On the one hand, I'm confident the play is fiction-first. But we also rightly look at the text (which is what I think you are referring to by "game".) For you, it seems a text is only fiction-first if it has mechanics that mandate change to the fiction. But what if such a game is run differently, as some believe possible? Does it not then fail to be fiction-first?D&D combat is notorious for not being fiction first; for being, in phenomenological terms, dice-roll "bingo" (ie a lot of calling out of numbers and comparing them to pre-given numbers on bits of paper). Some of the earliest RPG designs (C&S, RQ, later RM, GURPS) were reactions to this. Gygax is aware of the reaction, and responds to it, in his DMG - with his criticism of hit location tables and damage types, for instance, and his extremely non-simulationist approach to the resolution of attacks by poisonous monsters and blades (see pp 61, 81-82).
The core of 5e D&D RAW combat resolution is the same as AD&D's: take one's turn within a strict action economy, roll to hit vs AC, if successful roll damage which is applied as a depletion of a hit point tally. This is not fiction first. It's mechanics. I appreciate that 5e* mandates that the mechanics be accompanied by GM narration (I assume that this is why your list of examples didn't include the GM saying The giant now has 125 hp left. But until some account is given of how that GM narration than affects downstream resolution (as in the examples I suggested: a bonus to save vs Thunderwave, or an AC penalty) then we don't have fiction first, we just have D&D combat with colourful narration overlaid. That may be a good thing, in terms of producing a more engaging or enjoyable play experience (and some D&D GMs have been doing it for decades for just that reason) but it doesn't make the game a fiction first one.
As I noted, I do need to reflect on further examples to address this complaint.My own view is that it's not a coincidence that I'm providing these examples from 4e - 4e has a very robust set of system tools (eg a variety of keywords; level-by-DC chart; a standardised framework for forced movement; etc) for translating fiction into mechanics and then back again. My own knowledge of 5e makes feel that it is not as robust in this respect. Perhaps 5e* adds to that robustness, but from the examples you've given I'm not seeing where or how. And as I said, I don't think this is just quibbling.
And yet, it weightily impacts the valid choices for the players. Generally, however, you desire to see mechanics - pervasively - explicitly pass constraints back into fiction, right? (That is something you keep coming back to with your examples.) DW hack and slash doesn't have that.To me, the narrations of the giant pressing forward, or couching her club, look a bit like the incidental narration of what's making life hard for the character: the heavy lifting is being done by the mechanics (boxes-to-boxes) an the narration is epiphenomenal.
Hack and Slash When you attack an enemy in melee, roll+Str. ✴On a 10+, you deal your damage to the enemy and avoid their attack. At your option, you may choose to do +1d6 damage but expose yourself to the enemy’s attack. ✴On a 7–9, you deal your damage to the enemy and the enemy makes an attack against you. [Which is resolved as part of the move - per the canonical examples.]
Where is the constraint passed into the fiction from this mechanic? One has to bring in other principles to get past - it did damage, reduce your HP - and deliver consequences back into the fiction. "Every time you turn to a player, you're highlighting some thing that can cause them strife, and asking how they deal with it." 5e* is lower key (or at least, does not urge so strongly toward constant pressure), but it wants results to matter all the same.
Huh? Those "distance requirements", the hostility between parties, what's at stake - it's coming from your fiction. We don't just start the characters like Chess-pieces in fixed positions and they go!In Fate or MHRP, the more that (i) some fictional context for the "impose a -2 penalty check" is required as a precursor to making the check, and (ii) the more that fictional context is constrained by prior narration, the less the play will look like Baker's Case 2. In 5e D&D, no fictional context is required to impose hit point loss other than the distance requirements necessary to declare an attack with the given weapon or spell. The GM's narration of how a NPC responds to an attack is not part of those fictional constraints, at least by RAW.
That's one (fairly abstract) way to define "meaningful." The cycle N has its strongest, most immediate and obvious meaning when it feeds into framing and resolution of N+1. But it may feed into the ith cycle N+i.That is what makes a system "fiction first": the fiction that flows from "cycle N" feeds into the framing and resolution of "cycle N+1".
I find that odd, but if that sort of thing doesn't impact on your fictional positioning that's up to what you have agreed. Some of the most consequential things my NPCs do in battles is speak some words. From surrendering to fleeing to negotiating to threatening and so on. I think if I had to choose between pretend-combat and pretend-conversation for narrative power, it would be the latter.How does the giant pressing forward, or couching her club, or the 1 hp loss being a scratch, feed into the declaration and resolution of actions on subsequent rounds? This is where, to me, it seems to be purely epiphenomenal.
Sophistry, I'm afraid. It tells us as nothing about what means will be better or worse other than in terms of power to secure agreement, and yet this entire debate seems to rest on the possibility of judging and disagreeing about what will be better or worse means, and differences in play experience due to means have been cited and exemplified.First, the Lumpley Principle has been stated differently at different times, and those statements aren't all equivalent (either semantically or functionally). This page states two formulations. The first is the one I encountered when I first encountered The Forge: rules and their consequences only take effect when taken up and assented to by the group. The contrast, here, might be with rules of mathematics which (at least on some mainstream accounts) generate consequences even if no one has yet worked out what those are.
The second one is that systems is a means for agreeing on the content of the shared fiction. I think that is what you are meaning by it.
Anyway, on this second formulation of the principle, it does not require anything more to explain why different systems produce different experiences. They are different means.
A vehicle, we might say, is a means for getting from A to B. Using different vehicles will produce different experiences of getting from A to B. This doesn't require adding anything to our concept of a vehicle beyond what is stated in the first sentence of this paragraph. Likewise for system.