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Players establishing facts about the world impromptu during play

I brought it up because KoB is frequently mentioned in the same breath as PBTA in reference to relatively rules lite narrative driven TRPGs.

"Story Now" isnt standardized verbage, in fact I thought Campbell or someone had suggested it to rename one of those "Six Cultures of Gaming" a couple of weeks ago?
 

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Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I brought it up because KoB is frequently mentioned in the same breath as PBTA in reference to relatively rules lite narrative driven TRPGs.

Is it?
"Story Now" isnt standardized verbage, in fact I thought Campbell or someone had suggested it to rename one of those "Six Cultures of Gaming" a couple of weeks ago?

Um, no. First, that article didn't use that term. Second, Story Now is well defined around a set of play priciples (it explicitly contrasts against Story Before) and has been around awhile.
 


Is it?

Um, no. First, that article didn't use that term. Second, Story Now is well defined around a set of play priciples (it explicitly contrasts against Story Before) and has been around awhile.
Gotcha, I knew it conceptually but didnt realize it had standardized verbiage.

Yes it is, and it approaches collaborative storytelling in the same general way these TTRPGs do, with players controlling individual characters, a GM, safety tools, dice rolls, ability checks, hell even some very small numerical bonuses. You describe an action and it either happens, or the GM tells you to roll a check to see if it happens, just like "directly engaging a threat" in Masks.

Are you ok? Which isn't sarcasam, you mentioned painkillers upthread.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Not sure what you don't see. That both are intentional approaches to collaborative storytelling or something else?
No, I mean their game play and mechanics have nothing in common at all that I can identify. KoB is pretty traditional it's mechanics and approach to adjudication. As far as I can tell you saw the phrase collaborative storytelling on the splash page and just assumed that meant a Fiasco style game, IDK. Admittedly I'm not an expert KoB, but the closest it gets to 'collaborative' is that on a success the GM and Player work together to frame successful actions. That doesn't make it Fiasco at all though. What specifically were you thinking of that made them similar?
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
No, I mean their game play and mechanics have nothing in common at all that I can identify. KoB is pretty traditional it's mechanics and approach to adjudication. As far as I can tell you saw the phrase collaborative storytelling on the splash page and just assumed that meant a Fiasco style game, IDK. Admittedly I'm not an expert KoB, but the closest it gets to 'collaborative' is that on a success the GM and Player work together to frame successful actions. That doesn't make it Fiasco at all though. What specifically were you thinking of that made them similar?
Again, I clearly said earlier that they aren't similar in mechanics. The goal of play being to collaboratively create a story is what I was comparing. The point of play is creation of a story. In non-storytelling games, story is often an outcome but it is not the purpose of play. Kids on Bikes and Fiasco feature story advocacy as a key ingredient. There's nothing wrong with this, but it differs from Story Now play where story advocacy is depriciated.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Gotcha, I knew it conceptually but didnt realize it had standardized verbiage.

Yes it is, and it approaches collaborative storytelling in the same general way these TTRPGs do, with players controlling individual characters, a GM, safety tools, dice rolls, ability checks, hell even some very small numerical bonuses. You describe an action and it either happens, or the GM tells you to roll a check to see if it happens, just like "directly engaging a threat" in Masks.
No, KoB features a heavy dose of story advocacy, where actions and outcomes are selected because it leads to a better story. Story Now, at worst, depreciates this and pushes Character Advocacy, where you are intended to strongly advocate for your character. This, like other RPGs, generates story, but as a second order effect. Kids on X puts story advocacy front and center.
Are you ok? Which isn't sarcasam, you mentioned painkillers upthread.
Go to heck. Do not snidely patronize me as if I'm babbling on narcotics just because I disagree with you. I've made my points lucidly, so kindly shove your false concern.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
I don't even think they're both 'collaborative storytelling games' in any kind of way that matters for a stable definition of the term. Anyway, not a big deal.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Edit: I should probably leave this thread to the Storygamers now! :D

It is a bit of a shame that this discussion got so overwhelmed. I think a lot of useful discussion of techniques has gotten washed out.

Players establishing facts about the world during play in Story Now games is the trivial case! The rules of whatever game you are playing specifically give you the why, where, and how of it. That is uninteresting, and of little help to people who are not, at the moment, playing one of those games. The academic wrangling over exactly what is, or is not "Story Now" is even less useful.
 
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Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
It is a bit of a shame that this discussion got so overwhelmed. I think a lot of useful discussion of techniques has gotten washed out.
I agree that it is a shame you feel prevented from talking about what you want to talk about because other people talked about some things they wanted to talk about.
 


It is a bit of a shame that this discussion got so overwhelmed. I think a lot of useful discussion of techniques has gotten washed out.

Players establishing facts about the world during play in Story Now games is the trivial case! The rules of whatever game you are playing specifically give you the why, where, and how of it. That is uninteresting, and of little help to people who are not, at the moment, playing one of those games. The academic wrangling over exactly what is, or is not "Story Now" is even less useful.
The "how we feel about it" we're debating was actually the discussion prompt in the original post, a discussion of techniques would technically be off-topic XD

Which I laugh about, because normally discussions like this do overwhelm threads about other things, so its kind of ironic.
 

pemerton

Legend
we can see that your abilities are subject to your discretion as negotiated with via the GM, the limitation is thematic appropriateness-- your toolkit is intentionally fuzzy.

Here we establish that the rules don't really care much about the physical simulation of the action as problem solving, instead it wants players to engage with the game world's emotional push and pull and their arc of personal development, again direct storytelling over the simulation of a reality in which the players just make physical choices.

<snip>


The rules simulate the creation of a narrative, not the physical reality of the world. The physical reality of the world is an exercise in creative writing
I'm not sure why you're connecting skilled play, problem solving, and exploration, to the rules simulating a physical reality.

A problem that the PCs faced in my Classic Traveller game - in the sense that there was something they wanted to do and there was an obstacle in their way - was preventing an Imperial Navy cutter from interrupting their exploration and salvage of an ancient alien starship. The way they solved this problem was by talking to the commanding officer on board the cutter and taking her planet-side for a week-long winery tour while others in the PCs' crew completed their exploration of the alien vessel.

None of this depended upon simulation of a physical reality. It did depend upon there being rules - in Traveller that's the reaction table together with the skills (ie elements of character build) that interface with it - to determine what happens in social encounters. This is engaging with the game world's emotional push and pull in just the same way that resolving atmospheric reentry in a vacc suit (which Traveller also has rules for) involves engaging with the game world's gravitational push and pull.

I think it would be strange to say that Traveller's rules simulate the creation of a narrative. They might prompt or lead to the creation of a narrative, because at various points they require the game participants to introduce new elements into the shared fiction. I don't know Masks, but the PbtA games that I am familiar with (eg Apocalypse World, Dungeon World) are basically the same in this respect.

The rules do not care whether your character is a street level, pretty much human, or an earth shatteringly powerful alien from another world. The game's mechanical play space is concerned with how the emotional push and pull of the situations.
To me this doesn't seem very different from the fact that classic D&D's rules care a great deal how strong you are, care a bit but not a great deal about how tall you are, and don't care at all about how angry you are. I mean, it's true that different RPGs focus on different features of the characters and the ingame situation. For instance, D&D doesn't separate a character's reaction time from his/her manual dexterity; Rolemaster does; Prince Valiant breaks out manual dexterity via the Dexterity skill but uses only two base stats (Brawn and Presence). In Burning Wheel a PC can fail a Steel check, much as in Classic Traveller a PC can fail a morale check, whereas in D&D and RuneQuest the player also gets to decide whether or not his/her PC breaks from fear or shock (at least if it's non-magical fear or shock).

But this doesn't establish any difference between "problem-solving" games and "storytelling" games.

If we're playing to find out what the character's tools to solve problems are, the nature of what's in that toolbox is pretty open to freeform problem solving, a game that isn't trying to be low power could easily invent convoluted knock-off effects from their powers like the Flash's 'Speed Force' which allow them a fairly unconstrained toolbox with which to solve problems.
I'm not sure how this is very different from a classic D&D MU's spell book. It's a recurrent feature of RPGing that we don't know what, in the fiction, can be achieved by way of a particular character's ability until we actually find out via play. The parameters that shape those decisions can be different, but the decisions have to be made.

Villain Moves are even more narrative, where the Villain just does something without a role designed to complicate the situation for the players respond to. The players invent a solution (or a reaction at any rate) that they and the other players find believable in the fiction of the game.
I think that "role" there should be "roll", and will come back to that.

In any RPG players declare actions for their PCs, which - as a necessary condition of success - must be accepted by the other participants at the table as believable in the fiction of the game. Eg in my 4e D&D game one of the players had his PC use his magic to seal the Abyss at the 66th layer. This solved a "problem", of the world draining into the Abyss; though it created another one, of the Abyss no longer siphoning of the matter and energy of the Elemental Chaos.

I as GM didn't have to make a roll to establish the existence of the Abyss and its relationship to the rest of the multiverse - I just read it from the rulebooks. And some of the finer-grained details I made up as needed and as seemed appropriate. I don't think a GM establishing the threat or obstacle posed by a Villain is any different in its fundamentals, and it's of technical significance (for how to play the game) but not deep significance that the GM is not required to roll to do so. (Do any D&D GM's use rolls to establish that the Orc Chieftain has commanded the Orcish Ravagers to attack the neighbouring village?)

Thus, I don't think that drawing tight contrasts between exploration and creation is helpful in drawing any sort of contrast between a PbtA game and (say) D&D. I think talking about who gets to decide what about the shared fiction is more apposite - which is the topic of @S'mon's thread!
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Villain moves obviously don't involve a roll, as the GM doesn't roll in most AW engine games. Instead of rolling the GM makes moves on player complications and failures. That doesn't make them 'more narrative' though.
 

Im not sure I even used the terminology "skilled play" or at the very least it was introduced by some other poster somewhere along the way. I wouldn't call story now play unskilled or anything.

On a central level, i'm saying that a fiction formulated by impromptu establishment of fiction by the players, does not constitute exploration in the way I enjoy it outside of those games.

I tried to capture why, and have had people bending over backwards to try and correct that idea.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
On a central level, i'm saying that a fiction formulated by impromptu establishment of fiction by the players, does not constitute exploration in the way I enjoy it outside of those games.
Maybe we can drill down a little here. When you say impromptu establishment of fiction could you be more specific? Maybe a couple of quick examples about what kinds of details you mean, and in what context the 'impromptu-ness' takes place?

It might also be useful to get granular about what you mean my exploration in this case. It isn't a controversial word, but is can get used in more than one way vis a vis RPG play.

I'd like to engage with you here, but I want to sure I'm not assuming anything about what you mean, if that's alright with you.
 

pemerton

Legend
To follow along, at no point in a Story Now game is it the player's responsibility to complicate the situation.
This sure seems like players creating complications to me, these only really work well if the players are interested in creating drama and tension themselves, rather than just doing their best to solve problems:
Masks said:
the most straightforward way to clear conditions is to take a particular action to relieve that emotional state. The action varies depending on the specific condition. At the end of any scene in which you take the corresponding action, clear that condition.

• To clear Angry, hurt someone or break something important.
• To clear Afraid, run from something difficult.
• To clear Guilty, make a sacrifice to absolve your guilt.
• To clear Hopeless, fling yourself into easy relief.
• To clear Insecure, take foolhardy action without talking to your team.
This doesn't seem very different, in its basics, from The Dying Earth RPG's recovery rules (I can't remember all the details without going to the book, but eg to recover resistance against Gluttony requires the character to indulge in a great gorging of him-/herself).

At a sufficient level of abstraction it's also no different from the very common rule found in many FRPGs that to recover X resistance to physical harm spend Y time or Z resource(s).

Those very familiar recovery rules are meant to generate pressure or complications - eg the passage of ingame time is meant to be a cost of some sort. If not, they're just colour; which might also sometimes be the case in Masks if (eg) the character's "easy relief" to recover from Hopelessness doesn't actually come back to bite the character or anyone else in the team.
 

pemerton

Legend
Im not sure I even used the terminology "skilled play" or at the very least it was introduced by some other poster somewhere along the way. I wouldn't call story now play unskilled or anything.

On a central level, i'm saying that a fiction formulated by impromptu establishment of fiction by the players, does not constitute exploration in the way I enjoy it outside of those games.

I tried to capture why, and have had people bending over backwards to try and correct that idea.
I don't think anyone is trying to "correct" your sense of enjoyment. In my case, though, I don't agree with your characterisation of PbtA RPGs. I don't think they are in any meaningful way about simulating the process of story creation. They are about the players declaring actions for their PCs and those then being resolved via adjudication in the usual way.

The difference from (some versions of) D&D or other "trad" RPGs is in the techniques of resolution, and the principles that govern framing and consequence narration.

Some of my disagreement may be based on misunderstanding or uncertainty -eg I'm not sure what you have in mind by impromptu establishment of fiction by the players. I'm assuming that a D&D player declaring I attack the Orc doesn't count as that, even though (i) it's an establishment of fiction by a player and (ii) is impromptu; so I assume you have some further constraint/consideration in mind but it's not clear to me what that is.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Some of my disagreement may be based on misunderstanding or uncertainty -eg I'm not sure what you have in mind by impromptu establishment of fiction by the players. I'm assuming that a D&D player declaring I attack the Orc doesn't count as that, even though (i) it's an establishment of fiction by a player and (ii) is impromptu; so I assume you have some further constraint/consideration in mind but it's not clear to me what that is.
That's true, but I really don't think that's meat of what he's getting at with impromptu establishment in terms of the diegetic frame. I'm guessing he's indexing something more about detail external to the character and character actions. Hence my asking above to drill down a little.
 

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