Right, so that “performance metric”? I want that to be there so that it can be one of the factors I have to weigh when trying to make a difficult decision, in service of discovering “what my character would do.” That’s why it’s seeming like my agenda is “incoherent” by these standards. My ultimate motivation is to learn about character, which is apparently a simulationist thing, but the existence of a performance metric seems to be a barometer for whether or not something is gamist, and I do want one.I think talking about "gamist" mechanics or "simulationist" mechanics isn't helpful for coming to Edwards' ideas, because he is using those labels to describe (what he calls) "creative agendas" - roughly, what's your central pleasure in RPGing? - rather than particular techniques. Of course we don't need to stick to his usage, but we'll then have to come up with our own meanings; and his conclusions based on his meanings may no longer follow.
Anyway, here is how Edwards contrasts gamist play with character-exploration-play. First, he looks at different ways that competition can figure in gamist play: between the PCs - think of, say, arena-battle oriented RPGing; and between the players - think of, say, dicing to get first choice of magic items in a classic D&D game. Then he describes a particular style of gamism in which competition is at a low level in both respects:
Quite a bit of D&D based on story-heavy published scenarios plays this way. It shares some features with "characters face problem" Simulationist play, with the addition of a performance metric of some kind.
In other words, the difference between low-competition gamism (like cooperative D&D party play - Edward's "story-heavy published scenarios" is contrasting with more classic dungeoncrawling) and character-exploration where it is problems/challenges/missions/pickles that bring out the characters, is is there are a performance metric?
If there is - if you're "accountable" for your performance (you can win or lose, you can earn more or fewer XP, you miss out on magic items if you let the team down, whatever it might be in a D&D context) - then that's gamism, because you have to own your win or loss. If not - if we're all just finding out how these characters respond to these challenges/probems/pickles - then its simulationist, by which Edwards means we're imagining because it's fun! But not because we're out to show that we can score better than someone else.
Again, I feel like you have a massive lacuna here and have misunderstood the process. Yes, players, though characters, present the focus of play, but the GM is anything but passive here. They aren't creating to suit the players, they're creating to provide honest adversity to the characters. Their job is to push back, hard, pretty much all the time, and see what happens. Everyone is seeing what happens. It's a surprise to everyone, quite often.Yeah, that totally tracks with how I’m grokking the difference.
Now I feel like I have a pretty firm grasp on narrativism, but gamism and simulationism still don’t seem like they have coherent definitions to me (see what I did there? )
I mean, I guess it’s good that you like that sort of play. I wouldn’t call it “putting it frankly” to suggest that’s how every D&D game, let alone every non-simulationist game, is run.It's not at all! I totally embrace this when I run. It's the GM's job in these games! It's what they're supposed to be doing! And it's a very popular and enjoyable pasttime for lots of people when this is exactly what happens. If you feel putting it frankly is venomous, I'm not sure how to have anything resembling an honest discussion about how games work.
That's quite vivid. How do you avoid being protective about it, in play?
I don’t know, the one person who has made sense to me in this conversation, who is also the one person who has been citing the primary sources for the theory, seems to think I’m on the right track, so I’m gonna go with that.Again, I feel like you have a massive lacuna here and have misunderstood the process.
Ok, but both of these things are also true with how I play, so this isn’t helping illuminate the difference for me.Yes, players, though characters, present the focus of play, but the GM is anything but passive here.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure you’re just taking issue with my phrasing here, same as how what you consider stating frankly how D&D works comes across as venomous to me. Something about the way we each use language is rubbing the other the wrong way, but nothing you say here is contradicting how I’m coming to understand narrativism.They aren't creating to suit the players, they're creating to provide honest adversity to the characters. Their job is to push back, hard, pretty much all the time, and see what happens. Everyone is seeing what happens. It's a surprise to everyone, quite often.
By "point" I mean something like theme, evaluation, opinion (not on a matter of fact, but on some feature of human nature or culture or experience or . . .), artistic concern (but not concerns about techniques or execution, but rather about what the work "says").Could you please clarify in what sense you're using the word "point"? (I realize you've tried to clarify by analogy already, but I still don't follow.)
The closest I've been able to get is that you're using it in the sense of "an argument or idea put forward by a person in discussion" but that sense seems far too general in comparison to the emphasis you're putting on the word.
Kind of. I guess it depends on what you mean by scenario. I would say it doesn't have a scenario (or at least if it does it's more like a starting point). So maybe we are just using the word scenario differently. There is certainly something that is being invented on the fly. There is also something that adapts to the needs of the character. I guess I would call that 'story' instead of scenario. Whereas in D&D the story would be about the PC's in whatever scenario the DM had framed for them. A careful DM could frame a scenario and transition to the next scenario and carefully frame it such that the scenarios kept adapting to the needs of the character and were in a sense invented on the fly. This is not normally how D&D is played though.No, it has one in the opposite of the way a game like D&D does. The scenario is being invented on the fly, adapting to the needs of the characters instead of the other way around.
I'm very confused. 5e is most often playing to support simulationist agendas. Typically high concept. The GM as the determiner of how the world works is 100% codified in the rules and the reason that 5e is so supportive of this particular agenda. Iserith and you, if I recall correctly, lean towards including gamist agendas by having clear, principled ways you interact and basing play on locations with clear inputs and outputs and then letting the dice fall as they do. Still, with the GM in the drivers seat, so to speak, it's very hard to get away from simulationism because so much gets filtered through the GM's conception of cause and effect to even enable the rules.I mean, I guess it’s good that you like that sort of play. I wouldn’t call it “putting it frankly” to suggest that’s how every D&D game, let alone every non-simulationist game, is run.