Thinking About the Purpose of Mechanics from a Neo-Trad Perspective

The-Magic-Sword

Small Ball Archmage
I had wondered about Microscope as an example, but wasn't confident in my knowledge of it - so I am glad you mention it.

But as I understand it Microscope is quite far from paradigmatic RPGing, in that the game doesn't progress primarily by players declaring actions for the particular characters (i) who are part of the shared fiction, and (ii) whom they own. So it makes sense that it wouldn't literally involve OCs.
True, a similar but more canonical example might be the emotions of a GM who develops great affection for a worldbuilding element, and is going for a certain vibe with that, who might need to negotiate their player's differing expectations to preserve the relative sanctity of what they creatively wanted out of that element.

Like, presenting an order of knights or something that are supposed to be the good guys in terms of what the vibe the GM was trying to enjoy was, but the players push to make the campaign about rebelling against them, or reinterpreting them as corrupt. That would be a very similar conflict as we understand OC as being in conflict with the other cultures.

The point is, that other elements can take on the sense of ownership associated with OCs, though 'creating a character' creates a natural outlet for that urge, so 'I own another element I introduced to fiction, but not my character' is improbable, but not impossible.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

The-Magic-Sword

Small Ball Archmage
The author isn’t talking about design, and neither am I. It was recognizing that there is a difference between the culture and the design of games they play that prompted me to agree with the author’s suggested change to just “OC” for the play culture.
I don't disagree in that framing, but I'd almost suggest Neotrad feels like a more apropo term for something like Critical Role play, where Trad culture is still heavily comorbid with the OC, as opposed to a game where everything is either individual character background centric or self-contained adventures featuring the party, but there's no other connective tissue defining an overall campaign plot.

Could they be different in that respect? Neo-Trad as the Crit Role style fusion design, but OC as the underlying culture centered around character fantasy and player to character authorship?
 

Pedantic

Legend
True, a similar but more canonical example might be the emotions of a GM who develops great affection for a worldbuilding element, and is going for a certain vibe with that, who might need to negotiate their player's differing expectations to preserve the relative sanctity of what they creatively wanted out of that element.

Like, presenting an order of knights or something that are supposed to be the good guys in terms of what the vibe the GM was trying to enjoy was, but the players push to make the campaign about rebelling against them, or reinterpreting them as corrupt. That would be a very similar conflict as we understand OC as being in conflict with the other cultures.

The point is, that other elements can take on the sense of ownership associated with OCs, though 'creating a character' creates a natural outlet for that urge, so 'I own another element I introduced to fiction, but not my character' is improbable, but not impossible.
That's a very interesting field. We've talked a lot about play culture as a preference of the players, or as a product of the whole group, but not as a specific to the GM. It occurs to me that you can actually have incompatibility there that doesn't break down the game state. A GM that isn't particularly invested, in the OC sense, in any given institution or worldbuilding element might be better positioned to validate/encourage OC play patterns in their players. Fundamentally to support an OC play pattern, the GM/players need to be doing different things and be engaged in different goals. Is there a singular understanding of the GM's role in that situation (or even for other player cultures) that falls into the same groups? Are there multiple "styles" (probably not full cultures, given we're talking about a small proportion of most tables) that could support an overall OC culture?
 

The-Magic-Sword

Small Ball Archmage
That's a very interesting field. We've talked a lot about play culture as a preference of the players, or as a product of the whole group, but not as a specific to the GM. It occurs to me that you can actually have incompatibility there that doesn't break down the game state. A GM that isn't particularly invested, in the OC sense, in any given institution or worldbuilding element might be better positioned to validate/encourage OC play patterns in their players. Fundamentally to support an OC play pattern, the GM/players need to be doing different things and be engaged in different goals. Is there a singular understanding of the GM's role in that situation (or even for other player cultures) that falls into the same groups? Are there multiple "styles" (probably not full cultures, given we're talking about a small proportion of most tables) that could support an overall OC culture?
I think in practice, since GMs are unlikely to feel that way about every element of the world (that it must be interacted with only in some specific way, and the ones that do are probably problem-GMs of a certain type you see in places like the horror stories subreddit) its an exercise of give and take consideration, the players don't vilify the knights with an understanding that the GM has a lot of affection for the idea of an authentically goody-two-shoes order, but the GM leaves them free to twist a bunch of other elements of the world as necessary for their characters to bounce off of. Other players might use the GMs worldbuilding decisions as their palette, in line with the previously discussed 'where does OC inspiration come from' chicken and egg conversation up thread.
 

True, a similar but more canonical example might be the emotions of a GM who develops great affection for a worldbuilding element, and is going for a certain vibe with that, who might need to negotiate their player's differing expectations to preserve the relative sanctity of what they creatively wanted out of that element.

Like, presenting an order of knights or something that are supposed to be the good guys in terms of what the vibe the GM was trying to enjoy was, but the players push to make the campaign about rebelling against them, or reinterpreting them as corrupt. That would be a very similar conflict as we understand OC as being in conflict with the other cultures.

The point is, that other elements can take on the sense of ownership associated with OCs, though 'creating a character' creates a natural outlet for that urge, so 'I own another element I introduced to fiction, but not my character' is improbable, but not impossible.
I think it's a pretty interesting point. I have seen some of that happen.
 


GobHag

Explorer
Actually, let's think about what does make a setting conductive to TradOC play?

Flexibility is of course something that's a must to allow the insertion of a new character in it, and usually the setting and premise shouldn't be so restrictive on what the background entails for the play--You can be a pauper or a noble or Just Some Guy/Gal but nonetheless all of you are [X].

Maybe slight bias but Fantasies of Power are usually good at this, games where the premise involves the players in someway shape or form are at an upper hand at the usual setting denizen. Since usually the game premise involves the player character given a power that can overturn or at least rival the small scale power hierarchy that the character comes from.

Not to say that the newly given power doesn't have its own hierarchy however; Elders, heads of organizations, established heroes and villains are always a nice way to tie the character into the world
 

The-Magic-Sword

Small Ball Archmage
Actually, let's think about what does make a setting conductive to TradOC play?

Flexibility is of course something that's a must to allow the insertion of a new character in it, and usually the setting and premise shouldn't be so restrictive on what the background entails for the play--You can be a pauper or a noble or Just Some Guy/Gal but nonetheless all of you are [X].

Maybe slight bias but Fantasies of Power are usually good at this, games where the premise involves the players in someway shape or form are at an upper hand at the usual setting denizen. Since usually the game premise involves the player character given a power that can overturn or at least rival the small scale power hierarchy that the character comes from.

Not to say that the newly given power doesn't have its own hierarchy however; Elders, heads of organizations, established heroes and villains are always a nice way to tie the character into the world
I think there's kind of a conflict built into the community on this:

Is it more OC to have a lot of setting widgets that players can dive into and then use to identify with and express themselves through a character that employs those widgets, or as few widgets as possible so the players can essentially build them and don't have to care about what's already there?

The first one is very much CofD/WoD and Eberron, but I have the sense that some OC players want a very mutable setting so they can replace it according to their sensibility.
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Actually, let's think about what does make a setting conductive to TradOC play?

Flexibility is of course something that's a must to allow the insertion of a new character in it, and usually the setting and premise shouldn't be so restrictive on what the background entails for the play--You can be a pauper or a noble or Just Some Guy/Gal but nonetheless all of you are [X].

Maybe slight bias but Fantasies of Power are usually good at this, games where the premise involves the players in someway shape or form are at an upper hand at the usual setting denizen. Since usually the game premise involves the player character given a power that can overturn or at least rival the small scale power hierarchy that the character comes from.

Not to say that the newly given power doesn't have its own hierarchy however; Elders, heads of organizations, established heroes and villains are always a nice way to tie the character into the world
TradOC? Is that neotrad/OC? Trad is a style of natural evolution to fit the needs of ttrpgs with a gm and other players interacting in a shared world. Neotrad is pretty much the evolution of adapting that game to a forum post where extreme asynchronous interaction provides room to shoehorn in a fanfic that others can interact with or ignore while doing the same themselves.

I think that the player trying to carry the disruption of neotrad to the table is more responsible than the setting for making it work. That responsibility comes in the form of a willingness to proactively carry all of the responsibilities pulled from the GM with their own actions and story building rather than just expecting everyone else to mold themselves to their neotrad story. No setting is capable of doing that for neotrad once neotrad takes the first step of changing the gm's role.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top