A "theory" thread

clearstream

(He, Him)
I think @AbdulAlhazred's suggestion was that the GM interprets it as a declaration that "I listen" and responds to that. I think what he had in mind is that the player has no real authority or capacity to make snoring salient as opposed to any other sort of noise.
I agree on that and it is worth pointing out. I was thinking of my own typical experience in DMing D&D. Even where adopting a heavily DM-curated stance, players say and ask things all the time that put me on the spot to say whether X is true (X being something I might not have even considered prior to that moment.) For that reason, part of what @AbdulAlhazred wrote did not seem right to me.
 

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I think @AbdulAlhazred's suggestion was that the GM interprets it as a declaration that "I listen" and responds to that. I think what he had in mind is that the player has no real authority or capacity to make snoring salient as opposed to any other sort of noise.

I don't know if this is interesting, or a dead end! However, experience is that when a game is run using what I outlined as 'the traditional method' the players will ask all kinds of questions which defy either documentation or any procedural method of determination. Is the doorframe made of oak? Do the cooking utensils we found have maker's marks? Can I find pine cones here?

I agree that in such a style the player has no authority to make these things salient. The problem is that the GM can't prevent such enquiries in games built around learning the GMs conception of the fiction. It's a breakpoint in the authority structure.
 

JAMUMU

actually dracula
I don't know if this is interesting, or a dead end! However, experience is that when a game is run using what I outlined as 'the traditional method' the players will ask all kinds of questions which defy either documentation or any procedural method of determination. Is the doorframe made of oak? Do the cooking utensils we found have maker's marks? Can I find pine cones here?

I agree that in such a style the player has no authority to make these things salient. The problem is that the GM can't prevent such enquiries in games built around learning the GMs conception of the fiction. It's a breakpoint in the authority structure.
My emphasis, obvs. I'm just chiming in that for me that's one of the most interesting spaces in RPG play. When it's not the players making things salient or manifesting things into existence, and it's outside the scope of GM prep and their immediate authority. I think that's where a lot of the good quantum foam in any given session comes from.
 

niklinna

učim hrvatski
My emphasis, obvs. I'm just chiming in that for me that's one of the most interesting spaces in RPG play. When it's not the players making things salient or manifesting things into existence, and it's outside the scope of GM prep and their immediate authority. I think that's where a lot of the good quantum foam in any given session comes from.
Interesting! Could you elaborate and/or give an example? What falls outside of the scope of all that? I'm particularly curious about the "immediate" in GM's "immediate authority".
 

Pedantic

Legend
I don't know if this is interesting, or a dead end! However, experience is that when a game is run using what I outlined as 'the traditional method' the players will ask all kinds of questions which defy either documentation or any procedural method of determination. Is the doorframe made of oak? Do the cooking utensils we found have maker's marks? Can I find pine cones here?

I agree that in such a style the player has no authority to make these things salient. The problem is that the GM can't prevent such enquiries in games built around learning the GMs conception of the fiction. It's a breakpoint in the authority structure.
I'm not sure how to map the limits of this kind of "soft" player inquiry/declaration, but it definitely maps to my experience of play. Arguably this is a question of clarity, not introducing new elements to the fiction, creation requires detail be explicated from existing fictional elements.

I'm certain we can determine there's some limit that's outside the player's ability to prompt, but I'm not sure how to define that neatly.
 

JAMUMU

actually dracula
Interesting! Could you elaborate and/or give an example? What falls outside of the scope of all that? I'm particularly curious about the "immediate" in GM's "immediate authority".
Well, for quantum foam I really mean to use the technical term "awesomesauce", or perhaps "world lubricant", but that sounds odd. Don't call it that.

I think what I mean is that there's sometimes a space in a game where the "authority structure" (whether that leans toward GM authority, or games with a more collaborative approach) does, as @chaochou says, break down. Suddenly no one knows if there are any pine cones on the forest floor, or if this particular wooden frame's made of oak or ash, or if these are the same goat-herders you saw from a distance three sessions ago.

By immediate authority I mean details that are perhaps too zoomed in, too fine grained, or just too ephemeral/mundane for the GM to have put in their prep. So the GM can't look at their notes to find out. The players have asked questions that do need an answer, and everyone is caught in a moment where it's Schroedinger's X. It's like a rugby scrum, in a way, two teams leaning into each other, balanced, with the ball bouncing around somewhere inside. An observer knows the ball is there, but can't say where.

Instead of this being a failure state, point of contention, or opportunity for the GM to re-assert authority ("Give me ten minutes while I research the types of wood used in Norse door frames and the density of pine cones in mixed forests"), it can be a fantastic opportunity to explore the emergent properties of a setting. Burning Wheel does this with the Die of Fate. Questions from the GM and players that can be formulated along the lines of could it be the case that...? is it possible and logical that X might happen...? are resolved by rolling a d6. On a 1, it happens. Maybe the odds get adjusted, if the group thinks that 2-in-6 or 50/50 is a better probability.

Here the immediate authority of the GM has broken down, the players can only ask questions of the environment, so the answer to the question is ceded to the die roll. And the game (not just Burning Wheel, any game can add this mechanic in with a coin toss or whatever), the fiction, the world-in-motion is taken out of the hands of the group. Many of the most memorable tangents and zig-zags and out-of-left-fields in the games I run have happened because of this "quantum foam", as I call it.

You feel me fam? Or am I talking rubbish?
 

niklinna

učim hrvatski
Well, for quantum foam I really mean to use the technical term "awesomesauce", or perhaps "world lubricant", but that sounds odd. Don't call it that.

I think what I mean is that there's sometimes a space in a game where the "authority structure" (whether that leans toward GM authority, or games with a more collaborative approach) does, as @chaochou says, break down. Suddenly no one knows if there are any pine cones on the forest floor, or if this particular wooden frame's made of oak or ash, or if these are the same goat-herders you saw from a distance three sessions ago.

By immediate authority I mean details that are perhaps too zoomed in, too fine grained, or just too ephemeral/mundane for the GM to have put in their prep. So the GM can't look at their notes to find out. The players have asked questions that do need an answer, and everyone is caught in a moment where it's Schroedinger's X. It's like a rugby scrum, in a way, two teams leaning into each other, balanced, with the ball bouncing around somewhere inside. An observer knows the ball is there, but can't say where.

Instead of this being a failure state, point of contention, or opportunity for the GM to re-assert authority ("Give me ten minutes while I research the types of wood used in Norse door frames and the density of pine cones in mixed forests"), it can be a fantastic opportunity to explore the emergent properties of a setting. Burning Wheel does this with the Die of Fate. Questions from the GM and players that can be formulated along the lines of could it be the case that...? is it possible and logical that X might happen...? are resolved by rolling a d6. On a 1, it happens. Maybe the odds get adjusted, if the group thinks that 2-in-6 or 50/50 is a better probability.

Here the immediate authority of the GM has broken down, the players can only ask questions of the environment, so the answer to the question is ceded to the die roll. And the game (not just Burning Wheel, any game can add this mechanic in with a coin toss or whatever), the fiction, the world-in-motion is taken out of the hands of the group. Many of the most memorable tangents and zig-zags and out-of-left-fields in the games I run have happened because of this "quantum foam", as I call it.

You feel me fam? Or am I talking rubbish?
Yes this makes eminent sense, thank you for explaining!

It reminds me of the first session in a campaign where we were trapped in a cellar with skeletons attacking and someone asked if there were any tubs of butter. The GM was a bit perplexed but said sure why not, and so we dumped the butter on the floor and the skeleons slipped and fell. We joked about "the butter trap" for the rest of the campaign! This is not exactly what you're talking about perhaps, but it's pretty close. Also it was literally lubricant. :LOL:
 
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JAMUMU

actually dracula
Yes this makes eminent sense, than you for explaining!

It reminds me of the first session in a campaign where we were trapped in a cellar with skeletons attacking and someone asked if there were any tubs of butter. The GM was a bit perplexed but said sure why not, and so we dumped the butter on the floor and the skeleons slipped and fell. We joked about "the butter trap" for the rest of the campaign! This is not exactly what you're talking about perhaps, but it's pretty close. Also it was literally lubricant. :LOL:
Every game benefits from a little lube! Glad you understood what I'm getting at, and any given game's moments when the "tub of butter" comes out is a fine way of putting it!
 

Pedantic

Legend
Every game benefits from a little lube! Glad you understood what I'm getting at, and any given game's moments when the "tub of butter" comes out is a fine way of putting it!
So what are the general limitations/parameters on this kind of addition to the fictional world? I have a couple thoughts on some basics principles.
  1. Players make suggestions that are vetted/approved by the GM.
  2. These suggestions most not contravene existing established framing.
  3. These suggestions must elaborate on or provide additional detail to an existing element of the fiction.
  4. These elements must relate to something the player characters can perceive with their senses.
 

JAMUMU

actually dracula
So what are the general limitations/parameters on this kind of addition to the fictional world? I have a couple thoughts on some basics principles.
  1. Players make suggestions that are vetted/approved by the GM.
  2. These suggestions most not contravene existing established framing.
  3. These suggestions must elaborate on or provide additional detail to an existing element of the fiction.
  4. These elements must relate to something the player characters can perceive with their senses.
I don't think vetted/approved by the GM is the gist of what I was aiming at. I think it's when both the players and GM honestly don't know/aren't sure. So the randomiser determines whether the addition happens.
 

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