GNS Theorists wanted: Making my 13thAge and Sentinel Comics games better

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Then explain it.
You don't seem curious. You rolled in throwing bombs with some strong statements. If you're genuinely curious and want to actually engage a discussion, I'd be delighted to. Of you're throwing this out as a rhetorical device to seize on and dismiss whatever I could say, it seems you already have enough to do that.
 

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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Yeah, so narrative means "I don't like combat much, and Simul means I hope the game is like dnd.
I'm really not sure where you are getting these ideas because that's not what I have been posting. Just like "gamist means rules", narrative doesn't mean not liking combat, and simulation is a heck of a lot wider than D&D, especially since D&D has some strong gamist and narrative aspects as well.

Masks RPG, which I used as an example of narrative combat, has plenty of combat. The idea that "narrativist means I don't like combat much" is both false, and not based in anything being said. The game is not interested in simulating superhero physics, it's combat is focusing on other aspects of it.

Look, if I play chess there's very little narrative, mostly in the names of pieces, and there's even less simulation - why can the queen move so far but trained warriors can not? That "combat" would be considered very gamist.

D&D has a "heroic fantasy" simulation combat, with some gamist underpinnings. A character can get hit perfectly with an great axe swung by a giant and still fight unimpeded, or be in the middle of a huge explosion - it is simulating that heroic fantasy genre (vs. a different game that might be simulating a dark and gritty no magic fantasy or a modern day spy, or a cyberpunk or space opera). But we have things like HPs which are an abstraction, no real wound system, and other aspects to make it flow well that are gamist.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
@Eric V Do any of your players have experience with RPGs that encourage more player authorship, like Fate, any Powered by the Apocalypse or Forged in the Dark game? Something with such a radical break from traditional D&D play conveys the concept better than something that is similar to what they are used to in many ways and doesn't highlight and underscore the differences. If you do, maybe having that player talk to the rest.

Also it may be other problems with the game that don't have to do with a "GNS expectations" mismatch. When I ran 13th Age I had less experience with non-simulation games so I ran it more like D&D and that still worked.

And even if there is a expectations mismatch, there is still player preferences. I'm sort of excited to run a Scum and Villainy game once the current 5e campaign I'm running finishes, but I know that some of my players would love the concept, and others wouldn't - it's just personal preference. I can enjoy one good boardgame and not another good boardgame without it indicating the second boardgame is no good - just that it doesn't match what I'm looking for.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
@Eric V Do any of your players have experience with RPGs that encourage more player authorship, like Fate, any Powered by the Apocalypse or Forged in the Dark game? Something with such a radical break from traditional D&D play conveys the concept better than something that is similar to what they are used to in many ways and doesn't highlight and underscore the differences. If you do, maybe having that player talk to the rest.

Also it may be other problems with the game that don't have to do with a "GNS expectations" mismatch. When I ran 13th Age I had less experience with non-simulation games so I ran it more like D&D and that still worked.

And even if there is a expectations mismatch, there is still player preferences. I'm sort of excited to run a Scum and Villainy game once the current 5e campaign I'm running finishes, but I know that some of my players would love the concept, and others wouldn't - it's just personal preference. I can enjoy one good boardgame and not another good boardgame without it indicating the second boardgame is no good - just that it doesn't match what I'm looking for.

This is a really good point.

For super heroes, I'd recommend "Galaxies In Peril" a game using the Forged in the Dark rules. I ran a campaign of that and it was a lot of fun. I think super heroes lend themselves to more narrative leaning games.

It may be of more use to try a game like that which is actually more obviously different in its function, rather than a game that is less clearly different from the traditional GM/player dynamic.
 

Jay Murphy1

Meterion, Mastermind of Time !
Threadcrapping
"The game is not interested in simulating superhero physics, it's combat is focusing on other aspects of it." This doesn't even make sense. Much like GNS theory, it is a bunch or words being thrown around that don't describe really anything.
 

pemerton

Legend
"The game is not interested in simulating superhero physics, it's combat is focusing on other aspects of it." This doesn't even make sense. Much like GNS theory, it is a bunch or words being thrown around that don't describe really anything.
I think the "it's" is a typo for "its" (@Blue can clarify if I'm wrong about that).

With that pretty minor correction, and a semi-colon in place of a comma to formalise the punctuation a bit, it reads The game is not interested in simulating superhero physics; its combat is focusing on other aspects of it. Which make perfect sense and in my view is a pretty clear description: the game isn't simulating the physics of superhero combat, such as How far will Iron Man go flying if Titanium Man punches him while they're fighting 20 km above the ground. Its combat resolution process focuses on other aspects of combat, like who is angry with whom or who is shamed by whom. (I've never played or read Masks, but from what I've read I'm confident what I've just posted is not too inaccurate.)

A longer expression of a similar approach to resolution is found in the rulebook for Maelstrom Storytelling (p 116, under the heading "Literal vs Conceptual"); Ron Edwards quotes it, in part, here:

A good way to run [Maelstrom Storytelling] is to use "scene ideas" to convey the scene, instead of literalisms.... A ten foot fence might seem really tall to one person, and a little tall to another. But if the fence is described as really tall instead of 10 feet, everyone gets the idea. In other words, focus on the intent behind the scene and not on how big or how far things might be. If the difficulty of the task at hand (such as jumping across a chasm in a cave) is explained in terms of difficulty, it doesn't matter how far across the actual chasm spans. In a movie, for instance, the camera zooms or pans to emphasize the danger or emotional reaction to the scene, and in so doing it manipulates the real distance of a chasm to suit the mood or "feel" of the moment. It is then no longer about how far across the character has to jump, but how hard the feat is for the character. In this way, the presentation of each element of the scene focuses on the difficulty of the obstacle, not on laws of physics.... If the players enjoy the challenge of figuring out how high and far someone can jump, they should be allowed the pleasure of doing so - as long as it doesn't interfere with the narrative flow and enjoyment of the game.

The scene should be presented therefore in terms relative to the character's abilities A chasm can be "very wide, the kind of wide you don't want to think about jumping" and the rogue can be "so charming that your feet fall off." Either way, the players get the idea. Players who want to climb onto your coffee table and jump across your living room to prove that their character could jump over the chasm have probably missed the whole point of the story.​

Edwards goes on to say that "I can think of no better text to explain the vast difference between playing the games RuneQuest and HeroQuest. (By HeroQuest he means the Gloranthan RPG that is a successor to HeroWars, not the TSR boardgame.)

Taking this back to superheroes. Any decent superhero RPG has to be able to capture scenes such as when Storm, without her powers, defeats Cyclops in the Danger Room to claim the leadership of the X-Men; you don't get that via "physics simulation", you get it via a resolution system in which Cyclops shame and guilt hinder him, while Storm's new-found confidence and sense of self permits her to prevail.

I think this is the sort of thing that @Blue was pointing to, even if not identical to it.
 

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