Choose the Illusion: Dungeon Mastering - Page 9





  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Again, HowandWhy99, can you give me an example of playing an RPG that doesn't result in a story with the holy triumvirate- character, setting and plot?
    Even if you manage to bludgeon HowandWhy99 into submission through constant repetition, it doesn't mean you're right. It just means you have more stamina than anybody else.

    RPGs have 'characters' and 'settings'. So do lots of other things that are not stories.

    RPGs do not necessarily have 'plot'. They may have an environment - a setting - that can be engaged in any number of ways. Thus any 'plot' is only discernable ex post facto.

    But you will of course ignore this point, as you have ignored myself and everybody else umpteen times before, and keep repeating your mantra.
    ***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:
    1: It is far too awesome
    2: see 1

 

  • #82
    Quote Originally Posted by Gentlegamer View Post
    Change what? By your terms, Talisman the board game is a game of collaborative storytelling.
    So what? How does that change the fact that no RPG can be played as anything other than a game of collaborative storytelling? Just because a board game can be played the same way, what difference does that make?

    Quote Originally Posted by S'mon
    Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.

    Edit: And then gather the gps to you.
    And then? Right, you go and do it again. And again. And again. Until such time as you decide to retire those characters and do it again.

    Again, it's easy to be glib, but, at the end of the day, that's one of the defining characteristics of most RPG's - a lack of win conditions.

    But, again, how does this change the basic point - that it's impossible to play and RPG without generating a story?
    The rules don't give the DM their authority. The consent of the players does. - Mallus

  • #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Again, it's easy to be glib...
    Charming as ever, I see.
    ***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:
    1: It is far too awesome
    2: see 1

  • #84
    Sorry S'mon, but, are you able to provide an example of RPG play which does not result in the creation of a story by the people at the table?




    Yeah, didn't think so.
    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
    can you give me an example of playing an RPG that doesn't result in a story with the holy triumvirate- character, setting and plot?

    <snip>

    You cannot play an RPG without generating a story. It's impossible. Thus, all RPG's are an exercise in collaborative storytelling.
    If by "plot" you mean "sequence of fictional events" then I think there can be a plot without story - assuming "story" means something like "sequence of fictional events rising to a climax and then coming to a resolution". I've played RPGs with no resolution, either because the game didn't support one and the GM didn't know how to work around this lack, or because there was no story to come to a resolution (it was just an ad hoc series of fictional events).

    Also, the mere fact that the participants in an RPG produce a plot, or even a story, doesn't make it collaborative storytelling. In fact, one of the main goals of narrativist RPG design is to ensure that play results in a story without anyone having to have production of a story as a goal of play. (There is a nice discussion of this phenomenon here.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    How does one win an RPG?
    From Tunnels & Trolls 5th ed, sections 1.2, 1.9:

    Every time your character escapes from a tunnel alive, you may consider yourself a winner. The higher the level and the more wealth your character attains, the better you are doing in comparison to all the other players...

    As long as a character remains alive - regardless of how many adventures he or she participates in - you are "winning." If ill fate befalls the character, or if you overextend yourself in playing your character's capabilities, the character dies and it is your loss. Of course, these games allow you to play any number of characters (sometimes referred to as a "stable of characters") and some will survive and advance, and everyone wins in the end.

    (And to be fair, I was sent to these sections by Ron Edwards, who says more about winning in RPGs here.)

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    From the Gamma World Box set -- "A roleplaying game is a cooperative storytelling experience."

    From Slasher Flick -- "It’s a game about cooperatively telling an entertaining story."

    From the B/X books by Tom Moldvay -- "A good D&D campaign is similar to the creation of a fantasy novel, written by the DM and the players."

    From the 3.5 PHB -- "It's part acting, part storytelling, part social interaction, part war game, part dice rolling.

    From the 4th Edition PHB -- "A roleplaying game is a storytelling game that has elements of the games of make-believe that many of us played as children. However, a roleplaying game such as D&D provides form and structure, with robust gameplay and endless possibilities."

    From Cartoon Action Hour Season 2 -- "Roleplaying games revolve around the concept of an interactive story. ... People playing an RPG are working cooperatively to entertain themselves and each other in an improvised story told through imagination, description, acting, strategy, and a little luck."

    From Shadowrun, 3rd Edition -- "A roleplaying game is part improvisational theater, part storytelling, and part board game."

    From Mutants and Masterminds, 2nd Edition -- "All of the action takes place in your imagination, and the story can go on for as long as you want, with one exciting adventure after another."

    That's a smattering from different popular and indie games, all of which define roleplaying games as cooperative storytelling, and frequently in just that language.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Sorry S'mon, but, are you able to provide an example of RPG play which does not result in the creation of a story by the people at the table?

    Yeah, didn't think so.
    But, as I have said many times, by your trivial definition of story, any real life sequence of events also gives rise to a story. Which is where I came in.
    ***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:
    1: It is far too awesome
    2: see 1

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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    If by "plot" you mean "sequence of fictional events" then I think there can be a plot without story - assuming "story" means something like "sequence of fictional events rising to a climax and then coming to a resolution". I've played RPGs with no resolution, either because the game didn't support one and the GM didn't know how to work around this lack, or because there was no story to come to a resolution (it was just an ad hoc series of fictional events).)
    Agreed. RPGs do not necessarily result in 'story' in the non-trivial sense. Hence the existence of narrativist and story-creation games, as you say.
    ***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:
    1: It is far too awesome
    2: see 1

  • #89
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    If we want to do quotes:

    A month has not gone by in the last two years when I haven’t been interviewed by one or more newspaper writers or independent journalists who want to know all about D&D. I have likewise been interviewed by radio and TV news media, generally for the same reason. At the risk of claiming too much for the game, I have lately taken to likening the whole to Aristotle’s POETICS, carrying the analogy to even more ridiculous heights by stating that each Dungeon Master uses the rules to become a playwrite (hopefully of Shakespearean stature), scripting only plot outlines however, and the players become the Thespians. Before incredulity slackens so as to allow the interviewer to become hostile, I hasten to add that the analogy applies only to the basic parts of the whole pastime, not to the actual merits of D&D, its DMs, or players. If you consider the game, the analogy is actually quite apt. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is like none other in that it requires the game master to create part or all of a fantasy world. Players must then become personae in this place and interact with the other populace. This is, of course a tall order for all concerned — rules, DM, and players alike.

    Relating a basic adventure, an episodic game session in the campaign, to a trip in an underground labyrinth does help the uninitiated to understand the simplest D&D fundamentals — discover an unknown area, move around in it by means of descriptive narration from the Dungeon Master, overcome whatever obstacles are there (traps, problems, monsters), and return with whatever has been gained during the course of the whole. The DM takes the part of everything in this fantasy world which is not operated by a player. While this should not mean it is then a game of DM versus the players, it does mean that DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is a co-operative game where players must interact successfully amongst themselves first, and non-hostile portions of the campaign milieu thereafter, in order to be successful. The Dungeon Master is incidentally against the players when he or she is operating that part of the “world” which is hostile, or potentially so, but in general the referee must be disinterested.

    At about this point I am always asked: “Well, then, how do you win? who wins?!” The answer is, EVERYBODY — providing that the game is well run. The DM gets the satisfaction of testing his abilities against those of the players, the fun of taking the non-player parts, and the accolades of participants when a particularly well-done adventure or series has been completed. Players enjoy the challenges of each situation and have the prospect of continuing adventures and puzzles to confront them, each with his or her game persona. Thus all taking part in the campaign get something besides a momentary diversion. Winning no more applies to D&D than it does to real life. The successful DMs and players gain renown via their campaigns or their superior characters. To enthusiasts of the game it is far more satisfying than triumphing in a single game or whole series of games.

    Gary Gygax, The Dragon, February 1979
    Gary makes analogy to drama in the basic parts of the activity, not the whole of it. When he goes to specifics of game-play, the objectives are on challenges to the participants that do not include 'creating a collaborative story,' but posing and overcoming in-game challenges, puzzles, etc. The aftermath of this in-game activity is a story, in the sense that any recounting of tales of derring-do are also stories. The meaningful distinction is whether the purpose of the activity is to create a story or a story is its mere by-product. The distinction is meaningful because it impacts the structure and premise of the activity and how the participants are expected to engage in it. D&D is a role-playing game. Stores are created by the in-game activities of the participants. But it is not a game whose purpose is collaborative storytelling. The structure and premises of the game are not suited to this purpose. There are other RPGs that have been designed with this purpose in mind (Torg, for example, players had cards that could influence the plot/narrative on a meta level).
    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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    ø Ignore Fanaelialae
    I don't think there's any winning this discussion because you're all correct (except that one guy; you know who you are ).

    Hussar is right about all rpgs creating a story. Even in a hack-and-slash, I could afterward write up what happened as an action heavy story about a group of murder hobos. It wouldn't be the finest tale ever told, but it would be story. As such, even a campaign that doesn't intend to make a story creates a story (albeit, not necessarily a very good one).

    Everyone opposing his position is also correct. Just because an rpg has the side effect of creating a story during play, doesn't mean that that's the focus of every group. Some groups, in fact, go out of their way to avoid constructs that appear too "story-like".

    Some people play to enjoy a series of (hack-and-slash) encounters (that isn't meant as an insult by the way; my group has done and enjoyed this kind of beer and pretzels game on occasion). Others do it for a challenge; a kind of test of wits between the DM and his players.

    There are groups that aren't interested in the creation of a story per se, but rather in immersing themselves as completely as possible in an imaginary setting, and exploring the implications thereof. This last is similar to a story driven game in some respects, but the "goal" of play (being wholly immersed in the setting) is not the same as a story game (which seeks to emulate the structure of a fantasy novel). An immersive game may actively seek to avoid certain constructs that are readily accepted (as with all good things, in moderation) in a story game, such as the deus ex machina.

    Seeing as how the end-goal of playing rpgs is fun (except perhaps for masochists ) none of these styles is objectively better than the other. The thing that matters most is that everyone enjoys themselves. This can be challenging when not everyone enjoys the same style of play, but in my experience it's rare to find a game that focuses exclusively on one style or another. Even a hack-and-slash can have immersive interludes, for example.

    Neither "side" is wrong. They're merely two different perspectives about the same thing. Someone standing on a cliff will describe a shipwrecked boat differently than someone looking at the boat from under the water, but that doesn't mean that either will ever be able to prove the other objectively wrong.
    Last edited by Fanaelialae; Sunday, 1st January, 2012 at 03:32 PM.

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