log in or register to remove this ad




I don't think of Apocalypse World or Dungeon World as scene-driven games. All of D&D combat is "scene-based." 5e D&D play that deploys the Social Interaction mechanics should be scene-based. I think of all of D&D 4e, Cortex+, Mouse Guard, Fate, Dogs in the Vineyard, Strike (!), and (due to many segments of play being scene-based) Blades in the Dark (Action Scenes with Clocks and certain Downtime activities) as scene-driven games. Torchbearer is sort of a tweener, similar to Blades.
Adding some thoughts to this:

Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic is very much a scene-based game, to the extent that the way actions are declared and resolved depends upon whether the game is current in an Action Scene or a Transition Scene.

Burning Wheel tends to be scene-based, although it doesn't quite have the formal mechanical architecture of (say) MHRP or 4e D&D or any version of D&D combat. The scene-based character of the game emerges from the GMing principles and especially the emphasis on, and integration of, "say 'yes' or roll the dice" and "fail forward" (which in BW has its original meaning rather than its more recent meaning of "success with compication").

As you know I've been playing a fair bit of Classic Traveller recently, and it can have an interesting scene-driven aspect even though it's not presented in that way. The "jump" from world to world is something of a scene-break-marker. And there are other aspects of the resolution framework (the way that trading works; the way that Streetwise checks work; etc) that push towards scenes as an element of play. You do have to go beyond what's presented in the rules to get the full scene experience, though - there is very little in the Traveller books (though not quite nothing if one reads it with an eye out) about establishing and resolving stakes.

log in or register to remove this ad


Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
Well, kinda sorta.

Look at that description of the Dursley's above. That's adopting a very specific "voice". It's a sing songy story telling voice because the story is written for 10 year olds. It is a very deliberate choice.

Your choice of a conversational tone is deliberate since you don't like a more prose style pattern. But, make no mistake, you are still narrating the scene. There's no way to play an RPG without someone narrating the scene. Whether it's "rubbish is scattered around what was once a fine guest bedroom" or "it's a run-down bedroom with rubbish scattered about.", those are deliberate choices and both of those choices are setting the scene for the players.

The range isn't narrative vs conversational, it's prose vs conversational. An important distinction I think.
That reminds me, I need to do a session entirely in rhyming iambic pentameter. Or nothing but limericks. Or sonnets. Yeah, that's the ticket.

It amuses me use prose to describe narratives when all prose means is anything but structured poetry, like a sonnet, or iambic pentameter.

All that being said for me there is no difference between conversational vs narrative. Both are boxed text descriptions of one kind or another, whether I'm choosing to be exponentially loquacious with each iteration of my descriptive metaphors or choosing to use direct descriptions doesn't matter.

Another thought I had on adventures: boxed text is there to help the GM decide what something is as much as it is there to read to the other players. The GM has to read the thing, so making boxed text at more than just basic description gives an interesting insight into how the author felt the scene should be set.