A "theory" thread

That's not to say that there aren't bumpers that serve to guide the players in a general direction in low myth games, but those bumpers emerge in play and in response to player choices, not as something the GM decides before hand.
Yeah, in DW for example there's no general move that lets a player say any old thing they want. You can, with a 7+, make the GM say something about a topic that is interesting or relevant/useful. Some playbooks might go further. The GM is also required to ask questions and use the answers. Stuff players put on their sheet, like bonds, are also binding but have limited scope. Players action declarations might also lead to fiction they're looking for.

The GM overall is still going to exercise a huge influence on the fiction and can pretty much inject elements in a way no player can.
 

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You'd agree though that the picture isn't usually so clear cut, right? DW has its fronts. It has some myth established via character classes and creatures. Stonetop, which I think has its roots in DW, is high myth (there are differences from other high myth games - as touched on in your closing paragraph - but it is very, very far from a tabula rasa.)

A game can have a lot or a little pre-authored situation and setting, and whatever it has can be more or less contingent. Although those interact, I see them as two separate dimensions. I'm not sure that D&D (speaking of 5e in particular) has any rule that forces this one way or another, rather that is down to principles groups bring with them to their play (which will often align of course with norms of the wider relevant community.)
In DW I would consider it to be bad faith GMing to simply push something into the game which doesn't follow in some way from the existing fiction. Yes you create fronts, but if you create one out of the blue, and then push it into play even with no connection to the PCs etc. that is not how it is supposed to work in DW.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Yeah, in DW for example there's no general move that lets a player say any old thing they want. You can, with a 7+, make the GM say something about a topic that is interesting or relevant/useful. Some playbooks might go further. The GM is also required to ask questions and use the answers. Stuff players put on their sheet, like bonds, are also binding but have limited scope. Players action declarations might also lead to fiction they're looking for.

The GM overall is still going to exercise a huge influence on the fiction and can pretty much inject elements in a way no player can.
Yup, that's true. The difference, to my mind, is that influence is exerted in-game and in response to changes in the game state, not via some pre-written set of ideas or facts. The result definitely plays differently at the table compared to traditional, say, map and key style D&D play (which I also enjoy btw, this isn't a value judgment).
 

Yes, it does seem reasonable to give regard to the differences. To split hairs, I do not see DW as "no-myth" because to me, the presence of character classes such as a ranger, who can be an elf or half-elven, who can have an animal companion, provides traces of myth. You provided the term "low-myth" however, and undeniably it is lower myth than some other games.

I'm not sure that the obviation of myth turns on who authors it and when. If it is done at time T and there is a later time T' in which heed is given it, then there is myth at that later time. Perhaps it is felt that what is distinct about map-and-key is it is all done up-front before any play, but that is immediately contradicted by experience.

I introduced Stonetop to the conversation because - if one does agree it is high-myth - then perhaps that suggests that PbtA mechanics and at least some of its principles might not be welded to low-myth? Something else might be going on: another dimension of difference that can be separated somehow from the mechanics. I was hoping to explore that. I am open to the possibility that there are arguments that show how it is not a member of the notional category "high-myth".

Reflecting on authors, timing, and Stonetop, I felt that perhaps it is the contingency - the way that whatever myth is there is held - that is the stronger differentiator.
Caveat: I have no actual Stonetop experience.

As I understand it the existence of the town and its basic nature is a pre established fiction. It's given some context as well, and I would say a lot of this is genre, bronze age heroic fantasy. Yes there's established fiction but it's MUCH less than in a typical D&D milieu and its development is according to the same basic principles as in DW. The GM doesn't have the function to introduce entirely new topics (though ST has events which might entail some novel fiction maybe).
 

Most BW games have a fair bit of implied setting present in the character burner. Was that not the case in your example? I ask because BW and a lot of PbtA games are similar in how an implied setting is loaded into char gen as opposed to info dumps elsewhere.
I would call that 'genre' mostly. I agree that things like the race options in DW playbooks and even the existence of various playbooks, provides a set of hooks, seeds intended to foster a certain type of fiction. Same as any RPG, something establishes what it's about. Note that 100% of these are player facing!!!!
 

darkbard

Legend
Caveat: I have no actual Stonetop experience.

As I understand it the existence of the town and its basic nature is a pre established fiction. It's given some context as well, and I would say a lot of this is genre, bronze age heroic fantasy. Yes there's established fiction but it's MUCH less than in a typical D&D milieu and its development is according to the same basic principles as in DW. The GM doesn't have the function to introduce entirely new topics (though ST has events which might entail some novel fiction maybe).
It's more than this, even. The town itself (and the other "pre-established" elements, like which gods are revered therein, who occupies what roles key to the community and what those roles are, etc) is actually more like a menu of sketched options for the table to work out together during the initial session(s) (including PC creation). And then built out from there. Crucially, the accreted fiction--even those elements drawn from "canonical" possibilities--centers the PCs and their ties rather than any pre-existing elements, so it all gets inflected during play via the shared interests of the table. So, no, it's hardly a tabula rasa; but very few setting elements, beyond the basic tropes, are fixed before play, and they're always open to inflection to meet what inspires any particular play group.
 

pemerton

Legend
In the sense in which the term was coined - yes, I think so. The BW game I gave an example of started from a blank slate. It's close enough to no myth that claims otherwise would be a point-scoring exercise rather than a genuine attempt to understand actual play techniques.
Right. The term "no myth" was coined to describe a certain sort of RPGing, which adopts an approach to setting, to framing, to resolution, that is different from both classic map-and-key dungeon crawling and from DL-ish "storytelling".

It refers to an actual set of techniques.

The attempt to define it out of existence seems like an attempt to obscure these very real differences in technique. I don't see what other purpose it serves.
 



Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
The level of myth from my perspective is more about how binding the prepared/published setting material is. It's about possible fiction versus established fiction. In low myth play you might still have plenty of prep, but you do not let your prep constrain either action resolution or scene framing. You just use it as an input into your scene framing, but you let the momentum of play take precedence over it.
 

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