Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour? - Page 136
  1. #1351
    Member
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)



    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    9,399
    Quote Originally Posted by Riley37 View Post
    Or interpretive dance. Or pictures drawn with crayons. That's also a viable option.
    I would argue that those are just unorthodox methods of narration. They're still communicating ideas. Synonyms of narration include portrayal and sketch.

    Unfortunately, the scene in "Hush" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which the gang play D&D, with Giles as DM, was cut from the broadcast.
    I would have liked to have seen that.

  2. #1352
    Member
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)



    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    9,399
    Quote Originally Posted by Bedrockgames View Post
    Just to roughly quote from my favorite series "Isn't what a man has to say more important than how he says it?"
    No.

    A lot of people with great ideas have been ignored by people, because the one with the idea didn't say it right. A lot of horrors have happened, because someone with a bad idea that people generally wouldn't listen to, were sold on it by someone saying it the right way. How you say something is very often more important than what you are saying.
    XP Imaro, Riley37 gave XP for this post

  3. #1353
    Member
    Waghalter (Lvl 7)



    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Saint Paul, MN, USA
    Posts
    129
    Quote Originally Posted by Maxperson View Post
    How you say something is very often more important than what you are saying.
    I agree with this in terms of writing or public speaking. (I have often worked with students who somehow think that the good idea buried in their grammarless "paragraph" should exonerate them from a low grade.)

    With gaming, however, I am more forgiving. This ties into the concept of a game being collaborative, more like a conversation than a speech or a piece of writing. In conversations, people are also more forgiving about poor word choice and other delivery flaws. If you've ever suffered the peculiar torture of having to type up recordings of conversations, it's immediately apparent that live conversations are a bloody mess. Grammar is shoddy; vocabulary is used incorrectly; there are awkward pauses and unnecessary repetitions; people are cutting each other off; etc. The participants in those conversations, however, may not even notice these rhetorical flaws, especially if they are deeply engaged with the content being discussed.

    RPGs are, I think, closer to a conversation in this regard. Once people are engaged, together, with the fiction, they're not as hung up on rhetorical quality. Some tables may apply a more formal aesthetic to portions of their games. I'm thinking of tables where the GM tends to deliver longer narrations, or where players deliver big in-character speeches. But even then, much of the back-and-forth outside of those elements is far less formal and structured. A few pages back, I posted about a game with a bunch of English teachers who like to create speeches and literary tidbits for their characters. In that game, when the cleric reads his latest bit of liturgy, we are apt to clap if it is especially good. Clearly, word choice and literary quality matter in that context. But, even in that game (which is fairly unusual in my experience), the majority of our time is spent in informal conversation where the quality of delivery is far less important than the fictional situation. The quality of that situation, in terms of player engagement, does not, in my experience, depend primarily on the rhetorical quality of the GM's delivery.
    XP darkbard, hawkeyefan, Aldarc, pemerton gave XP for this post

  4. #1354
    Member
    A "Drizzit" Type-Thing (Lvl 28)



    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    The Stately Pleasure Dome of Xanadu.
    Posts
    7,306
    Quote Originally Posted by Riley37 View Post
    Or interpretive dance. Or pictures drawn with crayons. That's also a viable option.

    Unfortunately, the scene in "Hush" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which the gang play D&D, with Giles as DM, was cut from the broadcast.
    I would totally play a game with interpretive dance for narration.

    I mean, I'd play it poorly, but still!

    (I'm thinking about how to say, using dance, "I rolled a 13. Did I hit?" I think I have to practice!)

  5. #1355
    Member
    A "Drizzit" Type-Thing (Lvl 28)



    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    The Stately Pleasure Dome of Xanadu.
    Posts
    7,306
    Quote Originally Posted by uzirath View Post
    I agree with this in terms of writing or public speaking. (I have often worked with students who somehow think that the good idea buried in their grammarless "paragraph" should exonerate them from a low grade.)

    With gaming, however, I am more forgiving. This ties into the concept of a game being collaborative, more like a conversation than a speech or a piece of writing. In conversations, people are also more forgiving about poor word choice and other delivery flaws. If you've ever suffered the peculiar torture of having to type up recordings of conversations, it's immediately apparent that live conversations are a bloody mess. Grammar is shoddy; vocabulary is used incorrectly; there are awkward pauses and unnecessary repetitions; people are cutting each other off; etc. The participants in those conversations, however, may not even notice these rhetorical flaws, especially if they are deeply engaged with the content being discussed.

    RPGs are, I think, closer to a conversation in this regard. Once people are engaged, together, with the fiction, they're not as hung up on rhetorical quality. Some tables may apply a more formal aesthetic to portions of their games. I'm thinking of tables where the GM tends to deliver longer narrations, or where players deliver big in-character speeches. But even then, much of the back-and-forth outside of those elements is far less formal and structured. A few pages back, I posted about a game with a bunch of English teachers who like to create speeches and literary tidbits for their characters. In that game, when the cleric reads his latest bit of liturgy, we are apt to clap if it is especially good. Clearly, word choice and literary quality matter in that context. But, even in that game (which is fairly unusual in my experience), the majority of our time is spent in informal conversation where the quality of delivery is far less important than the fictional situation. The quality of that situation, in terms of player engagement, does not, in my experience, depend primarily on the rhetorical quality of the GM's delivery.
    Argh.

    This doesn't understand the P.O.V. that others have, which is why this whole thing has been bollixed from the beginning.

    Look, let's use the examples of, say, you, Pemerton, Manbearcat, and Bedrockgames. Just because you've all posted recently and you're all advocates of the "But it's just conversation and framing" mode (more or less, I am simplifying).

    Look at the comments you have made in defense of this theory. Long, lengthy, well-written, good grammar, decent vocabulary, engaged with the argument, and so on.

    ...what I'm getting at is that you are overlooking your own backgrounds. I keep joking that there is this return to a concept of "highfalutin'" because that's what is happening.*

    I mean, look at the last post by Bedrockgames. Explicitly stating that there is a form/substance distinction, and he's ALL ABOUT THE SUBSTANCE, YO! Of course he is, because who isn't?** That's the point - form follows functi... um, substance. There is no single approach to narrative that engages players, but .... there is no framing without narrative, and there is no call to action.

    To the extent you do not enjoy longer narration, that's fine! That's a preference! But ... and I'm going to say this one more time ... just because someone prefers Hemingway over Henry Miller doesn't mean that they are both effective at what they do. Follow me?


    *There is, of course, an irony inherent in the notion that the individuals who are most involved in advancing the "Only framing!" perspective tend to write long, flowery, narrative pieces, whereas those attacking it tend to write in a jocular and conversational style. Jus' sayin'.

    **Really. Is anyone going to say, "I hate me some substance. I'd rather just pontificate for hours and never do anything. Speechify, my brothers, with maximum elocution, about the varieties of form that we may bring ourselves closer to the Holiness!"



    EDIT- I'm not saying that anyone is right or wrong, just that this is why there can't be a meeting of the minds. Inherently, one P.O.V. is that we are discussing extraneous flowery language, and the other P.O.V. is that we are discussing narrative technique which is inherent in communication, including framing. Given those definition issues, there can't be agreement.
    Last edited by lowkey13; Wednesday, 12th June, 2019 at 03:46 PM.
    XP Imaro gave XP for this post

  6. #1356
    Member
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)



    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    3,681
    I think the fault line here is going to be if you answer yes to the below two questions, and pretty much all iterations possible of good/bad/mediocre on either side of the balance.

    Is it possible to be very good at conflict framing (a) and resolution (b) yet be mediocre in words usage on the journey from a to b?

    Is the inverse possible (poor at framing and resolution but beautiful prose/oratory)?
    I would have to answer yes to all of them because I neither conceive nor have I experienced anything approximating a tight (or even shabby) coupling between the two.

    Im like most people; good at some things, better at others, and only sometimes am I on the top of my game of all things at once (be it an intellectual enterprise like GMing or a martial one).

    My post-mortem reflections upon instances of my GMing have shown me that Ive had plenty of simultaneous instances of:

    1) Inspired (how well it hooks into PC Dramatic Need and forces a defining choice) framing > lacking evolution of gamestate/fiction > rather insipid exposition

    2) Meh framing > exciting evolution of gamestate/fiction > evocative but minimalist exposition

    3) Awesome > Awesome > Potent but minimalist

    4) Awesome > Crap > Potent, evocative, lacking brevity


    And everything in between.

    Im all kinds of GM.

    Often consistent, energetic, and on top of my game.

    Rarely uninspired and going-through-the-motions.

    Sometimes mentally blocked, fatigued, and frustrated.

    The only correlation to bad gaming that I can draw is when either of my Framing or Fiction/Gamestate Evolution Post-Resolution is off.

    Hence why I put them hierarchically at the top, connect them to understanding dramatic device, but dont correlate them profoundly to certain facets of exposition skill (I do correlate it to some aspects; the ability to communicate with economy but provocatively almost certainly has an amplification effect...one way or the other...but not a causal effect...hence why its lower on the hierarchy).
    XP Riley37 gave XP for this post

  7. #1357
    Member
    A "Drizzit" Type-Thing (Lvl 28)



    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    The Stately Pleasure Dome of Xanadu.
    Posts
    7,306
    Quote Originally Posted by Manbearcat View Post

    Hence why I put them hierarchically at the top, connect them to understanding dramatic device, but dont correlate them profoundly to certain facets of exposition skill (I do correlate it to some aspects; the ability to communicate with economy but provocatively almost certainly has an amplification effect...one way or the other...but not a causal effect...hence why its lower on the hierarchy).

    ...dude. You are literally using hierarchy in its adverb form.This single sentence starts with "Hence" (that is one of TWO hences), contains multiple ellipses, a parenthetical, and multiple subclauses.

    I am just going to quote this small passage of nine words within the sentence- "correlate them profoundly to certain facets of exposition skill[.]"

    The overall passage has a Flesch Reading Ease level of 38.58 (lower is harder); for comparison, Moby Dick averages 57.9, and this compares favorably in difficulty to an article in the Harvard Law Review.


    What is my point? Wait, allow me to quote myself-

    Look, let's use the examples of, say, you, Pemerton, Manbearcat, and Bedrockgames. Just because you've all posted recently and you're all advocates of the "But it's just conversation and framing" mode (more or less, I am simplifying).

    Look at the comments you have made in defense of this theory. Long, lengthy, well-written, good grammar, decent vocabulary, engaged with the argument, and so on.

    ...what I'm getting at is that you are overlooking your own backgrounds. I keep joking that there is this return to a concept of "highfalutin'" because that's what is happening.
    It's easy to overlook what you have.

    But if it's not apparent, this is why (inter alia) D&D is so useful for kids with autism; because they don't have these natural abilties, and because it can help teach .... narrative and emotion which goes into proper framing.

    But to re-state the obvious; yes, of course you don't see yourself engaged in anything but "mere conversation" or "mere framing" because you're already experienced, and your natural ability, honed through those years of experience, provides the results you seek.
    Last edited by lowkey13; Wednesday, 12th June, 2019 at 05:14 PM. Reason: It's not flesh reading ease ... but that WOULD be cool
    Laugh Satyrn, Manbearcat laughed with this post

  8. #1358
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)

    darkbard's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Rye, NY
    Posts
    1,205
    Quote Originally Posted by lowkey13 View Post
    But to re-state the obvious; yes, of course you don't see yourself engaged in anything but "mere conversation" or "mere framing" because you're already experienced, and your natural ability, honed through those years of experience, provides the results you seek.
    Well, of course, and I agree this is why we will never agree on the argument: because of the definitions. Context matters, especially when it comes to such nebulous concepts as "literary/literature." I'm pretty sure pemerton, Manbearcat, (not sure about Bedrockgames), etc. don't consider these posts literary, though it's clear you do.

  9. #1359
    Member
    A "Drizzit" Type-Thing (Lvl 28)



    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    The Stately Pleasure Dome of Xanadu.
    Posts
    7,306
    Quote Originally Posted by darkbard View Post
    Well, of course, and I agree this is why we will never agree on the argument: because of the definitions. Context matters, especially when it comes to such nebulous concepts as "literary/literature." I'm pretty sure pemerton, Manbearcat, (not sure about Bedrockgames), etc. don't consider these posts literary, though it's clear you do.

    My last post-

    This doesn't understand the P.O.V. that others have, which is why this whole thing has been bollixed from the beginning ...

    I'm not saying that anyone is right or wrong, just that this is why there can't be a meeting of the minds. Inherently, one P.O.V. is that we are discussing extraneous flowery language, and the other P.O.V. is that we are discussing narrative technique which is inherent in communication, including framing. Given those definition issues, there can't be agreement.
    Do you ever feel like you keep saying, over days and weeks, that people are talking past each other, because of definitions, and you keep saying that, and every now and then, someone will say, "Hey, you know what Lowkey, you know what the real problem is, definitions! I mean ... context matters, buddy."


    ....and you just kind of want to smash your head repeatedly into your desk? Ever get that feeling?

  10. #1360
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)

    darkbard's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Rye, NY
    Posts
    1,205
    Quote Originally Posted by lowkey13 View Post
    My last post-



    Do you ever feel like you keep saying, over days and weeks, that people are talking past each other, because of definitions, and you keep saying that, and every now and then, someone will say, "Hey, you know what Lowkey, you know what the real problem is, definitions! I mean ... context matters, buddy."


    ....and you just kind of want to smash your head repeatedly into your desk? Ever get that feeling?
    Aye, but for the context of this discussion, pemerton pretty clearly describes from the beginning (I would argue, though others, like @hawkeyefan, have framed this as almost from the beginning, i.e., with some early supporting posts) the intent behind his use of the term "literary."

    Rather than people jumping in and obfuscating the discussion with arguments over alternative definitions, why not engage the OP on the terms presented? Or just, y'know, not get bent outta shape by the usage?
    XP Aldarc gave XP for this post

Similar Threads

  1. (Traveller) Great Rift Adventure 2: Deepnight Endeavour
    By Mongoose_Matt in forum Publishers, Promotions, Press Releases, DMs Guild, & Kickstarter Announcements
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Friday, 19th January, 2018, 11:18 AM
  2. Endeavour Class XI Cruiser
    By Morrus in forum EN Publishing, WOIN, ZEITGEIST, WotBS, & Worlds of 2000AD
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Tuesday, 20th October, 2015, 06:29 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •