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GM DESCRIPTION: NARRATION OR CONVERSATION?

AKA, High Gygaxian
There is nothing wrong with Gygaxian. I just see it as one of many communication styles. When I meet people, I always make a point of accepting their way of talking. I've just seen a tendency among gamers to judge based on how they speak, even when the substance of what the person saying is very good.
 

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Imaro

Adventurer
I don't follow. The GM's job is to describe the environment. If I stick to the facts in describing the environment, then the players won't be un-duly influenced.
Even the order you describe things in as noted by a poster above can influence how the players react to a situation. Could you give an example of one of these totally neutral non-influential descriptions? I mean even your reference to Barakka and Shredder (both evil, aggressive, villains) is going to influence how the players are thinking about the encounter.

Besides, players aren't allowed to consider my word choice anyway, since that would be meta-gaming. My words aren't something that exist within the game world. The spike demon is.
Uhm... ok
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Players, being the paranoid dung-flinging primates they are, will always and forever read a universe of meaning into the DMs word choice. You can call it metagaming, you can ban it, burn books about it, print fake news about it, but it's still going to happen every time. Why not just work with what's actually going to happen?
 

Aldarc

Legend
I'm not really seeing any actual argumentative connection between saying "word choice matters" to "ergo conversational style is invalid" or "ergo evocation narration is best."
 

Imaro

Adventurer
Sure it is. You don't think we can bridge communication divides by being more empathetic and making more of an effort to understand one another and accept different communication styles? I don't know, for this is basically how I always conduct myself. I don't fault a GM for speaking in a blue-collar Boston accent using blue collar Boston vernacular for example (or any other style of talking I might encounter around me). My point is, a lot of what we are talking about is really gamesters speaking college level nerd speak. I don't think that is necessary. Especially in a hobby. It isn't the corporate world. The stakes are pretty low here. Might as well allow for the most communication styles possible. Also I've just learned from experience that type of college level communication, often just masks a lack of substantive ideas anyways.
Can you post an example of how your games go? This I think is what's missing from the thread. We have multiple examples of the narrative style (whether you use it alot or only rarely) but I've yet to see an example of this totally neutral, non-narrative, no jargon playstyle. I'm actually curious to know at this point what it actually looks/sounds like...
 

Saelorn

Hero
Could you give an example of one of these totally neutral non-influential descriptions? I mean even your reference to Barakka and Shredder (both evil, aggressive, villains) is going to influence how the players are thinking about the encounter.
You say that, but really, it shouldn't. If I'm giving a factual description, and the player is reading into it based on the specific words I'm using, then that player is meta-gaming and they need to stop. Acting based on the level of detail in the GM's description, rather than anything observable to the character, is a text-book example of meta-gaming.
Players, being the paranoid dung-flinging primates they are, will always and forever read a universe of meaning into the DMs word choice. You can call it metagaming, you can ban it, burn books about it, print fake news about it, but it's still going to happen every time. Why not just work with what's actually going to happen?
If your players are cheating, then they need to stop. If they're incapable of following the rules, then it's time to find new players. Enabling this bad habit is literally the worst thing you could possibly do.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
I'm not really seeing any actual argumentative connection between saying "word choice matters" to "ergo conversational style is invalid" or "ergo evocation narration is best."
It might be because no one has asserted anything is "invalid" or "best" (except for themselves and their group's playstyle).
 

HJFudge

Explorer
I don't follow. The GM's job is to describe the environment. If I stick to the facts in describing the environment, then the players won't be un-duly influenced.

Besides, players aren't allowed to consider my word choice anyway, since that would be meta-gaming. My words aren't something that exist within the game world. The spike demon is.
What?

Of course players are allowed to consider your word choice. That is the primary tool that is used to communicate the game environment. It is not metagaming. You, the DM, are describing the scene to the players so that the players may make choices and react to the scene in character. Asking them to ignore what you tell them and not consider why you decided to describe the Spike Demon as friendly as opposed to threatening is nonsense of the highest order.

You, the DM, choose the words and tone to best help the players act within your world. Not in the way you want them to, but in the way THEY want to. And in order for them to be able to make proper decisions, they need to have accurate information presented to them. Yes, even if the 'accurate information' is the lie the NPC is telling them, it needs to be presented in such a way that either seems believable, if the NPC is good at lying, or in a way that is pretty obviously a lie, if the NPC sucks at lying.

By using a constant neutral tone and giving 'just the facts', you are actually depriving your players of freedom and choice and ability. You are hindering their game, handicapping them in a way that is just...well, it's adversarial DMing.

It's not metagaming. It's responding to the scene you are setting as their character would.
 

Can you post an example of how your games go? This I think is what's missing from the thread. We have multiple examples of the narrative style (whether you use it alot or only rarely) but I've yet to see an example of this totally neutral, non-narrative, no jargon playstyle. I'm actually curious to know at this point what it actually looks/sounds like...
My style isn't neutral. It just accepts peoples communication styles and keeps things conversational. I may have one player who really hams up the acting, another who is much more reserved and descriptive, another who talks much more casually and uses a lot of slang. But one feature of my style is I avoid artificial sounding descriptions. I try to stick to plain English, and I give my players plenty of room to interject. IN short I avoid sounding like I am reading something pre-planned. I am speaking in the moment and am reactive to what the players do. Pemerton was the one with the purely neutral play style. In my style, I just try to avoid stuff that is railroad like or feels like the GM has a story to tell, and I avoid prose like descriptions. I just talk like I always do.

In terms of speaking styles and GMs, I simply don't care how professorial a person sounds. I'd rather play with someone who talks like a biker but has a good sense of humor than someone who has a huge vocabulary and prose-like descriptions. To me, it is about do I connect with players or GMs as people. They are not there to amuse me.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
My style isn't neutral. It just accepts peoples communication styles and keeps things conversational. I may have one player who really hams up the acting, another who is much more reserved and descriptive, another who talks much more casually and uses a lot of slang. But one feature of my style is I avoid artificial sounding descriptions. I try to stick to plain English, and I give my players plenty of room to interject. IN short I avoid sounding like I am reading something pre-planned. I am speaking in the moment and am reactive to what the players do. Pemerton was the one with the purely neutral play style. In my style, I just try to avoid stuff that is railroad like or feels like the GM has a story to tell, and I avoid prose like descriptions. I just talk like I always do.

In terms of speaking styles and GMs, I simply don't care how professorial a person sounds. I'd rather play with someone who talks like a biker but has a good sense of humor than someone who has a huge vocabulary and prose-like descriptions. To me, it is about do I connect with players or GMs as people. They are not there to amuse me.
Can you give an example of this conversational style that accepts the way all people communicate?

EDIT: Also what do you do if you have a player who likes evocative narration??
 


EDIT: Also what do you do if you have a player who likes evocative narration??
Then I give them a little evocative narration because fun at the table is more important than ideas about what works at the table. But I won't go full pathfinder because of one player either. It is about the mix of the group. I view running a game like making food for everyone. You can't cleave to an ideologically pure playstyle if you have mixed groups, and most groups are mixed. At the same time. Speaking in that style really is about the furthest thing from my natural comfort zone, so there is probably only so far I would go there (but that is purely about the fact that at a certain point, I start to seriously not enjoy myself as a GM if I am spending all my time devising narrations before hand or reading from boxed text all the time).
 

Saelorn

Hero
Of course players are allowed to consider your word choice. That is the primary tool that is used to communicate the game environment. It is not metagaming. You, the DM, are describing the scene to the players so that the players may make choices and react to the scene in character. Asking them to ignore what you tell them and not consider why you decided to describe the Spike Demon as friendly as opposed to threatening is nonsense of the highest order.
Don't react to my choice of words. React to what those words mean.

The spike demon is equally threatening, regardless of which words I use to convey that threat. It isn't suddenly less-dangerous, just because I use cheap words and pop-culture references to convey that threat. It isn't more-dangerous, if I use scary words and graphic imagery. It is what it is, nothing more and nothing less, regardless of out-of-game factors such as the vocabulary of the one describing it.

If you can't separate the content of a message from the box it's packaged in, then that's on you.
 



Hussar

Legend
Just like in the other thread, you continually failed (miserably) to demonstrate that words like "wield" are non-conversational or "a deliberate word choice for a fantasy RPG." IMO, the phrase "wielding a gun", for example, is conversational language. I had even demonstrated that you can have prose with a young child's vocabulary while others indicated that some people exercise a larger vocabulary in their conversations, so vocabulary size and diction should not be equated to prose or non-conversational language. It seems that you never learn and just repeat your same mistakes over. Too bad.

I also don't think that something becomes narrative prose just because we use word fields that are more common in some contexts over others. "Halbard" is not a common word of conversation either, but the GM telling players "he charges at you with his halberd" is not necessarily prose either, but can be delivered with a conversational tone or manner.
Wow. Bitter much? Just because you got spanked once in a thread, you need to carry that baggage over here too?

I proved it sufficiently over there as well - the use of words like "wield" are outside of standard conversation simply because standard conversation doesn't use words like that. This isn't opinion, this is actual fact. Sure, "halberd" isn't a standard conversational word either, but, that's a game specific term, so, I already told you that that isn't included.

The trick is, most people don't even really realize they are shifting their speech patterns. But, we do shft them when playing and shift them beyond simply incorporating game specific language.
 


Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
If your players are cheating, then they need to stop. If they're incapable of following the rules, then it's time to find new players. Enabling this bad habit is literally the worst thing you could possibly do.
Cheating? Who said anything about cheating? You're entitled to your opinion of metagaming of course, but kindly refrain from telling me my business when all you're talking about is your opinion. It's not nearly a simple enough topic for you to be patronizingly dismissive about other people's ability to run a game and manage a table.
 
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Aldarc

Legend
Wow. Bitter much? Just because you got spanked once in a thread, you need to carry that baggage over here too?
Excuse you? Revisionist history much?

I proved it sufficiently over there as well - the use of words like "wield" are outside of standard conversation simply because standard conversation doesn't use words like that. This isn't opinion, this is actual fact. Sure, "halberd" isn't a standard conversational word either, but, that's a game specific term, so, I already told you that that isn't included.
No you didn't. You still haven't now, Hussar.
 

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