At the Intersection of Skilled Play, System Intricacy, Prep, and Story Now

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I am simply outlining a program of analysis/research to address the question. It wasn't intended to be an attack on anyone's position. In terms of talking about 'theorycrafting' what I am saying is we won't derive stronger and more useful conclusions merely by inventing more examples. Now, going beyond that, and I think we'd need to go significantly beyond that, might turn out to be rather more than can be accomplished in a thread, so maybe you can object to the agenda on the basis of feasibility. However, I'm treating everything discussed as an open question, not me trying to prove something to you. That is, if such a project was undertaken, my feeling is it would support my position, but I'm not creating a hill to die on here. Its a hypothesis, not gospel.
You preserved the rhetorical win but disclaimed the work. You've established that you firmly believe that my point is incorrect, and that thinking along the lines you've sketched will show it, thereby claiming a rhetorical win, but you've disclaimed the intent to actual complete the teamwork/ thinking. This is attempting to set up some cover of rigor and fairness when the boiled down output is naught but you saying you think I'm wrong.

I'll happily accept a reasoned rebuttal. I will point out that the standout examples of story now play all feature robust mechanical resolution systems and eschew consensus resolution. MLwM does this, DitV does this, BW does this, PbtA does this, FitD does this, even 4e does this. Heck, Cthulhu Dark does this.
 

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pemerton

Legend
you can roleplay with conviction a character in these games, but the point of the game isn't to find out who these characters are
A modest side-point: not all story-now play is aimed at finding out who the characters are. For instance, some is focused on setting (HeroWars/Quest is the poster child here; this was also the main focus in my 4e D&D play). And some is focused on situation (The Dying Earth is one example; Prince Valiant can be, too, though I would say it sits more on the character-situation interface than The Dying Earth does).

You and I (A and O) are playing some hypothetical GM-less RPG in which we somehow share authority over constructing the fiction.

<sinp>

So, A and O somehow produce a fiction, and the characters are somehow placed within it, and some aspect of how that fiction is created, or a third process will then push the characters into action by engaging them in a thematically relevant way (operationalizing the premise). We are both concerned with story, and we are expected to do our part by carrying forward the character interaction with this premise, as appropriate to whichever character we are playing (Ca and Co let us say). Now, I'm going to presume here that Ca and Co interact in some fashion, otherwise there is no ONE story, right? They are both engaged with the same fictional elements and there's probably some direct relationship between them.

Now, your thesis is that I cannot build a system where A can both participate in authoring the fiction in a consensual manner with O, and still be an effective protagonist in the role of Ca. The CP is going to make this an interesting dance, but lets see where we can go with it. I hold that we can accomplish a good design that meets the criteria of Story Now, at least in a real-world sense. I agree with the thought in this thread that pure theorycrafting on this kind of thing is of limited value, so anything we were to come up with would potentially meet with THEORETICAL objections, but its what works in practice that I care about.
If I've understood you properly, then not only is this something that can be done, but I've done it, playing Burning Wheel with a friend.

The full write-up of play is here.

We each burned a PC - in my case Aedhros, a Dark Elf Deceiver, in his case Alicia, a Weather Witch. We agreed on an opening scene - both disembarking from a ship in Hardby with Resources 0 and no shoes. I asked why Alicia hadn't been paid. Because bottom has fallen out of the market in soft cheese, so the cargo can't be sold. I ran with that, framed a scene, Alicia's player earned a Fate point for her Base Humility in accepting the ship-master's refusal to pay her, Aedhros picked the ship-master's pocket (we agreed he got 1D of cash for his troubles), and then Aedhros proposed that the two of us find a room for a day or two before robbing the master in the night. Alicia agreed.

More scenes were framed, on the rough principle that I managed the adversity for Alicia and my friend managed the adversity for Aedhros. The upshot was that Alicia worked in the kitchen of a dodgy dock-side inn in exchange for board; Aedhros sneaked into the inn and persuaded Alicia to join him first in robbing the inn-keeper; we waited for a mist to roll in (as predicted by Alicia) so that we could sneak about and easily escape; we broke into the inn-keepers room and Alicia disabled him with her martial arts, then Persuaded Aedhros not to murder him, but swooned as a result of casting her spell; and Aedhros relieved the inn-keeper of his strongbox (2D cash) and his shoes, and carried the unconscious Alicia through the mist down to the docks, so she could rest and recover her Tax.

The elements of consensus in this play - around scene-framing, stakes-setting (eg we agreed that the master's purse would have 1D of cash, and the inn-keeper's strongbox 2D) and consequence resolution (eg in determining the upshot of my failed Resources check to purchase accommodation for both Aedhros and Alicia, which is what precipitated the robbing of the inn-keeper) - didn't prevent us playing to find out, and at least in my case discovering new things about Aedhros (like the fact that he hesitated when it came to murdering the innkeeper, which is what gave Alicia the time to cast her Persuasion spell).
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
A modest side-point: not all story-now play is aimed at finding out who the characters are. For instance, some is focused on setting (HeroWars/Quest is the poster child here; this was also the main focus in my 4e D&D play). And some is focused on situation (The Dying Earth is one example; Prince Valiant can be, too, though I would say it sits more on the character-situation interface than The Dying Earth does).

If I've understood you properly, then not only is this something that can be done, but I've done it, playing Burning Wheel with a friend.

The full write-up of play is here.

We each burned a PC - in my case Aedhros, a Dark Elf Deceiver, in his case Alicia, a Weather Witch. We agreed on an opening scene - both disembarking from a ship in Hardby with Resources 0 and no shoes. I asked why Alicia hadn't been paid. Because bottom has fallen out of the market in soft cheese, so the cargo can't be sold. I ran with that, framed a scene, Alicia's player earned a Fate point for her Base Humility in accepting the ship-master's refusal to pay her, Aedhros picked the ship-master's pocket (we agreed he got 1D of cash for his troubles), and then Aedhros proposed that the two of us find a room for a day or two before robbing the master in the night. Alicia agreed.

More scenes were framed, on the rough principle that I managed the adversity for Alicia and my friend managed the adversity for Aedhros. The upshot was that Alicia worked in the kitchen of a dodgy dock-side inn in exchange for board; Aedhros sneaked into the inn and persuaded Alicia to join him first in robbing the inn-keeper; we waited for a mist to roll in (as predicted by Alicia) so that we could sneak about and easily escape; we broke into the inn-keepers room and Alicia disabled him with her martial arts, then Persuaded Aedhros not to murder him, but swooned as a result of casting her spell; and Aedhros relieved the inn-keeper of his strongbox (2D cash) and his shoes, and carried the unconscious Alicia through the mist down to the docks, so she could rest and recover her Tax.

The elements of consensus in this play - around scene-framing, stakes-setting (eg we agreed that the master's purse would have 1D of cash, and the inn-keeper's strongbox 2D) and consequence resolution (eg in determining the upshot of my failed Resources check to purchase accommodation for both Aedhros and Alicia, which is what precipitated the robbing of the inn-keeper) - didn't prevent us playing to find out, and at least in my case discovering new things about Aedhros (like the fact that he hesitated when it came to murdering the innkeeper, which is what gave Alicia the time to cast her Persuasion spell).
Did you roll dice? If you did, the conflict resolution was mechanical, not consensus. Every game has some consensus seeking even if only on the exact shape of the current fiction. What you seem to describe here is a more collaborative way to create situation and describe outcome, but there's a complete dearth on how you actually resolved the conflicts. More, please.
 

You preserved the rhetorical win but disclaimed the work. You've established that you firmly believe that my point is incorrect, and that thinking along the lines you've sketched will show it, thereby claiming a rhetorical win, but you've disclaimed the intent to actual complete the teamwork/ thinking. This is attempting to set up some cover of rigor and fairness when the boiled down output is naught but you saying you think I'm wrong.

I'll happily accept a reasoned rebuttal. I will point out that the standout examples of story now play all feature robust mechanical resolution systems and eschew consensus resolution. MLwM does this, DitV does this, BW does this, PbtA does this, FitD does this, even 4e does this. Heck, Cthulhu Dark does this.
I'm puzzled as what earned your hostility, but be that as it may. I think you mistake me. I'm perfectly willing to undertake this exploration, lets do it! Obviously I do believe I can establish my hypothesis, but as far as I know the best way to do so is attempted falsification, so I'm very much not opposed to the exploration of the ways in which you propose the idea is flawed. OK?

Anyway, another avenue might be a thorough analysis of @pemerton's play of BW without a full time GM and the players alternating GM duty. Let me know what you think of that option, otherwise I'll go ahead and build as much of a game as everyone feels is required to address the question.
 

Did you roll dice? If you did, the conflict resolution was mechanical, not consensus. Every game has some consensus seeking even if only on the exact shape of the current fiction. What you seem to describe here is a more collaborative way to create situation and describe outcome, but there's a complete dearth on how you actually resolved the conflicts. More, please.
I read the play report, back when it was posted. Its quite detailed actually. Modulus the factors involved in co-GMing it seemed to be pretty much bog-standard BW. I am confused about the dice thing, of course they rolled dice, everyone rolls dice... conflict resolution is generally THE central nexus of mechanics in most RPGs, is it not? Even Story Now ones.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I read the play report, back when it was posted. Its quite detailed actually. Modulus the factors involved in co-GMing it seemed to be pretty much bog-standard BW. I am confused about the dice thing, of course they rolled dice, everyone rolls dice... conflict resolution is generally THE central nexus of mechanics in most RPGs, is it not? Even Story Now ones.
Because consensus conflict resolution is the players negotiating the outcome without using dice or any other mechanic. They decide together what happens solely through negotiation.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I'm puzzled as what earned your hostility, but be that as it may. I think you mistake me. I'm perfectly willing to undertake this exploration, lets do it! Obviously I do believe I can establish my hypothesis, but as far as I know the best way to do so is attempted falsification, so I'm very much not opposed to the exploration of the ways in which you propose the idea is flawed. OK?

Anyway, another avenue might be a thorough analysis of @pemerton's play of BW without a full time GM and the players alternating GM duty. Let me know what you think of that option, otherwise I'll go ahead and build as much of a game as everyone feels is required to address the question.
You've now said in three posts that you think you are right and that you want to do the exploration to show it, but you haven't actually done any of the showing part. Kindly put up?
 

OK then...
I would propose a simple game system model. Here's one that is an extrapolation of another game I've run a few times, and could also be thought of as a simplification of games like BW to a degree. Each player constructs a character (presumably there's an agreement on a genre and general milieu, I don't think that stuff is super relevant though). Each character consists of a description including something they believe, something they want, and something/someone they know (and how or why). The player then names 2 traits, which are restricted to being a 3-5 word descriptive phrase. 7 points are divided between the two traits. Each character also starts with an agreed upon number of additional 'free dice'. By convention this is something like, say, five.

Once the characters have been constructed, the players alternate framing scenes which relate to the belief, want, or knowledge/relationship of the other player's character. They may choose to place their own PC in frame, or not, but each scene must follow in some logical way from previous fiction (so most anything goes at first I guess).

The goal is simple, to have fun challenging each other and yourself. Mechanical resolution is a simple pool. A player declares some sort of intent, and names a proposed level of difficulty required to achieve it within the current scene frame/position. The other player can accept this, or they can spend some of their free dice in order to increase the difficulty. The first player can also add free dice to his pool, which starts at the level of one of his attributes, whichever one he can justify engaging (or if none, then 0). The other player is free to object to this determination, they will have to talk it out. Once the size of each pool is determined, dice are rolled, and the one who gets the most high rolls wins. If the player achieves his intent, then he gets to frame the rest of the scene, showing how he succeeds. If he fails, then the other player gets to describe how his plans go awry. Alternatively the other player can hit the loser with a twist, which is pure fiction, but is persistent (lets say it results in the other player being able to invoke it as a 'misfortune' in the next scene). Finally, he could hit the loser with an 'affliction', which reduces one of his attributes by the loss margin during his next scene.

As an incentive, lets say that if you lose in a scene, you get to keep all the dice played in that scene and add them to your free dice. So, there's a real game going on here where the players can help or hinder each other's characters, as they see fit.

Now, there should be an additional consideration in this game, a reason why the players would really cooperate on the fiction, or not. In other words there really aren't yet any solid win cons or loss cons. There could be some kind of score kept. Or the players could agree on some parameters for a story arc which includes some kind of win cons, like whomever gets the girl wins, or whoever first fulfills their desire, etc. Honestly I think it should be a bit cleverer than this, but I'm just noodling here.

So, I think this can work, though it might not without some tweaking. I'm pretty sure the basic mechanics are workable though. The story building part might be a little rough though, again, it seems like the incentive part of this needs to be highly considered if it is going to really exhibit Story Now reliably. Perhaps the best strategy is to just make things very explicit. Both PCs have to address an agreed upon premise (IE it has to be spoken to in the character description, and the object of framing scenes is to engage it). So, then incentive will be related to how that goes. A character's intent in a scene might well not be particularly to get something they want, but to have a certain type of experience relative to the premise.

Anyway... its a rough start.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
OK then...
I would propose a simple game system model. Here's one that is an extrapolation of another game I've run a few times, and could also be thought of as a simplification of games like BW to a degree. Each player constructs a character (presumably there's an agreement on a genre and general milieu, I don't think that stuff is super relevant though). Each character consists of a description including something they believe, something they want, and something/someone they know (and how or why). The player then names 2 traits, which are restricted to being a 3-5 word descriptive phrase. 7 points are divided between the two traits. Each character also starts with an agreed upon number of additional 'free dice'. By convention this is something like, say, five.

Once the characters have been constructed, the players alternate framing scenes which relate to the belief, want, or knowledge/relationship of the other player's character. They may choose to place their own PC in frame, or not, but each scene must follow in some logical way from previous fiction (so most anything goes at first I guess).

The goal is simple, to have fun challenging each other and yourself. Mechanical resolution is a simple pool. A player declares some sort of intent, and names a proposed level of difficulty required to achieve it within the current scene frame/position. The other player can accept this, or they can spend some of their free dice in order to increase the difficulty. The first player can also add free dice to his pool, which starts at the level of one of his attributes, whichever one he can justify engaging (or if none, then 0). The other player is free to object to this determination, they will have to talk it out. Once the size of each pool is determined, dice are rolled, and the one who gets the most high rolls wins. If the player achieves his intent, then he gets to frame the rest of the scene, showing how he succeeds. If he fails, then the other player gets to describe how his plans go awry. Alternatively the other player can hit the loser with a twist, which is pure fiction, but is persistent (lets say it results in the other player being able to invoke it as a 'misfortune' in the next scene). Finally, he could hit the loser with an 'affliction', which reduces one of his attributes by the loss margin during his next scene.

As an incentive, lets say that if you lose in a scene, you get to keep all the dice played in that scene and add them to your free dice. So, there's a real game going on here where the players can help or hinder each other's characters, as they see fit.

Now, there should be an additional consideration in this game, a reason why the players would really cooperate on the fiction, or not. In other words there really aren't yet any solid win cons or loss cons. There could be some kind of score kept. Or the players could agree on some parameters for a story arc which includes some kind of win cons, like whomever gets the girl wins, or whoever first fulfills their desire, etc. Honestly I think it should be a bit cleverer than this, but I'm just noodling here.

So, I think this can work, though it might not without some tweaking. I'm pretty sure the basic mechanics are workable though. The story building part might be a little rough though, again, it seems like the incentive part of this needs to be highly considered if it is going to really exhibit Story Now reliably. Perhaps the best strategy is to just make things very explicit. Both PCs have to address an agreed upon premise (IE it has to be spoken to in the character description, and the object of framing scenes is to engage it). So, then incentive will be related to how that goes. A character's intent in a scene might well not be particularly to get something they want, but to have a certain type of experience relative to the premise.

Anyway... its a rough start.
Also not consensus. You have mechanics that are not consensus seeking and that conclusively resolve conflict when applied.
 

Also not consensus. You have mechanics that are not consensus seeking and that conclusively resolve conflict when applied.
I guess I'm not really following what your argument is entirely then, because clearly there are inputs from all parties here. I guess maybe we now have to have a discussion about what is and isn't a form of consensus. That is, this discussion seemed to start with a question about MLwM, and Fiasco, and their bona fides as Story Now games (at least Fiasco). It SEEMS to me what I've proposed is a pretty minimal analog of that, but I'm happy to have a discussion of the key differences.

Anyway, by thinking about it, I have arrived back at RE's observation about Story Now (Narrativism) and reward structure, lol. Its rather interesting when you see how robust some of these models are, things just 'fall out'. In any case, certainly you could make a game where consensus was more pervasive. There ARE limits before the Czege Principle bites you though, and then its much harder to generate any drama.
 

pemerton

Legend
Did you roll dice? If you did, the conflict resolution was mechanical, not consensus. Every game has some consensus seeking even if only on the exact shape of the current fiction. What you seem to describe here is a more collaborative way to create situation and describe outcome, but there's a complete dearth on how you actually resolved the conflicts. More, please.
I read the play report, back when it was posted. Its quite detailed actually. Modulus the factors involved in co-GMing it seemed to be pretty much bog-standard BW. I am confused about the dice thing, of course they rolled dice, everyone rolls dice... conflict resolution is generally THE central nexus of mechanics in most RPGs, is it not? Even Story Now ones.
The full write-up of play is here.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I guess I'm not really following what your argument is entirely then, because clearly there are inputs from all parties here. I guess maybe we now have to have a discussion about what is and isn't a form of consensus. That is, this discussion seemed to start with a question about MLwM, and Fiasco, and their bona fides as Story Now games (at least Fiasco). It SEEMS to me what I've proposed is a pretty minimal analog of that, but I'm happy to have a discussion of the key differences.

Anyway, by thinking about it, I have arrived back at RE's observation about Story Now (Narrativism) and reward structure, lol. Its rather interesting when you see how robust some of these models are, things just 'fall out'. In any case, certainly you could make a game where consensus was more pervasive. There ARE limits before the Czege Principle bites you though, and then its much harder to generate any drama.
Consensus resolution isn't "people have inputs" it's resolution by means of achieving consensus between participants on what happens. It's right there in the words used!

"OK, Bob is going to save the Princess from falling off the cliff."
"Well, Joe is going to push the Princess off the cliff!"
"Hmm, a conflict. How about Bob grabs the Princess as she goes over from Joe's push, but now he's dangling over the side, like a real cliffhanger!?"
"Great, love it! That's what happens, agreed?"
"Agreed."

Consensus resolution.
 

Consensus resolution isn't "people have inputs" it's resolution by means of achieving consensus between participants on what happens. It's right there in the words used!

"OK, Bob is going to save the Princess from falling off the cliff."
"Well, Joe is going to push the Princess off the cliff!"
"Hmm, a conflict. How about Bob grabs the Princess as she goes over from Joe's push, but now he's dangling over the side, like a real cliffhanger!?"
"Great, love it! That's what happens, agreed?"
"Agreed."

Consensus resolution.
As I said, this line of discussion arose from your assertion that Fiasco, specifically, could not be story now, and Fiasco doesn't work that way, so are you now changing your mind on that? If so, then we are in agreement. As for the sequence described above, I don't understand why it would not still be 'consensus story telling' if there was fortune interjected. At that point each player can simply attempt to achieve their character's intentions (which presumably relate to premise etc.). The premise might be, say "Bad things happen to good people." and perhaps Joe's intent is to hurt the Princess for whatever personal reasons. Bob OTOH has an interest in saving her from harm that arises from his character's motivations. So, Joe and Bob both declare their intents. Now, in the purely diceless 'no mechanics' outline you give each player gets PART of what they wanted, the Princess goes over the cliff, but Bob grabs her. She's still in danger, Bob hasn't achieved his full intent, nor has Joe, but they have each fully addressed the premise and acted suitably with intent. Frankly I don't think there's a problem here, and this is exactly what I said about 'non zero-sum' before. You can fully advocate for your character, and still achieve a consensus story. The participants simply need to accept that one of the constraints on the outcome is, it has to be a 'good' story (for some definition of good, which admittedly could be a sticking point at times).

I mean, I do understand where you are coming from. I just think that in fairly likely play scenarios that such a process can work, though I have other problems with the whole 'no mechanics' formulation, I think mechanics, not just 'process of play' are a pretty important part of most RPGs. Your above scenario is likely to only arise in a minority of attempts at this sort of play without some more structure.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
As I said, this line of discussion arose from your assertion that Fiasco, specifically, could not be story now, and Fiasco doesn't work that way, so are you now changing your mind on that?
Sigh. I've made these points extremely clear. Firstly, my complaint about consensus resolution was aimed at Montsegur 1244, which uses this. I mentioned Fiasco because it has some similarities. I went on, in a later post, to show that Fiasco is a non-Story Now Oreo cookie -- it's 100% improv consensus resolution inside the scenes, which are sandwiched behind a Bob Says framing and a Bob Says resolution (where the role of Bob rotates). So, no, I've been consistent and clear all throughout. Although, I will admit that the misunderstanding about what consensus resolution means doesn't bode well for following that thread. I didn't expect that.
If so, then we are in agreement. .
We are not, and it's another rhetorical attempt to steal the win by proposing the strawman above and then assert that I truly agree with it.
As for the sequence described above, I don't understand why it would not still be 'consensus story telling' if there was fortune interjected.
Dude, because fortune mechanics are NOT consensus! It's right there. This is like saying "well I don't understand why it would still not be a knife fight if everyone's using guns!"
At that point each player can simply attempt to achieve their character's intentions (which presumably relate to premise etc.). The premise might be, say "Bad things happen to good people." and perhaps Joe's intent is to hurt the Princess for whatever personal reasons. Bob OTOH has an interest in saving her from harm that arises from his character's motivations. So, Joe and Bob both declare their intents. Now, in the purely diceless 'no mechanics' outline you give each player gets PART of what they wanted, the Princess goes over the cliff, but Bob grabs her.
She's still in danger, Bob hasn't achieved his full intent, nor has Joe, but they have each fully addressed the premise and acted suitably with intent. Frankly I don't think there's a problem here, and this is exactly what I said about 'non zero-sum' before. You can fully advocate for your character, and still achieve a consensus story. The participants simply need to accept that one of the constraints on the outcome is, it has to be a 'good' story (for some definition of good, which admittedly could be a sticking point at times).
The mechanic is consensus -- everyone has to agree to what happens next. The example was to show you a simple version of consensus resolution, since you seem to have misunderstood it, not as a clear example of exactly how consensus resolution cuts against story now. But, if we use this example, we can see that the desire to push the princess of the cliff (assuming this is a dramatic goal of the PC) is compromised and not full throated. You've focused on the saving and missed that there are two dramatic needs in this scene, one was slightly compromised the other almost fully compromised. You cannot fully advocate for your character and achieve a consensus story UNLESS the other players are compromising. Full picture.
I mean, I do understand where you are coming from. I just think that in fairly likely play scenarios that such a process can work, though I have other problems with the whole 'no mechanics' formulation, I think mechanics, not just 'process of play' are a pretty important part of most RPGs. Your above scenario is likely to only arise in a minority of attempts at this sort of play without some more structure.
You're speaking out of turn completely, here. The above is the resolution mechanic inside scenes for Fiasco, and it is the resolution mechanic outlined in Montsegur 1244. You thinking it doesn't happen like this, in games you've admitted not knowing, doesn't mean it doesn't actually exist.
 

Sigh. I've made these points extremely clear. Firstly, my complaint about consensus resolution was aimed at Montsegur 1244, which uses this. I mentioned Fiasco because it has some similarities. I went on, in a later post, to show that Fiasco is a non-Story Now Oreo cookie -- it's 100% improv consensus resolution inside the scenes, which are sandwiched behind a Bob Says framing and a Bob Says resolution (where the role of Bob rotates). So, no, I've been consistent and clear all throughout. Although, I will admit that the misunderstanding about what consensus resolution means doesn't bode well for following that thread. I didn't expect that.

We are not, and it's another rhetorical attempt to steal the win by proposing the strawman above and then assert that I truly agree with it.

Dude, because fortune mechanics are NOT consensus! It's right there. This is like saying "well I don't understand why it would still not be a knife fight if everyone's using guns!"

The mechanic is consensus -- everyone has to agree to what happens next. The example was to show you a simple version of consensus resolution, since you seem to have misunderstood it, not as a clear example of exactly how consensus resolution cuts against story now. But, if we use this example, we can see that the desire to push the princess of the cliff (assuming this is a dramatic goal of the PC) is compromised and not full throated. You've focused on the saving and missed that there are two dramatic needs in this scene, one was slightly compromised the other almost fully compromised. You cannot fully advocate for your character and achieve a consensus story UNLESS the other players are compromising. Full picture.

You're speaking out of turn completely, here. The above is the resolution mechanic inside scenes for Fiasco, and it is the resolution mechanic outlined in Montsegur 1244. You thinking it doesn't happen like this, in games you've admitted not knowing, doesn't mean it doesn't actually exist.
OK, well, you seem totally hell bent on approaching this as me trying to 'win an argument' with you, but really I'm not! Still, it seems to have reached a point where this line of discussion isn't fruitful anymore. Maybe sometime in the future?

In any case, the only area where I see some clarity is in this: I don't think that there's a lack of 'full throated advocacy for character' here. I mean, given bare mechanics free consensus (agreement of all stakeholders) there are only two possibilities, either they do agree to something and the game goes on, or they don't agree and everyone gets up from the table and goes home, since play cannot proceed from that point! Thus, when they agree that the Princess is hanging over the edge of the cliff, they have each got everything they could ever possibly get! If that's not complete advocacy, what is? Not only that, but I'd argue that neither side really compromised at all, or very very little. Joe's AGENDA is to enact the intentions his character's persona generates when confronted with the fiction, likewise Bob. Each one did that. Joe harmed the Princess, Bob protected the Princess. I don't see the issue here... Sure, the Princess is not smashed on the rocks below, but that isn't for lack of Joe's character trying to accomplish that!

Now, where does the story go from here? That might be a more useful question, and that would be the point where I see mechanics of some sort coming into play. Perhaps in a Fiasco style game we end the scene at the cliffhanger and its left there until subsequent events, or the procedure determining who goes next, brings it back. Perhaps by then only one outcome is feasible and someone's plan is thwarted. Or maybe a third possibility arises. Still, the more classic and IMHO reliable way is some dice, but that doesn't mean the way Fiasco did it cannot be Story Now, IMHO. Now, games like my Space Station Scenario get around this by simply being finite (I mean, it had dice too, but even without dice, if you reached an impasse in the fiction, then blowing up the station at that point would be a viable out). You might call it a copout if you wish, but finitely bounded games do have some interesting traits.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
OK, well, you seem totally hell bent on approaching this as me trying to 'win an argument' with you, but really I'm not! Still, it seems to have reached a point where this line of discussion isn't fruitful anymore. Maybe sometime in the future?
Well, you keep saying I'm wrong, so what are you doing? From the below, where you continue to argue and tell me I'm wrong, this bit seems like a rhetorical attempt to cast me as a bad actor.

It's extremely hard to claim you aren't arguing when you take an opposed position and, well, keep arguing it.
In any case, the only area where I see some clarity is in this: I don't think that there's a lack of 'full throated advocacy for character' here. I mean, given bare mechanics free consensus (agreement of all stakeholders) there are only two possibilities, either they do agree to something and the game goes on, or they don't agree and everyone gets up from the table and goes home, since play cannot proceed from that point! Thus, when they agree that the Princess is hanging over the edge of the cliff, they have each got everything they could ever possibly get! If that's not complete advocacy, what is? Not only that, but I'd argue that neither side really compromised at all, or very very little. Joe's AGENDA is to enact the intentions his character's persona generates when confronted with the fiction, likewise Bob. Each one did that. Joe harmed the Princess, Bob protected the Princess. I don't see the issue here... Sure, the Princess is not smashed on the rocks below, but that isn't for lack of Joe's character trying to accomplish that!
You moved the pea and imagined a situation where there is no conflict. If both agendas align so that each gets what they want, there was no conflict to resolve! You can't erase the conflict and then claim victory for the conflict resolution.

The toy example had very quick conflict -- Joe wants the Princess to fall off the cliff, Bob doesn't. The resolution in the example has the Princess not falling off the cliff, but instead being saved by Bob. Joe did not get what Joe wanted. Joe compromised. Bob got what Bob wanted, Bob did not compromise. You've replaced Joe's want with just pushing the Princess and being done with it so that Joe can get what he wants (Princess pushed) and Bob gets what he wants (Princess doesn't fall off cliff) and said that the consensus conflict resolution worked for each. Except, there wasn't a conflict here. Both sides could get exactly what they wanted without interfering with each other. That's not conflict resolution.
Now, where does the story go from here? That might be a more useful question, and that would be the point where I see mechanics of some sort coming into play. Perhaps in a Fiasco style game we end the scene at the cliffhanger and its left there until subsequent events, or the procedure determining who goes next, brings it back. Perhaps by then only one outcome is feasible and someone's plan is thwarted. Or maybe a third possibility arises. Still, the more classic and IMHO reliable way is some dice, but that doesn't mean the way Fiasco did it cannot be Story Now, IMHO. Now, games like my Space Station Scenario get around this by simply being finite (I mean, it had dice too, but even without dice, if you reached an impasse in the fiction, then blowing up the station at that point would be a viable out). You might call it a copout if you wish, but finitely bounded games do have some interesting traits.
This is kinda of a Gish Gallop of irrelevant questions to the point. Who cares about cliffhangers -- this doesn't address conflict resolution at all. If it's a cliffhanger, meaning the fiction is paused, how does the fiction change such that the conflict is removed? This seems like a postulation like "what if you could hear people scream in space?" It's nice, but unless you can actually come up with a routine method we're not going anywhere. A corner case (which I don't see, but could theoretically allow for) wouldn't show much because then we're still talking majority of cases not operating as Story Now except in a specific arrangement of things. That's not good enough for a game. This is mostly just more empty conjecture of there maybe being a possibility that something might happen that could be, conceivably, something that might be worth thinking about more. And that all of that means that Fiasco can totally be story now, if, maybe, the things that might exist show up and show us how. No, man, make points, not empty conjectures that aren't anything more that "I really believe this is so but can't articulate why."

How does a fixed endpoint to the game address anything at all about consensus conflict resolution? Is this more of "if we put a pin in play and wait (ignoring that any intervening play will have the same problems) something magical might happen in the meantime and then you could just end the game and that makes the consensus conflict resolution issues go away? I'm totally not following the thinking here at all.

Look, Fiasco is a conch passing sandwich with a creamy spread of Improv Theater consensus resolution inside. All of this cuts hard against any kind of Story Now play. So what? Why are you convinced that consensus conflict resolution must allow for Story Now play or that Fiasco or Montsegur 1244 must be Story Now games? I don't understand the drive here. To me, one of the largest issues in discussion of Story Now games is that they get so often lumped in with storytelling games and there's an assumption play is the same. Here you're stridently arguing that a game that bills itself as a storytelling game and that has all of the tech of storytelling games (consensus resolution, conch passing) is a Story Now game. I think this is doing a disservice to the clear distinctions between these play agendas and discussion surrounding play.
 

A post to try to give people something to engage with that hews to the lead post:

Some Scholar's Guide quotes and my take on what they mean:

The expeditions they undertake are taxing to body, mind and their very nature. To survive, they must carefully manage food, water and light
resources. To excel, they must fight for what they believe in. To prosper, they must fill their bags with loot and treasure.

This triumvirate of competing needs creates a wonderful tension unique to Torchbearer. Players are asked to weigh these forces in every decision they make.

To play the game, one player undertakes the roles of the antagonists, supporting characters, setting and scenery. <snip> How? By challenging the players with obstacles set in their path. It is only by overcoming difficult challenges and passing through the fire of conflict that the players’ characters can become heroes.

Torchbearer is a roleplaying game. It’s about making difficult choices, and it involves exploring the world and your character through the game
rules and systems.

In quote 1 and 3 above, Luke and Thor lay out the players orientation to play and the character's orientation to their existence. "Excel" and "exploring your character" is clearly oriented to Narrativism and the constituent pieces of the game's engine + the integrated whole + the GM's role in quote 2 (you're playing the antagonism that directly challenges the survive/excel/prosper in quote 1).

At the very least, the orientation of "excel" + "exploring your character" + GM role to play the antagonism to the player's "excel" and "exploring your character" + game engine/reward cycles that facilitate orients play toward a Narrativism bent.

On Adventure 1:

So we don't have anything directly akin to Dogs in the Vineyards' backstory/initiation scene (where players author the kicker and we find out who they are in relation to it), but we do have character building that does all of the other stuff that Dogs does. And then, just like in Dogs, the GM creates a Town that opposes all the stuff that the players have evinced as important to their characters (and addresses the game's fundamental premise).

So my way of looking at Adventure 1 and Dogs Town 1 is that they aren't particularly different. You're getting play started by cutting right to the action. But that cutting to the action isn't disconnected from what I've quote above. The players have flagged what is important to them in PC build and you're building Adventure 1 with this in mind. I don't think its remotely a must to use Luke/Thor's prefabbed Adventure for Adventure 1. I would say that advice is overwhelmingly intended for 1st time GMs/players to the game. Making your own Map/Adventure becomes rote once you've got your feet under you.

Then, just like Dogs' Town 2/3/4 (etc), Adventure 2/3/4 will be an outgrowth of accreting fictional parameters + premise + evinced PC build stuff that you're supposed to test (including/especially that excel stuff that will be entail Belief and Relationships embedded in PC build).

My final thought on this is as I've said prior about the impact of/orientation to Prep in TB:

Adventure design instruction/procedures in Torchbearer is extremely robust. Once you understand each part, each part's importance, the ethos (themed adventure site + consideration for Camp sites + multiple points of ingress/egress and multiple solutions to each situation/obstacle leading to a dynamic Adventure milieu) and how it all fits together, running Adventures on the fly, again, becomes rote for Short and Medium Adventures (again, I can never imagine Long Adventures of 20+ Obstacles EVER being a thing without fairly laborious prep...but my games have seen Long Adventures as the serious, serious exception).

Thoughts?
 

My final thought on this is as I've said prior about the impact of/orientation to Prep in TB:

Adventure design instruction/procedures in Torchbearer is extremely robust. Once you understand each part, each part's importance, the ethos (themed adventure site + consideration for Camp sites + multiple points of ingress/egress and multiple solutions to each situation/obstacle leading to a dynamic Adventure milieu) and how it all fits together, running Adventures on the fly, again, becomes rote for Short and Medium Adventures (again, I can never imagine Long Adventures of 20+ Obstacles EVER being a thing without fairly laborious prep...but my games have seen Long Adventures as the serious, serious exception).

Thoughts?
Well, I will just address the easy part ;). I think a 20+!!!!! obstacle adventure would definitely need some serious lead up and such, yes. It could be handled, but you'd want to be specially equipped, knowing many of the key obstacles and prepared for them, etc. I'd think there would be a 'hard core' part of such an adventure that would amount to a sort of embedded short/medium length adventure and then a 'front porch' and maybe a 'finale' that basically serve to chip the party back down to size, while letting them showcase their fun prep and whatnot, or maybe for the finale just give them a big scare with a last desperate toss of the dice (ala the collapsing dungeon in Indiana Jones, or pretty much any post-boss-fight with a 'structural boss'). A sort of basic template would be that the middle part of the adventure involves some sort of 'trap door' scenario where the PCs are stuck and cannot back up or camp for a certain set of obstacles.
 

pemerton

Legend
Adventure design instruction/procedures in Torchbearer is extremely robust.
As a relative novice to the system, I can only say that I don't quite agree with this. There are guidelines - about how many obstacles, possible variation across them, how far from town - but my gold standard here is D&D 4e, and Torchbearer falls short. I think it also falls short of Moldvay Basic (but produces more interesting play - I'm not saying it's a bad system!).

The Cartographer's Companion has adventures graded by level, but there is no transparent description of how that has been done. The maths could probably be reverse-engineered, but I haven't tried.

In quote 1 and 3 above, Luke and Thor lay out the players orientation to play and the character's orientation to their existence. "Excel" and "exploring your character" is clearly oriented to Narrativism
Here, my gold standard is Burning Wheel.

In BW, the GM's yardstick for both framing and consequence narration is PC Beliefs. And from the player side, playing to (or against) Beliefs earns Fate and Persona, which are necessary to have a chance of success at crucial tests. That is not just exploring your character, it's shaping your character and perhaps having your character change radically before your eyes.

In TB, "fighting for what you believe in" is somewhat watered down: the Beliefs are in the mode of what BW would call a "fate mine", that is, a principle or motto that you evince in play to earn some Fate. And the goals - at least by default, as the system is presented - are oriented towards the GM's scenario. The "excelling" is spending Fate and Persona and thus gaining levels, but the design of TB means that crucial tests will not necessarily reflect player-priorities, but rather than GM's distribution of difficulties across their scenario.

What seems to me to be missing from the TB rules, and what I haven't worked out yet as far as feasibility and technique are concerned, is how to shift scenario design towards something like 4e's player-authored quests. That would change the authorial dynamic around goals, would set up new parameters for GMs in their scenario design, hence change what counts as a crucial test on which Fate and Persona are spent, etc. I've seen hints of this just within the scope of 2 sessions of play but because I'm still at the early stage of learning the system, I have no confident sense of where it might end up.
 

Numidius

Adventurer
A summary of 4e's procedures on player-authored quests, would be really appreciated, at this point.
I get it is a sort of stipulation, Player declares a goal, Gm sets a reward (or XP?) based on difficulty, but then, how actual play unfolds? The Gm sets up an adventure about it? An encounter, or skill challenge?
 

Dungeon Delver's Guide

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