about a couple things.

    1) That's pretty much how I would do an Old School game too. On the other hand, my impression was that 2097 was going for something even more solid than that, with much more pre-game prep than that, which is what has been confusing me while watching this conversation.


    2) This next part is possibly a bad derail, but I'm trying to figure out how I'd make 2097's on-steroids version of pre-game prep work with either Boot Hill or Gangbusters, two of my old-timey favorite TSR games. Both of them have rather nice, simple setting modules for them, but both have larger adventure modules that I have a hard time envisioning working with anything like an explore in any direction set up, at any time. Neither one's module are quite so site-based as D&D modules ( or general fantasy RP modules of the earliest styles). Since you name checked it, neither are the Star Frontiers modules really. Even the first Volturnus is only barely an example, and it starts off fairly railroad with the Taking of the Eleanor Morales.( Did I remember that name right after all these years?)
  • On the other hand, my impression was that 2097 was going for something even more solid than that, with much more pre-game prep than that, which is what has been confusing me while watching this conversation.

    Oh wow! No, OSR style is the model. Strict adherence to that but not more detail than that model. If anything, less, b/c wallpaper saliency principle.

    This next part is possibly a bad derail, but I’m trying to figure out how I’d make 2097’s on-steroids version of pre-game prep work with either Boot Hill or Gangbusters, two of my old-timey favorite TSR games. Both of them have rather nice, simple setting modules for them, but both have larger adventure modules that I have a hard time envisioning working with anything like an explore in any direction set up, at any time. Neither one’s module are quite so site-based as D&D modules ( or general fantasy RP modules of the earliest styles). Since you name checked it, neither are the Star Frontiers modules really. Even the first Volturnus is only barely an example, and it starts off fairly railroad with the Taking of the Eleanor Morales.( Did I remember that name right after all these years?)

    We gotchu fam, take a look at this thread

  • Ah, okay, that was my first thought as well, plop the more time-line with hooks type adventures into a sandbox environment.


    Hmm, maybe for that sort of game, the trick is to create When? type random tables, rather than What? type tables in a fantasy RPG. ( Thinking Gangbusters specifically here. Actually, Gangbusters is pretty sandboxy for criminals, and somewhat sandboxy for certain types of cops. It's really the Private Investigators, Detectives, and Reporters that benefit from the more Event & time-line oriented modules. Boot Hill gets a bit like that as well, but tends to be more open than GB anyway. That has some problems too.)
  • Hmm, maybe for that sort of game, the trick is to create When? type random tables, rather than What? type tables in a fantasy RPG.
    I've def done that. Making sure that some things could also never happen, if that was the will of the dice♥

  • How would you approach it? ( Placing timeline modules within a sandbox)

    Would you have some kind of random when ? chart that hints at preliminaries if it doesn't indicate the event itself begins?
    A bit like rumor tables crossed with the Threats/Fronts from Dungeon World?

  • 1) That's pretty much how I would do an Old School game too. On the other hand, my impression was that 2097 was going for something even more solid than that, with much more pre-game prep than that, which is what has been confusing me while watching this conversation.
    One thing I guess I do more than Sandra, but less than Eero, is to trust my spontaneous ideas to be hygienic. I just had a nice idea that a certain assassin the player characters hurt might send a message back, probably with a poison. It would fit their nature. But then: Would they have access to such a poison? No, their equipment has been defined. Could they manufacture some kind of poison? Possibly. so I set up probabilities and roll a die.

    The idea that they might use poison was one of these spontaneous ideas. They could just as well slipped away silently, for example, never to be heard from again. That is what another bad guy is planning to do, for example. I do not start second-guessing each such decision.

    2) This next part is possibly a bad derail, but I'm trying to figure out how I'd make 2097's on-steroids version of pre-game prep work with either Boot Hill or Gangbusters, two of my old-timey favorite TSR games. Both of them have rather nice, simple setting modules for them, but both have larger adventure modules that I have a hard time envisioning working with anything like an explore in any direction set up, at any time. Neither one's module are quite so site-based as D&D modules ( or general fantasy RP modules of the earliest styles). Since you name checked it, neither are the Star Frontiers modules really. Even the first Volturnus is only barely an example, and it starts off fairly railroad with the Taking of the Eleanor Morales.( Did I remember that name right after all these years?)
    One needs to take the rails off the adventures, turn set-piece encounters into random ones, etc. I think the Volturnus adventure (I have only read them and that was some years back) had something like the players meeting some intelligent species at "dramatic" times; just turn those into random encounters. Use something like reaction rolls to determine who are friendly and who not. Turn scripted events into random ones; roll when the invaders land and start their attack, either by making it an encounter table entry or adding a separate larger scale event table, or just saying it happens in d20 months.

    If the adventure has all the events focused on the scripted path the players take, you might want to add more content to other places on the map, too.

    You are grabbing locations, monsters, NPC:s, and the setting from the adventure, not the plot. For some adventures it might not be worth it to do this; you would gain too little and throw away too much. In that case, find a better adventure or source to mine.

    I am not familiar with Boot hill or Gangbusters. For a western, I would imagine that many D&D villages would be fine, since they always have general stores and other western colour.

    If Gangbusters is more urban, then you might want to find as a good a map of the city as possible. Maybe get some inspiration, or at least a review of existing technology, from Alexandrian's writing on urban adventuring: https://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/36473/roleplaying-games/thinking-about-urbancrawls (a long series)

    Non-player characters with lists of goals, personality and resources at hand might be the most useful kind of prep, there. The "resources at hand" is often missing from or mostly handwaved in character drama games, but if the game has a challenge dimension, then it is vital.
  • In my actual practice that's how I'd run the poison guy too. A tier three truth. In the longer run I'd want to create a rule for that kinda assassin mail behavior though. Move it up to tier two.♥
  • Thanuir:

    With Boot Hill, I could see that working, since D&D has Old Western DNA. OTOH, some of them are a bit more locally focused and time-line-ish too.

    The Gangbusters modules are mysteries* with timelines. That's where things get a bit trickier. Without those modules or something similar, PIs, Plain clothes Division Detectves, and Reporters have little to nothing to do.

    Decent mysteries emulating classic styles of books and film can certainly be tricky to do, especially ones with commitment to prep, so those modules are god sends.

    *Well, okay, the modules after GB1: Trouble Brewing, which is a setting module (with a nice fictional city that ties to the maps in the boxed set) and a series of events meant to set up a power vacuum in the local underworld. All the stuff in the first one could easily be expanded into a decent sand box.


    [Total side note: I kinda want to create a tool called the " Wait, so why is everybody else acting all mysterious then ?!?!" Worksheet. Any given mystery is actually pretty straight forward. It's just that absolutely everyone else involved is trying to hide their own personal, possibly criminal but unrelated, dirt that they muddy everything up. Or, they try to cover for someone else they think is dirty. Whatever. Mystery writing is hard...)
  • edited June 4
    Hey @komradebob,

    Did you ever read Chris Lehrich's posts in the thread Mysteries. Step by step instructions?

    The first post is a general overview about how mysteries work especially WRT RPGs.

    The second post is a step by step process of how to run one.

    Best,

    Jay
  • I moved some of the Gangbusters/Boot Hill discussion over to that old thread
  • Hi Sandra,

    You asked me question up thread that I promise I will get to, but I wanted to expand a little bit on the anti-Turing Test idea that I spitballed just above.

    I'm reading all your pre-game prep of the world as the "Initial Conditions" used in your Turing Machine. (This time I think I am using the term correctly...I hope). Your algorithms are your hard resolution mechanics and pre-generated tables of random encounters. From there the machine idles until the players do something that the machine is programmed to recognize or a random encounter is triggered.

    To prove to the players that you are indeed not exercising Agency you have the Social Contract stipulations about your notes being available. You also use the Hyper Clarity process so the players can indeed see that it's "truly" the algorithms that are resolving the tasks and that you are in no way involved. Yet that's not entirely true. The new combat system that you created with the help of posters here to create powerful and exciting combats is an expression of your creative aesthetics about how the game should be played/experienced. Yet for all your efforts the combat system is highly stylized and does not match the real world in the least. Nothing wrong with that at all as no combat system replicates "reality." Huzzah for succeeding! But this does clash with the idea of wanting to create "reality." What you've created does not come even close to how "real" combat works and from my perspective nor should it. It is designed in a way that really, really jazzes you and your players and that rawks. But that is not reality, that's buy in.

    I just wanted to point out that the world "real" or "reality" just doesn't apply to a exercise that is imaginary. What you are trying to create for your players is a strong sense of plausibility via credibility. As long as how the game rolls comports with their sense of plausibility then the sense of real in strengthened. But there is no real. If the players ever truly felt that what they were experiencing in game was objectively real then they would, definitionally, be dissociating from reality - hallucinating if you will. They would stop miming their combat actions and just start hacking at your with whatever could be pressed into service as a weapon.

    I just found this in this thread and it references game prep and Fang Langford -
    Preparation: By this formulation, preparation simply amounts to one player's construction of an imaginary space which he wants to make shared. But the only way that space becomes shared is through progressive Validations, leading to Integrations; in short, the other players must Abduce the total space. All the preparation in the world is not play, because it doesn't create Proposals; semiotically, there are no signs, because all signs require an interpretant to be such, and since there are no signs, no Abduction can occur. One person creating a personal language in a closet is doing something, but it's not communication.

    This reminds me of some old threads about No Myth gamemastering. Fang Langford emphasized this 'myth' that prepared material was already present in the game, and said that on the contrary, nothing is present in the shared space until it's, well, shared. The semiotic model would support that conclusion: you can Explore a pre-prepared space, just as you can Explore a totally open-ended one, and either way it requires addition because it requires successive Abductions and Deductions.
    We run into further questions about creating a "reality" that is really real when we consider just how complex the world is. Do you model a tree falling in a forest using material sciences equations for wood? When characters ford a strong do you use fluid dynamics equations to model the forces of the water? Do you take into account why the tree fell? What is merely diseased or was it dead? Did a beaver have a hand in it or was it Wood Boring Beetles? Perhaps it was a long drought? Do you model weather using nonlinear mathematics? What about flooding? Do you model the wildlife populations and how they all interact with each other? No. Of course not. Because information of this sort just isn't salient most of the time and when it is a reasonable representation is plausible enough. But whatever that representation is it is neither accurate or 'real', just plausible enough to stand in for our conception of "reality."

    The point is in an RPG the very idea of a "tangible really 'real' world" is really just a construct - a castle in the air, if you will. One that you've worked very very hard to construct. You've also made many many aesthetic choices to are really just expressions of your personal tastes. It's all good. The same goes with the process of play you've created.

    My game has been described as opaque (for understandable reasons but its really a matter of CA expectation mismatch) yet you work very very hard to keep the black curtain closed with regards to your creative input. From what I can noodle out is that you've placed your Agency at a full step removed from actual game play. IOW you express your agency about how the game should be run (from both a designer and an aesthetic perspective) in your game pregen and the various random tables and your growing and evolving resolution mechanics. Which, from what I've seen, are hard core Task Resolution methods which suits your Klockwerk/blorb very well. The idea of "fairness" matched with intense reliance on Task Resolution very strongly suggests a Challenge based game. No changing things willy-nilly here. If the player has a sucky outcome that the way life breaks. If the game stalls and goes nowhere for hours in real time, tough luck. That's the way life works.

    However, I think lots of the problems in these threads is the lack of a common vocabulary and people arguing back and forth about this game and that game without a conceptual framework is really hurting the process. I think I'll start a thread just for that purpose but in effort to open and honest I make to claim to the actual text. It was written by someone much smarter than I.

    Best,

    Jay
  • edited June 5
    No no. There is a mistake here, a confusion. It's not realistic realism that klokwerk does. Its not about verisimilitude or plausibility.
    It's ontological realism. The state of the game doesn't change when you go to sleep. There's hard memory keeping it. That kind of realness : continuity of existence.
  • Hi @DeReel,
    No no. There is a mistake here, a confusion. It's not realistic realism that klokwerk does. It's ontological realism. The state of the game doesn't change when you go to sleep. There's hard memory keeping it. That kind of realness : continuity of existence.
    That's the problem. Memory is not the ontological "thing". It's a representation of some external reality as run through the subjective filter of the person experiencing the event. The memory of an event is not the ontological event itself. To use an analogy it is the finger pointing to the moon, but it is not the moon itself. Or put another way the memory is our cognitive map of the ontological reality but it is not reality itself. All memories are subjective.

    Best,

    Jay
  • So you, Sil, bring up some interesting distinctions like they’re not actually gonna start hacking atcha, similar to the Frank Lantz talk I linked to earlier, when he says that if we were playing a super immersive game there would be no “game” left, we’d be in another world and we’d have to look down pick up some virtual pebbles or whatever and play chess with them.

    And, OK, fair. Let’s use your definitions that it is a game, that it is made up. (For the purps of I don’t want to get into a semantics fight. Since me calling it “real” caused a lot of peeps to check out.)

    This reminds me of some old threads about No Myth gamemastering. Fang Langford emphasized this “myth” that prepared material was already present in the game, and said that on the contrary, nothing is present in the shared space until it’s, well, shared. The semiotic model would support that conclusion: you can Explore a pre-prepared space, just as you can Explore a totally open-ended one, and either way it requires addition because it requires successive Abductions and Deductions.

    I used to believe it was a myth too until I saw it happen.

    If you have a game set up where the canon game-state includes things that haven’t been shared yet, i.e. you have hidden info…

    … and that isn’t that big of a claim. Imagine a game like Battleship or Rock-Paper-Scissors or Poker. In those games there are things in the game state that are canon, that are immutable, but that are not shared. The “myth” would have it that those games do not exist…

    … if you have such a game in a roleplaying game, where there is a canon 5-wide, 8-high corridor going 35 feet forward until it splits in a T intersection to the left and right, and it’s dark, and there are cobwebs, and if that corridor existed even before the players heard of it, before it was “shared”….

    then the DM and the players would be inside of the same “unreal, gamey, not-like-real-combat, not-like-reality, its-just-a-game, dream logic”

    There is symmetry with regards to the degree of “reality” or “canonicity” that the two sides are treating the prepared material.

    It’s not just the GM spinning a yarn and barfing forth apocalyptica anymore. It’s a system/object/set-of-entities that both you and the DM are treating with the same degree of respect.

    Like, when I’m doing phone-grocery-shopping, I can’t go “and then buy some angel wings, and some heaven pie, and then take some money from money tree”… I can’t just make up things. I have to be like “OK they have frozen corn right? Oh, they’re out? Get canned then”. Because the signifier has a referent.

    The “made-up” “game” has the curious and interesting property that there is a canon offscreen gamestate that the DM and the players are interacting with, through an assymmetrical interface (by design) but with a symmetrical degree of canonicity.

    Joueur (Fang) and Chris Lehrich, if they still believe it’s just a myth, are like the chess-playing kids in this analogy. I don’t know if they still are; it’s been 15 years since they wrote that, and back in 2004, I thought it was a myth too. Heck even in 2010 I thought it was a myth; that was before I got my own semiotics degree and could see that they didn’t know what they were talking about.

    First, the classic, never-answered question in semiotics is how you get from Sign to Referent. If by Referent you mean an actual physical thing, the answer is you don’t. But here, you actually do, because all Referents are part of an imagined space, not a physical one. Thus things (referents) are actually constructed through signification (Proposals, language, signs, etc.).

    This is incorrect on kind of two levels.

    First of all, his limiting the word “sign” to utterances-made-at-the-table does not have support in the literature. If I write “Silmenume is a sweetheart” in my secret diary that only I can read, that is still me using signs in a semiotic sense. Chris’ language-in-a-closet quip was kinda (wilfully?) ignorant because obviously there is an interpretant—the Dungeon Master!

    Second, regardless of which definition of “sign” is in use, the referents aren’t constructed through utterances-made-at-the-table. They are constructed, or integrated, at prep time (or, worst case, at the third truth tier). That’s why I have such a hangup with injection of entities into the diegesis—because they are referents in the semiotic model.

  • A correct post by DeReel.
    That's the problem. Memory is not the ontological "thing". It's a representation of some external reality as run through the subjective filter of the person experiencing the event. The memory of an event is not the ontological event itself. To use an analogy it is the finger pointing to the moon, but it is not the moon itself. Or put another way the memory is our cognitive map of the ontological reality but it is not reality itself. All memories are subjective.
    He meant hard "memory" in the figurative sense; records. In other words: notes, not neurons.

    Since the referent is diegetical, the record is the ontology.
  • No no. There is a mistake here, a confusion. It's not realistic realism that klokwerk does. Its not about verisimilitude or plausibility.
    It's ontological realism. The state of the game doesn't change when you go to sleep. There's hard memory keeping it. That kind of realness : continuity of existence.
    As I just said, this post is perfect. Thank you DeReel. Much appreciated. I feel validated, seen & understood.
  • Hard memory is not really subjective. If I write in my prep "3 Ogres" or "Kobayashi deals in corporate bounds with a biker gang" that's that. Oh sure, that needs an interpreter. But that doesn't mean I can interpret it as 4 goblins or Kobayashi being clean. It's not THAT kind of subjective.
  • edited June 5
    Sil thought you meant normal human memory. In French, he thought you meant rappelant, when you meant mémoire.
  • I like where this is going, and I totally understand the "kind of realness" Sandra and DeReel are describing here. I think that's valid and a real thing to talk about.

    However, I feel - and have felt all along - that pretending something which isn't real is tangible is a vital part of roleplaying, and a big part of what makes "klockwerk" tick. Yes.

    But... claiming that a game with a prepped dungeon is somehow fundamentally "more real" than one without is self-delusion, in my opinion.

    To lose sight of the fact that we're all sitting around at a table making stuff up seems... completely dishonest, in my opinion.

    When you tell your friend to get some "angel wings and heaven pie", of course she can't do that, because she's in an actual, physical store and there is no "heaven pie" there. In an RPG, you can always say that, yes, there is heaven pie, and from now the game state has changed: to ignore that we can (and do!) constantly "change the contents of the store" is a huge oversight.

    If that wasn't the case, errors and misunderstandings couldn't happen. That would be impossible!

    Sure, at Sandra's table we all buy into a collective delusion that there is something real we're interacting with, and she does her best to maintain that through her prep, principles, and resolution techniques, but it's still a - constructive and fun, sure! but a - delusion.

    It's easy to prove, because if anyone ever screws up and misreports something, that supposedly "real thing" is instantly transformed. In the real grocery store, there's no chance of coming home with some "angel wings". In this kind of game, all it takes is for the friend to say, "sure, I'll get you some angel wings" and bam! the grocery now has angel wings and (even more importantly) has had angel wings all along.

    In short, I don't think any amount of discussion about how 'real' something like this might feel discredits with Silmenume and Chris Lehrich and Le Joueur are saying about the idea of "Myth". To claim otherwise is extremely dishonest.
  • But… claiming that a game with a prepped dungeon is somehow fundamentally “more real” than one without is self-delusion, in my opinion.

    To avoid this semantic-layer debate, which to me is kind of “finger pointing at moon” rather than “moon” level, we are tryning to use “offscreen canon game-state” rather than “real”. I’d love to get into a more poetic talk about “realness” once we’re done with all of this and we’re all the same page but for now, I’ve tried to table it, side step it by using vocabulary hopefully more palatable to you.

    Imagine a game like Battleship or Rock-Paper-Scissors or Poker. In those games there are things in the game state that are canon, that are immutable, but that are not shared. The [view that it is a] “myth” would have it that those games do not exist…

    See, I’m using the more palatable vocabe “canon offscreen gamestate”.

    When you tell your friend to get some “angel wings and heaven pie”, of course she can’t do that, because she’s in an actual, physical store and there is no “heaven pie” there. In an RPG, you can always say that, yes, there is heaven pie, and from now the game state has changed: to ignore that we can (and do!) constantly “change the contents of the store” is a huge oversight.

    When you are doing that in an RPG (saying “from now on there is heaven pie”), you are injecting entities into the diegesis which is the exact interaction I want our newly carved out design space to moderate.

    It’s easy to prove, because if anyone ever screws up and misreports something, that supposedly “real thing” is instantly transformed.

    As you saw from that example, which was an example of a mistake where I accidentally broke the rules of our table (“correctly report the diegetical entities”), the canon off-screen gamestate took precedence over what had been shared at the gametable. This is a direct falsification of Chris’ claim.

    In short, I don’t think any amount of discussion about how ‘real’ something like this might feel discredits with Silmenume and Chris Lehrich and Le Joueur are saying about the idea of “Myth”. To claim otherwise is extremely dishonest.

    “Delusional” is ablist and “extremely dishonest” is uncharitable. Let’s look at what I actually wrote:

    And, OK, fair. Let’s use your definitions that it is a game, that it is made up. (For the purps of I don’t want to get into a semantics fight. Since me calling it “real” caused a lot of peeps to check out.)

    Here is me reiterating what we had already started doing upthread, moving away from the “realness” vocab.

    If you have a game set up where the canon game-state includes things that haven’t been shared yet, i.e. you have hidden info…

    Here is me using that less offensive (less “delusional”:bawling:) vocab.

    then the DM and the players would be inside of the same “unreal, gamey, not-like-real-combat, not-like-reality, its-just-a-game, dream logic”

    Here is me refering to the games reality as unreal.

    There is symmetry with regards to the degree of “reality” or “canonicity” that the two sides are treating the prepared material.

    It’s not just the GM spinning a yarn and barfing forth apocalyptica anymore. It’s a system/object/set-of-entities that both you and the DM are treating with the same degree of respect.

    Here is me emphasising the canonicity / establishedness over the “realness”, and emphasising the symmetrical degree of “reality” rather than going “wow man that mirror felt so real it was cosmic man”.

    Second, regardless of which definition of “sign” is in use, the referents aren’t constructed through utterances-made-at-the-table. They are constructed, or integrated, at prep time (or, worst case, at the third truth tier). That’s why I have such a hangup with injection of entities into the diegesis—because they are referents in the semiotic model.

    And here is the importantest part. Chris made some errors in his argument, I pointed out two of them [I figured I’d start there] and the most relevant one to our research is when he said that the referents were constructed at the “proposal”/utterance level. (I’m using the construct at-the-table-utterance to not reinforce his misuse of “sign”; “at-the-table-utterances” are a subset of signs that consist of things being shared between players, such as “OK, you see a 5 feet wide corridor, what do you do?”.) This is demonstrably a false statement.

    A cornercase of our position is that these referents are constructed when they are injected, as entities, into the diegesis at prep time rather than, as Chris and Fang says, being constructed only later, when they are shared between participants.

    Going from that statement to “Sandra is delusional” or “Sandra is extremely dishonest” is frankly rude.

    Let me bring it back to the “there is now heaven pie” example.

    In AW the rule is that you add the one die to the other die and then add in your stat and that is the sum that you are comparing to the 7–9 or whatever. Someone could say I’m gonna also add in the number of toes I have on the left foot to that sum. But they would be breaking a rule of the game. Producing the number you use to compare to the 7–9 or whatever is governed by a rule of the game.

    In full blorb, injecting entities (“heaven pie”) into the diegesis is similarly governed by rules of the game.

  • I'm not sure I follow, so perhaps I'll just step back for a bit and read/listen.

    I should clarify that I have no intention of referring to anyone here (and certainly not you!) as delusional or dishonest - I just wanted to make sure no one was making such a ridiculous claim. Since you've clarified that you're not, you can safely ignore my comments on the subject. :)
  • OK thanx♥
    I'm gonna go to bed for a while
    Feel free to reread those posts♥
  • (It sorta breaks my heart to move away from the "real"/"tangible" vocab into the more palatable game-state canonicity vocab. Like that old song lyrics ("Warm Fuzzy Feeling" by Fastball) — "It breaks my heart to look around and see the unimpressed that can't believe the Empereror is dressed." ♥♥♥)
  • I find the 'real' thing irritating. It doesn't actually clarify anything and tends to leads to disagreement about trivialities rather than a focus on the actual mechanics.

    You can create a literal holodeck and somewhere out there is an old rfga sim guy who'll walk in, shake his head, and utter 'all wrong.'
  • I already said we are moving away from it for now.
  • Hi Sandra,
    Sil thought you meant normal human memory. In French, he thought you meant rappelant, when you meant mémoire.
    Thank you for your kindness in clearing that misunderstanding up.

    Best,

    Jay
  • Thank you for your patience & generosity Jay
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