D&D General Fighting Law and Order

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Talking about misdiagnosis, I think this one is also very likely fitting that term.

It is true that integrity is critically important to both "camps". It is also true that the means for maintaining that integrity is very different for both "camps". I think you might take a bit to lightly on the grey featureless blob analogy though. As far as I read it it is not a claim that the entire world is a grey featureless blob - it is the claim as I understand it that everything outside what is established trough play appear like a grey featureless blob. I do not see you, nor any of the other experienced narrativist players so far arguing against that view. Rather I have seen many statements that fuels into such an impression.

The strongest counter statement I have seen is that this holds true for traditional D&D as well. Noone is running D&D with a fully fleshed out world, with every details ever to come into play established by the DM before the first session. As such I think the real "diagnosis" here rather might be a question about quantity rather than quality.

In a D&D setting it is enough that one participant is thinking about something on their own to make it make it something "real" in the fiction. This process is extremely more efficient than the process of going trough the procedures required in a narrative game to bring something into the shared fiction. The established shared fiction is having a similar volume, but D&D is having the GM-vision that also make a claim to a level of "reality" in the fiction, which you don't really have in a pure narrative game.

As such, one way of reading it is like on one dimension playing a narrative game feels like standing in an enclosed elevator (at least early on) compared to sitting in a living room. Both are limited, enclosed spaces, but the feel is different. One is having all the space you feel you need, the other is a place you want to get out of as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, I have a hard "nope" to most everything you've written here.

1) I'm not misdiagnosing anything. What I said is 100 % true. Its not an excruciating laboring of every facet of the issues (both discrete and intersecting), but when it comes to "the integrity of the world," it is 100 % true.

2) On this statement:

"it is the claim as I understand it that everything outside what is established trough play appear like a grey featureless blob"

It is burdened with the exact cognitive framing effect that I'm speaking of above to such a degree that it smuggles in a premise for framing that isn't even a thing. When it comes to Narrativist games, there is no grey featureless blob. There is (a) what has been established (through the premise of the game, through character generation, through play), (b) what is onscreen and relevant, (c) what is offscreen and relevant (if the game moves to offscreen and generates relevant content), (d) what is provisional/contingent and not presently relevant, and (e) how the game engine and participants dictate and resolve that.

No one playing these games thinks in terms of "grey featureless blobs." The mere thinking of any aspect of play as "grey featureless blob" is a tell (a tell of Sim/Immersionist priorities manifesting in a framing effect).

3) I ran a 7 year, high resolution metaplot/backstory, full-on Setting Tourism game set in FR from late 2e through 2004 with 3.x; full Sim/Immersionist. Even in that game, with high resolution setting and metaplot, there was an unfathomable swathe of setting that had absolutely nothing to do with our play and almost surely never would. But I didn't think of that "unfathomable amount of setting that will never see play as "a grey featureless blob" or a "colorful, featureful blob." It was irrelevant. It didn't matter so it didn't exist in my mind, my imaginings, etc.

4) I've spent a huge bulk of my hours GMing games running Pawn Stance Dungeon Crawls attached to a homebase Town to sell stuff and derive new delves through free play. The people in the town that don't matter to selling and buying gear, making and repairing gear, or who aren't NPCs who have rumors or need help (or whatever contrivance) aren't grey featureless blobs. The town and its supporting environs that don't house the delves aren't grey featureless blobs. That isn't a framing I would ever think of or be preoccupied by in the running of those games. Wouldn't occur to me. These worlds are imagined. They don't have volition outside of the volition that the participants at the table or the game engine invest them with. It wouldn't occur to me for even a second to think about "grey featureless blobs" of offscreen setting material that isn't relevant to play. The difference between us is that; the cognitive framework you're working under regarding the imagined spaces of games and the framing effect it has for you.

5) On this statement:

"D&D setting it is enough that one participant is thinking about something on their own to make it make it something "real" in the fiction. This process is extremely more efficient than the process of going trough the procedures required in a narrative game to bring something into the shared fiction."

What is more efficient; content generation? What does efficient mean here? What sort of content generation are you speaking about? Who is generating it?

An inanimate object like a lamp or a desk? A piece of essential backstory or myth? The building out and resolution of a weighty conflict-charged scene? I truly don't know what you're meaning here. Table time in generating content (be it inanimate objects or essential backstory/myth) in Narrativist games is both enormously quick and often visceral. In terms of building out and resolving weighty conflict-charged scenes? In terms of both singular events and the frequency of this occurence there_is_absolute_no_comparison. One game type is built to generate these at frequency, at scale, at pace. The other doesn't (as a feature of those particular games because the pace is meant to be more breezy, featuring conflict-neutral freeplay where PCs spend a lot of time carousing with each other or with NPCs or exploring a locale without a goal-directed level of intensity).

So I'm not sure what you're meaning here. Stocking a dungeon in Moldvay Basic with lamps and desks and traps takes little time. Same for improvving such things in Narrativist games or even Sim/Immersionist games. Procedurally generating an NPC Reaction in Moldvay Basic takes no time. Writing out an Instinct for an NPC in Stonetop takes no time. Coming up for a huge elaborate and layered scheme for an NPC Protagonist As Antagonist, laying breadcrumbs so PCs pursue this stuff, lassoing them back in when they don't bite or go off course? That takes a lot of time...that takes a hell of a lot of effort.
 
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It's often far easier, however, to just treat them as if they do exist, and proceed.

Yes there can be, and is. Where, you ask? Within the imagined game world itself, which is where a lot of us are looking when we think about these things.

If in the fiction I have my character chop down a tree, then my imaginary axe blows plus gravity cause that imaginary tree to fall over. Cause ==> effect.

And if at the table we all agree that this in-fiction effect naturally follows from this in-fiction cause then for all intents and purposes that cause-effect sequence might as well be real; as henceforth that's how it will appear in our memories. (memories of reality and memories of imaginations being, in the end, just memories)

Sorry, not buying this.
It pleases us to imagine these links, yes, but they still have the quality of being imaginings. I don't agree with your conclusion here, but I do agree that we form a consensus at the table as to what fiction we accept. That fiction can be described, sometimes, in the form of cause and effect statements. Sometimes it cannot! And VERY often there are real causes for the imagining, like game mechanics.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Yes, sorry, "burnt" and "burned" are references to character/world generation. It's a bit of a goofy affectation, but that's how the BW refers to it, and I have the book open here.

Ah, I do see a difference in what you surmised and what I wrote — "doing what the players want" and "honoring player priorities" don't strike me as the same thing. But I think it's about positioning more than meaning. Like, the former seems to suggest subservience to me, while the latter is more about being collaborative and open? I think we've seen this come up before in this thread, so I don't know that we need to pull at this string, but that's where I'm coming from.
It does highlight another issue I have with many of these kinds of games, though. They have a real tendency to find new, cute names for game mechanics, in a way that to my mind brings neither clarity nor any other value. I guess they're trying to be pithy and memorable, but it doesn't work for me.
 

Oofta

Legend
It does highlight another issue I have with many of these kinds of games, though. They have a real tendency to find new, cute names for game mechanics, in a way that to my mind brings neither clarity nor any other value. I guess they're trying to be pithy and memorable, but it doesn't work for me.
Kind of reminds me of software development where you have to keep up with current terminology. But the terms used are largely just describing the same things that have been done for decades.

Whether or not it adds value or clarity is a matter of opinion.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
It seems odd you can't or won't provide a complete example.

Saying your game does one small thing that does nothing overall...and your game has dozens of secret things you can't or won't talk about that do amazing things, is not helpful to the conversation.

How thorough an example do you want? It seems like unless someone posts the entirety of the rules, you’re going to jump on them with the “oh it’s clearly just like the Classic game with total godlike GM power tapestry lulz”.

So what example would you like? I can tell you about the first score I ran in Blades in the Dark? Will you actually read it? Will you try to understand or just try to point out how it’s no different than any other game?

I understand your not open to new idea, and oddly you think everyone else should be. But assuming an open minded person that was willing to change their mind, they would need a good argument and example to do so. Not just a vague example and a random "my way is better, because".

Do you mean an open minded person like the kind that would be a grown up and have a discussion with their players?

Honestly, I think you’ve got a lot of gall to post some crap like this. You took over someone else’s game, it immediately imploded, you post here asking for advice only to shoot down any and all ideas and instead just continue on exactly as before… and you have the juevos to label anyone else closed- minded?

IMG_9222.gif
 

Autumnal

Bruce Baugh, Writer of Fortune
But no one supposes, therefore, that in the fiction the ranger caused the Dwarf to be born, to learn to fight, to reach 3rd level, etc.
Sort of a metafictional droit de signeur, Enlightenment calumny against the Middle Ages as written by Jorge Luis Borges, Jim Starlin, or Warren Ellis.

No, YOU are missing the point! Game worlds DO NOT EXIST! They do not abide by ANY laws of any sort whatsoever, they are simply tools of our imagination to which no causal processes of any sort whatsoever can ever logically be attached, PERIOD. This is not some sort of 'philosophical point' or opinion. This is bare hard cold fact. Your notes about play, which include descriptions, essentially instructions, about what to imagine in order to play, and the ideas in the other people's heads when they do this imagining, etc. Those are real. When you say something at the table those words have actual causal effects, which may include changes in the state of the imaginations of the players. However, there CANNOT LOGICALLY BE any connection between one imaginary event and another, no causal link between them. No necessity that one thing follow from another. Without understanding this, you are simply not going to understand RPGs in any objective fashion!
And of course if you’re a nihilist like Thomas Ligotti or Emil Cioran or a speculative realist like Eugene Thacker or Graham Harman, you may believe this to be fundamentally true of reality (appearances to the contrary being our ignorance and desire for denial). Whether this would make Ligotti and Thacker hardcore simulationists whose simulationism is vested in elaborately anti-causal participant frustration systems is an interesting question I shall not take up. I know Ligotti knows about gaming, and the one time I chatted with him online he was extremely gracious, as he always seems to be in interviews, but I’d feel I was taking a liberty.

That’s what really makes threads like these: the batshit out-of-left-field digressions.

But having that discussion requires a recognition that the characteristics of one's own play are not axiomatic of the hobby, such that something featuring different characteristics isn't automatically artificial, immersion-breaking, hollow, unworkable without a group full of theatrically talented players, etc etc. It requires an examination of the strengths and weaknesses of one's own playstyle.
Just so. Taking “but what if I were wrong? How’d I find out, and what’d I do about it?” Is hard work. Heck, I know I have times I deliberately choose to take it up just then, and the inability to turn it off leads to neurochemical disorders and psychological conditions. But managed, it’s important and helpful.
David Mamet once said that a screenwriter should get into a scene as late as possible and out of it as early as possible. In some ways, I think the same is true about where BW play should start. From there, pacing can vary, but the GM should be driving to something hitting a belief and hard quickly.
I’ve found it good for all kinds of gaming, with one partial exception. I’ve applied in testing and advocated for it in game books for thoroughly traditional game lines like Vampire: The Masquerade and Aeon Trinity. Editing helps gaming just like it helps prose.

The partial exception is slice-of-the-characters’-lives play in which the participants specifically don’t want anything dramatic, violent, etc. that scene. (This is a thing I sometimes want, son drawing on experience trying to get it.) and even there, there are states like pastoral and tranquil, and then there’s tedious, awkward to share (like toilet time), and so on. The principle still applies - it’s not like most of Mamet’s plays themselves have s lot of action scenes, after all, fun though the thought of “by David Mamet and John Woo” is - it’s just applied to different priorities that can served by the same kind of structuring.
 

pemerton

Legend
I know you don't see things you do as a player and things you have your PC do as the same, but they absolutely are from my point of view.

<snip>

And the follower rule in 1st ed isn't something the player or PC is doing. It's a setting reaction, adjudicated by the DM, in response to my PC reaching name level, and it does not remotely feel like me authoring the fiction.
I don't even know what you mean by this.

Thing I do in BW: have my PC look for spellbooks. No different from D&D.

Thing I do in BW: roll the dice. No different from D&D.

Thing the GM does, if I succeed (in real life, I didn't - I failed): tell me I find spellbooks. That could happen in D&D.

Thing that is different from your preferred approach: because my roll succeeded, it is true that there are spellbooks in the tower.

My roll succeeding isn't a thing my PC did. It's not even a thing that I at the table did. It's a thing the dice did!

Again, in D&D when I gain 10th level as a ranger, some dice are rolled and it turns out there's a 3rd level Dwarf fighter who wants to be my follower. What does it even mean to say that this is a "setting reaction" but the previous sentence is not describing a "setting reaction". They're both newly established facts about the setting.
 
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pemerton

Legend
@pemerton - after page upon page I see you're still sticking to the PC can't change the world, only the players around the table can theme.
Seems obvious to me. Sherlock Holmes didn't invent the hound of the Baskervilles. Conan Doyle did.

I would start with the obvious that characters are just extensions of a character's imagination and will. They don't exist outside of the player.
Should the second occurrence of "character" read "player"?

Also: don't the characters exist in the mind of everyone who is imaging them?

I In D&D any time a player says "I cast fireball", it's really just a shortcut way of saying "The character I currently control casts fireball". I can also say "Putzy the wizard [the character I control] casts a fireball."
This seems pretty obvious, yes.

I personally cannot cast fireball. But I'll still say "I cast fireball". Same way I'll say "I don't want to play a game where my PC changes the fiction of the world" is really just "I don't want to play a game where I change the fiction of the world outside of what my PC can do if they were really just a wizard existing in that world."
You then impose that description onto me, as if I should accept its incoherence as a true description of my play.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I don't even know what you mean by this.

Thing I do in BW: have my PC look for spellbooks. No different from D&D.

Thing I do in BW: roll the dice. No different from D&D.

Thing the GM does, if I succeed (in real life, I didn't - I failed): tell me I find spellbooks. That could happen in D&D.

Thing that is different from your preferred approach: because my roll succeeded, it is true that there are spellbooks in the tower.

My roll succeeding isn't a thing my PC did. It's not even a thing that I at the table did. It's a thing the dice did!

Again, in D&D when I gain 10th level as a ranger, some dice are rolled and it turns out there's a 3rd level Dwarf fighter who wants to be my follower. What does it even mean to say that this is a "setting reaction" but the previous sentence is not describing a "setting reaction". They're both newly established facts about the setting.

That's the power I don't want, and I don't care where it comes from, what rules let me to do it, or whether or not its technically me and not the PC taking the action.

The fact that BW basically requires that you do this sort of thing a lot literally makes it worse for me.
[/QUOTE]
Because  you're choosing to roll those those dice to get the effect that authors the spellbook fiction. You're not choosing to roll dice for followers in AD&D; the game is generating that effect as a reaction to you reaching name level.

Don't give the dice responsibility for your actions. And yes. I mean you as both the player and your PC, because to me it's the same thing.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Seems obvious to me. Sherlock Holmes didn't invent the hound of the Baskervilles. Conan Doyle did.

Should the second occurrence of "character" read "player"?

Also: don't the characters exist in the mind of everyone who is imaging them?

This seems pretty obvious, yes.

You then impose that description onto me, as if I should accept its incoherence as a true description of my play.
I literally can't imagine how you see that explanation as incoherent.
 

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