# The Principle of Legitimate Intentions

#### Celebrim

##### Legend
The problem arises when others want to judge what is legitimate to say next.

So, let me ask about that. Hitherto I've been discussing this problem as if we had a standard RPG play cycle with a single secret keeper and fortune in the middle play loops.

But the above quoted sentence suggests that your play cycle is non-standard in one or more ways.

So let me give you my technical language so that we can hopefully bridge this communication gap.
Fiction: This is the imagined setting and everything in it.
Fictional Positioning: This is the current state of the fiction.
Proposition: This is something a player says that represents an action in the game by their character. The player proposes that the character tries to do something, like for example, "I want to climb the wall".
Fortune: This is the test specified by the rules to determine whether or not the player's character can perform the action that is proposed. The outcome of the fortune specifies whether the proposition succeeds or fails.
Fortune Testing: This is usually random thing you do like throw a dice or draw a card that is the core of the fortune step that handles the uncertainty of doubtful propositions. Note that in the case of a proposition that isn't doubtful, because the rules say it's trivially easy, fortune is often not tested and we go straight to Adjudication. We still did the fortune though, as table had to agree at the fortune step that the odds of success (or failure) were 100%.
Adjudication: This is the result of the fortune as narrated by some participant in the game, usually the GM.
Secret Keeper: This is the participant of the game responsible for knowing all the fiction's hidden information, again usually the GM. Note that some RPGs attempt to eliminate secret information from the game to one extent or the other, usually so that more than one participant can participate in Adjudication.
Proposition Cycle: Normally play in an RPG consists of a cycle of Proposition->Fortune->Adjudication that updates the fictional positioning incrementally. This is however not the only possibility. There are Fortune->Adjudication->Proposition cycles and Proposition->Adjudication->Fortune cycles in some RPGs. If it's not immediately obvious how those odd seeming cycles work, I can explain.
Stakes: These are the possible outcomes of a fortune: what happens if you succeed or fail. These are often hidden in standard RPGs because only the secret keeper has enough information about the fictional positioning to know the consequences of a proposition, but can be explicit (and in some cases must be) in non-standard proposition cyles.
Rules: This is everything that goes into the fortune phase of the proposition cycle that determines what the fortune is and whether after the fortune is tested the proposition succeeded and to what degree. This term includes both rules as written as well as the rulings and house rules that the table has come to apply to the situation. Think of the difference as being similar to the difference between legislated law and judicial precedent or common law. It's all still rules.
Processes of Play: This is the catch all term for everything happening at the table goes into determining the proposition cycle, including the rules and things that aren't covered by the rules. It turns out that these non-rule issues are absolutely as impactful on how the fiction is produced as the rules are. Modern games often pay attention to that by strongly specifying the processes of play that tables should use, where older games are often silent on processes of play and leave them up to individual tables, sometimes because they just assume the processes of play are so obvious that everyone is using the same ones. The processes of play are determined by things like "how we think about the game" or "how we prepare to play the game" or "what are we trying to achieve by playing the game" even more so than the rules. You can think of them as the conscious or unconscious implementations of your "Principles". It's what we are actually doing when we play that concretely describes the game in the way rules alone don't.
Proposition Filter: This is one of the more important aspects of the processes of play, and that is everything that goes into deciding whether a proposition is valid. Propositions have to pass a proposition filter before they go into the Fortune phase and are Adjudicated. For example, the earlier proposition "I climb the wall." may fail a proposition filter for being too vague to determine exactly what the character is doing in the fiction, in which case the GM will reject the proposition and ask for clarification, "Which wall? The wall is 50' wide: where on the wall do you climb? What do you climb with?, etc." An example of where tables with the same rules may widely differ is that at some tables, "I try to fast talk the guard" may be a legitimate proposition and at others it certainly wouldn't be.
Call: This is an attempt by the player to learn something about the fictional positioning without the character taking an action. This is usually in the form of a question, and basically represents the player attempting to make sure he understands the fictional positioning. You can think about it as the player character within the fiction observing it. For example, "What color is the banner on the wall?" or "Is there dust on the floor?" At times a Call can actually change the fictional positioning by adding a feature to it the GM hadn't previously considered such as "Is there a paper clip in the drawer?" Previously even the GM might have had no idea that there was a paper clip in the desk drawer, but if that seems like a completely reasonable thing to find in a drawer then he could answer "Yes." In some game systems a player even has a right to make a call that asserts a truth about the fictional positioning by spending some narrative authority. This may be important to this discussion.
Narrative Authority: This is who at the table is allowed to Adjudicate at any given time. Usually, the GM in a game has full Narrative Authority, and players only have Narrative Authority through dispensation, and are thus normally only able to update the fiction by making Propositions.

Now given that, can you tell me what your proposition cycle looks like? And in particular, is your "Legitimate Intentions" intended to be a Principle that authorizes a Player (not the GM) to be able to amend the fiction through a call? That is to say does your process of play involve shared Narrative Authority?

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
This is certainly a thing. Communicating in such a way that everyone at the table has a similar mental picture of the shared reality is a skill, one that GMs should cultivate and which players should work on whenever they have any reason to doubt that the image in their head matches the GMs image.

Then something IMO is wrong with your RPG. One of my primary aesthetics of play involves Emersion. I like to have the aesthetic that shared imaginary space is believable and richly detailed and that it is easy to imagine yourself within the imaginary space from a first person perspective of someone within that space. I want to provide the insights and sensory clues to you the players as if you were there in the form of the character, seeing, experiencing, hearing, and even smelling what the character would to the best of my ability. I want the player to feel like the shared imaginary space is a real place, or at least, as real as such a fantasy place could be.

And this precisely gives the problem with your approach. You have NPCs who aren't talking like real people and PCs who are consequently getting most of their information through the metagame and not the game. IMO, the appropriate thing to do as a GM when animating an NPC is to put yourself "in their shoes", get in their head, and imagine what they know, what they feel, and what they are thinking and then imagine what they say - which can include falsehoods and even deliberate lies. As a GM, I act that out in front of the players, often as best as I can manage it with voices.

Even if the Clerk is mistake, the GM is still describing the situation. The GM is describing what the characters can observe and what the Clerk says. He makes no promise to the players that the Clerk is omniscient, unbiased, or honest. He only promises the players that he is faithfully representing the Clerk as the clerk actually is, ignorance and all.

I feel this limitation is artificial though.

When you describe a room to the players, you don't feel you are required to describe to them the as yet not scene next room to them or the contents of the unopened chest or the fact that there is a door hidden behind the wall tapestry. Those particular details are picked up through further play. Likewise, social interaction only provides the descriptions of this particular NPC from the vantage point of that particular NPC. Different NPCs will provide different descriptions of events. The full picture of what is going on is, as in real life, pieced together from the testimony of different NPCs until gradually the full picture becomes available.

The same rules in tabletop RPG apply in this respect that they do in other narrative forms such as a novel, a movie, or a computer game. When reading a mystery novel, you don't expect the characters in the story to speak in the highly ritualistic highly objective manner that you suggest that they should in a RPG. You expect them to speak in a natural fashion, and for you and the protagonist of the story to gradually unwind the truth from the clues, figuring out which character might have lied or which character's testimony was unreliable because they didn't see what they thought that they saw. The same is true if you watch a movie like 'Knives Out' or 'The Glass Onion'. The fact that some characters testimony is unreliable and that you might get a false impression is part of the fun. And if you are playing a video game like "LA Noire" the same thing is true.

In short, I think it's fine for NPCs to speak in a very natural language and be limited by their own understanding. Using very objective and unbiased language is a good idea if you are giving GM narration. For example, if a player searches for traps, you say, "You didn't find any traps." and not "There are no traps." But a GM can accurately relate an NPC's statements made in ignorance without flagging that the character is unknowingly speaking in ignorance.
On the other hand, my skepticism aside, it sounds like you feel able to convey the necessary clues to avoid hidden gotchas without needing the extra care I suggest.

#### Celebrim

##### Legend
On the other hand, my skepticism aside, it sounds like you feel able to convey the necessary clues to avoid hidden gotchas without needing the extra care I suggest.

Well, I have been doing this for 40 years. I would be very surprised to discover that I can't!

That said, of course there are times (of course) when I fail to adequately describe the scene so that everyone at the table understands the fictional positioning, and I've talked a lot on these forums about how players and GMs can behave to handle that, but I've never had the problem you seem to be trying to solve.

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
Fiction: This is the imagined setting and everything in it.
This is the current state of the fiction. Each participant maintains their own version. Usually they aim for those versions to be similar.

Fictional Positioning: This is the current state of the fiction.
This is the past state of the fiction: it is queried retroactively to see whether what we want to say is legitimate.

Proposition: This is something a player says that represents an action in the game by their character. The player proposes that the character tries to do something, like for example, "I want to climb the wall".
I call this an act. Proposition is fine.

Fortune: This is the test specified by the rules to determine whether or not the player's character can perform the action that is proposed. The outcome of the fortune specifies whether the proposition succeeds or fails.
This is often called resolution, with good reason. Fortune is probably too ambiguous (notwithstanding that it is used in some discussions.)

Fortune Testing: This is usually random thing you do like throw a dice or draw a card that is the core of the fortune step that handles the uncertainty of doubtful propositions. Note that in the case of a proposition that isn't doubtful, because the rules say it's trivially easy, fortune is often not tested and we go straight to Adjudication. We still did the fortune though, as table had to agree at the fortune step that the odds of success (or failure) were 100%.
Resolution can be drama (what we say), fortune (what we roll), or karma (where we rank)

Adjudication: This is the result of the fortune as narrated by some participant in the game, usually the GM.
Hmm... I think this is decision-holding when there is choice to be made among outcomes. Usually, for negative outcomes, that goes to a GM. Per the Czege Principle.

Secret Keeper: This is the participant of the game responsible for knowing all the fiction's hidden information, again usually the GM. Note that some RPGs attempt to eliminate secret information from the game to one extent or the other, usually so that more than one participant can participate in Adjudication.
I break this into who establishes truth about what, including truths off-camera (to other participants.) We can use the term but may run into trouble with it later.

Proposition Cycle: Normally play in an RPG consists of a cycle of Proposition->Fortune->Adjudication that updates the fictional positioning incrementally. This is however not the only possibility. There are Fortune->Adjudication->Proposition cycles and Proposition->Adjudication->Fortune cycles in some RPGs. If it's not immediately obvious how those odd seeming cycles work, I can explain.
You're discussing fortune-at-the-beginning, fortune-in-the-middle, and fortune-at-the-end.

Stakes: These are the possible outcomes of a fortune: what happens if you succeed or fail. These are often hidden in standard RPGs because only the secret keeper has enough information about the fictional positioning to know the consequences of a proposition, but can be explicit (and in some cases must be) in non-standard proposition cyles.
I call this simply consequences, but stakes is fine (and a good technical term due to its use in other games.)

Rules: This is everything that goes into the fortune phase of the proposition cycle that determines what the fortune is and whether after the fortune is tested the proposition succeeded and to what degree. This term includes both rules as written as well as the rulings and house rules that the table has come to apply to the situation. Think of the difference as being similar to the difference between legislated law and judicial precedent or common law. It's all still rules.
I identify several kinds of normative object. Constitutive rule: do this in order to fabricate the play. Regulatory rule: do this in order to enact the fabricated play in a specified way. Guideline: do something like this. Principle (conditional): if you desire x, you ought to do y. Principle (unconditional): you ought to desire x and do y.

Rules is too general a term. I differentiate between house rules and other rules using the terms endogenous and exogenous rules. House "rules" are more often house principles. It is also important to acknowledge parameters (aka data model.)

Processes of Play: This is the catch all term for everything happening at the table goes into determining the proposition cycle, including the rules and things that aren't covered by the rules. It turns out that these non-rule issues are absolutely as impactful on how the fiction is produced as the rules are. Modern games often pay attention to that by strongly specifying the processes of play that tables should use, where older games are often silent on processes of play and leave them up to individual tables, sometimes because they just assume the processes of play are so obvious that everyone is using the same ones. The processes of play are determined by things like "how we think about the game" or "how we prepare to play the game" or "what are we trying to achieve by playing the game" even more so than the rules. You can think of them as the conscious or unconscious implementations of your "Principles". It's what we are actually doing when we play that concretely describes the game in the way rules alone don't.
Interesting. I do not make this distinction. Instead I think of game as artifact and game as played. I regard game as artifact as tools used to fabricate the play. What I think you are covering are unwritten rules that folk come to the table with the deal in general terms with how to play a game.

Proposition Filter: This is one of the more important aspects of the processes of play, and that is everything that goes into deciding whether a proposition is valid. Propositions have to pass a proposition filter before they go into the Fortune phase and are Adjudicated. For example, the earlier proposition "I climb the wall." may fail a proposition filter for being too vague to determine exactly what the character is doing in the fiction, in which case the GM will reject the proposition and ask for clarification, "Which wall? The wall is 50' wide: where on the wall do you climb? What do you climb with?, etc." An example of where tables with the same rules may widely differ is that at some tables, "I try to fast talk the guard" may be a legitimate proposition and at others it certainly wouldn't be.
I simply call this legitimating.

Call: This is an attempt by the player to learn something about the fictional positioning without the character taking an action. This is usually in the form of a question, and basically represents the player attempting to make sure he understands the fictional positioning. You can think about it as the player character within the fiction observing it. For example, "What color is the banner on the wall?" or "Is there dust on the floor?" At times a Call can actually change the fictional positioning by adding a feature to it the GM hadn't previously considered such as "Is there a paper clip in the drawer?" Previously even the GM might have had no idea that there was a paper clip in the desk drawer, but if that seems like a completely reasonable thing to find in a drawer then he could answer "Yes." In some game systems a player even has a right to make a call that asserts a truth about the fictional positioning by spending some narrative authority. This may be important to this discussion.
I call this putting whoever establishes a truth on the spot to say what's true.

Narrative Authority: This is who at the table is allowed to Adjudicate at any given time. Usually, the GM in a game has full Narrative Authority, and players only have Narrative Authority through dispensation, and are thus normally only able to update the fiction by making Propositions.
Once we've divided up truth establishment, fiction, fictional position, rules and parameters, and adjudication, I think we end up with a puzzle as to what this really is? Is it just the right to adjudicate X? Why not conflate that with adjudication? Is it just stating the obvious (the right to explain in colourful language what we all just saw happen?)

Now given that, can you tell me what your proposition cycle looks like? And in particular, is your "Legitimate Intentions" intended to be a Principle that authorizes a Player (not the GM) to be able to amend the fiction through a call? That is to say does your process of play involve shared Narrative Authority?
I think this is a good direction for exploration, and as you're familiar with the facets of the problem you'll know that it's not trivial to write up. I'll need to give it some thought. Could you, too?

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
Well, I have been doing this for 40 years. I would be very surprised to discover that I can't!

That said, of course there are times (of course) when I fail to adequately describe the scene so that everyone at the table understands the fictional positioning, and I've talked a lot on these forums about how players and GMs can behave to handle that, but I've never had the problem you seem to be trying to solve.
My meaning was that you have what you believe is a solve for the problem you are having

#### Celebrim

##### Legend
@clearstream: There are an excessive number of response I could make to that, but I'm going to for the sake of focus limit myself to just a few of the things I'm most interested in at the moment.

I identify several kinds of normative object. Constitutive rule: do this in order to fabricate the play. Regulatory rule: do this in order to enact the fabricated play in a specified way. Guideline: do something like this. Principle (conditional): if you desire x, you ought to do y. Principle (unconditional): you ought to desire x and do y.

Guidelines and principles whether stated or unstated would not fall for me under the heading of rules but would be part of the non-rule processes of play. Rules for me are almost synonymous with mechanics. Instructions on how you should think about things are attempts to govern or communicate the desired processes of play. They are not rules and in many cases they aren't even consciously thought about by the participants. They become glaringly noticeable mostly when you move from the culture of one table you are familiar with to a table with a completely different culture, or when you are familiar with one game and then move to a different one that asks of you a different mindset. People mistake the mindset for the rules, and I think that's a mistake in that it associates the outcome of the game with the "rules" when in fact different tables can play completely different games with the same rules. An trivial example is AD&D played at a "Monte Haul" table versus a table played with an antagonistic and stingy DM with "Killer Dungeons". The two groups might both enjoy the game, and be shocked to discover the game of the other table, be shocked to think that someone thinks that they are "doing it wrong", and typically think that the other table is "doing it wrong". Yet both could be theoretically following the rules exactly.

Once we've divided up truth establishment, fiction, fictional position, rules and parameters, and adjudication, I think we end up with a puzzle as to what this really is? Is it just the right to adjudicate X? Why not conflate that with adjudication? Is it just stating the obvious (the right to explain in colourful language what we all just saw happen?)

In traditional play this is just the right to adjudicate the fortune - narrate the results in colorful language as you put it. It's who gets to state the new fictional positioning after we cranked the rules engine and got input about whether we had success or failure. Matt Mercer plays a traditional RPG with a FitM cycle publicly and as a traditional GM he's the secret keeper and holds all the narrative authority. But one thing you will see him consistently do is hand over narrative authority to a player who has just taken down a Boss and say, "What do you want to happen?" And that handing over the narrative authority while it seems like just the right to narrate in colorful language what we all just saw happen is still quite powerful and impacts the transcript of play.

But in the larger case, it's not as simple as (and rarely as simple as) just stating the obvious, because in the general case it is not at all obvious what will happen. To give just one concrete example, in a sandbox I was running the PC's had ended up in a guerrilla war with a race of intelligent flying foxes. In their wandering they encountered a small village of these killer squirrels in a highly eroded karst complex that was built atop a towering limestone spire. One of my players was an earth shaman, and decided that they would start turning the spire into mud with the intent of collapsing the spire and with it the whole village. Now the first order effects of turning stone to mud was well defined, but what was not well defined was how much stone would have to be removed before the spire would collapse. As GM I had the narrative authority to decide for myself when I thought the shaman had undermined the village enough to bring it down, as well as all the consequences of that collapse, and all the consequences of literally dozens of cubic yards of mud sloughing off the spire in the process of achieving that. The rules wouldn't help with that situation. Too much is going on that the rules are silent on and for which we have no well described mini-game to play. My "colorful language" narrating what is happening with the fictional positioning has enormous importance. And in my play this sort of thing happens multiple times a session. It may be obvious that the player succeeded, but what results from that is not obvious.

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
Guidelines and principles whether stated or unstated would not fall for me under the heading of rules but would be part of the non-rule processes of play. Rules for me are almost synonymous with mechanics. Instructions on how you should think about things are attempts to govern or communicate the desired processes of play. They are not rules and in many cases they aren't even consciously thought about by the participants. They become glaringly noticeable mostly when you move from the culture of one table you are familiar with to a table with a completely different culture, or when you are familiar with one game and then move to a different one that asks of you a different mindset. People mistake the mindset for the rules, and I think that's a mistake in that it associates the outcome of the game with the "rules" when in fact different tables can play completely different games with the same rules. An trivial example is AD&D played at a "Monte Haul" table versus a table played with an antagonistic and stingy DM with "Killer Dungeons". The two groups might both enjoy the game, and be shocked to discover the game of the other table, be shocked to think that someone thinks that they are "doing it wrong", and typically think that the other table is "doing it wrong". Yet both could be theoretically following the rules exactly.
I think if we saw mechanics played uniformally the same way then we could say that priniciples are about how we choose to operate the machinery. However, we see mechanics played in different ways. I can give an example.

Long Rests (5e). On Enworld this rule was grasped and upheld in two different ways, amounting to two quite different mechanics. Three principles informed what each group decided the mechanic was. Group A parsed "at least 1 hour of walking, fighting, casting spells, or similar adventuring activity" as - 1 hour of (walking, fighting, casting spells, or similar). Group B parsed that as (1 hour of walking, fighting, casting spells, or similar). In some lengthy debates folk invoked the following principles. 1) Grammatical. 2) How we ought to play. 3) How we ought to obey authority (what we ought to count into our normative determinations.) Such principles were decisive in what mechanic was played. Which wasn't a matter of knowing the mechanic and choosing to play it in way A or B, but of grasping the mechanic as A or B.

Guidelines have an interesting position in how folk approach mechanics. Again using 5e, some folk say that all "rules" are really guidelines. The game designers occasionally designate some parts of the game text expressly as guidelines. (Just as they designate some parts optional, and some parts variant.) Regarding those folk who say all rules are guidelines, there's an important distinction to note. Some of them mean that they follow all rules as rules (not guidelines) but that they make choices about which rules they follow. What they mean by guideline is something like - a rule I can disapply. Others mean that there are rules they follow as rules (do this) and there is other game text that they understand as guidelines (do something like this). What they mean by guideline is something like - a rule I can comply with in different ways to suit what I'm trying to achieve. The two approaches are not so far apart, because in each case whatever is designated a guideline is a rule that players expect to follow in different ways (including not following.)

Principles also do the job you point to, of how the game as artifact is operationalised into the game as played. I've explained this elsewhere using the analogy of tools.

In traditional play this is just the right to adjudicate the fortune - narrate the results in colorful language as you put it. It's who gets to state the new fictional positioning after we cranked the rules engine and got input about whether we had success or failure. Matt Mercer plays a traditional RPG with a FitM cycle publicly and as a traditional GM he's the secret keeper and holds all the narrative authority. But one thing you will see him consistently do is hand over narrative authority to a player who has just taken down a Boss and say, "What do you want to happen?" And that handing over the narrative authority while it seems like just the right to narrate in colorful language what we all just saw happen is still quite powerful and impacts the transcript of play.

But in the larger case, it's not as simple as (and rarely as simple as) just stating the obvious, because in the general case it is not at all obvious what will happen. To give just one concrete example, in a sandbox I was running the PC's had ended up in a guerrilla war with a race of intelligent flying foxes. In their wandering they encountered a small village of these killer squirrels in a highly eroded karst complex that was built atop a towering limestone spire. One of my players was an earth shaman, and decided that they would start turning the spire into mud with the intent of collapsing the spire and with it the whole village. Now the first order effects of turning stone to mud was well defined, but what was not well defined was how much stone would have to be removed before the spire would collapse. As GM I had the narrative authority to decide for myself when I thought the shaman had undermined the village enough to bring it down, as well as all the consequences of that collapse, and all the consequences of literally dozens of cubic yards of mud sloughing off the spire in the process of achieving that. The rules wouldn't help with that situation. Too much is going on that the rules are silent on and for which we have no well described mini-game to play. My "colorful language" narrating what is happening with the fictional positioning has enormous importance. And in my play this sort of thing happens multiple times a session. It may be obvious that the player succeeded, but what results from that is not obvious.
Yes, I think you are right to point to a right to add to the fiction in ways that change the fictional position thus legitimating some and not other acts. I included that under establishing what is true, which extended (without my pointing it out expressly) the "Secret Keeper" facet. It's fine to divide establishing what's true into establishing what's true off-camera, and establishing what's true on-camera, and dividing that up in various ways. Although perhaps that means we'd be accepting some assumptions without questioning them. Why is it "propositions" for some participants and "narrative authority" for others? (Or rather, I know why you've constructed it that way, but it rests on an assumption.)

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
Parking those interesting concerns for the moment (we can revisit if it becomes relevant) we need to also examine your propositions. You say that
This is something a player says that represents an action in the game by their character. The player proposes that the character tries to do something, like for example, "I want to climb the wall".

There are a few things going on here, and some are important to me.
1. Foremost, the player describes their character climbing the wall in view of an intention they have. So the proposition is the couplet - intention=description
2. Secondly, there is a possible assumption at work that some participants can simply narrate additions to fiction and others must seek agreement on additions to fiction whether that's agreement by adjudication or agreement by fortune.
I think the second concern is that the model appears reductive, but fails to be as reductive as it should be. It has built into it a certain kind of play. Adjudication is included because of an assumption that some parties need approval of what they add to the fiction (and some don't).

I'm not sure exactly what's needed as yet, but some things I have in mind are

Intention - This is the why, e.g. "What's at the top of that wall?" "Safety." "Okay, i want to climb the wall to reach safety." Usually partipants have collections of intentions that they will say things in view of.

Description - This is what participants say in view of their intentions. "I climb the wall". Some call it approach. It's usually what they propose to add to the fiction (justifying your choice of the word "proposition")

Narration - This is adding to some facet of the fiction. (So I suggest this can be divided by facet.)

Contingent-narration - Narration of some facet of fiction coupled to a demand for agreement.

Agreement-by-fortune - What you have called fortune.

Agreement-by-rule - Where adding to the fiction is filtered by a rule (rather than a roll or an approval.)

Agreement-by-consensus - Might also be called "agreement by principle" in view of what we've said about operationalizing the game text.

Agreement-by-authority - What you have called adjudication. Could also be called "by-approval".

Rule-invocation - This is the right to invoke rules. To say that a rule applies in this case, and not that case. In some game texts, designers state that rules apply in all cases. In other game texts, some participants are given the power to invoke rules, or change them, and others are not. We might also need rule-binds to cover who is bound by the rules. Or maybe there is a better way to express this?

Operationalizing principle - This separates those out from principles used to decide what the rules mean.

Agreement-by-principle - Given that game designers now regularly state principles in their game text, this matters. What's particularly important is that it speaks to the intentions participants ought to form.

So the thought is to shed as far as possible committment to any given arrangement, to try to see what underlies all arrangements.

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
With that framework sketched out and held lightly, what I observe is something like this:

establishing fiction (often called the situation) -> intention + description -> legitimation -> narration (i.e. updating the fiction)

Legitimation includes legitimating against fictional position (everyone checks is, is it legit?), against principles, against rules, against parameters, against fortune, and if there is an approver for this facet of play, against permission. We can say more about each facet of legitimation.

Narration means saying what's true, including what's true off-camera.

Nothing here assumes that any specific participant governs or enacts from a privileged position any of those steps. The contribution I make to what I believe is already well understood by many, is that intentions are legitimated against principles.

#### aramis erak

##### Legend
using the term "fortune" for going to the dice has extremely negative associations with The Forge. The excessively pedantic terminology is otherwise merely annoying, until we get to "legitimation"... a term that has very negative historical use as a term for formally adopting one's bastard children. Essentially, the connotation that hit me was "the proposal is a bastard until adopted." Secondarily, it implies that the proposal is by default illegitimate - a violation of the fiction, the setting, the state of the characters (both mechanical and fictional).

No proposal made in good faith should ever be in need of "legitimation" unless the player has a habit of paying no mind to genre and story-states. Or is player-ignorant of factors the character should know. In the later case, the GM or Table should probably give them a mulligan, as the intent was not bad faith.

Uncommon term use in analysis often brings unintended associations which turn off the audience; @clearstream I'm one such. If one is having to define obscure terms outside their original context, one really should think about the valuesets already associated with them.

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