Vincent Baker on mechanics, system and fiction in RPGs


(He, Him)
That apoc world argument is so dumb. idk what you guys are even getting at any more. feels like the thread was derailed by baker haters who intentionally misinterpret his words and game to prove some strange point
One thing I took away from it is to reflect on how PbtA delivers genre. When I think about games like Avatar, MotW and DW, I can see how Moves have let their designers crystallise their focus genres into their core mechanics. (I've dropped the "emulation" because I think those same structures would deliver genre even if it were innovative - emulating nothing - notwithstanding that practically every PbtA design I can think of is emulating some preexisting genre. Although many also synthesise between and evolve them.)

Separately, I was thinking about the story/discourse split in narratology, and whether that had applicability to RPG. (Story is the sequence of events, discourse is the way they're told.) I was thinking about whether some of the objections were as to PbtA's management of story or its management of discourse. There seemed to be a mix of both, with connected objections around management of time at the table (what we're doing, when.) It's interesting to reflect on what Vincent describes as important to him as a designer - for example in pemerton's post just above - and what his rules achieve. It's not solely that we want to say unwelcome things: we want to say paradigmatically unwelcome things!

So while I don't agree with what I initially understood to be its point, I wouldn't characterise the digression as dumb.
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This book is not cheap, especially in dead tree versions
Even the kindle or nook versions it's US$45
I could buy an RPG book for that kind of money lol
Based on the little I've seen, it would be a better spend of your money, too!
The first six chapters are free on Google books. It looks to be a perfectly fine, perfunctory 'intro to _____' subject-book (from 2012). I would agree that there are better things on which to spend your money, but in a completely neutral framing. It's fine-- if dated and introductory -- and perfectly suited for reading for something like an 100/1000-level college course.


Having picked it up thanks to this discussion, I think it’s fine. There are some blind spots when it comes to tabletop RPGs, but there’s still also some useful stuff. I look at it as complementary to other tabletop RPG design theory and ideas.

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