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D&D General Railroads, Illusionism, and Participationism

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pemerton

Legend
Well, I cannot speak to the referenced AP, I know nothing about it. However, this sort of thing is VERY tough for adventure writers to pull off, at best!

<snip>

my point is, adventures are pretty strongly constrained to have a rather narrow fixed set of contemplated outcomes. Going 'off the rails' or heavily customizing is cool. I think they can provide some material, but honestly its hard to see very many successful adventures in any classical sense being written for most Story Now play. Something like @pemerton's favorite Arthurian Romance game, Prince Valiant, is probably about as ideal as it gets, the sorts of action that happens in that milieu is pretty strongly stereotyped, and a lot of what matters is more HOW you did something and what its effects on the character were, vs lots of doubts about the basic plot and who will fight who, when, and where.
Published scenarios for Prince Valiant - Episodes is the technical term - are generally a single situation: the PCs encounter a knight who won't let them cross a bridge without jousting, or meet a strange traveller who turns out to be the ghost of a merchant killed and robbed by bandits, or similar.

In the Episode Book, which was part of the reprint Kickstarter a few years ago and has an all-star cast of contributors, there are some episodes that are more railroady. (I've posted about this before, so won't repeat myself unless you or anyone else is interested.)

I think the key thing about most of the scenarios is that they permit multiple pathways out. In our game the PCs did avenge the murdered merchant. They defeated the demon possessing the Crimson Bull by calling on the holy power of St Sigobert, thus sparing the bull from sacrifice and also converting the Wise Woman in the process. They helped the Crowmaster's apprentice elope with his beloved and set him up with the lord of Castle Hill as a new Crowmaster. At Fort Seahawk they were unable to prove the perfidy of the lord's brother, and so subsequently heard that the lord had met an untimely death, obliging his brother to take over as the local ruler. And in our version of the (de-railroaded) Mark Rein-Hagen scenario, the PCs ended up taking control of the disputed castle and Duchy by way of the marriage of one of their number to the daughter of the deceased Duke.

Any other Prince Valiant game seems likely to involve the same sorts of events - jousts, sieges, marriages both romantic and political, etc - and naturally, if using these Episodes, the same NPCs and antagonists. But I'd expect the actual resolutions, and the overall shape of the campaign, to be pretty different. To draw an (imperfect) comparison to D&D, I'd say it's more like open-ended play in B2's Keep, than working systematically through the Caves of Chaos.
 

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Also, a game having a narrow scope is not a bad thing. It usually means that it is specialised to do that thing well.

Yeah. A Swiss army knife is a good thing to have, but sometimes you want an actual screwdriver, and sometimes you want one of an extremely specific type. Its valuable for all ranges to exist, and people who only believe in one range are likely disregarding the benefits of the others.
 

pemerton

Legend
pemerton]In what RPG does a PC's knowledge cause things to happen outside the character's direct influence?
From the point of view of some people who object to such mechanics, any TRPG with mechanics that allow the players to define things about the setting based on the results of a roll on a know-whats type of check. You roll, and geography changes (or is defined).
You seem to be describing a process whereby a player can establish that their PC knows something, and hence (given that knowing that X entails that X is the case) can establish some element of the fiction.

But that doesn't look like an example of a PC's knowledge causing things to happen outside the character's direct influence. Presumably the in-fiction causal process is one whereby that X is the case, has- via direct experience, or via the testimony of another - caused the PC to know that X.

The comparison would be when a player in D&D declares that their PC casts a spell. From the successful casting of the spell, it follows that the PC didn't sneeze while trying to cast. It is the player who establishes, via their action declaration, that the PC didn't sneeze, but I don't infer from that the PC caused themself not to sneeze, or more generally that sneezing in the D&D world is voluntary rather than involuntary. That would be pretty bizarre.
 

I'll show you mine if you show me yours? ;)
My friend used to tape every 4e game we played. It is standard D&D and Pathfinder. We ran adventure paths and some homebrew. There is nothing that takes a hundred pages and an argument over pseudo-philosophical terms that is needed to understand. But if you wanto to watch my friend set down a camera that is tilted and never moves as it's focused on the board - knock yourself out.
His name is David Schwarm, and he is all over YouTube, as he literally tapes everything... everything. ;) I DMed Skull & Shackles, 4e, and one shots. Here is a link to me DMing a Wrath of the Titans themed adventure. (For the record, we are playing this outside of the movie theater waiting for the midnight premier. We knew it was going to be terrible, so why not see it at midnight. ;))


Again, the gaming and process require zero explanation. It is me DMing a one shot that is pure themepark.


Here is a Lair Assault, basically a competitive style adventure D&D used to publish for 4e. They were all impossible. :) Again, no explanation needed.

There are a ton more. I am sure he would be delighted to have people view them.

But I only suggest the videoing to explain. Nothing we are doing there needs explanation. Everyone knows what a typical session of D&D and PF looks like. We have 117 pages here of explanation, and still it continues. That seems, in my humble opinion, to require a visual aid. :)
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
@Scott Christian. I'm confused. Do you think that analysis and discussion of games should be the same thing as playing the game? If so, do you also believe that talking about or pitching a video game is all that is needed to look into the code and make modifications to a video game -- that no additional information or terminology is needed other than that used to talk about playing it?
 

Also, a game having a narrow scope is not a bad thing. It usually means that it is specialised to do that thing well.

I agree with this. However, I think the narrowness of certain indie games is extremely overplayed. For instance:

* My Life With Master is basically the alpha and the omega of narrow, focused indie game. You're getting very little outside of the premise of it. I could absolutely see MLwM being reskinned as a family domestic abuse game where you attempt to throw off the yoke of the emotional hardship/trauma/stockholme syndrome nature by making connections and having your Love defeat your Self-Loathing.

But that is basically just a down-sizing of MLwM's premise from a Town to a Family. Its just scale.

* Dogs in the Vineyard, while still focused, is way less narrow than MLwM. You can trivially reskin Dogs to play fantastic Star Wars (where you're playing a game about Jedi) and various other premises within the Western genre family and it plays extraordinarily well.

I think Blades play, both orthodox RAW and its short, freely available expansions, allow for a much wider range of genre and tropes than you imagine, @AbdulAlhazred.

In one game, @Nephis and I played a Cult, whose primary objective was to heal the fracture between the realms of the living and the dead by bringing forth our goddess, a Raven Queen analogue, into the world.

Later, when those primary PCs were sacrificed in the cause of the Crew's agenda, we played a short-lived game of Vigilantes, NPCs betrayed and disgusted by our original Crew, seeking to exact vengeance upon the various cults that have been preying upon young mystical prodigies as conduits for bringing their forgotten gods into the world.

Now, we're playing a Crew of Inspectors, True Detective- style investigators of the murders and disappearances in the orbit of these child abductions in Doskvol. While these latter two games do involve slight additions/alterations to the rules set, they are far more along the lines of 4E's introduction of a variant resource management for Psionic characters in PHB3 than a true hack, retaining nearly all the architecture, if slightly reskinned in places, of the original Blades in the Dark.

And I agree with this (obviously, I'm the GM for the games!).

The difference between a Cult game (which has serious Sorcerer vibes and tech that propels that state of play) in Duskvol and the Deathlands and the Void Sea and another Crew (any Crew as Cult diverges so dramatically) is like nothing D&D has on offer (I say this with a little bit of experience!).

And the massive premise drift from going from a Cult game to an Untouchables/True Detective game (you've got 2 Inspector playbooks , an Inspector Crew, a unique Inspector Claim Map, a Mandate system where you're trying to get warrants for arrests and you''re trying to avoid disbarred (loss con) and you're trying to avoid having any/all of your 6 Bluecoats not lost (unlike standard Blades, you can't replace this team of Untouchables with more crew via Longterm Projects...any of them perish or get busted for going well outside the mandate?..they're gone for good and you're short-handed with all of these various forces aligned against you) where you're investigating the conflicts that set the prior 2 games on fire (while you're dealing with the adversarial relationships of the City Council as your patron is under the duress of diametric opposition of the other councilors...and this is mechanically inclined...not just GM extrapolation)?

These games are profoundly different.

And they're quite different still from a game of Vigilantes trying to get Coalridge or Dunslough to rise up against their oppressors. Or a game of Revolutionaries (a Crew expansion option) who are devoted to acts of terrorism and full-throated revolt to bring down the power structure of Duskvol (which I can assume plays like a Cult game...yet even more "likely doomed from the start but lets see what happens," "hair-on-fire crazytown" than a Cult game.


The setting does some work to keep these games similar. But the setting has so many explosive, diverse conflicts and power structures embedded in each ward that one game of Blades played in Barrowcleft (the frontier, farming part of Duskvol) could have little in common with a game set in Brightstone (the upper crust dwells here and all of the security and entrapments with the nobility and power brokers of Duskvol that go with it). And these aren't just extrapolation of setting based differences. There are a lot of widgets (and the relationship of those widgets to each other) that differentiate the play.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
In my experience videos of play generally don't show you much about play because they don't show the details of the thought processes that go into play. How you decide what to say is just as important a part of the process as what's said.

A Blades game will appear very similar to a D&D game in ways that are pretty superficial. It will not show the differences very well.
 

Sure, the GM might be able to author a whole host of information for the player to study so they can feel confident about their base of knowledge, but as that level of knowledge becomes substantial it creates a massive cognitive load on both the GM (to create and manage it) and the player to study and internalize it all. It also requires either a massive amount of time away from the table or even worse at the table to enable it all.

(Apologies if this is off-topic as I'm only skimmed the past 30 or so pages of this thread)

The person who makes the Runehammer youtube channel has been doing recaps of their Old School Essentials game every week for a while now and also put out a pdf of his OSE house rules. I can't find the house rules pdf now, but he did make it publicly available, so I thought I would copy and paste a potentially relevant part below. His basic "prep" process is very minimal (one page of handwritten notes) and the rest is improvised via basically coin flips. It's basically procedural dungeon/wilderness creation but without a lot of tables. But it's also not dependent on characters' skills or larger dramatic needs; indeed the purpose to build a world that is neutral to those needs. That being said, from what I gather from his play reports, the players are heavily invested in their characters (thus not "pawn stance").

LET THE DICE DECIDE


The more your game goes into unexpected territory (ie: the best stuff), the more you'll get questions from players and GM with no prepared answer. There are many supplements and roll tables out there to handle these moments, but here is a simpler, universal method: flip for it.


Any time the GM doesn't know the answer to a question, negotiate the unknown into a binary (yes/no) type question and roll a D6. A roll of 1-3 is always bad for players, 4-6 is always good. A 1 is the worst kind of bad and a 6 is the best kind of good. (See also: Index Card Mapping, p. 8)


GM TIP: Believable environments create easy-to ask and answer ques- tions. Familiarity and well-known architectural and ecological locations will lend themselves to on-the-fly discovery that feels real.


GM TIP: Have the spotlighted player make the roll. Sometimes this will be the GM, too.


GM TIP: Be ready to improvise, utilizing your vast wealth of genre research and classic cinematic elements. Using the don't-know-die will vastly re- duce the detail required of your prep, relying instead on a solid working knowledge of your scenes and locations.


GM TIP: Always negotiate openly with everyone at the table. Use eye con- tact, and come right and ask if answers and rolls feel like a good fit. You'll have it mastered in no time.

"The skeletons are coming fast! Is there any other exit in this cavern?" "Hm, I don't know, let's roll to find out!"

Index Card Mapping


QUESTIONS MAKE WORLDS



'Flipping for it' is a universal technique to use a D6 to answer all kinds of binary questions during play. This same mindset can apply to mapping your world. You'll use index cards and a single D6 to build maps with be- lievable aspects. The burden is still on the GM to know the world enough to provide answers and negotiate their believability, but details translating ‘exactly’ from notes to table is a frustrating myth with little payout.


When new terrain is encountered, place an index card on the table, des- ignating what it represents. Then, briefly negotiate with players for the 'core question' of the feature (see below). Roll a D6 and make a few pen marks accordingly, continuing as new terrain is discovered.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
It can be unnerving to entrust mapping a dungeon, forest, tunnel system or castle to dice rolls! The world should never feel coarsely random. Real places are seldom random. To ensure this doesn't happen, as mentioned above, the GM Still needs a solid sense of the larger truths, cinematic tone, and visual goodies of the current scene. Mines don't have gardens. Gardens don't have stalagmites. Trust your journal and your overall command of the story at hand.


CORE QUESTIONS: When placing a new piece of terrain, the main ques- tion players are concerned about will likely be obvious. "Is there an exit here?" "Do the stairs go up or down?" "Does this room have any gold in it?" These are the core question the D6 roll can answer. Just like the flip mentioned on page 7, 1-2-3 are players' chagrin, 4-5-6 are players' favor. If escaping the underdark, for example, players would seek ascending exits and stairs. Rolls of 1-2-3 would indicate dead ends or descents.


TRUST YOUR GUT: This system takes some trust and some practice. No system or tool set or dice roll can ever replace your unique sense for dra- matic fun, thematic rhythm, or cool twists, so trust your GM instincts when framing core questions, filling in your own tasty details, or drawing from past experience to fill in blanks. In no time, you'll feel like you are discov- ering your world with players, not mapping it ahead of time in solitude.
 

In my experience videos of play generally don't show you much about play because they don't show the details of the thought processes that go into play. How you decide what to say is just as important a part of the process as what's said.

A Blades game will appear very similar to a D&D game in ways that are pretty superficial. It will not show the differences very well.

I absolutely agree that written post-mortems do some different work than watching play.

However, I think what you posit here depends heavily upon the table.

My adjudication and handling Position/Effect is as table facing as it gets.

I keep the meta channel open maximally.

I telegraph the consequence space pretty ruthlessly and ask questions all the time about inputs and outputs to movespace “are you…” and “these things are in play…do you want to make that move…” and “resisting?…you can mitigate this consequence down to x and this other one completely” etc etc. The players are also very aggressive in soliciting this info and discussing their collective movespace (both mechanically and the fictional parameters that guide the inputs) and goals on an obstacle by obstacle basis (including what is downstream of this moment of play).

It’s a pretty intense pace back and forth between shared imagined space, thematic interests, and mechanical leverage to affect gamestate change.

Our Blades game probably bears absolutely zero resemblance to something like Matt Mercer and Critical Role in the watching (I assume that is your take home @Blue and @niklinna ?) or your standard 5e home table.

And (for the record), my take is that my Blades GMing and our collective conversation is 100 % by the book both in conversation management and aesthetic.
 
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Also, a game having a narrow scope is not a bad thing. It usually means that it is specialised to do that thing well.
I agree here as well. It has always amused me how adamantly some people insist that D&D 5e in particular is such a highly flexible game, etc. I think a lot of people just tend to idolize certain games, lol. IME there is nothing more bland than a generic RPG though, heh. There is a subtle difference however between that and a true toolkit.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
That's seems... I dunno. Odd? It doesn't make a difference at any moment of play if you're trying to restore the Ordning or if you need to defeat Strahd or if you need to end the death curse? This statement is very strange.
If what you remember later when telling war stories is that Danegald and Bezekta once got into a heated rivalry that eventually ended in a duel, does it matter during which adventure this occurred?

If what you remember later when telling war stories is that Carantha and Jerelle fell in love and, later, got married, does it matter during which adventure(s) this occurred?

If what you remember later when telling war stories is the legendary Battle of Three Tents* during which the party - attacked by a patrol while camped at night - destroyed all three of their own tents, one MU killed two orcs entirely with her dagger, and the other MU's only contribution was to drop a telekinesed boulder on to another PC by mistake; does it matter during which adventure this occurred?

In all three cases the answer is no. And 9 times out of 10 those are the sort of war stories that get told, at least among our crew.

* - an actual combat - in which my namesake here (Lanefan) was the PC who ate the dropped boulder - that happened in 1984 and that we still laugh about today. The DM probably remembers offhand which adventure we were in at the time, but I doubt any of the players do; I know I have to look it up in the game log every time. But we sure remember that battle! :)
Nope, hard disagree. This goes next to the printer.

If I'm going to play 1e, it's in spite of things like this, not because of them.
Why, might I ask?

I know for my part it doesn't matter if every member of a class uses the same underlying mechanics, because what matters more is the personality and characterization you layer on top of said mechanics. And why do those matter? Because P+C are what makes a character entertaining to the others at the table. Mechanics don't.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
(Apologies if this is off-topic as I'm only skimmed the past 30 or so pages of this thread)

The person who makes the Runehammer youtube channel has been doing recaps of their Old School Essentials game every week for a while now and also put out a pdf of his OSE house rules. I can't find the house rules pdf now, but he did make it publicly available, so I thought I would copy and paste a potentially relevant part below. His basic "prep" process is very minimal (one page of handwritten notes) and the rest is improvised via basically coin flips. It's basically procedural dungeon/wilderness creation but without a lot of tables. But it's also not dependent on characters' skills or larger dramatic needs; indeed the purpose to build a world that is neutral to those needs. That being said, from what I gather from his play reports, the players are heavily invested in their characters (thus not "pawn stance").

I am not sure I follow. My post was about how different sorts of play processes might be better for realizing different sorts of fictional situations. That sort of play process is fine for exploration focused play, but I am not sure how it relates to playing a game where your character is deeply embedded into the setting or has substantial knowledge about it.

Not trying to be difficult. I'm just not sure what point you are trying to make here.
 
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Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
If what you remember later when telling war stories is that Danegald and Bezekta once got into a heated rivalry that eventually ended in a duel, does it matter during which adventure this occurred?

If what you remember later when telling war stories is that Carantha and Jerelle fell in love and, later, got married, does it matter during which adventure(s) this occurred?

If what you remember later when telling war stories is the legendary Battle of Three Tents* during which the party - attacked by a patrol while camped at night - destroyed all three of their own tents, one MU killed two orcs entirely with her dagger, and the other MU's only contribution was to drop a telekinesed boulder on to another PC by mistake; does it matter during which adventure this occurred?

In all three cases the answer is no. And 9 times out of 10 those are the sort of war stories that get told, at least among our crew.

* - an actual combat - in which my namesake here (Lanefan) was the PC who ate the dropped boulder - that happened in 1984 and that we still laugh about today. The DM probably remembers offhand which adventure we were in at the time, but I doubt any of the players do; I know I have to look it up in the game log every time. But we sure remember that battle! :)
I'm curious, then, why you even have adventures? Why not just find a good storygame and tell stories together? Honest question.
Why, might I ask?

I know for my part it doesn't matter if every member of a class uses the same underlying mechanics, because what matters more is the personality and characterization you layer on top of said mechanics. And why do those matter? Because P+C are what makes a character entertaining to the others at the table. Mechanics don't.
Because there's more available than just tacking on extras. I mean, I could eat mealworms for every meal. It's enough (maybe with a good multivitamin). But I don't have to.
 

Published scenarios for Prince Valiant - Episodes is the technical term - are generally a single situation: the PCs encounter a knight who won't let them cross a bridge without jousting, or meet a strange traveller who turns out to be the ghost of a merchant killed and robbed by bandits, or similar.

In the Episode Book, which was part of the reprint Kickstarter a few years ago and has an all-star cast of contributors, there are some episodes that are more railroady. (I've posted about this before, so won't repeat myself unless you or anyone else is interested.)

I think the key thing about most of the scenarios is that they permit multiple pathways out. In our game the PCs did avenge the murdered merchant. They defeated the demon possessing the Crimson Bull by calling on the holy power of St Sigobert, thus sparing the bull from sacrifice and also converting the Wise Woman in the process. They helped the Crowmaster's apprentice elope with his beloved and set him up with the lord of Castle Hill as a new Crowmaster. At Fort Seahawk they were unable to prove the perfidy of the lord's brother, and so subsequently heard that the lord had met an untimely death, obliging his brother to take over as the local ruler. And in our version of the (de-railroaded) Mark Rein-Hagen scenario, the PCs ended up taking control of the disputed castle and Duchy by way of the marriage of one of their number to the daughter of the deceased Duke.

Any other Prince Valiant game seems likely to involve the same sorts of events - jousts, sieges, marriages both romantic and political, etc - and naturally, if using these Episodes, the same NPCs and antagonists. But I'd expect the actual resolutions, and the overall shape of the campaign, to be pretty different. To draw an (imperfect) comparison to D&D, I'd say it's more like open-ended play in B2's Keep, than working systematically through the Caves of Chaos.
Yeah, that is pretty consistent with what I would expect and what I've seen with games like PACE. You can definitely construct SCENARIOS, but if you try to construct a PLOT, well then you're stepping on the whole 'play to see what happens' sort of ethic of that type of game. DW can slide by with fronts, and you can definitely make limited 'dungeon areas' that operate in a mostly passive mode as sites. Dark Heart of Mithrendain didn't really work, at least as a Story Game scenario, because it relied on enough plot that it started to require certain outcomes. These things can work, to a degree, mostly by really knowing who you are playing with and all having a strong consensus on the shape of the adventure going in (I play a lot with the same people, many of us have played together for 30 years, so its like there's a lot of shared conception of how to make things work). But if I run a Story Now kind of game for people I don't know, I never prep anything, except NPCs to a degree.
 

pemerton

Legend
the gaming and process require zero explanation. It is me DMing a one shot that is pure themepark.

<snip>

Everyone knows what a typical session of D&D and PF looks like.
In my experience videos of play generally don't show you much about play because they don't show the details of the thought processes that go into play. How you decide what to say is just as important a part of the process as what's said.

A Blades game will appear very similar to a D&D game in ways that are pretty superficial. It will not show the differences very well.
Scott Christian, I looked through your part 10 and part 14 videos. Unless I got confused, what I saw mostly seemed to be a GM telling the players what their PCs can see and what actions they might declare.

To me that doesn't seem typical.
 

niklinna

Looking for group
Our Blades game probably bears absolutely zero resemblance to something like Matt Mercer and Critical Role in the watching (I assume that is your take home @Blue and @niklinna ?) or your standard 5e home table.
I haven't watched Critical Role, but your Blades game was definitely not like a typical 5e (or similar) game. The stakes for the characters were clear, as were the options available, the consequences of succeeding or failing (or partially succeeding) at a given action, and what resisting a consequence would get the characters—often negotiated with offers and counter-offers, even suggestions by the players for good/bad/sideways outcomes and the like. I've been in more typical games where the GM picks up on player comments/jokes and inserts them into the fiction, but Blades (and you) actively solicit that as a core part of the loop.

I am a player in a Blades game with my own group. We spend a bit more time faffing around; the newer players are still absorbing how much input they have, or fishing for actions they can do, and our GM isn't always clear about our options & their consequences, but we're heading quickly to where your group is.
 


@Manbearcat is running DW and/or BitD for half of ENworld it seems!

17.25 % so a hair south of half of ENWorld!

And The Between now (which is only a few sessions in but excellent - does Threat prep and handling like Dogs’ Towns/conflicts and has a lot to say about how Story Now can do mysteries)!

@Scott Christian , take a look at what I wrote about the watching of a proficiently run/played Blades game and contrast that with your expectations of a proficiently run/played 5e AP game. Then look at @niklinna ‘s actual appraisal of watching said Blades game. Do you think that description (mine) and his appraisal matches how you would depict a normative, proficiently run/played 5e AP game.

I’ve watched Mercer et al and I’ve seen proficient tables run 5e AP games. Neither of those bear much in the way of resemblance to the Blades' type/pace/structure of conversation, clarity and aggression around situation framing > move-space for players (including potential inputs into action resolution) and the attendant downstream consequence-space, and signaling and uptake of thematic interests right NOW.

Not to mention, except for on the very rare occasion, there is little performative theatre happening in either Blades game I run (not true for The Between game though). Characterization is 93.35 % conveyed/mapped onto play via “what you/they do” (both your actions and inactions and how both of those intersect with provocative framing) rather than via down-throttled interludes or lengthy verbal exchanges/musings without immediate mechanical teeth (whether that’s situation framing or input into action declarations or consequences).

As someone who has run and still does run a huge amount of Pawn Stance D&D, what I’m depicting above is not remotely close to it (if it reads like that). Protagonism takes no shape in Pawn Stance play because there is neither signaling nor siting thematic interest or dramatic need. Blades is the absolute inverse (all signaling and all siting).
 
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@Scott Christian. I'm confused. Do you think that analysis and discussion of games should be the same thing as playing the game? If so, do you also believe that talking about or pitching a video game is all that is needed to look into the code and make modifications to a video game -- that no additional information or terminology is needed other than that used to talk about playing it?
I believe the analysis and discussion of games should be reflected in gameplay. This way if you are going to make up some theory about good DMs or bad DMs or preferences, one should definitely be able to see the results at the table. If you can't, then the analysis is not what the analyzer thinks it is.
As far as video games, it's the same thing - the code is reflected in the game. That said, it is not a good analogy. Here is why: players in RPGs interact far more with the mechanics than they do in a video game. The mechanics are also much more on the whim of the DM or player. So the comparison is really a loose knot.
 

Scott Christian, I looked through your part 10 and part 14 videos. Unless I got confused, what I saw mostly seemed to be a GM telling the players what their PCs can see and what actions they might declare.

To me that doesn't seem typical.
It is not typical, especially for a D&D game. But the fact that you noticed proves the point - the play is reflective of the rules. If we were to analyze it, you would see it is different from a typical D&D game.

For the record, it was. I mean, we are playing outside of a movie theater for god's sake. I eventually pull out a Jenga block and make them pull out their piece to see if the giant cliff they are standing on collapses. It was a stunt, and it worked. As was me telling them their four moves (or, in this case it turned to five because one of the players suggested something else).

The premise is, if you are going to come to a midnight movie and play D&D, don't expect open world or sandbox play. Expect to be warmed up for a terrible movie. :)
 
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