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What is the point of GM's notes?

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Again, eh. The "say" the GM has is different in Blades than the say they have in D&D. So, when we say that the GM has final say in Blades, we're still talking about a different thing than when we say the GM has final say in D&D. I'm looking for clarity here, and I think that this statement is introducing a lot of hidden information in the words "final say." Does the GM in Blades have the final authority? Sure, but it's very tightly constrained, and not at all the same authority the GM has in D&D.
I'm keenly aware that the say is different, but that's not the same as me thinking I need I different word to descibe that state of affairs, especially to people who dont play Blades. I agree with your description of the constraints involved.
 

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Emerikol

Adventurer
Sure and the living adventure/living world way of managing this is to focus on the goals of the characters who inhabit (perhaps the major ones, but also the minor ones if you want), allow not just the overall situation to adjust if the players come back, but making decisions based on the NPCs as if they are characters (which could allow for example for an intelligent resident of the dungeon to leave, and even go after the PCs). Nothing is preventing you from doing this is you begin with the freeze approach, but a lot of GMs do treat it as static, and living world/living adventure is a reminder for the GM to make things more active and responsive (and to treat them more like objective entities in the setting). If it doesn't answer an issue you want to solve, if it runs up against some other playstyle or system thing you are interested in, then you don't have to do it. All I can say is this principle has made a night and day difference in my sessions.
One of the things that keeps my players from abusing the five minute workday is the fact the monsters are always a lot more prepared the second time around. So pressing on has a high value because you still have the element of surprise.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I'm keenly aware that the say is different, but that's not the same as me thinking I need I different word to descibe that state of affairs, especially to people who dont play Blades. I agree with your description of the constraints involved.
Whereas I think this allows people familiar with one to make incorrect assumptions about the other. Honestly, I very much think a lot of our past interactions have dealt with exactly this kind of thing. You use a term that I see as easily confusing the issue because it allows people to import concepts that you're not talking about. Like saying that the GM has the final say in Blades, where that's a pretty different ball of wax from a standard D&D game, where I'd say the same thing meaning that there's extremely few constraints on the GM. Or the "living world" disagreement we had (and never did see that specifically defined). I think that you're fine with these because you know what you mean, but it's not helpful to communication to others because we're not on your page.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
See, I'd rather tell someone who doesn't play Blades, yeah, the GM is still in charge of setting stuff, but there are some differences and constraint. I proceed from the known to the unknown, rather than explaining the thing de novo. I am proceeding by analogy as it were. So yeah, it's absolutely helpful communication.:ROFLMAO:
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
Hitpoints are absolutely dissociated. They have no defined meaning in the game rules, they just abalate with no fiction attached to them. You can describe hitpoint loss in 100's of different ways, and they all are equally valid. I've even described them as completely dissociated in a plot coupon manner, and they still work exactly the same way. You are confusing your habitual gloss on hitpoints with how they actually function.

Armor class is the same way. If I fail to roll a success on my attack, what happened? Doesn't matter to the game, it can be anything the players want to describe. You can even do the same treatment I do with hitpoints and invoke armor class as plot coupon to force a miss.

And spells, oh, those lovely spells. These are exactly what you claim to hate. Take the secret door example, where you're absolutely against any concept where players searching for a door causes a door to exist. Totally bogus, right? You're even against the players spending a plot coupon to say a secret door is here -- dissociative! Do not like! But, you're absolutely perfectly fine with a player spending a plot coupon to open a door on command, so long as that plot coupon is a "spell slot" and it's used on "passwall" (I believe you're an older edition player, so this is still a spell for you). This does exactly, exactly, the thing you dislike, but it's okay, because it's lampshaded behind magic and you're used to plot coupons as spells.

And, to get in before the inevitable, this isn't dismissive, it's stripped -- stripped of the patina of long familiarity and cast in a stark light where these things can't hide in the shadows of what we're used to.
You just can't resist. You are wrong. Very wrong. Leave it at that.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
See, I'd rather tell someone who doesn't play Blades, yeah, the GM is still in charge of setting stuff, but there are some differences and constraint. I proceed from the known to the unknown, rather than explaining the thing de novo. I am proceeding by analogy as it were. So yeah, it's absolutely helpful communication.:ROFLMAO:
Except, that's not what happened? You just said that GM in Blades has final say on the setting? Did I miss something, more than willing admit I did, but I didn't see the further explanation.
 


Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
You just can't resist. You are wrong. Very wrong. Leave it at that.
You mean with you issuing a blanket dismissal? I thought that's not what was happening in this thread? I get it's a hard pill to swallow -- you've got a lot of inertia here, and it's challenging to redirect. I had the same issue. But, ultimately, what counts as "dissociative" isn't really a baked in feature of the mechanic, but rather whether or not it fits into the paradigm we already have. Viewing hitpoints as dissociative is a hard ask, especially if you've spent a lot of time with a specific (to you) explanation of them. But, they are dissociative -- they're utterly disconnected from anything in the fiction and do not require any fictional changes until and unless you're out of them. I mean, there's huge numbers of threads arguing what hitpoints actually are, so I fail to see how you can state that they are dissociative (if they weren't, there'd be many fewer arguments about what losing 10 hitpoints means in the fiction).

If you'd like to start a new thread on the topic, I'd be happy to. Would you discuss it there?
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
You mean with you issuing a blanket dismissal? I thought that's not what was happening in this thread? I get it's a hard pill to swallow -- you've got a lot of inertia here, and it's challenging to redirect. I had the same issue. But, ultimately, what counts as "dissociative" isn't really a baked in feature of the mechanic, but rather whether or not it fits into the paradigm we already have. Viewing hitpoints as dissociative is a hard ask, especially if you've spent a lot of time with a specific (to you) explanation of them. But, they are dissociative -- they're utterly disconnected from anything in the fiction and do not require any fictional changes until and unless you're out of them. I mean, there's huge numbers of threads arguing what hitpoints actually are, so I fail to see how you can state that they are dissociative (if they weren't, there'd be many fewer arguments about what losing 10 hitpoints means in the fiction).

If you'd like to start a new thread on the topic, I'd be happy to. Would you discuss it there?
I don't think this thread needs for us to completely derail it with a debate about what dissociative mechanics are or are not. Your example and your take is so far removed from the reality that anyone who really does know what they are is laughing at you. If you really insist at least start another thread or send me a private message. This topic will got hot fast and I don't want to ruin the GM notes topic by derailing it.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Except, that's not what happened? You just said that GM in Blades has final say on the setting? Did I miss something, more than willing admit I did, but I didn't see the further explanation.
That part was me agreeing, twice, with your description of the constraints and differences. I didn't say it was exactly the same as D&D or whatever, that would be silly. In terms of GM responsibility and framing I think Blades is still far closer to traditional play than game like, say, Houses of the Blooded, where the players have some full on framing permissions. Anyway, I wasn't disagreeing with you about anything other than the usefulness of proceeding from analogy to define GM play in Blades, as opposed to making up some other word or whatever for 'in charge'.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I don't think this thread needs for us to completely derail it with a debate about what dissociative mechanics are or are not. Your example and your take is so far removed from the reality that anyone who really does know what they are is laughing at you. If you really insist at least start another thread or send me a private message. This topic will got hot fast and I don't want to ruin the GM notes topic by derailing it.
At this point, I don't think anyone here would mind.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
That part was me agreeing, twice, with your description of the constraints and differences. I didn't say it was exactly the same as D&D or whatever, that would be silly. In terms of GM responsibility and framing I think Blades is still far closer to traditional play than game like, say, Houses of the Blooded, where the players have some full on framing permissions. Anyway, I wasn't disagreeing with you about anything other than the usefulness of proceeding from analogy to define GM play in Blades, as opposed to making up some other word or whatever for 'in charge'.
I didn't suggest making up a new word. I suggested presenting the statement with the clarifications adjacent. I say this not because I find it hard to follow, but experience in these discussions has led me to the point that consistent and constant clarity on such issues reduces the possibility of miscommunication that then drags on for pages. It's tiring to constantly add the additional words/caveats/explanations, but I found that the conversation is much, much more likely to derail when you elide them. YMMV.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I didn't suggest making up a new word. I suggested presenting the statement with the clarifications adjacent. I say this not because I find it hard to follow, but experience in these discussions has led me to the point that consistent and constant clarity on such issues reduces the possibility of miscommunication that then drags on for pages. It's tiring to constantly add the additional words/caveats/explanations, but I found that the conversation is much, much more likely to derail when you elide them. YMMV.
I wasn't trying to elide anything though, just tack a thought on top of the existing discussion.
 


Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I don't think this thread needs for us to completely derail it with a debate about what dissociative mechanics are or are not. Your example and your take is so far removed from the reality that anyone who really does know what they are is laughing at you. If you really insist at least start another thread or send me a private message. This topic will got hot fast and I don't want to ruin the GM notes topic by derailing it.
I'd bet you don't really know what they are either. Are you using the Alexandrian conception, or perhaps one of the rebuttals of same? It's a point of rather a lot of contention among RPGers, so it's not as though here's a single stable definition you can point to. Based on the Alexandrian conception, or a common usage approach to 'dissociated' then yeah, HP are dissociated, at least to some really significant extent.

Assuming you've read either of the above sources, or something similar, what's you stance on how the use of dissociated mechanics effects the ability to roleplay, or the possibility of immersion? You're going to have to do better than some half baked ad hominen crap to have anyone take you seriously here.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I don't think this thread needs for us to completely derail it with a debate about what dissociative mechanics are or are not. Your example and your take is so far removed from the reality that anyone who really does know what they are is laughing at you. If you really insist at least start another thread or send me a private message. This topic will got hot fast and I don't want to ruin the GM notes topic by derailing it.
Ah, I've had a brain flash. You're using "dissociative" in the sense of "the PC isn't doing it, the player is." You mean the player is making a choice from outside the confines of the PC's notional perception that then enters the game. Cool, I see it, but it doesn't affect what I've said about hitpoint, or armor class, or even spells. You've rolled your play into making these things part of the PC's awareness, but it's still external game mechanics intruding into the fiction in a way that's not related to the PC's understanding. Instead, you're deploying a lampshade in each case. Telling the PC that they lost 10 hitpoints, for instance, isn't what's happened, instead you're describing something in the fiction that ad hoc represents this loss of hitpoints. (And I say ad hoc because it depends on the specific circumstance of the hp loss as to how it's described, not because there's no principled approach to description involved at a given table.) Regardless of how it's described, though, the effect is the same -- no change in the PC's capability. It's still dissociated even when considering dissociated from the POV of the PC, we've just become long accustomed to ignoring this.

But, if we do go with this definition of dissociative, then we have a new trouble -- the searching for a secret door is now moving away from dissociative. The PCs, from within their POV, are doing a rational thing -- looking for a way out of a dead end with guards approaching. If they find a secret door, it's still within their POV -- nothing breaks that POV. Instead, we're now having to look at what's going out outside the PCs to find the dissociation, at which point you have to ask what it's dissociated from?
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
I'd bet you don't really know what they are either. Are you using the Alexandrian conception, or perhaps one of the rebuttals of same? It's a point of rather a lot of contention among RPGers, so it's not as though here's a single stable definition you can point to. Based on the Alexandrian conception, or a common usage approach to 'dissociated' then yeah, HP are dissociated, at least to some really significant extent.

Assuming you've read either of the above sources, or something similar, what's you stance on how the use of dissociated mechanics effects the ability to roleplay, or the possibility of immersion? You're going to have to do better than some half baked ad hominen crap to have anyone take you seriously here.
I'm trying to avoid turning this thread into the dissociative mechanics thread. If you want to start a new thread or send me a direct message, we can discuss this in more detail. I am not turning this thread into that thread.

I think FOR ME dissociative mechanics are ruinous to roleplaying and immersion. It is why I quit D&D and did not buy 5e. I realized they'd crossed the rubicon with 4e and they really were not coming back. Which is fine they've obviously done very well with what they did do. But for me it just wasn't what I wanted.

Edit:
quit adopting the new version of D&D is perhaps a clearer understanding of my position.
 

@Manbearcat in your opinion does Skilled Play not enter the possible equation with regards to your 2 questions above?

To be clear, you're referring to:

1) Why would I need to create and roll Faction Clocks for Factions that haven't been interacted with, thereby changing the nature of the Factions' opening situations which are completely offscreen?

and

2) Why would I need to make up Situations for other wards and roll Fortune Rolls to evolve Setting when the PCs have had no interaction with these things? Whatever is happening there is offscreen.

Is that correct? I'll answer (tomorrow) once you've confirmed.

And so I have some context for answering, can you let me know what you have in mind here (Skilled Play a a priority interacting with my hypothetical)? To reiterate, this is the equivalent of Room 1 of a dungeon where new content (that has in no way, directly or indirectly, been interacted with by the PCs).
 

I don't think diving into dissociative mechanics is going to be helpful towards what we are talking about. My two cents is The Alexandrian hit on something that resonated for a reason (there were lots of people trying to understand why they disliked 4E so much, the dissociative explanation clicked because it explained some of it) but the problem was people over applied the concept (I believe even Justin Alexander adjusted his language around the term over the years as I have seen him get into disputes with people advocating the idea: but I don't want to put words in his mouth). It was also perhaps an over assessment. I think the issue was there were things that in small quantities, in edge cases, or as things you could ignore, didn't bother people. But crank those things up to 50% of the game, 80%, 90%, it might become more of a problem for people. It is about quantity and where the things pinch. It was also only part of the explanation. But the trouble with over applying that idea was it became this rigid rule for many people in the wake of 4E that caused them to dismiss or dislike games they would have been fine with prior to 4E. Still it was insightful. The Alexandrian is very good, IMO, at analyzing these kinds of things. But analysis needs to be a conversation over many years
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
I don't think diving into dissociative mechanics is going to be helpful towards what we are talking about. My two cents is The Alexandrian hit on something that resonated for a reason (there were lots of people trying to understand why they disliked 4E so much, the dissociative explanation clicked because it explained some of it) but the problem was people over applied the concept (I believe even Justin Alexander adjusted his language around the term over the years as I have seen him get into disputes with people advocating the idea: but I don't want to put words in his mouth). It was also perhaps an over assessment. I think the issue was there were things that in small quantities, in edge cases, or as things you could ignore, didn't bother people. But crank those things up to 50% of the game, 80%, 90%, it might become more of a problem for people. It is about quantity and where the things pinch. It was also only part of the explanation. But the trouble with over applying that idea was it became this rigid rule for many people in the wake of 4E that caused them to dismiss or dislike games they would have been fine with prior to 4E. Still it was insightful. The Alexandrian is very good, IMO, at analyzing these kinds of things. But analysis needs to be a conversation over many years
Good points. Prior to 4e, I am quite sure I was unaware of dissociative mechanics. I didn't like 4e because of the dissociative mechanics but I didn't have a name nor did I use that term. But when dissociative mechanics was explained, it clicked that this was the issue I had with that game. Well one of many. There were also some things I liked as well to be fair.

I don't try to speak for the Alexandrian nor does he speak for me. I've honed my ideas about the subject from literally dozens of very long combative threads. I am a clear understand of a type of mechanic that bothers me. It has qualities that I don't like. I've stuck with the name because there seems to be at least a strong overlap among a lot of people on the ideas.

Most of the people who don't seem to understand the concept are, not coincidentally in my opinion, the very people that don't really get bothered by such mechanics. Now is there a larger truth that bleeds over into GM notes and "protagonist" styles of play. Maybe but again it's not a perfect overlap for sure. A root to it might be the priority placed on acting and making decisions only as your character.
 

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