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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanaelialae View Post
    That by no means implies that PCs are limited to those, and only those, choices. It seems to me as though some people are taking this idea to that rather extreme and unrealistic conclusion.
    That, unfortunately, is par for the course on internet forums.

    It's an interesting organizational scheme, and I can see how it might have advantages. I'll have to give it a shot the next time I'm DMing.
    It is an interesting way of doing things. I have a good friend that does improv comedy. I was talking to him one day about it and how he handled hecklers, because he was a master at it. What he told me was that everything that looks "natural" in his comebacks has actually been thought about hundreds of times. He takes time specifically to think about comebacks, and the more he practices them in his mind, the better he gets at them, and at "improvising" new ones on the fly.

    This method is a way to have a flexible plan. A plan can be more easily altered than trying to come up with a plan on the fly. It allows you to more easily improv an "unexpected" outcome. It's also very possible that the "unexpected" outcome is already in you plan.

    There used to be a series of threads here on ENWorld that took the "classic", and some of the "not so classic" adventures, and mapped out the possibilities of outcomes. It was incredibly surprising to see that some of the most "railroady feeling" adventures actually had quite a bit of options. It was also interesting to see that a lot of the "classics" had a structure that promoted the "illusion of choice" and still provided very good playability. Each node in the adventure thread its way through multiple subsequent nodes.

    Just because you have in mind who your villain is, and where he's located, does not mean that the adventure is a railroad. That is taking the idea to an extreme.
    Last edited by D'karr; Friday, 23rd December, 2011 at 01:49 PM.
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  • #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    I think you draw some hair-fine distinctions between collaboration and cooperation that may not be widely shared.
    The differences between cooperative and collaborative learning are fine, but plenty of people do make the distinction I do. Each is a kind of inverse of each other, like discovery and invention. Did we discover fire or invent it? Both coop & collab are based on small group unity and working together, but it isn't a distinction I would toss aside so quickly. Call of Cthulhu is a boardgame where players cooperate to defeat an Elder God. Could they also be working collaboratively to create a story? Maybe, but what is the goal? To create a story or reach an end? In CoC it's okay not to work cooperatively and as a co-op game every choice and action taken in the game has that choice of acting cooperatively or not inherent to it.
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  • #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz View Post
    Lots of possibilities lurk between rescued and not rescued in terms of relevant consequences. The how and why she is or is not rescued may matter tremendously.

    (At least, if you're working with a GM and not a guided adventure book.)
    Could you elucidate a few for me please? Because I'm really not seeing a big difference here. You have total success and complete failure. Sure there might be some shadings in between, but either you rescue the princess or you don't.

    As to the whole "Colaborative storytelling" schtick - again, I'm totally not seeing the difference between a game where you explore the DM's imaginary setting based on a fixed set of parameters set by the game and the table and a collaborative story being generated where you explore the DM's imaginary setting based on a fixed set of parameters set by the game and the table.

    I'm really not seeing the line that's being drawn here.

    In any RPG, you cannot avoid creating all of the elements of a story. You have setting, you have character and during play, you generate plot.

    What else is there? If you have setting, character and plot, you have a story. There's no avoiding it. The point of play is to create that story. Even if you don't want to create a story, you have no choice in the matter. The second that you are playing a game with plausible consequences which follow a logic sequence based on elements drawn from character and setting, you have a story.

    I've yet to ever, ever see an RPG that didn't create a story during play. I'd argue that this is primarily what sets RPG's apart from any other game form. I don't have to create a story during Monopoly because there's no character there. I don't have to create a story during Bingo, because there's no character, setting OR plot.

    But, in every single RPG out there, every single one, without fail, there is setting, plot and character. All of the elements of a story are generated in play. It's completely unavoidable.

    This distinction between "my game" and "collaborative story games" is ludicrous and entirely blind to what is actually occurring at every single RPG game table every single time an RPG is played.
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  • #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    I don't have to create a story during Monopoly because there's no character there. I don't have to create a story during Bingo, because there's no character, setting OR plot.
    To each his own. It's difficult to say what isn't narrative creation. I see story as past in any endeavor, including all those games you listed. Once existence is defined as story creation we have to be careful not to turn it into an absolute. I've been trying to point out some alternate ways of thinking about the process. I bet there are others.
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  • #25
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    So, I think people are missing my intent, which I can totally accept. I wrote that blog post while the idea was fresh on my mind and I could have expanded more. It was never meant to be all-inclusive or a single fix to all problems. It was to promote another way of thinking out story design. The conclusion (card 11, if you will) doesn't have to be black and white. I've see a couple people getting hung up on this. The cards help to lay things out spatially. Some people operate better this way--I am one of them.

    A lot of the AAA video game titles you see out there do the same thing, albeit on a larger scale. Take the recent Skyrim game. While it may appear that there is infinite opportunity and options in play, there is really only a few outcomes (no spoilers, I promise). The same goes for the Dragon Age titles, and others.

    If this method doesn't work for you, you shouldn't use it. I don't expect that people will think the same way I do in some regards. I just wanted to provide a separate view, and way of thinking of design concepts.
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  • #26
    What story is being created during Bingo? You have no characters, no plot, and no setting. The choice of one ball has absolutely no impact on the next ball, so there is no logical causal chain. It's a collection of purely random numbers. Heck the die roller here at En World can generate the same effect. Does that mean using the random die roller here I'm creating a story?

    I would say no. And, I'd say that anyone would have a pretty tough time chaining together a narrative based on the random selection of numbers and letters.

    Same with Monopoly. There is no character in Monopoly. You could add character I suppose, but, by the presumptions of the game, you don't. There is no causal chain of events either. I go from one space to another space based entirely on a random die roll. There's no reason why I go from Baltic to Vermont. I could add a reason, sure, but, again, the game is, in no way, changed by that.

    However, in any RPG, the chain of events from A to B to C is based on an in-game logic that is not only apparent to any observer, but is actually required in order to play the game. If I open the door, I don't suddenly find myself standing on a mountain without some sort of in-game causal reasoning. The door was trapped, teleporting me to the top of the mountain.

    Every event in an RPG has a causal chain that is defined by the game and the in-game logic. Thus, every single RPG in existence creates a narrative during play. It creates a causal chain of events that follows a (hopefully) consistent paradigm of that particular imagined space. Characters are not simply game pieces randomly jumping from points A to B to C. They are actors within that fictional space and the primary point of play is to experience that fictional space through the eyes of that fictional character, even if that fictional character is just an avatar for you personally in that fictional space.

    All RPG's work like this. Every single one. It's the most primary defining element of all RPG's and the biggest distinction of RPG's from every other form of game.
    The rules don't give the DM their authority. The consent of the players does. - Mallus

  • #27
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    I'm not sure how that refutes my blog post in predesigned adventure creation. It offers an option; not a forced absolute. Some groups need to be lightly pulled through. They need purpose, direction, and motivation--key elements to all stories. Card 11 can have 1,000,000 options if you want to cram it on there. That's fine. It's just a connector to the next part of the narritive, or the ending of the story.
    Last edited by Matt James; Saturday, 24th December, 2011 at 04:02 AM.
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  • #28
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    Lots of possibilities lurk between rescued and not rescued in terms of relevant consequences. The how and why she is or is not rescued may matter tremendously.
    Could you elucidate a few for me please? Because I'm really not seeing a big difference here. You have total success and complete failure. Sure there might be some shadings in between, but either you rescue the princess or you don't.
    Like I said, the details matter. The rescue or its failure may only be the beginning of potentially campaign-changing events.

    1. The party rescues her, but she lies about the way she was treated by her rescuers, making the PCs into outlaws.
    2. The party doesn't rescue her because she never needed rescuing- the kidnapping was staged
    3. She is not rescued because she is a succubus, they kill her, and the king believes them.
    4. She is not rescued because she is a succubus, they kill her, and the king does NOT believe them.
    5. The kidnapper killed her just hours after the crime- before the party was even sent to rescue her
    6. They don't rescue her because they find out the King is actually a polymorphed demon
    7. She is not rescued because the kidnapper actually brought her to her one true love, the Prince of a rival kingdom (Romeo & Juliet), but this brings peace.
    8. She is rescued even though the kidnapper actually brought her to her one true love, the Prince of a rival kingdom (Romeo & Juliet), starting a terrible war.
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  • #29
    Yes, but every single example you gave either the princess is rescued or not.

    Sure, there's lots of possibilities covered under, she's rescued or not rescued, but, at the end of the day, you've only got two possibilities. Everything else is just details. And, of all the examples you gave, you would not have all of them be possible in the same scenario would you?
    The rules don't give the DM their authority. The consent of the players does. - Mallus

  • #30
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    Yes, but every single example you gave either the princess is rescued or not.
    I didn't at any time say otherwise.

    My point was that the details of why the party succeed or don't matter, and may matter greatly. In some of those scenarios, rescuing the kidnap victim is a very bad thing- contained within the successful rescue is the hidden twist of a failure; others, the exact opposite.

    Some might consider those exemplars of third outcomes.* It doesn't matter, though: the point is that even though the kidnapped person is rescued, things may not end well for the PCs.

    And from that vantage, it isn't the rescue or failure to rescue hat ultimately matter, it's whether you get the happily ever after or not.
    And, of all the examples you gave, you would not have all of them be possible in the same scenario would you?
    All of them? No. But several are compatible...or at least, are not mutually exclusive.





    * and if the kidnapping was staged- scenario #2- she cannot be rescued or not rescued in any meaningful sense: she was never in danger, and you cannot fail to rescue someone who did not need rescuing.
    Last edited by Dannyalcatraz; Saturday, 24th December, 2011 at 05:48 AM.
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