GM DESCRIPTION: NARRATION OR CONVERSATION? - Page 14
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  1. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    @Bedrockgames - you didn't answer my question.

    The PC's encounter an NPC that they have never met before. The reason isn't all that important, although that will obviously come up a bit later when resolving the situation. But, how do you convey information about the NPC to the players without any narration? What does that even look like?
    .
    I did answer your question. I said I describe the NPC, and emphasized that your question is misleading because it equates description with narrating a scene. I don't know where you are getting this idea that I don't describe things. I've stated over and over that descriptions happen. I've linked to my own sessions as examples. The information is there if you want to know what one of my games sounds like.

  2. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post

    You even admit that you "describe him". What do you think narration is? That's all it is.
    Narration, as we have been discussing in this and the other thread, isn't mere description. No one has made the claim that they don't describe things. If you want to understand where I am coming from, I am happy to tell you. But so many of your questions feel like rhetorical traps intended to prove I play the game a way and think of playing in a way, that I simply don't.

    Since when does boxed text have anything to do with event resolution? Every single example that's been put forward is about setting up the event, but, nothing about what happens next.

    I presume that your players don't talk over you while you describe the NPC? Would you not also describe the surroundings? Where are the doors, what's the furniture, that sort of thing? Again, that's all narration is.

    Heck, in the Ghosts of Saltmarsh example I posted above, it had ZERO to do with resolving anything. It was just setting the stage. That's all narration ever should be. If narration includes the resolution of an event, then it is railroading and that's generally bad.

    But, yeah, if you're including event resolution under the umbrella of narration, then I totally get why you react so strongly against it. You just have to realize that no one else actually does this and certainly no one has ever advocated including resolution in narration.
    The problem I have with boxed text is it presumes stage setting as you say. This isn't what I want in a game. I keep mentioning I view things as a living campaign. This means I don't want my rooms, my NPCs, or the situations that arise, to feel like pre-packaged or canned things I had waiting. Boxed text and prepared narration feel like this to me. Thinking of the situation as a scene, also feels like this to me. If you want to know where I am coming from, look more toward examples like Feast of Goblyns or 1000 Bushels of Rye (sans evocative literary-like descriptions in the case of FOG). I don't want artificiality in my games. I don't want my games modeled after stuff like Pathfinder or 5E modules. I really can't stand that stuff. Nor do I want to sound like Matt Mercer. I just want a casual play experience where the players feel like they are not beholden to stuff I've pre-ordained or prepped in advance. I like active and reactive NPCs who pursue their own goals and respond organically to the players. That isn't easy to do if you are pre-occupied with set-pieces, key scenes, or describing things like you are writing a novel. At least not for me.

    One thing I find very frustrating about this conversation Hussar, is I totally believe in the experience you say you have at the table, thinking of the game in terms of scenic narration. I don't understand why you find it so difficult to understand that I think of the games in different terms and why you find it so hard to accept a person might not think of the game in terms of scenes and narration. Again, these are analogies for understanding. And they are terms with broad and specific meanings very open to equivocation.

  3. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Jumping into this late, but why not "Both"?

    None of that however is to say that you can't also and at the same time have a casual conversational tone, and in particular as the PC's start asking questions ("What's a brazier?", "Which side of the room is the armoire on again?", "How high is the ceiling?", "Err.. what's an armoire?") - as they should no matter how good your description was - then you can begin replying in language appropriate to the questioner and the tone of the game.
    If that is what you want, I say go for it. Some of us are simply saying we don't want that. For me, I really don't care if I blurt out something important, or if I stumble in some other way. Hopefully it doesn't happen all the time. But this is a game. And I very much come into the session with that in the forefront of my mind. I think when you think in terms of scenes, when you think in terms of boxed text, or you think in terms of structuring things like a published module (especially ones like Paizo or WOTCs material), you develop an idealized expectation of what should happen in play. I want a much more relaxed experience because I am there to have fun. I am not there to put on a performance for my players. To me this is a very casual experience and by keeping it casual, I find the actual end result tends to be much higher.

  4. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post

    Since when does boxed text have anything to do with event resolution? Every single example that's been put forward is about setting up the event, but, nothing about what happens next.

    I presume that your players don't talk over you while you describe the NPC? Would you not also describe the surroundings? Where are the doors, what's the furniture, that sort of thing? Again, that's all narration is.
    Like I said, I think you should listen to my session if you want to see how I do things. Me providing an artificial example is, like Aldarc points out, not likely to be a good reflection of real play. But let me give an example of how a session might play out a bit:

    ME: You get inside the city of Tung-On and the street you are on is filled with merchants and shop stalls
    PLAYER A: Can we see the Lucky Mountain Gambling Hall nearby?

    ME: Yes, it is just down the street, across from a bunch of inns
    PLAYER B: I lead the way to the gambling hall

    ME: When you get to the door there are men in blue robes at the entrance.
    PLAYER B: I step inside and look around for this Iron God Meng guy.

    ME: You see the hall has three tiers and people are playing all sorts of games. You don't see anyone who fits his description.
    PLAYER: Do I see any areas that look guarded or like they have large retinues serving an important person?

    ME: Yes on the stairs leading up to a section on the third level balcony you see a bunch more of the guys in blue robes and it seems well guarded.
    PLAYER B: Okay I walk up to them and shout "Hey Pig Iron Meng, step outside. I have a score to settle."

    ME: A large bare chested man with a beard steps out....
    PLAYER B: ...Does he have any weapons or important looking items on him

    ME: No weapons and no items
    PLAYER B: Can I size up his martial arts

    [ask player to make relevant skill roll]

    ME: You can see that his hands are balled into fists, his knuckles weathered and his flesh (particularly around his belly) is quite weathered and conditioned.
    PLAYER B: Okay.

    ME: Iron God Meng says "What score do you have to settle with me"

    -----------

    This is just off the the top of my head. I describe things. Sometimes with flashes of color and flavor. But I let players interrupt. I try to keep it conversational. Again I think if you listen to the things I linked you will have a much better idea of what I mean exactly.

  5. #135
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    Name:  FBaerald_TungOn_300ppi.jpg
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    Here is Tung-On for reference

  6. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bedrockgames View Post
    Like I said, I think you should listen to my session if you want to see how I do things. Me providing an artificial example is, like Aldarc points out, not likely to be a good reflection of real play. But let me give an example of how a session might play out a bit:

    ME: You get inside the city of Tung-On and the street you are on is filled with merchants and shop stalls
    PLAYER A: Can we see the Lucky Mountain Gambling Hall nearby?

    ME: Yes, it is just down the street, across from a bunch of inns
    PLAYER B: I lead the way to the gambling hall

    ME: When you get to the door there are men in blue robes at the entrance.
    PLAYER B: I step inside and look around for this Iron God Meng guy.

    ME: You see the hall has three tiers and people are playing all sorts of games. You don't see anyone who fits his description.
    PLAYER: Do I see any areas that look guarded or like they have large retinues serving an important person?

    ME: Yes on the stairs leading up to a section on the third level balcony you see a bunch more of the guys in blue robes and it seems well guarded.
    PLAYER B: Okay I walk up to them and shout "Hey Pig Iron Meng, step outside. I have a score to settle."

    ME: A large bare chested man with a beard steps out....
    PLAYER B: ...Does he have any weapons or important looking items on him

    ME: No weapons and no items
    PLAYER B: Can I size up his martial arts

    [ask player to make relevant skill roll]

    ME: You can see that his hands are balled into fists, his knuckles weathered and his flesh (particularly around his belly) is quite weathered and conditioned.
    PLAYER B: Okay.

    ME: Iron God Meng says "What score do you have to settle with me"

    -----------

    This is just off the the top of my head. I describe things. Sometimes with flashes of color and flavor. But I let players interrupt. I try to keep it conversational. Again I think if you listen to the things I linked you will have a much better idea of what I mean exactly.

    That seems pretty typical of the type of narration that I do during games.
    XP Hussar gave XP for this post

  7. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Silverbane View Post
    That seems pretty typical of the type of narration that I do during games.
    It might be but I wouldnĺt describe that as narration or a scene

  8. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bedrockgames View Post
    It might be but I wouldnĺt describe that as narration or a scene
    I would (if pressed to call it something other than 'narration') call it a descriptive dialogue (or maybe a narrative dialogue, depending on how cheeky I was feeling).

    Edit: dropped a ).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Silverbane View Post
    That seems pretty typical of the type of narration that I do during games.
    Yes, with the GM as narrator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragoner View Post
    Yes, with the GM as narrator.
    There is also some player narration in there...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bedrockgames View Post
    ME: Yes, it is just down the street, across from a bunch of inns
    PLAYER B: I lead the way to the gambling hall

    ME: When you get to the door there are men in blue robes at the entrance.
    PLAYER B: I step inside and look around for this Iron God Meng guy.
    Player B's statements there are classic first person narration. Since there is no conflict or uncertainty to resolve in them, they require no further input from the DM, who simply continues narration descriptive dialogue assuming the new state of the fiction narrated by Player B.

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