What would be some good metics to evaluate RPG rules/systems? - Page 6
Page 6 of 7 FirstFirst 1234567 LastLast
Results 51 to 60 of 63
  1. #51
    Member
    Time Agent (Lvl 24)



    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Colombus, OH
    Posts
    12,977
    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    Which is why narrative control lies at both ends of the spectrum. You can give players all the rules you want to do whatever they want, but if the guide is the only narrator, the players have agency only to the extent that it's given by the narrator.
    I believe you misunderstood my point. I'm suggesting that in games where players can engage in authorship, they can have less agency than in games where they can't.

    Consider my case of a railroaded traditional RPG where the players have only limited tactical choices and can't actually shape the overall story. We both agree this represents low player agency. The game is on rails.

    Consider a hypothetical game with typical Nar mechanics. It will have rules for allowing players to engage in authorship, but only in a finite way. However, the storyteller - or 'guide' - still has the unlimited authorship of a world builder and secret keeper. Additionally, Nar games often flat out encourage the guide to engage in traditional railroading techniques such as Schrodinger's Map or Schrodinger's Stat Block.

    Now suppose we are engaged in some sort of story arc and have reached the climatic encounter (or a climatic encounter) with a villain or foil. Because the guide has unlimited authorship and is flat out encouraged to "do what is best for the story" or "do what is fun", the guide can decide that since this is a climatic encounter then it ought to be a tense and exciting combat. And as such, he can using his authoring authority adjust the encounter on the fly so that - for the good of the game - the villain does not go down like a chump resulting in an "unfun" anti-climatic end of the story arc. Likewise, if the villain seems to be getting the upper hand, then he can - for the good of the game - adjust the combat on the fly so that just as it seems all is lost, one good die throw turns the tide at "the last moment'.

    I put to you that this game is identical in terms of agency with the traditionally railroaded traditional RPG, despite the ability of the players to engage in authoring during the game. The reason is that ultimately, all that authoring is going to amount to what are essentially tactical choices of small import, while the actual results are beyond their ability to actually effect.

    I came to this conclusion after watching game on youtube with mechanics that allowed player authorship. The game was more on rails than a game I run with traditional preparation and mechanics. Indeed, because the game actually encouraged much stronger authorship by the guide than is normally validated by a traditional RPG, the actual player agency relative to the GM was less than a traditional RPG despite sharing the authoring role with the players.

    In Numenera, players roll all the dice, they use XP to change the GM's mind, and they use abilities to determine/adjust how difficult a task is. The book encourages the GM to let players describe their actions, and gives many examples of negotiation between player and GM of certain outcomes. I'd put its Player Agency rating at about 40%, as in, the GM still has most of the control, but the players have a lot of influence in what happens. I don't know how the rules go, but if you've seen Titansgrave (the web series), you'd know that a game can be played with more player agency than Numenera. The players in the series do a lot of GM-level narrating, so I'd put that at a good 50%, if not more.
    I'll have to watch that but don't be too surprised if I don't have the same analysis that you do.

  2. #52
    Member
    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)

    jasper's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    montgomery al
    Posts
    3,771
    Sales price - (Develop Cost + Printing cost + business cost) = profit.
    For me.
    (Purchase price + upkeep cost (soda, note pads, new modules) ) / # of hours of enjoyment = fun ratio.

  3. #53
    Game Masticator
    Lama (Lvl 13)

    DMMike's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    2,303
    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Consider a hypothetical game with typical Nar(rative) mechanics. It will have rules for allowing players to engage in authorship, but only in a finite way. However, the storyteller - or 'guide' - still has the unlimited authorship of a world builder and secret keeper. Additionally, Nar games often flat out encourage the guide to engage in traditional railroading techniques such as Schrodinger's Map or Schrodinger's Stat Block.
    Sure, sure. Infinity makes any other amount look like zero. Or actually zero (not sure). I see Schrodinger's Pie as a finite one. And you don't know how much control pie the GM has until the players have their pieces. BTW, didn't know Schrodinger was so into role-playing!

    Quote Originally Posted by jasper View Post
    Sales price - (Develop Cost + Printing cost + business cost) = profit.
    For me.
    (Purchase price + upkeep cost (soda, note pads, new modules) ) / # of hours of enjoyment = fun ratio.
    Is that ratio upside down? Also, does it mean that free games have a fun ratio only if they have an upkeep cost?
    Modular, open source, free role-playing rules: Modos RPG
    modos-rpg.obsidianportal.com
    Tweets: @MichaelTwtr

  4. #54
    Member
    Time Agent (Lvl 24)



    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Colombus, OH
    Posts
    12,977
    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    Sure, sure. Infinity makes any other amount look like zero. Or actually zero (not sure). I see Schrodinger's Pie as a finite one. And you don't know how much control pie the GM has until the players have their pieces. BTW, didn't know Schrodinger was so into role-playing!
    I heard the game he ran with HG Wells and Heisenberg was visionary. Decades ahead of its time. Unfortunately, it fell apart because they players kept interfering with each other and they couldn't agree on the fictional positioning.

    As for the pie, even if it is a finite pie, you actually don't know how big your piece is until you can compare it to the GMs piece. Because everything is relative.

    But at times I've argued that a game without Rule Zero isn't even an RPG, and if rule zero is present (as it usually is), then the pie is not necessarily countable. Traditional RPGs try to make the pie finite by encouraging the GM to restrict the resources they give themselves by first recording them and then faithfully adhering to the restrictions that they gave themselves. If you can't count the number of orcs and pies in the dungeon until after the PC's have rolled a dice and kicked down the door, then the pie size is not finite and the GM holds effectively all of it regardless of how big of a pie piece he handed you. Or you know, whoops, you killed the orc too quickly, but now the pie is attacking you, roll for initiative.
    Last edited by Celebrim; Friday, 21st June, 2019 at 05:19 PM.
    XP DMMike gave XP for this post
    Laugh Riley37 laughed with this post

  5. #55
    Member
    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)

    jasper's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    montgomery al
    Posts
    3,771
    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    Sure, sure. Infinity makes any other amount look like zero. Or actually zero (not sure). I see Schrodinger's Pie as a finite one. And you don't know how much control pie the GM has until the players have their pieces. BTW, didn't know Schrodinger was so into role-playing!


    Is that ratio upside down? Also, does it mean that free games have a fun ratio only if they have an upkeep cost?
    YOU ARE CORRECT.

  6. #56
    Member
    Time Agent (Lvl 24)



    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    4,267
    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    I believe you misunderstood my point. I'm suggesting that in games where players can engage in authorship, they can have less agency than in games where they can't.

    Consider my case of a railroaded traditional RPG where the players have only limited tactical choices and can't actually shape the overall story. We both agree this represents low player agency. The game is on rails.

    Consider a hypothetical game with typical Nar mechanics. It will have rules for allowing players to engage in authorship, but only in a finite way. However, the storyteller - or 'guide' - still has the unlimited authorship of a world builder and secret keeper. Additionally, Nar games often flat out encourage the guide to engage in traditional railroading techniques such as Schrodinger's Map or Schrodinger's Stat Block.

    Now suppose we are engaged in some sort of story arc and have reached the climatic encounter (or a climatic encounter) with a villain or foil. Because the guide has unlimited authorship and is flat out encouraged to "do what is best for the story" or "do what is fun", the guide can decide that since this is a climatic encounter then it ought to be a tense and exciting combat. And as such, he can using his authoring authority adjust the encounter on the fly so that - for the good of the game - the villain does not go down like a chump resulting in an "unfun" anti-climatic end of the story arc. Likewise, if the villain seems to be getting the upper hand, then he can - for the good of the game - adjust the combat on the fly so that just as it seems all is lost, one good die throw turns the tide at "the last moment'.

    I put to you that this game is identical in terms of agency with the traditionally railroaded traditional RPG, despite the ability of the players to engage in authoring during the game. The reason is that ultimately, all that authoring is going to amount to what are essentially tactical choices of small import, while the actual results are beyond their ability to actually effect.

    I came to this conclusion after watching game on youtube with mechanics that allowed player authorship. The game was more on rails than a game I run with traditional preparation and mechanics. Indeed, because the game actually encouraged much stronger authorship by the guide than is normally validated by a traditional RPG, the actual player agency relative to the GM was less than a traditional RPG despite sharing the authoring role with the players.

    I'll have to watch that but don't be too surprised if I don't have the same analysis that you do.
    Are you defining "player agency" to mean that player actions can affect/change outcomes? If so, I think you're describing the inverse of railroading, but railroading and player agency are not antonyms.

    I would define player agency to mean that the player is in full control of their character, not that said control is able to achieve certain outcomes.

    Or maybe I'm not understanding your point.

    EDIT: But that does make me wonder if a useful piece of information* about a game would be where the boundaries of player agency are. E.g., in D&D 5e I would say that player agency is (intended to be) lost only through magic. In The One Ring it can be lost temporarily through bouts of madness that occur when you accumulate Shadow points, and after four bouts of madness you permanently lose your character. Etc.

    *Where "piece of information" is my new attempt at "metric" or "rating"...
    Last edited by Elfcrusher; Monday, 24th June, 2019 at 01:24 PM.

  7. #57
    Member
    Time Agent (Lvl 24)



    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Colombus, OH
    Posts
    12,977
    Quote Originally Posted by Elfcrusher View Post
    Are you defining "player agency" to mean that player actions can affect/change outcomes?
    I don't think I've ever settled on a "official" definition of player agency, but in general by player agency I mean tending to have the ability by your in game choices (propositions) to change both the direction and the outcome of the game. I think you'll find that defining "direction and outcome" tends to be difficult here.

    If so, I think you're describing the inverse of railroading, but railroading and player agency are not antonyms.
    I've never defined railroading except in a Aristotelian manner either, but I would think that as close as I've come to defining "to railroad" it isn't an antonym of "agency" because one is a verb and the other is a noun, but they are related. As a loose definition, I tend to define "to railroad" as "To use any of a number of GMing techniques where by the GM transfers agency from the player to himself in order to take temporary control over the direction of the story." In my discussion of railroading, I noted that if the player's agency was already low, then use of a railroad technique could in some cases result in a net increase in player agency - for example by providing exposition that would allow a player to then make an informed choice.

    The inverse of railroading would be for the GM to transfer agency from himself to the player. I don't know that that has a name.

    I would define player agency to mean that the player is in full control of their character, not that said control is able to achieve certain outcomes.
    Ok, I wouldn't. Control without the ability to achieve an outcome is a rather strange concept of control. A player rarely or never has full control over their character. As an obvious example, a player can declare the intention to attack and kill an orc, but they cannot normally declare that they do attack and kill an orc because normally such actions require a fortune check, and a fortune check will temporarily deprive the player over control of the character - for example, causing the player to swing and miss, something that they did not intend to do.

    So what you probably mean by "full control" is simply that another participant in the game cannot make propositions which assert how a player's character thinks, feels, or acts. This is somewhat verified because you assert that in 5e agency can be lost only through magic. But I would consider this a very limited understanding of what agency actually is, as a player may be the only participant that can make propositions which assert how their own character thinks, feels, or acts and yet still have no agency whatsoever - and I tend to think that as a practical matter a player that felt he was allowed to declare whatever he wanted with respect to his actions, but couldn't actually affect the outcomes, would feel that they didn't have much agency and that the game was on rails.
    Last edited by Celebrim; Monday, 24th June, 2019 at 09:44 PM.

  8. #58
    Member
    Guide (Lvl 11)



    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    1,410
    Quote Originally Posted by Elfcrusher View Post
    Are you defining "player agency" to mean that player actions can affect/change outcomes? If so, I think you're describing the inverse of railroading, but railroading and player agency are not antonyms.

    I would define player agency to mean that the player is in full control of their character, not that said control is able to achieve certain outcomes.

    Or maybe I'm not understanding your point.

    EDIT: But that does make me wonder if a useful piece of information* about a game would be where the boundaries of player agency are. E.g., in D&D 5e I would say that player agency is (intended to be) lost only through magic. In The One Ring it can be lost temporarily through bouts of madness that occur when you accumulate Shadow points, and after four bouts of madness you permanently lose your character. Etc.

    *Where "piece of information" is my new attempt at "metric" or "rating"...
    You could call that the inviolability scale. It would range from, "You're not the boss of me!" on the one end and, "You clicked the, 'I Agree' button." on the other... or something.
    Laugh Tony Vargas laughed with this post

  9. #59
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)



    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    3,224
    Who are the PCs, and what do they do in the game? (if this can't be answered in a sentence or two, pass)

    What is the game's task resolution system? (some games may downplay task resolution altogether, which is fine, but you need to know that up front)

    How long is a typical session? How long is a typical "campaign" (or "series")? (this is personal preference but also something you need to know up front)

    And then I'd go with some general usability concerns:
    * How visible is the PCs' status within the game? Does this match with the genre / tone the game is trying to convey?
    * How free is the player to selection actions for their PC to take?
    * How consistent and standardized are the game rules?
    * How error tolerant is the game? i.e. if you mess up the rules, what happens?
    * How much does the game rely on recognition, recall, or both?
    * How do you learn to play the game?

  10. #60
    Member
    Time Agent (Lvl 24)



    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    4,267
    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    I don't think I've ever settled on a "official" definition of player agency, but in general by player agency I mean tending to have the ability by your in game choices (propositions) to change both the direction and the outcome of the game. I think you'll find that defining "direction and outcome" tends to be difficult here.



    I've never defined railroading except in a Aristotelian manner either, but I would think that as close as I've come to defining "to railroad" it isn't an antonym of "agency" because one is a verb and the other is a noun, but they are related. As a loose definition, I tend to define "to railroad" as "To use any of a number of GMing techniques where by the GM transfers agency from the player to himself in order to take temporary control over the direction of the story." In my discussion of railroading, I noted that if the player's agency was already low, then use of a railroad technique could in some cases result in a net increase in player agency - for example by providing exposition that would allow a player to then make an informed choice.

    The inverse of railroading would be for the GM to transfer agency from himself to the player. I don't know that that has a name.



    Ok, I wouldn't. Control without the ability to achieve an outcome is a rather strange concept of control. A player rarely or never has full control over their character. As an obvious example, a player can declare the intention to attack and kill an orc, but they cannot normally declare that they do attack and kill an orc because normally such actions require a fortune check, and a fortune check will temporarily deprive the player over control of the character - for example, causing the player to swing and miss, something that they did not intend to do.

    So what you probably mean by "full control" is simply that another participant in the game cannot make propositions which assert how a player's character thinks, feels, or acts. This is somewhat verified because you assert that in 5e agency can be lost only through magic. But I would consider this a very limited understanding of what agency actually is, as a player may be the only participant that can make propositions which assert how their own character thinks, feels, or acts and yet still have no agency whatsoever - and I tend to think that as a practical matter a player that felt he was allowed to declare whatever he wanted with respect to his actions, but couldn't actually affect the outcomes, would feel that they didn't have much agency and that the game was on rails.
    Ok, so we're using the terms very differently. In your example of declaring "an intention to attack and kill an orc" the player has full agency, in my view, as long as he/she is able to attempt actions to accomplish that goal, such as swinging a sword, even if the outcome is uncertain. "Loss of agency" would be the GM saying, "No, you wouldn't do that because of (insert reason)..."

    But I could also see how "agency" could be interpreted the way you are using it, to mean an ability to influence the game world. In which case it would be the antonym of railroading. (Which is kinda funny, since most people use "sandbox" and "railroad" as opposite ends of a spectrum, when really you could quite easily have a sandboxy railroad.)

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 2
    Last Post: Wednesday, 6th February, 2013, 05:22 AM
  2. Evaluate My Multiclass Rules
    By airwalkrr in forum *Pathfinder & Starfinder
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: Monday, 12th June, 2006, 12:52 PM
  3. Any RPG systems have good Firearms rules and feel ?
    By Rashak Mani in forum *General Roleplaying Games Discussion
    Replies: 65
    Last Post: Friday, 19th September, 2003, 05:03 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
  •