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Players choose what their PCs do . . .

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Certain authors are notorious for having laid out the world in excruciating detail before putting pen to paper about the story itself. I would argue that, given their age at time of writing, neither Tolkien nor CS Lewis were RPGers, but both noted their worlds are modeled first, then written.
I'll throw in that these two also to some extent collaborated with each other and quite likely discussed their world-building while in process of doing it; they and some others had a literary group they called the Inklings, who met each week (on Tuesday, I think) in a particular pub in Oxford. There's now a commemorative plaque in said pub, above the table they used to frequent; or at least there was when I was last there in 2014.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I do not know what Luke Crane's intent was there, but it does not necessarily follow that because dice are involved that the players are competing. The relationship between what is happening in the fiction and the attitude of the players towards each other may not correspond one to one. As audience members we could be loving it. Like on one level we're feeling what our characters are feeling, but we step out of every time a die is rolled or there's a break in the action and we're loving what's going on like a good TV show. We can't wait to find out where this goes. Or not.

Like that's just how I think about it. That dance between audience and author and actor is really compelling to me.

In this thread I did not plan to go on such a long tangent about one of the ways I like to play role playing games. I made a throw away comment about how I did not like stake setting mechanics, and things snowballed. I never meant to imply it was the way or even the best way to play role playing games. I will maintain that playing Sorcerer, Apocalypse World, or Masks according to the techniques laid out in the texts facilitate an experience that is hard to replicate with a different set of expectations and techniques, They excel at helping us create and experience deeply personal stories about the main characters as people in motion. They have unique risks not found in mainstream games too. Their not like objectively better games. I never meant to imply that. For one thing they are near useless for adventure stories. The villains in Masks are not salient. They are only there to serve as reflections on the heroes struggle.

I should clarify I don't like seek out character conflict in my play. I just do not like shy away from it, but mostly just when I play or run this sort of game. I like other games too. I love a good gamist romp. I don't care if it's more focused on skilled play of the fiction or the mechanisms of the game although I really want the fiction salient or might as well be playing a board game. With a good group firing on all cylinders appreciating each others play cooperative gamist play is wonderful. Combining the two is even better sometimes. That's why I love Blades in the Dark. Simple mechanisms that promote skilled play of the fiction while the rewards systems promote exploring the characters. Chocolate and peanut butter.

At the end of the day I know what these techniques have to offer because I have experienced them first hand. Other sets of techniques offer their own advantages like the fun of being surprised by the GM or module writer's story. I get that's fun for a lot of people and I legitimately do not begrudge them that. I also get that you can filter in some character exploration, but in my experience something has to take priority in any given moment of play. I know I experienced that in my attempts to combine gamist fun with character exploration fun. I mean a lot of it comes down to me just really enjoying the tension of no one at the table knowing how things will turn out and everything coming down to our decisions and the dice. That's really compelling to me on both sides of the screen in a way that's hard to explain. Like I don't think it's wrong to not enjoy that or to want to manage it. I just do not think it's required for a good game.
 

Ovinomancer

Explorer
Google it. I did. None of the dictionary sites on the first page agree with you.
Well, I did. And Bing. And DuckDuckGo. The only two results I've seen (aside from Google putting up top, "Did you mean: noisome?") are Wikitionary and Lexico. The wiktionary entry is.. sparse.. and has no references. The Lexico entry at least references a source, but Lexico is a collaboration of Oxford press and Dictionary.com. I mention this because Dictionary.com doesn't even have an entry for noisesome. It's also not in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. I suppose you can choose to stand on those first two, the "anyone can add" dictionary and the one that doesn't agree with it's own source material. You do you.
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
Certain authors are notorious for having laid out the world in excruciating detail before putting pen to paper about the story itself. I would argue that, given their age at time of writing, neither Tolkien nor CS Lewis were RPGers, but both noted their worlds are modeled first, then written. Doc Smith clearly has more ideas than make it into Lensman, things that retain internal sense, but are not actually detailed out in the novels, and has a deep seated sense of how it worked. Verne was notorious for his attentions to minute (and manufacturable) detail; his radium driven Nautilus is astonishingly excellent as a prediction of the technology. And HG Wells was a gamer, albeit a miniatures wargamer, not an RPGer, but his writings have the same level of world creation as any RPG-fiction writer.

Hell, I'd love to see what HG would have done with an RPG... as his Little Wars is a delightful read, and not a bad game at all.
A couple things on this.

I don’t think that developing backstory and setting and having very structured worldbuilding done ahead of writing is a negative thing. For Tolkien and Lewis and many other writers, it works for them to work a lot of this stuff out ahead of tine. Although due to revision and multiple drafts, it’s hard to say how much was actually SET ahead of time and not adjusted as needed. I expect there was a lot more in flux with all the Middle Earth backstory than we tend to think.

Having said that, even if these writers had established their world perfectly and unchangingly before they wrote their actual novels, I don’t think that’s the same as having mechanics dictate story. Backstory isn’t a game mechanic, as you go on to establish yourself.



In your playstyle, perhaps.

In Burning Wheel, playing to push your character's goals over those of other characters is explicitly part of the intent. And why the game has a "any conflict needs a roll" rule within it.

Alien, the preview "Cinematic Starter Kit" explicitly has hidden agendas for the PCs.

You're being rather noisesomely chauvinistic about your play style over all others.

My preferred style is no in-party violence, and only limited in party conflict. I want players to engage both with their character and the story...

But there are many styles of play that, in the right groups, work.
I don’t think anyone is being offensive in advocating for their preferred playstyle.

The character building process in quite a few games begins with generating game stats, not story elements.
Old school D&D, for one.
Traveller... the backstory even is generated mechanically in CT, MT, TNE, T4, T20, and T5....
R Talsorian Games' Cyberpunk (2013/2020) and Mekton (I, II, Z) have random backstory generation and random attribute generation (albeit roll them all, then place).

Many groups, the story arises out of play, not out of some prior fictional stricture. The character often arises out of the stats and the play, rather than the other direction. GM as operating system for an open world, rather than GM as story pusher.

Some people can't handle random generation conceptually. Others can't handle non-random conceptually, tho' that's a bit less common. Most can handle either, but prefer one or the other.

Ideally, the game arises out of a combination of the group-members' desires and their interactions with the rules at a level comfortable for all involved.
I don’t disagree with any of this. But I don’t think it contradicts the point I was making. Or at least the point I was trying to make. Game stats, however they may be established as part of the game, reflect a fictional aspect of the game world. My point is that stats are truly only needed when the game world interacts with the PCs. The stats need not be some fundamental expression of all of the physics of the fictional world. I think that defining things at such a scope just breaks down. So it’s best (in my opinion) to rely on stats only when needed.

The PCs fight a dragon? Yes, roll everything out because that’s the game. That’s why everyone’s there. The PCs witness another party fight a dragon? No stats needed, just call it based on what the fiction has established and what it demands.
 

Arilyn

Explorer
A couple things on this.

I don’t think that developing backstory and setting and having very structured worldbuilding done ahead of writing is a negative thing. For Tolkien and Lewis and many other writers, it works for them to work a lot of this stuff out ahead of tine. Although due to revision and multiple drafts, it’s hard to say how much was actually SET ahead of time and not adjusted as needed. I expect there was a lot more in flux with all the Middle Earth backstory than we tend to think.

Having said that, even if these writers had established their world perfectly and unchangingly before they wrote their actual novels, I don’t think that’s the same as having mechanics dictate story. Backstory isn’t a game mechanic, as you go on to establish yourself. ( Quote)




Tolkien was continuously tinkering with the mythology of Middle Earth, right up to his death. There are contradictions in his writings because of this. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings don't really feel like quite the same place. Gollum is not quite the same character, and yet we praise Tolkien for the depth and richness of his world building. It certainly wasn't all thought out before hand, but the continual changing hasn't taken away from the authentic feel of Middle Earth. So yes, nothing was set in stone, and a lot was tinkered with as needed. Apparently, Tolkien claimed than when he first wrote the scene with Strider at The Prancing Pony, he didn't know who he was, and whether he was a good guy or a villain.

As for C.S. Lewis? I'm sure things were always changing. Tolkien complained about his friend's chaotic world building, after all.
 
I do not know what Luke Crane's intent was there, but it does not necessarily follow that because dice are involved that the players are competing.
The Sword is a free demo adventure for Burning Wheel that is also reproduced in the Adventure Burner. The following is from scenario intro:

The Sword is a very simple, one-scene scenario designed to introduce new players to Burning Wheel. To keep play focused on the important aspects of learning the rules, the players are placed in conflict with one another. This isn't the normal mode of play for Burning Wheel. The player-versus-player aspect is used only to facilitate demonstration.​

Various examples throughout the BW rulebooks - some of which are contrived, some of which seem to be drawn from actual play - present both cooperative and competitive scenarios as between the PCs. The statement of principles for players in the game says the following (I'm quoting from Revised p 269; the text is identical in Gold as best I recall):

Finally, there is the sacred and most holy role of the players. In Burning Wheel games, players have a number of duties:

* Prime among them is the responsibility to offer hooks to their GM and the other players in the form of Beliefs, Instincts and traits. . . .

* Players in Burning Wheel use their character to drive the story forward - to resolve conflicts and create new ones. Players are supposed to push and risk their characters, so they grow and change in unforeseen ways. . . .

* Participate. Help enhance yur friends' scenes and step forward and make the most of your own. It doesn't matter if you "win," so long as the story spins in a new and interesting direction. If the story doesn't interest you, it's your job to create interesting situations and involve yourself. If a player's desires and priorities are disruptive for the group as a whole, then it's that player's job to excuse himself from the game and find another group. . . .

. . . Listen to the other players, riff off of them, take their leads and run with them. Expand on their madness, but also rein them in when they get out of hand. Remember that you're playing in a group, and everyone has to have fun.​

I think this is actually pretty close to what [MENTION=16586]Campbell[/MENTION] has been talking about in his recent posts. The fiction might involve PC cooperation and/or conflict, but the table is meant to be collaborative - not around story (unforeseen ways, new and interesting directions) but around engaging, character-pushing situations.
 

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