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  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanaelialae View Post
    Effectively, like it or not, you're using loaded terminology. Yes, every campaign tells a story. However, not everyone plays to tell a collaborative story. Some people play because they enjoy the combat, some enjoy matching wits with the DM, and other simply want to pretend to be an elf for a few hours. In these latter cases, even though you end up with a story, it isn't necessarily a good story, because the goal is something other than telling a good story.
    None of that is important to the purpose of the game, though. Individual purposes for playing may differ, but the basic conceit of a roleplaying game is to provide a framework to take character from one adventure (story) to the next. They extended out of wargaming to provide a reason that a particular piece is a hero, and to allow for individual control of that hero as a character in a shared campaign. All of which really means collaborative story-telling.

    I think some people are, as Hussar noted, getting hung up on Forge terminology for "Story" games. Again, while not everyone has a goal of creating a collaborative story, that is what they are doing when they play a role in a campaign, whether they see it that way or not.

    And yes, indeed, everyone's individual life experiences DO form a story.

 

  • #102
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    As I look at the controversy this article has generated, I see another conflict between sandbox and plot based campaigns, plain and simple.

    For those who run games with at least some shell of framework of a story, I think the idea Matt has presented is an excellent one. If you can work out the major plot/story points of an adventure, you can better prepare individual encounters and make your setpieces more interesting: you can create the encounters to make better use of 4E's dynamic battlefields by putting together terrain powers, making better maps, and choosing monsters that work together.

    If the players go "off card," you're in no worse shape than if you didn't do any of this work, and still have a series of interesting encounters to run eventually, even if you don't use them in the current game.

    When I run a convention scenario, I do exactly this sort of thing, and it tends to structure play in a game with a time limit very well. It's especially useful for timing the pacing of the game.

    Now for a sandbox player, all of what I've said is an anathema to their whole play style, and so this practice would seem to be less than useless. The point, I'd say is that the card setup isn't for you if you run a completely sandbox game. That's fine, but it also makes comments less useful, since if you run that kind of game, you won't use this system by default.

    What this article continues to convince me, is that if Matt ever designs his own RPG, I'm pre-ordering it right away, since his playstyle seems to be very similar to my own. So get that kickstarter going, pronto!
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    I play 4E, and it's every bit as much Dungeons and Dragons as any other edition, including the one(s) you play. No more, and no less.

  • #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercutio01 View Post
    None of that is important to the purpose of the game, though. Individual purposes for playing may differ, but the basic conceit of a roleplaying game is to provide a framework to take character from one adventure (story) to the next. They extended out of wargaming to provide a reason that a particular piece is a hero, and to allow for individual control of that hero as a character in a shared campaign. All of which really means collaborative story-telling.

    I think some people are, as Hussar noted, getting hung up on Forge terminology for "Story" games. Again, while not everyone has a goal of creating a collaborative story, that is what they are doing when they play a role in a campaign, whether they see it that way or not.

    And yes, indeed, everyone's individual life experiences DO form a story.
    I've already stated that I believe RPGs are collaborative storytelling games, however it seems to me that the disagreement is due to looking at the games at different levels.

    Play style appears to be one of those levels, and it disregards the Platonic nature of an RPG as irrelevant. For example, let's assume that you're a storyteller and I'm a hack-and-slash gamer. I don't think the fact that we're playing a collaborative story-telling is going to matter to you as much as the fact that my game more closely resembles a wargame than a novel. Sure, the narrative elements are there, but they're not in focus. Since you're a storyteller, my game will probably seem awful to you, despite that we're still technically involved in story telling.

    (For the record, the above is just an example. I have nothing against hack-and-slash, but it isn't my preferred style of play.)

    The other level asks what is an RPG? At this level, sure, you can't play an RPG without telling a story. Even the most basic hack-and-slash game is still an action story.

    I still believe that both answers are correct; it's simply that they're addressing subtly different questions or viewpoints. As with the number 42, the question can sometimes be more relevant than the answer. I don't think I'm expressing myself as well as I might, but I'm rather tired tonight and this seems about as good as it's going to get for the moment.

  • #104
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    Holy Sh...........what the hell happened to this thread? Save the analysis for the many sandbox vs plot threads. Has anyone used this idea? Did it work? Will you try it?

    I for one am happy to see people put out their ideas...but I will understand if Matt James doesn't do so again
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  • #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    But, that doesn't make sense. Your life is not structured by some outside agency to produce a series of events that get progressively more challenging culminating in a final, most challenging event.
    Uhm, Death?

    In fact the very reason why the Campbellian quest works so well translated into an RPG adventure is that it does have very strong resonance with our actual lives.

    I think you're hung up on 'structured by an outside agency', when in fact the events of a sandbox D&D game are structured by the players themselves, with random chance also often a major factor.
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  • #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    The opposite of sandbox is linear, railroading is just as easy to do in a sandbox as a linear adventure. And, sandboxes are simply a collection (or matrix) of plots for the players to interact with, otherwise you wind up with a litterbox campaign where the players run around in circles never actually accomplishing anything.
    IME the best open-campaign sandbox players are Nietszchean "value creators" who set their own goals and accomplish them, or fail to accomplish them. Eg in my Wilderlands campaign a player decided to rally the barbarian clans and fight the encroaching orcs to the south, and recent sessions of the campaign have centred around that, which was not something I had anticipated. The bunch of published adventures I had nested in the campaign area have mostly gone unused, but I'm fine with that.

    Not that there is anything wrong with the 'matrix' campaign either - although when I ran the Vault of Larin Karr matrix campaign the players did start mocking the way everything was interlinked, eg how every surface dungeon had its Underdark connection. So it's possible for a matrix to be too heavy-handed.
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  • #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanaelialae View Post
    In these latter cases, even though you end up with a story, it isn't necessarily a good story, because the goal is something other than telling a good story.
    IME, where I've run a campaign with the intent of it having a story-like structure, it tends to be considerably less entertaining than the open approach where PCs set their own goals. I think for a structured story-game to work well, it needs to centre around themes central to the PCs themselves: 'blank slate' generic PCs are terrible for a novelistic approach. And this raises the problem that if it centres on the PCs, the PCs are indispensable, so character death can derail the campaign. If Buffy dies (permanently) then Buffy the Vampire Slayer gets derailed. Likewise Luke Skywalker, Thomas Covenant, et al.
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    eriktheguy, on S'mon's latest idea:
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  • #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercutio01 View Post
    And yes, indeed, everyone's individual life experiences DO form a story.
    OK, well, as I said: RPGs are indeed story-creation games in that sense. Hussar seemed to be pushing beyond that though, claiming that RPG sessions MUST have elements that are lacking in the story of real-life events.
    ***Henry/S'mon Super Quick d20 NPC Generation System*** The Gods of the Copybook Headings With Terror and Slaughter Return!

    eriktheguy, on S'mon's latest idea:
    There are 2 major problems with your idea:
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    2: see 1

  • #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by S'mon View Post
    IME the best open-campaign sandbox players are Nietszchean "value creators" who set their own goals and accomplish them, or fail to accomplish them. Eg in my Wilderlands campaign a player decided to rally the barbarian clans and fight the encroaching orcs to the south, and recent sessions of the campaign have centred around that, which was not something I had anticipated. The bunch of published adventures I had nested in the campaign area have mostly gone unused, but I'm fine with that.

    Not that there is anything wrong with the 'matrix' campaign either - although when I ran the Vault of Larin Karr matrix campaign the players did start mocking the way everything was interlinked, eg how every surface dungeon had its Underdark connection. So it's possible for a matrix to be too heavy-handed.
    However, all those elements that your characters and players interacted with were placed there for the purpose of being interacted with. The "encroaching orcs" were done, presumably, by you the DM (or possibly the setting creators, I'm not overly familiar with the setting). Thus, we have a setting - Wilderlands, characters - both PC and NPC and a plot generated by both the players (rallying the barbarians) and the DM (encroaching orcs).

    Again, how is that not collaborative storytelling? The reason the orcs are encroaching is because it's interesting. It builds tension in the setting. A setting where nothing is happening would be boring. So, blow up - have an invasion. There. Now we have a challenge.

    You keep trying to draw this connection between real life generating a story and an RPG. However, you're ignoring the collaborative part of an RPG. In real life, no one is introducing challenges because it would be interesting to do so. In fact, most poeple are perfectly happy when there are no serious challenges going on in life and everything is smooth sailing.

    But, all this is still besides the point. The same as board games, even if real life does generate stories - So what? That doesn't change the fact that you cannot play an RPG without generating a story. You keep dodging that central fact and trying to point to other stuff that's unrelated.

    ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Fan*
    Effectively, like it or not, you're using loaded terminology.
    Yeah, it appears so. For some bizarre reason, story and plot are both considered 4 letter words whenever they get brought up in relation to RPG's. To me, saying that RPG's are an exercise in collaborative storytelling is like saying rain is wet. It's just true and there's really no way around it. The fact that despite several pages, not one person has managed to make a single example of playing an RPG without generating story pretty much proves that.

    But, yeah, I've thoroughly derailed this thread. Matt J, my appologies. I really shouldn't have gotten into this. It's chasing my own tail. Your idea is very cool and I'd like to give it a whirl sometime soon.
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  • #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    However, all those elements that your characters and players interacted with were placed there for the purpose of being interacted with. The "encroaching orcs" were done, presumably, by you the DM (or possibly the setting creators, I'm not overly familiar with the setting). Thus, we have a setting - Wilderlands, characters - both PC and NPC and a plot generated by both the players (rallying the barbarians) and the DM (encroaching orcs)..
    The encroaching orcs were placed there by the setting creator, who I think in this case was Rob Conley, working off some 35-year-old one-line entries in the original Wilderlands of High Fantasy. They became a focus of play because the player found them interesting, not because I found them interesting. AFAICR I had barely noticed them when deciding to set the campaign in that area - my initial campaign idea centred around an inn on the edge of the Lagoldurma Jungle, but the focus of play has moved well south from there. I hadn't developed the orcs until the player(s) decided to focus play on them, and doing so has been quite a challenge for me. I had done more development in other areas, especially the Neo-Nerathi, who were my own creation inspired by the 'Grey Company' entry in 'Threats to Nentir Vale'. Different players and PCs would have taken things in completely different directions again, eg hunting pirates on the ocean.
    ***Henry/S'mon Super Quick d20 NPC Generation System*** The Gods of the Copybook Headings With Terror and Slaughter Return!

    eriktheguy, on S'mon's latest idea:
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    2: see 1

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