Choose the Illusion: Dungeon Mastering - Page 7




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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Like I've said, you cannot play an RPG without creating a story. It's not possible. Therefore, RPG's are collaborative story telling games.
    It is true that they very well can be, as long as the participants are all in agreement to such including a willingness to adopt the role of storyteller.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz View Post
    And that definition would be?
    Paraphrasing:

    Story Now
    Commitment to producing, heightening, and resolving a generalizable, problematic aspect of human interaction through play itself.
    "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    S'mon - Ahh, now I see the problem. You are equating narrative (which is just a fancy word for story) with narrativist (a Forge term with a fairly specific definition distinct from narrative).
    In all fairness, it isn't very useful to rely on definitions that only a small subset of the community uses and buys into, at least unless you specify your terms in advance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExploderWizard View Post
    It is true that they very well can be, as long as the participants are all in agreement to such including a willingness to adopt the role of storyteller.
    Most activities in human experience have what we could call, "unintended consequences". What you intend, claim, agree, or want to happen does not fully define all the results of an endeavor.

    Now, for a particularly undesirable consequence, you can minimize the result. You can proceed such that the consequence does not influence how you go about your activity. You can stick the consequence off in the corner where nobody really cares about it. But that doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

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    Is it perhaps that some are taking issue with the idea of the game as a predefined story? Because I don't think that's what Hussar is necessarily saying.

    More that, an rpg has story-like elements such that, after play, you could describe what happened as a story. I'd agree with that.

    After all, "We wandered around in the woods for 4 hours and nothing happened. Then we went home," sounds like a terrible game to me, and it would also make for a terrible story. While I realize that not everyone plays for this reason, in one sense playing an rpg is much like engaging in collaborative story writing (or storytelling).

    The goal of our games isn't to tell a story, but many times we've sat around and reminisced, telling stories of games long gone.

    It doesn't imply that an rpg has a fixed ending or destination. Good games should respond to the player's actions. If you're playing a Yggsburgh game, it isn't unreasonable to assume that the "story" will eventually involve Castle Z. Of course, your players may surprise you and it might not go there at all. That's one of quirks of collaborative story creation; no one necessarily knows for certain where the story will end up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanaelialae View Post
    Is it perhaps that some are taking issue with the idea of the game as a predefined story? Because I don't think that's what Hussar is necessarily saying.

    More that, an rpg has story-like elements such that, after play, you could describe what happened as a story. I'd agree with that.

    After all, "We wandered around in the woods for 4 hours and nothing happened. Then we went home," sounds like a terrible game to me, and it would also make for a terrible story. While I realize that not everyone plays for this reason, in one sense playing an rpg is much like engaging in collaborative story writing (or storytelling).

    The goal of our games isn't to tell a story, but many times we've sat around and reminisced, telling stories of games long gone.

    It doesn't imply that an rpg has a fixed ending or destination. Good games should respond to the player's actions. If you're playing a Yggsburgh game, it isn't unreasonable to assume that the "story" will eventually involve Castle Z. Of course, your players may surprise you and it might not go there at all. That's one of quirks of collaborative story creation; no one necessarily knows for certain where the story will end up.
    I was reading some old threads and found this very interesting quote from Gary himself:
    An RPG creates a story, does not follow a script. That's a play, possibly improv theater. In a real RPG the GM develops a backstory and plot, sets the scenes, and then the PCs interact with those and by their actions create the actual tale, the events and conclusion of which are indeterminate until that occurs.
    I think this dovetails nicely with the "framework" that Matt is presenting. As the DM, the index card array serves as the plan for the scenes/decision points of the adventure. They don't restrict the players in any way, they simply serve as a plan for the DM.

    The tale is actually in the telling, not in the framework. The actual story/tale is the recounting of the adventure as it's happening. The decisions are made by the players, the "framework" allows the DM to have something prepared based on those decisions, the scenes if you will. Each "index card" is a node that a player might visit based on his decisions - as the tale unfolds. But the tale is unfolding based on what the players are deciding, and the setup that the DM has prepared is fluid.

    The framework allows the DM to have preparation - as Gary said, "the backstory, and plot, and the scenes." The actual story happens when the player's PCs interact with those elements.

    Matt, and Hussar are not talking about a predetermined story in the typical sense. In Matt's framework the two likely outcomes are the conclusion of the adventure based on one or more of the resolutions for which he is prepared. How either of those resolutions happens is based on the scenes/nodes that the players interact with. If the players completely get off any of the prepared nodes, the DM can use the existing nodes as preparation of new scenes, or go completely improvisational and make up new nodes in response to the changes. At the end of the adventure the benefactor still has the two conclusions. Did the little princess get rescued or not? Because that was the initial premise which he sent out the adventurers to accomplish.
    Last edited by D'karr; Tuesday, 27th December, 2011 at 03:09 PM.
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    Yeah. D'karr and Fana... Fannn... Fan* basically get it.

    Like I said, you cannot play an RPG without a story. It's not possible. Even something as basic as a single cave in Keep on the Borderlands outlines a story. You enter the cave, generally facing light opposition, penetrate further in, hitting larger enemies, then finally come to the boss monster at the end. Everything else is just variations on the theme.

    Now, how that actually plays out at the table will vary wildly. Sure. No problems. But, it's probably easy to say that the party isn't going to start digging (not really feasible), nor are they going to use advanced magics (not available), nor are they likely to start recruiting (difficult even if they wanted to given the inherent hostility in the Caves). So, upon entering the cave, your matrix isn't all that difficult to lay out - that's what a dungeon map is after all.

    In Matt's presentation, you have a fairly simple set up - Rescue the Princess. Sure, you can complicate it - the Princess is a Succubus - but, since you, the DM, KNOW that complication at the outset, that automatically shapes how things will turn out. "The Princess is killed at the outset" stops being an option since the kidnappers don't actually want to do that (and may very well lack the means - depending on edition, Succubi can Gate BALORS!).

    One of my favorite ideas that I've seen come out on Enworld is using a random map generator like donjon; d20 Random Dungeon Generator to create something similar to Matt's matrix framework. You design the adventure using the map as a flowchart. Start with the general shape of the adventure and then design to spec.
    The rules don't give the DM their authority. The consent of the players does. - Mallus

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Like I said, you cannot play an RPG without a story. It's not possible. Even something as basic as a single cave in Keep on the Borderlands outlines a story. You enter the cave, generally facing light opposition, penetrate further in, hitting larger enemies, then finally come to the boss monster at the end. Everything else is just variations on the theme.
    By your terms, what game can be played without a story?

    When I play the Talisman board game, I play a character on a quest to obtain the Crown of Command. I have encounters along the way. I encounter and compete with other players in my quest. A story results. Therefore, the Talisman board game is a collaborative storytelling game.

    Any human activity can create a story. That does not mean the purpose of that activity is to create a story. This is a meaningful distinction when analyzing the form and execution of that activity.
    Words of wisdom from Gary Gygax:

    From my perspective wanting less in the way of rules constraints comes from being a veteran Game Master who feels confident that more good material comes from imagination and player interaction with the environment than from textbook rules material.
    more words of wisdom:

    • Rashness and foolhardiness are harbingers of death, as is timidity, in such adventure setting.
    • Those that complain about real challenges might be better off playing Candyland with their little sister
    • First and foremost, munchkinism arose as a contemporary of the OD&D game. Nothing in the rules of that or any other version of the game was needed to make it flourish.
    • There is no relationship between 3E and original D&D, or OAD&D for that matter. Different games, style, and spirit.
    • [E]xperience has taught me that everyone has their own gaming preferences, and it is not a matter of "good" or "bad" in all, save in light of one's own preferences.

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    To be fair, I've never played Talisman, so I don't know how the mechanics work. However, let me ask a few questions. When you take a turn, do you have any control over the events that occur during that turn? In something like Monopoly, there is no control - it's entirely random, thus, no plot. In Talisman, is there any difference between your playing pieces? In other words, is there any actual character there or are you just moving a piece around the board? And, finally, in Talisman, does the setting have any impact on the story? If you were to completely change the board from it's original, to, say, spots on the board that look like mushrooms, would it change the way the game is played?

    Because, in an RPG all those things matter - character, setting AND plot - The holy triumvirate of any story. Take away any one of those three and you no longer have a story. At a guess, I'd say that there is no character in Talisman. While your choice of playing piece might have some mechanics tied to it, the choice of playing piece does not actually have any meaningful impact on what happens from turn to turn.

    Lots of boardgames have story elements, that's true. The Game of Life, for example, certainly has plot elements - the events that occur over the lifespan of your piece. However, there's no character there. It doesn't matter one whit whether you play a white car or a red car, male player, or female player or anything else. There's no character. And thus, no story.

    And, even if some board games do create a story, that doesn't really change what I said. Not all board games create a story. That's de facto truth. Bingo does not create a story. Poker does not create a story. Intent doesn't matter. No matter what, playing Bingo does not create a story whether you want to or not.

    OTOH, it is impossible to play an RPG without creating a story. Whether you want to create a story or not doesn't matter. The second you sit down with your players and begin play, you are creating a collaborative story. You simply have no choice in the matter. About the only way you could play an RPG without creating story would be to have a series of random charts with no actual link to each other. Since I doubt anyone actually plays that way, I'll stand by my claim that in order to play any RPG, you MUST create a story.
    The rules don't give the DM their authority. The consent of the players does. - Mallus

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    Fantasy Flight Games [Talisman - Description] - Leading publisher of board, card, and roleplaying games.

    In Talisman, you’ll embark on a perilous quest for the ultimate treasure, the legendary Crown of Command. You’ll choose the warrior, priest, wizard, or one of eleven other heroes with powers both magical and mighty, and you’ll race your opponents through a perilous realm. Each player will roll a die to determine his movement around the regions of the board, where he will encounter dangerous foes and claim powerful rewards, all in preparation for his final climactic test.

    But for those unfamiliar with this classic world of fantasy adventures, Talisman is a game like no other – indeed, it is no ordinary game at all, but a fantastic quest in a world of magic and monsters. As play progresses, a story unfolds from turn to turn: a heroic epic of brave deeds, of daring encounters, of treasures and magic, of battles fought and sometimes lost, but always a tale that challenges and enthralls!

    The events behind this exciting game begin with a mighty wizard, now long dead, who once ruled over the land of Talisman using the power of a magical crown, forged in the Valley of Fire by spirits cruelly enslaved to arcane magic. For many centuries the wizard reigned supreme until, after a long life spent amongst his books and spells, he sensed his days were drawing to an end. He resolved to hide his crown in the most perilous part of the most dangerous region in his realm, setting fearsome guardians around it. Once he had done so, he perished, proclaiming with his dying breath that only a champion with the strength, wisdom, and courage to take his crown would rule in his stead.

    Hundreds of years have passed, and the realm, long ungoverned and unprotected, has grown ever more dangerous, becoming infested by monsters and troubled by innumerable evils. To this very day, the ancient legend draws gallant heroes to the troubled land – each seeking the Crown of Command and the kingship of the realm of Talisman. So far no one has proven worthy of the challenge. The seekers’ bones lie bleached and broken upon the Plain of Peril or else cast idly aside to be gnawed by wild beasts and monsters.

    In Talisman, up to six players assume the roles of hopeful characters–the would-be rulers of the land of Talisman. Each character is unique and has his own strengths, weaknesses, and special powers. To win the game you must journey to the heart of the land’s most perilous region to find the Crown of Command, then use its ancient magic to cast a mighty spell to subdue all your rivals. Your travels will be hard and fraught with danger – and it is in overcoming these dangers that the challenge of the game lies. Only by gradually building up your adventurer’s powers, gathering valuable allies, and winning potent magical items will you stand a chance of surviving the ultimate test that lies beyond the Portal of Power.

    The object of the game is to reach the Crown of Command in the centre of the board and then, by casting Command Spells, force the other characters to yield to your might. Characters should first adventure in the Outer and Middle Regions to build up their Strength, Craft, and lives, until they feel they are powerful enough to tackle the Inner Region. They must also first find a Talisman, a rare artifact serving as a magical key, to permit them to enter the Valley of Fire and so reach the Crown of Command.
    Words of wisdom from Gary Gygax:

    From my perspective wanting less in the way of rules constraints comes from being a veteran Game Master who feels confident that more good material comes from imagination and player interaction with the environment than from textbook rules material.
    more words of wisdom:

    • Rashness and foolhardiness are harbingers of death, as is timidity, in such adventure setting.
    • Those that complain about real challenges might be better off playing Candyland with their little sister
    • First and foremost, munchkinism arose as a contemporary of the OD&D game. Nothing in the rules of that or any other version of the game was needed to make it flourish.
    • There is no relationship between 3E and original D&D, or OAD&D for that matter. Different games, style, and spirit.
    • [E]xperience has taught me that everyone has their own gaming preferences, and it is not a matter of "good" or "bad" in all, save in light of one's own preferences.

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